May the Force Be With Us: A Family Trip Report Summer 2021

Saw a live production in Charlottetown on PEI way back when.

You should take her there someday!!!

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Ditto. Loved those movies as a kid. Watched them over and over and over. And no @OBNurseNH but I want to.

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So the begs the question… what are the puffs’ names?

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Ella (7) Pinky (4), and Piggy Puff (2). :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Cuter than I was expecting. Little girls are so precious.

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At our one night stay at CBR, we were able to preschedule bell services to come the following day. I wonder if it depends on the hotel?

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That’s so cool! And Piggy Puff - I love it!

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It must - they told us this at BCV, but another bellman mentioned that they were short staffed, so it might be specific to that hotel. (Also they had just opened the main Beach Club hotel.)

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Thanks again for your awesome report and all of your retrospectives!! The pictures were all so great and I really enjoyed following along!

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Thanks!

And since you mentioned it, a special appearance by the DDs:

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Do they know they have fans? :joy:

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I have one last Trip Retrospective post to go, but just wanted to let the forum at large know that I just purchased airline tickets to Hawaii for October. Aulani, here we come!

A trip report from the beach may not carry quite the same urgency and excitement, but I’m sure I’ll find ways to share our adventures that will keep the magic going. :slight_smile:

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As long as we keep getting adorable pics I don’t think anyone will complain!

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How fabulous is that?!

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Awesome!! We just returned from Hawaii last weekend. We loved Aulani.

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That was definitely our opinion in 2010. :joy: I would have hoped UOR would have improved in a decade. Forbidden Journey was the worst. They wouldn’t let us take our stroller into the queue. So after waiting however forever long (FJ had just opened recently), we each got to take a turn in the child swap room trying to hold both 9 month twins on a lap while entertaining a bored 6 year old. And the back to back rides made then-DD9 nauseous. :roll_eyes:

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We can sure find things to get excited about on Oahu. I have so many found memories growing up on the KMCAS base on the windward side of the island. I will always remain a Marine brat to my father.

Make sure you stop by the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and say Hi to my Dad for me!

:smiley:

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TRIP RETROSPECTIVE

PART 8

Final Thoughts

Ultimately what many people who read a trip report or are considering a trip to WDW want to know is: is it worth it? Especially in these times of COVID and its many impacts?

We could have gotten many of the same benefits from a trip to the beach, or to a theme park closer to home, or by staying in less expensive accommodations in Orlando. I don’t think I can say that Disney is the only way to have a satisfying trip. But we love Disney, we love the bubble, and we have enough financial stability to justify the expenditures we made. So I’ll just answer whether this trip was worth it, not in comparison to anything else.

The short answer for our family is an unequivocal “Yes.” Now for the long (and perhaps slightly equivocal) answer.

The Good

Walt Disney World is a unique and magical destination. We all know this, but when you’ve been away for a while, you forget just how massive, epic, intricate, imaginative, and grand it all is. Everything is built on an industrial scale, but most often without losing the personal touch.

Cast Members are friendly and welcoming. The resort hotels are comfortable and inviting. The rides are thrilling without excluding families, and full of details and theming that make repeat visits just as magical as the first.

There are so many incredible restaurants at the parks, resorts, and shopping areas of WDW. In the 14 days we were there, we sampled only a smattering of the offerings available, and were wowed on many occasions.

Much of this could be said of UOR as well, especially in the Harry Potter and Jurassic Park areas.

Having no fireworks or spectaculars was a bummer, but on the other hand, we will have the opportunity to see them again, and with four young kids, staying out late would have been exhausting.

I never really cared for meet & greets or parades, but I was delighted to see characters and cavalcades at every turn (without the need to wait in a single line!) in a setting that was just as satisfying to me and my kids as any meet & greet or parade (Donald and Goofy greeting us upon our arrival at BC being one example).

The Bad

But everything comes at a cost. Offerings are missing, the May/June heat is sweltering, and crowds are back in full force. Lines are ubiquitous, even for things (like entering shops) that never had lines before. Not to mention the thousands of dollars you pay for food, lodging, souvenirs, admission, airfare, etc. At the end of the day, you’re just riding rides, most of which are over in less than 3 minutes. Even the most epic, thrilling coasters are over in the blink of an eye. The delicious meals, snacks, and beverages are great to experience, but let’s be frank … it all ends up in the same place, and all that’s left is memories.

The Ugly

There were some very disappointing moments on our trip. The first one that comes to mind was the rainstorm on our MK day when we were caught on Tom Sawyer Island without our ponchos. This episode may have read like a rollicking adventure, but I was really struggling to keep it together the rest of that afternoon and evening - it was near miserable, and the most expensive meal of our trip was almost ruined for me and DD4, who required my undivided attention to keep from coming apart at the seams.

Another was the 1.5 hours we spent waiting for Concierge to link our EP and get our premium seating at Volcano Bay, all while both DDs were having tantrums. We were at wit’s end. Thankfully the rest of the day was a blast.

Another was most of the time we spent in the crushing crowds of Disney Springs on a Sunday afternoon, with DD7 having the biggest mood of the trip. Anything but relaxing.

A moment of personal pain was when I split the skin of my big toe. Ouch!

There was the time we almost missed our reservation at Sanaa due to the ripple effect of DD2 losing a shoe and barely missing the bus.

Then there was the morning that DD2 cried, screamed, and squirmed for the better part of our first 2 hours in USF, and didn’t fully calm until she napped at lunch.

Our half hour wait for Oga’s and our table in the corner with no chairs made my patience wear thin.

There was the frustration of BTMRR being closed all morning and well into the afternoon on the day we had set aside to ride it (DW’s favorite ride at MK). Then the same thing happened on our last day when almost no rides were open prior to official park opening, and Space Mountain didn’t open until the last possible moment for us to ride it before catching DME.

There were several long waits in the direct afternoon sun - Space Mountain, Flight of Passage, Jungle Cruise, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Test Track, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror being some of the longest and least bearable.

In the moment, none of these things were fun in the slightest. But looking back, I daresay some of them made the trip more interesting and memorable. That could be the turtle in me talking, though. :slight_smile:

The Golden

All of that aside, I will never forget this trip.

When DS was brave and rode Expedition Everest for the first time, even though he hated it.

Enjoying the bread service at Sanaa as we watched animals graze on the savanna.

Riding Velocicoaster and Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure for the first time.

Discovering DD4 was a thrillseeker while riding Flight of the Hippogriff over and over.

Attending the wand ceremony where DS9’s wand chose him.

DD7 losing her tooth at Toothsome!

The DDs’ glee at seeing Hello Kitty.

Getting back to the hotel pool after splitting up from the kids and having them enthusiastically tell me all about their time at Seuss Landing. (And don’t forget the puppy dog eyes when it was time to go!)

Finally scoring a BG for Rise of the Resistance after 18 months of anticipation, and then getting to experience the ride for the first time.

DD2 trying to get me to buy every souvenir she saw.

Reactions like these from DD4 at Teppan Edo.

Our daily elevator shots, care of DSIL.

My kids wearing the Mickey Ears DW made on our first day at MK.

Seeing my kids’ faces as the cavalcades went by.

The Carousel!

Walking by this statue of Ariel every night as we got back to BCV.

Our evenings in the sand at Stormalong Bay.

The mac & cheese at Homecomin’.

Golden hour at Spaceship Earth and DD4’s newfound love of Figment.

Being evacuated off Test Track with DBIL and DD7.

DD4 and DD2’s excitement at the Bird Show and the petting zoo.

The volcano sundae at Rainforest Cafe.

Rope dropping Frozen Ever After.

DD2’s pouty lip.

Liner meets! (And near meets!) And those who came along for the ride.

Date night at The Boathouse, a detour to Grand Floridian, and constructing my own lightsaber.

My last ride(?) at Splash Mountain.

The afternoon at Tom Sawyer Island, including that crazy ferry ride in a torrential downpour.

Seeing DD4 perk up when she saw Beast and when the kids got to paint their dessert at Be Our Guest.

The view from our room at The Contemporary.

Three times in a row on Big Thunder Mountain.

The last minute marathon to ride Space Mountain before DME arrived.

The joys and the sadness of going home.

So … Was it Worth It?

WDW is an extension of the world, and a microcosm of it. Everyone will have to be realistic about what they can accomplish and how well the members of their party will cope with sometimes difficult conditions.

As I mentioned previously, my kids seem to thrive on exhaustion. Whether they get exhausted by a day at a theme park, or by fighting with each other at home, or by throwing tantrums, they will get that energy out one way or another. Since getting home, DD4 has had a full blown tantrum every day, whereas at Disney she only had a few the entire time. So in a way that is unique to our family situation, Disney was an environment that harbored peace and relaxation, even and especially when we were on the go.

Going to Disney was a great way for me to disconnect from work and our other usual routines. It allowed me to get more physical activity, less screentime, less social media (except this forum, of course), less bummed by the news, and more connected to reality and other humans (including those strangers we forgot existed for the last year!). It was a way to bond with my family and get to know each other in a setting that forced us to interact and experience the best and worst of each other.

I value each member of my family above anything else, and spending time with them (can you tell what my love language is? :wink:) is priceless to me. Our trip was an opportunity to make precious memories that will last a lifetime.

My dad passed along this advice to me at a young age: “if you have the choice to buy things or buy memories, choose memories.”

So all in all, for me and my family, yes, it was worth it.

And we’ll do it all again.

Next year in Disneyland! :v::heart::blue_heart::purple_heart::european_castle::fireworks:

Thank you all for following along!

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Yes, a trip report to Oahu ahead of my February trip to Oahu!

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:green_heart::green_heart::green_heart:

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