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Testing Genie+ With Park Hopping

Updated: Apr 21

Day 2: Walt Disney World Resort & Disney Cruise Line | Disney Dream with Disney World and Genie+


Our alarm clocks rang early and I immediately hit snooze. Hilary reminded me that we needed to book our lightning lanes and all of a sudden I was way more awake than I wanted to be. It was 7am and I realized I forgot to buy Genie Plus for today. I had planned on buying it at midnight, but fell asleep and forgot. It took me a couple minutes to buy and at 7:05am I was booking our first lightning lane. Those 5 minutes make a HUGE difference in selections. We wanted Tower of Terror for our first choice and the first time available was 3:20pm. A bummer since we had dining reservations in another park at the same time. I was able to push back our dining reservation, but it was much later than we wanted.


This morning was extra magic hours for all Disney Resort Guests. This allowed us to enter the park 30 minutes before opening. We were slow moving and so was our bus so in the end we arrived to the gate five minutes before the official opening time. Those five minutes were golden. The front of the gate was already packed with people waiting to get in. We entered through the resort guest line and bypassed the crowd completely. We headed straight to Slinky Dog Dash and the wait was already 60 minutes. We waited in line. We were expecting to book our next lightning lane at 9:05am, but apparently the next one isn’t until 2 hours after opening. We couldn’t book another Genie+ lightning lane until 11am! We were able to purchase a lightning lane for Mickey’s Railway though.


Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios

After Slinky Dog we walked to Toy Story Mania where it was another hour wait. The line moved quickly and I think we waited about 45 minutes. It’s always nice when the line moves faster than expected. Toy Story Mania is a family-favorite. You basically play a series of carnival games and your score and accuracy is recorded. Hilary outscored me on every game. Makeup for beating her yesterday on Buzz.


The lack of sleep the past couples nights was catching us to us so we headed to get coffee. We originally planned on Starbucks which is located at the Trolley Cart, but we decided to give Joffrey’s Coffee a try instead since it was closer and the line was shorter. I ordered the Valentine’s day special which was a latte with coconut. It was fabulous and better than Starbucks in my opinion. Hilary had a cold brew, and she preferred the Starbucks one over this one. We found a bench to sit and relax and to figure out our plan for the rest of the day. We looked for a lightning lane for Soarin’ in EPCOT, but the time was too early to work with our Tower of Terror one. We opted for Star Tours instead.


Our lightning lane window for Mickey’s Runaway Railway was up so we headed to the ride. This ride is a revamp of the Great Movie Ride. I was disappointed that they had to get rid of the Great Movie ride, but the new ride is better than I expected. You are on a trackless train that takes you through the ride. The walls are filled with color animation. It’s the only ride at Disney that features Mickey and Minnie Mouse and I was smiling the whole time. It was cute and in some parts unexpected. While the space reminds me of the Great Movie Ride, the ride itself is it’s own thing entirely. This was a good use of lightning lane and was worth it for me!


Now it was time for our Star Tours lightning lane. This is a ride I usually skip because it’s terrible for motion sickness. Medicine and a successful tea cups yesterday gave me the courage to try it again. Even with the medicine, I still felt queasy so this was probably the last time I’ll ride it. I thought this was my first time riding this ride, but as soon as we started to jump through hyperspace the memories flooded back. I recommend skipping this one if you are prone to motion sickness.


We then meandered through Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Hilary and I have both ridden the two rides here on other trips so we opted to pass this time around since the lines were so long. We headed into Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities where you can find kyber crystals and holocrons. I personally had never heard of any of this before, but a cast member give me a crash course. The holocron was essential a fancy plastic box that changed colors and talked to you when a crystal was inserted. It looked like the kind of toy my son would love! The holocron was about $50 and the crystals were $20 so it was a pass for me for this trip, but something I think my son would love to do on our next trip. There is also a rare crystal that you’ll want to get if you do buy it!

It was lunchtime and we were hungry, but we wanted to save room for snacks at EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts. We decided on ice cream for a snack. We headed towards Tower of Terror where we found Hollywood Scoops. I had strawberry ice cream served in a cup with a cone on top. Apparently, Covid-19 has killed the normal ice cream cone. It was decent ice cream, but not up to my snobbish Creamery ice cream standards. The cone was delicious though.


Hollywood Scoops Ice Cream
Hollywood Scoops Ice Cream

We still had some time to kill before our Lightning Lane for Tower of Terror so we took a detour to the Lightning McQueen show located near Rock N Roller Coaster. It was a cute show geared towards kids featuring the Cars characters. Most of the show was a video, but Lightning McQueen was there in physical form too. The kids around us loved it and this is a good option if you’re in the park with small children. In my opinion, the show was a little too much stimulation. If you are looking for a sensory friendly-show, this isn’t it.


The time had finally come for the ride of the day: Tower of Terror. This is Hilary’s favorite ride in all of Disney and also one of my favorites. The standby line for this ride was 120 minutes so I really appreciated having a lightning lane for this one. Something unusual happened to me on this ride, but I don’t want to spoil the fun. Maybe one day you too will experience this! Until then, you’ll just have to wonder. It made me laugh and smile. As always, this ride was amazing. It does physically drop you so definitely a ride for the thrill seekers. The cool thing about it is that the algorithm for dropping is always different. It makes the ride suspenseful even if you’ve been on it before. I highly recommend this one! Also, fun fact, you can see the ride from Morocco in EPCOT which is why it’s the pink hue that it is. It needed to match Morocco! Hilary told me this in line. I thought it was pink to match the haunted Galvez Hotel in Galveston, Texas! That hotel reminds me so much of this ride!


We had originally planned to head to EPCOT at around 2pm, but our 3:20pm lightning lane threw a wrench into that plan. We had made another lightning lane earlier in the day for Soarin’ for so we headed there immediately after Tower of Terror. It’s an easy Disney Skyline ride from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT which is my favorite mode of transportation at Disney. You’re in a pod floating through the sky. It’s scenic and peaceful, and a nice sensory break from the parks. The Skyliner takes you to the International Gateway entrance of EPCOT which is the entrance near France. It was a quick Magic band scan to enter and then we headed to Soarin’.


EPCOT
EPCOT

Soarin’ in my opinion is one of the worst rides to wait in the standby line, and one I great candidate for a lightning lane. The wait time isn’t necessarily longer than other rides, but it seems to move slowly and feels longer than it is. This is usually my first choice for lightning lane with Frozen coming in a close second for EPCOT. Next week, I’m going on a cruise so on this trip to Disney I’ve been extra vigilant with wearing my mask. It is required for indoor locations at Disney, but I’ve been wearing mine outside too. I’m wearing a KN-95 and overall have felt pretty good about how much it minimizes the chance of catching something. Nothing made me feel less confident with the mask’s ability to block disease transmission than riding Soarin’. If you aren’t familiar with this ride, it is basically a hang gliding adventure all around the world. Your seat lifts in front of a giant screen and you watch the world go by as you feel like you’re flying high above it. Throughout the movie, there are smells that correspond with what you see. In line, I was thinking that this ride may not be as cool with masks on because it would limit how much you could smell. My mask did not affect this at all! All the scents were strong and unaffected by the mask. If the smell can get through, what else can? I’m still wearing my mask all the time and trusting the science, but it really makes me wonder how effective they are.


We headed over to Test Track with the intention of waiting in the single rider line. The line was long so it was clear it was either going to be the ride or checking out the Festival of the Arts before our dinner reservation. We decided to divide and conquer. Hilary went into line and I went to find snacks. I was also really hungry because ice cream was the only thing fueling me at this point. My first choice of snacks were all the way in Germany and the American Pavilions which are both far from Test Track. I decided I’d try a petite donut first to hold me over. The presentation was artful, but the donut was terrible. It was too hard to cut with a fork and a lot smaller than I was expecting. It came served with a sugary melting puddle of sorbet. I rarely think anything is too sweet, but this was. Skip this one! There are so many much better snacks at EPCOT.


At this point, Hilary texted me saying she was bailing the Test Track Line. It hadn’t moved at all so we met back up, and headed to the Creperia for our dinner reservation with the hopes they could seat us early. No such luck. Hilary found a bench to relax on and I went on a quest for a more substantial and delicious snack. Off to Artist’s Point in the American Pavilion! There was Beef Wellington here which sounded amazing. It was everything and more that I would want from beef wellington…a nice flaky pastry wrapped around the perfect juicy beef tenderloin. It was served with a little dollop of sauce and.a tiny carrot. It was perfection and I could have eaten ten of them. After my snack, I returned back to France for dinner.


EPCOT
EPCOT

The Creperie offered a prix fix option that included hard cider, soup, a savory crepe, and a dessert crepe. I had the sweetest option of the hard cider which was very satisfying. The soup was delicious and tasted extra buttery. I chose the ham and cheese crepe as my entree and the pear chocolate ganache crepe for dessert. The ham on the crepe was much different than I expected and looked more like prosciutto than ham. The crepe tasted nice, but had a repulsive smell to it that I couldn’t get passed. The ham and cheese occupied the center of the crepe and left a lot of crepe left plain. I probably wouldn’t order it again. The pear crepe wasn’t my favorite either. The pears were juicy and didn’t blend well with the crepe. It left the crepe a little soggy and watered down the chocolate. The chocolate on the crepe was by far the best part. It was really nice to try a new restaurant, but overall I was expecting more.


La Creperie de Paris
La Creperie de Paris

We had two long days and as much as I wanted to see the fireworks, it was time to head “home.” We walked to the front of the park to catch our bus back to the resort. We returned to our room to discover that the door was ajar. I’m not sure how we didn’t notice it hadn’t closed, but luckily our room was undisturbed and everything was exactly as we left it.


Tomorrow morning we head to our Disney Cruise!



About the Author

Amaris is the owner of the Ohio-based travel agency, Adventures by Amaris. Her love for travel began at a young age when she traveled to her parents' home countries of England and Mexico. She continued traveling in High School by participating in a People to People program to Italy, France and Monaco. In college, she spent six weeks in Europe studying abroad and traveling. She visited Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Ireland, Vatican City, and Italy in a whirlwind summer. Through her adult life she continues to make traveling a priority with her family. Her young son is autistic so navigating the world of traveling with an autistic child brings on new adventures. Her travel resume includes Mexico, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia, and Cayman Islands. She is an expert in planning family vacations across the world from Disney World to Europe to worldwide cruises.




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