Day Eleven already. These weeks are flying by aren’t they? Only another 6 days (weeks) to endure.
Good news. I slept undisturbed until 6.30am. What a state it is to be celebrating that. After two very full on days at Universal the start today was a little lethargic. There were all sorts of excuses, like pregnancy and being four and tired. Folks were on very thin ice. I have proven this holiday that sleep can be optional.
Everyone showered, dressed and did breakfasts and we meandered from the villa around 10.30am. We were Studios bound this morning/early afternoon!
We parked in Mickey 314, again bereft of a tram and yomped across the car park to the entrance. It was by now almost time to leave again. This lack of a tram was not only a minor inconvenience for me (more so for pregnant Rebecca) but it was just one more bit of the experience that was missing. When we first ever went to WDW in 1980 and the years that followed, once back home we would talk excitedly about the scale of the place and how, once you’ve parked up you still needed a monorail, boat or tram to get into the park. Yes, they provide free trams from your car and back, it’s amazing we would say.
So you get used to stuff like this of course, but again for those first timers, it’s just another thing to lessen the joy and the magic and what makes WDW unique. Things continue to return to a pre-pandemic state it seems, so I hope we can get back to what we all love, know and expect.
It was 11.10 by the time we were stood here.
Was it still busy today?
Before we had chance to move off, a cavalcade appeared.
Knowing that by this time actually riding stuff would be a challenge we strolled through a few shops and made our way over to the Indy show. It started at 12 and we got in around 11.30.
This chap was excellent. He kept everyone entertained whilst also getting folks to move to where he wanted them. A reminder of the magic and a promise of its return hopefully.
It had been a while….
We were out at 12.30 and you will know that by this time lunch was very overdue. I wanted to go over to Galaxy’s Edge and try a Ronto wrap thing. This would not be up Freddie’s street so we got him some nuggets from the Backlot place. Whilst Rebecca did that, I mobile ordered our spacey lunch and we started to walk over to Galaxy’s Edge.
Upon collecting them, they did seem a lot smaller than my expectations.
After coveting these things for a long time, my verdict was….meh.
They were tasty, but small. Not that a lack of size is a guarantee of disappointment of course, but overall they were a let down for the $75 it cost for five of them (including drinks).
Whilst we ate, sat on a wall in Galaxy’s Edge, we called Louise for a chat. We tried to make her feel better with true tales of horrific wait times for everything. Determined not to pay for Genie+ today, having arrived late and sick of coughing up the extra dollars, we had no choice but to endure some long wait times. First up, Smuggler’s Run, currently showing a 75 minute standby wait.
On the bright side, it did give us plenty of time to appreciate the theming in the queue. Right?
75 minute waits and four year olds don’t naturally go together, but to his credit, despite his almost uncontainable excitement to ride, Freddie did well.
About forty minutes in Tom’s phone was deployed.
We arrived in the superbly themed loading area after a 55 minute wait.
Freddie was a pilot and absolutely loved it again.
We left the ride and started the walk over to the Animation Courtyard area where Rebecca was waiting for us. On the way, I did the decent thing and stopped off to get us all a Num Num.
Unlike the Ronto things these never disappoint. Girth, width, depth and taste all in one heart stopping package. I inhaled the disgraceful amount of calories in no time at all.
Looking at what to do next, Tower of Terror was showing a 45 minute wait. Resigned to this fate today we joined the queue which started waaaaaay outside the ride.
In a rare stroke of luck, just after we took our place at the back of the queue, a huge tour group joined the queue. There must have been a hundred of them all in matching T Shirts. They could have been one of the infamous Brazilian tour groups you hear tell of. To be honest, I could not tell if they had Brazilians or not from my position and it felt rude to ask.
We entertained Freddie as best we could and the queue moved pretty quickly.
More excellent theming greeted us at the entrance after about 45 minutes.
Another ten minutes saw us through the pre-show and boiler room.
The Goof was out on the balcony above the exit.
There had been no improvement in any of the wait times as we exited so we girded loins and other appendages for another wait. A 55 minute posted wait for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Emily couldn’t face it and sat out chatting to her boyfriend back home.
We settled in. Boredom levels led to play fighting….
I had got Freddie some lollipops for being patient in the queues. He licked it a bit and then hit his Dad with it. As a side note, those lollipops were my first ever purchase using the mobile app checkout process. It worked well and avoided a queue.
Before we even got inside the theatre the queue ground to a halt for a good ten minutes and overall it took well over 70 minutes to board.
The pre-show was clever and the ride is better than expected but the ridiculous wait left a bit of a sour taste and took the shine off. I was so miffed, my usual excellent photography skills were affected.
Our old friend Star Tours had a very welcoming 10 minute wait time posted so we went and did that. We wanted to ride Slinky but couldn’t endure another wait over an hour just yet, so we just hoped that would improve later in the day.
We got a new (to us) story on this one which made it even more enjoyable and upon exiting, we called Louise back who had called us just as we were getting strapped in.
We chatted outside Star Tours in the increasing dusk. Always a nice time at any WDW park.
We could not put it off any longer. We went over to Toy Story Land with Slinky in our sights.
Our plan of waiting till late in the day for a shorter queue worked brilliantly….
We sucked it up and settled in.
When I say it only took an hour, well you will take that in the spirit it is intended I know. It was bloody chilly in the queue, but once we were on, we had great fun. This is a belter for younger guests. Fast and just thrilling enough not to terrify them. Not that anything had come close to that for Freddie.
Rebecca had waited in One Man’s Dream to keep warm and we met her there after riding. It was safe to say that we were all queued out for one day and we headed for the exit and walked back to the car.
Is it just me or does that sight of a row of cars in a WDW car park give anyone else a warm and fuzzy feeling?
Dinner tonight was Olive Garden and we drove the short distance to Lake Buena Vista and parked up. There was a 30 minute wait for a table but after today we were well prepared for that. We were seated in 20.
I don’t want this entire trip report to turn into a moan fest. We enjoyed very large chunks of the trip, but I have to be fair and let you know how we felt. Our server here was less friendly and attentive than we have seen in years gone by.
Is this due to the staffing issues post Covid? Have the experienced servers got the better paying/tipping jobs now and places are having to take on inexperienced servers. I don’t know. He may just have been having a bad/busy night. Despite all that nobody could deny us the salad and breadsticks.
I had Tour Of Italy, as I tend to….
Rebecca had Chicken Parm….
Emily had Fettuccini Alfredo and loved it
Tom had stuffed pasta.
Freddie had a ridiculously children’s portioned pizza.
Soft drinks for all tonight. We paid the bill using the gadget on the table. I’m all for this. Once we’ve eaten we’re very ready to go and being able to do so without waiting for the server who may be busy elsewhere is a bonus. it was $125 including a 20% tip. Great value.
We left the restaurant and as we got back to the car there was a man lying down in the bushes nearby. We considered what to do and not feeling very proud of ourselves we got in the van and left. This really bothered me all the way home but you think of all the things that may happen if we had approached him. It’s terrible that you have to. I still feel very uncomfortable about the whole thing now. It was cold and he was probably genuinely ill/drunk or whatever. Not good.
Just as we pulled away Freddie announced he needed a wee. We pulled into a gas station where he expertly had a pee into an empty water bottle without leaving the van.
We were home by 10 and asleep very shortly after.
Till the next time……