Columbus Day was – you guessed it – another bright and sunny day in Central Florida. On this morning we were up at a decent hour and at the gates of Hollywood Studios shortly after rope drop. Walking through the gates we noticed that the park seemed blessedly free of crowds, but we were soon to find out this was nothing but a mirage.
Thinking we might actually be able to ride Toy Story Mania! without a huge wait, we wandered over to Pixar Place in no particular hurry. When we got there, however, I gasped a bit – the standby line was already at 50 minutes (it was maybe 9:15am at this point?), and the Fast Pass line extended all the way back to the animation courtyard. Not feeling inclined to deal with either line, we opted instead to visit Starring Rolls for breakfast, and enjoyed muffins and coffee while watching similarly naïve hoards of people make their way to Pixar Place. Eventually we too headed back that way, and secured Fast Passes to ride between 1:05-2:05 p.m. Not too shabby.
As CP and I are without children and not particularly interested in shows or parades, there isn’t a lot for us to do at Hollywood Studios. I love Tower of Terror; she does not. We both lost our fondness for Rock N’ Roller Coaster after one particularly jarring ride during our trip in 2008. So absent any other great HS ideas, we decided to head to Epcot and kill time before our Fast Pass return. At the very last second, however, we spotted a TTC bus and instead decided to head to the Magic Kingdom. Grinning about our good bus luck, we climbed aboard and looked forward to spending the rest of the morning at the MK.
When we disembarked, however, we discovered a crowd rivaling one you would find in a snowed-in airport terminal on Christmas Eve. Wall to wall people. Screaming toddlers. Screaming cast members. Wondering what was going on, we eavesdropped long enough to find out that the express monorail was down, and the resort monorail was available only to those who could prove their need to visit one of the monorail resorts. This left a ridiculously long line for the ferry, and thus we waited for an hour in full sunlight to board the fourth boat. During this wait, we were treated to an instructive lesson on human interaction from a father to his toddler son – did you know it’s not okay to touch strange men’s butts (or ANY male butts), but it’s fine to touch those of women? Now you know!
It was lucky for this man that we boarded the ferry just before my feminist rage boiled over, and it was hard to stay mad as we slowly glided through the Seven Seas Lagoon toward the Magic Kingdom. Finally inside the park, we got Fast Passes for Space Mountain, rode the People Mover, and then Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. It was then time to use our Space Mountain Fast Passes, and in using them discovered that we vastly prefer riding via the normal queue – for some reason the track on the Fast Pass side is far jerkier than the other. After a quick ride on the Haunted Mansion, it was already time to return to HS to use our Toy Story Fast Passes – our monorail debacle really slowed us down. Luckily, by the time we got back to the TTC a HS bus was waiting for us, and soon we were back, donning our 3D glasses and giggling like school children. Favorite ride, ahoy!
It was now mid-afternoon and we had missed lunch. Instead of finding a sensible, well-balanced meal, we followed vacation protocol and proceeded directly to the Tune-In Lounge, not for drinks, but for WDW’s best milkshakes. CP ordered a classic chocolate and I ordered the peanut butter and jelly, and shakes in hand we sat on a shaded bench and watched the crowds and the occasional streetmosphere performers. Tired from the heat and dazed from the sugar, we headed to the bus stop and returned to AKL for some naps and Oprah.
On the agenda that night was our first ever dinner at Boma, the much-hailed buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. For people who enjoy WDW so much we are both vehemently intolerant of crowds (at least those we can control), so I had booked us an early seating hoping for some quiet. I can’t speak to the meats at Boma as we were still up to our (mostly) vegetarian ways, but I found the food to be above-average for a buffet, and some dishes were downright delicious. With a glass of wine for me and soda for CP the total was around $90 bucks, however, so I’m not sure Boma dinner is something we’ll do again, at least not without the dining plan or a wealthy benefactor in tow!
After dinner we headed back to our room to relax, as it’s worth noting that CP had been fighting a cold that appeared shortly after our arrival in Florida. She demurred on staying in for the night, so around 7pm we headed back to the bus and back to Hollywood Studios, perhaps CP’s favorite Disney park to visit after dark.
We walked aimlessly around the Studios, taking pictures, and finally decided to take in the newly remastered Muppets movie. Afterward we checked on the wait at Toy Story Mania!, and finding it to be over 60 minutes, we shrugged and called it a night. Commando tourers we are not.