When we last left the trip report, in was Saturday night and we were on our way home from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Jonathan already asleep in his stroller on the way to the ferry. At that point, I was already nervous about the plan for the next day. The original plan had been for this to be a Magic Kingdom day. It was the recommended park by TouringPlans.com, crowd level was low, and since we’d already been to MK a couple of times this trip, it could be a day for leisurely MK touring after the late night at the party. Sounds good, right?
Then, just a couple of days before the party, I checked in at Plancast.com and noticed that there was a small StudiosCentral.com meet being planned for Sunday afternoon at the ABC Commissary at DHS. A chance to meet some of the folks I’ve been listening to on podcasts and corresponding with on Twitter? That was tempting! So I started to re-work the plans. Only one catch — Sunday at DHS was an Extra Magic Hours morning. Hmmmmmmmm. Extra Magic Hour morning after late night party night? No way. I’m not that crazy. But it would be fun. And there were some nice benefits to being at DHS during Extra Magic Hours – the chance to get signed up for Star Tours early (the kids really wanted to do it again), extra chances to ride Toy Story Midway Mania, and the meet. (Of course, I hadn’t bought Park Hoppers for this trip, so if we didn’t spend the day at DHS, I couldn’t get in to go to the meet).
So I talked it over with Miriam and we agreed – YES. Yes, I am just that crazy. We figured that the kids tend to wake up early, even when they’ve been up the night before. We could adjust on the fly and take a longer afternoon break/nap if needed. And we could make it an early evening if the kids were dragging.
So Sunday morning, the kids’ initial reluctance to wake up early was overcome by their excitement at another opportunity to do the Jedi Training Academy. Here’s a good DHS EMH tip – JTA sign-ups begin even before the EMH rope drop. But the shows still don’t start until about 9:20 a.m. That means, on an EMH morning, it’s easy for one parent (me) to make the Toy Story Midway Mania Fastpass run while the other parent takes the kids to sign-up for Jedi Training Academy. With EMH rope drop at 8:00 a.m., there was plenty of time for us to meet back up at the TSMM standby queue for a standby ride and ride Star Tours before JTA check-in. (If you try to do this during a non-EMH morning, it can still work. BUT, JTA sign-ups are scheduled first-come, first-served. If your kids get signed up for the 9:20 a.m. JTA show, it’s nearly impossible to get through the TSMM FastPass rush and back to JTA check-in on time).
After JTA, we rode Star Tours again (this will be a recurring theme. The new Star Tours is AWESOME, and the re-rideability is excellent). Then came MuppetVision 3-D. We LOVE the Muppets and MuppetVision, but the mechanical issues with the attraction were disappointing. The Swedish Chef was completely missing from the back of the theater. Hopefully, this gets fixed soon. I expect the attraction to get a bump in interest, with the new Muppet Movie coming out over Thanksgiving.
It was a really hot day, so we stopped for a morning ice-cream break. Even after that, Jon was tired, and that was actually good timing. Because the next stop was Sunset Boulevard, for Mikaela’s favorite thrill rides – Rock-n-Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. If we could get him on it, I think Jon would really enjoy Tower of Terror, but the name alone scares him away. Maybe next time. After one round on the thrill rides, the kids were ready for an earlier-than-usual break, so we headed back to the resort for a much-needed nap.
I took the car back to DHS a around 2:30 p.m. for the StudiosCentral meet, letting Miriam and the kids get some more rest. They’d catch back up with me on the bus whenever they were ready. I was a bit shy about meeting these folks at first – I kind of/sort of recognized some people at ABC Commissary, but wasn’t sure it was them. I walked around a little bit and noticed the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade was coming by, so I couldn’t resist stopping to take some pictures. Then I worked up the nerve to head back to ABC Commissary and introduce myself to a bunch of strangers who probably had no idea who I was.
My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. The folks at the StudiosCentral meet were mostly Orlando-natives who are active in the Disney online community. They couldn’t have been friendlier or more welcoming. I got to meet Matt Hochberg of the WDW Today Podcast and his wife Marissa, Todd and Cheryl Perlmutter of the Disney Film Project Podcast, Shelly Caran of the On the Go in MCO blog, Tom Chiodo, Scarlett Ashley of TouringPlans.com,Megan Annunziata, and more I’m sure I’m leaving out here. Miriam and the kids caught up with us at the ABC Commissary, and after a bit of time getting to meet everyone, the kids were ready for some physical activity.
We said our goodbyes and headed over to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. While it is certainly chaotic in there (and I know that the limited sight lines make some parents nervous), the kids had a blast and really enjoyed climbing around. From there, it was back to Star Tours (where Miriam was selected to be the rebel spy) and then on to return rides on Rock-n-Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror with Mikaela. We considered staying for another viewing of Fantasmic!, but decided against pushing it. We still had two vacation days to go, and we wanted to make sure we’d be able to enjoy them. Whatever we ended up doing for dinner was sufficiently nondescript that I can’t remember anything at all about it – it wasn’t good enough to rave about or bad enough to remember to complain. After dinner, I headed for a solo ride on The Great Movie Ride – I missed it when Miriam and the kids were at DHS last time, and the kids didn’t want to go again – and then met back up with Miriam and the kids at the front of the park. We were back at All-Star Music and had the kids in bed by 9 p.m. Despite their protestations to the contrary, they were plenty tired and were quickly asleep. Next up – our last Magic Kingdom day.