Better Late Than Never Trip Report

I’m loving your trip report, can’t wait for more. I like your printed plans, I’m having trouble getting the photos in mine, where did you get yours from please?

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I made them using Canva. They have a lot of templates and pretty easy to use. It is free, you just have to create an account. There are fees if you want to buy certain images but you can do a lot with just the free stuff (including uploading your own photos and resizing them).

Thanks! Truth be told, I don’t know that anyone used them a lot but I still had fun doing it and making things look pretty.
I’d like to think if we ever go back with this same group, they would now realize how great they were :rofl:


Day 4 - Hollywood Studios

Since most of us were at MVMCP until late, today was a bit of a later start. Once again everyone made it to the bus stop at the hotel right on time and we were off to Hollywood Studios. This was one of the most challenging days to plan given the 18-month-old and not a lot of interest from our party in doing the shows. The things I was most looking forward to at this park were seeing all of the classic Christmas decorations, getting pictures with Santa Goofy and Chip & Dale in their holiday gear, eating at Woody’s lunchbox, seeing TSL at night, and seeing Jingle Bell Jingle Bam!

One recurring frustration on this trip was getting everyone to stop and do the photo pass stops (we had Memory Maker). The deal was that we do at least one group picture at each park. Typically, if it was just DH and I, we would do a lot more but I gave up the battle to keep the peace. Glad we did this pic with the magic shot of the balloons!

Our TP had us scheduled to go meet Chewbacca as soon as we arrived. But, no one was interested (even though they are Star Wars fans!). I was honestly surprised (and disappointed) at how few character meet and greets we did. Our group just wasn’t that interested, unfortunately. I don’t like doing the face character meet and greets but with the costumed characters…sign me up, I love them! But, we skipped Chewy and we headed to Tower of Terror and used our first FP+ of the day. Everyone except DS and DGS rode and it was a hit with everyone. The look on DGD’s face on the ride photo is hysterical (back row, left side), she had her hands on her cheeks and was terrified but, as always, after it was over she said she loved it. This one did take her a while to recover from though.

At this point, we were about 30 min. until the start of Beauty & The Beast stage show so we got some ice cream and then joined the line that was already forming.

First Mickey Bar (in the bright sunshine)!

DDiL and DSiL both wanted to ride RNRC so they headed to do that and would join us when finished. It was so hot and DGS was sound asleep in DS’s arms so we switched off holding him (DGS, not DS lol) as he slept. As someone who is not used to carrying a sleeping child, boy did he get heavy! He slept through most of the show but woke up towards the end. Everyone liked the show except DGD - she played on my phone during the whole thing. But it kept her quiet and gave me a break from entertaining her so everyone was happy.

After this, we had some time until our 2:00 FP+ for Star Tours so we decided to head towards Backlot Express for lunch. This is where the wheels started to come off for the day.

Picture a group of 8 people wandering down Sunset Blvd, it is hot out, I have a killer headache, DGD is incessantly chattering away asking me questions, DS is asking me about where to go to get something, DSiL and DD are arguing… I am trying to pull up a map on MDE to figure out where I am going (I am NOT familiar with HS and had never been to Backlot Express) and asking DH to start the mobile order and figure out what everyone wants to eat (yes, trying to do all of this while walking was the first mistake).

Admittedly, I have trouble with the maps on MDE and and getting it oriented in the right direction. I was getting frustrated and asked DH to help me figure out where to go. This got him frazzled because he was trying to do the mobile order. Take a deep breath and keep walking.

Once we got to Backlot Express, we now had to search for a table for all of us, finish the mobile order and pick up the food. This shouldn’t have been too complicated but I was literally the one doing it all. (insert Rant) You would think with a group of this many adults, someone would take some initiative and figure out how this works: look for a table big enough for all of us, if you see one, grab it. Don’t just stand around and expect me to do EVERYTHING. Ugh, OK, so I may have gotten a little frazzled and realized that I had no idea where DH was. I thought he went to pick up the food but realized no one was with him. Hello, food for 8 people is a lot - more than one person can carry. His grown kids just sat around on their phones. I kind of lost it and yelled at them to go help DH, get silverware, napkins…etc. I finally found DH and he looked really stressed. But we just plowed through and got everyone settled to eat lunch. (Rant over).

Things were a little tense as I am sure everyone sensed that I was on edge. We left lunch and had a little bit of time to kill before Star Tours so we were just standing around (my favorite thing) and it was killing me!

DH had wanted the At-At Popcorn bucket so I announced that I would go in search for it. At least I would be moving and doing something. The plan was that we would ride Star Tours with our FP+ in shifts so that someone could stay with DGS but honestly, I felt like I really just needed some time on my own. I needed a little breather and break from the group. So I told DH I was going to get the popcorn bucket and look at the Christmas decorations around Echo Lake.

As I was looking for the popcorn bucket, I stumbled upon Chip & Dale and Santa Goofy! So I got in line for Chip & Dale. I text DH and told him I would skip Star Tours and that there was a nice shaded courtyard if they wanted to come over when they were done and let DGS run around. Unfortunately, Chip and Dale took a break as I was in line but at this point, I just wanted to get this picture so I waited. Still no word from DH.

Next, I got in line for Goofy. Still nothing from DH. Just as I was walking up to get my pic with Goofy, DGD came running up and was suddenly interested in getting her picture with Goofy. Not going to lie, I kind of wanted my own picture with him lol. Oh well.

So, now we were all reunited but still no plan of what to do next. At this point, I wasn’t even trying to salvage the TP. We had missed just about everything and had our Slinky Dog FP+ in about an hour. So, more just standing around but did get some cute pics of the grandkids.

Since I got sidetracked from finding the popcorn bucket earlier, I decided I wanted to do that look at the Christmas decorations instead of just standing around watching everyone play on their phones. So, I told DH and off I went. I found the popcorn bucket, snapped some photos around Echo Lake and decided a Rum and Coke would further help improve my mood!

As I was returning to try to find the group, they had disappeared from where I left them. Ugh. I had to herd the cats to at least get them to Slinky Dog lol.

After some frustrating time trying to locate each other, I found them only to find that DS, DGS, and DDiL left to go back to the hotel. Apparently, DDiL thought I was mad at everyone because I went off on my own to do the things no one else was interested in doing. I was starting to remember why I like solo travel :slight_smile:

The rest of us headed to TSL and rode SDD. I love this ride and everyone thought it was great. We also got to see the green army people perform which was on my list of things I was hoping to see.

By now, it was only around 4:30…a looong way until Jingle Bell Jingle Bam. I asked what everyone wanted to do and …crickets. So, I suggested we head back to the hotel (originally we hadn’t planned a break since we arrived mid-day and had planned to rest during the shows).

The wait for the bus was really really long, the longest we had so far. Everyone was pretty grumpy and it just wouldn’t make sense to get back to the hotel and then turn around and come back so soon for Jingle Bell Jingle Bam so our HS day ended. I was pretty disappointed because this was the park that I had the most that I wanted to see and I missed most of it.

But, today was DD’s birthday so we decided to head to Disney Springs to celebrate. Now, this was not on our original plans so, sure, no problem getting a table for 8 at 6:00 pm on a Saturday night (oy).

Little did they know, I had an Ace up my sleeve. When we got there we were walking around and I asked if they wanted to go to either T-Rex or Raintree Cafe. The kids would be entertained so these were logical choices. Since we came upon T-Rex first, we headed to check the wait time. 2 hours. There is no place that I would ever wait for two hours for! But, I walked back up to the podium, told them I was a Landry’s Select member and, no joke, we were called in less than 5 minutes. The looks on everyone’s faces knowing that I pulled some “magic” to get a table was priceless. We had a good meal and ended it with the Chocolate Extinction - it was plenty for all of us to share. Was the food over-priced, yes. But, our crew liked the food, liked the atmosphere and we had one of the best waitresses. She was a huge Pokemon Go fan and spent so much time giving DGD some tips on how to catch rare ones. She was so great.

The lesson from this day: despite all of our plans going out the window for the day, the knowledge I have gained from this forum gave me enough to be able to adjust on the fly, and still have a memorable birthday dinner for DD.

Postscript for the day: when DH and I got back to the hotel, we debriefed on the events of the day. It was good to talk through what happened, where we got off track and how to improve for the rest of the trip. I have always been the designated Disney planner but I just assumed that after all of our trips together, he would have some idea of the park layouts, the rides…etc. Turns out, he’s clueless! So when I was asking him to help figure out how to get to Backlot Express, he didn’t have a clue either and (this shocked me) didn’t even know for sure which park map to look at. :woman_facepalming: I was dumbfounded by this knowledge but we agreed that going forward, I would focus on getting us where we need to go around the parks and he would focus on helping direct his kids to make actual decisions about things (like food ordering). So, we now had a plan and vowed to improve our communication.

Next up BBB and CRT at Magic Kingdom

If you’ve stuck with me this far, we are more than halfway through :wink:


I am enjoying your report! I was there with several friends the same dates, 12/5-11 and had a much different trip than you. I left my family at home and went with Disney girlfriends which was low stress. :smile:

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Definitely a very different trip!!!

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Day 5 - Magic Kingdom

Today we woke up to cloudy skies but that wouldnt dampen our spirits because today was the Princess makeover day!

DH got a text that DD and DGD were already on the bus headed to MK just as we were getting down to the lobby. So we hopped on the next bus to meet them at the tapstyles.

As we were walking up I saw what I had dreaded….DGD was crying. She was in her Cinderella dress but sobbing. As soon as we walked up she ran over to me and hugged me. I asked her what was wrong. Her mom was being mean. OK, well, I put my arm around her and told her that Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother would make her feel better. She wasn’t so convinced. She wanted to take her dress off and didn’t want to do BBB. Time for a little tough love. I told her she had to do it. She asked why. I said because we paid for it already and it was expensive. I promised her that after we had lunch with Cinderella, she could take the dress off and change clothes. Surprisingly, she agreed and we walked arm in arm up to the castle.

The skies opened up as we were walking through the castle. It was still early for our BBB appointment but the weather was so gross that we decided we would head in and at least wait inside where it was dry. Much to our surprise, they took us early (our appointment was at 9:30 but they took us a little after 9). Our fairy Godmother in training was wonderful. DGD is not your typical girly girl, she has a spunky side so I wasn’t surprised when she chose the bright pink hair extensions for her makeover. She didn’t want to get the makeup but once she got in the chair and all of the attention was on her, she was putty in their hands!

It was still pouring rain when we were finished so they gave DGD a plastic rain bonnet to go over her hair and we ran over to castle couture for some photos and she was all smiles.

We did what you have to do when it pours - poncho up and crack on! We headed to Cheshire Cafe for the cattails (yum) and then checked to see if Merida’s meet and greet was still happening. Merida is DGD’s favorite so I was hoping the rain wouldn’t keep her away. The great thing about all of the rain was it definitely kept the crowds down.

Merida was out since her area is slightly undercover. So more smiles which was a welcome turn from the tears early in the day.

We also passed where Alice was doing her meet and greet and there was no wait so, DGD had a lovely chat with Alice. Each character that she met addressed her as princess and commented on her dress and of course, her hair. DGD was no longer insistent that she change out of her dress :slight_smile:

Alice was another one who spent a long time chatting with DGD.

It was still pouring and we were all pretty wet despite the ponchos but we had some time before we could check-in for CRT. So. we headed over to Princess Fairytale Hall. DGD really wanted to meet Elena and even though we would be seeing Cinderella a little later, we got in line for them.

When we got up to meet Cinderella, DGD wanted DH to get in the picture so she handed him her autograph book to hold while she got her picture taken, then DH joined her. I had to laugh when we saw the picture pop up in MDE - DH is still holding the autograph book so it looks like he was the one collecting autographs!

We had a FP+ for HM so we headed that way through the puddles and rain. HM is one of my favorites and DGD enjoyed looking for the hidden Mickeys on the ride.

Next we went back to Fantasyland for our CRT lunch. By now, DSiL had joined us and we only had about a 5 minute wait until we were called for our picture with Cinderella and led upstairs. I have never been inside the castle for a meal and I think I was more excited than anyone else! I was thrilled that we were seated at a window to overlook Fantasyland and we were one of the first families to be seated. The view would have been even better if it weren’t raining but I was in heaven.

We all got wands, swords, and wishing stars - even the adults. I was pretty impressed with the food here. I was not expecting anything great based on reviews but overall, pleasantly surprised. I got the chicken and DH got the braised pork. I thought both were good.

DGD got the build your own cupcake for dessert while DH and I got The Clock Strikes Twelves.

n addition to meeting Cinderella, we also met Rapunzel (again), Snow White, Aurora, and Mulan.

While I am still not a fan of the face characters for meet and greets (for me), they were just such awesome experiences to see DGD meet them. The individualized attention was special and we never felt rushed so they could get on to the next kid. These are pictures and memories that hopefully, DGD will have for a long long time.

Now that our princess activities were over, I asked DGD if she still wanted to change and she looked at me like I had lost my mind! I think she was very much enjoying being treated like a princess.

Our next FP+ was for Jungle Cruise. It was still raining but we figured we might as well ride it because it didn’t look like the rain would let up for a while. While I have been on Jungle Cruise (in this case Jingle Cruise) many many times and it isn’t really my humor, it is right up DH’s alley. I think most of the jokes were lost on DGD.

The rain was starting to break and I checked the Lines app to see the wait at POC was about 25 min but I was able to modify our POC FP+ for the whole party so we headed over there to ride that classic.

Since we were right there, we headed to Aloha Isle and mobile ordered Dole Whips. I got the pineapple upside down cake version and it was so yummy. We walked over to Frontierland and rode BTMRR. DGD loved it, as I knew she would. So far, her ranking of the coasters from least favorite to most favorite: Barnstormer (too short), Splash (although she wanted to ride again), BTMRR, Slinky Dog and 7DMT. She didn’t want to ride Space Mountain once she found out she couldn’t sit next to anyone!

It was about 1:50 so we sat outside of the shooting arcade in Frontierland to catch the FOF parade. Again, the rain worked in our favor - even though the rain had stopped, it was pretty empty back in this part of the park so we were able to get great viewing location right up front.

Once again DGD said she didn’t want to watch the parade so I told her she could sit on the curb. But, as per usual, once the parade started, she stood up and was eager to watch. She was waving again to all of the characters. The highlight was when Alice came over to her and said “nice to see you again, princess” - DGD was beaming and couldn’t believe Alice remembered her from earlier in the day. Next, Chip came over and gave DGD a high-five - the look on her face was just priceless. More pixie dust in my eyes, darn it.

By now, DS, DDiL and DGS had arrived at MK and we were on our way to meet them in Adventureland. DD and DSiL departed for the day to head over to Disney Springs but DGD stayed with us.

Since DGS liked Dumbo, it seemed logical that he would like the Flying Carpets. So, I got a same day FP+ for all of us. Not sure we really needed a FP+ but DGD loves taping the tapstyle with it. The ride was fun and DH and I let DGD “steer” which she enjoyed.

We went to see the Tiki birds next. DGS just loved the music and all of the action with the birds. I wasn’t sure if it would be too long for him but it seemed to keep his attention the whole time.

Even though some of us had done POC earlier, DGD wanted to do it again so we waited in the stand-by line. It wasn’t horrible, maybe 20 minutes. Once again, DGS did great, the dark, the small drop and the noises didn’t bother him at all.

We headed for Splash Mountain since DGD wanted to ride again and DDiL didn’t get to ride it the first day. The ride photo from today’s ride is night and day compared to when DGD and I rode it just a few days earlier. Now, she was brave and not only sat up during the drop, she even had a hand in the air!

Next we headed back to Liberty Square so DS and DDiL could ride HM. We went through the stand-by queue and it moved pretty quickly. DGD and DGS enjoyed the interactive portions outside.

This is another one where I wasn’t sure how DGD would do but he wasn’t phased by any of it. He rode with me and DH and was just looking all around during the whole ride. He really is such an easy baby, very little crying and no problem riding with all different people in our party so it gave his mom and dad a short break.

Tonight was another MVMCP so the park was starting to get more crowded with the party goers as we were going up-steam to exit the park. We wanted to grab something quick for dinner at Casey’s but it was a madhouse. So, I got the idea to take the boat over to Wilderness Lodge. The boat ride was nice and I liked showing everyone Wilderness Lodge with the decorations.

Good Bye Magic Kingdom - I will miss you so!

Not surprisingly, there was no availability for dinner anywhere but, it was nice to see the tree in WL lobby.

We got a Minnie Van and headed back to POP Century. Even though it was only around 8:30, we just hung out at the hotel, grabbed dinner and turned in early.

Today was another amazing day with so many great experiences and interactions!

So, we recovered well from yesterday’s hiccup although it did seem that DS’s family and DD’s family were not crossing paths. But, if it meant less drama, then I was fine with it!

Tomorrow is Epcot Day and experiencing the holidays around the world (or so I hoped).


Another great day! Especially love the pic with Snow White :blush:

I was so impressed by all of the face characters, they were so great with DGD and really made her feel like they were best friends :heart:

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Loving this report. Detail is perfect!!!

We leave for our trip on Saturday and I’m recovering from food poisoning, so I’m going to blame that for the fact that this is the second trip report today that has made me teary. I hope my boys have as much fun as your granddaughter seemed to have, the joy in her face in these photos is priceless.


Thanks!! Glad you are enjoying it. I’ve so much fun reliving it!

Oh gosh, hopefully you are much better by the time you leave! Thanks for following along, it really was so special to experience it with her, I honestly don’t know who had more fun :grin:

Day 6 - Epcot

Today was another matching shirt day, much to the chagrin of my traveling party :slight_smile:

We got to the bus stop at POP about 30 min later than my planned time and it was a madhouse to head to Epcot. This is why we plan, people. Trust the plan! DGS was a little antsy and I really didn’t want to wait in line for a bus for what seemed like would be at least 30 min. So, we hailed a Minnie Van for half of us and a regular Lyft for the remainder and headed off.

The obligatory family pic was done with minimal complaining

One of my main goals for Epcot was to enjoy the Festival of the Holidays, take in a few of the storytellers, visit the various food booths…etc. After our HS day, I held out little hope that this would come to fruition but I know I will have the good fortune to come back another year and made peace with it.

Our first FP+ was for Journey Into Imagination - I am in the pro figment camp and I remember him from when the ride was first introduced. Even though the ride isn’t as good as it was originally, it is still a favorite of mine.

DGS was loving the ride and the lights and colors. Even though the interactive portions after the ride aren’t as extensive as they used to be, the kids still had fun going to the different stations and playing.

We headed around World Showcase towards Norway for our Frozen FP+ and grabbed breakfast at Kringla Bakeri and indulged in some great sweets. The Troll Horn is one of my favorites.

Next we rode FEA. This is the first time I have ridden this as FEA. I actually enjoyed it and DGD really loved it. It was a cute ride and I would definitely enjoy riding it again.

Next we headed back to FW to spend some time at The Seas with Nemo, and explore the fish tanks.

We just happened to pass by the tank with the dolphins when a trainer was there and she showed us how the dolphins smile and shake their heads “yes” when asked a question, it was pretty neat (we got a great video of it!).

After this, DD and DSiL went over to Club Cool to get a free birthday slushy for her and I ran into Sunshine Seasons to get the PB&J cupcake that I had seen on DFB. OMG, this was the best cupcake I have ever had! I didn’t actually eat it until later that night which is probably a good thing, otherwise, I would have definitely bought another one!

Then we headed back to WS to hit up all of the countries. I have been lucky enough to have visited all of the countries in WS, in real life (with the exception of Morocco) so I loved explaining the culture and history of each country to DGD. We also did the Chip and Dale scavenger hunt. It took us a while to remember to look around for them in the wreaths so we didn’t complete it but still had fun.

We saw the glass blower making ornaments in Germany, it was so fascinating to watch, even DGS enjoyed it. I ended up buying an ornament for my Mom (who was watching our four legged kids) and watched him make it.

Next, we stopped to taste the food in Italy (all very good). I really wanted to get a picture of DGD at each country. The sun was pretty bright so there are a lot of pictures that look like she is saluting :slight_smile:

DS, DDiL and DGS left to head back to the hotel for a nap. DD and DSiL stayed in Epcot but had been off on their own since they went to Club Cool so DGD hung out with DH and I (do you see a theme emerging?).

We strolled past Japan, and stopped for the Apple Pie Milkshake in the American Pavillion.

It was a pretty laid back day and so nice to stroll around WS. I loved exploring the Morocco pavilion - it was nice to take some time and go into all of the nooks and crannies of some of the countries.

We ran into DD and DSiL on our way to France, they were waiting to see Belle in her holiday outfit but DGD didn’t want to do that so we keep moving.

By the time we got to the UK, DGD was starting to get a little bored with the countries.

But as we came around to Canada, she did want to pose in the totem cut-outs.

She also wanted to stop to feed the birds while I went to the bathroom. When I came out, she was sharing her crackers with a little boy near by so we sat there for a while and just enjoyed things.

We decided that we were all ready to call it a day. We initially had planned to stay for Illuminations but it was only around 3:30 and we were pretty exhausted. So we headed back to Future World with the intent of leaving. We ran into DD and DSiL and they wanted to go do the Wreck It Ralph meet and greet but DGD did not want to do that. I checked the lines app and saw that there was only a 20 min wait for Soarin. I wasn’t able to get a same FP+ for it and that is DH’s and my favorite ride at Epcot so I convinced DGD that she would love it and promised she could play games on my phone in line. So off we went.

We waited a little extra longer for B1 and we got the dead center of B1. From the time the ride started until it ended, DGD was giggling and laughing with delight. She loved the smells and she declared this was by far her favorite ride!

We swung by the Wreck It Ralph meet and greet and found DD and DSiL, it was a really cute M&G and I think this is the most that DSiL smiled the entire trip!

By now, it was close to 5:00 so we really decided to head back to the hotel this time. DD and DSIL said they were going to stay at Epcot but DGD was beyond tired and didn’t want to stay. I was really hoping that DH and I could have a night to ourselves - we actually had tickets for DAH at MK from 11 pm - 1 am and there was no way we could make it without heading back to the hotel first. DD asked if DGD could go back with us. I really wish DH would have stepped in and said no, they needed to spend some time with her but, he didn’t.
So, we headed back via bus with DGD in tow.

One thing I really liked about the POP Century buses was all of the different music they played from each decade. Fun hearing songs I grew up with. On our way back they started playing Material Girl by Madonna. It was adorable when DGD was loudly singing what she thought were the words - Cheerio Girl. I tried telling her it was actually Material Girl but she didn’t believe me lol.

DGD went to her room (I was nervous about her being in there alone but DH and DS said she would be fine) when we got back. DH was in no shape to go to DAH (he was exhausted and would not have enjoyed it) and it was starting to get cold out so we decided to skip it. But, I didn’t really want to stay at the hotel for the rest of the night either so I proposed an idea to DH. I would take DDiL to MK to see HEA (we had only seen the MVMCP fireworks) if DH and DS would watch DGD and DGS.

DDiL loves Disney and I knew she would love HEA and OUAT. I felt like I hadn’t gotten a lot of time to spend with her since DGD was always glued to me. So the two of us headed out to MK. We did some souvenir shopping and mobile ordered dinner at Casey’s then hung out on the hub until the fireworks started. DD and DSiL text us to see where everyone was and they decided to join us at MK. Despite it being pretty crowded, they found us and we enjoyed HEA and OUAT. I was happy to be in MK one last time and they all loved the fireworks and seeing Tinkerbell fly from the castle.

So, this was another good day. We didn’t do a lot of the Holiday things I had hoped for. Didn’t see CP or stay for Illuminations or even see the storytellers but going back to MK is always good in my book! So, that will just be a reason to go back next year (OK, who am I kidding, the trip is already booked!)

Tomorrow is our last park day. So far we have had ZERO meltdowns! With an 8 year old and 18 month old, I thought this was pretty amazing…would our luck continue?


Looks like a really fun day! My DD8 stays glued to her Mimi most of the time too! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Loving your report. What happened with your DAH tickets if you didn’t use them? They’re not cheap!

I find the family dynamics of this trip really interesting…mostly because my extended family can be like this sometimes as we all have opposite personalities!

I have really been wondering something…DD and DSiL are the ones getting divorced? It just seems strange they seem to be the ones that go off and do their own thing together while leaving their daughter. Maybe i am being too nosy!

You are Grandmother goals! I just loved reading your report and the bond with your DGD is so heart warming. She will carry these memories with her forever.

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I was able to apply them towards AP tickets! I called about a month after our trip (I wasn’t hopeful that they could do anything) but I was pleasantly surprised when they let me do it!