Jean’s parents moved to Florida in the Fall and we found extremely cheap flights for Spring Break, so Orlando was booked! We wanted to surprise Miles by taking him to Hollywood Studios to see Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, but it was only a few days after buying tickets that we accidentally spilled the beans. Whoops. I had a late hockey game on Sunday night, and it snowed 8” so we left for the airport at 6am Monday for a tired and slow drive to DIA. A layover in Charlotte and we arrived in Orlando around 7pm. A bit warmer and more humid than when we left Colorado! It took just under an hour to get to their house in the Royal Harbor community in Tavares and we had some pizza and beer, played with the dogs, then off to bed after a long travel day.
Tuesday was a chill day and of course Miles wanted to spend all day in the enormous, screened-in, community pool. We spent a few hours there, then headed to Puddle Jumpers Lakeside Grill for lunch and to watch the sea planes take off and land. Along the walk to the nearby playground, we saw an enormous alligator floats near the shore. Back at the house we played shuffleboard, bocce ball, and spent more time in the pool. Miles reminded gramma and grandpa several times that they should have a golf cart.
Wednesday we rented a pontoon boat on Lake Eustis for a four-hour cruise. It was surprisingly fast, and we cruised all around Lake Eustis with Miles driving most of the way. The temperature was perfect, and it was a ton of fun. Next, we idled slowly through the Dora Canal to Lake Dora. Both sides are lined with Cyprus trees and a ton of Spanish moss hanging down and bird scooping fish out of the water. Even saw an alligator sunning itself on the way back. Once in Lake Dora we sped to the other side to see the small town of Mt Dora and cruised back slowly looking at all of the cool houses and docks. Once back at the house…. More pool time.
Thursday was going to be another chill day to prep for the big day at Disney. We linked our Disney accounts so we could maximize our chance of getting Rise of the Resistance tickets and spent most of the day at the pool. Miles and I beat each other with pool noodles and played a game we dubbed “Battle Station” where one of us would lay on the floatie with our eyes closed while the other would sneak attack and try to commandeer the floatie. We had dinner at Harris Lake Hideway with two small alligators next to the table and watched an awesome sunset.
Friday we all woke up at 6am, got dressed and packed the car, and had 4 phones logged into the Disney app for the 7am virtual queue for Rise of the Resistance. Due to COVID and no fast-passes, at 7am and 1pm they open a “virtual queue” to get tickets and they fill up within seconds. Luckily, Jean was able to get us tickets and we were so stoked! It is described as the ultimate Star Wars experience and the absolute best that Disney has to offer. About 50 minutes later we were pulling into the enormous parking lot at Hollywood Studios. We had to hold Miles back from sprinting through the parking lot and once we got our tickets scanned, we were IN!
The Disney app has a map which shows all the rides, your location, and wait times. Miles wanted to do Smugglers Run first so we speed-walked towards Galaxy’s Edge on the planet of Batuu. It is amazing the scale and detail of everything at Disney! Past the Millennium Falcon we walked right onto the ride, spent a few minutes going through all of the people movers with great displays on all sides (even the chess table and padded white hallways) and then saddled up in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon as pilots, gunners, and engineers! It was AWESOME!! It is a motion simulator and set between The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker, led by Hondo, to steal cargo from the First Order. Light speed, crashes, blowing up tie-fighters and asteroids…. AMAZING! When we were exiting Miles jumped in the air, fist-pumped, and screamed “YESSSSSS!!!!!”
Fortunately, it was a little overcast and a comfortable temperature. Next, we headed to the Muppet Vision 3D which takes place in a theater exactly like the Muppet Show. The 3D was well done and the story was funny. Right next door was Star Tours – The Adventure Continues. The line snakes next to, and under, AT-AT walkers and the Ewoks tree houses on Endor. The ride is a 3D space flight in the Starspeeder 1000 flown by C-3PO through one a several different adventures. Our adventure was on the mineral planet of Crait battling with Tie Fighters and AT-AT walkers. Once again… amazing graphics, real-life movements, and it really felt like you were in the middle of the battle.
This time we slowly walked through Galaxy’s Edge taking in the scenes of droids, speeders, and the market. Miles got interrogated by Kylo Ren and Stormtroopers in front of a Tie Fighter! Our Rise of the Resistance tickets were around 2pm, so we went towards Toy Story Land to look around. The detail is amazing and the scale is grand. So cool to see everything setup like old time toys. Slinky Dog Dash was broken and it was starting to heat up so gramma and grandpa took a break in the shade while we rode Toy Story Mania. This was a fun 3D ride where you are playing carnival type games shooting ducks and throwing rings. Since it was getting close to lunch, we placed an order at Docking Bay 7 for Batuuan Beef pot roast and Endorian Fried Chicken Tip Yip. We enjoyed waiting right next to the Millennium Falcon trying to escape the sun, then took our time eating in the AC and killing time before 2pm.
While waiting near Rise of the Resistance for our queue to come up, Miles picked out the Resistance pilot helmet he wanted as a souvenir. Soon, our app let us know it was time for the best part of the day! The entrance is a Resistance turret and goes past Poe’s X-wing on our way as recruits to help battle the First Order. A hologram of Rey gave us instructions along with several other characters on screens. We were then captured by the First Order and escorted through a hangar full of Stormtroopers toward interrogation before being freed and led to a hijacked Fleet Transport. We were discovered by stormtroopers and the battle ensues around the ship and AT-AT walkers while massive screen showed the battle outside. We came up behind Kylo Ren and General Hux and while leaving Kylo’s lightsaber cuts through the ceiling before the transporter enters an escape pod and an extremely real fall through space back to Batuu. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!
While dying of heat, we walked around Echo Lake and along Sunset Blvd towards the Rockin’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Jean’s folks stayed at the relaxation station and we waited about 40 mins for the ride. It was cool… but dark, fast, and jolted a lot. I spent the entire ride wondering how bad my neck would hurt, and I felt queasy afterwards. A good reminder that I don’t like roller coasters! Since we were in the area, we waited for the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy laughing about how Miles made us watch Cars a million times. It was the old circle vision theater with Lightning McQueen in the middle telling a story about team work while racing Chick Hicks. The best part was being in AC for 15 minutes! Seeing that the Hollywood Tower of Terror was a massive drop ride and there was a long wait, it was an easy decision to skip it. On the way back there was a parade of Toy Story and Monsters Inc along Sunset Blvd.
We had a few hours left and we decided to ride Smugglers Run again. While waiting in line we ordered dinner via the app at Rosie’s All American Diner. It was just as much fun the second time! With a little more time to kill before dinner, we had just enough time for Star Tours again! This time we were taken around the Death Star and ambushed by Boba Fett. Awesome, once again!! Back along Sunset Blvd for to Rosie’s for burgers, chili dogs, fries, and drinks. Jean and her folks had their fill of heat, rides, and walking so Miles and I were going to try to squeeze in the Original Animated Short with Mickey and Minnie and the Walt Disney Presents. Unfortunately, those closed at 7pm as we were walking there, so we diverted to Slinky Dog Dash as our final ride. The wait was about 30 mins but went fast as we walked past all the giant displays of old games and toys. We had the very front seat and it was an enjoyable (read: slower) roller coaster around Toy Story Land. Yes, Miles wore his Resistance pilot helmet for the entire ride. The best was the sunset along the way.
One final bathroom break and we met the crew in the parking lot, glad to be in AC and comfy seats for the drive home after a long and exhausting day. It is truly amazing the experience that Disney provides! Miles was a very happy kid. And we surprisingly only counted 13 screaming kids throughout the day!
Saturday, we chilled around the house getting in a few more hours together before our flights back to Colorado and back to reality. It was a great trip and given the Haas’s new location, we’ve got a whole new list of things to do, and see, during visits.