Adult Dream Trip: Disney World/Universal Studios Trip Report

Who: Me (he/him), 49 and L (she/her), 42
When: September 22-October 8th (17 days!)
Where: Polynesian Sept 22-Oct 2, Portofino Bay Oct 2-8
How: Flying WestJet, YYZ to MCO


I’ve been to both Disney World and Universal Studios Florida in the past, but not for about 15 years, and I’ve not been to Epcot since I was a kid, in 1986, or to Animal Kingdom ever. This is L’s first trip to Disney and Universal (or, really, any serious theme park). We’d originally planned this trip for last fall, but everything still felt unsafe so we pushed it a year.

For me, this is a chance for a dream trip to revisit some nostalgia and make some new memories, as well as share my love for the parks with L. We’re staying at the Polynesian for the Disney leg, in a club-level theme park view room, something I wanted to do so badly when I was a kid.

We’re completely indulging, hoping to hit a lot of the really coveted experiences. We’ve got ADRs for 'Ohana, Be Our Guest, Jiko, Skipper Canteen, 50’s Prime Time, Oga’s, California Grill, Space 220, Hoop-de-doo, Homecomin’, Citricos and a special night at Victoria and Albert’s. I’ve also booked Savi’s, MNSSHP, and a Keys to the Kingdom tour. At Universal, the only specific place I want to eat is Mythos (which we have an ADR for!), we have an ADR for Toothsome, and we have tickets+EP for HHN.

Phew! I’m not usually much of a planner, I like to just go where the wind takes me, so I’m glad that Universal requires a lot less planning, especially since we’re staying in one of the hotels that gets us ExpressPass during our stay. I’m keeping most of the plans from L, to maximise surprise and delight. If everything goes as expected, she’ll feel like the whole trip was accidentally amazing. I expect 40% of it to go as expected :joy:. There’s a lot there, but I’ve no qualms about cancelling reservations if we’re not feeling it, or if things feel too regimented. When we booked, we added G+ to the entire trip, so the plan is to make a lot of use of that, as well as getting ILL reservations for all the big things at the start of the trip.

I don’t think I can do much live updating, but I’ll do daily reports. For each, I’ll include a recap of the plans for the day, and then what we actually did, including what Lightning Lanes we get and when, so you can enjoy what is sure to be the delicious, delicious schadenfreude of a first-time Disney planner.

As of now, I’m busy packing. We leave in OH GOD ONLY THREE DAYS. :open_mouth::grimacing::star_struck:

Plan Summary:

Day 1, Thu Sep 22: Travel and Polynesian Check-in
Day 2, Fri Sep 23: The Magic Kingdom
Day 3, Sat Sep 24: Hollywood Studios
Day 4, Sun Sep 25: And then they rested
Day 5, Mon Sep 26: Animal Kingdom
Day 6, Tue Sep 27: EPCOT
Day 7, Wed Sep 28: Freeform begins, Hollywood Studios
Day 8, Thu Sep 29: Keys to the Kingdom Tour
Day 9, Fri Sep 30: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Day 10, Sat Oct 1: Foodgasm 2022
Day 11, Sun Oct 2: The Big Move
Day 12, Mon Oct 3: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure
Day 13, Tue Oct 4: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure
Day 14, Wed Oct 5: Volcano Bay, Halloween Horror Nights
Day 15, Thu Oct 6: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure
Day 16, Fri Oct 7: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure
Day 17, Sat Oct 8: The Journey Home


Sounds like a great trip! Help out a Brit, where is YYZ?


You realize you are ruining her for future vacations right? It sounds epic and I am hella jealous! I’m also L if you need a sub at any point :rofl:


Isn’t that a zipper?? :rofl:


This sounds amazing! I’m so happy to follow along.




YYZ is Toronto, ON, Canada. :smiley:


That sounds like an absolutely amazing trip!!
I’m particularly jealous of your six days of express pass!!! :exploding_head::smiley::smiley:


I highly approve. Have a great trip!


Whoa! This sounds like you’ve put together an amazing trip :slight_smile: even though you claim you aren’t much of a planner!! Can’t wait to hear all about it!


Sounds like an awesome trip! Looking forward to following along.


Looking forward to following along!


BOOM. 'Ohana reservations acquired for our arrival date, thanks to the reservation finder. :heart:


Safe travels! Looking forward to following along.


This is so much of the fun, especially when planning for first timers

I feel like liners aren’t generally big on schadenfreude but I’ll see what I can muster.

Your trip sounds absolutely delightful! I look forward to following along and/or catching up later. We arrive on the 24th but it doesn’t look like we have any overlapping plans.


Day 1: Travel and Polynesian Checkin

The plan: 10:15am flight from Toronto to Orlando, scheduled to arrive at 1pm. Check in at the Polynesian, grab some drinks and snacks at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, have dinner at ‘Ohana, and maybe some pool time.

Well, this basically couldn’t have gone more perfectly. The flight was amazing, arriving early. Our room wasn’t ready until nearly 4, but we left our bags will Bell Services and wandered around the resort, starting with a Dole Whip, of course.

Once our room was ready, we had a chance to unpack and change out of our travel duds before our waitlist for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto was called. What fun! We had a Polynesian Pearl and a Krakatoa Punch to start, followed by a shared Uh-oa bowl. We also split the pan-fried dumplings and the pork tacos. The tacos were good, the dumplings were amazing. The whole atmosphere is crazy there and I loved it.

Then, back to the room to rest up a bit, we might’ve dozed. The sun went down, and we wandered over to our 9:10 reservation at ‘Ohana at 8:45. We requested and got a fireworks view table, and: wow.

The food was amazing, the atmosphere unbeatable, the drinks strong and the company fantastic. Drunk and overfull, we waddled back because it was way past our 9pm bedtime.

Perfect. It was perfect.


What a fantastic start to your trip!


Relatable :laughing:

Glad you had a perfect start to the trip!!


Day 2: The Magic Kingdom

The plan: Club breakfast, monorail to Rope-drop Magic Kingdom, get some QS lunch and dinner at Skipper Canteen at 5:15. MK closes at 6pm.

The indulgences of yesterday caught up with L a bit, so we were slower off the ramp than expected. We skipped EE, had some Club breakfast of quiches, sausages and other assorted goodies, then hopped the monorail to get into the park around 8:30.

At 7am I booked an 8am LL for Jungle Cruise (using BG1, natch!) but the park was insanely quiet this morning and for most of the day, so talking about LL times would be moot, for most of the day I was able to just book one for whatever we wanted to go on next.

And go on we did: Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Enchanted Tiki Room, all before 10am. Then Liberty Square Riverboat, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Under the Sea, The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, the Peoplemover, Carousel of Progress, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and the Peoplemover again.

Phew! In between all that, we had lunch at Sleepy Hollow (sweet and spicy chicken waffle sandwich and a corn dog — the corn dog was a huge winner!), and grabbed a Binx Cat Tail from Cheshire Cafe. After our final Peoplemover, we wandered to Adventureland to wait until our reservation was ready. So, we did all this before 4:30pm. :exploding_head:

Dinner at Skipper Canteen is glorious. We were in the SEA room, and had the special appetizer, Pao de Queijo, and the Skipper Salad, Dan Dan Noodles, and the Siu Pork, finishing with, of course, Kungaloosh. Mix in a sangria and a shandy and you have an idea of how amazing this meal was.

Exhausted, full, and deeply happy, we’re back at the hotel and about to collapse into bed. Goodnight, friends. Today was another perfect day. :heart:


How is L liking her first Disney trip so far??


What great days you’ve had so far!
Lovely TR. Looking forward to more…