This week, Abby and I planned to drive up to Disney for the day to meet with some friends. After making a few loose plans (Fastpass arrangements for the Great Movie Ride and the Disney Junior show, plus a character meal with Abby’s current fave: Minnie Mouse!) we set off on our adventure.
At nearly 20-months, this was Abby’s 7th trip to Walt Disney World, and for me, it was the most fun for me to watch her since she really “gets” who the characters are now, and enjoys the rides, shows and attractions.
It’s been a long time since we did early mornings at the parks, but it was certainly worth it this time! We left home at around 6:30 AM, so after stopping for gas, coffee, hitting a bit of morning commute traffic, then parking the car, we made it to the gates of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) approximately right at opening time! Since it was going to be a decently hot day, I had packed along both Abby’s stroller and baby carrier, so we hightailed it to the new (to us) me “Meet Minnie and Mickey Starring in Red Carpet Dreams” area and waited approximately 2-3 minutes – so worth it!
After that, we strolled over to the Disney Junior area and did a series of meet and greets with Jake, Pluto, and Sofia the First.
Right before 10 AM (and our Fastpass) we met up with our friends Rick and Sher, then headed onto (very likely) our last ride on “The Great Movie Ride.” I had not been on since the attraction was enhanced with the bits from TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and honestly, I was not the biggest fan of the changes – it felt like the narrator/CM had very little dialogue, which had been my favorite part in the past. I was also bummed about the montage at the end – it seemed choppy, and didn’t evoke quite the emotion that it had in the past.
For the next few hours, we had a bit of a struggle coming up with things to pass the time until our 4 PM dinner reservation. We had some snacks, did a few more character meet and greets, saw Disney Junior Live on Stage (Abby loved!), saw Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Abby did not love), and walked through One Man’s Dream.
DHS has never been my favorite park, and with all the construction/refurbishments, it’s even less enjoyable to me, but as a Disney fan, I am definitely looking forward to the changes coming! Despite the lack of options, we still had a lot of fun, and it was MORE than worth it for the fun we had at dinner!
You see, we booked Minnie’s Summertime Dine at Hollywood and Vine – in the years I’ve visited, I had never made it to this restaurant, so I had little idea of what to expect, but I was honestly blown away by the experience! Not only was the restaurant decorated in a “summertime” fashion, but the characters (Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy) had really fun beach-y outfits, AND the menu reflected fresh, seasonal flavors!
Abby loved the salmon, bread, pasta, corn chowder and melon from the buffet, but just like her mama, enjoyed indulging her sweet tooth the most with a sugar cookie and a blueberry lemon cupcake! She even did a good job drinking milk from a takeaway cup with (minimal) spills 🙂
Soon after dinner, we were planning on heading to the hotel (we had gotten lucky in snagging a last minute DVC booking at Saratoga Springs, so we could sneak in a few Disney hours the next morning before heading home) but we were caught by a famous Disney rainstorm! Lucky for me, Abby loves rain, and clapped and cheered – even with the thunder and lightning!
We waited it out for almost an hour before it let up a little, and we ventured back to the parking lot. Although we were both soaked by the time we got back to the car, it was nice to have been texted our room assignment (and alerted via the app) so we didn’t even have to stop at the front desk!
Abby got a nice warm bath, and changed into jammies and asleep in record time, ready for day 2: Magic Kingdom!