Most Magical Time of the Year! Trip Report


My parents and I arrived today for the most magical time of the year! Our last trip was Oct 2019 so we have some catching up to do and what better time to do it than Christmas?!

We flew in from PVD arriving ~2:30pm and literally as soon as they announced you could use your phone again, my dad got a call from the guy picking us up saying “I see you’ve landed” :joy: Not creepy at all. We used Orlando Transportation (I think? I can’t remember for sure but it had Orlando in the name) and other than the driver repeatedly sharing his mask thoughts with us, the service was good. We stopped at Publix on our way to pickup a few things and walked out looking like we have a potassium deficiency.

Shortly thereafter we arrived at the Swan Reserve! We booked this hotel in June or July and then watched as the opening got further and further delayed to the point that I didn’t know if it would open it time but luckily it did! Tomorrow they’re celebrating their one month of being open.

We had already received our room ready notifications so that was nice and check-in was easy. The rooms are super nice with a rainfall shower (with a foot rest!!), touchscreen thermostat, and two free water bottles daily!

We have two standard view rooms but mine faces the pool/ToT in the distance and my parents have a view of the Swan/Dolphin/Epcot on the opposite side.

We were starving at this point and eventually heading to DHS so we tried to do a walk up at Big River Grille but it was an hour wait (it was 5pm) so we skipped that and joined the waitlist for Ale & Compass instead. It said 10 mins but we got a text after 2 mins and proceeded to get 5 more texts by the time we actually made it over there! We had never been and it definitely hit the spot. My mom was so excited that the vegetables on her flatbread came from LwtL :blush:

After eating, we took the boat to DHS and arrived at about 7pm so we had 2 hours to kill before closing. We went first to MMRR which is new to all of us. I was a bit worried at first because neither the standby or LL lines were moving but after about 10 mins we really started moving and were off the ride after 45 mins of joining the line. We all loved it!

Then, we headed over to Galaxy’s Edge for two more new-to-me rides. My dad and I rode MFSR as engineers which was fun (I know nothing about SW so I have no idea how we did!) and then we all rode ROTR. My parents rode this in DLR but this was a first for me! We got in line at 8:33pm and were off the ride by 9:10pm so not bad at all! By that point the park was closed, but a pretty successful night knocking out 3 new rides!

We took the boat back and showed up to a turn down service! And now off to :sleeping:


What a fantastic start! Great pics!


What a great first day! Thank you for posting the Swam Reserve pictures!


Beautiful rooms and view! Interesting way to orient the toilet paper……

Ale and Compass always gets stellar reviews! I need to add it to the short list of restaurants to try.

That’s an unheard of short wait time for RotR! Nicely done w/ 3 headliners!
HS is so beautiful at night! Love all those pictures! Especially the one of Mom and Dad in front of the tree!


Nice job at DHS on those three rides.

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After much success at HS last night, at AK today we managed…. one ride :woman_facepalming:t2: We got on the bus at 7:49am and were off the bus 14 mins later so a pretty quick ride. This was our first experience with the new Mears buses for the Swan/Dolphin and so far, so good (except there is definitely no mask enforcement unlike on Disney transportation… I don’t know if they even have a mask requirement).

We were through the taps and through the early entry checkpoint by 8:15 for an 8:30 early entry. Luckily we noticed yesterday that our hotel was no longer linked in MDE despite it being linked for the last 6 months, so we relinked it and then had no issues scanning for early entry this morning. We followed the masses to FOP and waited awhile although the line was consistently moving at least. We also got to see Rafiki while we waited!

By the time we got off, it was already after 10am, we were hungry, and lines were building. This is when I miss FPP. We got a snack and ate by the Dawa Bar while the line for KS stretched past it. No thank you! We debated getting G+ but it didn’t seem worth $45 for just that, especially since we have to get my sister (who didn’t come with us because she’s a teacher) the 50th Starbucks tumbler which is now $50 (!!). So it was either her souvenir or G+ :joy:

We went to the 11:15am Kite Tails show which we all enjoyed, then wandered through the trails before our lunch reservation at Rainforest Cafe (per my dad’s request).

I can’t help but see Donkey Kong when I see the King Louie kite :joy:

After lunch, we were trying to go to the 2pm FOTLK but it was full, so instead we went to the Feathered Friends in Flight show which is always enjoyable. Even though the woman with the dollar bill couldn’t seem to keep her arm straight :face_with_raised_eyebrow: We called it a day after that because we have plans to go to DS tonight. So one ride total but at least the day wasn’t a total fail. We even lucked out when we left that a bus was waiting for us!


Last night we went to DS to eat at RR. We took the bus and luckily didn’t have to wait long for it but the bus said “Chartered” on the front and when my dad mentioned that to driver (because we almost missed it without knowing it was a DS bus) she said “oh it doesn’t say Disney Springs?” And then the bus on the way back still said Chartered :woman_facepalming:t2:

We wandered around before our reservation, saw a couple of the Christmas Tree Trail trees (the Coco one is my favorite!), and watched it snoap. We checked the Gideon’s virtual queue while we were waiting for our table since we were right there, but they informed us that they shut it off when it reaches 5 hours so that wasn’t happening but no big deal. RR was delicious, I had the worth the wait beef sandwich which was wicked good but sooo filling :yum:

We went to World of Disney after dinner where I watched a woman be told she needed to put on a mask, then proceed to open a new mask and throw the wrapper into the Toys for Tots box :unamused: I don’t get people. It was super crowded in there so we didn’t stay for long. On the way back, we waited over 35 mins for the bus which was a bit of a pain but at least that’s the longest wait we’ve had so far.

Today so far we’ve made better progress than yesterday because we’ve already done 3 whole rides (instead of 1 :joy:)! We went to the BC Marketplace for breakfast on our way to Epcot, then tapped in a little after 9, and were held until 9:27. We went to FEA and were in line at 9:35 (letting all the flying strollers pass us). We were off at right about 10, but the line was continuously moving so it wasn’t bad.

We then went to the Land and decided to skip Soarin’ for now because it was posted 60 mins and did LwtL instead which was under 10. After that, Soarin’ was still at 50 but TP said it was expected 10 and thankfully TP was right! :sweat_smile:

We then did Turtle Talk which was good, although we’ve had better Crushes in the past. Then it was time for our lunch at GG which was delicious! We’ve been for dinner and breakfast before so now we can say we’ve done all 3! (Even though lunch is exactly the same as dinner :joy:) I still prefer breakfast but since that’s not an option at the moment, this works. We saw each character probably 4 times. And we got Mickey sprinkle cookies in addition to our dessert!

We then shopped for a bit and stopped at the Guest Relations at the IG on our way out to check some old tickets we had. We ended up with 4 cards, each with 2 no expiration water park days on them that were from 2004. It was super easy and the CM was very helpful (no surprise because she was also from Mass!) and gave us the cards so they weren’t linked to any specific person. Then we took the boat back (that had just pulled up!) for some R&R :sleeping:


I really hope breakfast comes back!


Yesterday morning I completely spaced on getting a Remy BG and remembered at 7:37am when of course they were gone! So I set a reminder for 1pm which was during our lunch and got BG 112. This was my first time getting a BG so I was glad it worked!

We went back to Epcot for our dinner at Tutto Italia. Our BG was originally estimated to be called at 6:25pm which was the exact time of our reservation but then it kept getting pushed later anyways. Tutto Italia was really good (especially the oil!). I had the gnocchi, my dad had the lasagna, and my mom had the chicken parm and we all enjoyed!

Once we were done, they had called up to BG 110 so we made our way over there thinking ours would be called soon. It ended up being called at 7:12pm. The “estimated wait” from Disney was 30 mins and we had our CP tickets for the 8:30 show so I was really hoping they were right (spoiler alert: they weren’t). The entire Remy queue was maddening because, having never ridden it before, we had no idea where it ended! We ended up waiting close to an hour. Besides the stress of the CP looming, the ride was great!

We got off at 8:18pm and high tailed it over to the CP line. Like really speed walking and dodging in and out of people. I think we finally got to the line at 8:27 :sweat_smile: Luckily, there were a bunch of seats open for the dining packages still, especially in the front on the right hand side (facing the stage). That’s where we sat in the 6th or so row back with plenty of room around us. The show was amazing. It was our first time seeing it and we all loved it. Well worth the dining package since we had never been before. Our narrator was Alton Fitzgerald White and he was wicked good as well. My dad even said he would definitely choose to watch the CP again over the Boston Pops so that’s high praise!

Once the show ended it was close to 9:30 and Harmonious was at 9:45 so we just found a spot between America and Japan to watch. We were a few rows back and near a tree but still not a bad spot. I really liked Harmonious, more than Illuminations! And one of the fireworks near the end shot off right in front of us which scared me half to death but it was neat!

After the show was over, it was time for the extended hours so we walked alllll the way over to TT since we hadn’t ridden it earlier. It took a while to actually get through the crowds and get over there so we were probably getting on closer to 10:30 but it was a complete walk on. They scanned everyone’s bands at the entrance (versus only one per party during the morning hours) and thankfully ours was fine (you never know with the Swan/Dolphin!). We then went to SSE where the ride stopped while we were backwards and I could’ve easily fallen asleep. Those were the only rides we wanted to do so then we walked alllll the way back to the IG and hallelujah a boat was sitting there to take us back to crash!

On the way back to Epcot earlier in the day, we boarded the boat and it was pretty full so my parents sat and I stood. This kid (who was maybe 13) in the row in front of where I was standing kept turning around and literally staring at me so I stared back :joy: But when he got off with his family, I realized after he walked off that he said under his breath aka to me “fake Gucci” because the shirt I was wearing (in the above pic) is an Olaf Gucci shirt (obviously not real). Apparently he needed to stare at me to make sure I knew I wasn’t wearing real Gucci, like I think I realized that when I paid $30 for it from an Instagram small shop but thank you for letting me know :face_with_raised_eyebrow::rofl: I guess that was really bothering him!


This is nuts!

That’s a shame. Feeling under the gun like that can really detract from an experience!

Hey hey Boston! :wink:

Wow! That IS something! I am going to the Pops this weekend!!!

All of a sudden I’m having an “a-ha!” moment about why the fireworks show is later for just this short period of time @JordanRunner

:laughing: this is such a 13 thing to do :laughing:

Love your pics!!!


I feel you, as I am quick to participate in a stare down. Some of us were taught at a young age not to stare. Therefore, when someone stares I assume they have no home training, or trying to intimidate. In both cases, it makes for an awkward situation when I refuse to look away. Makes me wonder where that kid learned such passive-aggressive behavior.



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I know it must have been stressful but your diner/Remy/CP seating evening sounds amazing!


Enjoy the Holiday Pops!!! Even if it’s not CP :wink::joy:

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If I could go back and do it knowing we would make it I would enjoy it so much more! But luckily we have another Epcot day so another chance for stress-free Remy


this reminds me of a story - when my DD was 3 she was staring at a man at a restaurant so I was telling her to stop b/c it was rude to stare. She told me it wasn’t and it ‘made people’s day’. :laughing: I guess when you are an adorable 3yo if you stare people will just smile at you so she thought it was wonderful :woman_shrugging:


Cute! The important thing there is you were teaching her about staring, so by the time she’s 13 she knows better.

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If I ever stare at you, I promise it’s because I think I recognize you from the forum but I’m too afraid to ask, not that I have no home training. :rofl:


Lol! People who stare don’t look away when they get caught, thus the stare war. :laughing:


Beautiful hotel! Love all the pics. You and your mom are too cute!