Jessica's big family trip report...not all I expected it to be


I will give a short preface to this report before I get into the day-by-day. I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading other people’s trip reports on this forum, and after reading them, I had visions of sunshine, rainbows, and all other wonderful things on my trip. When my extended family began planning our trip, I was feeling a bit negative about it (like, ugh, a whole week with my in-laws? it’s gonna suck!..that kind of thing). So I guess I had swung too far in the other direction by trying to just think positive, and say oh it’ll be fine, everything will work out… Overall it was a fun trip, but there were definite negatives and things that I learned (both about Disney and myself). So maybe I can help others out by what I have to say…

Overview of trip:
11/24/18-11/30/18 (plus two days afterward off-site visiting family in FL)
The crew: Family #1 (me, DH, DD5, DS1), Family #2 (BiL, his wife, 3yo Niece), Family #3 (and the ones who paid for vast majority of the trip…MiL, FiL, BiL)
Our family stayed at Port Orleans Riverside in a royal room. BiL’s fam was at AoA in Finding Nemo suite, MiL/FiL stayed at Beach Club.
We had Deluxe Dining Plan with many character meals scheduled.
Planning was started by MiL, who scheduled ADRs and planned which days would be at which parks. SiL and I worked out FastPasses and daily touring plans. At the start of planning, FiL was gung-ho about us being together as much as possible, but as time went on he opened up to splitting up for some things (thank goodness for that!).
We are from Long Island, NY and flew to MCO from JFK.
And now, on to the day by day fun (and not so fun)…


Can’t wait to read the rest but oh dear God this made me think of what it would be like to go to Disney with my ILs and I am feeling very nauseous… :rofl:


We took my MIL on a weekend trip in September. She was in a scooter. She didn’t listen to the CM at the Splash Mtn handicap entrance, went in the wrong door and nearly upended her scooter because she ran it up on the fireplace. It was one hell of a moment, I can tell you that.


LOL please tell me it’s on youtube… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Nope. It happened so quick that it was hard to think. Luckily DH was in front of her and was able to grab the controls while I was behind her attempting to keep it steady. That poor CM did not know what to say.


Day 1: 11/24 Travel day/Disney Springs

My in-laws decided that we would fly to Orlando on an 8 AM flight out of JFK. Which is an hour drive from our house. So we had to wake up around 4 AM, get the kids up around 4:30, and take a 12-passenger van to get to the airport by 6. The flight down was actually uneventful and went smoothly. It was both kids’ first time on an airplane, and they did great! We got to MCO, made our way to the DME loading area, which was a mob scene and very hot. We were still all dressed for the 30 degree weather we left that morning (most of us in jeans), and were not yet prepared to hit the heat. I didn’t think we’d need to worry about it yet while we were indoors. The wait for our bus seemed to take forever. First lesson learned: I will rent a car next time. While waiting, I got the room-ready text (yay!). Somehow my MiL worked it out so that we would all be taking the same bus to our hotel (POR) so we could get to DS faster, because she had made us a lunch reservation for 1:30 at Rainforest Cafe (second lesson learned: don’t make ADRs so close to arrival…although I wasn’t the one who made that decision). We got on the bus finally, and as we’re approaching she said we would just drop our stuff at bell services and get right on the boat to DS to get to our lunch. I said I wanted to go to our room since it was ready and we could just leave our stuff there. After a bit of tension, we won out and went to our room while the rest of the crew took the bus to DS. We got a quick bathroom break in and took the bus to DS. Although the boat drops you off closer to the restaurant, the walk from the bus drop off wasn’t too bad. When we got to the restaurant, they were all seated but hadn’t gotten any food yet. I don’t know if it’s because we showed up late or what, but this was a LOOONG meal. We didn’t get out of there til about 4:00 (we arrived around 2 I think). Food was okay, chain restaurant quality but edible. Plus we were all pretty hungry by then so we probably would have eaten anything. DD liked the rain falling behind her seat.
The plan for dinner that night was to split up, MiL/FiL/BiL eating at Cape May Cafe, and the rest of us heading to Splitsville for a 6:05 reservation. Because of how late lunch ended up being, we decided to change things a bit. I told them I was going to see if I could find a later dinner time, which I probably could have, but in reality I ended up modifying the reservation to Monday and then canceling it (a TP trick I learned!). Everyone went their separate ways, and after a bit of shopping, our family took the boat back to POR.
We picked up some food at the food court and then explored the resort a little. We had an Amazon Prime Now delivery (water, soda, diapers, wipes, some food) which DH picked up with our double stroller after dinner. Then enjoyed a little down time, watching tv and DD and DH putting together some legos we picked up at the Lego store (they are actually both really into Legos).
Our room was nice…the kids loved the firework effects on the headboard. We taught DS how to turn it on, and every morning when he woke up he immediately went to press the button. So cute :slight_smile: Was not a big fan of the beds, though. They were very noisy…every time we turned over, there was this creaky squeaking noise…maybe a mattress cover or something? I dunno. But we all managed to get a decent night’s sleep before we started our adventures!


Going to stick in some photos in between. Writing on computer but photos are on the phone…




Day 2: 11/25 Animal Kingdom

We woke up even before our alarm went off this morning. Could be excitement or those beds, but who knows? Either way, got ourselves ready (matching Minnie/Mickey shirts!) and ate a little breakfast in our room (donuts, poptarts, and Cheerios, oh my!). Got to the East Depot bus station and it looked like we’d have a quick wait for the bus…and then the time kept changing. I had read that the Port Orleans buses were not great but thought, oh maybe that’s just a few people who had an issue. But it was an issue for us most of the trip. While we were waiting for our bus, the kids were walking around playing…and then DS fell on the cement and cut his bottom lip pretty bad :frowning: Not a great start to our day. Bus arrives and we’re on our way, all the while with the in-laws texting where they are. We are the last ones to arrive, and we meet up with everyone a little inside the entrance. This was the start of my MiL rushing us and driving me nuts. Most of the trip seemed to involve her looking back at us, wide-eyed, waving us forward as if we didn’t know where to go (hurry! hurry! the park might disappear!). Lesson of the day: know your traveling style and those of the people going with you. Now, I put together touring plans and wanted to get a lot done as well, without a long wait, but I also had planned on soaking in all the sights and sounds on the way. My in-laws’ way of traveling is apparently to rush rush rush. To each his own…but I know now that it is good to plan ahead about how you want to approach your vacation. I even said to MiL that morning, I don’t run while I’m on vacation (well, I don’t run EVER, anymore, but that’s another story).
Anyhoo…we headed to Pandora first but not for FOP (with only half our group able to ride this one, for various reasons, we just decided to do NRJ). NRJ was pretty cool, the kids liked it. My daughter’s favorite thing was her shoes ‘glowing’. :slight_smile: Afterward, we stopped to check out the Pandora drummers, and my FiL was “that guy” shaking one of the instruments. We headed to the 10 AM FotLK show, which was great, and then our next FP for Kilimanjaro Safari. The safari was pretty good, but I have to admit I was not overly impressed. When I was a kid we would go to Six Flags Great Adventure and you used to be able to drive through the safari there, and I thought that was cooler. I guess just because the animals were closer. We were a little behind our plans at this point, and we had to make a decision to either go to the Up bird show early, or do Gorilla Falls trail and possibly be a little late for the bird show. My in-laws were very excited about this bird show so we ended up skipping Gorilla Falls :frowning: The bird show was a let down for me. Yawn. Oh well.
We then had lunch at Tusker House. The kids were excited to see the characters. Don’t remember much about the food, except there was a roast pork at the carving station that was good. Seemed like there was some leftover Thanksgiving food? A lot of turkey and stuffing I think. After lunch we split up because MiL/FiL wanted to see It’s Tough to be a Bug and I was adamant about NOT seeing it, so we took the kids to meet Minnie and Mickey at Adventurer’s Outpost. I will have to see if I can get the PhotoPass pictures of DS meeting Mickey…it was adorable! (MiL paid for MemoryMaker, but she’s the only one who can get the non-watermarked photos.) I think we got a SD FP for Finding Nemo show next, but probably didn’t need it. Show was okay, the kids’ favorite part were the bubbles coming down at the end :smile: Did a walkthrough of the Maharajah Jungle Trek, and then headed to DinoLand. We did Triceratop Spin, and then let the kids run around Boneyard for a while. The tiredness was starting to set in, especially DD. She is pretty sensitive already, and when she’s tired it’s even more noticeable. We had the ROL dining package with our lunch so we headed there next. I liked that more than I expected! It was really pretty and soothing to watch. DS managed to sleep a little during it, even though the music was kind of loud. Dinner was at Yak & Yeti, where I proceeded to have a meltdown. DH made a comment that I don’t even remember but normally wouldn’t have gotten to me, but I was so tired and then DS knocked my drink all over me and I just had to leave for a few minutes to get some air. Cried a minute, then went back in and finished dinner. (got lo mein, nothing to write home about there either) We left before dessert, taking some ice cream sandwiches with us and went back to the hotel. We forgot about the ice cream until we were back at the hotel so they melted. :frowning: Oh well. The next day we got to sleep in a little at least! :slight_smile:


I totally forgot about this, but my girls were so entranced by this I don’t think they paid much attention to anything else on the ride.

Thanks for sharing your trip report. I imagine 2 different touring styles would make things difficult. We had many spilled drinks too, but not the stress of a large group. Sorry the dinner was rough. Can’t wait to read the rest!


This was the first lesson I learned on my first trip, when I took a friend. I am your MiL and my friend is you. On the morning of Day 2, sensing the tension, I started a conversation and we agreed we would tour alone but meet for some ADRs.

That worked really well. And I guess it gave me the confidence to make my next trip a solo one. That worked great, too. And so I’m doing it again in less than two weeks!


As a new-ish mother-in-law, I am reading and learning! :thinking: :hugs:


A few pics from AK


My parents took us to Italy before our daughter was born (so about 10 years ago). We learned the lesson of it’s hard to travel with people who don’t travel the same way you do. It was rough! We wouldn’t do that same kind of trip again, we didn’t have much independence, so our expectations weren’t really met.


We’re here now with my in-laws and I think they’d be perfectly content to arrive, ride like two things, and sit and/or shop. They seem annoyed that we’re riding rides. I’m like WHY DID YOU COME TO DISNEY WORLD?!?!?! I don’t think we’ll ever do something like this with them again. We’ll stick to the beach!


When you described your MiL rushing ahead and looking back over her shoulder, I thought “that is exactly what my DIL thinks of me!” Unfortunately that is not what is really happening. My DIL has a bad knee (multiple surgeries) and I know that she has to move at a slower pace, but no matter how many times I tell her not to worry about keeping up with me, that we will be waiting for her at (fill in the blank), she continues to get upset about us “rushing her”. I am looking back over my shoulder just so I know she can still see me. I try to be very clear about the schedule - no we can’t spend 30 minutes in this gift shop now but will come back after …
Another side to this is - whose vacation is this? 5 years ago we took our 4 grown sons and their families on my dream vacation to Disneyland. My DH and I paid for the whole trip and 2 days in, my DH had to take one of the boys aside and remind him that it was MY dream vacation, not his! All I asked was to have the whole group eat one meal together each day and ride 2-3 rides together before everyone went off to do their own thing. He was acting grumpy because he wanted to head for the roller coasters instead of riding a “kiddy” ride. But the reality is that when someone else is paying for the vacation it is their vacation, not yours, and sometimes you just have to respect that. Even if it is your MiL.
Anyway, I try really hard to be a good MiL and think it is sad that we are given such a bad rap.


On my first visit to MK, when I was in my twenties and on an organised group tour, I had a meltdown at the TTC. There was some kind of delay while the organiser was getting the tickets and I cracked. My whole life I’d dreamed of going to Disney World and I couldn’t wait a second longer.

There is something about WDW that wakes up the child in you. And like any child (in my case) he’s prone to tantrums!


That’s why my parents are coming with us next year - last year they went with my sister’s family, and all they wanted to do was lounge by the pool. They were offsite and only had 1 car so they couldn’t split up. Well they could have but they won’t pay for taxis!


I agree with this. I think the SF Great Adventure Safari is much better than the one from AK.

I haven’t seen the Up version of the show, but saw an earlier incarnation of it. I thought it was cool because you got to learn about the natural abilities of the birds. I’m wondering what your kids thought of it.


For our May 2020 trip, it will be the first time we’ll be taking a vacation with our DIL. She’s never really done vacations with her family before, but we do them all the time. She’s excited to go. But my wife and I have already had discussions to keep our expectations in check. We don’t want them to feel obligated to do everything with us. (Unlike the case where we’re paying for it all, we’re just providing the accommodations, but my son is paying for everything else they’re doing.) So, it will be an interesting dynamic. Thanks for sharing your experience.