Mom’s First Trip!

My mom and I are 18 days out from her first trip to WDW and my second trip (my BF, now DH took me in 2008 because I had never been)! The amount of research that I can still do before our trip has dwindled, so I figured I’d stop lurking and post for the first time. It’s getting difficult to contain my excitement, so I’m going to share it with all of you. I can’t keep up with all the acronyms, so bear with me…

The Backstory
This whole trip started after a casual comment over a year ago. My mom texted me after seeing a Disney commercial (and getting a little emotional…if you can remember the commercials from last year, you can probably relate) to ask if she could come along on a Disney trip if we ever had kids. Little did she know, DH and I immediately decided, “forget the kids, let’s just take her now!” I’ve been itching to go back from the moment I left in 2008, and I think DH, who is not a Disney or crowd person, saw this as the perfect opportunity for me to go and him to stay home :joy:

So, to fight the Midwest winter doldrums (I’m from SC, where my parents and extended family still live), I immediately started planning a theoretical trip with the idea of telling her on her birthday in July. Well, in May, DH and I bought our first house, so the Disney trip got put on the back burner. In early July, we took a look at finances and figured that we could still swing a late winter 2019 trip if we used Hilton points (My husband is a pilot, so he racks up a lot of travel points) instead of staying at a Disney resort. The trip was back on!

The Delivery
My extended family takes a trip to the beach every year, and it typically coincides with my mom’s birthday. So, we knew we were going to “give” her the trip at the beach. We tried to think of the best way to make it a little bit of a guessing game and came up with four “gifts.” The first was a a roll of film (HS)…try finding one of those these days! Next was a toy giraffe and toy elephant (AK). Third was a golf ball (EP), and the last was a puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle (close enough). Pictures of the opening process -

I love how excited she gets about the fake gifts :joy:

We made her guess after she opened this one, and gave her hints to focus on the castle, not Germany. She gave a couple guesses, I don’t remember what they were, but this was her face when she said Disney:

And her face(s) when we said “yes, Disney!”

So much excitement!!

The Planning
So, we gave my mom a Disney trip without having a single thing booked or dates set :sweat_smile: With six months to go, it was time to get in gear. Plus, part of the gift to myself was the planning process (my mom is not a planner) so I didn’t want to give it short shrift.

I bought the 2019 UG as soon as it was out in August. I’d used it back in 2008 for my first trip, and was a TP believer. We decided to book the Doubletree in DS because it seemed like the best option of the three Hilton properties, based on OOP expenses and room size. We like the idea of being able to eat breakfast in our room and pack sandwiches for some park meals. This isn’t so much to save money as it is to save our digestive systems :grimacing:

Next came ADRs. I’d missed the 180 day window, but still managed to snag some fun ones (I’ll list them in the trip section below). Then, I asked my mom to create “must do” and “definitely not” lists and I started putting our TPs together. We had decided on just a six day/five night trip due to the tighter finances, so that left us with four park days plus lazier arrival and departure days. I’d gotten a pretty good handle on our TPs before our FPP window opened, which happened to be Christmas morning. I think that may have actually helped us because I was able to get every FPP I wanted.

A few other odds and ends have been added over the last 30+ days. I added in the HEA dessert party because we love dessert and hate sitting and waiting for hours. When it was Wishes (I think?) on my first trip, we just snagged a spot with 10 minutes to go and then ran over to HM with no wait. Doesn’t sound like HEA really allows for the same plan. I also added in the Festival of Fantasy parade. I didn’t do the MK parade last time, but my mom loves parades so I figured it was worth adjusting the TP to accommodate it. I’ve added in the Disney on Broadway show as well, because when in Rome, right?

The Trip
We’ve got our coordinating t-shirts (for cute but non cheesy ones I recommend Crazy Corgi Lady), my in-park bag is packed (FYI, Eddie Bauer had a great sale on their small day packs. If it’s still going, they’re only $15), my flight to SC is booked (road tripping from there), I’ve bought Disney gift cards at Kroger (fuel points) and I’m planning to combine them onto one card with the Disney gift card site, and now I’m just waiting and waiting. And trying to avoid all the plague-like illnesses going around.

So anyway, here are our basic daily plans. I’m not looking for advice per se, but if you have any, feel free to give it!

Saturday 2/23

Drive SC to Orlando.
Maybe walk to DS and grab a picnic at The Basket at Wine Bar George.

Sunday 2/24 - Epcot
FPP for FEA, The Seas w/ Nemo, and Spaceship Earth
ADR for dinner at Via Napoli

Monday 2/25 - MK (all but Frontierland and Splash)
ADR for lunch at BOG
HEA Dessert Party

Tuesday Morning 2/26 - MK
ADR for breakfast at CP
Adventureland and Splash Mountain if warm enough

Tuesday Afternoon 2/26 - HS
FPP for SDD, RnRC, and ToT
ADR for dinner at 50s Prime Time

Wednesday 2/27 - AK
FPP for FOP, KS, and Dinosaur
ADR for dinner at Tusker House

Thursday 2/28 - Cry a little or a lot and then drive back to SC.

That’s it! Thanks for indulging my excitement and reading if you’ve made it this far. You all have been a great source of help during the planning process!


What an inspiring thread. Your dear Mother looks so happy even when opening the ‘strange’ gifts and so excited when you reveal the true gift. You are an amazing daughter and you and your Mother are going to make some wonderful memories together.

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Your mum looks so happy and excited!! Hope you both have an amazing trip. I bet you can’t wait!


Gosh, this was the sweetest thing! What lovely pics of your mom. :slight_smile:


Thank you all! Yes, we are very excited! I’m an only child, and my mom and I are very close, so we are even looking forward to the mundane bits - like driving for 6 hours.


Sounds like a great trip! I love the way you did her gift surprise!

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This is so fun and heartwarming to read.
Your mom is a lucky one to have a sweet kid like you! And she seems like a lovely person as well.
Will you be reporting back?

Yes, I think I will! I typically consider myself to have a great memory but a lot of the details of my first Disney trip seem to have gotten lost to time (and probably the sheer sensory overload of a first time trip). A trip report is probably a good way to hold on to some of the details.

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