Just back from latest trip - a few thoughts

Just returned from our 7th family trip to both universal parks in one day, a meal at V&A, early morning surfing at TL and our first ever cruise. Thought I would share a few observations.

  1. We are a family from the UK that consists of me, DW, DD16, DD14 and DD14. We had 12 days at the BC and 4 days on the Dream.

2.For the third year in a row the BC/YC initially gave us a room with insufficient beds. A minor annoyance, but regular occurrence suggests a systematic problem. Will definitely call a few days before our next trip to confirm requirements.

  1. We still love the BC/YC for the ambience, SAB and the location. Refurbishment of BC rooms is very nice, if lacking the sense of whimsey the rooms has before.

  2. My DDs loved the early morning surfing lessons at TL (despite having to be there at 5:30!). Session consisted of basic land based lesson on how to surf followed by about 12 goes on the big wave in the surf pool.

  3. We tried the Fantasmic dining package for the first time and thought it was great, especially as we were just going to DHS for the show and EMH. It was the best meal we have had at the Brown Derby and it was great not having to waste an hour queuing for F!

  4. The wait times for TSMM are getting ridiculous. We arrived at the tapstiles at 8:55, went straight to the ride and still had a 62 minute wait! On an EMH we arrived at 7:50 and the wait was 35 minutes.

  5. We had a great meal at Victoria and Alberts. The service, atmosphere and food were fantastic - the veal with mushroom lasagne was one of the best dishes I have ever had. While it is not the best restaurant I have ever been to, it’s certainly in my top 3.

  6. For anyone concerned about taking kids to V&A we were all made to feel very welcome and there was another table with teenage children (slightly older than mine). The other tables were mostly couples and a few foursomes. As long as your teenage kids know what to expect in an upscale restaurant and like a variety of foods they will have a great time.

  7. We gave ourselves one day to do Universal. It was predicted CL7 day and we had the express pass. We had been before so didn’t need to do the shows again. We had a slightly late start so arrived at the park gates at 9:50. We did Minions, rip ride, mummy, transformer, ET, Simpsons and men in black before lunch. Then spent an hour doing lunch at the Simpsons fast food boulevard, which was very good. Then we did Diagon Alley and Gringotts - the place is amazing. We spent a good 2 hours here, including a 30 minute wait for the ride. After taking the Hogwarts Express (40 minute wait) to IOA we did duelling dragons, Harry Potter (35 minutes wait), Jurassic park, Ripsaw falls, Spider-Man’s and the Hulk. We were done by 7:50. While this was a very full day it was not as tiring as 4 parks in one day and is something I would definitely do again.

  8. After the parks we had dinner at the Cowfish on city walk. The wait time was less than 15 minutes and they text you when the table is ready so you don’t have to wait at the restaurant. The three of us that tried the combination specialities thought the food was very good - the two that had a burger and a salad were less impressed. I doubt if we would go back.

  9. Once again we did four parks in one day. We always do this on a MK evening EMH day so we have plenty of time. We did DHS (am EMH), AK, Epcot and MK. As usual we had a great time, even if we needed to change our timing due to heavy rain between 3 and 8. In particular, closing down MK at 2 am is a highlight. We also saw the goodnight kiss for the first time - a really nice way to finish the day.

  10. We had some great meals in the parks - In particular Yak and Yeti and 50s prime time were excellent as usual. BOG continues to impress more for theming than it its food.

  11. Anyone who only FPPs Peter Pan should do the standby queue just once. The waiting area set in the Darlings bedroom is really well done and the interactive features (waking Tinkerbell up, shadow butterfly’s landing on your shadow arm) are very clever and bring a smile to everyone’s face)

  12. For my DDs birthday we had the kitchen sink - it is big! We ended up with just three of us eating this and we did pretty well - probably managing about 90% of it. It’s not for those that don’t like their flavours combined but it’s great fun! (Be warned though - you have to be quite quick or you end up with brown ice cream soup!)

  13. To mix things up we went on our very first cruise at the end of the trip. We had 4 days on the Dream. We weren’t sure whether we would like this, but all 5 of us really enjoyed ourselves. The Dream is a truly beautiful ship and the stateroom we had was fine for the family of 5. Sitting on the verandah enjoying a drink was very enjoyable

  14. Our 3 DDs all went to Vibe for 14 to 17 year olds. This was a great area just for that age group. Our DDs loved this so much we hardly saw them on the cruise and they would get back at about 2am. I once saw a tip on the TP blog that said you needed to agree family time expectations with your kids before you went on a cruise - this was very good advice and I am glad we agreed that we would have dinner and see the shows as a family before they had seen the kids club.

  15. Castaway Cay was a brilliant day - lots to do, but still relaxing. DW and I did the 5k run in the morning - this was a target for me to spur me on my weight loss programme. Even at 9am if was very hot, but we both finished and it was a great start to the day

  16. The only disappointing activity on Castaway was the snorkelling. Very few fish and low quality snorkelling gear. Other than that everything was just right, including the food. Me and my DDs finished off with parasailing, which gave us great views of the ship and Island.

  17. We tried a couple of mixology classes - the one on margaritas was very good. These were good value as you got the fee ($20) back in alcohol. Also, 3 tequila shots, 2 mini margaritas and a full margarita in 45 minutes certainly gets the evening going!

  18. We really enjoyed the shows on the Dream / especially the Villains and Beleive. These really are very close to west end standard.

21 We didn’t book any excursions in Nassau - instead we got off and did a self guided tour of the town. Very nice for a couple of hours but nothing amazing. Our DDs stayed in the kids club

  1. A quick thanks to @Button who suggested booking a day room at the Hyatt at MCO after the cruise. This made our 11 hours at the airport much more bearable and is something I would highly recommend.

  2. Overall we had a great trip and were really pleased we decided to do a cruise at the end of it. Next time we will probably aim to do a 7 day cruise.

  3. The final piece of good news was that, despite stepping off my diet for 16 days, the combination of heat and lots of walking meant that I only gained 2 pounds on the holiday. Much better than expected .

  4. Next year we’re going to WDW in October for the first time. Really looking forward too experiencing the food and wine festival, MNSSHP and slightly cooler weather.


Glad you enjoyed your trip. Did you have A/C problems at BC?

What a wonderful holiday you had! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences! And congrats on nearly breaking even on the holiday weight! That’s impressive! :smile:

Sounds like a wonderful trip! We are trying V&A in November for the first time so I was glad to hear your review.

Great report on what sound like a dream Disney vacation
@JTBAW - V&A is outstanding - you WILL love it!

@ezed - hi. No problems with the air conditioning - it worked perfectly.

It sounds wonderful!

Thanks for all the information. I will doing the Fantasmic package for the first time on my trip in November. Eating at Mama Melrose. Glad it is worth doing the package.

I need to try to remember to stay for the Goodnight Kiss. Did you just hang out by the castle?

I will make sure to do standby at Peter Pan also

Thanks @bswan26! We are looking forward to it! I’ve always enjoyed your tips on dining. Trying Sanaa as well for the first time.

Sounds like a great trip! Thanks for sharing!