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Photo TR: Josh Takes On Florida 2019

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Welcome to my first ever photo trip report on Theme Park Review!


So yesterday, after 9 days away from home in the Southeast, I returned to Illinois exhausted but ready to do this for all of you. I'll try to complete this as quick as possible because I loved this trip dearly and I hope you love this trip report just as much.


25 new coaster credits, 5 new parks, it was a great way to start off my 2019 coaster season!


Day 0: Arrival (see below)

Day 1: Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios (pg. 2)

Day 2: Epcot (pg. 3)


Coming soon

Day 3: Magic Kingdom

Day 4: Universal Studios Orlando and Fun Spot Orlando

Day 5: SeaWorld Orlando and Fun Spot Kissimmee

Day 6: Busch Gardens Tampa

Day 7: Six Flags Over Georgia and Fun Spot Atlanta


So let's get started.





Day 0: Saturday, March 23 - Travel Day


For those of you who weren't following along with my planning thread for this trip, the basis of this entire adventure and why we planned the extra parks is because my school's band program was going down to Disney and Universal for Spring Break (I play trumpet because I know someone is going to ask). We rented out a bus from Entourage Management for transportation, and we were due for departure from the high school from 7:15 AM. So it was a super early morning for me and my sister (who is a senior) but we packed up, met up with our hotel groups, and left fairly quickly.


It was a pretty uneventful day, but the bus ride was fun. We played some games, watched some movies, listened to some music, and saw some random sights at out stops, including the Whitehaven Welcome Center in Kentucky, driving through the city of Nashville, etc. The bus drove through the night; our last rest stop for the day was just outside of Chattanooga. The entire bus, including myself, slept through Georgia and most of Florida before waking up around 6:00 AM to the sights of Volcano Bay and White Lightning. It was a great wake-up call, especially when we drove by some other sights like the record-breaking flats (Slingshot, Starflyer, etc.), Mako and more.


For those of you who didn't see my thread (as I said earlier), our hotel was in Kissimmee literally right across the street from Fun Spot.



Once we got to the Comfort Suites, the group leaders and chaperones told us we had two and a half hours to shower, get ready and packed, and eat breakfast before departure to Animal Kingdom.


Up next... Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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Geez, your hotel's close to Fun Spot. I would abuse Mine Blower every night if I was staying there.


Great start! Looking forward to the full reports.


I've thought the same thing when I saw that hotel. But usually I just stay at the Econo Lodge another 2-3 miles down the road.

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Edit - This wasn't supposed to come out yet and the formatting is all off. Enjoy it as it is now but I'm still fixing the formatting and attachments.


Geez, your hotel's close to Fun Spot. I would abuse Mine Blower every night if I was staying there.


Great start! Looking forward to the full reports.

Thank you! I would've used that opportunity, and everyone with the band program noticed it and wanted to as well, but the main band director told us that for the purpose of keeping track of everyone, we weren't allowed to leave the hotel in the evenings. But as you can see in the main post, I rode it on Thursday.

I'm looking forward to this.


How was the hotel? On one hand, staying across the street from Old Town sounds like a bad idea but it's also a Comfort Suites and those are always good so I was always curious about this place.

It was pretty good for a hotel in the Kissimmee area. There were some problems like the elevators and toilets, but otherwise it wasn't bad place to stay for a few nights.





Day 1: Sunday, March 24th (Part 1) - Disney's Animal Kingdom


Starting early in the morning with the arrival at the hotel, our couple of hours to get ready for the day went by before I knew it, and soon enough, we were loading up the bus at 9:00 AM, with wonder in our eyes ready to take on the happiest place on earth!


A couple of you asked about Fun Spot Kissimmee, and while I didn't visit the park on school time, I grabbed a couple shots of Mine Blower in the early morning.


Mine Blower from the hotel lobby


Love the layout! Thursday will be so much fun once I ride this!

Finally, we were on property, and for the first time since my only other visit to Florida in 2015, I was back in Disney World. I love Disney parks as many other enthusiasts here do, and of course nostalgia reasons as I just mentioned made my heart skip a beat or two as I approached the Animal Kingdom parking gate.


Approaching a Disney parking gate for the first time is something that needs to be experienced to describe

Once we parked, unloaded and met up with our groups for the day, we took a look at wait times to see if Avatar: Flight of Passage was plausible, but an already 170 minute posting turnt off the hype for the ride for my entire group. As much as I hate to say it, I was in a group of non-enthusiasts (it is a pretty uncommon hobby, as you all know) so they didn't quite get why riding this meant so much to me, and unfortunately, majority rules removed it from our plan for the rest of the day. In hindsight it makes sense, as there was more we wanted to do at Hollywood Studios so we planned to have more time there, but it does sort of hurt that I need to wait until my next Florida trip (whenever that may be) to ride it.


Let's still make the best of our day here at Animal Kingdom, even if it sacrifices Avatar.

Once we got to the park entrance, the next piece of fun began. Actually getting into the park.


Luckily, this problem was only experienced on the first day of the trip at Animal Kingdom, but bag check, security, and ticket scanning was extremely chaotic and disorganized. Bag check had an excuse as they were a bit understaffed and there were some families with complaining children that slowed down the process, so it isn't something I can entirely hold against the park, but it was frustrating. It took about 20 minutes just for me to get through between the time I got in line and the time I got to metal detectors.


After a while, we did all make it into the park, but seeing a bunch of other familiar faces from our school enter the park a lot quicker than we did was still painful to watch. Once we got into the park, however, like all Disney parks do, our mood changed and we were enamored in the natural beauty of Disney park theming.


This tree... thing was pretty cool. A little creepy, especially for the children, but it's cool!


Oh, Tree of Life... is it in your power to remove groups of people from your almighty park so my friends and I can ride Flight of Passage?

With Avatar off the table, our first order of business was Expedition Everest.


I wonder how Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney feel about this area?


God, I love this park's atmosphere. It's so beautiful and relaxing and peaceful.


"Shh... I know you're frustrated from bag check, but please don't tell my boss I'm not at Kilimanjaro Safaris. I just need a break."


Sorry for upsetting you, Kings Dominion fanboys... but this trip report needs the obligatory mountain photo.


All right, let's actually ride something now!

Although Everest was posted at 45 minutes, it's better than three hours for Avatar.


Everest has one of the best themed queue lines you can find for a roller coaster.


There were also a surprising amount of people from my school in line for Everest, so it was cool getting to see so many of them ride.

So yeah. Everest really is a great ride in my opinion. The coaster portion it is pretty decent, but by ride I mean the full experience, meaning the moment you step in the queue through the moment you exit the gift shop. It tells a story about, well, an expedition to Mount Everest and the way the concept of the ride was executed is excellent. 4 out 5 stars for me.


Okay, back to your regularly scheduled Disney theming goodness.

There wasn't a whole lot that my group really wanted to do before park hopping, and two of those rides were both in Dino-Rama, so that was our next stop.


"I've been posing as the entrance for this annoying area for years..."


Primeval Whirl broke down when we got there so we moved on. I needed both credits though so I was hoping that it would get fixed up soon.


Yay! First Intamin ride of the trip!


"Ha ha! Disney will never one-up the size of the mighty Sue!" (Only Chicagoland enthusiasts will get this joke)

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Nice report! It's a bummer you couldn't get on Flight of Passage, but that would have been a lot of time for one attraction when you could see the rest of the park. If you can't get a Fastpass, getting in line right at closing is the way to go.

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Hey, I know how it is with non-enthusiasts. All of my trips are with my family and they are the most GP of the most GP. Because of this, I'm generally stuck not getting all the credits for said park because "oh, let's ride this now" or "oh, let's go spend $50 on breakfast when Avatar's line is only 45 minutes". I feel you way too much.

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Yeah, I would never go to a park I haven't been to before with a bunch of GP. If I've been there a few times before, that's fine. I can either play tour guide, or just resign myself to a day of drinking, eating, looking at the sights, and maybe getting a ride or two in here or there. But unless I'm with people who will give me full control, or with people who know how to stay productive, forget about it. Most parks requires some strategy, but Disney is all about strategy. Its basically a game to play. If you do poorly, you get a visit like that. If you do well, you stay extremely productive and see and do everything. I could pick apart your strategy bit by bit, but you probably already know that there was a lot that you could have improved upon.


Out of curiosity, what rates did you pay for admission? Did you pay for straight up multi-day tickets full price, or did you pay a group discount? Or was the ticket price so buried into the lump sum that you paid for the trip that you have no idea?

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Believe it or not some people can actually go to Disney World with their friends and have the time of their lives without worrying about optimal strategy or whatever bullshit because... you know... they're with their friends at f*cking Disney World.

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Believe it or not some people can actually go to Disney World with their friends and have the time of their lives without worrying about optimal strategy or whatever bullshit because... you know... they're with their friends at f*cking Disney World.


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Well, despite not getting to ride Flight of Passage it sounds like a great visit. I took a lot of these school trips when I was a kid (usually to Six Flags or Worlds of Fun though), and they're still some great memories. Hope you got to enjoy your time at Disney World and didn't worry too much about "credits."

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Out of curiosity, what rates did you pay for admission? Did you pay for straight up multi-day tickets full price, or did you pay a group discount? Or was the ticket price so buried into the lump sum that you paid for the trip that you have no idea?

Everything was included with a $1,300 (about, I don't quite remember) price so I can't tell you that. But all the signs I saw as I entered each park said $150-$200 for 1 day at each park.


Well, despite not getting to ride Flight of Passage it sounds like a great visit. I took a lot of these school trips when I was a kid (usually to Six Flags or Worlds of Fun though), and they're still some great memories. Hope you got to enjoy your time at Disney World and didn't worry too much about "credits."

Yes, and don't worry. I think starting at the Disney parks that aren't heavy on coasters helped with that, since it wasn't the main focus.


Picking up from where I accidentally posted... (It's been too long lol I'll try to bulk finish it before summer vacation)


Why does every Dinosaur-themed ride use Jeeps as the ride vehicles?

So yeah, I actually really like this ride. Not the best simulator ever of course, but I like how they played in the roughness into the ride, it gives it a funny feeling that feels bizarre at first but is actually fitting. And of course the theming is very well done. I could see why someone might not like it, but I always enjoy it:


Primeval Whirl opened back up so I headed here next.




It was sh*t, lol. There was some decent spinning and I liked the quirky theming, but the entire ride still had a lot of trims and when it wasn't overly trimmed it gave me and the two friends I was riding with a huge spinal adjustment. 4/10 (I'm doing my ratings out of 10 now instead of 5)


After this, it was pretty hot so we decided to take an ice cream break in some of the shade, before taking one last ride and park hopping. It was a good time to admire again how beautiful and scenic this park is


I'm in love with Disney's attention-to-detail. I really am.

We all agreed on a re-ride for Everest for the last ride, using the single rider line so we could get over to Hollywood Studios as quick as possible to ride everything we wanted.


Open? That means we can use it!

As with our first ride, I had a great time. It might not have been in the front, but I still had loads of fun from start to finish. Big success on Disney's part with this one!



Look at the train! Is there a single person riding that is NOT SMILING?


Ignore the stupid strollers... Animal Kingdom theming... mmm!

As we started to walk out of the park, we took the time to look at some animals, which of course comes with visiting a park called Animal Kingdom. None of us really wanted to take time out of Hollywood Studios to wait 2 hours for the guided tour (Kilimanjaro Safaris is what it's called, right) so this would be our animal fill for the day.


For lunch, we were all pretty sweaty so we just decided to pick the first thing that sounded mildly interesting and came upon Rainforest Cafe, so we headed there. We weren't in the best of moods either, because of the heat and missing out on Avatar, but mine quickly changed.



When in a bad mood... let a bit of Disney magic help with that! Turns out we were walking during a Kevin photo session, and I got my photo. I had a bit of a fanboy moment, as I LOVE the movie and Kevin was my favorite character, and the whole costume was done amazingly!


Love the movie, love the character, it was GREAT to get this photo! =)


Can you ever get enough Animal Kingdom?


Anteater! I love that they have animals all throughout the park, even the small path leading to Rainforest Cafe.

So mini story time. As we got to Rainforest Cafe to be seated, we found out that Rainforest Cafe wasn't a part of the Disney Dining Card we were handed by the tour guides and chaperones because it's a separate, non-Disney owned company so we just decided to suck it up a bit and eat at Hollywood Studios.


Maybe next time...


Maybe next time... =(


A massive wave of crowds came in as we started the walk to the bus... good timing on our part!


And that was Animal Kingdom! While there were some issues with the park such as the lack of Avatar and the painful park entry process, I can never get enough of how beautiful and fitting all the theming is and they have a HUGE range of attractions and shows. Hopefully my next visit will be a full day here.


Next up... Hollywood Studios

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you didn't miss much by missing out on Rainforest Cafe: it's a chain restaurant, with some decent food, and some fun atmosphere/theming -- but good lord, you're at Disney! why waste time at Rainforest Cafe!


hopefully at DHS you got to grab something at SciFi Drive In, or Mom's, or one of the unique Disney Dining Experiences (even if you don't book way ahead, we've never had issues getting a table at standby for a group of less than 3 people).


the Kilimanjaro Safari *is* really good, it's almost a "ride" in itself - when you go back for Avatar, make sure you do that too.


(and as to Primeval Whirl. .. LOL. . we *all* told you so. . . . LOL).


glad you seem to have had a great time.

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Great report! Not all dinosaur rides are in jeeps. Ellen's Energy Adventure was in a colossal unthemed car.


^ benches wide enough (and ride long enough) to take a nice nap in tho

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  • 3 weeks later...
you didn't miss much by missing out on Rainforest Cafe: it's a chain restaurant, with some decent food, and some fun atmosphere/theming -- but good lord, you're at Disney! why waste time at Rainforest Cafe!


the Kilimanjaro Safari *is* really good, it's almost a "ride" in itself - when you go back for Avatar, make sure you do that too.


(and as to Primeval Whirl. .. LOL. . we *all* told you so. . . . LOL).


glad you seem to have had a great time.

Yeah, Rainforest Cafe wasn't our best choice... we were all pretty hungry though. I rode Kilimanjaro Safari during my visit in 2015, it was pretty great and I remember liking it. Primeval Whirl, yeah, I mean I've ridden it now so at least I never have to again. And thank you!


Great report! Not all dinosaur rides are in jeeps. Ellen's Energy Adventure was in a colossal unthemed car.

Thank you! As Bert said, nice to take a nap in I assume



Day 1: Sunday, March 24th (Part 3) - Disney's Hollywood Studios


After a nice 3 hours in Animal Kingdom, we were ready to take on the real thrills of the Disney resort at the original movie themed amusement park!



Time to see what adventures follow us at our next park!

After a brief little bus ride over, we were ready to enter. As we walked to the entrance, it was cool to see the progress of Disney's new Skyride transportation system, which is supposed to be opening sometime soon (am I correct on this?)


We all took a little bathroom and water bottle refill break before entering, which gave us a quick chance to cool off from Animal Kingdom and stay in a better mood here.



"Excuse me sir, does the Hollywood Tower Hotel have any available rooms tonight?"


Oh, so THIS is how Disney finishes new construction so fast. =)

The entry process to Hollywood Studios was far less painful than Animal Kingdom's was. The opening day rush of Animal Kingdom was a probable cause of that, but we entered almost immediately with no problems. Nice job Hollywood Studios security! Props to you!



Onwards, lads!

Immediately after we passed through the gates and started walking down Hollywood Blvd I was immediately blown away by how it looked. When I last visited this place in 2015 it was packed to the brim because of a Star Wars parade so that might have jaded my view a bit but I guess I had forgotten just how vibrant and beautiful the whole midway looks! WOW!




Did I even visit this park in 2015?

As we continued to the back of the park to ride Slinky, it got even better.




We tried to eat lunch here but were unaware that it's reservation only.


Disney's Hollywood Studios - WAY more visually appealing than the actual Hollywood Studios!


Municiberg! A little while later in the report we came back and bought a Cookie Num-Num from one of the food stands, and OMG! They are so warm and gooey, the only problem being the prices =(


WOW! All those of sweaty, odorous Floridians are visually astonishing! (Oh, and Toy Story Land's back there too)

It was pretty awesome for me to step into Toy Story Land for the very first time. My parents showed me the first two Toy Story movies as some of my first ever feature films back when I was a toddler, and I was in love with them for years, especially once the third one came out. So the franchise as a whole is a total childhood classic, and getting to experience it was almost unworldly.






Man, it'll be so great to FINALLY get on this... oh hold up guys, look at that wait time

With 1:30 creeping up on us and no lunch thanks to Rainforest Cafe not being on the dining pass, no one really wanted to wait in line for it. I wanted to come back later both for the cred (gotta be honest in my trip reports) and for a bit of a sense of nostalgia, so I prayed that they would all feel better after eating. We tried to find a table at that restaurant in the area but as expected all the tables were taken, so we walked around a bit and found that the ABC commissary was relatively cheap and had decent lines for food. That gave us a chance to sit down outside and talk out the rest of the day.



Looks like so much fun too. Torture! =(


Hopefully later...

One thing I will say is that I did expect these crowds. It was a Sunday towards the end of March so we definitely would be waiting in line. I was just a bit (and still kind of am) baffled as to why our tour guides chose to have the parks home to Avatar and Toy Story split between one day. They surely could've done some research in that area before making the final decision!


After we all got some food in us, some people in groups made their separate ways. The other guy and one of the girls in my group went to ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, two of the girls went shopping for a break from the heat, and my sister and I went to Slinky because we were the only two in the group that really wanted it. Believe it or not, when we finished lunch and got over there, the line was already down to a super bearable 75 minutes (okay, not SUPER bearable, but compare that to 2+ hours and we made a beeline for the ride's entrance)



In line we go! That'll be us soon enough!


Even if it has ridiculously long wait times, at least it is a super family pleaser, Hollywood Studios didn't have as many of those in the past.


With fans everywhere, our phones and a visually satisfying coaster, we could survive!


Plus all the details and theming in the queue were really neat!


In the end, the 75-minute posted wait was about correct.


That Slinky smile is pleasure of non-stop action all day =) (this is a TPR trip report, there's going to be at least one dirty joke!)

So how was Slinky as a coaster? It was pretty decent. The launches were pretty ok, it was extremely smooth the whole time, and the first half was very fun, with good speed through the turns and theming with some decent floater pops. The second half was pretty tame, however. No airtime on any of the hills, with a pretty slow finale. It's not the best family coaster, but as I said earlier, Toy Story is a childhood classic of millions. To help guests feel that nostalgia in roller coaster form, I'd say Disney has a winner from that aspect!



While it's a bit of an anticlimax after the launch, there are some good views from this hill.


While they are taken at the speed of Wacky Worms, these hills really help play into the Slinky theme.


Floater air! Two or three good pops in the first half of the ride!

After getting a couple sunburns and sweaty from the ride, we finally got off and walked to find the rest of the group in an air-conditioned building. Prepare for more Hollywood Studios beauty. Again, I was really surprised by how much more vibrant the park appeared than I remembered from 4 years ago.




(ignore the advertising. I get why people call this the Six Flags of Disney parks because of all the concrete and more "basic theming," shut up. I f*cking love this place)

We re-united with our group at one of the shops on Hollywood Blvd where we spent a few minutes shopping, as we were trying to pass the time before our Tower of Terror FastPass time slot. With just under an hour to go, we wanted to find something with a short line, which we fully expected to be a challenge until we came across Star Tours, proudly boasting a 20 minute wait time.




Star Wars was another key part of my childhood, similarly to Toy Story, even though my parents didn't show me Star Wars for the first time until I was probably around 6. Early on in my elementary school years, say through 2nd grade, this was my HUGE obsession (yeah I'm a bit of a nerd. But I don't see what's wrong with that!)


When I first visited Hollywood Studios for the first time in 2015, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was closed for refurbishment and I was still afraid of drop towers, so Star Tours was my favorite ride and I rode it probably 5-6 times that day. Maybe it's because the last time I rode Star Tours was before all the new movies like Force Awakens and Solo came out and the parks added new programs to the ride, but the show that was selected for us was one I had never seen before, a very nice surprise. It was like Phantom Menace combined with Empire Strikes Back, with the podracers, Naboo-Trade Federation battle in space (of course the movie isn't great but the battle scenes make for a great ride) before jumping to hyperspace and finishing out on Hoth. The only negative to the ride was this kid directly behind me who wouldn't stop screaming at the top of his lungs whenever we were flying, and I swear I was about to go deaf. Three or four times throughout the ride, it happened where my ears would pop from him screaming, then they would revert back to normal, we would fly and he would scream and they would pop again and so on. But it wasn't too much of a problem, getting to ride a favorite of mine with 4 other school friends was a blast (pun intended, because it's a Star Wars ride... I'll show myself out)


Show myself out of the ride that is; we're not done with this trip report yet! It was about 5:05, and our ToT time slot started at 5:10 so we headed on over to good ol' Sunset Boulevard.



Oh no! Not a hotel! I don't want to end our time here just yet!


Oh, it's actually a ride. And a damn beautiful one at that, especially here in the afternoon sun! <3

God I love this ride to death. This was my first time on OG Tower of Terror, as when I went to Disneyland Guardians of the Galaxy had just opened. While it didn't have the fun hijinks of the Guardians' breakout, it was awesome to ride it with the Twilight Zone theme. I'm a fan of suspense/thriller movies, so much like the sense of nostalgia on Slinky and Star Tours, the thrill of an almost-real suspense movie in ride form was fantastic. Drop towers with only a seatbelt are always unbeatable as well!



Once we got off the ride, the sun started to set, making the famed Hollywood Tower Hotel even more stunning.

Our third and final FastPass reservation of the day was for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster but it wasn't for another hour and a half, so we took a snack break to abuse our dining card for a bit. We all got some ice cream and even met up with some other groups from our school to just hang out and talk. I also called my parents to talk about how our days were going (they were down in the area too, but they came into the park just long enough to ride Slinky before hopping over to Animal Kingdom for the remaining hours) At lunch, I was afraid that the others in my group would keep the same sour mood all day and that I would be brought down with it, but after getting on some rides, eating and shopping, I wouldn't have that worry for the rest of the day and breathed much easier.


After a while we decided to wait by the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster plaza about 30 minutes before the reservation time at 7:45 so we would be there right as the time hit, as it was the most anticipated ride of the day for everyone (after we kicked Avatar out of the equation). I got an opportunity to take some photos and finish my ice cream.



Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, aka Rich Californians: The Ride


I mean, think about it. Gold plating, expensive old car, palm trees, Tony Stark will soon be the face of it... all we need are drugs and lingerie women then this ride is pretty much the stereotypical LA celeb lifestyle! (tl;dr, I'm complementing Disney's attention-to-detail in a humorous fashion)


I wonder if the new Iron Man-themed version of this ride will star Black Sabbath...


In all seriousness, I'm going to miss this theme. At least it'll still be in Paris.


Okay, yes. 7:45 came eventually and we rode.


I love the cheesy preshow and all the queue theming. It was a bit of a weird choice to theme part of the line to an alleyway but it strangely fits into the ride's story.




Let's rock this joint!

As expected (this was my first ride on it by the way) the ride was complete fun the whole way through and even the coaster enthusiast side of me thought it was a great coaster. The launch was very powerful, the first inversion had some Schwarzkopf-level force to it, and the whole thing just had great speed and laterals through every turn. The one thing that was a bit of a negative was that it is a rough ride. Everyone calls this the world's smoothest Vekoma and such, but it's not really what I'd call a smooth ride by any means. Even with it being a rough ride, the headbanging was never a big problem, and in some ways it felt more realistic because no car ride is smooth. So even after 20 years, this is an awesome ride. Like many other rides in the resort, it's a shame that I could only use my FastPass once because of how long the lines kept getting.



Sunset/night at this park is even more visually amazing, all the lights really set the mood.

After Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, we had a dinner reservation at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant so we made our way there. And after being blown away by how much more beautiful the park is and the two fantastic rides in Sunset Boulevard are, just wait until I praise the customer service and food.


While we were waiting for our reservation time, we had some time to wait on the benches outside and talk about our day, though I noticed something that definitely raised my opinion on customer service at Disney parks. A mom was juggling three kids who all looked to be of elementary school age, no older, and they were kinda running around on the deck, not bothering anyone just enjoying themself, and one of the waiters decided to briefly run with them. It was pretty entertaining to see how awesome cast members can be to help make visits extra magical, and everyone in my group had a smile on their face from it. Then those smiles got even bigger once we actually got into the restaurant.


For those of you who don't know, the restaurant is buffet-style, so I piled up my plate as much as I could. In expected Disney fashion, the food was completely amazing. The pork was cooked almost perfectly, I don't think I've ever had more fresh-tasting and delicious meat in my life and everything else was just as good. The rides are awesome, but this restaurant was the highlight of my day.


Beyond the actual food, the customer service was fantastic! This is a character restaurant so my group got photos with the 5 main characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy) who made us all smile with their friendliness and tricks (Goofy tried to steal my bill! Well actually, that doesn't sound so bad...) and the employees were amazing. I didn't even have to ask for a refill on my drink, they already noticed I was running low and got it out to me as quickly as possible. If you're going to Hollywood Studios, plan and reserve a spot at Hollywood and Vine! You WILL NOT REGRET IT!!



This was taken about halfway through my dinner... I gave myself a little much, but holy hell...



After the whole dinner, it was time for us to meet outside the front gate to take the bus back to our hotel, and best of all my group got there in time where not too many people had left yet and we got a good view of the final fireworks show. It wasn't the best thing I'd ever seen (and we would be seeing a far better fireworks show the next day at Epcot) but it was a nice way to end a phenomenal first day of the trip.



Despite some issues such as Animal Kingdom's entry procedures and the crowds, this day was completely incredible and I had sh*tloads of fun from start to finish. And this was just the first day!


Ride Scorecard

Expedition Everest - x2

Dinosaur - x1

Primeval Whirl - x1


Slinky Dog Dash - x1

Star Tours - x1

Tower of Terror - x1

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - x1


Total of 8 rides.


UP NEXT --- Day 2: Epcot

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Great ongoing tour of your visit there at WDW! But I have to tell you.... Rock 'n' Roller in WDS,Paris

is going to get the Ironman treatment, real soon. Just so you know.

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  • 8 months later...
Great ongoing tour of your visit there at WDW! But I have to tell you.... Rock 'n' Roller in WDS,Paris

is going to get the Ironman treatment, real soon. Just so you know.

Ah okay, good to know.


Great report! I'm glad you got on Slinky. The ride is a work of art.

It really is eye candy and fits in with the park beautifully.


Great report! I love that park and I'm glad you got your Slinky ride.

Thank you! Yes, what a great place. Very underrated in my opinion, it ended up being my second favorite Disney park.



Wow, it's been a while since I last updated this. It's now been exactly a year since Epcot and I never finished it. Let's see how far I get before I forget again!



Day 2: Monday, March 25th - Epcot


Another early morning brought some early trouble, but this time at the hotel. Two bad things happened - our toilet became clogged out of nowhere and the phones didn't work so we couldn't call room service. So that wasn't great. And a bit less of a problem but still annoying is that one of the elevators broke down so we had to take the stairs a few floors. The location of the hotel was very nice, though it could use some improvements.


We got to Epcot and got a good parking spot in plenty of time before opening. It wasn't hard at all to meet up with my group and get going in the park without any problems. Entering the park was also painless, so good job to the employees working the front gate.




My last visit to Epcot in 2015 was fairly jaded by constant rain that was shutting everything down, so I guess I forgot a lot of the park's charm. Immediately I am swept away by the beauty of the Epcot ball and all the flowers and topiaries below it celebrating the Festival! Right away, I am in love with this park. Way to make a good first impression!


Everyone in the group desired a ride so we made a fairly quick beeline to Test Track hoping to beat some crowds.



Guardians of the Galaxy coaster construction

As we walked by, it was cool to see how big the building for GOTG is. I know it's apparently breaking some indoor coaster records and the size of it as it appears makes that very apparent.


Unfortunately, we were not able to beat the crowds. We agreed to wait no matter what, but the posted time was already up to 90 minutes, somehow. We got a little closer, and it bumped up to 135 minutes. We agreed to wait, but wow it was frustrating.



Ugh... great ride, but this is going to be a looong wait...

And the most annoying part of this? By the time we rode, we only waited about 75 minutes! I don't know if this is Disney trying to scare away crowds or whatever, but it was stressful at the time. Tip for anyone coming to Disney - don't be afraid of a long wait time. I learned more than once (besides Test Track) that they like to over exaggerate.



At least the queue has some pretty cool theming, including a full-sized Chevy car on display!

The ride's queue is really cool, and I love how interactive it is. I've always had a passing interest in cars, so to be able to see some of the concepts that were on display was really fun.



Almost time to ride!

The design studio was pretty fun too. We ran into a couple troubles designing the car but I think that I'm pretty happy with the result. We scored the highest in our group as well, so I'd say we did a pretty good job!


The ride itself is a perfect thrill ride for Epcot. It educates, is interactive, well themed, and a hell of a lot of fun all in one. If the line got any shorter than what we waited, I would've absolutely ridden it again as it's one of my favorite Disney attractions. But it's no surprise why the lines are always long for Test Track, because it's worth it.



The atmosphere of this park is outstanding.


At this point, we took a quick break and got some drinks at Starbucks, before heading into The Land for our Soarin' Fastpass. The Starbucks workers were pretty efficient so I have no complaints. It was pretty hot this day, I think more hot than our Animal Kingdom / Hollywood Studios day, so everyone in the group wasn't in the best mood, hoping that Soarin' would change that.



This has changed a bit since my last visit...

I remember riding Soarin' back in 2015 and thought it was interesting but not super amazing, though since then it's been turned into Soarin' Around the World so I went in with an open mind.


It was a lot of fun. I appreciate what it is, and think the immersion factor (scented smells, wind effects) is well done, though aside from being fun I've never considered it one of my favorite rides. I'm glad we had a Fastpass because I wouldn't necessarily wait more than about 30 minutes for it.



Very nice...


We found a salamander


The crews at the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster were hard at work that day


For those of you who have forgotten, I came to Florida initially with my school band, so at this point we left for a few hours to work with a Disney music clinic. I have to admit I don't remember it super well, but it was really cool to have someone work with us on a few songs. Overall a lot of fun and a great learning experience, I wish I remembered more details from this clinic.


Unfortunately, because of the timing and our ride times, we weren't able to have lunch at a reasonable time, so we had to hold off until dinner later in the evening. I was fine with this because of the schedule, though it would've been nice to have some food within the few hours of park break. It dampened my mood a little bit, but of course, being Epcot, dinner was well worth the wait. More on that in a bit.



The clouds came in early in the afternoon, making the temperature a lot more manageable


Lots of topiaries for the festival



Since we had nothing else on the itinerary for the rest of the day, we decided to start the world tour, going clockwise starting at the Mexico pavilion.


The inside of the pavilion was pretty cool, they had a restaurant there that looked pretty nice but was pretty packed and we weren't ready for dinner yet. The merchandise was pretty neat, and I would've liked to get a sombrero though they were all falling apart so I decided against it.



The three caballeros!

Of course, when you're in the Mexico pavilion, you have to do the cheesy boat ride with a lot of cartoons. It's essentially just It's A Small World, but I like this one more because the cartoons they show are pretty funny.



We must be in Norway

We weren't there to ride Frozen, as the line was super long, though we did do a bit of shopping. It was almost time for our Mission: Space Fastpass, so we went there next.



Blurry, but here it is in all it's glory!


This is the queue line... I think

I really enjoyed my ride in 2015 so I was hoping it would be more of the same. Though I don't know what could've changed it, I didn't like it at all this time. I was really damn nauseous after the ride, and I just had a big headache and had trouble walking afterwards. I quickly regretted our decision to reserve a Fastpass for it.



We took a quick stroll through the park's midway to admire the topiaries






Epcot is sooo beautiful

With that, it was time to continue the world tour, but going counter-clockwise this time.


I took a quick break from taking photos as we took a venture through the Canada pavilion, then into the United Kingdom pavilion for dinner. We got some fish and chips, and they were GREAT! Served hot, but not too hot to eat; the perfect amount of hot that amplifies the taste. It took me a bit to finish because I had to savor how good they were. Hollywood & Vine the night before was fantastic and wasn't topped at all during the trip, but this food came close. Just what I've come to expect from Epcot.


With that, we continued around the world tour, so the next few photos will be from that.



Ah, France. Very pleasant area, and Remy's Adventure is coming soon!


What do we want? More occo!


I have to admit that I love Japan's pavilion. It's easily one of the most photogenic, if not the most, and the merchandise selection is excellent.



So pretty!



Welcome to Italy!


Love the castle in the Germany pavilion.


By the time we arrived at the China pavilion, we were well into night. The lights from each pavilion are fantastic!


This is a bad photo, but there was a really cool Chinese Acrobats show happening when we arrived.

China had my favorite merchandise of every pavilion, and I even got a straw hat that I still have in my room. I'm very proud of this purchase.


As all of you know, the world tour is one of the most amazing experiences at any theme park. Flawless food selection, beautiful architecture and atmosphere, wonderful staff and performances, and great shopping. It makes Epcot worth a day trip alone, and while I could go on and on about how amazing it is, you've all heard enough praise from everyone who's been there.


After that, we went to the front of the park for Illuminations!















It was the best thing ever... obviously.



Thank you Epcot.

It was one of the best days I've ever had at a theme park and Epcot quickly became my favorite Disney park. It's already been a year and it's hard to believe. It's pointless to use words to describe how much of a great day I had here.


Ride Count

Test Track - x1

Soarin' Around The World - x1

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros - x1

Mission: Space (Orange) - x1


Up next... Magic Kingdom!

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Great take on your EPCOT Day! I love that place, too. Always been my fave, of all the Parks in WDW.


Looking forward to your time spent in "The Kingdom of Magic Kingdoms"!

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