“Chewie, We’re Home!” – Our First Post-DCP Trip Report (Part 5)

by Brittany DiCologero & Chaz Saldi

If you haven’t read the other parts of our January trip report, you can catch up with the following links:

Part 1 — Part 2 — Part 3 — Part 4

The following day was one of those rare instances when we actually didn’t really have much planned. Even though we definitely take a more laid back approach to the parks after having lived there, we do usually still have at least somewhat of a plan for each day of our vacations. Since we didn’t really have any set in stone plans the next morning, we decided to head back to Hollywood Studios.

While we both agree that Hollywood Studios is our least favorite park, and not the place where we would usually spend much time, we knew we wouldn’t miss any other plans if we went back, and so we decided to go back in the morning to watch Lights, Motors, Action! again. At this point we had already decided that we would at least try to be back for Lights, Motors, Action!’s last show in April, but nothing was confirmed yet. We did end up going back to see the show again on its last day– April 2, 2016, but I’m still happy we got to see it a couple of times during this trip.

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It was a perfect day to watch Lights, Motors, Action! too. The weather was comfortable, the sun was out, and the show was awesome. After the show was over, we walked to the top of the stands to get a last glimpse into what was left of some of the Studio Backlot Tour. Even though the Backlot Tour had been closed for some time at that point, Catastrophe Canyon, along with the tank and a few other portions of the set were still standing.

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Little did we know at the moment this picture was taken that the next time we stood in this exact spot would be a few months later… at Lights, Motors, Action!’s last performance and staring into a hole in the ground that was once the highlight of the Studio Backlot Tour. Hollywood Studios could definitely use the attention don’t get me wrong, but since this was my “home” during my college program seeing some of the changes happening is definitely a little bittersweet.

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So glad I managed to find this Lightning McQueen hat before this trip! As a side note, these drinks are from High Octane Refreshments, another establishment that is no longer with us along with the rest of the Streets of America. It was always a nice place to stop for a drink in the back half of the park…

Since there wasn’t really anything else we felt the need to do again at Hollywood Studios, we decided to go over to Epcot via FriendShip boat. We got sidetracked on the way out and ended up purchasing this:

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Chaz just couldn’t resist the opportunity to make his own lightsaber… and apparently I couldn’t either because after sleeping on it we went back the next day and made one for me. Disney really got us with that one, they’re actually way cooler than I expected. When you fight with them the lights change and it makes the sound effects and everything. Needless to say we’ve had a couple of battles in my backyard since this trip.

While in Epcot, we had lunch in Mexico, at La Cantina de San Angel and took our time wandering around World Showcase. Epcot is our favorite park, so we could easily have spent the entire trip walking around World Showcase and been as content as anything else we did. We hit up a couple of the shops, made a few detours (like France for the Grey Goose slush) and were on our way out of the park… to go back to Animal Kingdom!

One thing that we learned during this trip, that I’m really happy is going to be a regular thing at Animal Kingdom now is the park having later hours. The park wasn’t even really open that late during this trip, but because it got dark earlier it really felt like the latest we had ever been in Animal Kingdom.

Well, it probably was the latest Chaz had ever been in Animal Kingdom. Since I spent the first half of my college program in Dinoland, I know for a fact this was not the latest I have ever been in the park… that time I rang in the new year in the Animal Kingdom parking lot #thankstranstar.

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Hi Dinoland.

We weren’t sure what we would be doing for the rest of the night, so after a couple of hours in Animal Kingdom we decided to head back to the resort and figure it out. We knew we needed to buy a Christmas ornament from the gift shop of the resort, and we also knew that because nothing else in the All Stars gift shops is really that special we probably would never get around to it if we didn’t make time for that. A little while ago we had decided that we’re going to start getting one new ornament per Disney trip, so by the time we live together we’ll already have a decent collection going for our tree– and of course resorts we’ve stayed will always make for nice ornaments. On a slightly unrelated note, I really wish Disney would make more merchandise specific to each of the All Stars instead of lumping them all together.

Thanks to our friends from our college programs, Nora and Anthony, we ended up with some fantastic last-minute plans that night. By this point they were both off work, so they met us at the resort and got dinner with us… at ChickFilA. Eating there might not sound exciting to whoever is reading this, especially where we were on vacation at Walt Disney World, however we don’t really have any of them near us, so going to ChickFilA is kind of a special, college program memory sort of thing, especially with Nora and Anthony.

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It was actually kind of surreal being at that specific ChickFilA by Vista Way again. Seeing all the other CPs, and being there with Nora and Anthony really made us miss it. Oh and seeing Vista itself granted we couldn’t go inside was also a little weird. It actually felt like I was going to go back to my apartment after dinner, not back to the All Stars.

We spent the rest of the night up late at the resort catching up with Nora and Anthony, and reminiscing about the days when we all lived in Orlando together.

The next morning, we were believe it or not back at Hollywood Studios! I really do swear that it’s our least favorite park, haha. We actually had breakfast reservations at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, which was quite good by the way. I think we actually liked it better than the Star Wars character breakfast we had there the year before. The Star Wars breakfast was cool, especially how you could meet Darth Vader and Boba Fett, however the style of the seating area and the lighting in this restaurant is really not conducive to character dining, so for once we actually thought the non-character version of breakfast was superior.

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After breakfast, we didn’t plan on spending much time at Hollywood Studios, so we went right for Rock n’ Rollercoaster and the Great Movie Ride while the lines were short, and then we were on our way out. We ran into Anthony again on our way out of the park as he was working near the entrance, and then we were on our way to… you guessed it: Epcot!

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This was the one day of our trip, or of any Disney trip actually, where we really put thought into our outfits. We don’t normally get that into DisneyBounding, although it is a cool idea it just isn’t really our thing. But when we saw a certain matching shirt and skirt combination on Red Bubble we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity:

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The rest of our day was spent in Epcot, mostly in World Showcase where we saw some of the Circlevision films and met some characters:

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As an aside: THANK GOD for leggings, because I don’t know if it’s because most of my body is made up of my thighs, or that’s just how those kinds of skirts are, but that skirt would not stay down and do its job for the life of me. Clearly by this point in the day I had just given up.

We had a quick service lunch in Japan that day:

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Take from the picture what you will. Chaz really enjoys the food at Katsura Grill, and so do I, but I do so while also recognizing that it is basically food court style food. I don’t think this general kind of food is awesome, but given the resources of what a Japanese themed quick service restaurant would entail I’d say I’m happy with it. (I actually think the shrimp tempura udon is better than the chicken teriyaki pictured above).

After finishing yet another walk around World Showcase, we backtracked to Spaceship Earth, Journey Into Imagination, the Seas and spent some time pin trading. When you see those alphabet pins you have to get them, collecting 26 pins in a series is no easy task!

Then we were back to the resort to freshen up before dinner that night at… Be Our Guest! I have yet to try Be Our Guest for breakfast or lunch because those meal honestly do not appeal to me as much as dinner does. I’m sure I’ll try at least one of them someday, and hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised. We love dining in the Beast’s Castle though, even if it does mean making reservations months in advance.

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And with that, the last full day of our trip was over. 🙁 The next morning we were up bright and early to spend a couple of hours in the Magic Kingdom before our late flight. We actually ended up doing a lot given that we didn’t even have the full day, and we even ended up seeing my bestie Sonny Eclipse by having lunch at Cosmic Rays. We also met Merida, rode the tea cups, and of course revisited some of our favorite attractions like Space Mountain before heading out of the park.

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The PhotoPass cast member told us to pose like this… There are so many things happening in this picture… what is that bird doing?!?

All in all this trip was… odd. It was amazing of course, but the first time you visit the parks after your college program is definitely an interesting experience. We made a lot of plans and even though we were there for nine days had planned on rushing all over the place to do everything we wanted, but once we were there, it felt like we never left, and there was no need to go crazy, because we could go back anytime… or at least it felt like we could. And little did we know we’d be back just a few months later to celebrate one of the best shows at Hollywood Studios one last time.

That’s all for now– “See ya real soon!”

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