Friday, August 19, 2011

In A Galaxy Far Away & A Long Drive Home: Trip Report pt. 7

Sunday morning rolled around and it was our final day of Star Wars Weekend, as well as our final day of vacation.  This is the day I have grown to dread, as I hate leaving Walt Disney World.  But I put that aside so we could take in our last day at Hollywood Studios.  We were up early again, but not as early, and arrived at the park right as they were opening the gates.  We went in with a whole new strategy today, as there were specific characters we had to see:  Luke, Leia, C3PO & R2D2.  Any other characters would just be gravy.

So we rushed in with the crowd and made a bee-line down Sunset Boulevard to Jabba's Hut, stopping just long enough to get our pic made in front of "the hat".  If you've not been to Star Wars Weekend or can't quite place it, Jabba's Hut was just a big building located behind Rock N' Roller coaster.  We actually passed through a gate in the RnR courtyard into a back stage area.  Jabba's Hut was massive and contained any and all possible Star Wars Weekend souvenirs, as well as the special meet & greet for the characters we were looking for.  We spent all morning just circling through the line, with Payton waiting with Kendall at one point, then I would get in line further back just in case the characters changed.  We really lucked out as initially Luke was there by himself, then C3PO came out to replace him.  Once Payton finally got up there, R2D2 came out to join them.  Later, I went through the line and got to meet them as well.  C3PO was amazing!  He wasn't your typical, silent Disney character.  Oh, no...he carried on full conversations, asking me if Payton was my "youngling" and commenting on what a clever youngling he was, as well as discussing the new Star Tours and which adventures we had been on.

So after meeting the droids, we split up again, with the boys going back in the now long line for characters and me looking around a bit.  By the time they reached the front of the line, Luke was back out with C3PO.  Kendall & Payton had met up with a married couple who were huge Star Wars fans and the four of them kept letting other people in line go in front of them.  It all paid off in the end when Princess Leia joined Luke Skywalker for pictures.  Payton was thrilled, and we all got in on those pictures!  Once we had met our required characters, we picked out our Star Wars Weekend shirts and then headed into the park.

We headed toward Star Tours to take another spin, then on to MuppetVision 3D.  After that, we were ready for some lunch, so the guys headed to Backlot Express while I waited in line to get another set of Star Tours fast passes.  Our lunch was absolutely terrible, and the place was packed.  By this time, Payton decided he was way to hot and ready to head out, so back to Animal Kingdom Lodge we went, and we stayed there the rest of the day.  We spent time resting and swimming, and decided to visit Boma for supper.  Without a doubt, it was the most expensive and most delicious dinner we had had the whole trip.  Having the opportunity to try so many African inspired dishes on the buffet as well as having the option of more "American" food for the less adventurous makes this restaurant one of our family favorites.

After dinner, it was time to get the packing and sorting done, ready to head out in the morning.  We checked out Monday morning and left Animal Kingdom Lodge around 7:00 a.m. Florida time.  As always, it was a little sad for me, but my guys were ready to get home.  Other than seeing more police cars than I've ever seen before (due to the holiday), the trip home was really smooth and uneventful.  We drove straight through and were back in our driveway in southern Illinois by 9:30 p.m. our time.

It was a wonderful trip filled with firsts:  first cruise, first Star Wars Weekend, first time at Le Cellier, Payton's first time on Carousel of Progress.  In my next blog post, I will share a few things I learned on this trip to the World (yes you can still learn something new even after visiting so many times) and what I will do differently on our next Disney vacation.  If you have any thoughts or ideas, or can share more insight into getting the most out of Star Wars Weekend, please comment.  Thanks for sticking it out with me on this very long trip report!

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