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Spring Vacation '15 (Part 1): Orlando

Star Wars Weekend

There are only a few places that I can go visit over and over again and never be bored. One of those places is Orlando specifically for Disney World and Universal Studios. After each trip, Nick and I agree that we won't be visiting Orlando again until we have kids. And each year, I find a reason to go back. This time it was for Star Wars Weekend at Hollywood Studios. I'm really glad that we decided to go back this year because we later find out that Disney is building Star Wars land and will no longer have SWW. We also needed to go back to get one more use of our Universal pass that was expiring early July.

For the first half of our trip, we will be in Orlando. For the latter half, we booked a cruise to the Bahamas.

Since Disney offered several weekends in the month of May for SWW, I picked the dates that also landed on the 24-Hour Summer kickoff in Magic Kingdom.

Thursday, May 21st

Nick and I caught the red eye from LAX to MCO and arrived super early before any of the parks were even open. A few weeks prior to our vacation, I had asked Nick for an Alex and Ani Disneyland bangle to wear to Disney World. Since he gets a nice cast member discount, he usually gets most of my Disney stuff. Nick is not much of a surpriser so when he handed me a small Disneyland bag on our way to Universal Studios, I was in shock. I was shocked that he actually got out of bed during the day, since he sleeps during the day and works at night, and drove to the Busiest Place on Earth. Boy did Nick surprise me for this trip.

Our first park of the day was Universal Studios to finally ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. We were at the opening day last year for Gringotts, but the ride broke down so many times that we had to give in and leave for our flight home. Even though we had arrived when rope dropped, we still had a long queue.We only rode it once so the ride was a complete blur to me and I can't recall much. It was fun and I would love to ride it again, next time when we go to Orlando... with our kids ;) One thing that always completes a visit to Universal is having a frozen butterbeer. Today, I had to try the butter beer swirl also.

After visiting Diagon Alley, we hopped on the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade for the Harry Potter and the Forbiden Journey ride. I want to say that I have been on this ride a handful of times and each time, I still cover my eyes. This ride is beyond intense and I loved seeing my cousins' reactions after they got off this ride last year when we went. Truly an amazing ride and my favorite of all the theme parks.

Our 2nd park of the day was Animal Kingdom where we met our first character of the trip.

We left Animal Kingdom early to check into our hotel and freshen up before our dinner reservations at the Rebel Hangar in Hollywood Studios. The Rebel Hangar was a new lounge that SWW had introduced where Rebels would roam around. I was really excited to dine here and possibly meet Ezra and Sabine, however, they weren't there when we were there. I was really disappointed with our overall experience here. Flagging the characters and waitress down for them to pay attention to us was definitely not cool. Or maybe that was the theme of the lounge, I honestly don't know.


Friday, May 22nd

The busiest day of our trip. The first day of SWW and the 24 hour day at MK. We started the morning fairly early, not early enough for rope drop, but early enough. I had my note cards of the characters we needed to meet, the times they were meeting, and the area they were meeting in. Last year when I was researching on characters at Disney World, I came across this website called Kenny the Pirate. This website is and will continue to be the bible of character hunting for WDW. Without the help of Kenny the Pirate, I would have never been able to have met half the characters that I did because his app will give you the exact time and location the characters would meet.

We were dealing with the heat and humidity fairly well until we got in line for Ahsoka Tano. The queue was in the sun with barely any shade and on concrete, so the Asian in me, pulled out our umbrella along with our portable fans.

One of my all time favorite character meet 'n greets is Luke Skywalker. He was so sweet and genuinely caring taking his time asking Nick and I where we were from and how were we enjoying our time there. Just totally loved meeting him!

I felt like all our character interactions today really made up for yesterday's shenanigans.

For our evening, we headed over to Magic Kingdom for the 24 Hour event. Due to lots of traffic, we were redirected to park at Epcot and take the monorail into MK. It was a busy night and the rain only contributed to the chaos. Unfortunately for me, we didn't see any rare characters. I actually don't even think Disney bothered to pull any out for this evening. Regardless, it was still an overall successful day and I'm glad we even got into the park. Gail was keeping me updated with what was going on at Disneyland/DCA and she said they were at capacity for most of the afternoon/evening!


Saturday, May 23rd

We slept in a little this morning since we only had a few more characters to hunt for.

We had a more relaxing day today, staying at Hollywood Studios all day. At night, we were able to catch the Star Wars firework show, Symphony in the Stars.

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