Well, hey there.

I’m Kelsey DeLange: wife, mother, encourager, and the artist behind Honey and the Hive. Welcome to By Honey and the Hive, a lifestyle journal dedicated to living intentionally, crafting a beautiful life, and seeking magic in the every day.

Kelsey DeLange

Hollywood + Hoth

Here we are at our final chapter of our epic surprise vacation and honestly I could blog about this trip forever because I never want it to end (you can read all about our big surprise and our time at Wizarding World here and follow along with our epic day at Magic Kingdom here).  Today I want to highlight our last stop in this incredible escape - Disney's Hollywood Studios.  I've never been to Hollywood Studios, so this was a first for all of us and we were so excited (especially for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge)!  When we had first planned this trip we were supposed to leave on December 28th, but after my dad unexpectedly passed away on the 27th we rescheduled our trip for the end of January it just so happened when we rescheduled everything that our day at Hollywood Studios fell on Alex's birthday (who if you didn't know, is a HUGE Star Wars fan) so honestly it couldn't have worked out more perfectly in the end.

We woke up bright and freakin' early on our Hollywood Studios morning in hopes of getting into the park immediately when it opened to get on a boarding group for the new Star Wars ride - Rise of the Resistance.  I honestly don't think I've ever willingly woken up that early in my life, or ran as fast as we did from the car inside the parks to join a boarding group.  If you aren't aware, this ride is brand new and getting the chance to ride it at the time that this was written is still very hard.  Your entire party has to be inside the park, and you have to join a boarding group on the Disney World app to even have the opportunity to ride - they only get through a certain number of boarding groups in a day and they fill up FAST.  We were there immediately when the park opened and were placed in a back-up boarding group - number 134.  So, we crossed our fingers hard (and checked the app non-stop to see where they were in the queue) in hopes our group would be called.

We woke up so early we skipped breakfast to get to the park faster, so we indulged in morning Mickey pretzels after getting our boarding group - after all, it is vacation, right?

We knew going into our day at Hollywood Studios that the majority of it would be spent in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, so before heading into that area of the park we wanted to soak up the other areas and attractions - starting with the most classic of all - the Hollywood Tower of Terror.  Can we take a second to just appreciate the perfect aesthetic of this ride?  I mean, I don't know about you but I'd gladly live there, haunts and all.

In this ride you're told the story about a group of patrons riding the hotel's elevator when the building is suddenly struck by lightning and they're never seen again, you ride through the corridors of the abandoned hotel before being plunged down the rickety elevator shaft.  It's definitely one of the more "thrilling" Disney rides and super fun.  

Then we bopped over to Toy Story Land which was like jumping right into the middle of the movies.  Disney absolutely nails it when it comes to the attention to detail throughout the parks.  It's so bright and fun, there are giant toys everywhere - building blocks, kinects, playing cards galore! It's like walking into a super-sized version of a child's play date.  We got to dance in the streets as we watched the Green Army Drum Corps set, and went for a ride on Slinky Dog Dash which is such a fun ride - you are twisting and turning through Andy's back yard zipping around toys and seeing some of your favorite friends from the movies.  It was definitely the perfect dose of nostalgia for one of our family's favorite Disney Pixar tales.

and then finally, we went into Star Wars: Edge of the Galaxy

Wow wow wow.  The level of detail throughout this part of the park is unlike anything I've ever seen or experienced in my entire life.  It's so cliche but as you walk in you truly feel as if you've jumped to hyper-speed and been transported into a galaxy far far away.  The park is modeled after the planet Batuu, and Black Spire Outpost. The landscaping feels to incredible authentic, the attention to detail throughout this entire park is just a marvel in and of it's self.  As you walk into the park you'll see the the Millenium Falcon in all her glory along with TIE fighters and other ships, droids, and so much more. You can walk through the trading post where there are tons of themed shops where you can purchase your own jedi robes and other goodies, you can build your own droid at the Droid Depot or forge your own lightsaber at Savi's Workshop.  There are so many things to see and take in - even the bathrooms are cool.

Dallas's favorite part was definitely building his own droid to take home at Droid Depot.  This Build-A-Bear-esque shop is absolutely incredible.  There are droid pieces hanging from the ceiling and circling overhead - it's such a neat space to bring your very own droid to life.  You get to select the pieces for your droid, choose a personality chip, and put in the motor, screw in the screws and turn it on for the first time.  There's even a little area outside of the shop with mats where you can play with your droid afterwards.  It's so fun to see all the kids playing together and showing off their creations.

Throughout the park you'll see a lot of familiar characters roaming about.  We saw lots of Storm Troopers (one even came up to Dallas and questioned him about his droid!)  Rey, and Chewbacca walking around.  Alex had quite the character experience with Chewy as he sized him up and tested out his Wookie growl - he did a pretty solid job if I do say so myself.

We had a blast riding Millenium Falcon: Smuggler's Run.  This is such a fun interactive ride - Alex and I were pilots flying the ship through the galaxy amidst danger at every turn while Dallas was a gunner keeping us safe throughout our journey.  It's really cool sitting in the cockpit and playing your role throughout the ride, definitely an awesome experience.

We stopped for lunch at Docking Bay 7, which was absolutely awesome.  The restaurant is stationed in an operational hangar bay and the atmosphere is so cool.  Just like outside in the park there's something to see everywhere you look.  Alex and I ordered the Felucian Kefta and Hummus Garden Spread and shared the Takodana Quencher and the Surly Sarlaac drinks, while Dallas ordered the Dallas got the Peka Pasta Rings Youngling Meal.  The food was amazing, like, not just good "theme park food", this was straight up one of the best meals I've had in my life, and I still find myself craving it since we've been home.

There are also a lot of really neat Star Wars features outside of the Galaxy's Edge area of the park.  We really enjoyed the Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away show at center stage in front of the Chinese Theater - it occurs several times throughout the day and gives you the opportunity to see some of your favorite characters from the films.  There is also the original Star Tours ride which is definitely not as thrilling as some of the other rides, but it's still a fun experience.  If you have kiddos who are interested Jedi Training also takes place throughout the day!  Launch Bay Theater is a must-see for Star Wars fans too.  There's a short film that deep dives into the making of Star Wars, it goes into the films, the theme park, and the video games and was really cool to get a glimpse into just how much has gone into the franchise.  After watching the film you're able to walk through a dedicated museum filled with the original movie posters, props, costumes, light sabers, and even some of the ships from the movies.  It was so cool getting to see all these pieces of film history.  And while we were walking through the museum we got what is to this day the greatest text I have ever received... our boarding group was called for Rise of the Resistance!

Now, I don't want to give any major spoilers, but this ride is everything and more.  It's really hard to say where the queue ended and the ride began because the entire experience is so immersive.  We were actually waiting in line in front of someone who had worked on the construction crew building the ride and it was so cool to get to hear his perspective and learn all about the process of how it all came to be.  This ride is truly like nothing I've ever experienced before, the premise is that you're a recruit for the Resistance when your transport vehicle is captured by the First Order and Kylo Ren.  A band of resistance fighters including Rey and BB8 sneak aboard to save you and give the Resistance a fighting chance against the First Order.  The visuals and the experience of this ride is just so incredible, there is something to marvel at everywhere you look, there's so much going on, it is by far the coolest ride I've ever experienced.

By the time we got off of Rise of The Resistance, night had fallen and Edge of The Galaxy becomes a completely different experience at night.  You can hear sounds of the forest and aliens and droids bopping amongst themselves, there are tons of storm troopers roaming about, and with the trading post all lit up it's just a sight to see.

We ended our night back at the Chinese Theater for the light shows, both the Wonderful World of Animation and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show which are back to back.  In the Wonderful World of Animation you see a ton of your animated favorites projected onto the Chinese Theater with fun music and sound clips to accompany your favorite characters.  Then, the glowing light from lightsabers descend upon you in the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show as fireworks light up the sky and you see all of your favorite scenes from the Star Wars franchise projected onto the theater.  It's such an awesome experience, and a wonderful way to end the night.  The Disney light shows are just magic.

This trip was truly perfect in every way, and I'm so grateful that we were able to surprise Dallas and take this trip together as a family.  It was the perfect break from reality and we made some life-long memories that we'll cherish forever.  We've already started dreaming up a trip back someday soon!


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