A very late trip report - Oct/Nov 2017

Grab yourself a drink and some snacks, this is gonna be a long one. Seriously, brace yourself, lol.

I’ve always loved reading other people’s trip reports. I enjoy seeing how they planned their trips and how well those plans worked for them. They’ve also been helpful in planning my own trips. But for one reason or another I’ve never gotten around to writing a trip report of my own, until now. :slight_smile:

This won’t be a day-by-day recap, but more of a long list of mini dining reviews, overviews of our opinions of things and notes about specific situations we encountered. I hope someone out there will find it helpful! :slight_smile:

Topics covered:
a resistant spouse
crowds
weather
lots of dining
dessert parties (almost all of them)
ride/show highlights
ECVs
MNSSHP
MVMCP
POFQ

Some background/overview.
This trip was me (I’m 34) and DH (53). We don’t have any children, which makes us a somewhat unusual case. We used to travel quite a bit early on in our marriage, nothing major, but we loved to just get away for a long weekend. Niagara Falls, DC, Williamsburg, Hershey (we’re in PA, so wherever we could drive to was our typical choice). And we’d always loved amusement/theme parks. But due to various circumstances, we hadn’t been anywhere, literally anywhere, since 2012 and looking back now I can say how very, very much we needed this vacation!

My first trip to WDW was for one week in October/November 2016 with my sister and her now husband. I was bored one day, looking online at different travel destinations around the world and decided to ask her “If you could go on a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?” Her top answers were Paris and Disney World.

My sister and I grew up on Disney movies but were never able to take big family vacations due to finances. I don’t even think I knew “of” Disney World until I was an adult, and even then the thought never crossed my mind to check it out or consider going there. But her answer had piqued my interest, so I set about researching, and WOW. Holy cow batman, where did this place even come from?! I’m Type A. Big researcher, get all the details, make a plan, everything detailed to perfection kind of person. I set about planning a weekend over Halloween, which turned into 5 days, which turned into 8 days and spilled over into November trip for the 3 of us. I tried to convince DH to come along, but he was like “Disney? Hell no.” There were highs and lows, tears and laughter, anger and love. I learned a lot and had the most amazing time of my life. It completely took me by surprise, and I was done for. I found myself thinking “I can’t live without this place in my life”. I fell head over heels in love and immediately booked a 2 week trip for October/November 2017 for DH and I and told him “We are going, deal with it!”, to which he rolled his eyes for about the next 6 months.

DH did NOT grow up on Disney movies and had a very unhappy childhood. We don’t have children of our own either, so when I told him that we were going to Disney World, like it or lump it, he was not at all happy about it. He whined and complained. “It’s hot, I don’t like kids or lines, it costs how much?!” But I knew him well enough to know that he just needed to experience it and he would also love it. He has the kindest, most child-like heart but has experienced a lot of pain, so he needs to be pulled out of his shell a little to open up and enjoy some things in life. I knew (hoped and prayed at least) that once he could just see it, just feel it, that he would understand. Spoiler alert: he did! And it took less than a day for it to happen. I know some people struggle with significant others who just don’t get it, so I want to give you hope that things can change! It’s not a guarantee, but there is hope. :slight_smile:

Once the trip was booked, I proceeded to expose DH to every important Disney movie ever. I told him that if he was going to go, he should at least be exposed to the stories and characters, as it would help him have a more enjoyable time. We hit all the major classics up through the early 90s (he liked The Little Mermaid, mostly for Sebastian), a lot of the new films (most of which I hadn’t seen before either, basically anything after 2000, so that was nice), and about halfway through we had a major breakthrough: STITCH. DH fell in love with Stitch. He’d found his character, his buddy. Stitch he understood, Stitch understood him. And then Zootopia. He thought it was a really cute movie and said “I wouldn’t mind meeting Nick and Judy” to which I, of course, responded by pulling up a photo online of their meet and greet at MVMCP and he goes “You can’t meet them there can you?!” and I said “Yes, look!” to which he responded by busting out laughing and smiling, and saying “Shut up!” Yes, folks, I had a foothold! I’d found my in. After that, he was much more open, although still very skeptical about this whole Disney thing. I just told him he would have to trust me, and he did.

I have him on video giving his opinion about Disney World while I was planning it, and boy has he come a long way. Now, he has opinions about everything and I’m really looking forward to our next trip (which we came back from already, oops…), which HE insisted on and which is coming up in April, only SIX MONTHS after our first! This from the man who said there was a 30% chance he’d ever want to go back, and that would only be because of the food. After Day 1, he said he knew he’d want to come back. After Day 5, he said he wanted to come back in 6 months. After Day 7, he said he wanted to come back in 3 months. And after Day 10, he was down to 2 weeks. LMAO. Oh and now, he’s insisting we get matching Disney-themed license plates. Yes, seriously, lol.

Anyway, into the actual trip!

Our dates were Oct 27 - Nov 10. I wanted a nice, long vacation so we could see a lot and also have a good bit of down time.

The weather:
It was perfect. We could not have asked for anything better. The temps were great (70s-80s), and the only time we ever saw rain was when we were in a car on our way to church. Absolutely beautiful.

The crowds:
On my first trip and this one, I used TPs crowd calendars but this time I also made note of what KtP had to say for each day, as they sometimes conflicted, and KtP ended up being more accurate. I’ll use his calendars next time to pick which parks to visit on which days, but I absolutely love customizing my touring plans on TP. It has worked fabulously for me so far. Overall, the crowds weren’t horrible, but they were definitely busy. This was DHs least favorite part. He has anxiety, and although he understands that RD is a necessary evil and that crowds will be huge after the fireworks, he still doesn’t like it. I will always be planning lots of PPO breakfasts to avoid the mornings and we will try staying after close until the crowds have all disbursed next time.

ECVs:
DH has a bad back and I have bad knees. I knew I would be getting us both ECVs and again, he was resistant. But once he used it that first day, he was like “Thank you”. They are both a blessing and a curse. Maybe curse is a bit dramatic. They’re a blessing because there’s no way we could have done Disney without them. But people cut you off, don’t see or pretend like they don’t see you, treat you like a 2nd class citizen. Not everyone, many people were very kind. But it’s just a reality of using them that you have to have eyes and ears everywhere while everyone else is oblivious to you. You don’t get to enjoy the parks the same way they do because you have to be hyper-vigilant, and sometimes even that isn’t enough. It wears on you, and by the time our trip was over, it was making me very irritable. That was the toughest part of the trip, but it was a long time to be dealing with that, so it was just a lot of built up resentment toward ignorant people. Overall, if you need one, do not hesitate! We will have them each and every time we go. We rented from Walker Mobility, this being my 3rd time renting from them, and had no problems at all. Definitely recommend them. You do have to be present for pickup and drop-off if staying on Disney property, but that is a minor inconvenience for me.

MNSSHP and MVMCP:
I loved the parties. Halloween is my favorite time of year, and Hocus Pocus was always a classic in our family, so the Halloween party will be something I always do if we are there in the fall. We are not big into meeting characters overall, so we avoided that and focused on the special entertainment and getting a few rides in. This strategy worked out great for us. I also wanted to try MVMCP this year, so I made sure our trip covered the first party. I knew I would like it, but I set my expectations lower because I didn’t want to be disappointed after liking MNSSHP so much (I like Christmas, but it’s just so oversaturated in society in general) but I liked it more than I expected to. The parade was the best part IMO, and even though I’d seen Holiday Wishes on youtube prior to going, it was much better in person. Very warm and fuzzy. The stage show was cute, but “Text Me Merry Christmas”? Really Disney? Really? We did learn a valuable lesson that we pretty much already knew: a Christmas time trip is just not for us. The music gets on our nerves after a day. It’s too much. I would do MVMCP again, though. Just wouldn’t do a long trip after November 1.

Dessert Parties:
Happily Ever After - yes, do it! You can find a similar spot on the other side of Main Street for free, but you will still have to stake it out 1-½ hours in advance just like everywhere else. And the more that word gets out about it being a great free spot, I don’t see that wait time going down anytime soon. The view is great, the treats were good. I would do it again.

Frozen - yes, do it! Perfect viewing spot, seating, good desserts, FEA with no wait and lower crowds at exit. Plus you can skip FEA in your normal Epcot touring, which will make planning for that day(s) so much easier. Yes, yes yes. For the money and what you get, this was the best value dessert party IMO.

Holiday Wishes - good desserts, great viewing spot, not having to stake out your spot so far in advance, all good things. I mainly booked this one because I wasn’t sure we’d ever be to another MVMCP again, and if not I wanted us to have seen the fireworks from a great spot without the hassle of the crowds. It was worth it for us.

Star Wars - no. The desserts were the best part of this party, but that’s not why you book it. The spot was WAY too close to the Chinese Theater to be able to enjoy the projections or fireworks. I will never do this again and would tell everyone not to waste their money unless they move the viewing area back at least 20 feet. Even if you’re a big Star Wars family, I’d tell you to just spend the extra time staking out a spot for free, especially considering how little time it takes to tour the park right now. And the Star Wars fireworks are pathetic for Disney. I felt like I was watching an overview/preview of the Star Wars films. There were maybe 2 moments where I went “that was cool”, but they did not make up for the rest of it. The kindest way I can describe this show is to say it was weak by Disney standards.

Fantasmic - Yes. This one was new-ish right before our trip, so I decided to try it instead of the dining package because the items in the box looked more appealing to us, and they were definitely a nice change of pace from the other dessert parties. The box had just the right amount of food and just the right mix of salty and sweet. The drink (non-alcoholic one) was very nice and different, and the souvenir cups were cool. Plus this is cheaper than the other dessert parties, although it’s not all you can eat. But I would recommend it if it looks appealing to you.

POFQ:
This is the only resort I’ve stayed at so far, and I love everything about it. (We plan to stay at Shades of Green in June and October this year, so we’ll see how that goes). DH was stationed in Louisiana years ago and said it was very accurate to the real thing. I did a lot of research to pick just the right place for us, and this one ticks all the boxes. Small, quiet, beautiful, convenient, 1 bus stop, decent-to-good food, not too pricey, not too cheap, and Riverside right next door is a bonus. It’s just our place. I knew it from the first time I saw it, and after 3 trips it’s still perfect. We were very happy with the recent refurb also.

Dining:
We did a lot of QS and TS meals this trip. We’re not fancy when it comes to food. We love comfort food. Nothing too out there. Can you guess which restaurant was DH’s favorite? Yup…

Ohana - definitely a highlight of the restaurants for us. We loved breakfast and dinner. Seeing DH meet Stitch for the first time? Priceless. The breakfast is standard Disney breakfast, but it’s still delicious. POG juice! Why is it so hard to find Guava Nectar?! We want this at home now. And for dinner, the grilled chicken was so good! We ask for it crispy, and not too much sauce. We will do breakfast and dinner here every trip from now on.

BOG - We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner here. Yes, I know it was overkill, but this one is for me. I love the theming. It’s another must-do-every-trip. I love the quiche at breakfast. I’ve had it 3 times, and every time it’s been perfect. For lunch, we loved the ham and cheese sandwich. Very unassuming, but delicious! And for dinner I really enjoyed the braised beef. Can’t remember what DH got, but he enjoyed it as well. We would both go back again for any of the meals. And of course meeting Beast was awesome. We didn’t even have a line.

Pecos Bill - Great QS option! With QS, I mostly set my expectations to decent/good food, just something to eat. But the steak fajitas here were DELICIOUS! This will be a regular go-to for us.

Aloha Isle - DH is not a fan of the dole whip, but I love them. And the new option they have with the pineapple upside down cake is so freaking good. I hope they keep it on the menu. I will always get at least one every trip.

Sassagoula - The food here is good for what it is. Besides the pepperoni pizza (maybe I’ve just had good luck with it, but I really enjoy the Disney pizza) and the breakfast potatoes (really good), nothing very memorable.

River Roost - The burger was delicious.

Yak n Yeti QS - We ate here for breakfast, and the burritos were yummy and HUGE! Highly recommend.

Yak n Yeti TS - Meh. It was just okay, nothing memorable. We won’t eat here again.

Satuli Canteen - The food here was pretty good, and it was definitely nice to see something different and creative food-wise. The flavors were unique also, but not too crazy. I would eat here again.

Tusker House - We ate here for a late breakfast as we wanted to try a little bit of breakfast and lunch. We definitely enjoyed the food and the characters and would do the brunch again.

Yorkshire County Fish Shop - I’m not generally a fish person, but I had heard so many good reviews about the fish here and DH loves fish, so we wanted to give it a go. It was AMAZING. Even if you are not a fish person, you need to try this. And for us it was $11 per person and just enough food. This will become an every trip lunch stop for us.

Yachtsman - This one came highly recommended. It was good. It wasn’t so good that I would spend the money again. I had read rave reviews of the truffle mac and cheese, but it is basically pirogies, which we have on a regular basis at home, so if you’re familiar with them, it’s nothing special. The best part of the meal was the twice baked potato. I filled up on this at the end of the meal instead of finishing my steak. Everything else, good but not great.

Homecomin’ - If you’re looking for fried chicken, this is a great place for that. We really enjoyed it and would eat here again. The sides were nice also. Not a fan of the mac and cheese.

Sprinkles - The cupcake ATM is too cute, and the cupcake was delicious. We don’t have a Sprinkles near us at home, so this will likely be an every trip excursion just because it’s a fun novelty. :slight_smile:

Columbia Harbour House - This is another QS similar to Satuli Canteen for me in that it was nice to see something different on the menu other than burgers, chicken and fries. We would eat here again.

Hollywood Brown Derby - I had the pork chop (very good) and DH had the steak, which was the best steak we had at WDW. It’s a bit pricy, but we will absolutely be coming back. The cobb salad was nice and refreshing. I would not get it as my main dish, but it was really nice as an appetizer.

Sci-Fi Dine In - I booked this because DH is a fan of those really old, cheesy sci-fi movies. He and his mother can watch them for hours. And I thought the theming looked cool. We were really happy with the food. The appetizer platter was ok, and I didn’t care for the turkey sandwich, but the burger and fries were FANTASTIC! We booked this again for our next trip, and if it’s just as good then, it will definitely be an every trip thing. Plus the pricing was great by Disney standards. Just avoid the turkey sandwich if you plan on going here.

Cinderella’s Royal Table - This was the restaurant I was most nervous about because of the price and having read so many mixed reviews. We went for lunch. We had soup for our appetizer (potato), DH got the chicken, I had the beef and shrimp, and for dessert he had the Jaq and Gus and I had the clock strikes twelve. Food, service, atmosphere, all of it A-Freaking-Plus! I was so worried I would not like it and was prepared to just enjoy being “in the castle” but this was one of the absolute highlights of our dining. We loved it. When we went in and were in the line to meet Cinderella, DH stepped out of line early on because he was only seeing mothers and kids taking pics with her and just felt weird about it, and I told him that was fine and I’d take my picture with her alone. But when it was my turn, Cinderella asked where my prince was I explained that he wasn’t a fan of photos and she was just NOT having that! She walked all the way across the room, took his arm and brought him back, lol. She showed him how to pose. It was precious. And before us in line there was a little girl who was all dressed up from BBB but who for one reason or another was not happy about being there at the moment. I’m guessing she was 6 or 7. Cinderella brought her over to the seat where she spoke gently to her for maybe 1-2 minutes and you could just see the slow change in the girl’s mood and by the end she had a big smile plastered on her face for the photo instead of tears. It was truly one of the best moments I saw the entire trip of a CM at work. I’ll always remember that. That’s Disney magic. (I wanted to add a note here that on our April trip we just got back from, we ate here during the fireworks. The food was just as good as last time, the view of perfect and it was so nice to have some privacy away from all the crowds. If you can do this, I highly recommend it.)

Cosmic Ray’s - Burger and fries were good, but not memorable. If I needed to eat, I would eat here again, but it’s not something I would go out of my way for. The toppings bar is very nice though.

Whispering Canyon - Ugh, no. The food was mediocre, and I couldn’t think straight it was so loud. We’d come to Wilderness Lodge for a DVC tour and loved the resort, but the fact that this was such a let down really knocked it down to a point where we will probably never stay there. This was the only restaurant at WDW we said we would never go back to.

Garden Grill - We loved breakfast here! The characters (we love Chip and Dale) and staff were great, and getting right on Soarin’ was an awesome bonus. Getting in the park early and having that bit of space and peace, plus the food and characters, A+. We will likely do this every trip.

50s Prime Time - DH really enjoyed the atmosphere. Everything he saw was like “Oh my God, my grandmother had that glass set” or “My mom had that clock”. The service was great, and the food was really nice, comfort food. We both got clean plate stickers. We would definitely eat here again.

Liberty Tree Tavern - Very good. Traditional thanksgiving items, will be a go-to for us on future trips.

Kona Cafe - Breakfast is EXCELLENT. Tonga toast… wow. I was hoping it would be as good as people said it was, and it was. The value for money was also excellent by Disney standards, it was pretty easy to get a reservation, and the wait was short. Highly recommend.

Trattoria al Forno - We ate the Bon Voyage Adventure breakfast here on our departure day and were very pleased. I’ve booked it again for our next trip’s departure day. The food and characters were excellent. The server was MIA quite a bit, which was disappointing, but I think she may have just been overwhelmed. We will make this a regular stop in the future. (On our April trip the food was just as good and the service was much better. It will continue to be a favorite final day breakfast meal).

And last but not least, D-Luxe Burger - We used the mobile ordering, but there was some kind of mixup and we still hadn’t received our order after 15 minutes. I asked about it, and the manager apologized and refunded us, which was very generous and unexpected. Once we did receive our food it was delicious! We will definitely eat here again.

Highlights:
This is where I hit a wall with my trip report and never finished, so I’ll just try and pick up where I left off. I’ll just hit the highlights and try to wrap this up.

Flashback to our arrival day. I insisted to my then-reluctant DH that the very first thing we do upon arrival was to meet Mickey Mouse. I mean, we were visiting his house after all! So he humors me, we get through the line and well… the pictures speak for themselves (he gave me permission to show them, so be sure to check out the end of the post).

He was shocked at himself and said he was having such a difficult time trying not to cry. By the end of the day, he admitted that maybe I was right about this Disney place after all, lol.

Favorite Rides/Shows:
Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid (DH loves Sebastian)
Haunted Mansion - my personal favorite ride tied with:
Tower of Terror - I could ride this one for hours (that’s what she said… bad Michael lol)
Boo to You Parade, HalloWishes and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular - all fabulous!

Memory Maker - do it, you won’t regret it

Airport Drama - Lord… We were scheduled to fly out the morning the laptop battery exploded outside security at MCO. Yeah that didn’t happen. We ended up waiting at the airport for forever (we didn’t know anything about it until we got there) and then drove around in an Uber for an hour trying to find a hotel that wasn’t completely booked. We ended up at a $500/night Hilton. We got home the next day, but that was an ordeal, and not the greatest way to end a trip.

And lastly, our April trip. We spent a week at WDW in April 2018 as DH had insisted we do. New experiences included California Grill and watching the fireworks from outside the restaurant (great view and amazing food!). I also tried Rock n Roller Coaster for the first time. It was fun, not the craziest coaster I’ve ever been on, but worth doing at least once every trip. Single rider line FTW. And Flower and Garden festival. I went with my mother last year but this was DHs first time. It was nice, and the weather in April is great! But I think if I had to choose, I like the fall better.

Overall, we had a great time again and changed things up a bit, learning even more about how we like to “do Disney”, and we are getting ready to head back at the end of this month for my birthday weekend. We’re excited to try Shades of Green and to take some more downtime instead of hitting the parks 24/7. I’m a little nervous about staying somewhere different with different transportation, but I’m sure it will be great. Our next trip will be in October again, and we’ve decided to add on a 3-day Bahama cruise on the Dream at the end of it. Neither of us has ever been on a cruise before, so we thought this would be a good way to get our feet wet and see if it’s for us.

So that’s it, that’s our Disney story so far. I hope it might help someone. :slight_smile:

Photos from October, and a couple from April













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This is amazing! Thanks so much for writing this all up. And you and your husband are adorable. I was totally reliving my first time at WDW through your eyes. Good luck on your next adventure! :heart_eyes:

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Great trip report. Glad you had such a good time and your DH found the magic.

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That was such a great trip report! You can really see the joy in your husband’s face! I’m so glad you’ve both been able to find the happiness that happens at Disney!

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Wow ! Great report! I cannot believe you were at MCO when that battery exploded! I loved your report on CRT and thank you for including that photo!

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This trip report is FANTASTIC! At first I scrolled down thinking geez this is a long one. And then when I got done reading I wanted MORE! I loved the format as opposed to the day by day. Packed with pertinent information, humor(Michael scott, HA!). So funny to read about your DH coming around, and then all his Disney shirts cracked me up, posing like a prince, meeting stitch. The joy on his face was just hysterical and priceless. I’m gonna go re-read it. Thanks for taking the time to write it, finally :wink::joy:

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I loved reading your report, thanks for writing it!

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Really enjoyed your report. So glad you were able to get your DH to go. The pictures are so telling of the fun you two are together

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Great report! Thanks for all the info!

I am wondering what KtP is as I would like to check it out for my dates as well now.

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KtP is Kenny the Pirate :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much for your trip report! I got some good ideas from your dessert party section. :wink:

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Thank you so much for the awesome trip report! I absolutely loved the pics and the shear joy on your DH’s face! My DH is not a Disney lover at.all. We went for our first time last fall but brought both of our mother’s with us which was nice but also added a little more stress. We are trying again early December and I am hoping he will leave with a little Disney love this time! I may borrow a few of your strategies!

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where did you get the photo with the floating lanterns?

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They start taking them after sunset between the haunted mansion and it’s a small world, in front of Rapunzels tower and the Tangled bathrooms :slight_smile:

Thanks for that insider tip. Thats an awesome pic!

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Thank you. I checked out his site and we switched a couple of days and were still able to have our dining reservations at the same times.

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Such a great report! I’m so happy your husband had a great time! :heart:

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Great report. My fave part is the CRT story and the pic to prove it!

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Thanks - I’ve bookmarked your report - will be referring back to it for your dining recs.

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Great Trip Report! Loved that your husband ended up loving it so much. Lots of great information. Thanks.

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