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


I spent a good amount of time reminding myself that they paid, and went along with a lot of their choices, even when it meant skipping things I wanted (haven’t written up Epcot yet, but I was sad to miss a lot of things there). And even if I’m respecting their* vacation, I still would expect to be respected as a person, and I did not feel I was getting that. She wasn’t just checking to make sure I was there, because if that was the case I don’t think the waving me onward would be happening.

*not going to spend too much more time on it, but we had all decided early on the trip would be about the kids, so that’s what we tried to do when making plans


I had read something before about it highlighting what the birds can do naturally, but some of it didn’t seem very natural (like they had the folks sitting on the aisles put their hands up like they were trees, and a bird flew under their arms). The kids didn’t seem too into the birds, either. A lot of times we were trying to point out the birds flying overhead, and by the time they looked up the birds were gone.
Also they had added this little introduction where the woman in the show talked about Diwali, but it seemed like it was added on so that they just had a place to talk about Diwali. It had nothing to do with the show and I don’t think they mentioned it again once the birds came out. Kind of odd.


Day 3: 11/26 Disney Springs/Magic Kingdom (aka Princess Day!)

We got to sleep in a little, which we ALL needed that morning. After getting ourselves dressed and ready to go, we got a quick breakfast at the hotel and spent a little time at the playground (which my daughter said later was her favorite part of the day…it’s the little things I guess!). When the boat to Disney Springs started running, we hopped on and had a lovely ride over. This was the start of a little bit of a chilly spell in Florida (the next day was actually cold when we woke up), but for us it was perfect weather. The two girls had BBB appointments at 11:20, but we got to DS nearly an hour early. We were going to try and tour the Christmas Tree trail, but discovered it didn’t open until 11, so we went to Goofy’s Candy Shop instead to use a few of our many snack credits. We met up with BiL’s fam when they arrived, and then checked in for the girls’ makeovers. They had a blast there! I know I’m biased, but I think my daughter made the cutest little princess :slight_smile: Keeping DS entertained got a little rough, but overall he did okay. Afterward, we got lunch at Wolfgang Puck Express, which was good, and made a quick stop at the Lego store for the kids to play for a few minutes.
I had looked at a WDW Transportation Wizard online (don’t have the link) which suggested walking to Saratoga Springs and taking a bus from there to MK, so that’s what we decided to do (I gave SiL the option to do that or take a Minnie Van, and she opted for the free transportation). SS seems to have the same bus issues that POR does, maybe due to the multiple stops? We had to wait for quite a while for a bus and were getting worried about missing our first FP. Meanwhile, MiL and FiL were texting us while they were in Epcot that morning, raving about all the rides they went on with BiL’s DAS pass. But then they got stuck on Test Track for a while.
So we make it into MK, everyone ooohs and ahhhs when we see the castle, then we book it to Princess Fairytale Hall. We are outside our FP window, but ask very sweetly for a little pixie dust, and the CM lets us in if he gets a high five from our princesses :slight_smile: We met Rapunzel and Tiana (we had several opportunities coming up to meet Cinderella, and DNiece wasn’t into Elena so we skipped that side). Then we headed to our next FP which was meeting Ariel. The girls were thrilled to meet their princesses and they were all very nice. We had planned to do Under the Sea at this time also but I think we did it later (things were starting to blur together here so my memory of all the details is a little fuzzy). We had a 4:15 ADR at 1900PF at the Grand Floridian, so we hopped on the monorail, which was a fun ride for the kids (while the adults were chanting “monorail…monorail…” a la The Simpsons :laughing: We are so corny.
The dinner was great! The interactions with the stepsisters and stepmother got better and better as time went on. Our niece was actually scared to meet the stepmother, which was a little funny for us adults. The girls got to be the first ones in line to meet Cinderella and Prince Charming when they started meeting people. While Cinderella signed our book, DD got to do a quick dance and twirl with the Prince which was SUPER adorable!! We bought this illustrated book of Disney animated characters that we saw somewhere online and used it as an autograph book (I will show a pic of it later), and were very excited when one of the stepsisters ‘edited’ her page. That was what got us to buy the book, so we were hoping for that. Very fun :slight_smile:
After dinner, it was back to MK all together (MiL, FiL, BiL had joined us all for dinner). We were hoping to catch the Frozen Holiday Wish castle lighting but were a little late. But we did get to see the castle all lit at least which was nice. We noticed it had rained a bit while we were in dinner, but didn’t think much of it (mistake!).
Next FP was for Enchanted Tales with Belle. This was very cute and we had fun. DH was chosen to be a suit of armor. I got picked to be Maurice, but then when they asked DD to be a dinner plate, she started crying, so I gave Maurice to my SiL instead so I could comfort DD. Got some more nice pictures with Belle, including a couple with DS which was cute. When we were leaving the ride, guess what? It was raining! Yay. We hadn’t covered our stroller so it was nice and wet. We had our ponchos so got ourselves covered. BiL/SiL had jackets…in their stroller…so they made a run for it. MiL/FiL had nothing so they just waited it out a bit. I think this is the point when we went to Under the Sea. We then also decided to head to Hall of Presidents to be indoors for a while. My daughter was actually more into this than I expected. We headed out at that point, catching a little of the fireworks on our way until the rain started to pick up again. Then it was off to the bus to get ‘home’ and dry out!
Oh and the stroller dried out nicely by the morning. Yay! :slight_smile:


Sorry, but I completely disagree. A family vacation is for everyone to enjoy, not just the “sponsors”. For me that means making joint decisions and adjusting as necessary.


Princess pictures!


Day 4: 11/27 Epcot

Epcot day was the day I was most looking forward to, as it was my favorite park the only other time I went to WDW (this was all the way back in 1995). It also ended up being the most disappointing. I think part of that was stress, part was missing rides I wanted to do, and part was just that the park itself has changed a lot.
We had good luck with our bus this morning, and we arrived around 8:30, got through security and into a line to tap in. BiL/SiL were nearby waiting and as lines shifted around, we ended up getting right behind them in line. Our group had two different ADR times at Akershus for breakfast. MiL/FiL/BiL had 9:25 and the rest of us had 9:45. In-laws were able to get into the park through IG early because they said they had a breakfast reservation. They started texting us to get into the park, so we went to the guy who was checking reservations, and he said Nope, sorry your reservation isn’t until 9:45. My MiL then decided she would start heading towards where we are to try and get us in early but didn’t make it all the way to us. We had a FP for FEA before breakfast, but when we met up in Norway, the line to meet Anna and Elsa was very short so we hopped on that line first. Elsa was kind of eh, but Anna was cute and fun. MiL/FiL went to their breakfast reservation and decided to do FEA afterward. FEA was fun, and the girls loved it. We LOVED the Akershus breakfast! Of the several princess-themed meals we did, I think this was my favorite. I didn’t know they did a little parade around the restaurant, and each room gets a different princess to lead the parade. Turns out we were seated in Aurora’s room, who is my daughter’s favorite, so she was thrilled! I liked Snow White here, she was so sweet! After a quick stop in the Norway gift shop for some Frozen toys, we headed back toward FutureWorld for our next FP, Spaceship Earth. I sat with DS who fell asleep for most of the ride. After this, the TP was almost abandoned. We skipped several things I had planned (Turtle Talk, Club Cool, Journey into Imagination, ImageWorks), partly due to lack of time (way more bathroom breaks than I expected) and partly due to the In-law’s wishes. As I mentioned, they spent the morning of the day before in Epcot, so they were now experts in everything Epcot. The Pixar films were a must-see, so we had to do that (yes, they were sweet, but I’m sure I could find them elsewhere to watch), and according to them, Turtle Talk was “stupid”. We did the Seas with Nemo (our other FP because it was DNiece’s favorite). WOW was that a disappointment. I feel like this used to be educational maybe? Instead it was ooh look at the fish and there’s Nemo popping out. We also looked around at the aquariums for a bit. After that we discussed doing something else before our Coral Reef lunch reservation but since it was right there we did that. That was my least favorite meal of the trip. It doesn’t help that I don’t eat seafood. I got the roasted chicken breast, which was very salty and covered in mushrooms. I don’t think it said anything about mushrooms on the menu (went back to look and didn’t see it), and the risotto it came with had mushrooms too. So I asked for mashed potatoes instead. We then also realized that DS’s diaper had leaked onto his shorts and DH’s shirt, so they both had to get changed. After lunch we did the Pixar films, and I managed to work in SpectacuLab, because DD was very excited about it. Afterward, we checked out the color experiments (Innoventions) which was neat and different. Last ride of the day was Living with the Land, and then dinner at Garden Grill after. Kids had fun here, and food was OK. My favorite part of the meal was the roasted veggies. Did yet another souvenir stop before heading back to the hotel (didn’t spend too much at any one place, just a lot of little stops…DD had been asking all day to go to MouseGear).
Found out later that night the DNiece was sick…stomach bug…the beginning of the end for our group’s health…


Epcot pictures


Same. I got up and left during the middle of it. It was awful.


Awww, man! Sorry you missed Turtle Talk with Crush! Your kids would have loved it!


My family was at WDW at the same time (11/24-11/28). We got caught in that same rain on 11/26, but at Epcot … and our ponchos were back in the room! Similar to you, we ended up skipping most of our touring plan for Epcot. We just met Anna/Elsa, rode FEA and Three Caballeros, and had dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel. Due to arriving much later in the afternoon than planned because of an extended resort break for DS1 and DD3, we skipped our FPs for Nemo and Spaceship Earth and didn’t stick with our plan to do the Pixar Films, Turtle Talk and Journey into Imagination.

And sorry to read about the stomach bug …


@jessk328 sorry, I was tired last night and didn’t take the time to finish my thoughts about things from a MiL’s perspective. I agree that it certainly sounds like you weren’t getting a lot of respect for your needs and wants. As a MiL (and the pocketbook on Disney trips) I think that is an important take away from your trip report. (@ryan1 here is some advice for you) I have 4 sons and early on I made a point of remembering that they are 4 different people. Now I have added 3 DiLs to the mix and not only are they 3 different people but I strive to remember that they had different life experiences before they joined our family. A person’s life experiences affect how they will act in a new situation and I know how the kids I raised will react. I shouldn’t expect my DiLs to react the same way. I do expect my sons to “translate” MY behaviors to their significant others. Like, “my mom has this insane aversion to being late for anything so that is why she keeps rushing us along” And the reverse, “ Mom, chill, remember we agreed this trip is for the kids and we all need to slow down for them! (I said I try to be respectful of the differences, I didn’t say I was perfect!)
Anyway, thanks for your great trip report. I love them too. I loved your autograph book idea and how it became personalized. :smile:


Day 5: 11/28 Hollywood Studios

A break day would have been good somewhere around here…but we keep plugging along! :slight_smile:
This was the coldest day of the week, I think the high was around 50? Not sure, but it was in the 30s when we left in the morning. BRRR!
Late bus again, Got to HS a little late for our ADR but not too bad. The girls loved the Disney Jr. characters. My daughter especially loves Vampirina, so happy they added her! Nice big buffet, too. Our first FP was for TSM so we headed that way after eating. I had planned for us to get a DAS return for Alien Swirling Saucers but we were running behind so everyone wanted to just go to the ride first. (Don’t think I mentioned we had DAS, hadn’t really needed it yet. My BiL has autism and severe developmental disability, and can get upset and self-injurious when having to wait or if things change. There was only one issue, later this evening, otherwise he did great.) TSM was so much fun! We picked up the DAS return for Aliens after that, and then went to the Beauty and the Beast show. That was pretty good. I didn’t know it was outdoors, though, and my tushie was freezing after sitting on those metal bleacher seats for so long! Then we headed back to Aliens. I had low expectations for this one, since I had heard it was kind of lame, too slow, etc. Well I had a blast on it. Then it was time for another show, the Frozen sing along this time. That one was great, but a little long at the end. I guess during the holidays they added a little about the holidays, I could have done without that part. Next we picked up a same-day FP for Muppetvision, which was fun but dated.
Our lunch ADR was at the 50s Prime Time Cafe. SOOO much food! DH and I both got fried chicken but I only ate about half of it. Lesson learned #something…we don’t need the deluxe dining plan! After lunch we all split up a bit. BiL/SiL went to their room to rest because DNiece still wasn’t feeling 100%. MiL/FiL wanted to do the Indiana Jones show, but we wanted to go meet Olaf instead. So we split up with plans to meet for dinner later (5:50 ADR at Teppan Edo). We walked to Epcot from HS, as it had warmed up a bit by then, and we promised to get DD there so she could have another meet and greet with Aurora. We missed the turn that takes you down towards the Beach Club and ended up in the parking lot of the Yacht Club, but got back on track fairly quickly. We had a lovely meet with Aurora. The family before us was taking a while to leave the area, so Aurora said ‘let’s take a little walk, princess’ and walked DD around the tree nearby. It was so sweet :slight_smile: We had extra time before dinner so were able to just casually stroll from France down to Japan (sounds so funny to say that). We were the only ones on time for dinner, not usual for us! BiL/SiL arrived a little later, but MiL/FiL didn’t leave HS til around 5:20. Then when my other BiL (the one I mentioned with autism) was walking past their hotel, he thought they were going back to the room and got upset, so they had to take some time to calm him down. SiL talked to the TE staff who kept our reservation open a little bit, but we got in quite late. I didn’t care much for the food here. I got one of the beef options which was good but didn’t care much for the veggies. Another late night getting back to the hotel, but we had two days at MK ahead of us to look forward to… :grin:


I’m enjoying your report. Glad you had a good trip, even though there were some bumps along the way. You guys had a LOT of TS meals! We only do 1/day (except we are doing 2 on one day next trip). Did you like that or was it too much with kids? At least you didn’t have to narrow your options :slight_smile:


Really enjoying your trip report. Thanks for sharing the good & bad.


It had its positives and negatives. It was a more organized way to eat (on the two MK days coming up it was harder to get a decent lunch while trying to eat on the go). I also found it easier to find things the kids liked, especially at the buffet meals. However it took up a lot of time, as you can probably tell, especially at epcot. I’ll give a little summary at the end of things I’d do differently next time, but spoiler alert: deluxe dining with multiple TS meals a day is not it :grin:


11/28 pictures


Day 6: 11/29 Magic Kingdom

The last two days of our trip were at MK. We had planned one day to focus mostly on Fantasyland, and one day on the rest of the park. This was a good strategy for us, and I felt like we got a lot done these two days!
After another late bus, we arrived and had breakfast at Crystal Palace. I liked this one, another buffet which was great for us and the kids, and we love Pooh and friends so that was fun :slight_smile:
Then onto the rides!! Our FPs were PPF, PhilharMagic (my SiL insisted, even though I said we probably wouldn’t need it), and IASW. We ended up being able to modify these and grab a bunch so there was very little waiting! Besides those three rides, we also did the Tea Party, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, the Carrousel, Barnstormer…and SDMT! This was the first time DD and DNiece went on roller coasters. DD liked SDMT better than the Barnstormer, it was less ‘bumpy’ :slight_smile: SDMT we picked up a DAS return for. Dumbo was one of the rides we were able to get a SD FP for, but BiL was looking for somewhere for DNiece to run around and play, so we brought them into the circus waiting/play area for a bit after the ride. DS had fun there, too, in the center where they had toddler-sized things, but it was actually less fun for DD (she gets nervous when she can’t see us, and was afraid of the bigger slides).
MiL/FiL left towards the end of these rides to bring BiL on the Tomorrowland Speedway. We were going to try and meet Merida, but I misread her return time in the afternoon as 2:30 (it was actually 3:30) so we met Daisy and Minnie at Pete’s Silly Sideshow instead. DS napped during this time, and DH stayed with him while he was in the stroller asleep.
We were done with rides by about 2 PM, headed back toward Main St. where BiL and SiL stopped to get milkshakes, and we brought the kids to get silhouettes done. We didn’t have any formal lunch-time meal, just stopped for snacks along the way. Our dinner ADR was Chef Mickey’s, but wasn’t until 6:35. I was not looking forward to another late meal, but to accommodate that we decided to head back to the hotel for a little while. MiL and FiL were picking up a rental van that night for us (we were spending two more nights at a different hotel after leaving Disney), so I asked if they could just pick us up in the van and drive to CM. I was not looking forward to more bus rides and having to get back and forth from MK to the Contemporary. The wait at CM was kind of long and I was exhausted at this point. But once again, the kids loved meeting the characters (again), so it was worth it :slight_smile: In-laws drove us back to the hotel after dinner and we slept…but DS took a while to fall asleep. I thought at first he was overtired, because he was rolling around and burrowing his head into me and DH, but he may not have been feeling well… See tomorrow’s excitement for more info :worried:


Fantasyland pics and character meals!


Day 7: 11/30 Magic Kingdom

We made it! I was ready to be home at this point (I know, heresy, right?). We managed to throw all our stuff into our suitcases and bags and get loaded into the van. We drove to the Grand Floridian to park for the day, because my in-laws were having their dinner at Narcoosee’s that night. Took the monorail over to MK, and headed to breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Someone asked where we were headed and I said to the castle, and they were like, huh, we’re eating IN the castle??? :woman_facepalming: I know they didn’t do as much planning as me, but it still surprised me. I could totally skip this breakfast. I thought Akershus was a much better princess meal…even 1900 PF. DS wasn’t eating much, but just wanted to drink milk, so that’s what we gave him. After that, we walked to Adventureland for the morning. We did the Magic Carpets first, and then headed to our first FP for the day, Jungle Cruise. A minute or two into the ride, ALLLL that milk my son drank came up :nauseated_face: We did our best to catch it in his shirt and took the shirt off, then used wipes to try and clean up everywhere else…DH, FiL, the floor, the seat. It was EVERYWHERE. Poor little thing. :frowning: Threw away the shirt and his bib when we got off the ride and then got him changed. While we changed him, BiL took DD and DNiece up into the Swiss Family Treehouse to play. DS still seemed to be in an OK mood, somehow, but I didn’t want to push him. The rest of the family headed to the Tiki Room next, while I walked DS to the First Aid and Baby Care areas. Got his temp taken (normal), then got some pedialyte at the baby care center. They let me sit with him in the nursing mother’s room to rock him and soothe him while there was no one in there (a couple of women came in later but everyone was able to have privacy in there). When everyone else finished with the tiki room, I took DS to meet up with them. Did our next FP, Pirates, and then swung by the Country Bear Jamboree (DS was fascinated by the moose/buffalo heads on the wall). Then we started to make our way over to Tomorrowland…when everyone suddenly pulled off to the side to stop for funnel cakes. It was about lunch time but I wasn’t trying to have funnel cakes for lunch. We kept walked over to Tomorrowland and got some hot dogs there. We fed DS a little baby food which he gobbled up. At this point I thought maybe it was just the Magic Carpet ride that messed up his tummy (another spoiler: it wasn’t). We did the Buzz Lightyear ride, and then no one could seem to come to a consensus what to do next. At some point, BiL and SiL decided to get hot dogs as well so we got some ice cream at Auntie Gravity’s. We wanted to do the Laugh Floor, but DNiece was scared of the monsters (even though she had seen the movie and knew it wasn’t scary). So they said they were just going to play while we went in. Afterward, we stopped to take a bathroom break and DD saw face painters, and wanted her face painted. I told her that we didn’t have time but then we met up with everyone else…and DNiece had gotten her face painted. Cue the meltdown from DD. Sigh. Now I don’t claim to be a perfect person, but I can tell when kids are going to see what other kids have and want it. Example: at Coral Reef, they had this souvenir cup with a clip-on light-up Ariel. I thought DD would like it, but before I even offered it, I ran it by SiL because I didn’t want to offer it if they thought DNiece would want one–in case they didn’t want to pay for it. They said oh don’t worry about it, she won’t want it (guess what? she did, and they ended up getting her one too). So I would not have taken my kid to get their face painted if she was then going to see her cousin who would most likely want to get HER face painted too. Well, long story short (TOO LATE!), we got her face painted. It looked good, so I was happy to do it, just would have been nice to do it together. While we were doing that, SiL started feeling nauseous. We thought maybe it was because of the smoking area nearby, or this sewage-y smell coming from somewhere. Last ride of the day was the PeopleMover. We all LOVED it! Again, the simple things…just moving along, taking in all the sights. I think when we went through Space Mountain the ride might have been down. All the lights in the place were on and you could see everything. After that, we headed to our dinner at Be Our Guest (except for MiL, FiL, and BiL who were headed to Narcoosee’s). SiL was still not feeling well :frowning: They were first going to seat us in the West Wing room, but the girls were too scared. It was only 4:05 and the place was pretty empty, so they were able to re-seat us fairly quickly. We ended up in the main ballroom near the windows, right in front of the Christmas tree. SOOO much nicer!! DS fell asleep in my arms early on, so I managed to eat while holding him. SiL was getting quickly worse, though. She spent most of the meal in the bathroom, sick, and they left before dessert. We headed out soon after, and stopped in the Emporium very quickly to try and spend a few of our leftover snack credits on candy. We took the boat to GF to meet up with everyone else, and then took the van to our next hotel (all the while SiL being sick in the row behind us). And thus ended our Disney adventures. We saw some extended family the next day, DS got sick again in the new hotel. DD got sick as our plane was landing Sunday night, and I got sick at home Sunday night.
One more post left, and I will sum up some things I learned (things for me, anyway).