A “Better late than Never” Trip Report: Tips for Firstime Visitors with a 5 yo & 6 yo PT1

I am writing this trip report especially for other firsttimers visiting WDW. Our party consisted of myself, my husband, my mother and our two sons aged 5 and 6. We stayed from April 20th until April 26th at the Art of Animation Resort in the Lion King Suite. We were on the Disney Dining Plan (1 TS, 1 QS and 2 Snacks daily) and we also paid for the Memory Maker.

We flew in on the 20th via Miami and drove up with a rental car. I had ‘Date Night’ ADR for that night at Morimoto’s in Springs, however we didn’t arrive until around 8:30 p.m. at the Hotel, Art Of Animation. The concierge at AoA advised us to change the resevration to the next day and then cancel it if we really couldn’t make it, which was pretty good advice because it saved us the penalty for no-show/late cancellation! The resort AoA was wonderful, I can’t say anything less than that. We stayed in the Lion King suite, in Building 6, which was pretty close to the Main Building/Lobby and Restaurant. I can not stress enough how lucky we were getting the room and building that we did because the place is HUGE! I probably read it, but apparently I didn’t grasp the actual size of the place. Again it is HUGE! As in “I’d take the car to breakfast or Park Transportation” huge… The suite itself was nice, just comfortable enough for all of us. The boys both slept on the pull down murphy bed ,my mom on the sofa bed and we had the bedroom. I think the fact that we had two bathrooms made a HUGE difference. There was a coffee maker with complimentary coffee (Joffrey’s, pretty good coffee) and tea, paper plates and plastic cutlery. Small fridge and sink. The room was clean, smelled nice and all in all real good. I totally agree that you are getting deluxe quality in a lot of ways at value prices.

The restaurant, where breakfast lunch and dinner was served, Landscape of Flavors was adequate. Not wow, but then again I am pretty picky about food. Mind you it wasn’t bad or anything, just not “wow”. We kicked off our Maiden WDW voyage at Animal Kingdom. The reason I chose AK as the first Park, was that I thought it would be a good way to gauge our speed and stamina, especially when we would visit MK two days later. Also a nice build up to the attractions and rides at MK. Since we left our house at 5 a.m. the day before and didn’t get to sleep until about 10 pm, I figured it best to take it easy the next morning. I set up our TP for Least Walking at a very relaxed pace. Highlights: Character Lunch at Tusker House: excellent food & drinks (yes, wine, don’t judge) classic character meet & greet (akward), Kilimanjaro Safari was AWESOME, and the driver was hilarious: we saw some baby giraffes, so cute! Festival of the Lion King was such a good show and a nice way to cool off again, even though the weather was pretty good, not too hot or humid. My 6yo and his Dad went off-Plan (yep: meltdown moment for me) and got on Expedition Everest, both loved it! Didn’t expect that, especially since DH did none of the research and had no clue that it wasn’t a kiddie ride… We had FPP for ROL, however the kids got tired and we went back to the Hotel, showered and changed and DH and I went back and made it just in time for our ROL. ROL was awesome, in spite of the Flash Camera using Guest behind us… :frowning:

Next day we went to Disney Springs, we had an ADR for T-Rex, a must do as well for the kids. It was cool but not worth a repeat visit next time. The kids hung out at the Lego Store and I got some shopping done at UNIQLO, which has licensed Disney merchandise much much cheaper than in the official Disney stores. Relaxing day insofar that it still was a long day.


Thanks for sharing! We really like Tusker House too, and I must admit the first time we ever met characters, it was a little awkward, but after a while you get used to them! I had to get it into my head that they were ‘real’, once I done that it was ok :grin:
Your room at AoA sounds perfect for your family!

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