Dates: June 22-26
Hotel: Wyndham Garden Disney Springs:
Activities: MK resort progressive dinner, MK day, EP day with Flower & Garden, DHS, lunch at AKL on departure day,
Staying at Disney Springs Hotels
I’ve never stayed at a DS hotel until this trip. It’s always been an attractive option because of the lower rates, and if you subscribe to MouseSavers, sometimes you can catch a discount, waived resort fees, or free parking. We stayed at the Wyndham Garden, and it (along with the Wyndham which shares the property) is one of the closest. It was a 5 minute walk, max, to the DS entrance by Earl of Sandwich.
The hotel itself was basic, but perfect for two adult friends (booked the double room) who planned to spend most of the trip not in the room. It was a little loud, and the shower is quite small, but it was clean and provided what we needed.
Transportation was easy, even without their shuttle running. We took rideshare in the morning so we could better control our arrival time and could have taken Disney transport each evening (we took rideshare out of convenience a couple times). It is about a 15 minute walk to the DS buses. It is about a 10 minute walk to the Congress Park stop at SSR. So both were viable options from the parks (just had to keep in mind what time DS closed if we wanted to use those buses).
They were great about an early check-in. We requested in advance and arrived around 12 and got our room right away, despite 4pm check-in time. Then we spent the afternoon at the pool, which was not busy - perhaps a result of covid, but worked out well for us.
MK Resort Progressive Dinner
We walked through Disney Springs to pick up ticket cards (in case the magic mobile didn’t work well) and some celebration buttons. Then we caught a DS bus to CR.
We arrived just in time to check-in at CG at 5pm - with hopes for seats at the bar. It worked perfectly. We waited about 5 minutes (long enough to use the bathroom) before being called back to the elevator. I highly recommend this approach to people wanting to experience CG. We were able to order off the full menu and had cocktails and a few apps (squash soup, romaine hearts, and crab tart). Everything was delish. One catch: the hostess told us they will not be accepting walkups with the initial opening of HEA. Hopefully that won’t last long, but might need a backup plan if trying this in the next few weeks.
It was pouring down rain, so I was thankful we were planning to use the monorail to get to GF. We made it without any issues and went to the Enchanted Rose. We had no issues getting a table for two. Had a couple more cocktails and the mac and cheese - delicious again!
The weather got the best of our plans to get to the Poly. Without the monorail, there wasn’t really a way to get to the Poly without stepping into the downpour. So we called it and decided to head back to our hotel before MK Day.
From our hotel, uber made the most sense for morning transport to MK. However, now having done it, I would probably walk to SSR early and try to get on a Disney bus to avoid TTC. The issue was that it was only the second day of MK running a real rope drop again. They didn’t let us through security at TTC until 7, which meant we didn’t get to the front of MK until 7:15. People were already lined up and entering, so that kind of screwed our 7D rope drop plans.
Using my liner knowledge, we took a spot right at the rope heading into the castle and went for PPF instead. My only regret was the weather. Because of afternoon and evening rain, we didn’t get to pickup 7D later in the day. It wasn’t a crushing blow for us (not our highest priority), but something to keep in mind if it is a priority for you. Try to ride early if the weather forecast might close things later in the day.
I did love doing rope drop with CMs again. The conversations with CMs are always so fun. She was so excited to finally be doing a regular rope drop again. We both teared up a bit as the announcement to start the day came over the loudspeaker.
We did eat the bacon mac and cheese tots at Friar Nook - they were very yummy, and can be done without bacon for the vegetarians out there.
For our early dinner, we decided to boat over to Geyser Point at WL. I’d done that before, and it worked super smoothly this time too. It’s a great way to get a break from the park without going to far. The food also feels a bit healthier. So it was nice to have something different than the pretzels, tots, etc that we’d been snacking on all day.
This was the lightest rain in the evening that we had. So we did take the SSR bus to their Congress Park stop. Walked over to our hotel - super simple. I know there was another thread discussing whether that path would be blocked at any point, and the answer is no. The path you have to walk is actually just outside of DS. So even after DS hours, you can walk from SSR the DS hotels.
Nothing much to report here other than the food for F&G was absolutely fabulous. My only downfall is that I didn’t have enough room to eat both the F&G food along with my usual EP snacks. RD from the IG entrance was a bit busier since the SL resorts now arrive there. However, I didn’t have any problem being on the first FEA boats of the day.
The Food & Wine app was a great tool to navigate all the food booths. So if you are heading to EP for a festival, I definitely suggest downloading it.
I prepped my travel buddy the night before on how to get a BG for ROTR. I set a few alarms (wake up, time to restart phones, and actual go time) and used time.gov on my chromebook. We ran an iphone8 on wifi and an iphone8+ on LTE (speed tests for wifi and LTE were pretty comparable). The iphone8+ won and got us BG 12. I do think, if wifi and LTE are showing similar speeds, that it is the best choice to have the newest phones on the LTE.
Not that anyone can actually control what group they get, but it worked out really nicely because we had time to ride the first few RD rides before heading to SWGE. We did SDD at RD, arriving about an hour before opening. We weren’t right at the rope, but we were still in a good position. If you do want to be right at the rope, I’d aim for 75-90 minutes before opening. SL was definitely dropping people as we arrived. Buses had arrived as well. We did a rideshare to the Dolphin and walked over from there.
DHS definitely had the longest lines, between rain and shows being closed, we did hit a 50 minute wait at MMRR (longest of all the parks, and the only time that the TP app was off in prediction - which I blame weather and closures for that).
ROTR and Frozen Sing Along were the big winners of the day. ROTR lived up to the hype for us, and the sing along had us crying with laughter twice (adults don’t skip it - it’s hilarious).
Departure Day - AKL and Sanaa
Our flight didn’t depart until 4:15. So we decided to go over to Sanaa at AKL. Since we were skipping AK this time, it was a great way to see some animals, and I was dying to try the bread service that so many liners raved about.
We walked through DS and caught the first bus over to the lodge (yes DS buses were running from DS to resorts at opening) and got off at Kidani. The resort really is beautiful, and we had no trouble checking into Sanaa for the lounge at opening (couldn’t get a reservation, but this worked beautifully). We had cocktails, the bread service, some samosas, and soup. All of it was to die for, but holy god that bread service. I didn’t want to stop eating it… if I kept eating I was going to make myself sick, but I’m still not sure it wouldn’t have been worth it. I’ve been googling copycat recipes if anyone has any
Last but not least - the Lines App
Real talk: use the app the way it should be used, and it will work like a charm.
My use of the liner way goes back to one of my earliest trips. I was 14 and read the guide. My dad and I went with my aunt, and I knew how to walk through TL terrace to a secret side rope that would cut off to get to Buzz Lightyear first. At that I was sold.
With the most recent FPP system (who knows what’s coming), I was queen of the SDFP. If a ride had a FPP, we didn’t ride without it.
This trip, I was a bit nervous. Everything was simply a level playing field. There was no way to work the system. I had to rely on my knowledge, and the app. Man did the app come through.
I had my RD plan each morning. All of our chosen attractions were loaded into our personalized plan, and we went from there. I basically recorded wait times, checked off rides, and re-optimized after each ride. I was super impressed with how well it worked. If I had printed the plan or stuck to what the data said even the day before, it wouldn’t have been as accurate. So I HIGHLY suggest that you at least evaluate your plans in the app as you work through your day. The real time data is definitely where it’s at.
Now I’m 197 days from the next trip. It’ll be a whole new bag of tricks - 6 adults, a 5 yo, and twin 2 yos. The questions are coming (for the first time I’ll have to plan and navigate rider swap!) but I can’t wait. After all, planning is a big part of my Disney fun