Lucky for us Galaxy's Edge didn't bring the crowds: A family's first trip to WDW was a great success

Reading trip reports was a key component to making our family’s recent vacation such a success. I am no writer, but I thought I’d try to pay it forward and share what worked for us. I should start by saying that we are a relatively private bunch, so there won’t be any photos of cute children below (sorry) but I hope this is useful to people regardless.

The group included me, who went to Disney World with my parents as a child, DH, who went for a day as part of a teen tour 20 years ago, and our twins DD8 and DS8. This was our first real family vacation and we started our planning last January after our good friends came home from a trip to Disney saying they all loved it.

After much debate, we chose to go the last week in August, hearing that the crowds would be the lowest of the summer. Originally it looked like the kids might be back to school that week, but when our school announced the kids would be starting up again after Labor day, we knew our dates were set.

Our next challenge was picking a hotel. We didn’t want our kiddos to have to share a bed all week, and DH said he thought it would help tremendously if we had a wall between us and the kids for sleeping. We also saw that our dates included free dining, which we thought we’d make good use of, so we were really only considering hotels that were included in that promotion.

After much debate and crunching of numbers, we decided on two preferred rooms at Pop Century. Disney did say up front that they couldn’t promise we’d get connecting rooms, but we ended up with connecting rooms. Obviously I have nothing to compare to, but I think the two connecting rooms at Pop were excellent for our needs. The rooms aren’t huge, but they have lots of smart storage. We kept the kids suitcase open under one of their beds so they never needed to unpack and we used the dresser as their hamper. In our room, we kept the murphy bed up and moved all four chairs around the table, so we had a real place to eat. And having two bathrooms was wonderful. Plus, we all slept in real, comfortable beds, rather than a pull out or cot. For us, this set-up was perfect.

We also thought the extra dollars for preferred rooms was worth it. We were very close to the cafeteria, so we made much better use of our refillable mugs than we would have otherwise (DH filled us up with coffee each morning while I got the kids ready and he got drinks for everyone during our afternoon breaks). We also appreciated being so close to the bus stops. Pop is very spread out, so I think all the walking a non-preferred room would have required would have felt annoying. We ended up preferring the quiet computer pool to the (closer to our room) hippy dippy pool, but the walk there wasn’t too bad. We were on the first floor which was great. Quick and easy to get out, and we didn’t notice any noise from the outside.

As far as the dining plan goes, despite my careful planning, we had too much food. That said, DH and I both consider an alcoholic drink (or 2) to be part of vacationing, so I think we probably still came out ahead, as compared to getting a room discount. And, we used our final snack credits to get junk food for home (plus food gifts for the friends who convinced us to go in the first place) so I think it was ok. If we go back when our kids are disney adults I don’t think we’d make good use of the plan at all, but if we go back when they are nine, I’d probably go with free dining over a room discount again.

Next up: our arrival day!


Before I get the arrival, I should mention how Galaxy’s Edge put a monkey wrench in our plans.

After reading every menu and review we could get our eyes on, we woke up dutifully at 6 am in February to make our ADRs. We got all the places we thought we wanted, all at pretty reasonable times. Our plan at that point looked like this:

Monday: arrive, quick Blizzard Beach fun, then dinner at Sanaa
Tuesday: Animal Kingdom Day, dinner at HS with fantasmic package
Wednesday: Epcot, dinner at Marakesh
Thursday (8/29): Hollywood studios morning, Magic Kingdom evening, dinner at the Wave
Friday: Typhoon Lagoon, dinner at a QS
Saturday: Full day at Magic Kingdom. Dinner at 'Ohana
Sunday: Ale and Compass for buffet breakfast, then flight out.

However, about a month after we made those ADRs two things changed. First, Galaxy’s Edge was announced. Not only was August 29th now considered “late fall” but our plan put us rope dropping Hollowood Studios the day Galaxy’s Edge was opening. For our family, new to all this Disney stuff, this sounded like a nightmare.

Second, my daughter who previously said she had no interest in meeting princesses, announced she’d actually like to meet some, thank you very much.

So, we went back to the drawing board, changing up our plan significantly. Thankfully, we had not yet booked our flights, so we were able to make a number of changes.

Sunday: arrive, hang out at the hotel, check out “the world”
Monday: HS morning, MK afternoon. Dinner was planned for the Plaza
Tuesday: AK day, dinner at Mama Melrose with the Fantasmic package
Wednesday: sleep in, Blizzard Beach, dinner at Sanaa
Thursday: MK all day. Dinner at the Wave.
Friday: Epcot all day (getting to be there for Food and Wine). Dinner at Akershus for DD8.
Saturday: Typhoon Lagoon. Dinner at 'Ohana
Sunday: take earlier (and cheaper) flight out, helping to defray the cost of the extra night at Pop.

We were able to add an extra day as a hotel only addition BEFORE our package started, but there was no guarantee that we’d be in the same room at Pop.

From all this, I also learned the benefit of complaining politely at Disney. I sent them an email saying how we were frustrated that the announcement of Galaxy’s Edge’s opening occurred less than 6 months out because all of a sudden our plan, and therefore our ADRs, didn’t make sense. I quickly got a phone call from a guest relations representative, who offered us an extra fast pass on our new Hollywood studios day and offered to make sure our hotel stay would be continuous (meaning we wouldn’t have to change rooms from our hotel only stay to our package stay). These things both ended up being quite helpful during our vacation.


Ok, now, arrival day!

Our plan had been to take a Lyft from our home to the airport. However, a half-marathon was happening in our city that morning, so we had to schlep all our luggage about four blocks before a Lyft could get to us. No biggie, we were at the airport and through security with plenty of time. Our kiddos made friends at the gate, all of them excitedly talking about their upcoming vacations. The flight was totally uneventful (just as flights should be) and we were quickly at MCO, landing almost 30 minutes early.

Getting on the magical express was a breeze and with little wait we were on our way to Pop. I was so excited (and a little nervous) that all these months of planning were about to be put into use. I hadn’t used online check in because I wanted to talk to an actual human about our two reservations, so when we got to Pop (first stop :-)), we needed to go to the lobby to check in.

We did have to wait about 20 minutes, but we were still way ahead of schedule. There was a lovely woman chatting with those of us in line who helped pass the time and she gave the kids “first visit” buttons when they told her it was their first time in Disney. The person who checked us in confirmed we could stay in our room all week (yay!!) so we headed to our room to change and go for a swim. We also got the “service your way” set up, and got a nice gift card rather than mousekeeping.

Our rooms were excellent (5142 and 5143), close to everything but not right at the pool, so they were convenient and quiet. We swam for a bit in the Hippy Dippy pool. DS8 enjoyed playing games with the cast members; DD8 was a bit shy and hung out with DH and me. After a swim, we decided we wanted to explore. When we got back to our rooms, our luggage still hadn’t arrived. I called the front desk and they said our luggage was at Pop and would be out with the next round. We decided to just put back on our original clothes and head out without a real plan.

The first bus to arrive was to Magic Kingdom, so we hopped on. We weren’t going to use tickets or anything, but it was fun just to see the sights. The kids were besides themselves with excitement. We took some pictures outside the taps at MK and then hopped on the monorail to the TTC. From there we took the monorail to Epcot, getting to see the dome and some of the rides. We took a few more photos and then took the bus back to Pop, as it was getting to be dinner time.

At Pop we got a large pizza meal for dinner which was pretty terrible, to be honest. There was way too much cheese and it wasn’t really cooked through. But we were hungry, so we ate it. That said, it was the only subpar food we ate all trip. At this point we were completely exhausted, so we went back to the room. We knew we were getting up early the next morning, so we all went to sleep. I had all this nervous excitement to see if all my reading and planning would actually work.

Next stop: rope dropping Slinky and a long, wet, afternoon in Magic Kingdom where the skills you all taught me come in very very handy!


great synopsis so far! My DD is 8 also - so looking forward to seeing how your kids faired :slight_smile: We go in 2 weeks!

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Touring Day 1: Hollywood studios rope drop to Happily Ever After dessert party

We all naturally woke up around 6:45AM ready to get started. We had packed the backpack and cereal bags for the kiddos the night before, so we were at the bus stop by 7AM and at Hollywood studios very soon after. We were let into the taps about five minutes after we arrived and were the second family back from the rope. The plan had been to send someone to Trolley Car cafe for coffees and pastries, but the hotel coffee and pre-packed cereal was keeping us happy, so we stuck together at the rope (that put us ahead FIVE snack credits already!). We were lucky to be standing near a really sweet and experienced family who chatted with us during the hour long wait. They helped reassure me that our plans were sound and they helped us as we finally walked back to Slinky around 8:45.

I knew DS8 would love Slinky (and he did) but I was a little worried about DD8. She held my hand soooo tightly at we rode, but when we got off she said she LOVED it. Yay! That made me feel good that she would also enjoy BTMRR and 7DMT, so I didn’t think we needed to revise those FPPs (phew!). She said, “can we do it again now?” and I just laughed. We had waited less than five minutes, but the line was now listed as 90 minutes. So we went kept to the plan and went to TSM. We all loved this ride so much. We didn’t know it at the time, but the ride skipped the part when you get to shatter the plates. When we got off, a nice British family who was with us told the CM that the ride skipped that part, so both of our families immediately got to do it again. Big smiles all around, and a second lesson in how quickly Disney will try to make things right.

As we exited TSM we watched the green army parade and then took some quick family photos near Slinky and then made our way to Star Tours. This ride made me a little queasy, but everyone else loved it. By the time we got out the heat was in full force. The kids watched the Jedi trials show while DH wet our chilly towels, which definitely helped with the heat. We had decided against signing the kids up for being in the show because of timing and concerns with the heat and both kids commented on how they wouldn’t have wanted to be in the show. Another whew!

At this point it was about 10 am and we realized we were hungry, so we stopped at Oasis Canteen. DH and I split the funnel cake/ice cream/strawberry sauce thing which was delicious (and ridiculous) and the kids ate ice cream. It’s vacation, right?

Then we went to the Muppets show with about a five minute wait to get in the room for the pre-show. We all thought it was hilarious and the AC felt wonderful.

Next, we went to RnRC. The plan was for anyone who wanted to ride to use the extra FP we had been given. DD8 was a definite no, DH was a definite yes. Our kids are very mature and we felt fine leaving them together alone on a bench, but we wouldn’t have left just one. When DS8 decided he didn’t want to do it, we put them together in the shade with water and DH and I rode together. That ride was AWESOME. I totally loved it. DH wanted to follow it up with ToT but the line was very very long and the kids looked pooped. Plus, everyone was hungry again.

We then had to decide if we had the energy to eat in HS or if we should go back to the hotel to eat lunch. Given how crummy the pizza had been the night before, we chose to stay at HS. We used mobile order to get three platters at ABC commissary (with an alcoholic drink each for DH and I, and a chocolate milk for the kids to share). The place was a complete zoo, but our food came quickly and DH and DD got a table while DS and I got the food.

Then we went back to the room. The bus came very quickly and the kids were almost asleep before we took off their shoes in the room. They slept for about an hour while DH and I showered and rested. DS8 woke up ready to go, but DD8 was pretty tough to rouse. She was still really sleepy on the bus to MK, but I didn’t want to miss our 3:30 FP for BTMRR, so I let her snooze on me on the bus and hoped for the best.


We got to MK by around 3:15 and headed right back to BTMRR. As we walked there, our sleepy DD8 saw the Splash Mountain drop and said there was NO WAY she was going to go on it. Oops. I told her we didn’t need to decide right now, and we went on to BTMRR first.

Both kids really enjoyed the ride, but DS8’s hat went flying, right into the water. A woman sitting behind us tried to grab it as it went flying by, but couldn’t quite get it. Oh well. I was glad that DD8 enjoyed the ride, as we had another FP for it our next MK day. She still seemed sort of sleepy and out of sorts though and was very insistent that she didn’t want to do Splash, which was our next FP. So, DH and DS8 did Splash while DD8 and I sat near the playground. I think it helped DD8 a lot to have some calmer time just sitting with me. When DH and DS got back, DD said she would be happy if DS used her fast pass, so DS and I rode together. So much fun. And I think good for each kid to have some one-on-one time with each parent.

Then we did the Pirate’s adventure scavenger hunt, which was awesome! I get that the scavenger hunt takes just as long as the wait for PoC, but the hunt itself was really fun for us, and helped us get to know Adventureland. At one point, we saw Captain Jack Sparrow and I said, “hey look, it’s Jack Sparrow”. Well, both the captain and his CM handler did not like that I forgot his title! They chewed me out in the cutest way possible. We got our FP for doing the scavenger hunt and as we made our way over to PoC the skies opened up.

Our next preplanned FP was for 7DMT at 5:20. While we were in line for PoC, 7DMT closed because of the weather and converted to an anytime. So, as I was taught here, I immediately started looking for new FPs and was able to grab one for Buzz. We totally enjoyed PoC and then got SOAKED walking all the way to Tomorrowland. Those puddles are intense! Buzz was lots of fun though and the kids wanted to be together, so DH and I got a little “alone” time. While in line for Buzz I grabbed a FP for WtP.

Only DD8 really like WtP (she was the only one who had really wanted to do it in the first place). While on the ride, I got a FP for Space. Score! But then Space closed too :frowning:

At this point though, we were really wet and tired, so we made our way to Tomorrowland Terrace for the HEA dessert party. Only then did we realize we had skipped dinner! There was so much rain and we were so busy, we sort of didn’t realize we were hungry. We ate a lot at the party: fruit and cheese, egg rolls, ice cream, little cakes, marshmallows. And we were so wet the hot cocoa was amazing too. Around 8:45, we made our way to the viewing location. I’m not sure if it was the rain or what, but the viewing location was EMPTY. We made our way to the back railing, as had been advised here :wink:. It was still drizzling, so I decided to see if I could score another fast pass that might convert for the next day. Barnstormer was down and had FPs galore, so I think I got two or three more, grabbing new ones as the old ones converted. Around 9:10, an announcement was made that the fireworks were going to be delayed because of rain. I asked a CM how long the delay could last and all she could tell me was that the fireworks would go on eventually, but it could be HOURS. Yikes. We gave ourselves a hard cut off of 9:45, after which we said it wouldn’t be worth it. Well, I think the fireworks ended up starting at 9:35. They were AMAZING. I’m not embarrassed to say I cried. The kids really enjoyed them too and I think DH did as well. And, thanks to the rain I think, there were really no lines for the busses so we were back in our hotel room by 10:30.

In the end, I had three anytime FPs for anything except 7DMT and our 7DMT FP in our MDE at the end of the night. I needed to stop by the main building to pick up our refillable mugs anyway, so I decided to stop by the front desk to see if they’d be willing to help us with the 7DMT FP, since the ride never re-opened after it went down. After very little wait, I spoke with a CM and explained that I was hoping to use that FP on 8/29, our next MK day. He said, of course, no problem! Amazing. By the time I got back to the room the kids were asleep. I spent a little time figuring out how to change the next day’s plan now that we had three extra FPs and then I went to sleep myself.

It was a phenomenal first day. We learned that DD8 likes roller coasters but can easily psyche herself out and that’s ok! We learned that we could get so into the rides and experiences, that we’d forget to eat. And I confirmed that I had retained real information from the forum that would help us. One last lesson from the day was that I was good with the map (I had studied them, as suggested) but that I could get my head stuck in my phone and stop looking around. We tried to apply these lessons the next day in Animal Kingdom!


Touring Day 2: Rope drop at Animal Kingdom to Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios

We woke up refreshed the next morning, ready for another day of touring. DH went to the cafeteria and got coffee and pastries while I helped the kids get ready. We were at the bus stop by 8 and at AK by 8:30 for a 9 am opening.

When we arrived, we were able to go straight through the taps. We saw people heading to FoP, but since we were rope dropping Navi, we took our time, taking pictures by the tree of life and just looking around. We were the only ones in line for Navi and rode without any wait. DD loved it, I thought it was cool, and the boys tolerated it. DD wanted to ride again, and given that we were waaay ahead of schedule and the wait time was still “0” we said fine. It was still before official park opening at this point, so we then wandered around Pandora a bit. We found our first Wilderness Explorers spot and the kids were totally into it.

Our FP was for KS at 9:30, so we started making our way to Africa, doing all the Wilderness Explorers stops we saw on the way. We all loved KS. The kids each had an old cell phone to take pictures with, so they went nuts. We saw rhinos, elephants, lions, giraffes, antelope, and a panther. Totally amazing.

We then slowly made our way to Asia, again stopping at the Wilderness Explorers stops. DH and I did EE with the first of our extra FPs, leaving the kids together watching the big drop. It was totally fun. What’s with all the dropped hair bands at the top though? At that point, the kids were hot and we were all hungry, so we headed over to our ADR at Yak and Yeti for lunch. I was hoping to take advantage of the 11:01 drop to move up our FoP FP, so I signed into MDE while we waited for Yak and Yeti to open. Refresh, refresh, refresh, nothing. Oh well.

By then Yak and Yeti was open, so we went in for lunch. The theming in this place is adorable. DH and I split the surf and turf and the lobster noodles. Both were tasty but it was so so so much food. We couldn’t even finish the main course, let alone eat dessert. We were doing ok on time, but then it took FOREVER to pay. Plus we asked for the desserts to be packed up so we could take them to go. That took forever too. We should have heeded the good advice we got here to pay as soon as you can.

We were a little behind my schedule by the time we went headed to KRR for our next FP. My biggest concern was that I wanted to be off the ride by the 1:01 drop so I could try again to move up the FoP FP. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Even with FP, the line for KRR took a long time. We were moving through the queue, it was just a really long queue. And then such a short ride! Not really worth it, in our opinion.

I got my phone out of the locker at 1:03 and there wasn’t anything for FoP at that point. The kids wanted ice cream, so we stopped and got some Mickey bars. We sat in the shade by the water, which was so lovely. After we were done eating, we headed to FOTLK. We used another of our extra FPs because we were worried with the massive crowds outside the theater, but we had no need to be worried. There was tons of space inside. Oh well. We all really enjoyed the show. We were warthogs which the kids REALLY got into.

When we got out of the show, it had just started drizzling. We made our way to FoP, hoping to get inside before the skies opened up again. There was a large group blocking the taps, who did not understand how fast pass worked. After much discussion they moved out of the way and we could tap in. As soon as we tapped in, I checked for extra FPs for HS that evening, and was psyched to get one for TSM for between dinner and Fantasmic. Score! And we got inside before the rain started in earnest. Double score! However, the ride itself did not go as well for us. DD8 gets carsick, but since she hadn’t had any trouble on Star Tours or the roller coasters we thought she would be find with FoP. Well, about one minute after the ride itself started, she looked at me and said “I’m going to puke”. She held it together, but just barely. We both took off our glasses and kept our eyes on each other until the ride was done. DH and DS LOVED it though. I’m not sure if I liked it or not, since I was mostly just worried about DD.

At this point, DD wanted to go back to the hotel and rest. Thankfully, the rain had stopped while were on the ride, so we got back pretty quickly, but then no one could actually fall asleep. I don’t know if they were too worked up or what, but it wasn’t anywhere near as restful a break as the day before.

We had a 5:25 dinner reservation, so I had wanted to be at the bus a bit before 5, but we ended up not making it there until a little after 5. We got to HS at 5:20 and rushed to Mama Melrose. I think we checked in at 5:30 and they didn’t even mention we were late. Phew! The place was a total zoo though. There was nowhere to even stand while waiting, so we went to the shop across the way. We got the text that our table was ready a few minutes later and were seated by 5:45.

DH had the second steak of his day and said it was delicious. I had the salmon which was fine. DS had the kids’ pizza, which he inhaled. The waitress nicely brought him a second pizza and didn’t even charge us. It was obvious the kids were fried though. They each needed to go the bathroom multiple times during the meal, and needed me to come with them. And, again, it took forever for the dessert and paying part of the meal. The place was completely mobbed and our waitress was apologetic about the wait. She said that if we were late to our FP to show them our receipt and they would let us in, which was nice. It did seem like the park restaurants could use with a bit more staffing.

We made it to TSM just as the FP window was about to expire. It was a blast again. At this point, we needed to head over to Fantasmic to get our seats. We also recognized just how HOT it was, despite being evening and post-rain. The rain had done nothing to cool the weather and everything felt hot and humid, which was not helping our mood. And the fact that we had been rushing around since our break was wearing on everyone. We got seats up front hoping to get wet during Fantasmic. It was a long, hot wait for the show though. In the end, we all liked Fantasmic, but nowhere near as much as HEA the night before. DH did a great job navigating us out quickly, and we were on the first bus back to Pop.

The kids went right to bed, and we followed quickly. The next day was a bit of a break day, with a planned sleep-in, some time at Blizzard Beach and dinner at Sanaa. We needed the rest for sure!


I’m loving your report so far! We are going next month with our seven-year-old twins (one of whom has a food allergy) so I’m learning and living vicariously through you. Thanks for all the details!

My pleasure! I’m so glad to hear all my ramblings are useful to someone. If you have questions, I’m no expert, but I’m more than happy to answer based on our experiences.

Also, aren’t twins great???

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Thank you! I will let you know! :grinning:

And yes, they are the best!

These trip reports are so helpful! Thank you for taking the time to write it out. I just booked our family of 5’s first trip for next May and we also have twins…though much younger as they’ll be a couple of months shy of 2 when we’re there with their big sister who will be almost 5.


Great trip report. Sounds like you did a great job planning and adapting to all the challenges along the way. Kids are always the wildcards, though.

That would lower profit margins for Disney!! Crazy talk

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Ha! Fair enough. We genuinely felt bad for our server at Mama Melrose though. She seemed so desperate to give us a magical experience but so very overworked.

Lesson learned to ask for the check when the food arrives though!

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I’m really enjoying hearing about your family’s adventures in Walt Disney World. You must be a good writer because I am so tired just reading about it all. Thank you so much for the great idea of using the drawers in the hotel room as a hamper.

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Day 3: Blizzard Beach and Sanaa for dinner

The next day we all slept to 8 am, which is VERY late for our family. We must have been really pooped. We went to Everything Pop for a real breakfast. The place was a complete zoo, so we got a table outside.

Our son has food allergies, so we asked at the first counter we went to if anyone could help us. A chef came out immediately and said he would get DS whatever he wanted. DS said, “waffles?”. The chef asked “a kid sized portion or grown up size?”. DS looked at me and said, “I don’t know, but I’m starving!” Then the chef asked “bacon or sausage?”. DS, so cutely said, “I don’t like either, but my sister likes both.” So, DS got a grown up sized mickey waffle breakfast with two meat sides, all for a QS credit. And they were speedy, kind, and discreet about the whole thing (DS hates feeling different for his food allergies, so the discreet part was really really nice for him).

We got two pancake bounty platters for DH, DD, and I to share and it was more than enough food. We used our mugs for coffees and waters, got a chocolate milk for the kids to share and DH and I had a bloody mary and a mudslide. Yay vacation!

Then we went back to the room and got ready for Blizzard Beach. We brought towels from the pool, sunscreen and as little else as we could. The wait for the bus was the longest we had all trip. I think it was about 40 minutes in the end, which was definitely a bummer. Probably should have just taken Lyft. Oh well.

The more annoying thing was that by the time we got to BB (about 10:15, so just after they opened) lightning had been spotted in the area, so we couldn’t do anything but walk around. We plunked our stuff near the “green slope” and walked around a bit. Finally, around 11am they gave the all clear and we started doing water slides. DH started with summit plummet, which he enjoyed, but he got a nasty bruise on his butt. DD, DS and I did teamboat springs, which we all enjoyed. Then DS and I did a bigger drop slide (slush gusher I think) while DD and DH did teamboat springs again. Then we all did teamboat springs a bunch of times as a family. With teamboat springs, they put you together with other families so that there are six people in each raft, so it was fun to meet people for just a minute or two. And that ride was the right pace for our family; fun without being scary.

Then we took the lazy river over to the Lottawatta Lodge for lunch. The kids got pizza and milkshakes, the grownups got beyond burger sandwiches and grown up beverages. All the food was really really good. Goofy came out in his bathing suit and the kids got a cute picture with him. At this point, we had had a lot of sun, so it was time to go back to Pop and rest.

The bus came quickly on the way back and had a nice few hours of showers and relaxation. Then we took a Lyft to AKL for our dinner at Sanaa. The cab’s license plate was our son’s name! Crazy.

We got to AKL about 30 minutes early (on purpose) so we could walk around AKL. That place is AMAZING. That said, given how little awake time we were spending at our resort, I don’t think the extra money to stay there would have been worth it to us. But we were very happy to visit!

Dinner at Sanaa was really fantastic. We got a window seat after a five minute wait, which we all enjoyed. Our waitress was fantastic. The only sort of bummer was that there we no desserts that worked for DS (unless you count fruit, which DS does not :roll_eyes:) So we asked if they could bring him out more chocolate milk while DD got her pudding. Well, they brought it out with a glow cube in it! DS thought it was AWESOME and kept the glow cube as a souvenir. After dinner we went outside to one of the lookout points and admired the animals.

Then it was time for a Lyft back to Pop and an early night. We were rope dropping MK with the crazy early extra magic hours the next day and praying everyone else would head to Galaxy’s Edge’s opening.



This was us too and we were there the same night! I was sad not to get wet. I’m really enjoying your report. My kids also chose not to do the Jedi training because of heat concerns – I’d kept the option open but am glad I didn’t plan around it!

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Day 4: Magic Kingdom plus on Galaxy’s Edge’s opening day

First, remember a few days ago when I asked the CM if they could move our 7DMT FP to 8/29? Well, turns out they moved THREE anytime including 7DMT FPs rather than just the one. I chose not to alert them of the error ;-). Our plan was to ride 7DMT twice and use the other FP for the boys to do Splash again and for DD and I to meet Tiana (DD’s favorite princess). We ended up changing that on the fly though. Plus, this was the first 7 am EEMH day at MK, so we knew we’d have a lot of time! I was so excited for the day.

The grownups woke up naturally at 5:45 with no alarm. We woke the kids at 6. They were really drowsy, but the got up eventually. We were at the bus stop by 6:25 AM and at MK by 6:45 AM. They had a ton of people working the bag check and the taps, so we were at the actual gate by 6:55 and EEMH began! I don’t know if this is normal practice, but they routed everyone off towards the right of the castle and we entered Fantasy land near the Cheshire Cat place.

As soon as we entered, DD8 mentioned that she forgot to use the bathroom when she woke up and that she really needed to go now. Ha! So, we ended up rope dropping the bathroom. Whoops! DH got an ice coffee from the Cheshire Cat while I took the kids to pee.

We officially started EEMH with Peter Pan’s flight. DD took some pictures walking through the beautiful queue and then we walked right on the ride. We all enjoyed the ride, but DD LOVED it. TP had said rope dropping PPF would take us until about 7:20, but we were way ahead, maybe 7:07 or so. So, we met Tiana and Rapunzel next without a wait even though that wasn’t the plan. They were great with the kids and the pictures of DD looking up at Tiana are precious.

Next on the plan was Tomorrowland Speedway, but as we walked past 7DMT we saw a 15 minute wait listed. It was just barely 7:20 AM now, and I thought we could still fit in Tomorrowland Speedway and Space Mountain (the two other rides I had in our plan for the EEMH) so I said, let’s do it now! We all really enjoyed 7DMT. It wasn’t scary or intense or anything, it was just plain fun for all of us.The queue was really beautiful too and we were glad to get to see it, since the rest of our 7DMT rides would be through the fast pass lane. The four of us got to ride as the front four, so our photos from the ride are really nice too.

Then we got back on plan, going to Tomorrowland Speedway. DD was a TERRIBLE driver, on purpose I think, but both kids had fun (DH said DS wasn’t too bad). It was slow boarding and no shade in the queue, so no way I would do this ride with a wait or later in the day with the sun.

Then it was time for Space Mountain. DD was nervous, but wanted to give it a try. DS was so excited (this was the ride he was most looking forward to). Afterwards, DD said she liked it, but didn’t want to do it again. Ok, fair enough!

The EEMH was now done (and for those keeping track, TP said we would be able to do PPF, Tomorrowland Speedway and Space, and we added in M&G with Tiana and Rapunzel, 7DMT, and a bathroom break). Our next FP was for Space at 8:35, so we had a bit of time before, so back to Fantasyland to knock out some rides.

DS wanted to do teacups, so he went there and DH went back to Cheshire cat for more ice coffee and some pastries. DS did teacups 3 times, staying on, with Alice joining him on the ride for one go round. Super cute.

Then DD, DS and I did Dumbo as a walk-on. I get that it’s a classic and all, but I think only DD really enjoyed the ride. Smart that they have a photo op elephant though, so you can take pictures of your kiddos on the elephant without slowing up the ride. DS rode alone and darted in front of a mom and her really little kid, almost “stealing” the elephant the kid wanted. I pointed out to DS what he was doing and he was super apologetic. I think kids are just so oblivious sometimes! He said he hadn’t even noticed them, he was just running to the first free elephant. :woman_facepalming:

Anyway, then DD, DS and I did barnstormer twice, staying on the ride. DS rode in the back by himself and DD and I rode in the front. Cute ride, but not worth any wait, that’s for sure. It was so short! By now, it was time for our Space FP, so we headed back to Tomorrowland.

DD said she was happy to give DS her fast pass like we had done at Splash, rather than go through the whole rigamarole of rider swap. So, DH and DS went off to ride Space and DD and I sat in the shade to catch our breath. Two seconds later, DH and DS come back and say, the standby wait is only 5 minutes, should they still use the FP? So I say, ride one without the FP and then again with it, and DD and I will do Peoplemover and then we’ll meet up again. DS and DH had a blast, and DD and I really enjoyed Peoplemover. We said hello to DS and DH when the peoplemover went through Space, but DS and DH said they definitely didn’t hear us. Then DS and I did Space and DD and DH did Buzz standby with no wait. I really enjoyed Space the second time, since I didn’t have to worry about DD. And the CM loading us said “back again?” to DS. He got a kick out of that! DS and I hightailed it over to Buzz and rode standby while DD and DH waited for us in the gift shop.

By then it was time for our pre-planned 7DMT FP, so we all headed over and rode together. Then, we realized we had been out so long, it was already time to re-apply sunscreen. So we stood aside, got everyone sunscreened, and then back on 7DMT with the first of our anytime FPs. SO MUCH FUN! We were all singing Hi Ho along with the dwarves.

Then we decided to split up again. DH and DS would do Splash with an anytime FP while DD and I would meet Cinderella and then do the Carrousel (the ride that DD was most excited for). Cinderella was LOVELY with DD. And Elena was really cute too. DD and I did the carrousel, only having to wait for the current ride to finish. It made me super dizzy, but DD wanted to ride again. So she did it alone and was really proud of herself.

At this point, it was time to meet up with DH and DS at BTMRR for our final preplanned FP of the day. As soon as we tapped in, I got a FP for Jungle Cruise. Jungle Cruise had been on our “maybe” list, but we decided to give it a try. I was able to modify the FP so the window opened immediately. Yay for the modify trick! We all enjoyed BTMRR, but we were hungry by the time we got off the ride. We grabbed some popcorn and mickey pretzels and munched in the shade. I live in Philly, so I know from soft pretzels, but there was something about the Mickey ones that I thought was really really good. I was hoping to get another on my trip, but it wasn’t meant to be :cry:

Then, off to Jungle Cruise. We LOVED this ride. Definitely most surprising loved ride of our trip, and probably our family’s favorite non-roller coaster. Brittany, our guide, was HILARIOUS. Honestly, I think our kids were laughing the entire ride straight. And DD was trying to take pictures, but laughing too hard, so we have all these off-kilter photos where the item of interest is at the edge. Hah!

As soon as we had tapped in for Jungle Cruise, I was able to get us a FP for Haunted Mansion. The window opened around 11:45 AM and the goal was to tap in before the 12:01 HS same day drop. We felt like we were almost done with all we wanted to do in MK. DD and DS had really wanted another ride on Slinky. Plus, we were hearing from everyone that the morning crowds had dissipated in Batuu, so we were considering walking through. Plus plus, DH really wanted to ride ToT and hadn’t gotten to yet. All this to say, we tapped in to Haunted Mansion at 11:55 and were in the stretching room during the 12:01 drop. I am proud to say I had the wherewithal to get us over to the parasol girl and still refresh our way into a Slinky FP! Yay!! It was for 7:45 pm, but with some quicky modifying I got it to 2:45 PM before we were on the ride at Haunted Mansion.

The ride in Haunted Mansion itself was fine. Honestly, I don’t get what all the fuss is about. But I was glad to cross it off our list. The plan had been to do IASW standby next, but we were all hot, tired, and sick of being outside. So we headed to Mickey’s Philharmagic for some air conditioning. We all really enjoyed the show and then we headed to Be Our Guest for our lunch ADR early.

Pre-ordering here is the ONLY way to go. The line for those who hadn’t was insanely long and we had one family in front of us. We walked around and looked at every room there. We had heard the West Wing was the “coolest” room to eat in, but it was full and looked chaotic, so we ended up at a table in the other side room. the library? I’m not sure what it’s called. It was much calmer though, which we needed at this point. With DS’s food allergies and general choosiness, he just had french fries. DD sort of liked her meal, but liked my tuna nicoise salad more, so she ate that. DH thought his chicken was fine. I think one eats here for the ambiance and for someone else bringing you your food, rather than for true food excellence.

The plan had been to stay for the parade after BoG lunch, but we thought maybe to head to HS immediately instead. And, then the rain started around 1:50 with a 2pm parade, and we definitely didn’t want to just hang around in the rain, so that sealed the deal. We hopped on a bus to HS and arrived in no time.

If we were being honest with ourselves, the better plan would have been to just go back to the hotel for a break. BoG had refreshed us somewhat, but we had been touring for seven hours straight at this point and were honestly exhausted and overheated. However, we couldn’t resist the call of a Slinky FP and photos in Batuu, so we soldiered on.


I am so impressed your kiddos rode Space (even DD just once)! I don’t have it in our plans… mine like roller coasters, but not ones a) in the dark or b) that go upside down/seem to go upside down. I’m hoping I can jump in the stand by lane or grab a FP for one at some point.

Loving all the rides you did in MK! This gives me hope - we have a EEMH MK day on our trip as well. Love all the tips and that you nabbed a Slinky drop too!

By the time we arrived in Batuu it was HOT. Like surface of the sun HOT. We hadn’t been out touring at this time on previous days and we were seeing why. 2-5 PM is better spent in a pool or an air conditioned hotel room. We were all feeling a little cranky, but DS was the worst. We didn’t know it at the time, but DS was starting to come down with a cold also. We got a few pictures in front of a TIE fighter and the Millenium Falcon, but then left Batuu. The line for smuggler’s run was about two hours and there was no way we were doing that!

We exited Batuu into Toy Story Land and headed to Slinky. It was fun and all but we were just so so hot. As soon as we tapped in to Slinky, I looked for a ToT FP for DH and was able to get one with a window that started immediately. The kids said they wanted to do TSM at the same time, and it was easy to get a FP there. So the plan was that DH would do ToT while DD, DS and I would do TSM and then we’d meet to leave HS together and go back to the hotel for a break before dinner. DD and DS rode TSM in a car together, so I got to ride alone. Woohoo, finally some “me time”! I texted DH to say we were done and he texted back to say he was about to get on ToT. Great.

DD and DS asked if they could have some ice cream before we left. Sure, of course. We got some by Echo Lake at the place that’s inside a dinosaur. The ice cream was melting fast as they ate, so we found a bench in the shade so they could eat it without also having to worry about walking into someone. I texted DH to tell him where we were, but didn’t hear back. Weird, I thought, he can’t still be on the ride. Oh well. I sat with the kids and we ate and waited a bit. Then I got a call on my phone from a Buena Vista number. I got really nervous that DH was hurt and that’s why he wasn’t texting back.

Turns out, DH was fine, but his cell phone was NOT. When they told him to secure his belongings on ToT, he put his phone in his pocket. I had the bag, so he didn’t have anything else to secure and he thought a deep pocket would be sufficient. Well, at some point during the ride, the phone must have come out of his pocket and landed OUTSIDE the cage. So, he no longer had a phone. Guest relations let him call me, so we were able to meet up, but obviously, DH was worked up over his phone. They would need to stop the ride to check for it, and wouldn’t do that during the day. So they said we should fill out a lost item claim and they’d be in touch. I filled out the claim on line while the kids finished their ice cream. Then we headed to the bus to go back to Pop before dinner. As we got to the stop, DH felt like he should have done more to try to get his phone back. But, he said I am the more convincing one, so he asked me to try talking with Guest relations again. DH took the kids back to the hotel.

I spoke with a very nice person, who called over to ToT. They confirmed that a phone was visible at the very bottom of the ride, but that’s all they would do. I did mention how if I called the phone, it rang so I thought that was hopeful that the thing might still work. They said all they could say was that the phone looked to be in one piece and that they’d be in touch the next morning. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Then I took the bus back to Pop and met up with the family.

The grown ups showered while the kids rested. After my shower, I called Guest Relations again about DH’s phone and then put in a “claim” as was suggested by the CM I spoke with. The upshot was that someone would get back to us and possibly help us with getting a new phone. They did warn it would take a few days (this was Thursday before Labor Day weekend with Dorian looming), but still, it was better than nothing. We had brought our Chromebook with us on vacation so I could tweak touring plans at night. Using the chromebook, DH was able to track his phone and see that it was still at ToT. We thought we could look again in the morning to see if the phone had moved.

Then we took the bus to MK for dinner at the Contemporary at the Wave. We couldn’t figure out how to get to the path to walk to the Contemporary and ended up crossing a street (we live in the city, so we thought nothing of this). A CM yelled at us for crossing and then got all apologetic for yelling. It was pretty funny all things considered! We got to the path, and to the Contemporary with plenty of time.

The Wave was really good, probably my favorite meal food-wise, although the theming is just not there. It struck me as a really nice hotel restaurant that could be a hotel anywhere. They made DH a stiff drink though! DH and I both really enjoyed the scallops and the kids really enjoyed the make your own ice cream sundaes. The plan had been to consider heading back to MK to see HEA again, but there was just no way. We went back to Pop after dinner and collapsed.

Lessons learned today included that you can do too much! Taking a break from 2ish to 5ish is really good advice, especially when it’s so hot out. While it’s hard to say I regret seeing Batuu or riding Slinky again, I do think we pushed too hard on this day. Looking back, I think I would have preferred seeing HEA again, rather than the extra Slinky ride. And it’s hard to enjoy things when you’re overtired. It’s a tricky balance obviously, but when DS was cranky in Batuu, that should have tipped me off that we were doing too much. It also made me glad that we had included a real break so many other days and reinforced for me that doing less can mean enjoying more. I took advantage of these lessons the next day, our final theme park day, at Epcot.