Our first 2 days we spent at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Our kids had never been to Disney and we wanted to work our way up to the finale of Magic Kingdom. We chose to start with Hollywood Studios on day 1, then do Animal Kingdom the next day.
My biggest recommendation when planning your Disney trip is to either get a park hopper pass (we did not) or do NOT go to a park on the day with extra magic hours. The parks are entirely too busy on those days and it conveniently leaves the other parks a little less busy. I also strongly recommend getting to the park about 20 minutes before opening. This lets you get to the start of the line and into the park before the crowds start. They will also temporarily close admission if the park reaches capacity. If at all possible, schedule breakfast at a restaurant in the park before it opens. you get early admission and empty park to take pictures. This is probably most beneficial at magic Kingdom.
Hollywood Studios has a fun, retro, old Hollywood feel to it. There are some really cool attractions and some really cool rides. There is educational theme rides that our kids really loved. They learned what all goes into making a cartoon from start to finish.
Aerosmith’s Rock and Roller Coaster. My favorite ride in the park. We fast passed this and still waited over an hour, but it is worth it. Our youngest was a little afraid to ride. Disney offers a wonderful service on some rides that allows you to all stand in line together, then one parent waits by the exit with the scared child while the family rides. Once that ride is over, the waiting parent chooses a family member and rides the ride. This was so convenient and the only ride we needed to use it on.
A peek down the street to the tower of terror. That ride was fun and even the little one loved it. Next up was Disney’s back lot tour.
The put you on a bus and take you to their ‘back lot’. They have stages set up with special effects.
Our youngest was a little worried about the ‘explosions’.
The not so scary explosions. She did great. If you are sitting on the left side of the train, you will get wet!
Fun pictures around the park. They are tons of spots set up for pictures, character pictures, and general fun.
Boys being boys.
We ate at Hollywood and Vine. The food was amazing, but the atmosphere is more geared toward much older kids and adults. The restaurant was nearly empty when we were there so service was fast.
We also had snacks at a few of the snack bars and everything was great. There were a few places that would fill up our water bottles for free, but not many. We watched fireworks there at night and they were good but did not end up being our favorite.
In my opinion, this is a park that only needs to be done once. They are more shows and fewer rides here than the other parks. However, the shows perfectly capture the magic of Disney.
We spent a little over a half of a day at the park after being told that we only needed half. Not true. This park deserves an entire day. It’s only open until 5, so plan to stay until then. They divide the park up into different countries. We made it through Asia and Africa. We loved the rides, but what we loved, even more, was the authenticity they brought to the different countries.
Asia. Beautiful. Also where we ate lunch. We ate at Yak and Yeti, table service. They also offer walk in counter service. The food here was beyond amazing. I had the lettuce wraps and wanted about 10 servings worth! Our youngest was eating off the kids menu and they have Asian and American options (aka chicken nuggets).
I can’t believe that I have no pictures of the inside or our food! It was beautiful and very good!
Safari in Africa. It is almost as realistic as being in Africa. They hide the tracks and the barriers so all you see are the animals in their natural habitats.
Our favorite ride in the park was Everest. This was the before picture. Our hair was a little messier after. This coaster takes you through the mountain and twisty turns of Everest until you meet a huge Yeti…then takes you backwards to get away from it. I was sitting with our youngest and the look on her face was priceless. She was a little shocked, but loved it.
The perk of Animal Kingdom is that thee are lots of opportunities to take pictures with the characters with zero wait. As you can see, Jim is missing from the first two pictures simply because he ran to the bathroom.
Spend the day exploring here. It closes at 5, so it still gives you time to do something else that night. Also, no fireworks here so they don’t scare the animals.