BoilerMom's Family Trip Report- complete with lots of speedbumps & some Disney magic

Hi folks,

We made it safely home from our trip around 2am yesterday. I’m going to try to share what I can over the next few days between work & catching up at home. I love reading other trip reports, so I’ll do my best to share mine as well.

This was our 3rd family trip in 3 years. We did do a whirlwind trip (insert link) for MNSSHP in September. Otherwise we hadn’t been to Disney since October/November 2018. We were a family of 4 then & I was in my second trimester with our youngest. We’re now a family of 5- DH & myself, DD5, DD3, DD10 months.

My parents (DGm57 &DGp57) joined us again. They traveled with us in 2017 as well. They were not involved in planning & only offered that they wanted to eat good food & watch the kids have fun.

Our trip dates were 12/2-12/11. We originally planned to fly out the morning on 12/3, but Southwest changed our flight to 5:00am which meant leaving our house around 1am. I was able to change our flight to the night before & eventually after several weeks of trying added a night to the front of our hotel stay.

We stayed 6 nights @ Pop Century in 2 standard rooms. We had 6470 & 6471 which were not the exact room # requested but matched exactly my TP room request. We were SO happy with the rooms. Highly recommend them! We switched to Beach Club on Sunday 12/8 for 3 nights. Rooms here were fine. We did not get connecting rooms but did get rooms right next to each other.

DH & I have annual passes we just activated since we’re returning for our anniversary in the fall. Everyone else had 9 day park hoppers. We also had tickets for MVMCP.

We were quite the spectacle at the airport between our luggage, a single stroller, a double stroller, and all the various things we brought with us :slight_smile:


DAY 0: Travel Day 12/2

I’m not counting this as a real day since we didn’t even arrive until the next day. As I mentioned, we changed our flight about 6 weeks prior to our trip due to Southwest changing our flight time significantly. Our flight now left at 10:15pm with a scheduled arrival to MCO at 12:10am. I actually worked that day & ended up with a massive debilitating migraine. Thankfully my last 2 patients of the day cancelled, so I got to leave about 60 minutes early. I went home & took a quick cat nap. We finished up packing. My parents met us around 6pm, we loaded up all 7 of us & our bags into our van and headed to the airport. Our flight ended up getting delayed by about 30 minutes. All was smooth & easy at the airport. We had A boarding on Southwest and our plane was only about half full so we had plenty of space to spread out.

DD5 crashed on the flight. DD3 fell asleep while we were landing :roll_eyes:. And baby did super great on the flight as well. About half way through the flight they paged over the intercom asking for medical help for a fellow passenger. Turns out it was only me (I’m a pharmacist). No other nurses or doctors on board. The flight attendant apparently did not consider me a health care professional & kept questioning if I should be helping because I wasn’t a nurse. Whatever. The passenger was having classic heart attack symptoms. I did what I could for her with what was available & we received priority landing at MCO where she was deplaned by paramedics. Multiple passengers stopped and thanked me on the way off the plane which was very kind. I gave her husband a hug before we left. I really hope she is okay.

After that excitement we got off the plane, claimed our bags & headed to Magical Express. Here us where things started to go wrong. I noticed when we arrived that there were no busses waiting and more people than I expected for 12:30am. So we waited. And waited. And then they started pulling individual families and putting them in to cabs. Still no busses. One family a few rows over had been waiting since 10:30pm, it was now after 1am :expressionless: The staff operating DME were not providing any updates or information, they were not answering questions. There was one guy in particular who was quite inappropriate & loud mouthed. Around 2:15am he came over and tried to put me & my 3 kids who need carseats in a cab. Without carseats. I explained that I would be doing no such thing & surely he was not attempting to transport my children illegally as FL law requires a carseat for all children until age 5. He became very aggressive & said “you’ll just have to wait for a bus then & it may be a very long time.” He would not answer when a bus was expected stating that no one knew. I stated if they did not have a way to transport us legally that they needed to provide us with a room at the airport & we would travel tomorrow when a bus was available. He just walked away. I ended up with some sort of smooth talking Mears supervisor who kept trying to twist my words around to make himself look better. The “official” statement was that the interstate was closed & had been for 3 hours and supposedly no busses could get there. However based on some conversations with Liners, it does not appear that this was actually true. And given the number of cabs that were in and out transporting families, it does not appear that all traffic was blocked. I suspect they did not plan enough busses & made this story up.

Finally around 2:45 a bus pulled up. We loaded & left immediately. We made it to our room around 3:30am- I’ve never been so thankful for online check-in! The kids had been in and out of sleep during this whole ordeal so they had a bit of trouble falling asleep but finally crashed.


How very non-magical of DME!


Wow, I’m shocked you waited over 2 hours in the middle of the night for a bus! Couldn’t they have called you a Minnie Van (they have carseats, right?) or SOMETHING??


I agree. But Minnie Vans don’t operate that late either. It was a very unpleasant experience.

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Good grief!! You think they could’ve activated them in an emergency situation (I.e., needing a LEGAL way to transport small children!!)! What a rough way to start the trip!! Hopefully it only goes up from here!! Can’t wait to hear the rest.

Two of those words should not be in the same sentence (and I don’t mean “on” and “the”)


Ha! I thought I fixed that because I had the same thought after typing it :wink:

Day 1: Magic Kingdom 12/3

After our very late arrival my body promptly woke up at 7:00am. I did my best to unpack & shower quietly without waking everyone else up. We had planned for today to be a slow start with the first thing on the agenda being our 11:20 ADR at 1900 Park Fare. Our goal was to try to leave the room around 10:00.

DD5 & DD3 both woke up around 8:30am. I got them ready, packed our stuff, then finally dragged DH & baby out of bed around 9:15. We left a few minutes later than planned, but a bus to MK pulled up right as we walked up which worked out perfectly. For the record, we had a single & a double stroller in tow :rofl: Once at MK we zipped through security & took the monorail to GF. What a beautiful resort! We eventually found 1900 PF and had a 15 minute wait or so until we were seated. We really enjoyed the POG slushies they had in the waiting area- particularly DD3!

1900 Park Fare was planned just for my mom who is CRAZY about Mary Poppins. I made sure to plan this for the start of our trip just in case something came up that might lead to us rescheduling (cough, cough, premonition maybe???). We really enjoyed the food here & the characters were so lovely. I’m going to try to post a few photos later but haven’t had the chance to download them yet. I will say that I much prefer family style meals with young kids though. Between trips to the potty, trips to the buffet, and visiting characters I hardly felt like I sat down. Overall it was a great meal though.

After lunch we took the monorail back to MK. I had originally planned to take the boat both ways, but it was quite “cold” maybe 55 degrees? We had on long sleeves, pants, fleece, mittens, etc. Our first target was to get great seats for the FoF parade. We headed to Frontierland to stake out our spot. We enjoyed watching several high school bands perform, particularly since I had the chance to do so twice in high school. We really enjoyed the parade & our front row seats! When Malificent came by DD3 covered her ears & hid her face. DD5 reached over & covered her eyes- so sweet. She’s the best big sister.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll leave out the eleventy million bathroom breaks throughout our trip. Just know there were a lot. So if you read this & think “how did they do 2 rides in 2 hours?” the answer is probably 8 trips to the bathroom lol.

After the parade we went to Pirates (15 min SB), Magic Carpets (10 min SB), Jingle Cruise (15-20 min FP). Our skipper on JC was fabulous (Kat was her name). We got Mickey bars for a snack, then headed toward the front of the park to use our last 2 FP on Mickey & Tink. Tink had a photo box and it was super awkward.

We finished up around 5:10pm. We waited about 20 minutes for a bus back to Pop and grabbed dinner in the food court. We were all pretty wiped by this point after only a few hours of sleep so we basically ate and went back to settle in and go to bed.


Day 2: Hollywood Studios 12/4

This trip was quite frustrating in many ways. The announcement of RotR opening on Day 3 threw a wrench into everything. While I wanted to experience the new SW stuff if possible, I wasn’t willing to drag my kids through all of it when they didn’t care at all. So we decided to shuffle our HS day to pre-RotR opening to hopefully enjoy lower crowds. I had originally planned to do a 7:30 Trattoria al Forno breakfast & use Skyliner transportation, but unfortunately after the crash they reduced Skyliner hours. Finally the night before our park day here I was able to grab an 8:20 H&V ADR.

We got in line at the Skyliner around 7:50. It started running promptly at 8:00 with quite a line of people waiting. The line went very quickly & we were at HS and through security right around 8:20. While waiting to check in at H&V there was a large group ahead of us attempting to check in that apparently had no idea who was in their party. The poor hostess kept saying “Okay so 20 total people, 11 adults, 6 kids, and 3 infants?” To which the person attempting to check in would start counting people & offer a different number. The hostess would confirm, then the guest would offer a different number. It was maddening! How do you not know the number of people in your party?

Anyway, we finally checked in and were seated right away. I know Hollywood & Vine gets a bad rap, but it was perfectly fine. It was a typical Disney breakfast buffet that ticked off the boxes for us. My girls went nuts for Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and Fancy Nancy. We finished up around 9:15 and headed to start our TP. We missed RD but oh well. This became a theme :roll_eyes:

My TP had originally called for RD TSMM, but when I checked MDE the wait time was already 60 minutes. We headed to TSL anyway since we had a 9:30 SDD. The character lines were massive and TSL was very busy. We took DD5 on SDD which was her first real roller coaster. My mom stayed with the baby & my dad took DD3 on AS2. DD5 took a little bribing to get on SDD and she hated it. She closed her eyes the whole time and buried her head in me. I am so proud that she tried it & that she didn’t cry though. DD3 loved AS2, she laughed and squealed the whole time!

I think at this point we met Mickey & Minnie because we walked by and the wait was only 10 minutes. Such a fun M&G, our baby loved the characters! (So did the older girls too). Olaf had something like a 30-40 minute wait so we skipped him. We went to the 10:30 Frozen sing-a-long which everyone loved & also burned a Tier 2 FP. No Equity Ben though, bummer. After this we went to use our Muppets FP. The kids loved this, it was a nice seat to nurse the baby to sleep, and I grabbed a TSMM FP at the drop!

We went ahead to VotLM which DD5 really loved. She’s been on a big Ariel kick lately. DD3 cried through this last year, but she actually liked it this time. We sat further back which I think helped. We headed straight to Disney Jr after this and walked right in to a show starting. This was kind of a dud. I know some kids are all about dancing & participation, but mine are NOT. They literally sat the whole time and refused to do anything. DD3 did that thing where they turn into a limp spaghetti noodle when I tried to get her to dance. Oh well. They loved the paper confetti stuff and the bubbles (or was it snoap? I can’t remember). My dad was happy to have a bench to sit on ha.

The girls were desperate for ice cream, so we grabbed some Mickey bars & ice cream sundaes on our way to BatB. I had hoped to see Lightening McQueen before this, but all of our time was eaten up by bathroom trips, diaper changes, and getting food. Maybe next time. I know BatB is an old show, but we always enjoy it. We grabbed our stroller after the show and headed back to TSL to use our TSMM FP. DD3 zonked in the stroller on the walk back, so my dad stayed with her & the baby while my husband, my mom, DD5 and I rode TSMM. I won!

I grabbed some FP for AS2 & we took turns riding with DD5 while DD3 & baby slept in the stroller. After a few rides, we headed toward the front of the park to grab a bus to WL for our dinner at Artist Point! A bus pulled up less than 5 minutes after we got in line which was very nice.

Oh my goodness, Wilderness Lodge is beautiful. We loved seeing it decorated for Christmas. I would love to spend some more time exploring here. We were about 40 minutes early for our ADR since we caught a bus right away but they seated us very quickly. This ADR was one of our trip highlights. The food was spectacular. The service was outstanding. And the characters were so special. My dad told the Evil Queen that my girls were the fairest in the land not her. She played it perfectly & offered my girls an apple :rofl: I think the whole dinner took about 90 minutes. It’s definitely a repeat for us.

We decided to bus back to HS to catch a Skyliner to Pop so we could ride at night. I think it was faster than boat to MK/bus to Pop. And definitely less standing & more scenic. The girls loved riding the Skyliner SO MUCH. The adults did too. We made it back to our room around 7 or so. Gave the kids a bath & put them to bed because tomorrow is a very busy day!


Following along, glad you got in the tsl rides and love the artist point review, still trying to snag a res for our trip

This is perfect! In my opinion, this is the stuff of Disney magic. Not high tech rides, not bonus FPPs. This. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.


Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip!

Day 3: Magic Kingdom/MVMCP 12/5

Today started with a very bright & early breakfast at Chef Mickey’s at 7am. I wanted to be sure that we had plenty of time to eat & make it to MK for rope drop at 9am. We were one of the first groups to check in. We got our group photo and waited less than 5 minutes to be seated. We thought the breakfast food was good & enjoyed meeting the characters. Minnie was missing that day, so it was a bit of a bummer not to meet the entire Fab5.

Now the day before I had woken up with a scratchy throat & snotty nose that I blamed on dry air in the room. It had only been about 50-55 degrees since we arrived, so the dry air was pretty noticeable. Baby had also started with a snotty nose the day before. Well neither one of us felt great when we woke up today. But we powered through. Looking back at our photos from that morning, it’s pretty easy to see that we both felt terrible though. But we had some FP to accomplish before a nice long break midday.

Our target this day was Fantasyland. I’m pretty sure we rope dropped Winnie the Pooh with zero wait. My kids love the little Pooh House outside. Then we met Ariel with zero wait. We rode Under the Sea which is a favorite of the kids’. We took a bathroom break. Then it was time to try SDMT. I had not been able to coax DD5 on it last year, but we had really talked it up. DH & I took her on it while my parents took the other kids on UTS again. DD5 was afraid, she held my hand, but she did it! By the time the ride was over she was so ecstatic and absolutely loved it. We used our other party’s magic bands for her to ride again but with my parents this time. No fear at all, she loved it and laughed the whole time. While she rode, we took DD3 and baby on the Teacups.

The next thing on the agenda was Barnstormer, but DD3 still wasn’t tall enough so we skipped it. DD3 is so tiny. She’ll be 6 or 7 before she can ride SDMT :confused: We headed to Dumbo which they also loved. We skipped the play area for the sake of time. We still haven’t gotten a chance to let the kids play there in 3 trips! After Dumbo we all rode Mad Tea Party together. This is DD3’s favorite ride & she can spin the teacup pretty fast considering she weighs 26 pounds soaking wet. We headed to use our last 2 FP at Peter Pan & Enchanted Tales with Belle. Neither girl would participate at ETwB, but DD5 did go up to get a bookmark and photo at the end of the show.

We left MK around 11:30 to head back to Pop. We grabbed a quick lunch at Pop then headed to the room for naps. It took a long time to get the kids settled down which was really frustrating. Everyone finally took a nap & we got our matching shirts on to head to dinner before MVMCP.

We had dinner at 1900 PF. This was a last minute booking, but the girls had met the stepsisters last year & were begging to meet them again. When we arrived 15 minutes before our ADR they informed us they were running 45-60 minutes behind schedule. While I am typically an understanding person, I just don’t understand this. If you’re that far behind then you overbooked your reservations. Don’t make my schedule my Disney trip down to details 180 days in advance then make me wait an hour past my reservation time to be seated. Thankfully after a bit of discussion they were able to seat us in about 20 minutes. This dinner was lovely, although I wish our seats had not been right in the middle due to the foot traffic. Anyway, the characters were fabulous. The stepsisters were a hoot & they absolutely loved DD10 months. The butternut squash ravioli was so good! We headed over to MVMCP after quite a wait for the monorail. The party was sold out & it was pretty easy to tell by the crowds.

Our priorities for the party were a group photo in our matching shirts, the parade, the fireworks, and ride overlays. We headed in and got our photo taken. We skipped getting our cookie welcome package because the walkways were already congested with people lined up for the 8:30 parade (this was at 7:15pm). I panicked a bit at this point because I was sure we weren’t going to make it to the 11:00 parade. We went ahead and staked out a spot right away since we had two strollers & weren’t going to be squeezing in anywhere. We anchored ourselves right on the curb between the hub area & the grassy dessert party area. We were right on the corner of a walkway, so it was easier to hold our spot. My kids were not super patient. We did catch the stage show, although it was difficult to see because we were not that close. We saw the castle lighting as well. The standing really was hard on my dad’s back. The parade was wonderful & we had great seats. The Toy Soldiers were my favorite part. I definitely preferred Boo to You though overall.

I don’t remember exactly what we did after this. I think it might have been Peoplemover & Buzz. Then we were able to squeeze in to the hub for fireworks just a few minutes before the show. We enjoyed it, but I like HEA more. We headed to do Tomorrowland Speedway. DH stayed with baby who had fallen asleep. My dad laid on a bench because he was really hurting. So Mom & I took the girls on the Speedway. It was really charming & both girls loved it. After that some of us rode the Teacups again. We grabbed some cookies from Cosmic Ray’s. The hot chocolate was so hot none of us could drink it, even after letting it cool for awhile. At this point we called it a night. We were all exhausted, some not feeling well & we wanted to get out before the rush after the 11:00 parade. We zipped out of MK as the parade was going by. Thankfully we only waited a few minutes for a bus. We headed back to the room & all crashed, thankful that tomorrow was a late start.

Next up- vomit & other unexpected fun.


Day 4: Animal Kingdom 12/6

Today was a planned late start. Our first FP was for FOP/Navi at 10:30. We left our rooms around 9:30 to catch a bus. I was surprised by how long all the bus lines were at this time of day. RD is definitely the way to go! I will note that baby was totally zonked and I had to wake her up to leave.

Once we arrived we set up a RS for FOP. DH and I rode while my mom took DD5 & DD3 on Navi. My dad just sat & watched the baby. He was in a lot of pain still from yesterday. We then headed to Tiffins for our Tier 2 FOTLK dining package.

Our time at Tiffins was not pleasant. First, after we ordered a manager came over and stated that we could not share our dining credits with my parents. He and I went around & around. He refused to budge & I told him I would be filing a complaint with Guest Services. He did not care and was not an example of good customer service.

Baby started fussing at this point. I stepped out in to the lobby so we didn’t disturb other guests. I got her settled down then headed back to the table. DD3 had to go potty, so I took her to the bathroom. We went in the handicapped stall where there was a giant puddle of urine & urine all over the seat. Of course DD3 stepped in it before I saw it. I attempted to get her cleaned up but there was no working paper towel in the entire bathroom.

I went out to the hostess stand to tell them about the bathroom. The hostess just stared at me. I repeated myself. She said oh I will try to call someone. We went back to the table.

Our food came & I ate a few bites. Baby got upset again, so I put her in the carrier & took her back out to the lobby. Baby threw up all over both of us. I took her to the bathroom to try to clean us up. Guess what? Pee still all over the floor & no paper towels. I headed back out to get some wipes from the diaper bag and told the hostess again. As we headed back to the bathroom with wipes, baby projectile vomited all over us again. Guests seated in the lobby area were so sympathetic, offering tissues, etc. And that damn hostess just stared at me. I said, “I need a towel NOW.” She just stared again. Then finally another guest told her you find her a towel or I will. I took baby in to the bathroom and tried to clean her up. We came back out & the hostess handed me two paper napkins :roll_eyes:

I left and took baby to the baby care center to see if they could check her temp and ears. They took her temp incorrectly & said they won’t check ears there. So I set up transport to Urgent Care. I was told a car seat would be provided. Yes, a forward facing booster seat (totally illegal for my 10 month old) was in the van. So I just held her.

While all of this went on our waiter at Tiffins did end up using our meal credits. He was very upset that the manager had refused & fixed it. The rest of the family just went home because they were tired & didn’t know what was planned.

Urgent care took about 4 hours all told. Baby had a double ear infection & a virus. We got some medicine there on site & went back to Pop. DD3 had napped & then both girls went swimming. Baby slept pretty much the rest of the day. DH and I cancelled our date night at CG :frowning: We all just ate at Pop again. We ended up riding the Skyliner and taking the girls to Ample Hills for ice cream. Then called it a night.

It was a very miserable day. I know people say, “A bad day at Disney is still a good day, etc.” but it was not fun. It is really hard to have a sick kid on vacation, and to feel pressured to transport them unsafely. I won’t travel without our infant car seat again. All I really wanted was to be able to drive myself to our own pediatrician and put baby in her own bed. We survived though and I am thankful for Disney having urgent care transport available.


Wow what an awful hostess! I hope you complained. They need retraining on so many levels! I’ve
Never used the dining plan, but how frustrating. They should decide how it can be used and just stick to it. Crazy it differed restaurant to restaurant.

Sorry this day was terrible!


I’m so sorry! The car seat situation would have made me absolutely crazy never mind that you knew your little one was sick! The whole Tiffins situation sounds ridiculous! I’m so sorry.


I had a bad experience in Animal Kingdom last summer when my father got sick on a ride and was vomiting. The cast members just stared at me, didn’t offer to help. I had strangers coming up to me offering help, but the three cast members in the vicinity just stared at us. It was nuts. Sorry your baby was sick – that is the worst! And the car seat situation – oy. I hope you get to a point in your recounting where you write Guest Services and tell them all of this!! I would absolutely let them know what kind of experience I had if I were you.

Oh no. What an all around awful experience. Not magical Disney!

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I’m so sorry that you had such a memorable experience at Tiffins. I’m just about to call customer service and complain for you.