Star Wars Dark Side 2017 – Monday

I woke up knowing I would be leaving in a few hours. I showered and dressed. Then, I packed up all my bags. I took my suitcase around to the airport check in desk once it opened. I must admit, that is a nice service. Once I check it there, I don’t have to worry about it until I get to my home airport. So, I just had my backpack to carry around. I went to the food court to use a snack credit for breakfast.

I decided to find a bench by the water for a more relaxing, scenic view.

Once I finished my muffin, I decided to wander around Port Orleans French Quarter and get pictures.

They had this pictorial map of the waterway.

It was on the covered area by the entrance to the boat dock (on the right).

This is the view from the map area towards the section of French Quarter closer to Riverside.

Here are some various views of the pool area.



There is a laundry area next to the pool.

This sign was on the fence by the lobby. All these things are located in the same area. I should clarify that Spa in this case means hot tub.

This view is of the outside of the gift shop. It is actually located adjacent to the lobby area.

This is the parking lot closest to my room.

The outside of my building

Random pictures around the property

This is the running trail map. The purple section is French Quarter. The green is Riverside. This gives you an idea of how much smaller French Quarter is in comparison.

While I was there, the nightly campfires all around property were cancelled.

On the other side of this bridge, the Riverside area starts.

There were several of these little “squares” to sit and relax in around the property. Each had a different look and feel.

I also noticed each section of fencing seemed to be different.




The hitching posts really added to the look and feel.

I think this section is where they had the outdoor movies during the week.

Note on this sign that some of the weekly movies are over at Riverside.

There is a playground also by the pool and lobby area.

This is the main lobby entrance from the room side.

Before I left, I had to grab a large order of beniets to go with me.

Then I headed out front to wait for the Magical Express.

To the right of the lobby is the one and only bus stop area for French Quarter.

To the left is the baggage storage area and the airline check in desk. I was very glad I had checked in earlier since that line had grown considerably.

The lady working the front entrance was great and very personable. She kept up a conversation with me between her other duties.

All too soon, the bus arrived.

After the 30 minute ride, we arrived at the airport. We were greeted by this sign as we entered.

Here is a view of the long security lines at Orlando International airport.

I waited a few minutes and made a bathroom stop. Luckily, I have TSA-Precheck. By the time I came back, there were only a couple people in that line. Once through security, you have to take a People Mover to the terminal.

Only one side was open due to the construction.

I had plenty of time left before my flight since it was slightly delayed. So, I got some lunch and sat with a very nice lady and her daughter also heading home.

Once again I got a plane with newer seats.

The flight back was uneventful. Aside from getting home later, it wasn’t bad. It was delayed enough that I didn’t really have to deal with rush hour traffic. All-in-all, this was a good trip and I loved spending some quality time with my baby sister, Kassady.

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Star Wars Dark Side 2017 – Sunday

After the half marathon, I went back to the room. I found this on the door waiting.

I changed into my swimming suit and went out to the pool to cool off while I stretched out. Kassady was going to refill our mugs and join me poolside. I ended up getting out as she was heading to get the refills. So, I took my shower and dressed. I packed up all my medals from 2017 for pictures later. We made our way to Hollywood Studios via the bus. I knew I wanted to get medal pictures with the Star Wars characters. I briefly thought about heading to Magic Kingdom for my year of medals photo, but didn’t have the energy for a park hop. Once we entered Hollywood Studios, we caught the Storm Trooper march.

They went around the Crossroads building…

and then back up Hollywood Blvd to the stage.

We were too hungry to stay and watch the show. Instead, we continued on to my favorite quick service stop in the Studios, the Commissary.

The lines weren’t long and soon we were both seated with our chicken nuggets.

After finishing lunch, I wanted to get my medal pictures out of the way. So, we headed over to the Launch Bay area.

Even though this picture isn’t great, I loved the floor in the entrance.

Since it was the Dark Side race, we waited for Kylo Ren first. I put on all my medals from Light Side and Dark Side for these pictures.

Next we waited for Chewbacca. He tried to take my Light Side half medal since it’s just like the one he never got in the movie.

If there hadn’t been one on top of it, I might have given it to him for the picture. He looks a little sad with no medal.

New for this trip was BB-8. His line wasn’t too long, so we waited for him, too.

After we left the Launch Bay, I decided to get my year in medals picture done in front of the Chinese theater. There was no one in line when I got there. By the time I finished putting on all my medals and arranging them, there were a few people. I first got one without taking my sunglasses off.

When I realized I had my sunglasses on, I got the very helpful next person in line to remove them for me.

Once I got home, I added a couple things to my favorite shot.


Then it was time for our Star Tours FastPass.

Sometimes Star Tours hits me hard since there is no air movement with the motion. This time, it didn’t affect me as bad. We had some time, so we decided to go on the Great Movie Ride.

Afterwards, we made our way to Toy Story Midway Mania for our next FastPass.

The Green Army men were out.

I got a blurry selfie before the ride started.

Of coarse, I had to get a picture of our scores.

We wandered around and decided to duck into the Muppet 3D Movie. There is never any line here, you just have to wait for the next movie. Miss Piggy was at the entrance.

After exiting, we saw the Muppet store.

We also found Kermit by the strollers.

I got a few pictures of what the construction area looks like from the walls.


The we made our way to our last FastPass at the Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster.

Here’s our ride picture. I did tuck my medal in my shirt so it didn’t come off or hit me.

Then, it was dinnertime!

I had booked Hollywood & Vine hoping they would have a Star Wars theme during this time. They didn’t. So, we had …

On the back of the card were all the signatures.

Almost as soon as our waitress left, we met Minnie Mouse.

Shortly after that we saw Donald Duck.

Then we had a chance to grab some food. I like the Lobster Mac & Cheese.

Followed by a plate of seconds and desserts.

Then we met Mickey Mouse.

Our waitress was so good, we had to get her picture.

Finally we met Goofy.

On our way out, we turned in our photo card for our picture with Daisy.

We went back over to Launch Bay theater since there was almost no wait.

This is a movie theater where they show clips from all the Star Wars movies.

If I remember correctly, we decided not to stay for the show. The theater exits into the Launch Bay area.

Instead we decided to go to One Man’s Dream.

If you’ve never been, it’s a museum of different Disneyana followed by a theater show. I found a poster of my favorite Disney movie.

I could have spent much more time looking around at everything. This is a terrible picture, but the movie at the end was the preview of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Since it was our last night (and no early morning wake up the next day), we stayed for Fantasmic.

We were seated at the top of the Maleficent section since I wanted to make a quick exit to see the Star Wars fireworks.

This was our view.

We did make it out just after the fireworks started. We were able to grab a spot on Hollywood Blvd right next to Sunset. They really need to time this better so you can catch both Fantasmic and the fireworks. To be honest, the Star Wars fireworks weren’t as good as I remembered from before all the projections. I liked the old show better. It might just be that I like the fireworks better than projections and others have a different opinion.

After the fireworks, we got on our bus back to the hotel. Kassady had forgotten her ID in the room, so we were unable to get cocktails in the park. So, we went to the room and got her ID and then went up front to the bar for a celebratory cocktail. We both chose drinks with light up cubes.

Towards the end of our time in the lounge, these guys started playing. They were good.

After the drinks, Kassady went home since she had class the next day. I went back to the room and dropped into bed.

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