This is a pre covid trip report! I meant to write it as soon as we returned home, but it’s been a busy year. I love reading others’ trip reports and thought some might like to read a report from pre covid times. I’ll try my best to remember the details!
Who: DH31, DD11, DD7 and myself
Where: Pop Century
This was the first trip to Disney for all of us! I started planning a little over 13 months before our trip and I got a little obsessed with the planning! We planned to spend as much time as possible in the parks so staying in a pricey hotel was not our top priority. I chose Pop Century for the price and skyliner access and we were very happy with our choice. It was perfect for our needs. We planned this trip with the idea that we would only do Disney once so we wanted to do as much as we could. The goal was to ride everything, eat all the things and see all the things. We stayed 9 days, did a park everyday. Woke up crazy early, went to bed crazy late and did 2 after hours events. It was an exhausting trip but we did a ton during that time and we knew this would not be a relaxing trip and went with that mindset. We live in Ohio and frequently go to Kings Island so my kids have been trained on the amusement park rules (if one person goes to the restroom, EVERYONE goes, if we’re in a line and you have to go to the restroom, hold it, because there’s 0% chance I’m getting out of line to take you, only drink water unless at a sit down meal, no means no when it comes to buying things, and so on). We had a lot packed into each day but I believed my girls could handle it and they did amazing!
We decided to do the Deluxe Dining Plan as we wanted to do several character meals and a few signature meals. The Deluxe Plan worked very well for us due to the restaurants we choose to eat at and because we eat a lot of pricey steak and seafood. The kids and I were very excited about Disney. My husband hates going out and doesn’t generally like…well…people. His happy place is at home with me and the kids. But he loves good food and I knew some amazing meals throughout the trip would help him ‘tolerate’ it. Either my plan worked or he just really super loves me because there was exactly zero complaints from him the whole time!
As I said, I planned this trip for over a year and here was my spreadsheet for keeping us on track during the trip:
I put the high and low temps on the spreadsheet for each day to know how to dress. Since it was January temps were not too terrible. We planned a January trip because none of us do well in heat. When we are hot we are all cranky and mean and a summer in Florida would be torture for us. The kids do great in school so we played hooky! The “R” was added for if there was rain expected but I quickly realized everyday seemed to be 50% chance of some rain no matter what the weather said. We dressed in layers and had two backpacks that rolled up very small. We would wear our jackets during cold mornings, take one of the rolled up backpacks out of the other backpack and put all our jackets in it. At night it got chilly again so we’d put layers back on and roll up the then empty backpack and put it back in the other backpack. It worked out great for us. Here’s the link in case anyone is interested in the backpacks, and you can see how small they fold up!
Day 1 - 1/22/20
We woke up at 3am to drive to the airport. We flew with Delta and the flight from Cincinnati to Orlando was about 2 hours. This was my daughter’s first time on an airplane and they thought they were so cool! The oldest is such a worrier so she was excited but also extremely terrified. The little one has NO fear and would have tried to fly the plane if the pilot let her. We landed at 9ish. We did not use Magical Express as I read some horror stories about waiting a long time. So we picked up our luggage, got an UberXL and arrived at Pop Century.
We dropped our luggage off and stopped by the food court for our first “taste of Disney” with some yummy cupcakes.
We then caught a bus to Disney Springs. DD7 was very happy our first Disney bus had Moana on it.
First stop was Boathouse and my seafood lover was in heaven!
DD7 was very happy with her chocolate cake.
We walked around Disney Springs and big sis kept the little one from climbing into the fountain. DD11 is like her second mom which is very helpful!
The price kept us from buying them, but we enjoyed staring at all the pretty things!
We enjoyed the unique shopping and all there was to see at Disney Springs.
When we got back to Pop Century our room still wasn’t ready so we decided to kill a little time by riding the Skyliner. We were very excited about riding it although DD11 and I were somewhat nervous (we both worry) it ended up being one of our favorite things at Disney. It was a long ‘ride’ with zero wait time and was relaxing and thrilling at the same time. It also was extremely convenient. You get quiet and private time with family which is nearly impossible anywhere else on property. Can’t say enough wonderful things about the Skyliner!
Our room was ready, we ended up very close to the Skyliner which was great. We unpacked and got ready for dinner. Also, FYI, if you’re at a resort where space is tight, definitely get the shoe organizer! I got this one:
Unfortunately, at Pop Century there’s not a great place to put it but we figured out that they can hang on the bathtub glass doors. It was one of the best things I could have bought! It was clear so I could easily see everything and it kept the bathroom counter clear of junk.
At this point we had been up since 3am and were tired. I planned a 3 hour nap before dinner but with our room not being ready on time we only napped for about an hour. I was pretty annoyed about that since we had Animal Kingdom After Hours tickets this night and I wanted to stay as long as our tickets allowed which was midnight. With only an hour nap I didn’t know if the family was going to be able to make it that late. I do not recommend After Hours tickets on arrival day! I knew it was a risk but thought it would be okay. I now wish we would have arrived one day earlier so we would have been well rested for After Hours. I considered cancelling our dinner reservations but they were hard to get and was one I was most excited for so I woke everyone up and we all got ready for dinner.
We took an Uber (which we did 70% of the time at Disney) to California Grill. Our driver got lost and we were 15 minutes late to our reservation. They took us anyway and I’m so glad they did because it was just so special. It is the perfect place for a special occasion. The big windows, the atmosphere, all the lights at MK. The food was delicious as well.