Hello, long-time lurker, first time poster…I am one of those 2020 pushed back trips you keep hearing about. We had a 10-day trip scheduled for April 2020, but I think we all know how that went! I optimistically rebooked for November, but without vaccines available, we put it off until this year. My niece was living with my parents at the time of the original trip and they didn’t care if she missed some school, however by 2022, she was living with my brother again and he was not okay with her missing school. ALSO, her district gave her 3 days for spring break, criminal! I begged my brother to give us at least 2 days and he agreed, so I got to work scouring forums and reading up on how to plan an epically PACKED trip in a short amount of time.
I can’t lie, I felt like in preparation or the 2020 trip, I had studied for a test that no longer existed. None of the things I had learned about FastPass or reservations mattered. It was tough because it really felt like folks were just getting the hang of LL and Genie+, so the info was kind of mixed as I prepared. Thanks to the WDW reddit and Touring Plans Forums and Touring Plans videos, I got myself ready and planned this trip that I’m about to walk you through. I feel like this trip report is my way of giving back, since I hungrily ate up other people’s reports to get an idea of how things would go for us.
I want to say at the top, YES, we went during Spring Break and, YES, it was crowded BUT the stories I read online made me think it was going to be way worse than it actually was. I’m from NJ, I was expecting “leaving Wrestlemania” crowded, “New York Comic Con” crowded, or even “Times Square on a sunny day” crowded. It was not like that at all! I had no point of reference; the last time I had been to Disney I was 13 and I don’t remember it super well. I share it because I don’t want you to be scared, book that Spring Break trip! You will be fine!
Here’s our cast of characters: Me (the mom), My husband (the dad), our daughter (8), and our niece (14)
Since we had an early flight, I had picked my niece up after school so that she could spend the night at our house. I had made a TSA appointment, but it was totally unnecessary because the place was dead. The girls were excited, but also looked like they wanted to murder me for taking 6am photos of them. The flight wasn’t too long from Newark to Orlando, I started a new book and the girls dozed off while watching the in-flight movies. I had managed to connect to JetBlue’s wifi and made reservations for Remy’s and Frozen Ever After, which were the two “must-dos” for the kids, so I was feeling pretty good about myself. We claimed our luggage and headed to Mears. We paid for the express, so it went straight to POP Century.
I had no illusions about our room being ready at 9:30 in the morning. We booked a preferred room and had done a room request through Touring Plans, but it felt a little out of context for me, it didn’t seem like there was really “good” or “bad” spot to be in. We got online and I figured we could check in, drop off luggage, and get over to Epcot. The cast member at the front desk was so sweet and helpful and had a room for us! She even declared all of us “First Time Visitors” even though my husband and I had been to WDW as kids, she said enough time had gone by that it was like out first time. Wear those buttons my friends, people notice them! Funny enough, it met all of the requirements I had asked for: top floor, facing the courtyard, no pool noise, and it was on the corner so we only had one neighbor. Easy access to both pools, laundry, Main Hall, and Skyliner. Of course I said yes! The cast member also made sure our magic bands from the canceled 2020 trip were set up and working. On our way over, we saw Goofy and Donald paling around behind some hedges and the girls shrieked and stopped to take pictures…what a welcome!! Then we lugged our stuff upstairs…should have used the elevator, lesson learned. If I ever get to do this again, I’d tell everyone to pack less…four people with all of this stuff, filled up that little room FAST. It was a good thing we weren’t hanging out there too much. We decided to grab some Mickey waffles and coffee from the food court so that no one was hangry before we left.
We walked to the Skyliner, it was really fun and exciting for all of us to soar through the air. I pointed out other hotels and sights, hey I researched everything, may as well play tour guide. Epcot was SO beautiful for Flower and Garden, we got our first of many photopass photos, and headed over to France. We walked around France since we had arrived earlier than I had anticipated while on the plane. We saw Princess Aurora right away…which was such a Godsend because when I had asked my daughter which character she was most excited to meet, she said Princess Aurora and I was like, “where the heck am I gonna find her??” and there she was, like she’d been waiting for us! I was beginning to get suspicious of just how well everything was going for us.
We still had time to kill, so we headed over to Japan. Our niece was OBSESSED with Japan, it was hard to peel her away. She picked up a conical hat (I’m not sure what they are actually called) that became her go-to for most of the trip. The poor thing said, “I better save my money for food!” I was like…uhhh, you know we’re feeding you, right?” Kids! All the while, we really worked the photopass thing, since we had memory maker I intended to get as many awesome family photos as possible.
We wandered back to France and I realized we had enough time to go into the Beauty and the Beast sing along, we had our masks on, but not everyone did. The whole room was singing, which was delightful! After the show, we walked onto Remy’s with our ILL, I realized as we were walking in that our daughter had never seen Ratatouille and zero clue what was going on, it didn’t stop her from enjoying it though. I have to say, I adored that ride, so many fun surprises throughout the experience. It was great first ride and the photopass in front of the fountain is a can’t miss, I love those pictures so much!
When we exited, Belle was now behind the hedges and greeting guests, so we stopped by to see her before walking over Germany for some snacks, I had a pretzel with cheese that was very good, my niece had a very complicated looking strudel that she attempted to eat standing up. We had some time before our FEA LL, so we got in line to meet Elsa and Anna, posted wait time was 30 minutes, but it was more like 15. We still had a little time, so we got mickey ice creams for everyone and took a rest from all the walking around. Frozen Ever After was another really fun ride, my daughter had seen YouTube video about it and was obsessed, so I was really glad to make it happen for her (she really didn’t like the small drop at the end, but recovered quickly from the surprise.) There wasn’t much by way of LL options, so I grabbed Mission Space Orange for myself and my niece and Green for my husband (he gets motion sick) and our daughter.
The girls saw the pyramid in Mexico and begged to go inside, both of their eyes lit up! They said “Look! It’s like Coco!!” and were absolutely enchanted by the whole vibe. My daughter insists that next time, we need to eat at the restaurant (San Agel??) in there. I was trying to get us around the lake, but the girls begged to get on the Gran Fiesta Tour, there was only a 10-minute wait, so it wasn’t too bad. They both love Donald Duck because my Dad (their grandpa) does an excellent Donald impression, so that was really fun for them.
Mission Space was surprisingly intense, the pressure is no joke! My niece and I had such a good time on that ride, but when I got off we saw a Dad and his son being ushered away by a cast member before they threw up on the walkway….like I said, no joke! After we had scanned in, I scooped another LL for Spaceship Earth, so we headed there next. Everyone liked that ride, especially my daughter who kept asking to go into the “Epcot Ball”. For some reason, the camera did not pick up my husband’s face for the postcard, he was just a weird, hilarious shape. We stopped by Club Cool, my two favorite flavors were directly next to each other (BonBon Anglais and Country Club), it was such a nice little place stop. As we walked around England and Canada, I had placed an Instacart order and then we headed back. I accidentally ordered too much stuff, as is my usual way, we had dinner in our hotel room and watched Ratatouille to get my daughter up to speed on what the ride was all about. I gave both of the girls their own Disney reward redemption cards; I had been saving up points with my credit card for a while and I was excited to let them have their own “money”. I held onto my daughter’s and our niece kept hers in her wallet. I told them this way they could buy what they wanted without having to ask or any judgement from the grown-ups, the only thing they would get told “no” as far as shopping went was only if they asked for something we couldn’t fit in our luggage. The girls were thrilled! I recommend this approach if you can do it. I had other money given to me by two of our relatives, but I had a feeling I should hang onto and see how quickly they spent this first card. Everyone slept the sleep of the dead…except for me! My mind was racing, tomorrow I had to get up early and grab those reservations!
I was up at 6:45 a.m. and snagged 7 Dwarves for myself and the teen and Peter Pan for all of us. I tried to lay back down, but my brain had too many tabs open, so I laid around until it was an okay time to make coffee. We had breakfast in our room (instant oatmeal, coffee, fruit) and got ourselves together for the day ahead. Our niece had to cutest mickey ears from the movie Up! I slathered everyone in sunscreen and we got in line for the bus. Even with all the time we had to get ready, leaving the house with a teen is a real chore! We arrive at MK at 11:00 a.m., with an 11:30 Be Our Guest reservation, after going through security, I unfortunately had to drag my family through Main Street, the girls new gift cards were burning holes in their pockets, but I had to put my foot down and let them know we’d come back. We caught a glimpse of Cinderella’s step sisters and then made our way through Fantasyland, up to the restaurant. BoG is so beautiful! We had a very sweet waiter and the pre-fixe was great… the adults had mimosas, I had scallops and French onion soup. It was a lot of food, especially the kid meal. Dessert was such a treat; I finally had some gray stuff! Our 8-year-old very studiously painted her “Chip” and then refused to eat any of the dessert. The Beast came our way twice while we ate. We were in the side dining room, the non-spooky room (lol) Although, we did visit the enchanted rose, it was worth a photo, but I was glad to not dine with constant lightning and thunder. After we ate, I, of course, insisted on the photopass in front of BoG.
We got on Prince Charming’s Carousel since there was no one on line, the whole family hopped on horses and had a blast. Then we all attempted to pull the sword out of the stone (no chosen one in our group, but we got great pictures!) Then we popped into Mickey’s Philharmagic, we all were surprised by how much we liked it! We had no idea what to expect and it was such a cool experience, I love immersive rides and shows. We noticed there wasn’t much of a line to meet Tiana and Rapunzel, so we had a socially distanced meet and greet before heading over to Peter Pan’s Flight. The girls loved meeting the princesses, my daughter made me get in the photo with Tiana because I am a “big fan” as she told her.
Peter Pan is such a magical ride, I always desperately wished that Peter Pan would come take me away as a kid, so I guess this ride is as close as I’ll ever get! My daughter was tickled by the cast member “sprinkling pixie dust” before we took off, it’s the little things. I had snagged a Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh when our window had opened earlier, so we went there next. I like to think I pay attention fairly well, but I found myself thinking after a certain point on that ride, “wtf is happening? I do not understand this story at all. Oh hello, this might be an acid trip.” The kids LOVED it, so I kept my confusion to myself while my daughter bought a stuffed animal who she still keeps calling “Winnie the Pooch” and I will not correct her, because it’s adorable.
At this point, it was time for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, the 8-year-old was offended to not go on, but I know she would have cried. So, I sent her and her Daddy to get ice cream from Storybook Treats. 7DMT is definitely fun, I screamed the entire time, I am 100% that person on rides and haunted house attractions…I bring the fun loll The ILL went so fast, that my niece and I had finished the ride before they had even sat down with their treats. I quickly grabbed a dwarf of the day cone for my niece and the Snow White lemon dole whip for myself, we hung out for a bit and then reapplied sunscreen. It might not come through in this trip report, but we paused often to refill water bottles, stop at rest rooms, and reapply sunscreen. It’s not glamorous, but I feel like I know all the spots now to take care of basic needs.
I had a LL for Mad Tea Party (minus my husband, he laid down somewhere), it is such a classic ride, you must do it if you can! After we had scanned in, I saw Jungle Cruise and jumped on it….only to have the time change to 10:15pm, ugh!!! I had no plans on being on JC at 10:15pm, what a waste (or so I thought!) I sent the kids over to Tomorrowland Speedway so I could sit around with my husband, my niece was like, “Wait, I get to drive???” and I said, “Yep! Make good choices! See you over here when you’re done!” I don’t think they were super impressed with that ride, but the wait wasn’t long, even if it’s a little smelly.
I had a LL for Dumbo next, so we made our way over for this other iconic ride. You really must do it if you can! After the ride, we went into the shop/bakery nearby that is shaped like a tent. The girls began their pin trading obsession in earnest here, they had pins and lanyards we had bought them, but they pursued the options to buy while I walked around and then traded at the register. As I was walking a cast member called out to me, “Hi! Are you with a family?” I said I was I and she asked if any of us had nut allergies, no one did, so she gave us HUGE mickey shaped cookie! One of the ears broke off, but she assured me it was still delicious and it was! We took a little break to munch on the cookie before heading over the see the 50th Stage Show in front of the castle. I feel like we maybe got caught in a parade here, it was one of those things that just kept happening to us. Don’t be me, check parade times if you need to get somewhere.
We had a LL for Pirates of the Caribbean, but had a little time to kill. The girls bought ornaments from Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe and I couldn’t resist putting in a custom order. Remember this…it becomes a problem later on. POC is a ride I remember clearly from my visit when I was a kid, the scene with the dog…classic! I love that the pirate is getting chased by a lady instead of the other way around these days and Jack Sparrow is a fun addition. After the ride, my child wanted the PoC playset, it was first and only things I vetoed, it just wasn’t going to fit. She is STILL pining for it, but it doesn’t seem to be for sale other than at a really jacked up price on eBay. She did, however, get a sword, which is amazing and I encourage this behavior.
We walked away from Pirates, sword in hand and were approached by two Jungle Cruise skippers, Chase and Emily. They noticed our First Visit pins and asked if we had gone on JC yet, I said no. They asked if we would like to and we all got so excited! They gave the girls little cards and brought us to the front of the line. I could not believe our luck!! We loved JC, my husband is a big fan of Dad jokes and puns, so he was among his people. We popped into the Enchanted Tiki Room after, I know it is older, but it is so delightful! Also, it was very nice to sit for a moment before heading back by Tomorrowland. We had reservations for the Pre-fireworks Dessert Party, at first, we stood in the wrong line…ugh! But eventually we got settled, the girls could not believe their eyes. They loaded up their plates with crepes and snacks, while the grown-ups had adult beverages. I pulled out our glow sticks, my daughter’s 2020 (lol) light up mickey lanyard, and I had bought LED hair scrunchies. We all got in on the scrunchie action, including my husband, to the delight of the bartender.
We parked ourselves on the grass and the fireworks began, it was then that I received the text that my custom ornament was ready. I wish I could say what I thought of the fireworks because all of the sudden the skies opened up. We put on our rain ponchos, like many other people did, but then the lightning came….and the rain turned to an absolute downpour. You could barely see! That’s when I realized I still need to get the darn ornament! This was the only time the entire trip the 8-year-old cried, but in her defense, I would have cried too. She tucked Winnie the Pooch under her poncho, but it still got fairly soaked. I had to drag the entire family back to the ornament shop, which was packed with people trying to wait it out. Narrator voice: There was no waiting it out. Funny enough, the fireworks were still going AND you could see them even with the storm, but it was hard to enjoy them at the moment. The rain was not easing up or stopping, even with the scary lighting, I knew we had to get out of there because my daughter was on the verge of a total meltdown, she was already pretty hysterical. We made our way, soaked, and squishy back to the bus. It was a miserable wait and bus ride back, but a kind person gave up their seat for my daughter and talked to her about their Disney cruise to distract her. Bless you Disney Cruiser from DC, you are a very nice person. We got in late, but everyone still took a hot shower before hitting the sheets. Pooh got the hair dryer and all was well.
Day 3 HS
Family groaned at the early wake up call for our Hollywood Studios Day. Since none of them have done any research, they did not understand why I needed us up so early. I had already scored Rise of the Resistance and Alien Swirling Saucers (I panicked because there was nothing else available, I probably should have held out.) Honestly, I got a better RoR time at 7:11, not right at 7:00, I didn’t love the initial times, so I had checked back. We had breakfast in our room and went to the Skyliner. We did not make it for rope drop or much of early entry for resort guests, much to my dismay. My family was in shock at the non-resort guest line that was building up already, we did get in slightly ahead of non-resort guests, but not by much. We beelined for Tower of Terror (the one MUST DO of all of the parks for the teen.) Only one elevator was running, so the wait time was killer. I screamed like a baby on that ride, the photopass picture is amazing. The 8-year-old HATED it. She was shaking uncontrollably after and could only feel better by buying a pin and a donut (a Joffery’s is conveniently located outside the exit for just such emergencies lol). A very sweet cast member gave her a pin that said “For Being Simply the Best”, yesssss, thank you Tina Turner! Then we did more fun photo pass stuff and I discovered that 10:15 p.m. Jungle Cruise LL frome that day before was converted to an anytime LL because of the thunderstorm (whaaaat???), so we rode Minnie and Mickey’s Runaway Railway. This was handsdown, one of the coolest rides, my daughter’s mind was blown. You go INSIDE a cartoon!!! She has now declared her purpose in life to get a job working for that ride, it was her favorite ride of all of the parks.
We went on Alien Swirling Saucers, my husband did okay-ish on that one, he was taking Dramamine every day to combat his motion sickness, but that ride tested him a bit. After that ride, we made our way over to SciFi Drive In for lunch. This restaurant was a request of my niece and it is such a fun theme! Sitting in a car, feeling like you’re outside, with cheesy old movies playing….was everything! We had so much food: burgers, fries, onion rings, MILKSHAKES. I enjoyed all of my food and some of my daughter’s as well! With our bellies full, we did another bathroom/water refill/sunscreen reapplication pit stop and then walked over to Muppets 3D. We had a LL, but it was kind of unnecessary. While in pre-show lobby, I got a LL to meet Olaf, who had a bit a of line, so that was nice to skip. We are big Olaf fans, I wish we could have hugged him!
It was finally time for Rise of the Resistance, the big one I had been waiting for as a Star Wars kid of the 80’s. It was amazing…until my kid started whining that she had to go to the bathroom. As we walked past the stormtroopers she was like “are we leaving so I can POOP?” The ride was very cool and I had asked her if she needed go before we went in, but lesson learned: next time, just make her go!
We had a LL for Toy Story Mania, we are a competitive bunch, so that was super fun! It was our last ride, as clouds were gathering, but we did stop to buy balloons (and Easter balloon and a BB8). The Skyliner stopped running halfway home, so we grabbed an uber from CBR because the bus was taking forever and there was thunder on the horizon. We ate dinner at the room and had a little pool time after the storm cleared.
Couldn’t sleep in, so I did some laundry and hung around the hotel. We have friends that live in Florida, so we agreed to meet up at Disney Springs. There were protestors who thought they were blocking the entrance to Disney (somehow?), but it didn’t stop our Uber. Our first stop was Star Wars Outpost where I got very cool, shiny gift cards for the girls because they had already mostly blown through their first gift card. Then Days of Christmas, I think we have an ornament addiction! Our friend got into the virtual queue at Gideon’s and by the time we met up, it was our turn. Gideon’s is super small, but totally a vibe. The cookie that month involved chocolate and coconut, so I was like, “say no more, I want it!” Delicious! We had lunch at Earl of Sandwich where we sharked out a table for all 7 of us. We walked around, spent way too much time in the Lego Store, and then headed to the world’s most anxiety producing Disney Store aka World of Disney. I barely survived, but I did get a sweet Tiki Room apron. Wound up in another Star Wars store and got my newest favorite shirt and my kiddo blew her gift card on a Darth Vader toy. One our way out, we hit up the Photopass studio, the photographer was so nice. He taught the girls how to check their pins to see what parks they came from, we discovered a pin my daughter had traded for had come from Hong Kong, she felt very cool! Our photos were super cute too!
Back to Pop to relax, snack, shower and then Ubered to Wilderness Lodge. We had so much fun checking out that resort, my husband is definitely in love with that place. Mister “We are going to Disney ONE TIME” suddenly said, “Next time we go to Disney, we should stay here.” I was floored! Storybook Dining was worth it just for the Evil Queen, our niece was entranced by her evilness (at 14 she is firmly part of the Descendants generation of Disney, it’s Good to be Bad after all!) We all took socially distant photos with Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and Evil Queen. I actually liked all of the food and everyone had a great time, I highly recommend. The we called an Uber home, got the girls to bed (our kiddo would not go to sleep at first!), and had to prep Easter candy in the bathroom because the bunny was coming the next morning. Let me tell you, that was tough, if you find yourself preparing eggs and baskets in the bathroom, do yourself a favor and take all of the dang plastic wrap off BEFORE you pack it.