Dates: June 17-22
4 adults, 1 child, 2 infants (both 1yr old)
Resort: Pop Century | 50’s Building | Building 2 FLR 4 | Joint Rooms
Dining Plan: Disney Dining Plan (1 table service/1 quick service/2 snacks per person per day)
Memory Maker: Yes
June 17th: Travel Day/Epcot
June 18th Animal Kingdom
June 19th Hollywood Studios
June 20th Epcot/Magic Kingdom
June 21st Magic Kingdom
June 22nd Disney Springs/Travel Day
Overall, it was busy. We got lucky on our first day and were able to maneuver around Epcot freely without the large crowds. It rained almost every day but that’s expected in FL. Rain came and went a few times throughout the day, lasting about 20 min each time except for the one time a tornado warning was issued. That day it rained for most of the afternoon. All in all, we had a great time! We didn’t have touring plan other than just working with what we already had reserved prior to arriving. We were able to ride all of the major attractions thanks largely to the refresh method I will touch on further down.
Instead of giving you a super detailed report, I’m just going to hit on some of the topics people usually have questions about.
Should I get a Disney Dining Plan? Yes. I strongly recommend it. Disney meals are expensive and having everything prepaid with the option to pick just about everything from the menu is a great feeling. Without the dining plan you will most likely skip some meals or not pick what you actually want because you’re worried about the price. It’s not too much food if you get the middle package…the regular Disney Dining Plan. For the most part we are a 3 meals a day family and that was the best option for us. If you end up with some credits left over towards the end of your trip, head down to Disney Springs which is a good place to up those remaining credits.
Should I get Memory Maker? Yes. If budget is an issue you can always share Memory Maker with friends and family and split the cost. All you had to do is link those people to your My Disney Experience app. We split ours between 4 different families.
Should I do an After-Hours Event? Yes. We went to. The Villain’s After-Hours event at Magic Kingdom and it was nice to be able to see a significantly less crowded park and basically walk onto any ride with a 5 to 10 min wait except for Mine Train which had a 20 min wait. My brother and sister in law did the Animal Kingdom After Hours Event and they enjoyed it. They were able to ride Flight of Passage a bunch of times and every other ride they wanted.
Does everyone in my party need a Fastpass to ride the attractions when using rider switch? This was one of my biggest questions that I had going into my trip. Still to this day it’s a highly debatable topic that you will never get a definitive answer on. From my experience this past trip, it’s best to just be worry free and book Fastpasses for everyone in your group and here’s why….
Fastpasses: If you didn’t get to pre-book certain fastpasses that you wanted, don’t worry. You’ll be able to book that ride once you’re at the park. For example, if you didn’t get to book Slinky Dog Dash, on the day that you are at Hollywood Studios, you can use the “refresh method”. While at Animal Kingdom, I was able to move our Flight of Passage time for a party of 5 from 6:35pm to 2pm. Same thing happened with Slinky Dog Dash and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Just note that using the refresh method takes up a lot of time and takes you away from the actual experience of being at Disney BUT it WILL get you on those rides you couldn’t get Fastpasses for.
Dining: We ate at Yak and Yeti, Bongos, Chicken Guy, Teppan Edo, Flame Tree BBQ, ‘Ohana for breakfast, Via Napoli and Be Our Guest (lunch). All of the places we went to were excellent with the exception of Be Our Guest (lunch). I do not recommend it at all. Their lunch menu sucks. You’re for the most part going there for the experience and not the food unless you are there for dinner which I hear is good but you have to use two dining credits for it.
Dining cont… A small note about dining. If you are trying to cancel a reservation on the same day that you are scheduled to go, don’t. You will be charged $10 per person in your party. Instead, modify the reservation three days out and then cancel it the following day. Sometimes the modified reservation will not show on the My Disney Experience app so make sure to remember to call and cancel.
Magical Express + General Disney Transportation: The entire Magical Express process was very simple and convenient. Arrived at the MCO airport and went straight to the Magical Express check-in. We went to our designated lane and waited about 15min for a bus which took us directly to Pop Century. Our luggage was in our room upon returning from the parks later that day. Speaking of Pop Century, although it is a great resort, HOWEVER, Disney REALLY knows what they are doing when it comes to upselling. The Pop Century buses are very convenient when boarding them from the resort but when you are leaving the park, you are the furthest bus station to walk towards. It’s smart but it sucks. It’s designed this way so that the next time you come to Disney, you pick a resort with a closer bus station. Because it is a value resort, the buses always had a really long line no matter the time of day. If traveling with infants it’s better to wait for the next bus than get on a full bus and have to hold your child the whole ride. Not fun or safe. You can opt for an Uber coming right out of the parks except for Magic Kingdom in which your only option right away is a Disney bus or a Minnie Van. Something to think about.
Resort: Pop Century is awesome. I have no complaints about it other than the transportation thing I mentioned above. The staff is great, the food court is great as well and it has nice pool areas. We arrived early and checked in. Our room was ready by 11:30am. Art of Animation is just a bride walk over if you want to check out their food court. We hear its excellent.
I think I covered just about all of the big concerns I see posted daily. If anyone has any additional questions, feel free to ask and I will be more than happy to respond. It has been a long 6 months of planning but it was very worth it in the end. I can’t imagine going to Disney without a plan of attack. I feel like it would be a waste of money. I felt bad for people who were standing in those long lines waiting 2 hours for a 1 minute ride that was MEH (cough…Mine Train and Slinky Dog). If they had prior knowledge and did their research, they would barely ever have to wait in line for anything. I do want to go back for a couple of days with no plan at some point and take my time seeing and doing things I didn’t get to do this trip.