Lyons Family Trip Report 6/22-7/1

Love your trip report! Your daughters are so adorable! And those dresses!!! I thought I spent a lot of time planning my Disney vacation, but you have taken it to a whole other level!


It’s funny hearing that the CMs were impressed you bought DD3 a ticket. My daughter was one month shy of three when we went, but she was in the 99th percentile, so she was wearing size 5 clothes and tall enough to go on rides like Soarin’. I definitely received a few looks from CMs but none of them ever challenged it…I kind of wished I had proof of her age with me because I’m the type of person who would never do that!

There was actually an older couple on the bus one time that we talked to, and after telling them her age, they said, “Oh, so you’re saying that for the free admission, huh? No, it’s okay, we understand, it’s expensive…” My husband had to give me the “don’t argue this into the ground, it isn’t worth it” look. He told them calmly that her birthday was x date and she was in the top percentile, but they obviously didn’t believe us. That kind of thing must happen a lot.


the pic of DD5 kissing DD3…PRICELESS


@paulasc, It seemed like it was some kind of technical difficulty and to get it going again they would have to restart it? I’m sorry that happened to you. I was ready to go over to guest services if necessary, but I was glad they already had a plan to make it right. :slight_smile:

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@sergeantbrother That’s how my older daughter is. She’s always been off the charts tall. Thankfully, we didn’t take her until she was three, so we never got any weird looks. I think CMs expect people to lie about their age? They certainly seemed hesitant when I told the Fairy Godmothers at BBB that DD3 was three. They kept asking her questions about how old she was, but she was too shy to answer. :woman_shrugging:

@alawson, I have no shame about it anymore. I freely tell people that my hobby is planning Disney trips and our outfits. :joy: I’m going to have a lot of free time on my hands when our APs expire in September. :frowning:

June 23 (Part 2) -Hollywood Studios with EMM Toy Story Land, Hollywood and Vine, and Sci-Fi

After hanging with the Incredibles, we headed back to the Disney Jr. Dance Party to use our paper FP.
The girls enjoyed it even more than the first time, and the girl DJ was different while the male lead was the same CM. So who knows if there was a technical difficulty or a CM issue? If you have littles, give this one a go. I don’t ever see anyone talk about the Dis. Jr. Dance Party, but my Vamparina/Mickey and the Roadster Racer loving girls danced their hearts out.

Afterwards, we headed back over to TSL to use our anytime FP and the FP I had booked for TSL. I had tossed our plans for Beauty and the Beast and to track down Character Palooza because my family LOVES TSMM. Our time was better spent here and it was fun me to keep grabbing FPs for it. We rode twice and then I grabbed another FP for after dinner.

We did a little shopping and then headed over to Lightening McQueen’s Racing Academy. It was cute, but I don’t think it’s something we would go out of our way to see again. My favorite part of the whole show was when the little boy in front of us jumped up for joy when Lightening McQueen won the race.

We had reservations for Sci-Fi and they were running about half an hour behind. The last time I had been to Sci-Fi was when I was a teenager traveling with my parents and I remember it being so cool. We were seated in our car about 7:00, and I was getting concerned because we had tickets for “reserved” seating at Fantasmic from our lunch reservation at Hollywood and Vine (Can someone tell me why everyone doesn’t do these dining packages? For us the “extra FP” is worth the cost, and when we used the dining plan it adds to the “value”) The server had told us that we needed to be there before 8:30 because they would start letting stand by in. I don’t know if that’s true, but I didn’t want to find out the hard way.

We had the Deluxe Dining Plan, so DH both ordered different versions of the chicken tenders as appetizers. They were probably the best part of the whole meal. The kids appetizers seems to be lacking across the board at WDW restaurants. It’s generally grapes, cheese, or a garden salad. We found that after a while the girls grew tired of it.

I don’t think Sci-Fi is one that we will do again anytime soon. DD5 was a little creeped out by the small portion of the show that was actually old Sci-Fi movies and it was SO dark that it was really hard to help the kids with their food. The burger I ordered was nothing special, but my chocolate milkshake was good.

Around 8:00 our CM came back and wanted to take dessert orders. I’m the girl who’s always early for everything, so this timeline wasn’t working for me. I was getting antsy. I didn’t want to miss our Fantasmic window. DH and I opted out of dessert and the CM put the girls’ sundaes in to-go cups. When I had calculated all of our meals, we were ahead on the DxDDP without us ordering appetizers and desserts, so I didn’t really feel like we were missing anything by skipping dessert. Off we went! Our hopes of riding TSMM one more time were shot once Sci-Fi was running behind, so we let that FP expire.

We were tired, so it was good to sit down while we waited for Fantasmic to start. DD3 impressed us all by falling asleep not long after Fantasmic started and stayed asleep the entire time! The first time DD5 watched Fantasmic her mouth hung open in awe the entire time. It awed her again and she was on the edge of her seat. DD5 is not your average kid. Maleficent is her favorite Disney character and she LOVES all of the villains. Fantastmic is completely her jam!

When the show was done, we exited with the masses (Thankfully, the walk to the buses isn’t as bad as it was in September!) and headed towards our AKL bus. I had tried to grab a Minnie Van, but so was everyone else, so no luck. As we were entering the bus queue, a family with teens started hopping all of the ropes and got in front of us. We had been in the park since 7:30 AM and it was now probably 9:30 PM. We were tired and pushing a stroller loaded down with sleepy kids and our bags. I gave the line jumping family a really nasty look and when we caught up to them in the queue, they wanted us to go in front of them. :roll_eyes: We declined. Sorry if any of you are line jumpers, but I’m a teacher and generally a rule follower. I don’t know why some people decide to act differently at WDW.

The bus was packed. A very kind lady, saw me with my sleeping three-year old and offered me her seat. Somehow DD3, DD5, and I all crammed in a seat and a half. Generally, we love the buses, but we leave so early in the morning that we are generally the only ones of them. It’s not my favorite mode of transportation post night time show. Tell me, Liners, what do you do in HS to kill time after Fantasmic? Everything always seems to be closed.

It was a good day and a long day, and we were all glad that we were taking it slow the next day at Blizzard Beach.


What a wonderful trip report - and seriously - all those outfits that your beautiful daughters were wearing! (And those gladiator sandals on your DD5 - Awesome!) I know why you got all that pixie dust! Just loving this report - don’t want it to end!


I clearly need you guys to come with me next time I go!


What an excellent trip report!

Thank you for including that detail! My DS11 loves all villains “because they’re more interesting.” We’re going to Fantasmic partly because of the dining plan/essentially free extra fast pass factor but knowing he’ll be rewarded with interesting villains makes me even more sure it’s worth doing.

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He will love it, @Steenaca! The villains run rampant for a while!

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June 24 - Breakfast at Hollywood & Vine, Blizzard Beach with a Polar Patio, Jiko, and Exploring Animal Kingdom Lodge

We took things slow (at least for us :wink:) and didn’t have to be anywhere until our 8:30 AM reservation at Hollywood and Vine. Initially, I had planned on having breakfast at Boma, but my girls really love the Disney Jr. characters and wanted to meet Vamparina. We could have done it in the park, but it’s hard to beat the characters coming to you in the AC.

We took the car since we were going to Blizzard Beach after breakfast and bus transfers there always seem tricky. As we were walking to the entrance of HS, the gift shop just outside the tap-styles opened. DH noticed a Figaro stuffed animal hanging on the wall and wanted to check it out. DD3 has a little stuffed Figaro, “black cat” as she calls him, that she has been carrying around for about a year and a half. He is grimy and very, very loved. She likes to rub his tail on her nose when she’s tired and it’s started to fray. Because she loves him so much, we are always on the lookout for “black cat.”

As DD5 was browsing to see if there was anything she wanted, a CM walked up and we started talking. I was telling her how glad we were to find another “black cat” and how Figaro goes with us everywhere. DD5 was taking a long time, so DH went ahead to pay for our new “black cat.” I was standing with DD5, but I heard the CM say to him, “No, your good.” DH was so confused and she went on to tell him that she was gifting DD3 Figaro and that she wanted DD5 to select something as well. DH and I were floored. We have encountered a lot of pixie dust, but never something like that! DD5 decided she wanted a Figaro too. CM Laura, pulled the tags off and we were on our way with lots of thanks yous and big smiles. DD3 wasn’t sure what to do with herself now that she had two kitties!

The breakfast options at H&V are pretty standard, which is just what my crew likes. DD5 was on the edge of her seat to meet Vamparina. DD3 generally likes to look at the characters but not interact. Totally fine, we know one day she’ll probably warm up to it. The girls also loved meeting Fancy Nancy, Doc, and Roadster Racer Goofy. DD3 could watch the Mickey and the Roadster Racers for days, but Goofy made her nervous. Maybe because he is so tall?

When we were done with breakfast, we exited the park. It felt weird to be walking out as everyone else was walking in, but I had planned things well. We all needed a day away from the stimulation of the parks. Several CMs in plain clothes started talking to us as we were leaving (DH thought that must mean that they were in management?). They couldn’t believe we were leaving the parks already. We told them about our plans for Blizzard Beach and how CM Laura had absolutely made our day. I had sent a #castcompliment about Laura to WDWToday on Twitter while we were at breakfast, but it was also nice to tell someone in person how much the gesture meant. The CMs knew exactly who we were talking about, so I hope our extra thank yous got back to her.

When we got to Blizzard Beach, DH and DD5 went to meet Goofy while DD3 and I checked in at the gift shop for our Polar Patio. I’ve found that reviews of these are few and far between, so I’m more than happy to answer any questions about them. It’s a complete splurge, but for us it’s worth it. When you reserve the Polar Patio you get a reserved space with umbrella, chairs, lounges, a locker, a cooler filled with water bottles, refillable mugs for your party, loads and loads of towels, and a CM attendant who will take food orders for you. I had booked one for us in September and we loved it so much I wanted to do it again. After being crammed in like sardines at the parks, a dedicated space of your own is SO nice.

When we checked in, I asked for a patio near Tike’s Peak, the kid’s section, and I was told that if I wanted a specific patio, I needed to request that when I booked. That was news to me. I’m the girl who is all over everything at that 180 mark. In September they let us pick our patio on a first come first serve basis, but the summer is their busy time so they are preassigned. I’m passing that one along in case it’s helpful for anyone else.

We rode the family raft ride a couple times (I’m terrible with the names of the slides at Blizzard Beach. :grimacing: I don’t really plan these days outside of telling my kids that we need to do the bigger slides early in the day) and DD5 was itching to go to the kid’s area. There is an area targeted for kids under 48 inches and then another section for bigger kids, Ski Patrol Training, which DD5 loves. We hit the lazy river for a while and then split up. DH took the girls to Tike’s Peak and I went back to the Polar Patio to text in our food order.

I ordered a chicken tender platter, which took 4 QS meals, and a fruit and cheese platter, which took 4 snacks credits. The fruit and cheese platter is a screaming deal. I want to say it’s about $30-35 not using snack credits. Both times, it was more food than the four of us could eat. Since we were using the dining plan DH was also able to get a beer and the girls and I got a slushy.

The food was going to take about 20-30 minutes, so I went back to Tike’s Peak to find DH and the girls. After a bit, I got a text letting us know that our food was there. I tried to tip our CM when she brought the food, but she wouldn’t take it. I remember reading that they you sometimes have to offer several times, so I told DH we’d try again later.

Lunch hit the spot. As long there is chicken and strawberries my girls are happy. Sorry I don’t have any pictures. I do have pictures of the food and the patio from our last trip. The only picture I took this time was one of the fruit/cheese platter. It was so hot that day that the cheese cubes melted. :open_mouth::rofl:

After a while we decided to hit up some of the bigger slides without height restrictions. We did the toboggans a few times. I’m shocked that my DD3 is allowed on this by herself! And a couple slides in Run Off Rapids (?).

I wasn’t feeling too well. I think it was the heat? (Remember the cheese melted just from sitting outside in the sun!) And DD3 was tired, so we headed back to the Patio while DH and DD5 went on some more slides. One the way back a CM noticed my droopy DD and handed her a little rubber duck with a policeman’s outfit. She would fill the bathtub with these ducks if she could, so it made her afternoon.

DD3 and I changed out of our swimsuits and snuggled in a lounge chair while we waited on DH and DD5. They came back around 3:00 PM and we called it a day. If you do reserve a Polar Patio, be sure to ask for more water bottles at some point. We had a sack full of them that we took back with us to our hotel. And the CM did finally accept our tip!

DH and the kids picked some packages up from the gift shop at AKL (We love that we can send what we buy at the parks back to the hotel without lugging it around all day) while I went back to the room to take a shower. We had dinner reservations at Jiko and we wanted to have at least one meal where we didn’t show up a hot, sweaty mess from a day in the parks.

The Savannah view room did not disappoint us. Every day we seemed to see a new animal. Today was Tuesday and I was really looking forward to spending most of Thursday at AKL. There was so much to do and see. After some down time and animal watching, we headed to our 6:30 dinner reservation at Jiko.

As I mentioned before, we aren’t foodies, but I had heard such great things about Jiko that DH was willing to give it a try. DD3 zonked before our appetizers came and stayed that way our entire meal. The CM, very kindly offered to let us bring our stroller in so DD3 could sleep in it instead of on me. DH and I both had the filet. It was tender and delicious, and I didn’t know that asparagus could take on a smokey flavor, but it was to die for! DH kind of regretted not ordering the Bison. He didn’t like the sides that came with it. He forgot that Disney is generally really great about swapping out sides. DD5 had her own little steak (her favorite!) and was slowly coming around to this meal that didn’t have characters. :rofl:

When it came time for dessert and the CM mentioned paint your own African Shield cookie, DD5 was all in and all smiles. Watching her enjoy her dessert and the excitement on her face made the whole meal. DH skipped dessert and I had the Kilimanjaro. Delicious! I’d eat that again in a heartbeat.


We stopped by the Mara after Jiko to grab our refillable mugs. Generally, we are great about using these, but it was a complete bust this trip. If we didn’t have the dining plan, I probably wouldn’t have bought them. The station was too far from our room for us to trek over there every day. The girls grabbed some snacks and I picked up some zebra domes. I had heard too many great things about them not to try them!

DD5 was buzzing with energy (I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the brownie, ice-cream, and cookie that came as her dessert!) DH was annoyed, so I took her to walk around while DH and DD3 went back to the room.

DD5 and I had a lovely time! We walked around the gift shop and she did some pin trading with the CMs. We wandered around the lobby and ran into CM Richard from Uganda. He had a little drum he was playing and DD5 danced her heart out. He spent so much time with her!

We learned all about big cats from another CM and then we finally made it to the lookout with night vision goggles, which had been our destination all long. CM Richard showed up again and helped us adjust the goggles. DD5 saw a few animals and thought it was amazing!

At this point I was tired, even though DD5 wasn’t, and we headed back to the room. It was another great day in the books!


Have loved reading about your trip.


June 25 (Part 1) - Epcot with Garden Grill, Biergarten, Akershus, and the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party

DD5 woke up the next morning and complained that her ear hurt. Uh-oh! She’s pretty prone to ear infections, so we were a little worried. She claimed that it didn’t hurt that badly, so after watching the animals a bit, we went to breakfast.

We weren’t in a rush this morning because every time we’ve ever bused to Epcot (no matter what resort), the bus never shows up until 7. This morning was no different. We were held at bag check until about 7:45 or 7:50, which was a first for us, and then let through to the tap-styles and off to Garden Grill.

Garden Grill is my favorite character breakfast. We’ve always had such a good experience here (Minus the time Mickey creeped up behind DD3 then 1 and frightened her so badly she wouldn’t go near any other characters the entire trip. :woman_shrugging:) and I love the sticky bun bake. This time, since there was only four of us, we even got to sit on the bottom level so that we could watch the different scenes from Living with the Land roll by. After our first trip to WDW, DD5, then 3, declared that Living with the Land was her favorite ride, so it has a special place in my heart.

While I was settling DD3 at at our booth, DD5 must have complained about her ear again to DH. I don’t know why, but he stuck his finger in her hear and she burst into sobs. Huge wrenching, embarrassing the whole restaurant could hear sobs. Our CM was really sweet and brought the girls the light up Tinkerbelles they put on the souvenir cups, but to be honest, she didn’t perk back up until Chip showed up.

Breakfast was kind of a train wreck. DH and I were trying to decide if we needed to bail on Epcot and take DD5 to urgent care, and I spilled the chocolate hazelnut sauce for the waffles everywhere. The CM was so kind and took us and our train wreck morning in stride. DH admitted later that he tipped her pretty heavy. :rofl: She was so kind and she even brought the girls extra strawberries and blueberries, which are their favorite. And even found out where the nearest Urgent Care was for us. Funny enough, it was the Centra Care that we had visited on our last trip when I got some kind of infection in my finger and it started to well.

DD5 decided that her ear wasn’t that bad. It was so hard to know what to do. She’s pretty dramatic about little things and we didn’t know if it was really her ear or the abscess in her mouth that we had been dealing with for the last week and a half. We were so hoping that the antibiotics were going to do the trick on that tooth until we got home! We didn’t want to leave, so we went ahead with our plans.

DH and DD5 headed over to Soarin’ in hopes of getting a pre-rope drop ride and D3 and I hung around the exit.

She had fun dancing around until the rope drop crowd rolled in. Oh, my, goodness! I will pay for Garden Grill every time, so that we aren’t in that mess! I’ve watched the 7DMT rope drop crowd roll in from a distance, but there is nothing like standing there when tons of people suddenly appear from the escalators. That’s a hard pass for us with littles!

DH and DD5 appeared shortly after and we headed to Living with the Land. DD5 did some pin trading and we chatted with the CMs about the crazy of rope drop. One CM said that it’s her favorite thing to watch to day.

After Living with the Land, we headed to Nemo. I had originally had a FP for it, but I dropped it for the Character Spot when it went to Tier 2 for a day or so. Thanks again, Liners! As we were exiting Nemo, the CM said that the first Turtle Talk with Crush was starting. I hadn’t planned on it, but we were ahead of schedule, so off we went. DD5 loved it and even was picked to ask Crush a question. Win!

We checked out a few of the tanks at the Seas and then headed to our Character Spot FP. As always, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy do not disappoint.

We used our second FP on Spaceship Earth. The FP line was really backed up and not all of the queue is shaded. I don’t know if that is normal.

We headed to Mexico because DD5 loves Coco and we wanted to see the newish mariachi show that features him. But first, we stopped at the first aid station near Mexico. They said they didn’t have anyone who could look in her ear, but that they could give her some over the counter medicine. They gave her some Motrin and we hoped that she wouldn’t complain about her ear anymore. She didn’t say a word about it the rest of the day. It seemed like that crisis was averted. We still had some extra time, so we went on Gran Fiesta Tour and then browsed the Mexico pavilion for a bit.

We staked out a spot for the Coco show a few minutes before. It was in the direct sun and hot, but DD5 had so much fun and was in awe of the dancers. Near the end, they selected a few kids to dance with them and DD5 was so excited to get to participate.

We were hot, sweaty and ready for lunch so we headed to Germany for our Biergarten reservation. I had heard a lot of great things about Beirgarten, but I don’t think this one is for us. We went through the buffet line and DD5 declared that all she would eat was applesauce. I later convinced her to eat some chicken. DD3 nibbled a little. DH ate okay, but wasn’t impressed. Maybe he would have felt differently if he had ordered a beer, but he was so hot he wasn’t in the mood for it. We watched a little of the stage show, but the girls we getting antsy so we went before they got too bored.

We headed back to Norway for our FEA FP and things were back on track. My girls adore Frozen, so this one always brings some smiles, although DD3 later told me that her kitties were scared on the ride but maybe they won’t be next time. :rofl: The line for Elsa and Anna was posted at 20 minutes so we went there next. I don’t think we even waited 10. DD3 loves “Let it Go” as she calls Elsa, but in person, Elsa creeps her out. She runs right up to Anna though. :joy: Anna told us that is because she’s “completely ordinary!”

I’ll pick up on the rest of our day at Epcot later. That abscessed tooth of DD5’s that I referenced earlier finally come out today (Whoop! We’ve only been dealing with it for a month at this point!), so she’s in need of snuggles. Thanks for following along with me so far!


What did your kids think of SE? I’m planning a trip for my boss and her family, her girls are 2 and 4. I was going to skip it since it is so dark but maybe I shouldn’t??

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DD3 isn’t a fan, but she’ll tolerate it. The animatronic people kind of freak her out. DD5 likes it, but it isn’t a must do. I think you could skip it, but when DD5 was smaller she was always really curious about what was in the “the big ball”

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June 25 (Part 2) - Epcot with Garden Grill, Biergarten, Akershus, and the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party

After FEA, I had grabbed a FP for Test Track, so we decided to go off of our plan. We had some time to kill and wanted slushies, so we headed over to Club Cool. In all of our trips, we had never been over there. We tested a few sodas and I didn’t trick my kids with Beverly, but I was tempted. :rofl:

With slushies in hand and time to kill, we grabbed a bench outside. DD5 saw three CMs walking by with pins, exclaimed “Pin trading!,” and about knocked them over with her excitement. She traded and we all talked a bit. One CM asked us where we were headed next and we told him we were killing time before Test Track. He asked if we had five minutes to wait and that he would be right back. More Disney magic! Of course we waited! CM Austin came back with two special pixie dust pins for my DDs. He made them promise to never trade them. It was such a neat moment.

We thanked him and headed over to Test Track. DH and DD5 went to Track Test and DD3 and I went to Mouse Gear to pick up a few souvenirs for the girls’ friends at home. Bo Peep’s playground was nearby so DD3 and I went to check it out. Just as DH and DD5 walked up, DD3 was a potty accident. Apparently she was having too much fun to tell me that she needed to go potty?

DH had made so much fun of me for having at least two outfits for the girls each day, but we were really glad that we had a change of clothes for DD3. And thankfully, you can buy girls undies in Mouse Gear. Crisis averted. DD5 was crying because we had missed our window to ride Test Track together. I hadn’t gotten rider swap and I was just going to use DD3’s band and my band for her. I won’t make that mistake again. :grimacing:

We tried to go meet Ralph and Vanellope, but the line was long and we didn’t have enough time before dinner. We averted another melt down by letting the girls take some pictures in the photo booths.

Before long, it was time to head to Norway. This was the third time we had been to Akershus. We don’t really enjoy the food, but my girls like the princesses. On our first visit, the princesses spent a lot of time with them, but we’ve found it somewhat lacking the last two times.

DH always orders an adult portion of the kid’s steak and I get the stuffed pasta. Our CM was in training and wasn’t too sure about what she was doing. We were all so thirsty and she never refilled our drinks. After multiple attempts at getting her attention, we at least got her to refill the kids’ drinks before we left. I’m trying to convince DD5 to throw this one over for something else next time, but so far, no luck.

We hadn’t spent much time in World Showcase, so we went exploring. In Japan, we took the girls to pick a pearl. DD5 had two pearls in hers! We browsed in a few shops here and there, but didn’t spend a lot of time anywhere in particular. I really want to love World Showcase, but it just doesn’t appeal to my girls yet.

By the time we had made it around WS, it was time to check in for the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party. We had done this once before on an extended family trip and we were all on each other’s nerves by the time we got there so it wasn’t really enjoyable. I wanted to try it again and we were so glad we did! DD3 fell asleep in the stroller and after a bit of confusion about where we were sitting (the tables are preassigned), the CM let us bring the stroller back. She seemed a little put off by the fact that there were a lot of families with small children attending the party that night. It was odd.

DD3 and I checked out the snacks. We tried a little of everything, but we like the “frozen” mousse the best. We haven’t viewed Illuminations from anywhere else, but we thought the view was pretty good. DD3 slept until about halfway through the show. She was so tired the fireworks didn’t even phase her.

Our favorite part about this dessert party is the ride on FEA after. That and it’s kind of fun to walk through a nearly empty Epcot since everyone clears out.

One last picture and one last stop in Mouse Gear for an item we forgot and we called it a night.


I love that! And your whole trip report minus the pain and tooth stuff.


Wonderful report! Your family has the kind of stamina I wish mine did!

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@disneydadben, I think I almost kill them, but they are troopers! :rofl: