LIVE Trip Report: Pop Century July 2nd-July 9th

Loving your report so far!

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Your daughter looks adorable. You are doing well steering your trip with your child’s moods. Keep having fun.

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Amazing Tasha! Thanks…I too will pay it fwd I promise. The reservation is under Thomas (Steven/Maria)… You don’t mind leaving it at POR? That is very kind!

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I will call the front desk over there and check if I can drop it off. I’m sure they won’t mind! I’ll let you know

Day 3: Animal Kingdom - Crowd Level 3?! (I thought it was just as packed as a MK 8)

We woke up at 6 and somehow made it to the bus stop by 6:45 (that’s a miracle with a 5 year old). The bus came within 5 minutes, but sat there until 7:00. It took almost 15 minutes to ride to Animal Kingdom. There was already a small crowd of about 100 people already there at the gates.

The staff let everyone into the park by 7:30 AM, however the guests with ADR’s were the only ones to go past the first section of “jungle”. I was surprised that the photopass people were there & taking pictures… I was under the impression they didn’t start that early… so we got a few photos really quick while Esme was in a good mood. She was dressed as Pocahontas today, so all the cast members were waving and saying “Hi Princess Pocahontas” as she walked by. She felt like royalty.

We then walked back into Africa and arrived at Tusker House by 7:45 AM. We checked in & was told we wouldn’t be seated until 8:00 AM, which was our reservation time. So we danced in the streets of Africa for a little while & then Esme drummed:

At 8:00 sharp the cast member called us in & we sat at a cute little 2 seater table. Our waiter was excellent & poured us some Jumbo (or Jambo?) juice. Esme wasn’t fond of it, but I loved the mixture of tropical flavors, so I drank both!!! We were free to go to the buffet & eat, as the characters were not coming out for another 15 minutes… so off we went… Guess what Esme wanted??? MICKEY WAFFLES and a plate full of bacon. Everything was super yummy, not a single thing tasted bad.

About 8:15 sharp the cast member started calling in the characters one by one, within 5 minutes of each other. First Donald, then Mickey, then Goofy, then Daisy. We were in our own little hall way/corner, so when the characters came around to us, we got to spend more time with them. Goofy was a riot, once again. Daisy really loved Esme, gave her tons of hugs and kisses, then blew her a bunch of kisses as she walked away. We were done eating & seeing all the characters by 9:00. Our waiter didn’t rush us one bit.

9:00-12:00: This is where my TP got all messed up… but it ended up working out for the best. We were ahead of time, so we went on the Kilmanjaro Safari’s with no wait. It was so fun and interesting. Esme was complete immersed in everything the tour guide had to say… I am 100% sure she wouldn’t have enjoyed this ride as much if we went at our scheduled time around 1pm. GOOD CHOICE MOM! Immediately afterwards we found some more drums, so we drummed and drummed and drummed. Then we seriously ran into the Fast Pass lady, who helped me switch my safari fast pass for Dinosaur (I wasn’t going to do this ride with Esme, but after hearing another little girl talk about how much she loved it, she wanted to try it). We then made our way down to meet Pocahontas… it was scorching hot by now (about 9:30), so we got some slushies and got in line. I’m glad we did b/c the line got seriously crazy within 5 minutes. Esme is native American, so this was the BIG DEAL of the day:

Because Esme was wearing her outfit (and I pre-warned her that she was Native too) Pocahontas spent almost 5 minutes with her!!! I actually cried a little. So after I dried my tears, we were off to our meet Minnie & Mickey for a FP… but we got there at 10:15 & no line, so we didn’t use the FP. They were so fun together… lots of kisses & hugs. While walking out we actually RAN into Babloo (? spelling), who was monsterous… but friendly. That’s when Esme saw the face painting lady, so I let her get the “elsa” look… of course. By this time it was only 10:30, so I had almost an hour before my next FP… so we decided to hop on the Rafiki’s Train. There was nothing “exciting” about this train ride or the actual conservatory, we walked through & Esme didn’t want to look or try anything offered. So we hopped back on the train to Africa… the train director picked Esme to honk the train horn to advise the guests to board the train… which was super special for her.

By the time we got off the train it was 11:15, so we headed to Asia to ride FP Kali River Rapids. I changed Esme out of her outfit & changed myself into flip flops to avoid soaked sneakers. We definitely got SOAKED. Esme loved every minute of it. We only waited 5 minutes to ride too… however I wouldn’t have minded waiting b/c they had a lot of cool stuff in the waiting line.

At this time we headed to Yak & Yeti for a table service meal. This was much needed at this point, b/c the heat was unbearable & sitting in the AC was a life saver for Esme (she was about to have a heat induced meltdown, I could tell). The portions here were MASSIVE… everything was excellent… I got the potstickers and shrimp/chicken lo mein, YUM. We were out of here by 12:40.

12:45-1:00: We made our way to Dinoland for the FP at Dinosaur. We were able to get in & on the ride within 5 minutes. It was a really neat environment at first, then it got dark and terrifying. I hadn’t realized how scary it would actually be. Esme was horrified & I covered her eyes the whole time. When we got off the ride, I promised we wouldn’t do any other ride like that!!! Parents, watch a video of this ride before going on it!!! We then hopped onto the Triceratops Spin with no line. Then headed over to the Bone Yard. I saw Esme standing at the top of the play place in the bone yard & I just knew she was going to break down… so I verbally guided her to the slide (parents couldn’t climb to the top), so I met her at the bottom. Once she got off the slide she started crying violently… there was nothing wrong, she was just hot & tired. I snatched her up and sat with her for a minute before explaining that I thought we needed to go back to the hotel to relax in the pool… which she reluctantly agreed to (she really wanted to see Nemo).

On the way out, I saw a ton of other kids having melt downs. It was sad because the parents were not being so nice about it. It took about 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop, then another 5 minutes waiting for the bus before we boarded. This bus shared a stop with Blizzard Beach, so it took about 25 minutes to get to Pop. By this time Esme was passed out… I carried her to the room & let her sleep.

It was an incredible day and I am glad I switched things around a little. We still got to do all the things Esme wanted, just in a different order. I don’t think we could have handled a full day at AK. It is a lot of walking!!! I took some ibuprofen when I got back to ease the ache in my feet.

Tonight is our “fancy dinner” at 1900 Park Fare. Esme wanted a dinner where we both could dress up… so we will see how that goes. I am hoping to see the July 4th Fireworks at MK from the Grand Floridian… I’ll let you know!!


So glad you booked that Y&Y table service the other day! AK is soooo hot, that a/c break is necessary I think! Standing in line to get food and then try to find a place to sit in a/c, all while dealing with a hot, tired, miserable child is torture! So glad I could suggest this for you. Enjoy your rest and your fancy dinner tonight!

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Good picture of Esme. You will make her a Disney addict. You have reasons to go back. So. If it doesn’t get done, there is always next trip. Enjoy the fireworks.

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I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your trip so far. I hope you guys have a blast at 1900 tonight! I’m certain you’ll get to see and enjoy the fireworks from GF.

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Day 3: Part 2

I let my kiddo rest for several hours after coming back from the Animal Kingdom. When she woke up, we went to the pool, which was not refreshing at all… it was luke warm. Nothing like the brisk water in Vermont! We then came back to the hotel room to change into our outfits.

Esme received a magical note from Prince Charming, which invited her to dinner tonight & provided her with a nice new Cinderella headband to wear with her Cinderella dress… she was tickled pink.

We left the hotel at 5:00 PM, rode the bus to MK, which again was 20 minutes. We then walked over to the boat launch and rode a cute little boat taxi to the Grand Floridian. The water taxi took about 30 minutes, which was mainly due to the “captain” waiting for more guests to arrive.

We arrived at 1900 Park Fare by 6:00 PM. I checked us in early, then waited in the grand entryway of the GF. The pianist was there & played “Let it Go” which made all the little princesses squeal and sing their hearts out. Then by 6:15 PM our table was ready, so away we went:

We were seated in the main room, next to a crazy sea horse statue. Our waitress was super busy, bless her heart… so she didn’t really come by and help us out too much, but I saw her busting her butt off trying to accommodate the more needy guests… so I gave her a little slack. The food was buffet style & super good. I ate a little bit of everything. Esme actually ate a bunch too, more than just a roll for once!

The characters were called out one by one, which was very sweet. First were the two lady mice, they were the most attentive and spent the most time with Es… giving her lots of hugs and high fives. Then came Prince Charming and he was sooooooo charming… he waved at Esme from across the room… she just about died with embarrassment, then hid under her napkin.

Then came the one & only Cinderella… It was so cute how Prince Charming ran over to great her, kiss her hand & waltz with her for a brief moment. When Cinderella came to our table, she was so delighted that Esme was matching her that she stood Esme up & danced with her in the aisle… But not before Prince Charming came by to steal the spotlight & kiss Cinderella on the hand again. It was humorous!

Last but not least was Lady Tremaine. The step sisters apparently were at the castle looking for their cat Lucifer… so we didn’t get to see them tonight. But the step mother did not disappoint. She wouldn’t budge in the dining hall until the whole crowd clapped and cheered for her… which we did, of course. To my surprise, Esme was sooooo excited for Lady Tremaine (and later said she was her favorite). When she got to our table, in true character, the step mother saw Es’s outfit & asked if she was going to be Cinderella’s replacement as the step sisters “maid”? Esme just chuckled and said “no thank you”.

This dinner took the longest so far, as we didn’t leave until almost 8:00 PM… but it was the most entertaining & interactive character meal we’ve done. By this time it was storming pretty bad. The dinner was so much excitement for Es that she didn’t feel up to fireworks, so we both made the decision to head home & get some extra sleep. We jumped on the monorail (took less than 5 min) and headed to the MK (a few minutes ride). Then walked over to the bus depo to catch a bus to Pop. It only took minutes to get a bus, but it took 40 minutes to get to the hotel b/c of traffic, due to the holiday. Esme fell asleep on the bus & I had to carry her back to the hotel room. She’s now snoring in the bed next to me!!!

So that’s my day.

I have to point out a few key things:

  1. There is no way I would have survived this trip without a stroller, way too much walking, even for my ADHD athletic child.
  2. Thank you to the Liner who suggested the Peds socks, instead of cotton… it’s kept my feet blister free.
  3. Hydrating constantly is so important… Es wouldn’t have thought of taking a drink unless I prompted her every 15 minutes to take a chug from the water bottle.
  4. Considering it’s so hot and we are sweating so much, we didn’t take as many bathroom breaks as I thought we would have. But you still need to have your child “try” whenever you are using the bathroom, as I saw so many kids have to leave the front of the line b/c of emergency pee time! I’ve never seen such angry parents!!!
  5. ADR’s have been my best friends… a lot of people said that its so constricting, ect… but for us it’s been a lifesaver - it’s been keeping us on track, keeping us cool, forcing a break & keeping us fed so we can maintain our energy levels.
  6. Those little trinkets or coloring packs from the Dollar Store have been a lifesaver during waiting periods for the bus, while on the bus, waiting for reservations, waiting for rides or just riding in the stroller to the next attraction. They kept her entertained for a short period of time & cost hardly anything.
  7. Make an ID for your child to carry, so if he or she gets lost they can show a cast member the card with their names, your name & phone number. Esme got “lost” once in the Dumbo playground and once in the Bone Yard… although I was there in a few seconds… she told me afterwards that she felt better knowing if she didn’t find me, that she had that card to show somebody for help (I’m so proud of her!).

Okay, that’s it for today. HAPPY 4th of JULY!


@Wahoohokie You were 100% right about doing more ADR’s. I’ve actually added another BOG (but lunch this time) for tomorrow and the The Plaza for my tomorrowland day. Having these scheduled breaks has been a lifesaver for Esme. You were right!!!


Your reports are great and you get kudos for your successful planning and knowing when to abandon all and call it a day.


I’m so glad! I just know how much better we feel after having a break in the A/C where someone waits on us! Since you have deluxe dining and are paying for it, you might as well use every credit!


I love reading your trip report; thanks for sharing! We took our five year old in November. We loved Tusker House for breakfast. The food was great (especially the juice), and the characters were so great with our daughters! My five year old was terrified of the Dinosaur ride, too! She was hanging onto my neck for dear life through most of the ride (you can see it on our ride photo). It is funny to remember it now, but not the best experience at the time! Enjoy the rest of your trip! :smile:


Tasha, I made the mistake of showing my daughter (3) the pictures of your little girl. She now wants a Jasmine dress, a Cinderella dress and a Pocahontas dress when we come in September ! I hope you continue to have a fantastic time, From Emma and Maisie Blossom in England xxx


I am LOVING reading this!!!

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@Mom2Girls1980 I am glad I’m not the only person who brought their kid & regretted it. All the other people on the ride gave me dirty looks afterwards… I wish they would have warned me AHEAD of time, rather than shunning me after the fact. But, you live & learn!

You just never know - my 4 year old niece was fine on it but my 7 year old niece had hysterics. So don’t let anyone make you feel bad!

@emmagilbertsmith Your little girl will have such a good time!!! I would suggest that you buy them ahead of time at when they are on sale (they do a sale a few times a month)… that’s what I did (for all but Jasmine, as that was the Bibbity Boutique outfit). It’s soooo expensive once you get here! And the cast members give them extra special attention when they wear the outfits!!!

TashaM- Your daughter is adorable! Your trip report is great and I am soooo happy that you both are having a great trip. My 6 yr old grandson was also scared to death on Dinosaur, it can be extremely intense. He got off saying “Gami, maybe in a couple of more years, I won’t be so scared and we can ride it again” LOL. They are so precious at that age.
You had mentioned that the level 3 at AK felt about the same as a level 8 at MK but it sounds like none of the rides had too long of a line. I also looked at the TP and based on the actuals, AK was predicted a 3 but actuals showed a 2 due to the line waits. Do you think it felt like an 8 because it has more compact areas and more area’s that are under construction? I remember feeling that way in September, there are soooo many walls up everywhere and it causes everyone to be in the same area.
You definitely chose the right park by the TP actuals. MK was a 10, Epcot was an 8, HS was an 4 and AK a 2. I hope yall get to go back to AK for Nemo and Lion King! Those are 2 of the best shows at Disney IMHO.
Can’t wait to read more!

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Day 4: Magic Kingdom / Frontierland & Adventureland

We woke up on time & made it to the bus stop, but didn’t leave the bus station until 7:00 AM… We got to Magic Kingdom by 7:20 AM. Because we had an 8:05 ADR at Cinderella’s Royal Table we were able to line up on the far left & get let into the park at 7:45. The photo pass people were out, so we took advantage of that… nothing better than empty streets!!!

We got to CRT by 7:55 and took a picture with Cinderella. Then they sat us at the best seat in the house - a two seater in the back by the windows & directly in the middle, so we could see perfectly as the princesses got called into the room. The waiter immediately brought us orange juice and a plate of pastries… including blueberry muffins shaped as mickey heads. Then in came Snow White, then Aurora, then Ariel (with legs) and then Jasmine. They were all very kind and took a lot of time to sign Esme’s bag, as well as answer her questions. It’s best if you come up with questions a head of time with your child!!! We then had a wishing ceremony with special wands & wishing stars that they gave the girls. By 8:45 we had finished up eating & left.

My original TP had us at CRT until about 9:30, so we had 30 minutes to do whatever we’d like… so Esme decided to try Splash Mountain (which we walked onto), then Big Thunder Mountain (which was again walked onto). After we got off BTM, we took this cool photo pass picture:

By now it was 9:30, so we started following our TP and headed down to the Jungle Cruise (walked on), Carpets of Aladdin (walked on), back to Big Thunder for a FP (about 10 minutes wait including walking through the queue), back to Splash Mountain for a FP (about a 15 minute wait)… on our way out of splash mountain we found Woody & Jessie meet & greet, so we stopped & waited about 5 minutes to see them both together.

Esme decided not to see Country Bears again, so we improvised & went to Casey’s Splash Corner again, as it was soooo hot & super crowded (although it was supposed to be a crowd level 6?). It took us forever to get there… almost 20 minutes… due to the crowd. But once we got there, we both got completely soaked & loved it. Thankfully I’ve been packing an extra set of clothes for both of us. So we ventured over to Gaston’s bathrooms to change & ran into Gaston. He was a handsome chap & was “hitting on” every girl there. Very funny.

Yesterday I had made the decision to make another ADR for Be Our Guest for Lunch, as I knew it was going to be hot & we would need the AC. We arrived at 11:20 for our reservation. We pre-ordered, so we were seated within minutes. We again sat in the photo frames room, this time directly infront of the larger-than-life statue of Belle & the Beast dancing. Our food came within 5 minutes & we were out of there by 12:00. This time I ordered the “grey stuff” and OH MY it was very good! I took a liners advice & ordered a bottled water for each of us to take along with us… soooo nice to have cold water on a sunny 95+ degree day!

We then made the big trek back over to Adentureland for our reservation at Pirates League. We passed by Tiana, which Esme was not interested in meeting today. She looked stunning. We were about 30 minutes early for our reservation, so we decided to go into the Tiki Room… boy oh boy, what a show… a bunch of birds, trees, flowers & tiki poles singing!!! Es just LOVED it. Plus, it’s AC, so I loved it!

At 12:45 we went back to Pirates League & checked in. Esme asked me to do the make over with her, so we were both getting dolled up as “Pirates”. We first had to get a pirate name, which I got Charlotte Blackhawk & Esme got Anne Edgebellows. Then for the rest of the time your there, they address you by this pirate name. We then changed into our pirate outfits and were wisked away to a boutique chair. Side by side we got our nails done, our make up done and our “pirate bandanas” on. We then took the pirates oath & received our golden charm necklace and pirate sword and holder/sash. Afterwards we were again whisked away, but this time to Captain Jack’s photo room for some pictures:

We didn’t get done the Pirates League until 2:00… They told me when I made the reservation that it doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes, so maybe they just spent a lot of extra time on us? It was so fun, either way!!! We had a FP to meet Tinker Bell, so we walked down main street to her M&G, but not before taking this:

We got to Tinkers layer by 2:15. Because it was FP, we were in within 5 minutes. She was very fun and lively. She spent a lot of time interacting with Esme b/c she was dressed like a pirate. I really appreciate how the characters really take their time with the kids. I know it means a lot to Esme.

By now, we were both TIRED and HOT. So we headed to the bus stop… which again, for Pop, is about 1 million miles away. We were on the bus by 2:30 and back to the hotel room by 3:00. Esme is totally wiped, so she’s resting & I am here writing this report.

I will let you guys know how the Pirates & Pals Cruise goes later… psyched!