Star Wars Dark Side – Thursday

Since this was an inaugural race, I decided to take the first flight out in the morning. My original thought was to be at the Expo as early as possible. After the fiasco of Princess, I amended that thought. There was nothing I really needed in the merchandise. I decided to take my time and get there when I could.

I woke up early and caught the 7:40 am flight which got into Orlando at just after 9 am. Originally, I was going to meet Jamie at the airport. Unfortunately, her work commitments had her switching her flight so she didn’t arrive until 1:30 pm. So, I proceeded to the baggage claim to get my checked bag. I find it very difficult to pack for a race weekend in a carry on. I did have my 5k and 10k outfits and a pair of running shoes in a backpack that I carried on. The rest of my things were in a checked bag. The bag took a little longer than normal for MCO, but did finally show up. I then proceeded to the Magical Express to catch my bus to Port Orleans French Quarter.

I had a magic band for a previous trip since everything for this trip was sent to Jamie. That ended up working out best so she had the bag tags and could let Disney get her checked bag later. About the time I got to the airport, Jamie texted me that the room was ready and gave my the room number. The one request she had made was the we were close to the lobby. After looking at the resort map, we were probably the furthest from the lobby. However, the resort is small so we were just going to go with it.

When the bus arrived at the resort, I proceeded straight to the room. I loved the greeter at the door that was all decked out.

It was in the building closest to the Riverside closer to the water.

To be honest, there was only one other building between ours and the lobby. In the scheme of things, the walk isn’t really that long. The room was as I expected from our stay 2 years ago.


I realized the outfit I wore on the plane would not cut it in the FL heat.

I changed into more weather appropriate clothes and caught the bus to the Expo. I had been texting Nicki to find out how things were. She had caught a cab over to be lined up before opening. While she was there, nothing was that bad. I had the bus to the Expo all to myself.

The driver even let me off closer to the entrance instead of at the bus stop. I made my way to bib pickup. I stopped on the way to get a picture with the replica medal.

Well, by the time I got there, the line was in an S outside the building.

It was continually moving but I was not expecting the line. I had all my waivers and ID with me. I went straight to what I thought was the challenge booth only to realize it was the half only booth.

I continued over to the Challenge booth. The volunteers did a great job of getting things in a timely manner. I got my bib, program, bag check sticker, and a card to get my pre-ordered merchandise. I then stepped over to get my picture taken for the challenge. It wasn’t really obvious so I hope no one missed that step. I then proceeded across the aisle to get my 5k bib. That line was much longer. I noticed my number was about mid-pack. Once I reached the front, I got my 5k bib and bag check sticker. I told them I didn’t need another program. The shirts for the challenge and 5k were also in this same place. So, I went and got the 5k first. They also handed me a clear bag that had safety pins and a Clif Bar in it. Then I went to the challenge shirt area. Since you get 3 shirts, they already have them in the clear bag with the pins and Clif Bar. I stuffed the 5k things and my bibs in the challenge shirt bag. Then, I made my way out and to the pre-ordered merchandise area.

This was the same path from Princess. They had re-painted the hall with Star Wars shadows.




I really liked that small detail. To get the pre-ordered merchandise, you basically exit the building and climb stairs back up to the top and go in a different entrance up there next to the line I had been in before. In this area, there was one line for all pre-orders including Dooneys.

This is a change from Princess. The area that had been Dooneys was for issues with pre-orders. They used the tape line on the floor as a queue. This was easily missed by some people. Also in this area was an Official Merchandise area and a place to buy Dooneys. Once I got to the front of the line, I got my Dooney, pin set, and 2 jackets. I had ordered 2 by accident forgetting I had ordered the first. Luckily, I had ordered 2 sizes, XL and XXL. I did like the jackets. They were supposed to be woman’s sizes, but I think they were unisex. They were very roomy and the sleeves were very long. That was good for me, but not so good for Nicki who was going to buy my spare. Luckily, her friend, Tara, decided she wanted it. At his point, Tara and Nicki were already on their way to Hollywood Studios since they had some earlier Fast Passes. I was going to join them for their 1:30 Frozen Sing-Along. I had about an hour at that point. I scanned the merchandise but really only wanted a necklace.

After failing to see one, I asked a Disney person who had a full listing. Apparently, this is the first race they have not made a necklace for. I guess I’ll have to make my own charm when the time comes to convert my necklaces into a charm bracelet. I decided to head over to the Expo and do a short lap. I did promise Rebecca that I would stop at the New Balance area and pick her up some flounder clips.

Once I exited the building, I followed signs to the Expo. I heard someone say, ‘Is that the famous Kristin?’ as I walked to area to the entrance. It turns out it was Jacci from my Glass Slipper Challenge group. I stopped and chatted with her and a lady from pbrc for a few minutes. I also got a brief call from the daycare and had to call my husband. Then, I looked at my watch and realized I needed to get moving. I proceeded to the Expo.

It really didn’t look that crowded to me. I looked at the Raw Threads shirts as I passed their area. I went into New Balance and got the flounder clip ons. Then I walked in a loop around the Expo. There was nothing that I needed and I was running out of time. I exited the Expo area.

Nicki had told me about a BB8 picture that you needed your bib to get. After asking a few people, I finally found the area.

I walked in and the wait was more than 30 minutes. I decided to wait and get it the next day since Jamie had to come back to get her shirts. I was glad to finally see something that was for runners only. Mind you, runners could bring the rest of their party with them. At this point I knew time was running very short. I headed for the entrance. I knew I would need to take a cab to get to Hollywood Studios in time. The cabs were sitting to the left of the main entrance walkway. I got into the first one and he took me to the Studios. It ended up being just over $10 for the ride. Well worth it to be there in time.

I walked to the front entrance and the bag check lines. I had a very full clear plastic bag from the Expo and the clear bag with the Dooney bag. Once the looked at my bags, I got picked to go through the metal detector. Luckily, nothing set it off. I proceeded to the main gate and successfully used my magic band to get in. I was getting close on time so I walked very fast towards Star Wars and the location I knew for the Frozen singalong. When I got by Star Tours, I realized it had been moved. So, I turned around and followed the signs back to the theater beside the Great Movie Ride. I found Nicki, Tara, and their other friends waiting outside. Technically we still had a few minutes before our Fast Passes would start, but people were already entering so we followed. We got through no problem and walked to the inclined concrete area to wait. When it was time, the doors opened and we moved most of the way down a row. While waiting for the theater to fill, I pulled out the jackets and tried them one. That’s how I found out about the fit and arm length. The show was great as usual.

We decided to head over to Star Tours since the line had been rather short.

We made a bathroom stop along the way. One of the Jedi training sessions was happening as we approached. We walked right inside and the standby line was maybe 10 minutes. I ended up on the front row which was a new experience for me. We all enjoyed the ride. They had a Fast Pass for Tower of Terror. I hadn’t heard from Jamie yet, so I walked with them. We passed this group of cute Jedi in training on our way.

On the way, I got a text back from Jamie that she had arrived. We decided to just meet her in front of the 50’s Prime Time cafe where we had reservations. There were street performers out on the road leading to Tower of Terror. I decided to stop and watch them while the others went on the ride. These street performers were great!

I could have sat and watched them for hours. They involved the audience watching them, too. Once they were gone, I sat on a bench to wait for the others. Somehow, I missed them. Two went on the Rockin Roller coaster while the rest headed to the main road and took a bunch of magic photos. I decided to head over to the cafe and wait for Jamie.

I was only there for a few minutes when Jamie arrived. She was obviously still in clothes she had worn on the plane. I was just glad she made it in time for the reservation. The rest showed up shortly after. We compared travel stories while we waited for the ones that rode to coaster. Once they showed, we checked in. We only waited a few minutes when we were called. Jamie and I had been to this restaurant a year ago for Princess. Funny enough, we were seated at a table in the corner of the room we had been watching from our seats before.

The waiter was great. Jamie and I were on the dining plan and not seated next to each other.

He had no problems with it. I got the Chicken Pot Pie and a Root Beer Float.

This chicken pot pie could seriously feed two people.

Luckily, the floats are considered a drink on the dining plan. We were all so full by the time dessert came around. Only Jamie and I got one. We always do since it is included on the dining plan. I got Dad’s sundae again.

It had the caramel corn topping like I remembered but was served in a glass this time instead of a plate. I only got through about half of it since it was delicious. I only had one person take a bite of it.

As we finished up, there was talk of the Disney Visa picture spot. We decided to stroll over there.

It turns out we got there about 30 minutes after it ended for the day. So, Jamie and I had Fast Passes for Toy Story Midway Mania. It’s a super fun ride and we didn’t want to miss our window. The rest decided to head the same way to get the Woody and Buzz pictures. We parted ways as we entered the Fast Pass line. Luckily, the wait was all inside. It really didn’t take that long. I’m used to this Fast Pass line taking forever. I really love this ride.

We knew this was the only night we would stay out late and I wanted to see the Star Wars fireworks. Jamie walked to the front with me to get a locker. I was getting sick of carrying around all the bags. Once we stowed our things, we decided to go ride the Rockin Roller coaster. We stopped on the way to get some pictures made. My favorite was our picture using the Force.

Then we continued on to Rockin Roller Coaster.

We missed this last time and I knew there was a single rider line. To be honest, the wait wasn’t that bad. We probably could have gone in the regular line and been on in the same amount of time. Jamie had not been on this one before. We both ended up on the same coaster, just different cars. I was placed with some high school boys.

She was in a more subdued car. We both enjoyed the ride.

At that point, it was time for our Little Mermaid Fast Passes. Again, this was probably something we wouldn’t have needed Fast Passes to see. They directed us right into the preshow (holding) area. Things are slightly different than about 20 years ago when I worked it. It was getting crowded and Jamie’s head was woozy from the coaster. She ended up stepping out to some fresh air while we waited. Once inside, I allowed some people to get a head of us so we would have to go so far down the row. The show is just as I remembered. I do think the lasers weren’t working correctly. Either that, or they changed it. I swear they used to work up and down the sides more. They seemed very stationary. The performers on stage did a good job.

We exited the doors into a rain shower. I found out she had also never been on the Great Movie Ride. I knew that was the closest thing and we worked our way under cover through the gift shop. Then we walked quickly to the GMR entrance. The line was only slightly outside and some people were waiting before moving. We only got delayed about a minute in the sprinkles. As we were riding, I pointed out some things to Jamie like a hidden Mickey. We got the gangster which was nice since I usually end up with the cowboy.

They have updated the ending which is to be expected in 20 years. By the time we left, the rain was over. Another thing Jamie hadn’t seen before was Muppets 3D. There is never a line for that one so we headed that way. We only had to wait for the doors to open about 5 minutes. Once again I waited a little and picked a row with people already in it. This show is cute and very kid friendly. Once it was over, we decided to try to catch Fastasmic. We made our way to the theater.

Once seated, we kept hearing announcements about the weather delaying or cancelling the show. Well, the show started about on time. I think we saw most of it before they cut it short. The minute they stopped it, we exited the theater. Some people chose to wait and see if they would finish the show. They ended up officially ending it where it had stopped only about 5 minutes later. We didn’t have that much time before fireworks. So, we browsed a few shops and then got everything out of the locker and returned the key. We got a spot by the crossroads at the entrance since we knew we wanted to get out quick when it was done. The fireworks did not disappoint. I think it was one of the longest fireworks shows I have seen. Once we were sure it was over, we headed to the bus to Port Orleans French Quarter. The bus showed up pretty quickly. The ride to our resort was short and we were soon in our room. We had a message that we had something waiting for us at the front desk. I walked down and got a bag of goodies from our fellow GCS Facebook page ladies, Lisa and Naomi. This was my half of the things inside the bag. They really are thoughtful!

We got in bed and fell asleep in short order since we had an early wake up the next morning.

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About kristincooke

I am a mother of 2 that started running in 2012. I also enjoy baking and some crafts.
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