Can the second time be as good as the first? Yes!

First of all, a humongous THANK YOU to Touring Plans, the UG, and everyone on this forum who provides such helpful advice and information. We (me, DW, DD9, and DS9) have just returned from a fabulous week-long trip. This was our 2nd family trip to WDW. The first being 4 years ago – a trip my DW swears is one of the best trips she’s ever taken, after going in as a skeptic. Well, guess what? We did it again, and it was just as fabulous. And it wouldn’t have been as incredible without my TPs and all the information I’ve gathered here. We did 2 days in MK, 1 ½ days in Epcot, 1 full day each in DHS and DAK. On with the thoughts and highlights (that essentially gets too long and turns into a sort of trip report :grinning:)….

Two great rooms and one big dud. We did a split stay of 3 nights at Contemporary Resort and 4 nights at Yacht Club. Our 2nd visit to CR. We all love it. It’s so convenient to MK. And I love the Main Tower Lake View. We got an 11th floor room with a spectacular view (#4716). Perfect.

On Day 4, we headed to Epcot, while our bags headed to Yacht Club. I suspected something might be up, when I got a couple texts during the day telling us our room wasn’t ready yet. By the time we made it to Yacht Club (after dinner at Teppan Edo – yum), we still hadn’t heard anything, so I went up to the check-in desk and was told we would be on the Club Level. Well, ok. The front desk CM walked us up there, and we went to our room way down the long hallway, only to find a nice room but with a balcony overlooking the back parking lot, a couple of dumpsters and the very loud air conditioning units. We had paid for a “Water View.” Honestly, a good balcony is something I was really looking forward to. And had asked for specifically on my MDE room request and my TP room request. I’m always up first and have my morning coffee out there, also my end of the night wine, plus we put wet swimsuits out there. We really use a balcony. (For those keeping score, this was room #5238 – woof.)

After explaining to our concierge (we get one of those on Club Level) that this was unacceptable, they said they could move me tomorrow to another Club Level room with a water view. Also, after some additional grumbling, they gave us 2 anytime FPPs for each of our final four days (cool). So, the next day, I once again got the text saying that our room was not ready. But, it was ready by the time we got back from DHS and dinner (Trattoria al Forno – pizza night!). And it was a terrific room with a wonderful lake view (#5175). As my son pointed out the following day, too bad we couldn’t always get a bad room for one night only to be rewarded with a great Club Level room and additional FPPs. True.

New experiences - DHS. First time for all of us going to DHS. I moved our trip up a week after SW:GE was announced, because I didn’t want SW:GE to ruin our DHS day. And we loved it. My DD said it was her favorite park. We did R&R Coaster three times (thank you additional FPPs). Met Chewy and BB8. ToT scared me out of me seat (eh hem). And this big time Muppets fan thrilled to MuppetVision 3D.

And get this: So, my touring plan called for rope dropping AS5, because even though we didn’t have SDD FPP, I never thought we’d be well-positioned enough to get there in time and I really didn’t want to deal with the madness. As we were entering the security gates around 8:15am or so, who do I see but TP’s very own Steve Bloom. I introduce myself, thank him for TP’s incredible work, and then slip in what our plan is. He responds by saying, “I think you are probably here early enough to do SDD.” Um okay, seed planted, “Thanks Steve, keep up the great work!” As we walk down Hollywood Blvd., I follow the strategy laid out by @heathernoel here: Rope Dropping HS (pre SWGE) quick report. (Thank you! @heathernoel) We stay way left, go around Keystone Clothiers to avoid the bigger crowd on the main drag, and end up near the front of rope drop, like two back. Rope drops, and as we join the front of the other crowd and make our way through the archs and left to TSL, I turn to my family and say, “We are totally doing SDD.” Boom! 15 minutes later we are on SDD. Amazing. And we all loved the ride. One other comment on DHS: what a funky layout. I do wonder if SW:GE will help with the symmetry of the park.

Other new experiences for us included…. HDDR, which was corny as all heck, but as I suspected, my kids, especially my DS, loved every minute of it. Glad we did it. …We all had delicious Dole Whips in DAK, and the DW’s and mine had the added rum, which really helped take the edge off a hot afternoon. …We all loved EE. Kids were too young last trip. This trip, DD and DW rode it 4 times! (Thank you additional FPPs). And of course….

Pandora. We were lucky enough to have an early afternoon FPP for FOP. And thanks to the drop time advice and information that I had picked up on this forum, I was able to get another FPP for FOP at the 5:01pm drop. We rode FOP a 2nd time after a delicious meal at Tiffins, and also got to appreciate Pandora at night, while my son, who wasn’t interested in any souvenirs all week, got himself a banshee. As I later said to my wife, the very idea that I even knew that more FPPs would be dropped at 5:01pm is sort of ridiculous. Thank you TP Forum!

Favorite meal. I think my DW’s was dinner at California Grill (a wonderful repeat for us). For me, it was our final night at Monsieur Paul. I love French food. And the fireworks started going off during desert. What a perfect final night. Kids favorite was Sci-Fi Dine In…Ha! of course.

Pool time. We were also able to squeeze in some pool time on our arrival day at CR, and our departure day at YC. Plus, we scheduled what was essentially a pool day at YC. I reserved a cabana, which was my big splurge for the week. Not sure it was worth the price, but it did make for a relaxing day, both when we spent our morning at Epcot knowing that a cabana awaited, and then of course at the pool and cabana itself. The kids loved Stormalong Bay.

Wishes do come true. I really wasn’t sure if this trip was going to be as great, um magical, as our trip four years ago. I knew we had plenty of new things to do, but I was also worried that things would go awry, especially because our crowd levels were so low four years ago. Boy, was I wrong. Our Touring Plans worked great, and that included on a 6 CL day at MK. Plus, fortune was clearly on our side the whole trip. When a ride went down, we still got to ride it later, and in some cases it worked to our advantage – hello, late afternoon Barnstormer additional FPP turning into an anytime that we used on Space Mountain thanks to rain, for example. Of course, I’m now hitting that post trip malaise (not really a depression), knowing that we won’t be going back for a few more years. But then I think about all the new stuff that will be at WDW whenever we do go back. Time to start planning!


I am so glad you had such a wonderful trip! Glad to help put you in front of the crowd enough you were able to do SDD!


Sounds like a wonderful trip. I’m glad it was as good as your first. Also thanks for the info on RDing Hollywood studios even if it changes for SW:GE it might be valuable in getting to SDD first thing.

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