Who - Me, my husband, our three sons (9, 7, 6). Tag alongs - MIL, BIL, and niece (9) for part of the trip.
When - 9/19 - 9/26
Where - Boardwalk Villas studio - 4019 (us) and 4052 (mil/bil/niece) using rented points
AK - 9/20, HS- 9/21, MK - 9/22, Epcot - 9/23, MK - 9/24, HS - 9/25, AK - 9/26
Pre-trip - This was a complete departure from our last trip, which was planned and researched on for over a year. Our trip last year began 3 days after SWGE opened. We had fantastic, low crowds. The entire week was basically rainless, and we were able to get every fastpass and dining reservation we wanted. It was a dream trip in every way. I knew this trip would not be as magical, but to be honest - my family and I were in need of whatever magic we could get
I’m not even sure how I got my husband to agree to this trip, as we had already agreed we wouldn’t be returning until 2022. After receiving an email with my very first pincode (35% off), I got it in my head that we should head to Disney over the county’s school break. My kids have been doing virtual learning since March (not counting summer break) - all while I work my normal (work at home) full time job. I needed a break, bad. My husband needed one as well, and we decided to go ahead and do it. My MIL decided she’d like to go as well - I handled her room reservation and tickets. At that point, my husband convinced his brother to also head down with my niece. I started running numbers, and texting my husband with different scenarios. I was looking at Boardwalk villas, Caribbean Beach, and Poly. We’ve rented points through the DVC Rental company previously. I ran a few quotes with them, but this time the savings over booking direct with Disney were minimal - pretty close to the pin code offer. I then hopped on another Disney forum, where I secured some rental points for 2 rooms at the Boardwalk Villas for a steal (compared to renting through a company, or using the pincode offer). I know point rental outside of a legit company isn’t for everyone, but the individuals I used (1 each per room) were seasoned renters, and included contracts. Communication was great, and we had no issues at all. In the future, I won’t hesitate to go this route again. We also used Boardwalk ticketing to purchase our tickets, which came in slightly cheaper than UT tickets. They were great to work with, no issues on their end, either. Hooked up the room reservations and tickets to our MDE accounts, picked out magic bands, made park reservations, and we were good to go - only a week and a half prior to when we’d leave for Florida. Surprisingly, they shipped our magic bands!
I felt mostly good about our trip. I’d read plenty of recent trip reports on the forums, and had a pretty good plan for rope drop and ride order. As a planner, I did miss being able to make real plans like I have in the past. I did not make any actual touring plans this time around, and I think that was the right decision for this trip. From the day we secured our reservation (9/9), I set up reminders on my phone to practice getting a ROTR boarding group. Thanks to tips on here, even when practicing, I was ‘successful’ on the majority of tries. I also let my kiddos know all the ways this trip would be different (no fp, no character meet, mask wearing, etc.) Honestly, it didn’t phase them.
We began packing and planning over the next few days. We would be driving to the resort from just north of Atlanta. I grabbed a couple new shirts for us all, and set up a Publix delivery to the resort for 9/20. Friday night (9/18) was a rush of packing the van and making sure we had everything, but we were all set and ready to leave by 8am Saturday morning.
Next up - travel day, and our experience at a ‘Seaworld’ hotel for one night.