So “Day 1” officially kicked off with Hollywood Studios. And I’m already in love. You put a Disney fan into Disney World, with its sheer number of attractions, each one more magical than the last… ultimate dream come true! We’re definitely going back. I’ll make sure of it. I’ll arm-wrestle Edwin into it if I have to.
So… out of four parks, how does one decide which park to visit first? We picked our parks based on the days they would have “Extra Magic Hours” (EMH), which means a park would either open earlier or stay open longer on a certain day. EMH is only available to guests staying on Disney property, which is yet another reason to stay on site!
Another advantage of going early is that you get to beat the crowds. We got a bit lost at first, but we also got to take some great shots without having literally a hundred people in the background. You get to pose as long as you want. But not too long. The attractions await!
I could burst from reciting all the awesomeness of Disney and its parks, but I’m going to try anyway. FASTPASS is another thing you have to utilise in order to make the most of your time. For example, here I am in the FASTPASS lane for “Toy Story Midway Mania!”, one of the best and most popular rides. As you can see, there’s no one in my queue. The regular queue, on the other hand, had an estimated 60 minute wait. And who wants to wait an entire hour? Throughout our entire week, we didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for any single attraction. Most of the time, we could just walk right in, thanks to FASTPASS, and more importantly, planning ahead.
You will need to take a look at the list of rides that offer FASTPASS. You’ll also need a map of the park and strategise where to go first. All the parks are insanely HUGE, and it’ll seem even more so if you’ve only visited small parks (such as HK Disneyland or Universal Studios Singapore :/). You will need the entire day to cover as much ground as possible, and if you’re a fan of Disney, trust me, the planning is worth it.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t dine at such a fancy restaurant within a theme park, but The Hollywood Brown Derby is one of three restaurants that offer the Fantasmic dining package. (Fantasmic is the night show at Hollywood Studios.) While making reservations, mention that you want this package. After your meal, you’ll get a ticket which allows you to skip the queue for Fantasmic, but you’ll still have to show up 30 to 45 minutes prior to the show to get a good seat. This is a pretty good deal, as opposed to the regular queue/wait time of 90 minutes. For a show. Crazy!
However, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant. While the starters were great, the main courses and desserts were really underwhelming. If we ever go back (and we will), we’ll pick a different restaurant for the package.
If you’re watching your budget, don’t simply order the most expensive item off the menu like we did, because the dining plan doesn’t cover tips. Our meal would have cost us USD200 (ouch) if not for the plan, but we still paid USD40 in tips. For a group of six or more diners, 18% is automatically added to the bill, so it’s not necessary to tip beyond that.
We got a free dessert because I mentioned that it’ll be our honeymoon while making the booking! Turned out to be the best of the three. We also had the Mickey confetti on our table as a honeymoon perk. 🙂
As you can expect, we promptly ate ourselves into a food coma, and barely touched the desserts that we ordered. Luckily we could have them to go, and they became our snacks/pre-breakfast the next morning. Yep, pre-breakfast. You read that right.
Alright, enough rambling. Next up: Magic Kingdom!