Disney Passholder Project Podcast #01 – Trials of Tomorrowland

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This week we talk about Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. What are they getting right? What needs to change? We’ll hash it out for a great big beautiful tomorrow. We also discuss closing at Hollywood Studios and give our trip report in the Memory Shaker.

Show Notes

Ordeal Kingdom

Hollywood Studios Closings

Nine Dragons menu update

runDisney Annual Passholder early registration dates

Alien Encounter

Chefs de France

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Yet Another Birthday Celebration

With a family of 5 it feels like we are always celebrating something…and that something is frequently a birthday! Last week was Kid #2’s 6th birthday, and she had been counting down to it since before Christmas. I guess turning 6 is a big deal.

Kid #2

Her celebrations included:

  • Going out to dinner at her favorite Japanese buffet the Friday before her “real” birthday
  • Mommy buying her a special outfit to wear to school on her birthday
  • Mommy bringing cupcakes to her class at snack time
  • Being picked up from the bus with a balloon (a tradition of mine)
  • Getting a few gifts on her birthday
  • Having a small party dripping with Disney Princess pink and sugar the Saturday after her birthday
  • Going to the park of her choice the Sunday after her birthday…gotta get that birthday button!

Whoa…spoiled much? I’d say that this isn’t what we typically do, but why can’t you celebrate your birthday for a month?


But this isn’t a birthday blog…it’s a Disney blog so let’s get to the park part of the celebration!

We had been planning on going Sunday of MLK weekend for a while since there was no school/work the next day, but on Saturday it looked like there was a 100% chance of rain throughout the day so we cancelled our FP+ and decided to see if Monday’s forecast was better.

But then the pixie dust took over! When I woke up on Saturday the forecast was clear the whole day because the storm hit us overnight. We scurried around and were out the door with a bag full of snacks (we were only planning on purchasing one quick serve meal that day) and were able to make it inside the gates within 2 hours of opening.

Now, since Kid #2 had already had gifts and a party this was a bit of a low-key celebration. No ADR’s (advanced dining reservations) had been made, no appointments with Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and FP+’s were not made for meeting princesses…it was basically a “normal” day at the park for us, but with a birthday button.

Cake O'clock

Here are some of the highlights!

Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain!! This is a family favorite and it is very rare that we get to ride it during the day. For some reason we always get evening/night FP+ for it. Kid #3 has just recently realized (admitted to himself) that he likes roller coasters. I cannot express how much more enjoyable trips are when you aren’t fighting a 4 year old in line for half an hour. And he’s a biter.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Cards

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game

We finally got signed up with our starter sets of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards. Kid #1 has been begging for months to do this, but we wanted to wait until the holiday crowds went home to get started. We took turns at each portal to fight against the likes of Scar, Hades, and Maleficent. Even Mommy and Daddy got into the game. This isn’t something I would recommend for a family that is on a “once in a lifetime” trip to Walt Disney World, but I think it is awesome for Annual Passholders and guests who come regularly.

Birthday Slushie

The birthday slushie! Kid #2 kept talking about getting a birthday cupcake from SOMEWHERE!! She went with daddy to grab dinner from Pinnochio Village Haus (like we did on her 3rd birthday trip) and she came back with a crazy sugary lemonade slushie. The boys have now declared that they wanted to go back there for their birthdays because THEY wanted slushies.

Belle Bow


Kisses from Belle! Kid #2 gets very excited to always participate in Enchanted Tales with Belle, but Kid #3 is ALWAYS attached to my leg. He hides. This day he decided that he was going to play too! I was over the moon excited. He did everything the castmember asked when she was handing out parts and Kids #2 and 3 got picked to be Mrs. Potts and Chip! They are excellent hoppers! After the performance when it was his turn to meet Belle the castmember helping him showed him how to box to Belle and it was amazing. She spent more time with him than any other kid and then (after I put my phone away) she game him a big kiss on the check! THIS  is one of those times when I cannot wait to upgrade our passes so that Memory Maker is included!

Seven Dwarfs

We typically do not get in line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train unless A) we have a FP+ or B) the wait is half an hour or less. On this trip we decided to get in line with it showing 50 minutes because every ride had been about half the posted wait time all day. This was the same! 50 minute wait posted and only 30 minutes until we were off the ride. Awesome as always.


Pixie Dust was on our side again!! I was grabbing a couple of coffees to warm us up while we completed the Adventureland mission for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and the castmember made 2 hot cocoas. When I corrected her she offered them to me for free since she would have to dump them anyway. Talk about happy kids! This little boost helped us push through Kid #2 taking FOREVER to spend her birthday money (a Belle purse and gloves, thank you very much!).

This trip was almost picture perfect. We rode 85-90% of the rides we wanted and only had one small child meltdown when we were leaving. January is one of my favorite months to go to Disney because the crowds are gone and the heat isn’t forcing you to stop for water constantly.

Happy Birthday


This weekend we are looking to do Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios on Sunday. Fingers crossed that it is another good trip!

Have you ever gone to Disney to celebrate your birthday? Maybe an anniversary or engagement? I have seen a lot of people there celebrating high school and college graduations. Walt Disney World is AMAZING for celebrations!

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Star Wars at Hollywood Studios

In the beginning of December 2015 Disney opened Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Court at Hollywood Studios….and we have avoided it like the plague. haha

My husband and I have never been fans of Star Wars. We saw it when we were younger, but it just didn’t leave a lasting impression on us the way it did many people. However that wasn’t the only reason. With the holiday season in full swing and this being the last year for the Osborne Dancing Lights, Hollywood Studios’s parking lot frequently hit capacity which can only mean that the park was more than a bit crazy.

Launch Bay exterior


Our kids, on the other hand, are kind of obsessed with everything Star Wars. We almost always ride Star Tours at least once, we have gotten to the park early so the kids could participate in Jedi Training, and they have been eagerly looking forward to Launch Bay opening. Now that the holiday crowds have cleared out we decided to take the kids to explore.Animation Courtyard

I feel like the Launch Bay is a bit out of place in the Animation Court between the Disney Jr.and The Little Mermaid shows, but there you have it.

When you walk into Launch Bay you have the choice to go left or right. Left will take you to a video and the right will take you straight into the museum-esque part. We went to the left and watched the 10 minute video. It was cute enough, but not something I feel I need to do again unless they make major changes to it.

Launch Bay Video

After the movie we explored all through the different exhibits. There were costumes and set pieces to look at, as well as heavily themed areas that are excellent for pictures.

Space Chess

Rey Speedster

Once we got through that we came up to the character meet. With the choice of Chewbacca and Darth Vader my kids decided to go towards the Dark Side. It turns our that this was an excellent choice because Darth Vader will be leaving to make room for Kylo Ren in the near future.

Dark Side Lightsabers

Vader 1

Darth Vader welcomed the kids for making the choice to join the Dark Side and then Kid #1 showed him his Magic Band wrap that has Darth Vader’s picture and a lightsaber on it. (From MyFantasyBands – not sponsored, but tell her I sent you!).Vader Band

Up until this point Launch Bay seemed pretty neat, for Star Wars fans, but then we went into the Disney Infinity room. Yes, you read that right. You too can spend your time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios PLAYING A VIDEO GAME. We let the kids play for a few minutes but then dragged them out…thus concluding our visit to Launch Bay.

When we left we headed towards Star Tours at the demand of Kid #3, but the wait was 50 minutes which is just too long for us. However, the Jedi Training show was about to start and we had not seen it since the update so we stayed and watched it. The show was okay, but we liked the old show better. The highlight for me was 2 little girls dressed like classic Leia.

Jedi Training

The only thing I am a little sad about missing is the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular which are the Star Wars themed fireworks. I love fireworks of all sorts. There is also a dessert party (that includes adult beverages!) for fireworks viewing (just like at Magic Kingdom). I’ve heard not so awesome things about different dessert parties and that they aren’t worth the cost ($69 for 10+ and $39 for 3-9)…I still want to do one just to try it myself.

Are you and your little ones excited about all of the Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Are you planning on coming to Florida soon, or are you waiting until Star Wars land officially launches?

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