Birthday trip 1/29-2/5/22 Tidbits and New to Us

I have not been good about reporting trips lately but several Liners’ suggestions and advice really added to this last trip so I want to provide at least some follow-up to show how it went! I won’t do a detailed day to day account but instead will highlight new experiences and aspects of the trip that seemed significant to me.
Since my DS’s were not interested this time, the party consisted of myself, DH, DD5 and DD8-turned-9-on-trip. My mother also joined us midway for a couple of days (DD’s birthday!). We stayed at YC the first 3 nights, then moved to Shades of Green when mom arrived since she has military benefits. We rented a car which we only ended up using to get to/from MCO and to move hotels. But it did facilitate the move and a visit to DIsney Springs on our way out nicely. I ended up finding our best car rental deal just two days before the trip. I booked no-penalty cancellable reservations and kept checking via Autoslash, although I ended up booking and keeping a bigger car for similar price on Dollar’s site.
Had to snap a photo of this at the MCO baggage claim. Someone’s trip was not starting off well!!




Spirit Airlines and early/late travel
The first aspect that was new to us was our flight schedule. We had a Spirit travel credit to use and they had one option from STL to MCO, leaving at 6 AM and one option returning departing at 10:30 PM. Usually we fly down in the afternoon or evening and back morning or midday. On the bright side we basically got a bonus two days in the parks and/or saved two nights in Disney hotels. We did get an airport hotel the night before but the girls were so excited, we only got maybe 4 hours’ sleep before leaving the hotel at 4 AM. We had Space 220 lunch that day and my intent was a nap break if our room was ready after lunch, and it was, but we were refreshed enough to carry on after eating so just made it an early night instead. I was amazed the kids did as well as they did on so little sleep! But it was a rough way to start the trip and I’m not sure I’d make it a habit. The flight itself on Spirit (also a first for us) was fine. I did pay for seats together, actually gambled on two sets of window/aisle seats on the way down since the plane wasn’t too full and the middles stayed empty! Based on this experience I’d fly Spirit again, but maybe not on this schedule. We managed to have chosen dates just right around two major storm systems that disrupted flights for a few days each but ours were not affected. The flight back to STL was cancelled two days in a row, then delayed several hours (arriving around 4 AM!) the day before we left but ours was on time.


Cold in Orlando
Granted it was not as cold as the winter weather we left behind in Illinois, but I was glad I decided to have the girls bring along their winter coats at the last minute! The first two days we had highs in the upper 50’s and a low down to 35 the first night! We had never before worn our winter coats around the parks but that’s what we did, especially in the mornings and evenings. I still preferred this to the hot sticky weather in August. As a side benefit, it was fun to see the coats that were part of the CM costumes! I especially liked the POTC coats but it seemed awkward to take a photo of the ride CMs. Here are some pics of the girls and princesses in winter finery.

Fortunately it warmed up to the mid-70s by our checkout day at YC so we got to spend one afternoon at Stormalong Bay, which the girls loved! The heated pools were fine, but walking over to the slide and climbing the steps wet in the cool breeze was not for the faint hearted! Didn’t stop my girls however!


Shades of Green
Midway through our trip my mom joined us from her snowbird roost in FL and checked us into Shades of Green. Thanks again to @vcka for the suggestion! We really enjoyed our stay there! Our standard room was nice and big and I thought the bed was more comfortable than the one at YC. Here are pics of our room:

The fold-down bed was truly about the size of a twin and quite comfortable. They do not have bedrails at SOG FYI…we hoped at 5 DD would be ok but nope, there was a mid-night fall out of bed. The bathroom which I didn’t take photos of was large and adequate but could definitely use some updating. All bathroom elements were in one room which made sharing among 5 a little more challenging, and it was definitely short on shelves/storage space. But it did the job.
You definitely knew you were in a military setting, with security carefully checking everyone’s ID/credentials every time we entered. Even returning on the bus, the bus stopped at the guard station and the guard boarded the bus and checked everyone’s ID. Bus service was nice but less frequent than Disney’s. There was a posted schedule of bus times. For rope dropping we learned getting to the bus early was key. But, everyone from the staff to other guests was very friendly.
The Polynesian was about a 10-minute easy walk, well marked with signage. Having close access to the monorail and Poly’s dining was really nice. We didn’t dine or use the pool at SOG but the pool looked nice. There is also a little convenience store in the resort with everything from clothing and souvenirs to a wide variety of food/grocery items. Guest parking is in a covered parking garage; it appeared the surface parking was for guests using the golf courses. Housekeeping didn’t come every day here either, we were there 4 nights and I think it was about 3 days before they emptied trash and traded out the towels. But there were plenty of trash cans and towels to begin with. Also there was advertising for a princess/pirate treatment for kids that was very affordable….but we already had something else booked :wink:


So happy it worked out! I’m happy to see pictures of updated rooms too, they look nice.

That’s nice!


Birthday and Princess Makeovers
On DD9’s big day we got up early for rope drop at MK, walking over to the Poly to catch the monorail. Even though we weren’t in front at taps we still ended up in good position waiting by Cheshire Cafe for rope drop.

After several rides we headed to Kona Cafe for lunch; the birthday girl was in search of sushi and found it on the kids menu!!

Kona Cafe was a huge sleeper hit for us by the way. Besides the sushi, the tuna poke bowl, crispy cheddar burger and pot stickers were all phenomenal.
Then we walked back to SOG purportedly to put on their princess dresses now that it had warmed up outside. Thanks to @trish1201_721026 we had arranged for Jennifer to meet us to do princess makeovers! Even though we were back early she was there waiting in a sitting area in the hall. We figured out who each other were and the kids were a little freaked that a stranger was following us into our room, until I explained what was going on. DD9 screamed!! She was SO excited! She did both girls makeup, nails and hair and they just ate it all up. They were so surprised and just loved it!!

After they were all fancy, we headed back to MK taking photos along the way.

We had several LL’s lined up and then headed to BOG for dinner!

The littlest princess loved my French onion soup so drank it out of a saucer! We came out of BOG just in time to watch a few fireworks and then closed down the park.


I am loving all the pictures, especially of their Princess looks after the make-over. So cute!


Such lovely pictures! I love the girls dresses and makeovers!


Ohhhh my goodness, your girls look absolutely beautiful! I’m so happy that you liked Jennifer:) Have the most magical trip ever~ :heart:


She did a fantastic job and was so sweet with the girls! Thanks again for the referral!

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