Our trip consists of me, my 75 yr old mom & my two girls (12 & 15).We left cold snowy Michigan yesterday after white knuckle driving for 2 straight hours in a whiteout. Arrived at MCO at 11 pm, used Lyft for the first time ever (easy and awesome), and checked into Royal Pacific by midnight.
Well, I got sidetracked and don’t recall the rest hour by hour, but I will do a general review:
I gave up my carefully crafted Touring Plans about an hour into the trip. We averaged 10 miles a day of walking for 5 days straight. Went back to the room to swim for an hour every day.
Sunday, the kids were ready to go to the parks, and didn’t want to take it easy that morning. Crowds were pretty low everywhere but HP, so we rocked out a lot at IoA in a few hours with our Express passes.
Monday, only DD12 (with severe ADHD & anxiety) & I did RD. It was lovely to have her by herself. She had no one to argue with, as I just went along wherever she wanted. She really struggled in the group with maintaining her temper, and it definitely posed some challenges for our trip. Such is life. She is a wonderful kid, but especially so when she is one on one. If you were there and saw a kid driving an ECV with an elderly woman on it, that was my kid & mom. It gave DD a job to do, and quite frankly, she is a better driver…
We closed out Diagon Alley that night, riding Gringott’s at park close. It was heaven to have Diagon Alley to ourselves! Absolutely magical!
Tuesday, we went to USO again, fought with our bank, because even after filing 2 travel notices each (mom & I have the same bank), they were declining every charge. Absolutely maddening, and I am so grateful I brought cash. Once we got it straightened out, we shopped for some Mardi Gras accessories. My mom didn’t know we were going to be IN the parade. We surprised her on our way to Cowfish. She was shocked, and nervous that she couldn’t stand for the entire parade, but I had already arranged for ADA accomodations. Cowfish didn’t have a reservation for us which was strange, as I had the confirmation on my phone. They handled it within 10 minutes & we were seated by 5. Our meal was the best one of the trip, absolutely phenomenal. Definitely would stand up against any other great dining experience I have had outside of a theme park. 5 stars, highly recommend. The only snafu is that since we were seated late, we cut it really really close with the parade arrival time of 6:15pm, so we left without our desserts. Our server was very apologetic & the restaurant had been very fast with delivering our app & entrees, but we just had the late start. He offered for me to talk to his manager, but I declined and told him it was the universe telling me I didn’t need the calories! No complaints at all with the way it was handled on that end. DD15 & I walked our legs off, while DD12 & my mom drove that little ECV as fast as they safely could to get to Animal Actors on time. We made it!
Parade: The parade was the absolute highlight of my trip. I loved every minute of participating in it. Registration was smooth, the bead captains were energetic, friendly and so incredibly nice. Turtle arranged a drag race for the 3 ladies on scooters, which is a memory that I will have forever. I posted UO Fist Bumps for the bead captains.<3 It was just such a special night, and we were all living our very best lives on there!
We Rope Dropped two more times, rode what we wanted, shut down IoA 2 times, caught the Lights on Hogwarts once. It is magical, but the crowd being contained by ropes, packed in like sardines is insane. Go ride FJ when the first show starts. Hang out in Filch’s Emporium until you hear another show start, then go stand out in the open on the fence of Hippogriff. Not the same view, but you have elbow room!
On our last night, I had apparently run my mom completely ragged, so she went back to the hotel early, leaving the girls and I to close out our trip. We rode Hagrid’s at close, giving us an empty Hogsmeade for photos and spells. There were enough people still leaving Hagrids, that we weren’t being shooed out yet, but few enough people that we got great pics!
It was a spectacular trip. My mom was an absolute trooper, she rode almost everything we rode, minus Hippogriff and Velocicoaster. She was grateful that we invited her to come with us, and loved that Hagrid’s was likely the last theme park attraction she will ever ride.
It was such a special trip to have with her, my expectations were fairly low going into it, but it far exceeded them! The girls had a blast, and I loved it. DD12 slept on our full day of travel, except when moving from a vehicle to a plane or vice versa, then slept until 4pm the following day, also!
I can answer questions, I’m sorry I am not more organized in my report. Thank you all for the advice and answers, you helped make it an incredible trip, and I am so very grateful!