I know this is late but maybe it will help someone planning to go next Fall or anyone who wants to read about a couple character meals and Genie+!
2 adults, 4 kids, Wed-Mon trip, Halloween party on Thursday, 5 day park hopper tickets. Genie+ for 4 of 5 days, no ILL purchases
*We were there the one week of October that was highs of 75 and lows of 55. Needed a sweatshirt each morning but could tie around waist by lunch. Perfect weather!
Late arrival/Hollywood Studios Day
Our kids are 13, 11, 9, and 7 now and were super pumped for the trip as we’ve never done a party before! Wednesday morning of our arrival day, I was up at 7:00 to buy Genie+ and get LL. Genie+ had just the week before increased from $15 per person per day so I was a little annoyed when it cost us well over $100 each day we used it. But I loved stacking! I did Slinky first and even purposely let it take a minute to get to a later time (we wouldn’t be to the park til 5:00ish.). Then 10:30, I grabbed Millennium Falcon, 12:30 Mickey and Minnie’s, 2:30 Tower of Terror, and 4:30 Toy Story Mania as we were heading to the park.
We were staying at the Boardwalk and our rooms were ready when we arrived around 3:30. We had connecting rooms, view of the Boardwalk. Those rooms are spacious! (They should be for the cost) We had plenty of room and with 4 queen beds and 2 twin sleeper couches between the two rooms, each kid had a bed which is good because they all kick and move a lot in their sleep. My only complaint is at night it was pretty loud. But it was fun to watch some of the Boardwalk entertainment from our balcony!
So first night, we walked to Hollywood and rode MMRR, TOT, Slinky, TSM, and Millennium Falcon with LLs from 5:30-8:30 (in between rides we grabbed souvenirs and Mickey pretzels and ice cream bars!) At 8:30, with park closing at 9:00, I suggested Rise. It said standby of 55 minutes. We were all kind of tired so we stood there at the entrance trying to decide whether or not to wait and the castmember says “You really want to go? I can arrange something…”. And he took us through the LL! I was shocked. We are a family of 6, you can add up what that should cost us. I reminded the kids over and over how lucky this was. So we were leaving Hollywood at closing time, seeing fireworks as we walked back to the Boardwalk. Such a good first half day!
Epcot/Halloween Party Day
Up at 6:50 not to book Genie+ but to get a virtual queue for GotG. I knew DD7 didn’t want to go on it so I decided to book the virtual queue for my DH, DS11, DS9 and DD13 only. I had heard it isn’t great for those with motion sickness and I didn’t want to not feel good for the Halloween Party. I got them a boarding group and then got everyone up to rope drop Remy! We’d never been on it. Early entry was at 8:00 but when we got there, it was clear people were let in even earlier. The wait was about 25 minutes. Cute ride! Then we had hoped to do Frozen but it was down. So we ventured over to Soarin, then did Gran Fiesta Tour and ate at the QS Mexican spot. We tried some Food and Wine booths before their boarding group was called. We split up and DD7 and I went to see the Beauty and the Beast Singalong (fun, but I had Frozen singalong standards!) and then we walked back to the hotel, grabbing snacks on the boardwalk and people watching. The rest of the family came back, (said GotG was awesome but DH said I’d want to take Dramamine if I wanted to try it) and we got ready for the Halloween Party.
We arrived around 3:30 and since we had parkhoppers, could head in. I’ll just do the party in notes form. We had a great time! I’d do it again for sure. Times are approximate, I wasn’t looking at my watch much!!
4:30 Space Mt (30 min wait) for older kids, DD7 and I went on People Mover and Dumbo, no waits
5:15 Barnstormer, Winnie the Pooh (15 min wait for each)
5:45 Small World (no wait)
6:15 Pirates (5 min wait)
6:45 Jungle Cruise (10 min wait) Never done at night, so fun
7:15 Magic Carpets
7:40 Casey’s for corn dog nuggets, hot dogs, water
Castle looked really cool lit up! Saw some of the stage show
8:20 Buzz Lightyear ride and some trick or treating
During the 9:15 parade we did Big Thunder and Splash twice each
During the fireworks we went on 7DMT with a 20 min wait and saw the fireworks go off as were on it – very cool. But I was sad to miss the fireworks show. The kids were kind of too, but wanted to do 7DMT and that was the only time it was a shorter wait. We rode Splash AGAIN and Peter Pan. We got a spot for the 11:15 parade and that was awesome. The songs were in my head for days. Then caught a bus with no problems back to the Boardwalk.
Animal Kingdom Day
The next morning I was up at 7 to book Genie+ but then went back to sleep and everyone slept until 8:30! That is saying something with my kids. We had a Cape May Café reservation at 9:20. Which, by the way, thanks to touringplans reservation finder, I got two days prior. I had been searching for that or Tusker House since my 60 days out! Cape May was really fun. The food was delicious, our waitress was really sweet and the characters were cute. We took a bus to Animal Kingdom. I had LL for Navi at 9:30 and booked Safari for 1:00. In-between we rode Kali with a 20 min wait and did pin trading. Our safari was amazing – I’ve never seen so many animals and up close. We had an ostrich block our path for a good chunk of time! After that we had a LL for Everest, then we did Dinosaur standby (waited almost 30 min) because the only LL available was during our dinner reservation. We ate at Yak & Yeti. I had seen mixed reviews but we LOVED it. I got the coconut shrimp and DH got the poke bowl. Older kids got ribs and noodles. I drank a lovely grapefruit beer that I couldn’t finish so she said I could put in a cup and leave with it. Awesome. Then, two of our party didn’t do Everest so we traded magic bands so DD13 and DS9 could ride again. We had watched FoP times all day but they were 90-180 min! We agreed we’d wait an hour but no more. DS11 was disappointed and I offered to wait with him (when it was around 90 min) but he agreed with the other kids they wanted to go swim! We left the park by 6:00 and I did some laundry while they swam. We were all in bed early after our late night before. I wish we’d have just bought the ILL for Flight of Passage but coulda, woulda, shoulda.
Hollywood Studios/Epcot Day
We got to HS for early entry and hustled to Rise….but it was down. We did MFSR with no wait, RNRC with 10 min wait, MMRR with 25 min wait, did LL for TSM and Slinky, watched the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, saw Muppets, rode Aliens and waited 80 minutes standby for Rise. SIGH. But it went by fast and we had an awesome castmember direct us to some employee bathrooms when we were just about to get on the ride and DD7 and DS11 both had to go…BAD…I sent her a castmember compliment because she was just awesome – patient and helpful. We got to join right back where we were.
By 3:30 we were back to the hotel to swim. I picked up a Frozen LL (thanks drop times!) and we headed for Epcot around 5:30 to ride that and had dinner at Via Napoli. Then we rode Living with the Land and Soarin, but both took longer than I planned because I wanted to catch Harmonious but we didn’t get off Soarin til 9:15. Sad face. Also this night my son realized he lost his Pascal pin (one of his favorites). All four kids had been so careful and responsible with their pin necklaces. They checked their pins constantly, made sure after rides they had them, etc. So he was devastated. We searched the room, left notes for mousekeeping and we told the front desk. They told us “ooh Pascal? That’s a good one, it’s not likely someone would turn it in” Well, here’s our mousekeeping miracle – I did a lost item report and three days after our trip we got a phone call that they found Pascal! They mailed it to us for free. Whoo hoo!
Magic Kingdom Day – last day – Artist Point dinner!
I let everyone sleep in (I, of course, was up at 7) and we got to MK around 9:00. We did Peter Pan (LL) Big Thunder (walk on) Little Mermaid (walk on) Haunted Mansion (LL) Tea Cups (walk on) Space (waited 30) Splash LL, Buzz LL and Pirates LL! We watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade then headed to Wilderness Lodge. Oh we had cinnamon buns at Gaston’s after our Peter Pan LL. Those are my favorite.
I can’t say enough good stuff about our experience at Artist Point. From service, to the atmosphere, to the food and characters, it was one of the best dining experiences. My son had just gotten a Dopey/Grumpy pin so he showed it to them and they were really cute about it. Even Grumpy tried to look annoyed but then gave him a high five. DD7 hugged Grumpy and he made a show of “wiping off her hug”. Even better, we got charged four kid prices even though my older two are 11 and 13. They let them order off the kid menu which they wanted. So we saved some money there! Highly recommend this one.
Then we took a bus to Epcot and rode Spaceship Earth because we hadn’t and it’s a classic! We had an early flight home the next morning. We used Sunshine Flyer to get to the airport and had a good experience.
-Boardwalk, overall a great hotel and walking to Epcot and HS is the #1 reason we pay for it ( we stayed at Beach Club Villas last year and felt they are very similar). I personally like the less chaotic pool at Boardwalk but I know I’m not in the majority!
-Halloween Party – low wait times, fun theming, everyone was in a good mood, great atmosphere, not crowded (a Thurs night party)
-Finding Pascal pin!
-Artist Point and Cape May – two great character meals
-Kids having so much fun, minimal whining, and no requests for stroller (first trip without!)
-No transportation issues, always a bus available, all our travels went super smooth
-Getting to ride Rise for “free”
-When rides are down! Especially at rope drop!
-Not getting to ride Test Track or FOP, two of our favorites. FOP lines just too high and Test Track was either down or LL not available when I tried. I would see one pop up at a drop time but by the time I clicked it, it was gone. And we tried to figure out a time to hop over to AK for FOP but we had park or dinner reservations I didn’t want to lose/move.
-Genie+, love and hate, because of what I said above about clicking on one and either the time window or availability changed but I do like the option to stack. Paying for it really stinks though. I hope they go back to including it in your package. At least you feel like it’s paid for ahead of time. Throw in the dining plan too!
All in all we had a great trip! We have gone every year (except 2020) since 2016 and it just doesn’t get old for our kiddos. They absolutely love going. I love that I have the cutest memories of them as littles but now don’t need nap breaks, diaper bags or strollers! Next up – I’m running the Wine & Dine challenge next November! As a family, not sure when we’ll go but by now I’ve gotten DH to accept my obsession so hopefully sooner than later – I know we won’t miss Flight of Passage next time