Mimi's Birthday Surprise Trip Report

Just got home Sunday from a fantastic week at Disney! Surprised my mom with her first trip to WDW for her 60th birthday! This is my first attempt at a Trip report so bear with me.

Day 0 - Travel Day 12/1/19
Drove down from Virginia with my mom and my 9 year old and 1 year old sons. Left at 2am so the kids would sleep for the first half of the drive. Room wasn’t ready when we got into the area so we stopped at the character warehouse. Not incredibly impressed. Picked up a couple shirts for my mom and the kids. Checked in to All Star Movies preferred room and had a late dinner at the resort before bed. Very excited that I got a room in the area I requested though TP - which was awesome. We stayed in room 9712. Small parking lot nearby always had a spot for us and we were super close to everything.

Day 1 - Magic Kingdom 12/2/19
Park closed at 4:30pm today so crowds were super low! Took the bus to MK from ASM. Started with PPO breakfast at Be Our Guest. Food was OK. Focused on Fantasyland and rode pretty much everything. Longest wait was for the Peter Pan FP line (16 minutes). We rode Winnie the Pooh, met Ariel, rode voyage of the little mermaid, teacups, met Alice, rode Dumbo, Peter Pan (FP), did Enchanted tales with belle (FP), took a break for churros and Mickey pretzels, saw splash mountain was a 5 min wait and ran over there for a quick ride, then watched the festival of fantasy parade on Main Street, rode small world, and hit 7DMT (FP). Then we jumped on the monorail to the Grand Floridian for and early 1900 Park Fare dinner. (Buffet was good and the holiday decorations at GF were the best!) Character interaction was pretty good too. Prince Charming looks like a cartoon - he is incredible. After dinner we were trying to figure out how to get back to ASM from GF. Ended up going to a bus for Disney Springs. We were the only ones on the bus and the driver made a call on the radio and took us to All Star Movies! Aweomse. So we got back to the resort and went to sleep early.

Day 2 - Epcot 12/3/19
We were among the first 5 cars parked in the lot at Epcot. Had 8:05am Akershus reservation. Loved the princess interactions and the food was great. (Cheesy potatoes!!) Princesses didn’t come out til 8:30am but we met them all before 9am. Finished up and went to Frozen Ever After (walked on). Planned on meeting Anna and Elsa but the line was already 45 minutes when we got out of Frozen. Headed to Soarin, less than 30 min standby line. Used rider swap and I walked on to Living with the Land while my mom and older son rode Soarin. Then we headed to Test Track (FP) and used rider swap again. Then we hit mission space (my mom did green with my oldest, then I did orange with him), spaceship earth (FP), and started heading around the world. Festival of the Holidays snacks were delicious! Also got some fantastic baked goods in France. We took our time and enjoyed little things in each country. Then we hit the seas with Nemo (FP), turtle talk with crush, said a quick hello to Baymax on our way out and headed back to the resort. Was able to pickup a Soarin FP but we were too tired and decided to “Let It Go”.

Day 3 - Hollywood Studios 12/4/19
Got there for rope drop and it was super crowded! Signed up for Jedi training before rope drop. Headed straight to Toy Story Land and got in the massive line for Slinky dog dash. Wait was less than 30 min though, and we did rider swap so while I was waiting - the little one and I rode alien swirling saucers 2 times. I rode Slinky dog with my oldest and mobile ordered from Woody’s lunch box on our way out of the line. S’mores French toast was awesome. Character lines were very long so we went to Toy Story Mania (FP). Stopped in at Municiburg and met Frozone before heading over to Voyage of the Little Mermaid (FP - but CM said we didn’t need to use it and didn’t let us tap. Had to burn tier2 FP on Muppets 3D - which we did not stay for). Then my oldest had Jedi training, we rode Star Tours (FP) and headed in to Galaxy’s Edge. Enjoyed the land and got into the line for Smugglers Run (60 min wait but we also did rider swap so my mom could ride). Fantastic ride - you definitely want to be a pilot! Got green milk and took photos in the land. I picked up fastpasses and we headed across the park to tower of terror. Stopped for num num cookies on our way there (CMs gave them to us for free because my little one was dressed like jack jack and was being silly with them. Yay for pixie dust!) Grabbed a FP for rockin roller coaster while in the boiler room for tower of terror. Oh also, while waiting at the exit of tower of terror we got to do several impromptu character meets (Mary poppins, tiana, jasmine, and Moana!). Totally unexpected and amazing! Then we headed out of the park and to Chef Mickey’s for dinner. After dinner we monorailed to Magic Kingdom for fireworks. It was the only non-party night this week so our only chance for fireworks at the castle. Walked back to the contemporary afterwards and headed back to the resort. It was a long and totally incredible day!

Day 4 - Animal Kingdom 12/5/19
My oldest and I got up early to head to Hollywood Studios in an attempt to ride Rise of the Resistance on opening day. We got there at 6, park was scheduled to open at 8. People were already in the park and riding Rise of the Resistance! We got into a boarding group (42) and quickly realized we would not be riding until at least the afternoon. So we rode Star Tours (walk-on), Smugglers Run (15 min wait!!) and then hit alien swirling saucers on our way out of the park. Before we rode Smugglers run the wait time for Slinky Dog was posted 10 min - we almost ran over there! Decided that if our boarding group got called during a time that didn’t interfere with our whole day, we would go back. We met up with my mom and the baby and had some breakfast at the resort. Headed out to Animal Kingdom and made it in time for our first fastpass. We did the safari (FP), gorilla falls trail, festival of the lion king (FP), maharajah jungle trek, flame tree bbq snacks, danced and met Kevin, did the Up great bird adventure, and then headed into Pandora. Mom and oldest rode Flight of passage (FP) and I took the baby on Navi River (FP). Had dinner at Satuli Canteen and then started heading toward rivers of light. Watched the show outside the seating area and then got on Everest (FP) in the dark. Terrifying in the dark! Called it a night after some ice cream at the resort. We were kinda bummed we didn’t ride Rise of the Resistance, but we enjoyed our AK day.

Day 5 - Magic Kingdom 12/6/19
Got up at 4:30am to head to Hollywood Studios with my oldest (I couldn’t sleep - I was determined to ride this). Posted hours had HS opening at 9am. We were through security by 5am and through the tapstiles just after 6. Joined a boarding group (12) for Rise of the Resistance and were called for the ride by 6:25am. Truly a groundbreaking ride and so incredible. At 7 we were headed out of the park! We picked up my mom and the baby and made it to our 7:40 Ohana breakfast at the Polynesian! Took the ferry boat over to MK and went straight to space mountain (rider swap - 10 min standby). I rode peoplemover with the baby while mom and my oldest were on Space Mountain. Then we hit Tomorrowland speedway (FP) - baby was just tall enough to ride and loved every second! Went back to Space mountain and I rode with my oldest while mom and the baby went on peoplemover. We did monsters inc laugh floor after that. Then realized we forgot the sippy cups for the baby in the room - I headed to the baby care center to buy a cup and try to get the baby to drink some milk. Mom and oldest went on peoplemover. (yes, I think we are obsessed). We met at the castle and headed to splash mountain (FP). Ran into some friends and took a quick break. Splash mountain FP had been converted to multi-experience because it broke down. Mom and oldest rode splash mountain. IT broke down again while they were on it. Then we met back up with friends to ride jungle cruise (FP) and found a shady spot in Frontierland for the Festival of Fantasy parade. We headed to Be Our Guest for lunch (dropped off our friends at Peter Pan for their fastpass). Had a delicious lunch and shared a master’s cupcake. Met back up with our friends and rode teacups, carousel and dumbo for the kids, then headed over to haunted mansion. After that it was almost 6pm and the park was closing to non-party guests. We headed to aloha isle for last-minute dole whips with pineapple upside down cake and sat and enjoyed them for a bit. My little one loves dole whip! On our way out we caught Elsa lighting the castle which was amazing. Got a nice family castle pic from a photopass photographer and headed to the ferry to the Polynesian. The line was terrible, but not as bad at the monorail line! It was the warmest day of vacation and I had promised my oldest we would go swimming — it was 63 degrees and freezing out but the pool was 85 degrees so it wasn’t terrible until we had to get out!

Day 6 - Magic Kingdom 12/7/19
We packed up the car before heading over to Magic Kingdom for a little more park time before the long drive home. Took the bus from the resort and made it just in time for our first fastpass. Rode 7DMT (FP), while mom and oldest were on the ride I got coffee, a Mickey celebration donut, and a Cheshire Cat tail. Swapped out with my mom and rode 7DMT with my oldest while she enjoyed coffee and the rest of the giant donut. Got my oldest some popcorn for breakfast and we headed toward town square to meet mickey. Caught the move it shake it mousekedanceit mini parade on the way there. Met mickey (FP) and tinker bell (FP). Tink was awesome but the photo box was terrible. It’s a real shame because she was such an amazing character. There’s no replacement for a real photographer! Oldest signed up for sorcerers of the magic kingdom and did a little of that while we did some shopping on Main Street. Next visit we might have to devote a day to that. Very cool. I grabbed a FP for Buzz Lightyear space ranger spin for after our lunch. Had lunch at Crystal Palace. Character interaction was fantastic. Totally loved Eeyore. Food was good but the character rotation takes 90 minutes MINIMUM. So we were there much longer than we thought we would be. Made it just in time for Buzz Lightyear FP (FP line was super long) and then said goodbye to magic kingdom. Returned to the resort on the bus, did a little shopping while my oldest played in the arcade for 20 minutes, then filled up our mugs and hit the road.

Dining plan was worth it for us. We did all character meals and used snacks wisely (no snack credits used on water!). Had no credits leftover at the end of the trip. Even after tipping we still came out ahead based on receipts.

Magic Kingdom on early closing days is awesome. Had super low crowds on the day it closed at 4:30pm. I would definitely do that again.

When you have a reservation at a monorail resort you can park there for the entire day. I asked several CMs and always got the same answer. They verify your reservation and let you in and you can stay parked there after your meal. Chef Mickey’s dinner was more than worth it being able to walk to my car after fireworks and avoid crowds.

Rider Swap is the best. My oldest wants the baby to stay too short for rides forever. He loves riding every ride twice!

Get to Hollywood Studios well before opening to get into a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance first thing. There was no mad dash, no long ride lines. Book your boarding group on your phone and head straight to smugglers run. We basically walked on. Alternatively you could book your boarding group and head straight to Slinky Dog. Posted 10 minute wait the first morning we were there for Rise of the resistance.

Memory Maker is totally worth it if you take plenty of photos. I was always on the lookout for photographers with short or no lines. Took tons of pictures!

Rope drop and pre-park opening ADRs are totally worth it. I was not a believer in rope drop until I actually did it. Anyone who says you still wait the same amount of time – ok maybe, but the wait isn’t cutting into my park time!

Having a car is a game-changer. We got so much more done because we had a car.

Order from Amazon PrimeNow and meet your delivery driver at the lobby. We ordered cases of water and a few essentials. It was faster and easier than going out to shop.

I had a split stay at the same resort (we added on an extra day before and after our package, could only do room-only). Front desk was amazing in letting us stay in the same room for the entire trip!!

My mom thought I was a genius because of touring plans. “I don’t know how you know where you’re going” is what she said to me at one point.


Sounds like a great trip! Loved reading about it!

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Thanks for taking to take the time to write this up. Really enjoyed it!

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What a great trip! On your AK day, did your boarding group for RotR ever get called?

Thanks for such great report! What a wonderful surprise gift for your mom!

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For your SDMT rider swap day 6, you said your son and mom had FP+ and then you and son rode with rider swap. Did you also have a FP+ booked? I’ve heard SDMT doesn’t honor rider swap if only the first group has FP+, like other rides do.

Also, its sounds like you had lower crowd levels, but how did you manage RD with DS1? I’m not a huge fan of crowds and concerned how our crew would handle RD. Any advice for RD with young kids?

Yes, I also had a FP booked. I follow the rule of thumb that we all book fastpasses if we are going to rider swap. Just makes it easier for me. Only exception was This time I did not plan on riding FOP so I booked mom and son for FOP and Me (and baby) for Navi River.

So MK and EP was super low CL when we got there for PPO breakfast. HS on 12/4 was kind of a train wreck for us - was not expecting so many people to be there! We didn’t run to SDD or anything but we stayed to the outside edge of the massive crowd and were very relieved when more than half split left to SWGE. I despise crowds but I’m a master stroller driver. :rofl:

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My only advice is keep them in the stroller. Give them a snack. Stay to the outside edge of the crowd so you don’t get squished or run over.

yes we were in BG 42 and got called a little after noon. asked DS9 if he wanted to throw in the towel on AK and head back to HS and he said he didn’t want to miss his FOP FP. I was a little bummed but we made up for it the next morn.

Thank you. And I’m glad you got to ride it.