February Trip Report - Ride Closures and Making the Best of it

Trip for 39 year old couple who have been to Disney before (wife is on DAS, with permanent ECV from a genetic disorder), and DD11 (also DAS, inherited from Mom) and DD9 on their first trip.

We arrived at Disney on a Wednesday night, Feb 5th, flying in from Buffalo (after driving there from Canada) to a massive heat wave. Coming from low 30s to high 80s was a bit off-putting. We made it to the hotel (POP) about 6:30, but after grocery and ECV delivery, the first night was pretty much done. Note that all the pools around the resorts close at 8PM in winter months, so there isn’t much for the kids to do and you should have a plan to temper excitement on arrival night if you aren’t visiting a park.

First day was Animal Kingdom. It was very hot (for February) and quite windy. Everyone loved FoP, but NRJ was kind of ‘meh’, DD refused to ride EE, and the Wilderness Explorers game was boring for DS and DD after around 10 badges. KS was well enjoyed, but then with the heat, DD and DW went back to the resort while DS and I rode Dinosaur and walked some trails. We saw FotLK, but RoL night show was cancelled, so there wasn’t a whole lot else to do at the park. Kids liked FoP so much they are talking about going back on our later ‘flex day’, but there isn’t anything else at the park they are excited about doing again. Thankfully, some well-timed bookings of RoL FPs turned into anytime FPs for the next day. An evening thunderstorm led to much cooler temperatures afterwards.

Day 2 was MK. EMH were in effect, but after the rain the night before, my family was not going to get up that early. We arrived at 9ish and re-optimzed plans, but were plagued by constant ride downtimes. First, JC was down, so we rode the flying carpets, then used the anytime FP for HM before attempting PotC, which also was down. We rode BTMR, and went back for our JC FPP, but the FP line was all the way back to the carpets, leaving us very little time afterwards to make our reservation at BoG. Here was where we ran into some of our biggest frustrations of the day.

We had gotten a great reservation at 12:00 for BoG, and were looking forward to lunch. We did not order in advance, as we had food allergies we had to deal with and there was no ingredient information about the food online that we could find. When we were waiting for our tough to get reservation, walk-ups were coming in and being accepted, leading to a very long line between checking in and the ordering kiosks. By the time we reached the ordering kiosks, it was almost 12:30. Still with no allergy information, we made the best choices we could. Our food had not yet arrived to us by 1:00, with two managers looking after our order. DW’s order ended up containing one of her allergies (mushrooms), and the waiter who took her re-order afterwards mis-heard her request, bringing out a grilled cheese instead of a shrimp (not sure how that happened?). We ended up finally leaving our reservation by 1:30. The managers at BoG were fantastic, but in our opinion they are being handcuffed by a poor ordering system and implementation of the ‘food finds you anywhere’ gimmick. We had another reservation there later in the week and cancelled it immediately. The food was not that special, and does no justice to the amazing setting. It is a table service restaurant trying to be QS for lunch, and failed at both for us.

We thankfully made our PPF FP, then were able to go back to PotC as it was running again. After some energy run-off at TSI, we went to Fantasyland for an afternoon 7DMT FP and just started booking FP after FP at IASW, UtS, Dumbo, etc. When we reached Pooh, that ride broke down on us just before entering the vehicle, so we then rode the teacups and settled in for HEA.

Today was DHS. My son and I were there by 7:30, taking a bus from POP to DHS with no problem at all. Scored BG 28 at park open. The plan was to ride TSM and ASS before a 8:45 SDD FP, but SDD was down this morning, so we rode TSM with a 10 min wait , and skipped ASS, as it already had a 40 min wait from the large RD crowd who couldn’t ride SDD. SDD FP converted to an anytime FP. We went to sign up for Jedi Training, then ride Star Tours, hoping that we would get a different show during the morning compared to our FP later in the day (spoiler, we did NOT. Both shows were the episode IX planets with the crashed death star and the fight against the first order). Our boarding group was called right around the time we had a reservation at Oga’s, so we decided to do the reservation first, since we had a 2 hr return window at RotR. This gave time for DW and DD to make it to the park. They were both able to be added to the BG with DS and I due to their DAS pass. Unfortunately, RotR was down when we made it back. We did our FP at Star Tours (see above), then modified our IJ show FP to TZ:ToT in the afternoon. I felt kind of dumb for not realizing that as soon as the SDD pass converted to an anytime pass in the morning, I could have been booking tier 1 FPs. We built a droid, and had lunch at the Sci-Fi diner. Droid building was fun for DD - she liked picking the pieces and building a BB8 style droid, however, it is mostly thin plastic exterior, and from a parent’s point of view, I would NOT recommend a child builds a BB droid. The head attaches with a somewhat weak magnets, and is prone to falling off while walking around or with normal use. Her original droid head was cracked potentially before leaving the building area. They replaced it there immediately, but I don’t have much faith in the quality of the pieces, and certainly don’t see it being worth $100. Maybe the R2 units are more durable, but I don’t know.

We went back to ride RotR again, but it was in another downtime. We went to MF:SR and all did that together. We then went back to RotR, and the fourth time’s the charm, as we were able to ride, even though total time spent was around an hour. I loved the ride, the kids liked it, but DW was not impressed at all, as she has no connection to Star Wars. Our TZ:ToT FPs converted to anytime FPs, as that ride also went down. There has been so much ride downtime these first few days, my family is not keen on booking a return trip to Disney. Anyway, we went and used our original SDD FP as intended, just much later. Then, we used the TZ:ToT converted pass to ride TSM and just took the skyliner back to the hotel so kids could swim, they weren’t keen on riding RnRC after all of that, nor waiting around for a night show they weren’t sure about.

We have three more days of our trip - I’ll keep you all informed as we go, and eventually post some pictures. Tomorrow is day 2 of MK, with focus on Tomorrowland and wrapping up things we didn’t see on day 1.


Ride closures. Ugh! Perhaps you can get them to focus on non ride related things. Disney is so beautiful, and there are so many details. Maybe search for hidden Mickey’s, or make a game of taking pics in front of the colorful walls. Hope your MK day turned out better ride wise.

1 Like

My husband and son did the scavenger hunts in magic kingdom and Epcot and it was one of the highlights of their trip. People came up to them left and right asking what they were doing. It makes you feel likes you are seeing a secret side of Disney! These are open all the time and was a great distraction when ride waits were too long or we had nothing scheduled at that time.

1 Like

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! Today was slightly more successful. I feel like poison to these rides though! We made our way into MK a bit later, but in time for our 9:15-10:15 7DMT FP. DD11 loves the ride, as she tends to be very shy of roller coasters until her brother or friends ride them first. After that, she can’t get enough of them!

We then had a HM FP turn into an anytime FP, so we went to tomorrowland and rode Space Ranger Spin, which everyone really enjoyed. On the way we dragged the kids into Mickey’s Philharmonic, which I think they at least kind of enjoyed, even if they wouldn’t admit it. After that we rode SM, and they had DW step out of her ECV, but there was no wheelchair available for transfer, so DW thought she would try and walk it. This was in hindsight a big mistake - her prosthetics and braces were bleeding by the time she made it out of the building. We are leaving feedback for cast members in the future to just strongly advise against NOT using a wheelchair for transfer, and that ride crew needs to be well supplied in WCs to manage the crowds. I took the kids over to the speedway, peoplemover was down, so we went over to the tiki room for Dole Whips and the show. HM was back up, so we rode that again too, which was a lot of fun as always. We looked at Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, but the kids weren’t having fun, so we took a ride back to our resort for swimming, which they are really enjoying. DS and I might be heading back for a couple evening rides soon, but kids are really enjoying themselves, which is what it is all about.


I’m sorry that DW had problems with the lack of wheelchairs. Last year POC did not have any large wheelchairs and I don’t fit in the smaller ones. I was surprised when I asked if they could call for one and they told me that there was no one they could call (BS). So I could not ride POC on of my favorite rides. When they redo these rides I can’t see why they don’t make the lines ECV capable.

1 Like

We’re back home now, but on the 5th day there, the magic really kicked in. Our Epcot experience was EXCELLENT, we really couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. We rode the skyliner to the park and entered via IG to see characters on the streets - classic Mickey, Minnie, Goofy with short lines to say hi, get a picture and a hug, and move on. For me, I was instantly transported back to how Disney was when I was a kid. For my kids, they were so excited to see characters out and about with a short wait, that they were excited to meet them. We had arrived late, and had some FPs booked for MS:O, FE:A, and SE, so we went and did those first. Afterwards we were able to book same day FPs for Soarin, and it was easy enough to finish off Future World, with leisurely times taken in the Land, the Seas, and Journey into Imagination. The Chase Visa character spot over by the Imagination pavilion was a nice M&G with absolutely no line, I highly recommend it. From there, we picked up a passport for the kids as well as the Figment Paint Palette (Festival of the Arts special) and started off from Canada around the world. The kids loved meeting the CMs at all of the Kidcot stations, DW loved shopping around the stores, and we all really enjoyed seeing the artwork on the sidewalks and the snacks around the stands. The wider sidewalks in the main thoroughfare of EP were greatly appreciated, and the crowds finally felt like they were at a manageable level. Each and every country was wonderful and welcoming, with exciting things to discover and see in each land. The kids were excited by pin trading, passport stamps, and finding the Figment Paintings, and DW and I loved the details we were able to take in moving from country to country. At the end of the tour we had a reservation at la Hacienda in Mexico, which everyone loved. DW and I split an entree, and the kids each got a kid portion, and everyone was very full. We stayed there to watch the fireworks, and closed the place down. My picky kids couldn’t find a dessert they agreed on, but massive kudos to our server who tracked down some end of the night churros from the Cantina and brought them over to us. We all spent our last night in Disney World full and happy, making the long walk back to the skyliner through an almost empty world showcase and just soaking it in.

DW and I talked about what made Epcot so great, and for us, it was that it felt like there was finally enough space at the park for the crowds that were there. MK and DHS (at least the Star Wars area) just had wall to wall people there for our trip, so we hadn’t been able to see the details that make Disney special. We were just trying to move to our plans and keep an eye on our kids. At EP, it never felt like that. The outdoor (almost) spontaneous shows, the characters, the education, the few rides, all just combined for one magical day.

Finally, on our leaving day, DME wasn’t picking us up until 1:30, so we had booked a day of tickets. Turns out that kids were very tired, and not in a hurry to pack up the hotel room, so we didn’t leave until after 10AM. I sort of regret buying the 6th day of tickets. In the old system, we would have just saved them for the next trip. Anyway, we figured it was ‘use it or lose it’ so we went from POP to DHS and got the kids in for Jedi Training and a viewing of the revamped MV3D. The cleaning and Muppet repairs were evident, and it was a very pleasurable (if short) experience. We went home happy.


Some ending notes on the trip:

  1. The TPs I made for the trip went largely unused - there were far too many ride closures for them to end up being useful. In addition, DW and DD were not able to RD parks, so my plan of RD, afternoon at hotel, and evening fireworks back at the park didn’t really materialize. I appreciated the app for up to date line info, and I would LOVE real-time alerts about ride closures in the next version of the app.

  2. We did not go on the DDP. We never went hungry, we ate at just about all of the restaurants we wanted to, and saved $500 over the cost of the plan. We brought some protein bars and nutrition bars from home to start with. We got a grocery delivery from Walmart on the first day ($130), which covered all of our breakfasts and quite a few park snacks we wanted (fresh fruit, chips, electrolyte drink mixes, ) and we had food left over in the hotel at the end. In the parks, we bought primarily frozen snacks, we did buy a cup for our resort, and then purchased a QS lunch each day and TS dinners as required for whoever was hungry. We ate in our resort food court a couple of times as well. For TS meals, the portions were so large that my wife and I almost always shared an entree, and DS9 and DD11 always had their own kids meals, which were the perfect size for both of them. We did not do any character meals, and a buffet would have been wasted on us. DDP would have been 1587.24 total for the four of us. We spent just over $1050 total on food.

  3. Crowd levels ended up far higher than what we had anticipated or researched. We booked in February knowing about the ride closures, so we could deal with crowd levels at 4-5. We ended up getting CLs 7-10, and it showed. I don’t know where all these crowds came from (although a majority seemed to be from Argentina?) but it felt like we were there during peak summer and it was rough. Our wonderful EP day was ‘just’ a CL 6. If we had known about the crowds there this time of year, we would have scheduled for another week. None of the usual forecasting sites had shown anywhere close to the levels we experienced, and I’m genuinely curious how they all got it so wrong. After experiencing Epcot, I’m certain that we would have had a much better experience with a lower crowd level.

  4. I am a fan of the FPP system, but I understand people’s frustration with BGs. My phone took a dip in the pool on Saturday night, and I was not able to find a phone repair location on Disney property, so we only had DWs phone the last couple of days. She had an older phone with a less reliable LTE connection, and Disney’s Wi-Fi was not great. With FPPs I could still go to kiosks within the park if I had to in order to book 4th and beyond FPPs, but she was not running the Disney Play app smoothly, and I’m sure we could not have booked another BG for RotR if we wanted to. I like the idea of BGs, and I understand how the app is running from a technical side to manage demand, but there is not enough infrastructure in place yet to support those without capability to RD with a moderate to high end mobile phone.