Hello, everyone! I have been a TouringPlans member for 10 years, have followed many of your trip reports for several years, and have gleaned so much excellent information (and TWSS jokes) from these forums that I wanted to give back in some small way. I may not be posting live on this trip report, but I will try to catch it all up at some point.
This is an interesting trip. First of all, it’s a large group of 15 total. My father-in-law is 71, my stepmother-in-law is a little younger but I won’t post her age, my husband and I are 44, his older step sister and her husband (47/49), his younger brother and his wife (37/35) and all our kids: our son is 19, our nieces are 17, 15, 14, 12, 6 and 4. So for those of you keeping score at home, that’s 8 adults of varying ages, one college student, four teenage girls, and two littles.
We will be visiting Universal, Disney, and Madeira Beach, from May 27-June 6. We’re flying in from various home airports and renting cars. We’ll have 2 days in the Universal parks and are staying at Royal Pacific Resort for one night to get 2 days of Express Pass. We will then have 4 park days all together at Disney, where we are using our DVC home resort of Bay Lake Tower. We have 2 studios and a 2-bedroom. We have park-hoppers at Disney. My husband, son, and I will take a 5th day at Disney while everyone else is headed to the beach. We will meet them there later that day and spend the next two days on the beach, and leave from Tampa to head back home.
My FIL and SIL and I all have DAS, and we are still considering using G+ along with that. We did pre-registration, and I can certainly attest to how difficult that is. I got up early on a Saturday to hop on right at 7 am, but the chat window didn’t open correctly right away, so I got in at 7:03 and had a 2 hour wait. My FIL waited for 4 hours, missed the chat, started again and 3 hours later got in (so a total of 7 hours’ wait). My SIL gets the prize, though. She tried for three days before getting through. By the time she did get through, her advanced selections were non-existent. I doubt we’ll use many of them, anyway.
This is a “family trip of a lifetime” for everyone except DH, DS, and myself. FIL and SMIL are paying for everything but food. Since we are the experienced ones and own the DVC, I have planned the whole trip, including walking DVC reservations for 2021 only to have to cancel and re-book for 2022. I have tried to put some of the planning back on the other families, like park reservations, but they insist that I do the planning because I know what I’m doing. This makes me a little nervous, but with park hopping, it should be flexible enough that everyone will get to see what they want to.
With a group of 15, you can imagine that dining reservations were tricky. I have multiples everywhere. Groups of 6+6+4 or 8+8 except at Oga’s, where the maximum party is 5. I found it much easier to search for even party numbers. There is an “everyone” meal at Teppan Edo and then I have Topolino’s birthday breakfast for our niece who is turning 7 on our trip, Boma brunch, 50s dinner, and DS, DH and I may sneak away for reservations at Beaches and Cream and the Space 220 lounge. I missed my opportunity for Skipper Canteen on the last day (just the 3 of us) but I have my alerts set and I’m sure I’ll get one the day before if all else fails.
If you’ve made it this far in my rantings, thank you for reading! Looking forward to taking you along with us on this crazy adventure!