Trip report August 15- 21
I loved reading others reports so I hope this helps someone. Our family- DH (non –planner, but happy to follow plan), me (planner), DS9, DD (almost 3) DS (almost 2).
Summary of my opinions at the bottom if you don’t want to hear me yammer on…
Monday Hollywood Studios-
We waited on a short line to enter the park for early morning magic hours for HS including breakfast at ABC commissary about 7:25AM. I was hoping this would be better for Jedi training sign up but backfired since they were letting people into the park early to get on the Jedi sign up line as we were riding TSM early. Since we paid for the opportunity to ride without line, so we did not arrive to the Jedi line until 8:30 which was long, but moving. We were still able to get a noon sign up for my 9 year old. As for the review on the early entry, since we were paying for two adults, a 9 year old and had two children under 2 that were free, it was worth the expense. We rode TSM multiple times and met Olaf as well as doing Star Tours.
The morning went smoothly riding TGMR, eating breakfast at 9:45, hitting the Visa Kylo Ren meet and looking around Launch Bay. The little ones and I went to Disney Junior while my husband and DS9 did Jedi training. Left the park about 1:15 to beat the heat.
After naps and air conditioning for a few hours we headed back to HS to divide and conquer the Frozen Sing Along and Indiana Jones. Apparently Indiana Jones had a lot of technical difficulty, my husband and DS9 were out very early and reported that the boulder wouldn’t work. The littles and I enjoyed Frozen Sing Along a great deal, except for the young couple next to us who made it clear they were unhappy seated next to a two year old. It was embarrassing and they practically stepped on my daughter racing for the opportunity to get another seat when the CM opened up the handicap aisles. The CM witnessed the event and kindly moved me and my littles to front row center. During the course of our vacation I noticed on multiple occasions adults frowning and moving from children. I know Disney is for all ages, but people looking to be away from children at Disney shock me.
Tuesday, SeaWorld and Rain L
Spent the morning at SeaWorld which started as a great crowd free touring morning but ended about noon with relentless rain. The kids were sports and had fun while it lasted and then we retired back to the condo to play and rest the afternoon.
Changed our original plans of resting Wed morning and touring Epcot at night into a morning plan due to the weather forecast and Tues evening off. Woke up early and got in line at main gate by 8:00AM to head to Frozen Ever After. There must have been hundreds in line by 8:30AM. We were let into the park about 8:55 and made our way to FEA to find about a 15 minute wait. Enjoyed the ride but not sure its worth waiting hours to ride. Quickly went to meet Anna and Elsa and waited about 20 minutes. Made our way to Mission Space with a 20 minute wait. Used our 11:00 FP for Space Ship Earth which was mobbed with people and still waited ten minutes with FP. Used FP for Figment and Living with the Land and broke for really good pizza at Via Napoli before heading out at 2:00. We planned to do Epcot over 2 days which worked out great for us, it handled the crowds better and the kids loved walking and looking around.
Thursday, Magic Kingdom
Early morning in the MK with a ADR for BOG at 8:15AM. So much for the idea of pictures in an “empty park”, I have seen in “tips” online. We arrived about 7:30 to TTC and had to take a ferry as the monorail was not working. We entered the park about 8AM with the masses. The line for BOG was long and the CMs were not helpful with directing people. We were put in the same line as people that had not pre-ordered so I question what is the point, only to save a little time at the kiosk but we still waited for people who had not ordered so it made no sense to not just reserve some kiosks for those that pre-ordered to keep the line moving. Breakfast was sub-par and the crowd was big so we really didn’t get any magical feeling in the castle. I was glad we only ordered one adult breakfast and one kids meal to share. We finished up at 8:45 and DH and DS9 rode mine cart with my tall daughter. She ended up loving the ride. They were able to ride about 8:50AM and this I can see being the only advantage to a BOG breakfast. Since it was another high crowd level we used our TP exclusively in the morning. Rode HM, BarnStormer, Dumbo, Under the Sea, and Space Mtn. DH and DS9 grabbed a riderswap for me and we headed out of the park about noon. The crowds coming into the park at noon were so heavy we had to fight our way out with the stroller. We had FP to go back in the evening but the crowds entering late discouraged me and kids wanted to hit the condos splash pad and pool, so all were happy.
Our first character breakfast at Minnies Beach Bash at the Cape May buffet. The food was good and the character interaction was great. My kids on the other hand were off the wall. Not sure if it was the overstimulation of the characters or because I had to keep leaving the table to get food for them but it was a tough morning. We had a 7:30 reservations and left the restaurant about 8:30 for a slow walk to Epcot. We ended up walking half way down the boardwalk before we realized we missed the bridge and then took a ferry to the gate, oops! Going in through the International Entrance was soo much better than the main gate and we were able to walk around and take in the views without crowds. The crowds didn’t seem that bad on Friday so we were able to use the touring plan as a guide but add in a lot of extras. At 9:30 the Seas with Nemo were empty, we rode and checked out the aquarium slowly. Turtle Talk with Crush was cute but my two littles were not happy about sitting. Used our Soarin FP at 10:00 and grabbed a RS for later. Rode Figment, the Mexico ride, Mission Space, Figment again, Soarin again, Spaceship Earth, visited Club Cool and headed back to the International gate around 3:00. Even though it was crowded, Epcot did not seem nearly as bad as MK or HS.
Saturday, Animal Kindgom Lodge!
We checked out of the condo and made our way to AKL. Thanks to TP for submitting our faxed room request which we got! We stayed on the second floor (2350) on Kodu trail and had a great view of animals without paying for the view. The kids were not as excited as I was for the view but it was an amazing hotel. We checked in to the room at noon and spent the rest of the day in the great pool and ate dinner at the Mara. Had some issues with the Mara mixing up our order and had to wait a long time for a burger but the food quality was pretty good for quick service.
Sunday, Magic Kingdom
Left the AKL on a bus to MK about 6:50 and were in line for our Early Magic Hour in Fantasy Land breakfast by 7:15. We were about fifteen families in the line and the line was growing behind us. I estimated about 200 people or so once we were pushed into the waiting area to enter the park. There was a mass of people entering MK about 7:40 and main street was fairly crowded but not nearly as bad as our entrance on Thursday. Unfortunately PP and Winnie the Pooh were down for a significant portion of the hour and I stopped to talk to a CM who was able to flag down a manager for me. While I expressed my displeasure of not being able to use two of the three rides we paid for they apologized and brought 5 anytime fast passes for Fantasy Land for our family. They also assured me that our EMH bands would work until noon. I found it odd that none of the CMs were instructing people of this as they redirected them from PP. Ultimately they opened up It’s a Small World, the Tea Cups and the Carousel was running the whole time. Winnie the Pooh opened up about 8:20. The kids really enjoyed being able to ride without lines and the breakfast was good. Even with the rides being down I would still recommend doing this breakfast for 7D alone. My DS rode the coaster about 6 times and he loved it. We moved out of Fantasy Land , hit Speed Way then my DH and DS9 hit Splash Mtn and I took the littles to Country Bear. The park was getting really crowded at this point in time, more than Thursday. We used FP for Pirates and Jungle Cruise then called it a morning about noon. We took a long break and rest at AKL and then made it back to MK about 7PM. The crowds were thankfully lighter and we rode Buzz’s spin with a FP and danced near the Incredibles. We watched COP for my DH and the kids were less than thrilled. We bought some souvenirs and entered the castle for our CRT reservation! I enjoyed the dinner and the kids liked the princess interactions. We had an awesome waiter who brought an extra kids meal for my two littles to split, even though they were supposed to eat off of our plates. He also brought them a wand and sword. Only note is that the photographer rushed us through and our pictures were terrible. After a nice dinner we caught some of the fireworks on people mover, rode Buzz again, and ended the night with the astro-orbiter. We left before the electrical parade as the kids were losing steam.
Monday, Last Day L Ohana breakfast
We were slightly late for our Ohana reservation at 11:20 and I thought we would be one of the last in the restaurant but it was insanely crowded and we were not seated until about noon. The breakfast was great though and so glad we made it. We thought about cancelling and hitting the road earlier the previous night but so glad we made it. The breakfast was one of the best we had and the family style worked much better for us than the buffet. The kids were happy with the characters and even being crowded we did not feel rushed. It was a great way to end the trip before our long car trip back to NJ.
· Driving was not as terrible as I expected- stopping overnight was necessary for our family though.
· August was very hot but manageable, the crowds were big but using TPs in the morning and taking a break in the afternoon was helpful.
· Buffets with toddlers is really difficult
· Early morning magic at HS and Fantasy Land was nice to beat the crowds and with toddlers that was worth the cost for us.
· Transportation at AKL was great but make sure you get off at the right stop- we made the mistake of getting off once at Kidani Village instead of Jambo House and had to then wait for a shuttle.
· Using TP was helpful but we were able to use as a guide rather than a set schedule
· Riderswaps are helpful but with 2 toddlers we usually had second rider go back later in the day because entertaining them was harder to do for 2 rides in a row and we separated quite a bit.
· Kids can survive on Disney popcorn alone