My Christmas gift to Ryan this year was Savi’s lightsaber building experience in Galaxy’s Edge, the new Star Wars area in Hollywood Studios in Disney World! We spent four days in Florida- two in Siesta Key at the beach, and two in Orlando at Disney. I’m so excited to share some of the details and answer all your questions from Instagram in more detail!
Ryan is a big Star Wars fan- I personally am not a big fan, but he loved it. I loved seeing him so happy- although I will also be the first to tell him that I am never going back and doing it again, haha! It was fun for him but not really my thing enough to do it twice, haha- I think I’ll stick to Magic Kingdom or the beach! 🙂
We started our visit in Siesta Key, visiting Ryan’s family and enjoying the beaches, which was my highlight of the trip. Laying on the beach and sipping a drink is the perfect day for me!
Siesta Key Beaches
Going to the beach in Siesta Key is amazing- these beaches have been consistently rated the top beaches in the United States for a reason! They have white fine sand, crystal clear blue waters, and I also love Siesta Key because there is a snack shack with amazing pina coladas (and clean bathrooms!). I’ve been to other beaches nearby but they truly don’t compare- Clearwater is too busy, and other areas don’t have the same type of sand (including St Armands, mentioned below).
St Armands Circle
One of my favorite spots in Florida is St Armands- it’s a great spot for walking around and shopping, there is beach access to watch the sunset before dinner, and my favorite- the Columbia Restaurant, a Florida icon with the best sangria and salad, both of which are prepared table side.
We love to catch the sunset, then spend the evening walking through the shops (my favorite is Binjara Traders for unique dresses!) and get dinner. Then, end your night with an ice cream cone from Kilwins or a nightcap from one of the bars!
Orlando & Disney
We spent two days in Orlando, one in Disney Springs and one in Hollywood Studios. We stayed one night at the Hilton in Disney Springs to break up the drive, since its a few hours back to Siesta Key/ Tampa.
I hadn’t been to Disney Springs since I was really little, and boy has it changed, haha! We spent the whole afternoon there and there are soo many shops to see and do! FYI- you have to wear masks outdoors in Disney Springs, just like in the parks! We loved the Jack Hanger bar, which is Indiana Jones themed, and the Boathouse for a fancy dinner out.
For shopping, I loved Kate Spade (I bought a fun yellow purse!) and of course the Disney stores. It’s a good place to shop if you are with annual pass holders (Ry’s parents are!) because most of the stores offer the discount they get on Disney retail, which can be up to 30% off! I also loved the M&M store which is so cheesy but it was fun to do the wall and get a snack of fun flavors to go haha! 😉
Ry was excited to visit Amorette’s Patisserie, but I honestly was not impressed at all- the cake was dry and way too sweet, as someone that is capable of baking I can personally say that the cakes are all fondant (which tastes pretty gross) and they do not taste as good as they look. My advice is skip them and get Dole Whip, which is always worth the calories!
You can get Dole Whip at Disney Springs, which was an amazing surprise for me, because you can’t get it in the park in Hollywood Studios! (It’s Magic Kingdom + Animal Kingdom only!). You can find it in the snack pavilion right by the entrance in front of the amphitheater area and Disney store!
Hollywood Studios & Galaxy’s Edge
Hollywood Studios is one of the less popular parks (at least in my mind) when visiting Disney, but now Galaxy’s Edge has totally changed the game. Other than Galaxy’s edge, the rides are pretty much only Tower of Terror, Rockin Roller Coaster, The Toy Story rides, and a few others. So, we spent most of the day in Galaxy’s Edge!
Galaxy’s Edge is so so big- there are two major rides, Smuggler’s Run and Ride of the Resistance, and even with the capacity being lower at Disney due to Covid, the lines were still hours long. If I had let him, Ryan could have spent the whole day in Galaxy’s Edge and still had more to see- as it is, we spent 6 hours total in that area of the park and he still had more shops he wanted to visit (I was about done and needed to see some color).
The entire area of the park is themed- there are sounds coming from above that sound like spaceships, stormtroopers walking around (although limited during Covid), and even the cokes are themed like little droids! If you are a Star Wars fan, you will love it- it’s akin to Harry Potter world at Universal. If you aren’t a Star Wars fan like me, you will get sick of it after four hours, so perhaps take a break and go to Toy Story land- I kind of wish I had because I was in a pretty bad mood by hour six, TBH!
Our favorite ride was Ride of the Resistance- it was a mutli-part ride where you really feel like you are captured by stormtroopers. I won’t spoil anything else, but if you pick a ride to go on, even if you aren’t into Stars Wars, pick this one. To get a slot, you have to reserve one on the app at 7 AM or 1 PM- we didn’t get one at 7 AM but did get one at 1 PM, so don’t despair if you don’t get your first slot.
Ryan’s gift was to go to Savi’s and do the lightsaber building experience, which he loved! Each builder allowed one guest, so I stood behind him while he built his saber. It costs ~$200 to do, and the whole experience is only about 30 minutes with some backstory sort of like a little show. I found it a little cheesy and don’t truly understand the purpose of owning a $200 glow stick besides collecting dust on a shelf, but Ryan was excited. It was a fun gift to give him, and after this crazy year I was super excited to give him a day of happiness. (Plus, we all know how hard it is to shop for boys, so I’ll take it!).
Galaxy’s Edge & Disney Q + A
So many of you submitted questions on Instagram stories about our trip, so I’m answering a few here!
What was Disney like during covid and how was wearing masks?
I want to preface my answer by saying that Ry and I both have the antibodies from having covid so I felt comfortable traveling, but obviously going to Disney and flying was still a risk. Disney during covid has pros and cons- on the plus side, it’s at limited capacity which was very nice (although Galaxy’s edge didn’t feel emptier TBH), but having to wear a mask in the Florida heat is not fun. I wouldn’t go later than spring because I can’t imagine wearing a mask in 100 degrees! Disney is being really strict about mask wearing so the only time you can take it off is to eat or drink.
Tip: I brought three freshly washed cotton masks and switched them out throughout the day, which helped a lot.
Did you get any pushback from cast members on mask-less photos?
We didn’t get pushback from cast members for the photos we took without masks- because we were holding drinks in all of them and very, very far away from others (the lightsaber photo was basically taken in a corner LOL). Every time we took a photo, we took candid photos between sips of our drinks and made sure we were super far away from people in an area that already had the “OK” to eat or drink in without masks. Otherwise, we had our masks on.
Was the Savi’s Lightsaber build worth $200?
This totally depends on your budget- in my opinion, no it’s literally a glow stick, but Ry would probably be so quick to say that the Tiffany bracelets he’s bought me over the years weren’t worth their costs, LOL! After seeing the lightsaber and holding it in my hand, it’s worth noting that it has hefty feel to it- it feels more like a movie prop than a children’s toy- it doesn’t feel like Disney cut any corners.
This was certainly a more expensive gift, but my budget going in was about $200 for Ry’s gift because he tends to spend a lot on me, too. I consider this gift equivalent to men’s view on jewelry- pointless from a “practical standpoint” and will probably collect dust, but sentimental and priceless to Ry, which is what mattered to me. So, yes? 😉
Best photo ops in Disney’s Hollywood studios?
I personally don’t like pictures with a lot of people in the background, so I like to take pictures right in front of something directly, rather than a crowd. I like Toy Story land for fun, bright colors or right in front of the the tower of terror for classic Disney vibes! If you are looking for inspiration, here is my board on Pinterest with ideas!
Who takes the cute pics?
If the picture is of me, Ryan takes them! For this trip for the photos of the two of us like the one with the lightsaber, Ryan’s mom or brother did!
What did you carry in your backpack for the day?
I am obsessed with my rose gold Loungefly backpack because it is so practical! Here is everything I carried for the day:
- my wallet
- a water bottle from inside the park that I refilled throughout the day
- mini bottle of sunscreen
- extra band aids in case of blisters
- hand sanitizer
- hand lotion
- sanitizing wipes
- compact mirror & lip gloss & chap stick
- hair scrunchy & mini brush
- extra masks in a baggie
- my pill pack with allergy medication, pain reliever, and antacids
- sunglasses (which TBH I didn’t end up wearing because they fog up with my mask!)
And……that’s all the details of the Savi’s lightsaber building experience in Galaxy’s Edge, in Hollywood Studios in Disney World, and our time spent in Florida in Siesta Key!