2023 Family Trip Report

Finally getting around to writing a trip report for our August trip to the World. I questioned whether to write one because I never get a chance to really get on these boards and just read the summary emails. But I like to save them as docs to read in the future. So usually I do very lengthy day by day reports, but I’m going to try to be a little more concise here.

Deciding to take the trip: We weren’t planning to go this year as we had gone last year. I’d like to take yearly trips, but my husband isn’t so sure. We don’t think buying DVC right now is a smart value and figure we can just go whatever years we want and stay at a value and it will cost us less overall. For Christmas my husband gave me the 2023 Guide and a Loungefly so that was his first step over to the dark side. Then during the snowy misery that is New England in winter, I proposed maybe Sea World or a different Florida trip just to have a trip somewhere. By the end of winter, my husband was like just book Disney… I keep a separate vacation account so he knew it wouldn’t affect our overall finances. So we just did it. I made it more affordable by doing 7 nights (previous trip was 8) and giving up Park Hoppers. I said it was okay if we missed anything because we had just been–but of course we didn’t miss anything lol. Booked flights in May, which was probably too early as they kept going down quite a bit. Ended up with several SW points for our next trip. In the past we have traveled with my littles or stepdaughter at age 1, 4, 7, 8, 9 and up. My youngest was 2 this trip and we wondered what we were getting ourselves into at this age. We skipped when my other daughter was 2 because of covid and going less frequently. Our touring party was : my husband, me, my stepdaugher Ingrid age 19, my daughter Katie age 5, and Emma age 2.

Arrival Day: I vowed we would never fly at night in August on our last trip as we have had horrible flying experiences due to weather, turbulence, etc. And we don’t like to fly. So I booked a 10:30 direct flight from Providence. Luckily it was super smooth and easy. I was worried as Katie was very scared flying home last year. She seemed to forget that and enjoyed flying and playing card games. Emma had her own seat and sat mostly with my husband and was awesome and such a big girl during the flight. When we arrived we grabbed bags and ate at MCO. Overpriced and not special but we don’t like to eat a lot before flying. We used MEARS, which was easy as always, but they didn’t play anything on TV not even trivia, which was a big bummer. It was also 1000 degrees. We were there during the extreme heat advisories so temps daily were around 99. Girls liked seeing the drop off at Art of Animation, then we got to PoP. We had to request our groceries be brought up and the line at the front took forever. But we got our room request 4th floor in the 60s. So easy to get to Skyliner and main area, plus fireworks :slight_smile: We unpacked and then headed to the skyliner to HS to get a boat to the Boardwalk. We started our first game of Skyliner (new on this trip) where the kids name the movies on each gondola, but do a big boo with thumbs down on the ones without characters. Very cute and fun. We enjoy looking at the frogs near the boat station at HS. My husband SD also admitted that they know feel familar/know how to get around better–so I am training them well. We then boated to the Boardwalk, had a lovely margarita, visited SeaBreeze point where we got married 10 years ago, and walked through the shops. We made sure to fill up QS drinks too–it was HOT! The shop was a disappointment, nothing special and you can’t find Fairytale Cuvee anywhere anymore. But as always the Boardwalk area and boat ride are a relaxing dream. We then got back to the hotel, put on our suits and grabbed some QS dinner at the food court. Gluten free was available on Mobile Order, which was great! And PoP smells amazing as always. We then let the girls run around the splash pad and they were so happy to be at the hippie dippie pool. Katie already told us it was the best day ever. Loved having them run around the splash pad. Overall, easy first travel and settling day, which we haven’t probably ever had. I’m finally learning how to plan.

Day 1 we usually do Hollywood Studios. I pick this because it’s the most annoying park for us. We love a few rides there, the dining, and Fantasmic. But at my girls ages it has way too many RiderSwap rides without other family rides to balance them. This way we build up to Epcot and MK where they can do the most rides. Katie watched all the rides with me over and over on Youtube and she insisted she would do all the Star Wars rides. She’s very wimpy with rides so this would be big. We rope dropped to Rise but it wasn’t open, nor were several other rides, so we went to Millenium Falcon. Katie cried in line a bit so I thought she wouldn’t do it, but I talked her through it and she loved it! She was the pilot. Then I waited out with Emma and Katie and Ingrid repeated with my huband. No one was around so Emma and I popped into Oga’s Cantina just to look around. Once we were done, we went to Star Tours and then Muppets. Both were great and it was good to do Muppets for an AC break, although it still looks like it could use some maintenance. After Muppets we went back to do Rise, I thought Katie would freak out about the drop but she also loved Rise and did it again. It was so crazy hot so we parked Emma in front of a fan near a vendor stall. We were happy to have finished Galaxy’s Edge before lunch time because we remember it being so hot from our last trip. But we also know TSL has the same problem. We then met Olaf and went over to Animation Courtyard. The girls loved seeing Doc, Fancy, and Vampirina and each line was about 5 minutes. We then went over to do Mickey and were paused in our preshow room, and had to be moved to the other room so we missed the preshow, and it didn’t work all day. But we got on the ride and it’s definitely an overall family favorite. It already feels classic to us. Lunch at ABC was great because of the AC. We ordered in time n getting there as they were telling people a 40 minute wait. We took our time as the heat advisory had me a little nervous for the girls. We then headed to TSL and did TSM. While waiting to do Slinky, my girls begged to do the aliens so we did, it took about 15 minutes standby. Trading off for Slinky was rough as the heat was really bad at this point. Katie wouldn’t do it so when I waited my turn with the girls we were getting pretty heat fatigued. When Josias and Ingrid got off the ride my husband charged to Tower of Terror (wanting to get to AC). The race across the park finally did me in and we had been great at hydrating. I brought propel and pedialyte. But when Josias and I went to do Tower the change in lights etc. made me feel so sick that I thought I was going to black out in the Tower. My throat was dry so I was also a bit panicky. I managed to make it through the ride and then raced to the Joffrey’s cart and downed several cups of iced water and had a small iced coffee for my headache. It freaked me out a bit but the ice did the trick so I went and rode with Ingrid and finally started feeling okay again. We then did RnRC, which still feels like it needs work. While Josias and Ingrid went back to ride I brought the girls over to the BatB show. I was surprised how pleasant it was inside considering it was outdoors. The show was great and both girls were locked in the whole time. Josias and Ingrid made it at the end. My favorite part was when Emma cried out “I AM” when Gaston was asking who would join him…apparently she’s very malleable at age 2 :rofl: We then just popped in some stores to wait for our dinner reservation and saw Daisy watering flowers. Dinner at Hollywood&Vine was fabulous. We love the food there and it was so nice and cold. Girls were obsessed with the characters and being able to make their plates and have dessert. We took our time and the AC really rejuvenated us. After dinner we did repeats of Mickey and TSM as those are the rides we can all enjoy together. We caught a glimpse of TSL at night and it was lovely. Then headed to our reserved seats at Fantasmic. The show as full and it was hot, but we loved it, especially all the updates. Katie couldn’t believe how much magic Mickey had. The dragon didn’t seem to work but it didn’t really affect the show for us. Overall, despite all their ride shutdowns, we had a great day. But I standby the fact that this must be the least relaxed park for us. And the heat that day was particularly rough. Skyliner back was so easy.

Day 2 was Animal Kingdom so we knew it would be less busy and late. Getting into AK was very disorganized and definitely caused lots of people to miss some of their early half hour, which is a shame. Emma cried because they didn’t scan her finger, so I asked a sweet cast member to pretend for her. We headed to Dinosaur which was a walk on as always at rope drop. We love this one but it really needs some work. Katie went on once, which was great. Then we let the kiddos do the flying dinos. After we hit TTBAB, which we don’t usually do early but without park hoppers we could relax a bit with our AK day. Girls were fine in this one because I tell them before the spiders and sting. Then we headed to Kiliminjaro Safaris and the line was pretty long. We ended up waiting about 35 minutes and saw parts of the queue we never had before. Solid safari and then the gorilla trail and Lion King. We got close up seats, which was awesome! It was much better close up and kids loved it. Then we grabbed some lunch at Yak and Yeti. Sitting and having our lunch, I felt truly relaxed and thought wow AK really is different. It’s just so enjoyable. After lunch we did Kali and Katie wouldn’t do this one either which is a bummer. When it was my time to wait with the girls, I brought them to the water shooters, which entertained them. After we did Everest and used single riders so all the adults could ride twice. Emma found an adorable yeti sweatshirt in the shop. Because was had more time not treating AK as a half day, we grabbed some popcorn and watched the bird show in Asia. We saw it when Ingrid was young and my husband loves animal encounters. But we never saw it when it was UP characters. The show seemed off, as the performers were struggling to get the birds to do much, but it was still entertaining. Then it was time for Pandora. We did FOP, which takes forever with RS. It’s fabulous as always but that preshow and walk out is a killer. We talked to a great CP cast member from our part of the states who was loving working at the canteen. We debated eating at Satuli because we like the food but we just weren’t hungry yet so opted against it. Then we let the kids play with the drums and we all rode Navi River. I wish this was one with no waits because I would have repeated it. Then we decided we were done and headed out. We also caught Kevin and popped in a store but didn’t find anything. We were hot and the walk to the bus there stinks. But then once back at the hotel we got a QS dinner, relaxed in AC, and were able to hit the pool. This was great and previously when we did AK we always hopped somewhere else. So the no park hoppers actually helped us relax more. Overall, a solid day. Still, very very hot.

Day 3 was a full day MK day. Good timing because we were back earlier the night before and next day would be our break day. We were front of rope drop and enjoyed taking pictures by the castle. The girls were dressed as princesses and we knew this would be a day that they could really do almost everything. When Emma saw the castle, she yelled out I’m at Disney World–apparently she hadn’t realized this the last 3 days. We blasted through a few Fantasyland rides --Peter Pan, Pooh, Dumbo, Ariel, Small World, and Mine Train, all before our 10:30 reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We then headed to the castle and really took this meal in as we had never been. The girls LOVED the princesses. The adults loved being in the castle and the food was great. We took our time and we really felt more cool and relaxed than the previous two days. We popped into Sir Mickey’s for pixie dust and saw the stepsisters too. Then we did Haunted Mansion and caught Festival of Fantasy by accident. But it was really hot at this point. We headed over Big Thunder then to Adventureland and did Jungle Cruise and the carpets (Pirates was down). The carpets were hard to sit on as they were so hot. As soon as we got off we immediatly ducked into Tiki Room for a break. We never saw it so full! My husband and I joked that we’d just lie on the floor and nap through a few shows. But then we headed to PhillarMagic for some more AC magic. I caught gems for the girls, which they loved and Katie was really into it. Then we headed to Enchanted Tales for more AC. We hadn’t done this one in awhile due to the pandemic. The girls were chosen to be Mrs. Potts and Chip and it was adorable. Emma had no idea what she was doing and at one point Belle just took her hand and walked around with her to keep her part of the show. Great experience :slight_smile: After, we made our way to Tomorrowland. The girls asked for the Teacups and since there was no line we obliged. I’ve never been on them . I then declared the need for emergency icecream and we went inside and had icecream in Tomorrowland, which made everyone much more happy. We went to do Space Mountain but it was down so we did COP for a break and for some of us a nap, then Buzz and Monsters. Space came back up so we went there and it worked out because our boarding group was called for TRON. I was a bit nervous about the seats as I heard they weren’t built well for bigger bodies, but I tried the test seat and didn’t have a problem. We loved the preshow, what a fun surprise and moment of magic. The ride was fabulous but so short. And at the same time I don’t think I’d want to be in that position for more than 2 minutes. We then hopped on PeopleMover and had to order at Cosmic Rays quick so we wouldn’t miss the fireworks. Food is never amazing but it’s just nostalgic. We walked up and were able to get a spot near the castle just 20 minutes before the show. It was super hot but the girls were in there stroller and eating some fries from dinner so it worked out. Loved seeing Happily Ever After, the best was showing the girls TinkerBell flying over. Overall, a great day. Pirates never reopened so we just kept our fingers crossed for our last MK Day.We knew it wasn’t too crowded as it only took 2 busses for us to get on one back to PoP. And as we all kind of acknowledged we finally felt like we were here and in the magic.

Day 4 was our 10th anniversary and break day. We slept in and then took a bus to MK to hop on the monorail to get to Poly. This was our first time doing Ohana. The Poly is so amazing and relaxing when it’s not busy. If we bought DVC I think this might be my choice of resort. The girls were surprised as they didn’t know I booked the Stitch breakfast. I will use the word relaxed here again, which is shocking for Disney, but this was just fun. And having food and drink brought to you and the great characters, we loved it :slight_smile: We even sat in the lobby and popped in stores just for fun. Then we headed back to PoP for some swimming. It was so hot at the pool that I was actually worried about being outside too long in a pool, which is wild and we are typical August goers. The lack of storms really made a difference. We missed the cold water of our pool back home as the pool felt like a hottub. After we took a Skyliner ride just for fun and then headed to Disney Springs. The girls were great at waiting to ask for stuff so I let them pick out a lovey at the large World of Disney. Ingrid and I enjoyed some Joffreys (why can’t we have Joffrey’s in MA instead of Dunks… but then I’d be broke) and we just kind of poked around stores. I was disappointed that there were no Loungefly wallets. And I didn’t really find anything for me but I got stuff for the kids. We also kept it to a minimum as we had gone the year before. Then we headed to TRex for our dinner reservation. We had never been but are Rainforest Cafe fans. We really enjoyed it and these restaurants bring me back to my childhood. Then we headed back to the hotel. Ingrid suggest J and I go enjoy the pool as it was our anniversary. Katie came with us lol but got bored when she realized we were just sitting and relaxing. Overall a nice break day!

I said this wasn’t going to be long and I lied. I guess it’s because I’m an English teacher and writing extensively just comes natural so I’m just going with it at this point. Day 5 Epcot. We headed out early for EPCOT much to Ingrid’s dismay. She gave me lots of dirty looks when we had to wait for 20 minutes to rope drop Frozen. I told her she could just meet us later but then she insisted no she wanted to be there. Oh teenagers. We hit Frozen first. Katie has a thing about hills, but she did get on with us and did fine, but didn’t want to go again. Then I hopped in line for Anna and Elsa and we waited about 15 minutes for it to open then another 10 to meet them. By now Ingrid was okay because she knew we’d have breakfast soon…she loves breakfast. We then took our time and headed to the Land for Garden Grill breakfast. So good but we missed the previous cinnamon buns. Girls loved the characters but were just as intrigued/excited about the moving and seeing into the ride. Another moment of being…relaxed. Our family loves EPCOT. After breakfast we did Soarin and Living with the Land. I’m obsessed with the bromide water smells in EPCOT so I was super happy at LwtL. Ingrid told me it’s ridiculous how much I love that stupid ride in a sweet loving way lol. Katie road Soarin twice, which was great. Then we went to the Seas and did Nemo and Crush. We even took some time to see the manatees and dolphins which we had never seen before. From there we went to Spaceship Earth, and Katie was mesmerized by the fact we were in the ball and by the people. It’s very cute how she thinks the animatronics are real. Then we got Guardians, the very best. But with two rides, I still have not gotten September. Josias and Ingrid used the Connections Cafe to wait during swapping. After we hit Test Track and Ingrid brought the kids to the post show (Katie won’t do this one either). Due to incoming weather that never happened we got stuck in line for about 30 minutes. J and I got to sit down in line and have a Test Track nap, which was pretty relaxing and then it got moving again. Because the girls had waited for a while I brought them to Figment while J and Ingrid did Test Track. This was the sleeper hit as we’ve always skipped it and the girls of course loved it. So when J and Ingrid met up with us they made us do it again. Having been successful in FW, we headed to the showcase and grabbed a beer in Canada and went to see the movie. We haven’t done the movies in years so it was neat and you could see fine enough while sitting on the floor. The girls collected tickets around the world and we went to Ratatouille. Had to wait awhile in the load area for ride to restart but Katie and Emma loved this one, and we really like the vibe and soundtrack. We then went to the bakery for treats. After we moseyed through the countries stopping to let the kids color in Italy, popping in shops, and then went and watched the movie in China too. Once we landed in EPCOT we had dinner at the Cantina which we really enjoy. We popped in to do the Caballeros, a family favorite and the line was actually “long”. Then we walked over to the bridge near the Skyliner EPCOT Forever. I loved this show actually, especially the nostalgic music and just found it charming. I wouldn’t be sad if they kept it around. Overall a fabulous day at EPCOT.

Day 6 the End -For our last day we headed back to where else but Magic Kingdom. We knew it would be a shorter day too because it was a party day. We headed to Tomorrowland first and rope dropped Buzz and Space Mountain. During RS alternating we grabbey Joffreys and their amazing donuts. We put the coffee in our Disney mugs and hopped on the PeopleMover. Because we were in no rush and enjoying an empty Tomorrowland we asked to not get off and just loop again on the PeopleMover and they let us, which was awesome. Then we headed to the first show of Monsters. Katie got picked to tell a joke. It was hilarious as her joke made no sense (Knock knock, apple who, apple banana). My kids don’t understand jokes yet. We kept eyeing Pirates and noted it was still down. We went over that way to ask about it and the CMS told us they didn’t know if it would open. I asked if the boats were sinking and they smiled. I said they should just let me in so I could smell the water and it gave them a laugh. So we did the carpets and then Big Thunder. In line at Big Thunder we saw Pirates was open and ran over and rode twice before it would close again. Katie was super brave doing it (she doesn’t like hills) so I got the girls a pirate hook and sword toy. We rode the train, which we had never done and absolutely loved it, while munching on popcorn. We did Haunted Mansion and got stuck in the loading area for a bit so sat with hundreds of our best friends to wait for it to start again. Then we ate at Harbor House and caught a bit of the parade. It was easy to find a first floor table, which cued us in that it was not busy. Then we worked our way through Fantasy Land. We saw Peter Pan for the first time with no wait! We did PPF, the Carousel, Small World, Mine Train, PhillarMagic, Mermaid, and Dumbo. We had a grey stuff cupcake at Gaston’s which we didn’t know was an option. We miss eating in Belle’s castle but the menu just doesn’t appeal to us anymore. Even being tired on our last day, we really enjoyed everything. We then repeated Pooh, Small World, and the Mansion before calling it quits and heading to dinner at Crystal Palace. We were excited for this dinner but overall disappointed. We love the Pooh characters, but unlike our last time there prepandemic they didn’t do a parade and they took a long time to get to us. The Halloween party had started so we headed out and went to pop in the Emporium. They wouldn’t let us in at first but then the security guard did. On our last trip we were allowed to shop on our way out even when the party had started. With it being our last night we counted on this, so they allowed us in, I got a few things and then we headed out. I cried leaving, and so did Katie. She said it was the best place in the world. Back at the hotel we packed up and went for a swim. Our flight was at 7am so Mears picked us up at 3am…the kids slept a bit and I just kinda took in the palm trees and Pop before taking a 3 hour nap. MCO was easy at this hour and flight was on time. When we arrived back at Providence, Emma took one look at the “real world” and had the only tantrum of the entire trip screaming “I don’t want to leave Disney World” and we didn’t blame her at all. Same kid, same.

So now it’s back to the drawing board. I booked a bounce back, but we’ll see. We’ve priced out Cali and want to eventually try there, but at these ages I think Disney will be again in our future next summer. We’d really like to try the Halloween party. And my girls talk about it every single day. They play character meet and greet and do parades around the house. And that right there is the magic. J asked if I had enough money for a Christmas weekend so I think it will be easier to get him on board for the next trip assuming his mom visits from Brazil. Our girls are still young to do Brazil and we’ll wait on a Christmas weekend trip until the girls are older. So next summer could be Disney World again. If you made it this far thanks for reading, but I’m happy I got it down as it’s really for our memories, as I will add it to a document to keep around to show them when they’re older. Until next time.-The Barbosa Family

*posting now so it’s not lost but will edit in a few minutes so I can add pictures from my phone


I strongly identify with Emma here :wink:
Glad your trip was a success in spite of the August heat!


I enjoyed reading your report!


Lovely pictures and TR!


Great report. I kinda miss having littles at Disney, especially at MK. But just kinda lol.

Me too!


Sounds like an awesome trip!


Only time in my life where we got only empathy from every stranger over a screaming child lol


Beautiful family. Thank you for sharing.


Enjoyed your report! Did you use genie+? Also where did you meet Joy!? I didn’t know she was meeting again.


What a lovely family trip! So sweet of your SD to let you enjoy your anniversary with a little quiet pool time.

Although I don’t want to take children to WDW, I always love reading trip reports that include the magic of a child’s perspective. (Thank you for also including the small tantrums and unhappiness to remind me that I do not want to take my nieces and nephews :wink: )


We saw Joy right after the Imagination ride. She was there and Vanellope. I think Vanellope left recently for Figment! We mostly used a touring plan and rope drop. We were able to get boarding groups for Guardians and Tron. Guardians was easy. Tron we got a boarding group at the 1pm drop.