We took our big family trip in December 2018 and I am just now getting around to doing a trip report. This trip had lots of firsts, even for a veteran Disney enthusiast (me). This is going to be long with lots of pictures, hopefully, people will enjoy!
Me, DH, DS, DDiL, DGS (18 months), DD, DSiL, DGD (8 years old)
I am the planner for all things Disney. I have been to WDW more times than I can count and grew up going to the parks every year since I was 4 years old. DH (he is actually my fiance but sticking with DH for trip report purposes) went to WDW for the first time in 2016 as we took our first trip there together. We have gone back annually since then. He isn’t a huge Disney fan but he is a huge Star Wars fan so it works.
As for the others in our travel party, none of them have ever been to WDW. The deal was that we would pay for their park tickets and hotel room but they had to pay for their flights and food.
DH has two adult children who are both married and have kids of their own. Since DH and I didn’t meet until 6 years ago, I don’t know his children well (they both live in different states, relatively far away). It is also important to note that I do not have kids. So, even though I have been to Disney so many times, it has never been with kids and my patience level with kids is minimal, to put it mildly. DH has two grandchildren, one who was 18 month at the time of the trip and the other was 8. His daughter is not exactly a disciplinarian with her daughter so DH was warning me that this could go very badly with lots of meltdowns (not sure if he was referring to the kids or to me ). On top of that, DD and DSiL are getting a divorce but both coming on the trip. What have I gotten myself into?
During the planning process (this trip was in the works for almost a year), it was like pulling teeth to get anyone to tell me the things they wanted to do. Despite me asking a ton of questions, sending them spreadsheets listing every ride in each park along with links to ride videos….I just got a lot of nothing. Add to that the complications of the family dynamics and I was frustrated going into this trip and not really knowing what to expect. DH also suffers from severe depression and anxiety and was undergoing intensive outpatient therapy throughout November, we weren’t even sure if we could go on this trip.
For the first time in my life, I wasn’t all that excited about going to Disney. I was worried. I knew this was going to be a very different kind of trip but, I was worried about being able to adapt to a slower pace. Would this trip ruin my love of Disney? Would it end up being a horrible experience with arguing adults, cranky and demanding kids and DH’s mental health further deteriorating? Read on to see (spoiler alert - it was an amazing trip!)
DH and I arrived a day early, Dec 5th and stayed through Dec 12th (DH flew home late Dec 11th).
Everyone else arrived on Dec. 6th and stayed through Dec. 12th.
DH & I spent the first night at the Poly, Club level with a Castle view. We wanted to treat ourselves before the craziness began!
We were all at POP Century (3 rooms) the remainder of the time.
Let’s jump right into Day 1!
We arrived at MCO bright and early at 7:50 am (flight left at 5:30 am). We took DME to the Poly and while our room wasn’t ready (we didn’t expect it to be, that early) we were able to grab breakfast at the club level so that was a nice way to start the day. I hadn’t stayed at the Poly since I was 4 years old, and I certainly don’t remember much from that stay!
The weather was pretty cool on our first day, it only got up into the 50s and it was windy. Coming from the midwest, it was still warm for us but chillier than I was hoping for.
The views of the castle from the club level lounge made me smile!
Club Level Lounge
We had a lunch reservation at Sanaa (first time eating here!) so we took a Minnie Van (first time using) and checked out the Christmas decorations at Animal Kingdom Lodge, grabbed some desserts from the Mara and checked out the savannah (not a lot of action, unfortunately). We then took the shuttle over to Kidani to check-in for lunch.
We got a seat right at the glass and much to our delight, there were quite a few animals roaming about. We ordered the bread service and it did not disappoint. I ate so much of that, I could barely eat my meal (I ordered the appetizer of the Shrimp Tinashe) but the food was delicious. DH is a VERY picky eater but he was able to find something he liked (he got the braised beef).
After that, we took the bus to Disney Springs to do The Void. We had done this when we were there in October. DH is a huge Star Wars fan and wanted to do it again so we did! We also took in the Christmas Tree Trail (first time seeing this!). I loved seeing all of the themed trees. I used to run a Dalmatian Rescue so the 101 Dalmatians Tree and the Haunted Mansion trees were my favorites.
We got our room ready text so we headed back to the Poly to relax before we headed out to the Magic Kingdom.
We were in Room 3502 in the Hawaii building which is the exact room I requested! I’m not going to lie, I loved the view from the room. I was underwhelmed by the room itself but the view was great and the toiletries were pretty awesome too. I may have gotten up in the middle of the night just to check on the castle
Next, we caught the monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom (my favorite and always our first-day park). By this time, we had been up since 3:00 am and we were getting tired but got our second wind once we walked into MK. It was going to be chilly for fireworks (down into the low 40s) so we layered up and were thankful we packed some gloves. We had a few stops to make for the Fairy Godmailer but took some time to take in the festive atmosphere on Main Street.
Since we were going to have two more days at MK, we mainly came tonight for the HEA Dessert Party but we did ride POC and Peoplemover. We caught the castle lighting which was so beautiful. I have never been to WDW during Christmas and those icicle lights just took my breath away.
We booked the Garden View, “after” dessert party so we checked in at Tomorrowland Terrace, got our wristbands and headed over to the garden area. We headed for the back along the fence. It got downright cold just sitting still waiting for the fireworks to begin. It was fairly crowded but we had decent views - I am vertically challenged so I usually always have someone who stands and blocks my view but we had enough room that I could move around a little to get pretty good views.
As always, loved the fireworks and seeing Tinkerbell fly (I bet that was a cold flight tonight!). This is actually the first time we have seen HEA. The last two times we have gone to Disney and MK, we have done MNSSHP and only seen the Hallowishes fireworks. See, this is a trip of lots of firsts! This was also our first time doing the dessert party and I don’ think I could watch HEA from here on out without booking the dessert party. I am not a fan of crowds so this was perfect. If we could have afforded to do this later in our trip once everyone else joined us we would but for a party of 8, it was just not possible. What they don’t know won’t hurt them!
After the fireworks, we headed back to Tomorrowland Terrace to enjoy the desserts. This is the first time I had the ooey gooey toffee cake (yum) and the cheeseburger spring rolls (these had both been on my food list for a while). I absolutely LOVED the Smores station. The area was not crowded and we didn’t have to wait in line for the desserts at all.
We caught Once Upon a Time as we were leaving the dessert party and decided to call it a night so we headed back to the Poly. The rest of the troops would be arriving tomorrow so we had a full morning planned to resort hop to see the Christmas decorations before they arrived, then we would check-in at POP Century. Our peaceful couple time was almost over but it was a perfect day.
Stay tuned for Day 2!