Thursday Thoughts: Star Wars, Soarin, FastPasses and More

img_2055It’s been 10 days since we got back from Walt Disney World and slowly but surely I am getting used to the “real world” again. Anyone who has visited Disney knows that PDD (Post Disney Depression) is a real thing! It’s hard coming back to the realities of a challenging world when you’ve spent time in that Disney bubble.

But for me of course, I have the benefit of still being in the world of Disney by working with my clients and sharing Disney vacation planning info with all of you! So, with that in mind, I thought I would take today to share some thoughts on my recent trip. In no particular order then, here are 5 “Thursday Thoughts” about my trip that I thought you might be interested in:

  1. Star Wars is a major part of Hollywood Studios these days. As Disney continues construction on the new Star Wars Land expansion, it is evident that Star Wars is a big deal in this park now. Storm Troopers randomly roam the area around Star Wars Launch Bay and have no problem chatting up Guests and taking selfies. It’s a lot of fun and in keeping with the tradition of the Hollywood Studios street artists who love to pull folks into spontaneous conversations and performances. And the Star Wars shows that run several times a day are worth seeing…in fact if you are anywhere near the Chinese Theater, you can’t really miss them. The March of the First Order is especially impressive as the music is heart pounding (and loud) and honestly, might be a bit much for little ones that are easily frightened. If you are along the path leading to the stage, especially in the front row, be prepared for Captain Phasma to stop and speak directly to you! It’s cool…but again could be disconcerting for littles that might get scared. Bottom line though, Hollywood Studios is still well worth the visit…and if you and your family love Star Wars, even more so.
  2. FastPass planning is important! We visited on the next to last weekend of the Food and Wine Festival, the beginning of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Run Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend….and during Jersey Week (the week when most of the state of New Jersey is off school). So guess what that meant? It was BUSY! And interestingly, I spoke with many people who thought they had planned well, by using some well respected crowd calendars that indicated low crowds, and you know what? Those crowd calendars were WRONG! It happens, they are not gospel and there are all kinds of things that can affect crowds. The weather while we were there was gorgeous (more on that in a bit) so I am sure that affected the weekend crowds with locals too. But my point is this: planning your FastPasses carefully is super important, even if you don’t think there will be crowds. So schedule your first 3 FastPasses for rides that you know will have lines, and plan them for late morning/early afternoon. By doing this, you have a few hours first thing in the morning (go early!) to do some things without a FP, and then more importantly…time after your 3rd FP is done to schedule more! Doing that really helped us make the most of our time in the evenings!
  3. Early November weather was awesome! I have visited pretty much all seasons and most months of the year and I have to say this was the best weather we have ever had. It was warm, not hot and the mornings and evenings were comfortably cool-ish. Honestly it was darn near perfect. Now of course, weather is unpredictable and your results may vary, but truly this is probably my new favorite time of the year to visit. 🙂 
  4. Soarin’ Around the World rocks. This has always been my favorite ride so I was super excited to see this new version and it did not disappoint. The music is still the same, there are still “smells” and Patrick is still there 🙂 but the new movie was breathtaking to say the least. Having a third theater really helped move the line too. Plus the interactive queue looked fun (although I didn’t try it out as the 3 times I did this (yes 3!!), we either went first thing when the park opened or used a FP). But if you are standing in line, this looks to be a fun way to pass the time.
  5. No matter how many times I go, Disney still makes me happy. We did a lot of favorites but we did new things too, and no matter what or where….park, attraction, hotel, restaurant….Disney makes still makes me smile. Of course, nothing is ever perfect, but all things considered, the joy and the magical memories are priceless as they always have been!

These are just a few things for this week. I’ll share more “Thursday Thoughts” in the coming weeks. Until then, have a great day!

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