My first trip report (Combo WDW and Universal)

I’ve never posted here before, but we just returned from our trip and I loved reading about everyone else’s experiences before I left, so I thought I would share my report with all of you. It is waaaaay too long so feel free to skip around. It was myself, my DH, my DS8 and my DD6. I’m new to all this so please forgive abbreviation errors, etc.
Day 1
My alarm went off at 5:30am and I jumped out of bed. Sooooo excited about our trip!! I woke the kids up and we were dressed and ready to go by 6:30am when the car arrived. It was a fairly uneventful trip to the airport but there was heavy traffic so it took almost an hour and a half to get there. This was fine because I left plenty of time. We checked in using DH’s Mosaic status on Jet Blue. 2 Free checked bags. Wahoo! We had to double back after having some trouble with the digital boarding pass. We also zipped through security with DH’s status but my rolls of pennies and quarters for pressed pennies in Disney set off a security alarm and the bag had to be checked. We grabbed some Dunks and waited for the plane. The flight was fine, but DD6 started getting antsy halfway through and the man next to me was manspreading like crazy. We arrived in Orlando and quickly got to our resort (Art of Animation) using the Magical Express. I checked in online so I received a text shortly after landing that our room wasn’t ready. I had planned for this and packed our bathing suits in our carryon. DD6 changed up but DS8 refused to use the changing room. He was insisting on waiting until we were in the room. Since we had a ton of bags and stuffed animals, we couldn’t do much and we were stuck waiting by the pool for close to an hour. I was hoping that the delay was because they were trying to match my room requests (close to transportation and first floor). Finally, we get the notification and make our way to our room, on the 4th floor and further than we were last time in a cheaper room!! Bummer! We settle in and the kids start to change until they realize that I don’t want to swim. They decide they don’t want to swim if I’m not swimming. Instead, we decide to head over the Epcot. I had gotten a few FPPs just in case. We get over there around 5pm with no problems. We ride both The Seas with Nemo and Living with the Land with no wait. Then we head over the SE with a FPP. We also do MS Green with a 5min wait. Both kids love it! DS8 says he might try Orange next time. We then head towards the World Pavillion and get the kids Passports. We are starting to get hungry and decide that we want to try the Biergarten for dinner. I have heard that it’s a fun place for kids and DH loves German food. I go online and find a reservation for 30 min later. We do the boatride in Mexico and use our FPP for FEA. We are able to walk right into Biergarten. We are seated with another family. They seem nice but it makes the logistics of getting to the buffet difficult because we are in a tight corner. DS8 is very unhappy with the food choice and literally comes back with 2 rolls and some butter. DD6 is slightly more adventurous. She is willing to try some breaded pork. I try almost everything and so does DH. Everything was delicious. There were a wide variety of salads, including a potato/dill salad, a pickled bean salad, a bratwurst salad, sauerkraut, pickled cabbage, German mac n cheese, pork schnitzel. It was all fantastic – lots of interesting combinations and flavors that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried. There was also Bavarian cheesecake and apple streudel for dessert. And Reisling! After lots of fighting, DS8 was finally willing to eat some roast chicken but otherwise he wouldn’t touch anything – even the kids options. DD6 loved the desserts. She had some chocolate cake and cookies. The entertainment was fun. Musicians came out and played all sorts of interesting instruments. The kids seemed mildly entertained at that point. Now for the bill…DH and I hadn’t even considered the price so we were a bit bowled away when the total came to well over $200 for our family. It was a good meal but that was crazy! Especially considering that neither kid ate anything but we paid $24 for each of them. I expect to pay crazy inflated prices at Disney but that was a wake up call on our first day. By the time we were done with dinner, the park was closing and Illuminations was about the begin. DS8 really wanted to watch it but I was dreading having to deal with the crowds afterwards considering it had been such a long day. We ended up watching most of the show and then heading out before the crowd. One downside to our resort is that it is ALWAYS the farthest bus stop so it’s exhausting at the end of the day. We were home and in bed by 10pm. Everyone crashed.

Day 2
We woke up for our first full park day. We got dressed and got some coffee and breakfast in the room. We got an Uber over to Universal. We focused on Universal Studios. We stopped at VooDoo Donuts in CityWalk on the way in to the park. The kids loved all the choices but DD6 ended up with a pink frosted and DH got a boston cream type donut that was good. DS8 didn’t want anything because he wasn’t hungry. He clearly doesn’t understand how snacking works. We got there before park opening and were on and off Despicable Me before the park was even officially open. We then did the Jimmy Fallon ride, Transformers, Fast and Furious, and the Mummy. They were all pretty good. Lots of simulators and VR. The Mummy was cool because it was an actual rollercoaster but DD6 hated it because it went too fast. We did Men in Black and the Simpsons Ride before lunch, then grabbed lunch at the food court in Springfield. I got the chicken and waffles sandwich, DH got the Krusty burger and the kids got a burger and chicken tenders. I also got a Flaming Moe, which was cool for 2 seconds but was ultimately a $7 tablespoon of juice. I was so thirsty afterwards and had to pay $5 for a Powerade. The kids also got milkshakes that they didn’t finish (of course). We did ET and Shrek 4D after lunch and then DH wanted to ride the Rip Ride Rocket. While he did that, the kids and I watched the parade and looked in the gift shop. It only took him less than 20 minutes in the single rider line and then we headed home. We swam for a little while but it was not quite warm enough. We walked around the hotel and admired all the cool themes. We ate at the hotel food court and relaxed in the room until bed.

Day 3
This day was mostly a shit show. We planned to do Islands of Adventure and focus on Harry Potter stuff. It was raining when we woke up and the rain was forecast to be stopping soon (but didn’t) so we were utterly under-prepared for the whole day. We had heard that taking a bag into Universal was a pain in the butt with the whole locker situation, so we decided to skip the bag and just tough it out. We also (wrongly) thought the rain would be light and ending soon so we skipped the ponchos or rain gear. We ended up having to change DS8’s shoes before we even left, then there was a glich with the Uber we requested so we ended up waiting almost 20min in the cold rain for our car. Then we were running through the rain to get to the first rides at Islands of Adventure. DD6 was miserable, I was miserable, DS8 was actually doing well toughing it out. DD6 was cold and soon started complaining that her shoes were hurting her. I had bought these Native shoes that everyone said were soooo comfortable and good in the rain, but DS8 ditched his immediately and both DD6 and I ended up with blisters. So we spent most of our time in HP just trying to survive and deal with DD6’s endless complaints and whining. We did FJ first and it was a walk-on at that point. We weren’t sure DD6 would be tall enough but she JUST made it. We all loved it so much, we went again. This time around there was a technical delay which meant we waited maybe 10-15minutes in line. But so worth it. Hippogriff was down at this point (I’m assuming because of the rain). So we took the HEx and rode Gringott’s. It was a 10min wait and super easy with no bag to worry about. It was a little disappointing because the ride stopped midway and disrupted the flow of the story. We got some butterbeer, both cold and frozen. The kids liked the frozen but DH and I preferred the cold. We then headed over the Ollivanders and got some wands. We walked around and did some magic. The rain stopped, I tracked down some flip flops for DD6 and things warmed up so she was finally happy. We took the HEx back to IoA and had lunch at Three Broomsticks. There was a short wait but overall we were really happy with how organized everything was and the food was delish. The fish and chips were some of the best I have had. I also had another butterbeer because it was so good. Next, we rode Hippogriff. It was fun but really short and nothing memorable. At this point, my feet were killing me and I just wanted to leave. We did a few rides in Seussland and headed to Marvel Island to ride Spiderman. On the way, DH wanted to jump in the single rider line for Hulk but his “quick ride” turned into a 30 minute wait in the (now very hot) sun. Spiderman was great though and worth the wait. We finally headed out and I was so ready to leave by then. We got back to the room and decided we didn’t want to eat at the hotel again so we changed and headed over the Disney Springs. The kids and I were done at this point and no one was happy. The kids were being miserable and refusing to eat anything. All the good places had long waits and I really didn’t want just a burger or pizza. Everything was looking bleak for a while but we eventually regrouped and found that The Boathouse didn’t have any wait for outdoor tables. It had cooled off by now and it was actually perfectly pleasant on the deck. We overlooked the water and got a very real, very decent meal. This meal was the savior of the day. We all calmed down and watched the sunset. I had fish tacos for the first time and they were wonderful. The kids each got something they were happy with and their meals even came in these cute folding amphicars that the kids could play with. For dessert, we got this HUGE turtle pie that says it’s for 2 people but it definitely took all 4 of us to eat it!! Home and bed!

Day 4

This was the day we decided to celebrate DS8’s birthday. He got the pancakes he wanted to breakfast and we relaxed and took our time getting ready in the morning. We were still dressed and out the door earlier than expected so we were able to get to the park and jump in line to see Frozen even though it wasn’t in my plans for the day. I remember it being a pretty funny show from our last trip and it didn’t disappoint. I think they must ad-lib a lot of it so it’s a different show each time. Very funny! We still had some time to kill after Frozen so we headed over the see the Muppets 3D movie, then we got the kids a pretzel and boogied across the park to jump into my touring plan. We did Rider Switch for RnRC. I went first while DH waited with the kids and then I took the kids while he rode RnRC and then used his FPP for ToT. The kids and I got a frozen lemonade, did some pressed pennies, traded some pins and then jumped into the next showing of Beauty and the Beast. It was a really nice spontaneous time with just us 3. We met up with DH and headed over to our FPP for Star Tours and then rushed over to the Indiana Jones show thinking it started at 3pm but we were actually just early for the 3:15pm show. After the show, we checked in early for our 4:10pm reservation at SciFi Drive In and we were seated immediately. Our server was great and the food was ok, but nothing wonderful. DH and I both got the Beef and Blue burger but I was kind of creeped out to be eating my meal in the dark. I couldn’t see how cooked the burger was and it tasted less well done than I would have liked. I got a cool drink with a glowing ice cube, so that was fun. We skipped dessert because we knew we would be going to the dessert party later. Overall, it was cool experience but nothing I feel the need to do again. The kids liked the movie trailers but they didn’t really care about the car table and it was more of a hassle to read the menu/eat the food in the dark. After dinner it was over to Toy Story Land. All I can say is “Wow!” The detail and theme over there is AMAZING! (I should have said that about Harry Potter World as well – absolutely mind blowing and enchanting!) In TSL, my favorite was the popsicle stick benches that very clearly are made from used popsicle sticks. So clever! And even the entrance to the bathrooms were labeled with blocks spelling out BOYS and GIRLS. No detail was overlooked! I took a tons of photos. We waited in line for TSM and it was about 20-30 minutes but it goes by so fast because the queue is so interesting. We all loved looking at all the details and pointing things out to each other. I also LOVED this ride. It was a blast! We headed over the AS2 and it was a much tougher wait. The line was outside in the heat and not nearly as fun, plus they were having some technical issues so it took longer than anticipated. This ride was a big let down. It was about 30seconds and it didn’t even feel like you made it across the whole floor. After waiting in a line like that, you just expect more. We wandered around a bit and then headed over for our SDD FPP. The kids loved this ride and really loved that they didn’t have to wait in the line for it! After we finished in TSL, we went back across the park to the Star Wars Dessert Party. We were able to check in earlier than the 7:30pm time so we jumped in line and did a M&G with BB8. Then we grabbed some drinks and snacks. The food here was pretty good. There was a bunch of options, both sweet and savory. The kids stuck to the cupcakes and sweets (so did I actually!) DH had some of the other munchies. There was flash frozen Nutella mousse in dry ice and a fantastic bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and toppings. They also had these little mousse domes that were very pretty and came in several flavors. I also headed to the bar to check out the adult beverages. The punch was waaaay too strong but the Margarita was yummy! DS8 spent most of the time under the table, trying to hide from the Storm Troopers. He seemed interested and yet scared at the same time. He wanted me to get a picture of him with them in the background but he didn’t actually want to get near them. Of course, DD6 went right up and let me take her pic with them. The best part of the night was when we got in the line that we thought was to meet Chewy only to have Kylo Ren come around the corner and scare the daylights out of all of us. He bantered with us a bit. He saw my Leia shirt and said that he could see that I was a rebel. DS8 hid behind my leg the whole time. We got a few pics and laughed the whole way out. What a surprise! We finally did find the line to meet Chewy and we were able to see him and then join the group to get escorted out to the fireworks. The spot we had reserved really was amazing!! It could not have been more perfect. We were a little concerned because the weather was starting to drizzle and rain was predicted any minute but we were able to watch the whole show and get out of the park before it started. The fireworks show was spectacular! The projections and the fireworks were fantastic. We all loved it! DS8 seemed to have a great day!

That’s the first few days. I will post the rest later. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask me. I learned so much from everyone on this website. My family was so impressed with the way we were able to get around the parks on CL8 days with minimal to no waiting AND we were able to ride absolutely everything we wanted to.


thanks for sharing… looking forward to reading the rest!

I am enjoying your report. We also did the buffet in Germany and thought it expensive but good. Loved the music.This time around we have the dining plan so won’t get sticker shock. too bad about the rain at Universal.

I was thinking the same thing! I would love to go back to Germany on the dining plan. Maybe next time!

Sorry you had a hard time at Universal but it made me feel better because we did too!!!