A little more than a week to go: what am I missing?

Ok, I think I’ve done all the planning I can do and risk overthinking it at this point.

4 of us this go-round. We last went when DD1 was 3 almost 4; she’s now 9. DD2 is 4 (and a half). Staying offsite, so we can cook a few meals here and there and cut our expenses at least somewhat. Arriving Saturday Feb 26th, first day in the parks Sunday the 27th. 5 park days, no hoppers. Skipping AK, MK 3 days, and Epcot and HS 1 day each. Got genie+ for the whole trip so I don’t have to buy at 12:01 each day.

Day 1 Sunday: (race day, but no, we’re not running) Topolinos at 8:20, then gondola to IG Epcot. Space 220 at 12:10, an afternoon break and return at main entrance, and 630 dinner at Coral Reef. Must-do’s are Remy, Frozen, Figment, Nemo, and Fireworks. I have no problem buying $ILL for either, but I’m assuming Remy will be sold out before I have opportunity, so in lieu of that, maybe rope-drop Frozen and then hit Remy after lunch on the way out?

Day 2 Monday: HS. Noon lunch at Sci-fi. Must-do’s are MMRR, SDD, and TSM. Would like to do star wars stuff, but don’t want to wait 90+ minutes, so assuming RotR will be a no-go. ToT for me and DD9. MFSR for all of us if we can get a slot for it, but lower priority than the other 4. Again, no problem splurging on $ILL, but expecting it will sell out for RotR and unless a primo slot is there for MMRR, we can do regular line.

Day 3 Tuesday MK: noon lunch at Skipper Canteen. Hoping for a good genie+ slot for JC before lunch. Rest after lunch, return around dinner til close with fireworks.
Trying to stick to Adventure/Frontier-side of the park, but will keep an eye out for PP/HM genie+ slots. If we can $ILL 7D not during fireworks, we grab it.

Wednesday rest day and Disney Springs. Lunch at Homecoming.

Day 4 Thursday MK: Tomorrowland/Fantasyland. Rope drop SM. Rest after lunch, 5:30 dinner at BoG, then stay til close. Maybe fireworks, or maybe short ride lines. Prioritize PP if we missed it Thursday. Keep an eye out for 7D if we missed it Tuesday.

Day 5 Friday MK: Anything we missed, anything we want to ride again; whole park. Same rest after lunch as before, but unsure of evening schedule vs packing to leave Saturday.

I’ve done a few flavors of days in the Planners, but with Headliner rides being luck of the draw for timeslots, I’m unsure how much more effort I should put in. There’s no real way for me to prioritize certain things without leaving out things that are more filler (that we do still want to do).

So what am I missing?


We just returned after a trip with my DD5 and DD9 so similar ages.
A few comments:
Topolinos and Space 220 are both big meals and you have them nearly back to back. I know they are both hard to get and you may have to stick with the ADRs you have, but I would use Res finder to try to find Topolinos later in your week. But definitely don’t miss Topolinos, it’s one of our favorites. We did both and honestly if I had to choose one Space 220 would get the boot. You can also do Space 220 lounge and not have to buy the prix fixe menu, but would have to wait a bit.

At HS, definitely try to see ROTR, and MF if you can (but lower priority). Try getting in line later in the evening for shorter wait. Since you have Genie+ already and are willing to buy MMRR ILL (which should not be hard to get) I’d try to get LL for MF and buy one for MMRR and make ROTR one of the rides you wait for if necessary. It’s worth it!

At MK, take the kids over to Tom Sawyer Island one of your days. My kids loved it!

Rather than making out plans in advance, the way I use the TP app is as follows. The night before or morning of, I quickly create a custom plan by just adding the rides/attractions we want to do that day. Then the day of I optimize frequently, adding in the LL we get along the way. And just let the app guide me as to what to do when with frequent optimizing. But as a warning, since Genie+ the app seems to be too optimistic about wait times sometimes. Often the wait is closer to the posted wait rather than what TP says is expected. Except for shortly before closing; then wait times really are inflated by quite a bit.
Hope you all have a fabulous time!!

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Remember you can get your first G+ at 7am, even with staying offsite.

I would think you’d be able to get Remy as an ILL. Maybe I’m wrong though. You can buy as soon as the park opens, whether you’re there yet or not.

Are you going to be staying until close? A lot of the headliners will be much lower waits in the last hour. If Rise is running you could get in line 15 minutes before park close and probably just have a 30 minute wait.

I’ve seen it said at MK you can do well by just grabbing G+ for the earlier times and keep getting them. Rope dropping JC is probably a good idea if you follow that G+ plan.

At DHS, stacking the G+ rides might work well. Obviously you want to try for SDD at 7am.

I have the same reservation over Topolinos and Space220 so close together. I might try to move Topolinos to one of your MK days since you have so much time there.

No matter where you are headed Sunday make sure you leave way earlier than you think you will need to. All the road clusures with the race (especially around HS and Epcot) will make traffic horrendous compared to a usual day.

Is there a road closures map out yet? Like, will it be better to come straight in via World Drive or try to do an end-around on Epcot Center Drive?

This is the map from the website. Not sure which way would be better honestly.

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Agreed, and I think three table service meals in one day (day 1) with kids seems like a lot. I typically plan 1.5 hours at least for a table service meal I think your kids will get antsy with that much sitting in a restaurant or at least mine would.


Ok, working through trip report of sorts. Let’s see what all I can remember, and hopefully will be able to toss in a few pics here and there.

Day -1: Driving… Lots of driving. Last time around, we stopped in Jacksonville, but we decided we’d push further a bit and stopped in Gainesville. We bit the bullet and bought portable DVD players for the trip, and that was absolutely a game-changer in extending how far we could drive. We also supplemented with each person taking a turn deciding which music cd to play next. After one finished, the next went in.

We had dinner at a Texas Roadhouse, then settled into a hotel room for the night.

Overnight: So, all 4 of us like sleeping cold, plus with air moving from a ceiling fan set on high (hurricane force). In a hotel, we’d normally just crank the A/C and turn the fan to always on. Sometime since the last time we stayed in a hotel, a new kind of thermostat came out where there’s a motion sensor on it, and if there’s no movement detected, the thermostat reverts to a default. I understand the general reasoning for a hotel cutting costs by not over-cooling an unoccupied room, but there’s generally no movement in a room while you’re supposed to be sleeping, right? I did manage to get the fan to stay on, but googling the particular brand of thermostat and trying to find YouTube videos of how to bypass the motion sensor at 4am was not ideal. Needless to say, none of us slept particularly well that night, so there was a general air of crankiness leading into the next day.

Day 0: A bit more driving, then visiting my grandparents, followed by the final stretch to check in to our house. While we had a Disney Springs day planned for Wednesday, we decided to try to swing by, stop at Gideon’s for a few cookies to munch over the week, then go check in since the house wouldn’t be ready until 4. I had some watery Chick-fil-A coffee, and my wife attempted to get Dunkin’ coffee, but that also failed spectacularly, when the inside counter service closed right as she walked up, going drive-thru only, with the one cashier going on break… But with no actual announcement about it.

On to better things, right?! We had a nice visit with my grandparents, just relaxing a bit, then having some BBQ for lunch. We turn the DVD players on for the kids for a bit and enjoy a bit of quiet, then go back and forth on how much time to spend in Disney Springs vs getting to the house, getting dinner (Giordano’s), and getting groceries for the week. We settled in about an hour, then once at the house, DW would entertain the kids in the pool while I got groceries and dinner. In the meantime, DD4 fell asleep in the car about 20 minutes from Disney Springs.

It is at this point that the lack of coffee begins to rear it’s ugly head, as we decide to push on to Disney Springs. DD4 does not make the sleep-transition to the stroller, so she’s awake and cranky. DW has had no coffee at all either, so there was that. We head to the 2nd floor, to be met with a decent queue trying to cram through a metal detector. We were not aware that security checkpoints had been added to Disney Springs, so that coupled with the stroller separation thing they do and the lack of sleep or coffee reared it’s ugly head. We manage to make it through and HOLY CRAP THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE! We press on and find a line to get into Gideon’s, but that’s also a bit of ruse, as that’s the post-virtual-queue queue. The virtual queue is 4.5 hours long before we can join the real queue…

I finally regain control of our death-spiral and reset the plan… A much needed snack was eaten first. We headed to the house, let the girls play a bit on the nearby playground while we began doing our grocery delivery and dinner delivery orders. We unpacked a bit, changed into bathing suits, and relaxed in the pool, then dinner and groceries arrived soon after. I remedied any potential cooling issues by buying a couple small fans that we pointed at beds. We prepped an insulated backpack for day 1, then everyone went to bed early. Thus ends the trainwreck portion of the trip report. To be continued…


Day 1: There’s a kid breathing on my face just before my 6:45am alarm goes off, asking if she can watch TV. Everyone is good and rested, so I start getting ready to grab our first g+ of the day, target Frozen. I refresh right at 6:59:?? and… Network glitch. I frantically retry a few dozen times, and 1:00pm pops up. I grab it, end up with 1:20. Breakfast at 8:20 at Topolino’s, and Epcot doesn’t open until 10, so we’re sitting pretty on overall timing. We leave the house at 7:30 and… No real traffic once on the property. We gawk at all the things on our way up at the Riviera, and start checking in just after 8. A minute later, our table is ready AND IS THAT DONALD?

We end up with a booth front and center, looking right at where the characters all come out.

The waiters were amazing, the characters coming out and stopping for photos were great, and spaced out enough that the kids would still actually eat. The food was all wonderful: the kids both loved the mickey waffles with the painting chocolate, and DW is still talking about that Chantilly Cream on the waffles. I had the steak with a waffle as the side, and it was deliciously tender. We stayed for the full loop of characters, plus one more since Donald was absent in our full round. Fortunately he was first out for the next repeat.

Early in the meal, we commented to our waitress that we really like the artwork all around, and that DD9 wants to be an artist when she grows up. She later brings by one of the other servers who also is an artist and had some of her own work display in Topolino’s, so getting that additional interaction was very cool.

We took a few pictures on the terrace after settling up, then headed down to the Skyliner to Epcot.

With a genie+ slot locked in for Frozen, and crowds being pretty tame at IG, we jumped in line for Remy. We waited about 40 minutes, so I felt pretty good about our morning so far. Single we were changing up our order of things from the original plan, we headed toward Figment. Pooh happened to be wandering around so we snapped a few pictures with DD4. Then right as we exit Figment, Joy walked out, so DD9 got some pictures of her favorite character as well.

We did a little shopping with the girls, then headed to check in at Space220. I will say the maze of construction walls between Future World and World Showcase was a bit much. It took some trial and error to figure where you could and couldn’t get to from where.

DD4 got a bit scared at the “heights” on the elevator ride up, so we had to keep reminding her it was just pretend. Once we sat down at our table and she saw a few things go by the window, she was good. I had the cauliflower and burger, and DW had the burrata and salmon (the salmon was her “best thing she ate” on the trip). Very cool experience with a hefty price tag. I’m glad we did it, but once is enough.

I grabbed a g+ slot for right after lunch for SE, then we hightail it over to Frozen to catch the end of our window. We left the park for some rest, then came back around 5:30 to finish the evening. Between SE and our return, I grabbed g+ slots for soarin’ and Nemo, not that we ended up needing either. We walked on Nemo, checked out the main tank for 10 minutes, then went to Coral Reef for dinner. They seated us right next to the tank (not that there’s a bad seat there). The girls loved watching the fish, and while the food wasn’t spectacular, we weren’t expecting it to be. We were there for the experience of eating in an aquarium. We did Soarin’, though the girls didn’t care for the height or the transition scenes where stuff came right at your face. We opted not to do LWTL, but did get in one last boat ride with Donald and the Legend of the Hidden Temple. The fireworks were attended a bit more than we expected, so while we didn’t have the greatest viewing spot, we did manage to have some space to move around in. In all, it was a great day. We did everything we wanted to, with maybe the exception we didn’t do the Anna/Elsa meet & greet that had just moved indoors. The 3 sit-down meals worked well enough, mainly with Topolinos characters/being an earlier time coupled with a later park open time, and the distraction factor of Space220 and Coral Reef’s fish. I don’t think all 3 of those would have worked if we did any other restaurants.


Day 2: Up again at 6:45, some more network slowdowns, so I ended up with SDD at 6:30, which wasn’t horrible based on our anticipated schedule.

I made 2 tactical mistakes: we left 15 minutes later than we intended, and we used Waze navigation which put us at the back Service Entrance to HS. Due to that, we walked up 5 minutes before the official park open time and a massive block of people, first trying to get through security, and then the second block pressed up to the turnstiles. By the time we actually got through, it was almost 9:30.

Lines were already nuts everywhere, so we just went with TSMM at the posted 45 minutes and stuck with that. We exited, checked times, and just went “yuck”… Frozen sing-along had already started, so we tried for Indy. We ended up in standing-room-only, everyone was cranky from not being able to see or move, and the stunt sequences scared DD4. Thus, we ended up walking out, eating a snack, and getting in line for the next Frozen sing-along. I grabbed an evening G+ slot for MMRR while we waited to get in to air-conditioned bliss. Everyone exited happy, so we ducked into Muppets, then walked to Sci Fi Drive in for our lunch reservation. While waiting for food, a single ROTR ILL slot showed up, but was gone by the time I clicked it. Not a big deal, as the time wouldn’t have worked anyways. At 1, I grabbed another evening G+, this time for MFSR.

We left after lunch and headed back to the house. DD4 actually slept some, we had a little early dinner, then headed back to HS. We had a little time before Slinky’s window, so we stopped at a few spots for pictures. We had been building up SDD with DD4, so we all got on. There were a few tears in the middle due to some of the hills, but she got much praise heaped on her for doing so good, and her very own light-up slinky dog made it all better.

We finally ventured into Galaxy’s Edge, had ourselves a little geek-out, then got in our LL for MFSR. DW and I were gunners and the DD’s were engineers. Their arms were a bit short trying to get to buttons, so we had to reach back to help a bit.

We shopped some more, with DW buying a bantha from the Creature Shop. Around 7, I decided to check on the wait for ROTR, and was informed they had the Secret Virtual Queue thing going on here too due to a prior ride outage, and if I wasn’t already in the virtual queue from 3 hours ago and didn’t have a ILL, I couldn’t get in line.

We left after some more pictures and caught our last LL for MMRR, then headed out to the main plaza to watch the fireworks/projection shows.

The morning timing snafu probably cost us 1 ride in the end, but we got through most of the things on our list.


Day 3: Not wanting a repeat of the entrance crowd, we played breakfast ahead of time to eat in the car. I was originally targeting JC for the first g+, but when the first slot came up after 2, I pivoted to PP and got 9am. We were there early, got a nice up-front spot for the opening stage show, then made our way around toward PP. On the way over, the Cinderella meet&greet line was short, so we popped in there first for pictures with the girls.

After PP, JC was now at 3pm for next slot, so I grabbed Pirates for 11 and we made our way over to the magic carpets. We rode the carpets, then walked through the treehouse and visited the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room. Finally it was time for Pirates. JC was gone at that point, so we grabbed an evening HM. We did Country Bears to eat some time, then lunch at Skipper Canteen. The girls headed to PCC for a last ride after lunch.

We caught pieces of various parades and whatnot on the way out for rest time.

Yay, naps! During the rest, I grabbed some more G+ slots for the evening - small world and pooh. We were back by 6 and knocked out small world, pooh, and philharmagic. HM ended up breaking down, so they gave us a multi pass that we saved/moved to Thursday. We camped out behind the castle and watched fireworks from all around, though we missed the projections.


Rest Day: We let everyone sleep in a bit/turned on a movie for those who woke early, had a nice relaxing breakfast, then headed to DS, round 2.We meandered through a few stores, bought a few souvenirs, then went to lunch at Homecomin’.

We stopped at one of the playgrounds on the way back for about 45 minutes, then headed to the house and some time in the pool.


Day 4: After how well day 3 went, we kept to the same basic morning schedule: pre-plate breakfast for everyone and leaving the house at 7:30, walking into the park at 8:30.

Since we didn’t get JC on Tuesday, I went for that for the first G+ of the day. I also tried the frantic refreshes starting at 7:08 until a more palatable time dropped. Ended up with 11am, so that worked well. We stopped by customer service to get our make-up HM slot restored, then got in line to meet Mickey. We ended up first in line, and that opened up 10 minutes early. We ended up just behind the main crowd when the ropes dropped and walked back to Ariel, 5 minute wait. On the way, 7DMT had some ILL slots available, so I got a 9:40 for that.

We then proceeded to Dumbo, Teacups, pictures by the Cheshire Cat, 7DMT LL, HM LL, and it wasn’t even 10:30 yet. Went shopping at the Christmas store, then watched the Tink and Princess parades while eating some snacks. Grabbed a 5pm LL for SM, then headed to JC next toward the end of our window (awesome Skipper).

Since we had a 5:25 dinner slot for BOG, we left early to munch leftovers for lunch and get an early rest.

Back at 4:30 for Monsters, then DD9 and I ran to SM while the other two made their way to BOG. We ran (again) to make it to check in before they gave out table away. Gotta say: the exit out of SM is LONG.

Saw the Beast 3 times over the course of dinner. DW took tons of pics here since Beauty and the Beast was her first in-theater princess movie growing up.

We wrapped up the evening with Small World, POTC, then crossed the park the wrong way, but still got PM during the last park of fireworks, Buzz, and TLS.


Day 5: Only Splash Mountain and Tiana/Rapunzel left on our list (DD9 decided she didn’t want to do BTM), so we made it into a family favorites day, where everyone got to pick a ride or two, and we’d see how much we could knock out. Grabbed a noon lunch ADR at Plaza the night before.

Purposefully let some time elapse after 7 but before the drops to get a 10:45 Splash.

At this point, everything kind of runs together…COP, PM, More Teacups, Barnstormer, waiting for a crowd so DD4 and DD9 could play in the Dumbo playground, Dumbo, then crossing the park for Splash (thank you very large man who blocked most of the actual splashes), Tom Sawyer Island, a visit with Tiana & Rapunzel, then on to lunch.

I felt like a pro by the afternoon, stacking the evening G+ to avoid any inkling of a line with Pan, an almost empty Philharmagic theater, getting in the last ride before they closed Small World for the night, and a 20-minute elapsed time for 7D, walking in line right as fireworks started, and walking out as the last burst went off, then squeezing in Pooh, TLS, and some pictures on the Tomorrowland bridge to end the night.

In all, we had a wonderful time, even with hiccups here and there. And even those hiccups, as much aggravation as they cause when you’re in the moment, help turn your vacation into a story that you’ll remember and retell.

… and once I figure out how to get my phone to let go of my pictures, I’ll put a few of em up :slight_smile:


Sounds fabulous!





That’s really cool about the waitress having art in Topolinos! Fun CM interactions like that really make WDW magic.

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