All rise! Some things are worth waking up early for and a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is definitely one of them. On a recent trip to Black Spire Outpost, we were lucky enough to snag a boarding group on multiple occasions. Now that we’re back, we’re sharing our strategy on how to get your own Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Our phones are charged, let’s head to Hollywood Studios and get that boarding group!
The Prep Work
Let’s channel our inner Scar and be prepared! Our first recommendation for getting a Rise Of The Resistance boarding group is to check your phone the night before. What are you looking for? A couple of things. First and foremost, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone with all your friends and family members linked together. You’re going to need all the help you can get if you’re going to take on the First Order. Additionally, take a look at where the boarding group selection of the app is located and click through it to become familiar.
Our prep work continues with making sure you have the most updated version of the app. Heading into the App Store or Google Play to check for any updates. We’ve noticed Disney has been updating My Disney Experience on a more regular basis. Alright, the prep work is done, let’s get some sleep before we have to rise!
Passholder Insights: Disney Resorts offer free in-room and resort WiFi which makes it easy for updating your phone apps.
Rise and shine time! Depending on where you’re staying and what time Hollywood Studios is opening that day will help determine what time to get up. For us, the first time we got to the park at 6:45 am and the second time we arrived at 7:45 am. The most important thing about having the opportunity to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is that your whole party has to be within the park prior to park opening. That means no sleeping in for grandma if she wants to ride.
On our trip, Hollywood Studios opened at 8 am each day. We made it point to not rely on Disney transportation either time. The first time we took a Lyft to the park and the second we were able to walk over from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Our recommendation would be to either drive or rideshare to the park (if you can walk, even better).
Passholder Insights: We noticed rideshares were popular in the morning. Definitely check the app when you first wake up to see how long it will take for a car to arrive at your resort, then get dressed, etc.
The park that is. Once inside you’ll have a decision to make, line up for another ride, coffee, or find a spot to hangout. First, go around we choose coffee, then the second we camped out in the middle of the park. For us, our focus was on the Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Many other people lined up for the attractions.
We’re in the final countdown to the park opening and you can feel the excitement around you. Below is a step by step guide of exactly what we did.
Restarted our phones
Closed all open apps
Turned Off WiFi
Watched the clock on our phone for 8 am (or park opening time)
Opened My Disney Experience
Selected Join Rise of Resistance Boarding Group
Selected Group Members (only the people in your group who are in the park)
On both occasions, we both tried for the group, with Serena getting a group once and Nate another. Our groups were 43 and 62.
Passholder Insights: With all the guest opening My Disney Experience at the same time, getting a Rise of the Resistance boarding group becomes a lottery type of system
For us, it was all about setting our expectations. We knew we were not guaranteed to get into a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Our plan was to mark a day early in our trip and late in our trip to try for a boarding group, and we were lucky enough to get one on both occasions. After going through it twice our biggest takeaway is that you do not have to get up a 2 am or any crazy hours to get to the park. As long as your party is through the gate and in Hollywood Studios prior to park opening you’ll have the same opportunity as everyone else. Our group just got called, it’s time to Rise!
It’s time for an update! Not just any update, we’re updating our Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy guide. As the Disney parks continue to grow, expand, evolve (pick you’re adjective of choice) we’ll be updating our guides to match. Effective February 19, 2020, Hollywood Studios will be updating its FastPass tiers, as Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is being added to the options. Let’s open up My Disney Experience and plan out Hollywood Studios adventure!
We Cannot Resist
Resist what? Rise of the Resistance. We cannot talk Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy without mentioning the newest ride to join Walt Disney World. At the moment, the attraction is only available via boarding groups and not FastPass selections are available. We’ll be breaking the DVC Duo’s Rise strategy in an upcoming article. Stay tuned!
Passholder Insights: Walt Disney World has not released any type of timeline to when Rise of the Resistance would move from boarding pass only to a standby/FastPass attraction
Mixing It Up!
We’ve got new FastPass tiers. For a breakdown of how FastPass selections work at Walt Disney World, we highly recommend checking out our captivating article here. We can wait. Really we do not mind. It had you on the edge of your seat, right? Alright back to our regularly scheduled article. Starting February 19, 2020, the breakdown of the Hollywood Studios FastPass tiers is as follows
With Fastpass tiers you’re able to select one attraction from tier one, then two attractions from tier two. Once you have completed your first three FastPass selections you can select a fourth FastPass and more!
Passholder Insights: We like to hold off on selecting nighttime shows as a FastPass until we use our first three selections.
Return Of The Thrill Seekers
With changes coming to the tiering systems, we looking back at our original Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy. The thrilling combination includes Slinky Dog Dash, Rock ‘n’ Coaster, and the Tower of Terror, by the end of this trio you’ll be wondering which way is up! We like to secure our Slinky Dog Dash FastPass first then look to add Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, as “back to back” time selections. With the short walk between the rides, it’s a great way to knock them out at one time.
If you have a few moments between your Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror FastPass times we recommend to either check out Lightning McQueen Racing Academy or a little shopping on Sunset Blvd.
Passholder Insights: The end of the night is a fantastic time to experience any of the bigger attractions you were not able to secure a FastPass selection for.
Who Wants To Be A Toy?
Enjoying the Toy Story attractions just got a lot easier! In our Toy Story Land focused Hollywood Studios FastPass Strategy, we’re heading to Andy’s backyard. We are now able to secure FastPass Selections for all three attractions, with Slinky Dog Dash as our tier one, then Toy Story Mania and Alien Swirling Saucers as our tier two attractions.
Now that we have the opportunity to select all three, our go-to strategy would be to stack back to back attractions where we could. In between your rides, a stop-off at Woody’s Lunch Box is a great way to work in a meal and a little break time. Another option would be to work in the character meet ‘n greets with Buzz, Woody, Jesse, and Bo-Peep.
Please note for Alien Swirling Saucers the height restriction is 32 inches and for Slinky Dog Dash it is 40 inches.
Passholder Insights: Out of FastPass selections, rope dropping Toy Story Land is a great way to enjoy all the attractions
A Ride Far, Far, Away
Or, we should say not so far away. In this Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy, we’re heading “on-planet” to Black Spire Outpost. At the moment, the only on-planet FastPass is for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. However, off-planet you can head over to Star Tours – The Adventure Continues as well. For the perfect Star Wars day, a trip to Batuu would not be complete without a stop in at Oga’s Cantina for a Fuzzy TaunTaun or two.
For our last FastPass selection, we would recommend picking something for the choices within the other strategies.
Passholder Insights: For any of the other experiences within Galaxy’ Edge, like the Droid Depot or Savvy’s Workshop we would highly recommend making a reservation through My Disney Experience.
Fantastic change! We’re thrilled to see these changes for Hollywood Studios. For us, our rule of thumb is to not use our FastPass selections on the shows. The vast majority of the time you’ll be able to enjoy a show if you arrive about 30 to 40 minutes prior to the start time. In the coming weeks are our Hollywood Studios FastPass strategy guide may need to change again with the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. For now, we’re going to drop into our favorite tower!
It’s a safari of flavors! With tons of wild things around the park, it got us wondering, what are the best Animal Kingdom sit down restaurants? You know what it means when we start to wonder, it means it’s time for another article. Outside of Epcot, Animal Kingdom has quickly become one of our favorite parks to sit down and enjoy a meal. Alright, let’s kick this safari into gear and get to talking about our favorite Animal Kingdom sit down restaurants!
We Found Our Guides!
Every good safari needs an awesome guide. For our trek through the best Animal Kingdom sit down restaurants we found the guide of all guides at The Tusker House. It’s none other than Mickey Mouse! Joining Mickey is Donald and Goofy. That’s right Tusker House at the Animal Kingdom is a character dining experience that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
First and foremost, there is nothing cuter than seeing the characters in their safari gear. Beyond the cuteness, the food at The Tusker House is wonderful. Served buffet style, the food is very similar to Boma over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. What we love most about the restaurant is how there is something for everyone, and you’re able to try new foods. We’re big fans of the roasted meats.
Passholder Insights: Character interactions tend to the best towards the end of a seating. For example at 10:00 am for breakfast.
We’re Now Adventurers
Our safari is paying off! Where do adventurers eat at the Animal Kingdom? Tiffins. Coming in second on our best Animal Kingdom sit down restaurants list is a combination of Tiffins and Nomad Lounge. In restaurant themed after an adventurer’s club, you’ll find a beautifully designed environment that is only surpassed by the food.
A couple of the go-to items have to be the bread service on the Tiffins menu and the smoked pork ribs from Nomad Lounge. The bread service at Tiffins is very similar to our favorite bread service at Saana and the bread service from the India booth at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. For us, we prefer the more laidback stylings of the Nomad Lounge over Tiffins, but both are fantastic options within the park.
Passholder Insights: Nomad Lounge has the best coffee within the Animal Kingdom, ask for the Kenyan Press Pot.
The Mystical Creature
When in the Animal Kingdom, “the mystical creature” can only be one thing – the Yeti! Yes, our favorite Animal Kingdom sit down restaurant is the Yak & Yeti in the Asia section of the park. Down the pathway from one of our favorite Animal Kingdom rides, is a wonderful restaurant serving up some tasty treats.
We’re creatures of habit and when at Yak & Yeti you’ll find us ordering the Ahi Tuna Nachos. What can we say, we’re hooked on wasabi. Beyond the nachos, we’ve enjoyed the different noodle bowls and the Korean beef. However, order the nachos, you’ll thank us later.
Passholder Insights: For a quieter meal, request to sit upstairs. The downstairs can get a little loud.
Success! We’ve done it, we’ve completed our best Animal Kingdom sit down restaurants. Our safari of flavors has come to an end. As always, all this food talk has got us hungry. We’ll meet you at Nomad Lounge to share our adventures!
Raise your glass! It’s time to talk about the Disney Cruise Champagne Tasting. You had Serena at champagne. We couldn’t think of a better way to kick-off our first Disney Cruise than with a glass or two (or more) of bubbles. It’s vacation, no judgment here! For our cruise decided to sign up for the Disney Cruise champagne tasting offered at 2 pm on our embarkation day. POP!! What’s that sound? Looks like we’re ready to kick-off our Disney Cruise champagne tasting. Cheers!
What Is It?
It’s Disney Cruise champagne tasting! Need we say more? Yes, yes we do, that’s why we are here. Throughout your Disney Cruise, you’ll find different adult beverage seminars. They range from champagne tasting to tequila tasting, and even mixology courses.
The tastings are a combination of a seminar focused around the specific beverage of choice and of course the tasting. It’s why we’re all here!
Cruise Insights: The beverage tastings during your days at sea will be the most popular.
The time has come. Our glasses are set-up and it’s time to pour some bubbly. Before we taste, we need to find the location. Depending on the ship the location will vary. For our Disney Magic Cruise, the Afterhours Lounge was used for the seminar. Ok, back to the tasting!
Our Disney Cruise champagne tasting consisted of 5 half pours or about two and a half glasses. The seminar was lead by the ship’s sommelier. Yes, each ship has its own sommelier on board. Crazy, right? While each glass is poured our sommelier walked us through the different aspects of tasting champagne and what to look for in good champagne. Did you know the smaller and tighter the bubbles the drier the champagne? Us, either!
We tasted our way through the glasses from the sweeter options to the driest options, then capped off our Disney Cruise champagne tasting with a glass of dessert champagne.
Cruise Insights: If you’re looking for a wine recommendation at dinner, ask your server to speak with the sommelier. They usually will give you a few options that pair well with your meal.
Sign Us Up!
How do we sign up? Great question. Signing up for a Disney Cruise champagne tasting is really easy, as you can sign up on the Disney Cruise app. Similar to the My Disney Experienceapp. Or you can head to guest services when you board the ship to see what options are available.
The cost of the different tasting seminars will vary. For our champagne tasting, the cost was $35 per person which includes tax and tip.
Cruise Insights: We recommend signing up as early as possible for the different beverage seminars, as they fill up quickly.
Worth It? Our Thoughts
For us, it was definitely worth it. First and foremost the champagnes we tasted we’re definitely good quality. One of the options is our favorites from the France pavilion in Epcot. All the bottles range from $50 to $70 per bottle when purchased at your local liquor store. Overall, it’s a great value at the $35 price point.
Our favorite part was the timing. By scheduling our champagne tasting prior to settling sail, it set the tone for our cruise. RELAXING! With the tasting lasting a little more than 30-minutes, we had plenty of time to settle in. If you enjoy champagne or just looking for an adult time out prior to setting sail we definitely recommend it. A toast to success Disney Cruise champagne tasting experience, cheers!
Bon Voyage! Well, not quite yet, we need to board the ship first. In the first article of our Disney Cruise series, we’re discussing our Disney Cruise embarkation day. By far the most important day of the cruise, as you cannot head out on your Disney Cruise without boarding the ship, right? You can always count on us to point out the obvious. Alright, our bags are packed we’re ready to set sail, let’s talk Disney Cruise embarkation day!
Port Of Call
Don’t worry, we had to look it up as well. The port of call is where you set sail from. On this Disney Cruise embarkation day, we’re boarding the ship in Miami to set sail on our 4 night, 5-day Very Merrytime cruise to the Bahamas. Disney Cruise Line has a variety of ports around the US and world. For the most part, the embarkation day is the same.
Cruise Insights: When possible we like to fly-in the night prior to our cruise to avoid any travel issues.
Airport To Ship
Go by land to set sail on the sea. Similar to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line will transport you from the airport to the cruise terminal. There are a few differences between the Disney Cruise Line transport and the Magical Express. The first is the cost. Disney’s Magical Express is included when you stay at a Disney Resort, whereas the Disney Cruise Line transport does have a cost that varies based on the cruise. For our cruise, to the Bahamas, the transport was $22 each way.
The second big difference is the luggage. Similar to the Magical Express, Disney Cruise Line sends luggage tags to your home. The difference comes with how they will be used. With Disney Cruise Line you will attach your luggage tags after picking up your luggage at baggage claim prior to dropping your off with the porters in your port of call. Disney uses the tags to bring your bags to your cabin.
Cruise Insights: We like to put our Disney Cruise Line luggage tags in a carry-on bag for easy access.
Make way for…us! Sorry Price Ali, it’s our time to shine in the spotlight. Now if we only had a genie. Once at the cruise terminal, you’ll hand your luggage off the porter outside the cruise terminal entrance. First stop, security check. After showing your reservation and passport, you make your way through security to your cruise check-in area.
Depending on your cruise status (based on how many Disney Cruise you’ve sailed on), there will be a line for you. At check-in, a Disney Cruise Line cast member will review your documents (reservation and passports), as well as take your picture for your key to the world card. It’s the most important card on your cruise. We’re all checked-in, let’s get this ship out in the seas!
Cruise Insights: We like to pack a few items in our carry-on bags, as once you hand your luggage to the porter it may not be delivered to your room til 4 pm or later.
Is time standing still? That’s what crossed our minds on our Disney Cruise embarkation day as we waited to board the ship. Disney Cruise Line is very organized on how guests board the ship, as you’re handed a boarding group number after completing your check-in. While in the cruise terminal you may see a Disney character or two posing for pictures. No better way to pass the time than snapping a picture with one of the Fab Five. Why hello, Minnie!
Now boarding group…it’s our group! Let’s go! When your group is called you head towards the gangway and take the first of many pictures on your cruise. Click! Picture completed, let’s head aboard.
Passholder Insights: We like to board the ship as early as possible. The earlier you arrive at the cruise terminal the lower your boarding group.
Smooth sailing! We found our Disney Cruise embarkation day to be very simple. After arriving at the cruise terminal around noon, and snapping a picture with Minnie, we were on the ship by 1:15 pm. First Disney Cruise article complete, next up we’ll be on the boat and waving Bon Voyage!