Hi all –
I just joined TP a week ago to plan our first WDW/UO trip and have been lurking around the forums for a couple days; and it looks like y’all are a good crowd to be with. I have a feeling that planning this trip is going to be almost as therapeutic as the trip itself – I’ll explain why in a second. For now: thanks in advance.
Travelers will be me (female, early 40s), my daughters (hereafter DD9 and DD7), and my father (early 70s). My husband, who is not a Disney fan, will be staying home with the dog we will hopefully have by then. It is possible that my father’s kinda-sorta-girlfriend will be joining us but I doubt it.
This trip is my father’s idea, and that is a big deal, emotionally speaking, because: my kids have never been to Disney, mostly because my mom, who would have been the trip planner, died in March 2013. My dad was devastated and it’s cast a shadow over his relationship with my daughters ever since – my mother adored the kids (and saw them all the time; they lived 20 minutes away from us) and in a way he’s still in the process of developing a relationship with them separate from his missing her. Also my mother was a bargain-hunter par excellence who was in her element trying to plan trips. After she died my dad ruefully confessed that he hadn’t booked an airplane ticket for himself in three decades. So his asking me to plan this trip is basically his acknowledging that my mother isn’t around to do it and wanting to do it anyway.
So THE PRESSURE IS ON. And I am here.
The tentative plan is for first week of May, arrive late May 3rd or early May 4th and depart May 9th or 10th. I can afford to wiggle with the dates a bit because we’re likely driving down (from GA). There’s a remote possibility of moving the dates back to early April, but it looks like the crowds will be smaller in early May.
Lodging: I have a reservation at the B Resort and Spa (via MouseSavers) but haven’t decided yet if I’m going to keep it. I want to get more information about some of the on-site resorts, specifically AoA. I know where we stay will have a big influence on what parts of the trip we should do when. For now assume we’ll keep our B Resort reservation and thus will be based around Disney Springs.
Transportation: See above – the plan is to drive down and thus have my car there.
I know this is the WDW part of the board but I’ll go ahead and say I have to reserve at least one full day, possibly a day and a half, for UO – DD9 has been obsessed with Harry Potter for most of the last year. Thinking that would be Monday May 6th or Tuesday May 7th.
Otherwise the only absolute must-dos I have on my list so far are Belle’s Enchanted Tales, Frozen Sing-Along, and Jedi Training Academy. Neither of my kids have a lot of roller-coaster experience (although they have gone ziplining) so I don’t know how many of those they’re going to want to do. They might like meeting characters; they might not. They’ve outgrown Winnie the Pooh, but they might like the ride. et cetera.
I’m tentatively planning 1-2 days MK, total of 1 day EP (split up – I’m assuming we’re going to want the PH add-ons), 1/2 day HS, and maybe 1/2-1 day AK. I haven’t nailed all that down yet; it’ll come together as I look through TPs. I have to make sure not to overschedule us. The day we go to HS we have to get there first thing in the morning to sign up for JTA, is my understanding.
This is where I’ll need the most help! No food allergies, but my dad’s a relatively conservative eater and the DDs are pretty picky (DD9 is a vegetarian; more accurately, a carbatarian). Also I’m really not sure whether to try for a character breakfast or not. DDs are old enough that they won’t be awed by the CMs but they might still find it fun (they go back-and-forth on the merit of princesses in general but are watching Frozen as I type this). Obviously I’m about 60 days late (and counting) for prime ADRs, so I may just need to discount the character-breakfast idea altogether. If I do try to get a CB I may shoot for a less crazy one.
So basically I don’t know yet whether a dining plan makes sense. Assume I don’t need more than maybe one nice dinner reservation, and if I did get a DP would be relying a lot on quick-service meals.
Things You Can Help Me With At the Moment:
- Both girls absolutely LOVE drawing. I know the Animation Academy at HS is closed (sob) and there might be a more casual drawing-class event at AoA. But is there anything else? I’m trying to stick to a budget but I would pay heaps extra for something that allowed the girls to leave with their own drawing or animation cel or anything like that.
- Related: I looked into Dining with an Imagineer but I suspect it’s not a good option to pursue with kids. (My kids are pretty smart but have average-kid-size attention spans.) Has anyone done that with kids? Am I ruling that idea out too early? Maybe bring DD9 and have my dad take DD7?
- Is Moana at any of the CBs? I haven’t come across a reference to her yet (I searched the forum for “moana cb” and got nothing). If so that CB would jump to the top of my priority list.
- DD7 finds loud ambient noise painful – movie theaters are rough going for her; even the cafeteria at her (small) elementary school bothers her. (She does okay with fireworks; it’s contained noise bouncing off walls that overstimulates her to the point of pain.) Tomorrow I’m going to call our pediatrician’s office and ask if there’s a way to get her earplugs that would reduce the level of loud ambient noise without cancelling all noise. In the meantime: are there rides I should specifically cross off the list because they’re particularly noisy?
- DD9 also loves Porgs. Love love loves them. (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about: these bird-like creatures from The Last Jedi.) I suspect we’re a few months too early to find much in the way of Porgs at HS, but if I’m wrong, please do let me know.
That’s what I’ve got right now! Hopefully this week I’ll get some information that allows me to finalize dates and make a decision on the accommodations. I’ll come back to this thread to update. Again, thank you all for your help (and for letting me natter on at length)!
edited to add: had to change my dates so I started a new thread!