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February 2020 Disney World Trip Day 2 Part 1: First Lottery for RotR and a Crowded DHS

On Day #2 of my February 2020 trip, we head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In this blog, we try to get on as many attractions as possible in an extremely crowded park and try the new “lottery system” for getting a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.

So I actually technically started this day the night before as I was trying really hard to find a Fastpass for Slinky Dog Dash. Since the beginning of the 60-day FP+ reservation period, we have had no luck getting a slot. I remember waking up in the middle of the night on this day trying to find one and I felt like I was really close, but to no avail. I then woke up to get ready to my mom saying that she woke up and found a slot early in the morning, the exact time period I wanted! We all then got ready and walked down to the bus station at 6 AM.

There was a bus going to Hollywood Studios that arrived around 6:15, so we packed in the bus and made our way over to the park. We got to the park and walked through bag check no problem and made our way towards the tapstiles. It seriously felt like deja vu from my trip back in December, as it felt like the same situation and crowds, though I knew the process was completely different. Also the crowds in the early morning weren’t as heavy as they were when I was there in December.

We waited until 7 AM where the tapstiles officially opened and people were allowed in the park. It took about 5-10 minutes to get through the gate and tap in. Once we tapped in, we high tailed it on back to the tunnel to Galaxy’s Edge. We made it to the point where we stopped on Grand Avenue adjacent to the snack and coffee stand. I felt like we were in a very good position to rope drop Smuggler’s Run as we were close to the barrier separating the crowd from Galaxy’s Edge. The hour we were standing and waiting to get the boarding group. I could feel the tension in the air as everybody was going for the same thing. Once 8 AM hit, the announcement was made that the boarding groups were live and everyone in my family immediately went on the app. My dad was the first one to yell “I got it!”, but the app crashed and went back to the homescreen. In a last chance shot, my mom got into the app and ended up getting a group successfully. The unfortunate part was that it was group 83, which was a backup boarding group. So essentially we weren’t guaranteed to get on and we wouldn’t get any comp if our group wasn’t called.

At first I was fairly frustrated with the whole system and the fact that the ride had not been running reliably in the past few days. All hope seemed extremely bleak at that moment but all I could do is pray that the ride would have a really good and reliable day.

We then proceeded to walk back to Smuggler’s Run for my family’s first ride. They had a really organized line going through the land to get to the entrance. There was a HUGE mass of people behind us at rope drop and Disney had it really organized so it was barely even a hassle. Once we were in the queue, we only waited about 2-3 minutes before we were in the preshow with Hondo Ohnaka. We were then given assignments and after being pilot in December, I wanted to try out gunner on my second time around. My sister and dad were chosen as pilots and me and my mom were assigned as the gunners. We were then called to load after spending about a minute or two in the chess room. What I found interesting was that they only loaded our group of 4 into the Falcon without engineers. It didn’t affect the ride too much at all because the engineers just press a few buttons.

I do have to say after being gunner, I found it much more fun than being a pilot. This is because I felt too stressed out being a pilot and I almost felt like I just felt more interactive with actually shooting things. It did feel more like a video game but that was almost just as fun to me.

After getting off the ride, we explored around the marketplace at Galaxy’s Edge for a little bit. As we were leaving the land, I noticed that the Smuggler’s Run line reached about 3 hours and the queue stretched all the way back to the area around Rise of the Resistance. We then exited the land and meandered around the Chinese Theater to check out the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway plaza and sign. The sign honestly looked really nice and it honestly looked so cool. I’ll have more on action going around the plaza in my Day 7 blog.

We then went over to Toy Story Land to use our Fastpass+ for Slinky Dog Dash, which came in handy because the stand-by line was posted at 180 minutes. We scanned in at 9 AM, about 5 minutes before the slot opened, and were boarding in about 3-4 minutes. I got put in the back row and I enjoyed my third ride on this MACK Rides family coaster. It definatley is a family coaster but I find myself having a good time on it whenever I get a chance to ride it.

After getting off Slinky Dog, we went on over down Sunset Boulevard. Here we noticed that the line for Tower of Terror was at least an hour and a half and had it’s queue running down the entrance. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was even worse, as that queue was spilling out of the entrance and into the ride’s plaza with a posted 150 minute wait. At this point I was getting a little frustrated being in such a crowded park while waiting in a crowd to get into the first showing of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, since that was the only thing to not really have a line as it opened at 10 AM. We ended up getting into the first show of the day no problem and I subsided a bit. After seeing Racing Academy for a second time,and even though I’m not a huge Cars fan in the least bit, it’s still a fun show with a really cool animatronic in the McQueen figure. I also saw an insanely enthusiastic cast member who was really into running the show. I was bummed I didn’t catch his name, but he was super cool. Racing Academy isn’t a must-do at DHS, but definitely worth checking out if you have time (or if the park is crowded elsewhere :)).

After Racing Academy, we made our way towards Echo Lake to get some snacks while waiting for our Frozen Sing-Along FP+ reservation. The rest of my family got pretzels while I decided to try the 50’s Prime Time PB&J Milkshake through the Tune-In Lounge. And O.M.G., this shake was so so good, definitely up there in my rankings of Disney World snacks. Absolutely go out of your way to try it while your at the park.

We then headed over to use our second FP+ for the Frozen Sing-Aong show. Before Smuggler’s Run was added to the FP+ system Disney had a disadvantaged FP+ tier system at Hollywood Studios. Other than Star Tours, only stage shows were available and since none of my family had never seen the Frozen Sing-Along before, I just decided to settle with it. So after seeing the show for the first time, I was really surprised how much I enjoyed it. I really like the first Frozen film in general, but this show I found to be absolutely hilarious and entertaining. I was shocked to see so many adult jokes thrown in by the royal historians, but I do credit the show for having a little bit edgy humor without going overboard.

After getting out of Frozen, we were able to get on Star Tours with our third Fastpass+. We scanned in and we got to the loading area in about 5 minutes after tapping in, beating out the 45-50 minute stand-by wait that was posted. While in line, I was tinkering with the Fastpass system a little bit and was able to get a FP+ reservation for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for me and my dad for a few hours out. We rode Star Tours and I once again got a completely different ride sequence than I have before. This time I believe it was two destinations from the sequel trilogy, and Naboo from The Phantom Menace. I really think it’s cool how the random destinations work and that it’s a different ride experience every time, it makes every re-ride just as fun as the first.

After getting off Star Tours, we decided that now would be a good time to take a 1-2 hour break while crowds were peaking. So we left the park and took a break at Pop Century while waiting for our RnRC FP+.

In Part 2, we return to Hollywood Studios to ride some more rides, eat some more food, go to Oga’s Cantina, and maybe get on RotR.

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