March 12, 2016 marks the first full day of this Walt Disney World vacation. This trip is different than most of my stays in so many ways. First I am solo on this getaway which is a rarity since I almost always have someone with me even if they skip the parks and just do meals, etc. but this time I am completely solo due to a variety of reasons. Second, I flew in at night. Typically when I come to Walt Disney World I take an early morning flight from Philadelphia International Airport and am in Disney by 9 AM. This time I had a 4:20 PM flight out of Lehigh Valley International (which turned into 5:20 PM). Lastly the airport I flew into was different. LVI airport doesn’t have any airlines that fly nonstop to Orlando International so I ended up flying Allegiant Airlines into the Orlando-Sanford airport and took a bus to Disney. So I didn’t get into Animal Kingdom Lodge-Kidani Village until after 9 PM. So by the time I checked in I was hungry and walked to Jambo House to get some grub. After I ate I basically went to sleep so my first day wasn’t spent sight seeing.
I have already been asked my thoughts on flying into Orlando Sanford as this isn’t my usual travel methods. First it was efficient time wise for me. Lehigh Valley International Airport is a small airport and you can get through security in about five minutes start to finish. It is also only about 20 minutes from my home so I worked Friday and didn’t incur a hotel stay which I often do when I fly out of Philadelphia as I stay the night before. I also didn’t have any parking fees as I got a ride from family. As far as airline fees, yes the base rate of the airline I flew was less but they have a lot more secondary fees. Allegiant charges for checked bags and carryons (the personal item like backpack or purse are free if it fits under seat in front of you but if it goes in overhead bin there is a charge). If you don’t print your own boarding pass or use their phone ap they charge you $5 to print a boarding pass for you (I used the ap). Also no drink or peanuts on the flight unless you buy them. I opted not to buy a drink or snacks but even so with all of the fees I probably didn’t save money on airfare. Financially it’s somewhat of a wash as you have to pay for ground transport and baggage fees for the lower airfare.
As far as Disney this day (Saturday, March 12th) I decided to sleep in. For a variety of reasons, which I don’t have to share on this blog as I put them on my personal blog, I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Since this is a vacation I decided to start it out with getting some refreshing sleep so I slept until after 9 AM. I then went to the fitness center and did an hour on the treadmill.
So my day in the parks didn’t start until midday. Hollywood Studios was my first destination:
The first attraction of the day was Lights, Motor, Action Extreme Stunt Show. Since this attraction very well may be axed for the Star Wars and Toy Story expansions I’m thinking this could be the last time I see this.
After Lights, Motor, Action I decided to have lunch. I first stopped in at the ABC Commisary as that is my usual lunch stop when in Hollywood Studios but the lines were long and there wasn’t a lot of open seating. Instead I walked over to the Backlot Express which was also busy but they have the nice outdoor patio where I found a quiet place to sit.
The Backlot Express has added several menu items that are Star Wars themed. I had the Dark Side chicken and waffles which was chicken nuggets with Dartg Vader waffles:
After lunch I walked the Streets of America and then headed to Toy Story Midway Mania as I had a fast pass. Unfortunately the ride was down due to “technical difficulties”. I was told they loaded magic bands with a free fast pass to use at one of a select list of attractions but could check back later.
Walt Disney One Man’s Dream was my next stop because in the theater they had a sneak preview of Zootopia. After seeing this extended preview, I definitely need to see this movie.
Next I went into the Star Wars Launch Bay so I could meet Kylo Ren. I went through the Chase exclusive line and it was quite short. Kylo Rem talks to you and tries to intimidate you but it was fun:
I was walking around and as I walked by the Frozen sing along they said they were about to shut the doors but there were a few seats available. Therefore I went inside “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along.” This is the first time I’ve seen the show since they moved it to the bigger theater where American Idol Experience used to be. The two historians were hysterical!
After the Frozen sing along I used the fast pass from Toy Story to go on Star Tours. The sequence was Millennium Falcon, Jakku with the transmission from Finn, BB-8 transmission and Naboo but the Naboo sequence ended differently. This time when the star speeder crashed into the Naboo fighter the tip of the fighter broke off rather than breaking the viewport and the droid then threw yellow paint on the star speeder.
After Indiana Jones the next stop was the “Path of the Jedi” show which is in the ABC Sound Stage. It’s a movie that chronicles Luke Skywalker’s journey and basically the Star Wars story.
Next up I waited in line for “The Great Movie Ride”. The posted wait time was 30 minutes but it was about half of that.
The last event of the night was Symphony in the Stars which is the Star Wars fireworks show. I purchased a ticket to the dessert party with reserved seating for the event: