Did you set the alarm? Wait, this is vacation why are we setting an alarm? We’re getting up early to discuss Hollywood Studios Rope Drop Strategies. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. In the case of Walt Disney World, the early risers get in more rides. When the temperatures are cool and the lines are at their shortest, it’s a great time to explore iconic movie scenes. In this DVC Duo planning guide, we’re sharing our Hollywood Studios rope drop strategies. Our alarm is set, coffee is set to brew, we’re ready to go!
No, we’re not talking about Baseline Tap House. Side note, there’s no better way to relax after a successful Hollywood studios rope drop than enjoying a snack and pint at Baseline Tap House. Back on topic. In our whether or not to rope drop article we cover the basics around what it means to be rope dropping. Definitely a great a read, but we may be biased.
As we discussed in our Magic Kingdom rope drop strategies, there are a couple of good things to look for in My Disney Experience app prior to a Hollywood Studios rope drop. The things you’re looking for are whether or not the park is offering Early Morning Magic or Extra Magic Hours. With both of these options let guests in the park prior to the official opening time. For guests staying on Disney property, you can use our Hollywood Studios rope drop strategies in conjunction with the Extra Magic Hours. We’ve got a good baseline, let’s add to our song!
The one thing we always keep in mind when planning out our Hollywood Studios rope drop strategies is which FastPass strategy we’re using. More often than not we like to rope drop the attractions where we were unable to secure a FastPass.
Passholder Insights: Prior to park opening the Trolley Car Cafe is open if you’re looking for a little liquid energy.
In more ways than one! In this Hollywood Studios rope drop strategies category we’re flying to the back of the park to pilot the Millennium Falcon. With no FastPass option at the time of writing this article, heading to Batuu early in the morning is a great way to start the day.
When entering Hollywood Studios prior to park opening, you’ll want to stay to the left and look for the cast member holding the sign for the Millennium Falcon.
After helping Hondo we like to head for Andy’s backyard for Slinky Dog Dash or Toy Story Mania. Only after grabbing a Ronto Roasters breakfast wrap of course. It’s delicious food you can enjoy on the go! Later in the day, we’ll head back to Black Spire Outpostto explore everything the land has to offer.
Passholder Insights: Keep an eye out for the hidden Millennium Falcons on the ship. That’s right there are miniature falcons hidden with the larger spacecraft.
Who Wants To Be A Toy?
Why be a millionaire when you can be a toy in Andy’s backyard. With two of the park’s most popular attractions in Toy Story Land, the big decision is are you rope dropping Slinky Dog Dash or Toy Story Mania. A lot will depend on which attraction you were able to snag a FastPass for. Entering Hollywood Studios prior to the park’s official opening you’ll want to stay towards the center of the Hollywood Boulevard. Cast member from Toy Story Land will meet you there to lead you back. We recommend getting to the park early as the cast members will usually lead you back around 10 minutes prior to park opening.
When entering the land the majority of guests will be heading towards Slinky Dog Dash. When heading for Toy Story Mania you’ll want to stay to the left of the group and veer off as guests start to line up. The line up is for Slinky Dog Dash. If you’re heading for Slinky Dog Dash, keep an eye for the cast member holding the end of the line sign labeled for Slinky Dog Dash.
Early morning is a great way to enjoy all Andy has to offer. The way we usually do it is, Toy Story Mania then Alien Swirling Saucers if we have Slinky Dog Dash FastPass. On the times we do not, we’ll put Slinky Dog Dash first.
Passholder Insights: Another option for enjoying Slinky Dog Dash is to step in line just before park closing. We’ve seen waits time around 30 minutes at this time.
Sunset In The Morning?
That’s right! We’re talking about Sunset Blvd. Last of our Hollywood Studios rope drop strategies takes us down Sunset Blvd towards Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and The Hollywood Tower of Terror. Two of the more exciting attractions at Walt Disney World will definitely get your blood pumping early in the morning. When heading for these attractions, you’ll want to stay the right on Hollywood Blvd and make the first right.
This strategy comes down to deciding which attraction to enjoy first. For us, we recommend heading to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first, as it tends to get longer lines as the day proceeds. We like to race to the Aerosmith concert, then drop-in for our stay at the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Afterward, we check the My Disney Experience App to see the wait times for other attractions.
Waking up early to rope drop is a fantastic way to enjoy the popular attractions at Hollywood Studios or sneak in that second or third ride of your favorite. Our top tip is to head to the park with an idea of the area you’re looking to head towards with two attractions in mind. From there we like to play it by ear and check out the wait times. For us, we always remind ourselves that flexibility is key, as even the best strategy may need to change from time to time. We’ve to dash to Andy’s backyard!
Who’s hungry? We’re are! What can we say, we’re always up for a good meal. Everyone is familiar with the dining headliners of Walt Disney World, from California Grill to ‘Ohana, and the list goes on from there. It got us thinking, what are our top underrated Disney resort restaurants? We’re talking about the restaurants you can snag an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) on MyDisney Experience, either the same day or even a few hours before sitting. We’ve got our phone in hand, let’s make a reservation for one of our underrated Disney resort restaurants.
Under The Sea
Hidden from view (under the sea, get it?) is the best new restaurant on Disney property, Sebastian’s Bistro. Tucked away from view at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a restaurant is putting out some of the best food. With flavors inspired by the Caribbean, there’s something for everyone’s palette. One of our all-time favorite dishes is the grilled skirt steak served with crispy yuca, baby bell peppers, and a delightful chimichurri sauce. It could be the best steak at Disney World based on value.
Sebastian’s Bistro comes in third on our most underrated Disney resort restaurants, as it’s quickly becoming more well-known. With the Disney Skylinernow open and the Disney’s Riviera Resort opening soon, we’re expecting the reservations to become a little harder to snag. It’s all good things for our crabby friend!
Passholder Insights: Sebastian’s Bistro is only one sit down dining credit when you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.
What Do Seas Make?
Waves! Well, not really, but no reason to get scientific in an article about the most underrated Disney resort restaurants. In the best transition we’ve made to date, we’re moving from Sebastian’s under the seas dining to The Wave over at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. In the back left corner of the hotel lobby lies of a blue tunnel to some of the most consistently solid we’ve had at Disney World.
The Wave by no means will be a headline restaurant at Walt Disney World, as the menu is well-done, simple takes on classic American dishes. With its simple themeing and always on-point wait staff, The Wave is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal. Many times we’ll make the short walk from the Magic Kingdom to the restaurant as a quieter end to a great day in the parks. By far the dish to try is the bacon and eggs appetizer. One of our all-time favorites!
Passholder Insights: Beyond dinner, The Wave has a fantastic breakfast that offers both a buffet and ala carte options. It’s a great way to start a day at Mickey’s house!
Best Italian On Property
We bet you thought we were going to say Tutto Italia in Epcot’s World Showcase? Close. For our top underrated Disney resort restaurant is Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. That’s right, we’ve have been known to leave Epcot to fill our Italian craving. Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is a short walk from the International Gateway between the United Kingdom and France pavilions and for us, it’s worth every step.
What we love about Trattoria al Forno is the open-air kitchen and wood-fired stove. The chefs at the restaurant around putting out fantastic homemade pasta dishes, crispy flatbreads, and a meatball we wish we could have every night. We’ve tried almost all of the menu and there are no bad choices here! More often than not, we’re able to grab a reservation on most nights. Let’s keep this gem between us, deal?
Passholder Insights: For breakfast Trattoria al Forno does a character meal. A little known secret is if you’re not looking for character dining you can still enjoy a meal, just mention to the hostess you’re looking for breakfast without characters.
Walt Disney World is filled with fantastic, one of a kind dining experiences. If you’re like us and from time to time you’re looking for a last-minute meal, we highly recommend any of these options. We have a couple more favorites that did not make the list. Looks like we may have underrated Disney resort restaurants part 2 article in the works. Until then, we’re off to enjoy a glass of wine and homemade pasta at Trattoria al Forno.
Rey needs our help! We’re less than two months away from the opening of the second attraction at Hollywood Studios Galaxy’s Edge which means it’s time for a Rise of the Resistance update! On August 29, 2019, Walt Disney World opened the gates to its most ambitious project to date, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. With the majority of the land open to guests, the only piece missing is the keystone attraction. May the force be with us on this Rise of the Resistance update!
No lightspeed for you! Sorry Chewy, we’re the pilot of the Millennium Falcon this time. When Disney Parks announced the opening of Galaxy’s Edge for August 29, 2019, every Star Wars fan and Disneyphile found out about the two-phased approach for the land. A big piece of our Rise of the Resistance update is around the aspects of the ride that, let’s say, needed Chewy to bang on them a few times. He’s got that Wookie touch!
Passholder Insights: At Oga’s Cantina the headline drinks are the Yum Nub and Cliff Dweller which come in specialty glasses and the prices reflect you keeping the glass. You can order either drink without keeping the glass, just ask your Batuuian server or bartender.
Let’s Get On Track
Oh, we have! Rise of the Resistance is on track to open December 5, 2019, at Walt Disney World and January 17, 2020, at Disneyland. The big question we’re answering in our Rise of the Resistance update is around the delays associated with the attraction. Similar to Mickey’s & Minnie’s Runway Railway, Rise of the Resistance is pushing the limits on the trackless ride vehicle technology. Trackless ride technology has three key aspects, the track, the car, and the guidance system, and with the new attraction, all three needed Chewy’s magical touch.
It’s been reported and is reflected in the grand opening dates that the Walt Disney World version of Galaxy’s Edge was behind Disneyland. How does Walt Disney World have an earlier open date for Rise of the Resistance then? Great question! According to Mickey Views, the track for the attraction at both locations need to be replaced. With Disney World’s version still in the construction phase, it made for swapping out the track that much easier, compared to the Disneyland version which was almost complete.
We were thinking the same thing. Buried within the floors of the attraction is a “track” that is used to navigate ride vehicles through the different show scenes. The ride vehicles have a system that links to the track buried in the floor. It was discovered that aspects of the ride vehicles system we’re not working as expected and needed to be fully replaced. This is the same issue that occurred with the upcoming Mickey & Minnie’s Runway Railway that delayed the attractions to Spring 2020. With the ride vehicles being redone, it meant the track needed to be redone as well. This issue was discovered during the testing phase, as reported by Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media. Apparently, the ride vehicles were not property lining up with the last ride system within the attraction, as the guidance system within the ride vehicles were failing. As Chewy knows, it’s hard to navigate without a guidance system!
Passholder Insights: During Early Morning Magic hours, the best time to step in line for the Millennium Falcon attraction is just before the official park opening.
Thank you, Walt Disney World Imagineers! According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, the other reason Walt Disney World is opening its version of the attraction first is because the Imagineers working on the Walt Disney World version found the solution. The plan is for the Walt Disney World team to open Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios, then fly to Disneyland to do the same thing. Testing on the changes associated to the Rise of the Resistance update has resumed and everything is on track to open on December 5, 2019.
Passholder Insights: Both Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon Smugglers Run have Fastpass queues, it is still unknown when they will be opened.
What We Know (#SpoilersAhead)
There are spoilers coming up around the storyline if you’re looking to keep everything a surprise feel free to skip ahead. Bits and pieces around Rise of the Resistance continue to pop-up, however, Disney has been very tight-lipped about its new attraction. In what Disney is calling its longest attraction (about 15 minutes) to date, we will be stepping into the ultimate Disney storytelling experience. Combining four different ride systems we’ll step off on a journey to help the resistance on a mission. Your mission begins with a message from Rey recruiting your help. You’re swept away into a transporter for your mission. Things take a turn for the worst and before you know it you’re coming face to face with the First Order on an Imperial Star Destroyer. With a little help from a former stormtrooper, you make your escape, before “dropping” back to Batuu.
The vast scale of the Rise of Resistance cannot be overlooked. In the early glimpses of the attraction, we’ve seen one ride scene that’s on the scale of the Soarin’ ride system. That’s right, one show scene within the attraction takes of the same space of the Soarin’ ride building and is a field with 50 plus stormtroopers. According to people who’ve seen this show scene, they say words cannot describe the sheer size of the space. What makes the area breathtaking is how you’re staring off into space.
Passholder Insights: For the reveal of Black Spire Outpost, we recommend entering Batuu from the Grand Avenue entrance near Muppet Vision 4D.
Worth the wait! We’re projection Rise of the Resistance will be the attraction to set the new bar on what a theme park attraction can be. From the storytelling to ride systems, everything we’re hearing from insiders is Disney will knock it out of the park with this attraction. Rise of the Resistance update, complete! Thanks for the banging Chewy!
Ring, ring! Oh no, it’s the dreaded work call at Disney. After carefully planning your exit for a trip to the most magical place on Earth, the last thing anyone wants to see is a request to take a work call. From time to time, we have no option but to take a work call at Disney World. No worries, the DVC Duo got you covered with our survival guide. After taking many work calls from the parks, we’ve learned the in’s and out’s. It’s time to answer that call!
Great advice, Scare! Preparation is half the battle when taking a work call at Disney. More often than not the calls we need to take, are the ones that pop-up. For us, we like to throw in a couple of items into our park bag before heading out. The most overlooked item is definitely a Bluetooth headset, or headphones with a built-in microphone, we learned the hard way. Let’s just say holding a phone to your head on warm Florida days is far from enjoyable. Plus no one needs a sweaty phone screen when using My Disney Experience to snag your fourth FastPass of the day.
Beyond the headset, the only other major item we toss into the bag is a battery charger for our phone. Serving multiple purposes, the battery charger is a must when taking a call at Disney, as phone calls do a number on your phone’s charge. No one needs a dead phone when trying to translate Aurebersh in Star WarsGalaxy’s Edge!
Passholder Insights: Within the Disney Parks you’ll find free WiFi which works well for apps, we just would not recommend it for WiFi calls.
Quiet Spots – Beyond The Room
It’s vacation, no need to hang out in the room when taking a work call. One of the biggest things we’ve learned from making and taking calls is where to find quiet places in each park. Disney parks are filled with wonderful background music, other guests laughing and smiling, parades and entertainment, and everything in between. All of which are not the best things for a phone call. Here are our favorite spots in each park to make or take a call.
In Tomorrowland behind Joffrey’s coffee stand, you’ll find us hiding out for a call. With a few shady bench options, it’s a great place to pull up a seat to chat away. The best part, you can snag a coffee either before or after your call. You can never have too much caffeine right? An alternative is on the opposite side of the park on the second floor of the Columbia Harbour House. Directly across from the Haunted Mansion is the quick-serve location where you’ve got A/C and tables. The second floor tends to be a less used area.
At the end of Sunset Blvd, the very end. We’re talking about the area just past the exit of one of our favorite Hollywood Studios rides, the Tower of Terror. When walking towards the entrance of the attraction head straight over turning left for the queue and head towards the Joffrey’s coffee stand. Are you seeing a trend? We like quiet places where we can grab a coffee when taking a work call at Disney. Just past the stand is a shaded area with places to sit for your call.
We’re using our Imagination for this one. Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves with that joke. Our go-to spot at Epcot is to the right of the entrance to the Imagination attraction. With ample shade, it’s the perfect place for that impromptu call. No coffee here, however, there’s a fantastic popcorn stand nearby! An alternative is in the World Showcase in the Italy pavilion. When walking into the pavilion you’ll a little alleyway to the left, which works well.
We left the hardest park for last. The Animal Kingdom is filled with music, some may say it’s a wild time! We’ve found the shaded seating area in Drinkwalla is an amazing place when taking a work call at Disney. It can be hit or miss, depending on how many people are in the area, but if you can find a seat in the shade it’s perfect. Bonus points if you get the table with the fan blowing on you! An alternative would be near the exit for Finding Nemo the Musical, as long as the show is not letting out.
With preparation and understanding where to go taking a work call at Disney World is relatively easy. There’s no need to hideaway in the room. When we’re looking for a place to set up shop for a call there are three things we look for, shade, relatively quiet and has a place to sit down. If you have those three things you’re good to go. Looks like works is calling! We’re letting it go to voicemail, we’ve got to find that dino!
Cool treats? Is there anything better on a warm Florida day? We think not, and lucky for us the Magic Kingdom is filled with cool treats including Redd’s Revenge. There is never a bad time for ice cream, but once afternoon hits the Magic Kingdom a cool treat is exactly what the doctor ordered. We’re ready for a break from the heat, let’s see if Red’s Revenge is best cold!
Location, Location, Location
Adventureland is where it’s at! In the Magic Kingdom, it’s a toss-up between Adventureland and Fantasyland to which has the best treats. In the DVC Duo, we’re definitely a house divided, as Serena has an affinity for the Peter Pan Float over at Storybook Treats in Fantasyland and you can always count on Nate picking up a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle. What may tip the ship towards Adventureland being the go-to place for cool treats is Redd’s Revenge.
Crossing the bridge from the Magic Kingdom’s hub into Adventureland, just before you come upon the Jungle Navigation Co. Skippers Canteen, you’ll find Sunshine Tree Terrace on your right side. Across the way from the counter window, you’ll find a variety of benches and partially shaded areas depending on the time of day, to find a seat to enjoy Redd’s Revenge.
Passholder Insights: Keep an eye out when walking through Adventureland, there may or may not be a camel looking to “cool” you down!
It’s A Cold Dish
As the title says, Redd’s Revenge is a dish best served cold. It is an ice cream float after all. The best way to describe the cool treat is it’s a strawberry lover’s dream. Combining strawberry flavored Fanta, with soft-serve strawberry Dole Whip, and a red chocolate pirate hat you get the bubbly refreshing float.
The larger than we expected float delivers that strawberry flavor punch. It’s strawberry from the first bite to the last sip. We found Redd’s Revenge float to be unbelievably refreshing, especially in the hot Florida sun. The biggest “red” flag, yeah we made that joke, is how ice cream and Florida heat don’t mix well. When ordering this cool treat get ready to snap that Instagram photo in record time, as the sun waits for no photo!
For someone who enjoys treats with strawberry as the main flavor, this is for you. We found the treat to be more on the sweet side. If you’re the one who enjoys a sweet treat, but in smaller portions, we recommend recruiting a crew member before embarking on Redd’s Revenge.
Passholder Insights: If you move quickly you can enjoy Redd’s Revenge while catching one of our favorites shows at the Magic Kingdom, the Tiki Room.
No Fears Here!
Redd’s Revenge is not taking over Sunshine Tree Terrace by itself. On the crew is also the FOMOsa. In one of the best dad jokes we’ve seen in a while, the FOMOsa is a combination Orange Dole Whip on top of sparkling apple cider. It’s an adult time out, family-friendly edition!
The Instagram sensation formerly, and still known as the FOMOsa is the perfect cool treat for anyone that prefers a less sweet, more of a tart dessert. Similar to comparing the sweet taste of the original Dole Whip to the more tart Citrus Swirl, the FOMOsa is the tart companion to Redd’s Revenge. Our biggest recommendation with the FOMOsa is to treat it like an ice cream cone. We tried using a spoon, and almost lost our creamy goodness overboard.
Passholder Insights: For a more savory treat within Adventureland we recommend checking out the Spring Roll Cart across from the Tiki Room.
It’s ice cream! Much like pizza in the DVC Duo, there are just different levels of good. Both Redd’s Revenge and FOMOsa are solid additions to the Magic Kingdom. It’s safe to say the Magic Kingdom is quickly becoming the snackpark at Disney World. In true great transition form, Redd’s Revenge is one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. We ate our cool treat fast, time to set sail with Redd!