Trip Report-March 21-26, 2019
I’m writing my first trip report! I’ve learned so much from other Liners, and thought I might have something to share. This recent trip was my 25th to the World. I went once as a child in 1977, honeymoon in 1987, every three to four years with our kids, and now at least once a year as a couple, with a few solo trips thrown in over the last four years. Our touring style has changed quite a bit over the years, so I can relate to the Commando tourist as well as the relaxed plan!
I checked the “How We Did” on TouringPlans, and every park we visited turned out to be an 8, 9, or 10 on the crowd calendar. We ended up with three 8’s, two 9’s, and three 10’s for the parks we visited. I noted the crowd level (CL=) next to the park for each day. Almost all of these were higher than predicted.
This recent trip was our first trip during Spring Break season. Crowds were noticeably higher, but with Fastpass and a plan, very manageable. We booked POFQ thru MVT and stayed in room #1325. If you look at the resort map on TouringPlans, you’ll notice that this room is all the way at the east end of the resort, probably as far away as you can get from everything. It was a standard room, but from our room window, we could watch the sun rise along with the mist over the Sassagoula River. It was quite a lovely view! It was also quiet since there was very little foot traffic. If you don’t mind the extra steps to the pool, bus, food court, or Riverside, I’d recommend this room.
As usual, we rented a car. I had booked the trip in January and started looking for a car right away. Prices were ridiculously high- $300s-$400s! I started requesting quotes from Autoslash.com and booked one as soon as I realized prices were not coming down in general. We usually see a significant drop around four weeks out, but that didn’t happen. So I booked with National first, but then Autoslash notified me of a better rate, so I then booked with Hertz (got it for $211–higher than usual, but better than anything else I had seen for this trip) and canceled National. (Bookings were actually made through Priceline.) I had signed up for Hertz Gold about a year and a half ago when I rented with them through Hotwire, and was able to include our Hertz Gold number in the reservation. We got an email the morning of our rental that we could go to the Hertz pickup location in the parking garage and pick up our car without stopping at the counter. It worked like a charm. I asked the lot attendant what the difference between the Gold row and the Reserved row was. She told me that the Gold row cars are newer, nicer, and less miles. We chose a silver Kia Optima.
Onto the trip itself. We flew in from Baltimore on Southwest Thursday morning. Our flight arrived right on time, around 12:50pm. We picked up our luggage, rental car, and drove to our traditional first day lunch spot–Sweet Tomatoes at Crossroads Shopping Center. We used the Waze app on our phones to get around, but we are finally starting to know our way. After lunch, we drove to Publix to get our groceries. We eat breakfast in the room, so got hubby’s cereal and milk, yogurt and applesauce for me, water, soda, oranges, and some snacks. We usually stop at the Character Warehouse before going to Publix, but I wasn’t in a shopping mood and wanted to get to the hotel, so no Outlet stop this trip. I’ve already described our room location at POFQ, but wanted to mention that when we got to the room, there were two towel swans in the window to greet us (their necks made a heart) and a Mickey head made of bead necklaces on the table. Nice touch:)
After unpacking, we drove to AK (CL=10) to use our Navi River fastpass. Modify didn’t work for me at 1:01 and 3:01 when I tried to change it to FoP. Oh well. I enjoy Navi River. I’d never wait in a long line for it, but I think the visuals are beautiful, and Iove the frog shadows hopping on the leaves above. We had dinner at Satuli Canteen. I got the kids’ beef with the sweet potato hash, and hubby got the Shrimp and Noodle bowl. Then we moved onto Epcot for the Passholder event that night. We took lots of pictures of the flowers and topiaries, watched Illuminations from the courtyard in Japan, then met up with Liners at the entrance to Soarin’ before our ride on B1. It was great to see @LTinNC, @snowdiz, @WendyWelcher, and @lykeeton. We picked up our AP Pluto magnets, then drove home for bedtime!
Friday morning, our plan was to rope drop AK (CL=10) so we could then try to modify our Navi fastpass to FoP at 11:01. We also had fastpasses for Safari and Everest. We got to the Navi line about 8:45am, but it was down with no estimate on when it would be up and running. We waited for about 20 minutes, but decided to skip out since we had ridden it the night before. We rode the Safari with our fastpass, watched the 10:00 Lion King show (one of my favorites-especially the Tumble Monkeys!), then I rode EE twice using both of our fastpasses since Hubby doesn’t do rollercoasters. We got 12:00 FoP fastpasses by modifying our Navi at 11:01. We tapped in at 11:55 and were off FoP at 12:25. Lunch was at Yak and Yeti with our Landry’s card. We actually had to wait about 15-20 minutes to be seated since it was so busy and other Landry’s users were ahead of us. We got another FoP fastpass at 1:01 for 2:00. We did that after lunch, then went back to the hotel for a rest. I have Crohn’s Disease and it was acting up, so for dinner, we went to the food court at POFQ. I asked the chef to make me plain chicken and veggies. We then took the boat to and from Disney Springs. Another nice point about our room is we could see the higher fireworks from Illuminations from our balcony.
Saturday–We got to the POFQ bus stop at 8am to go to MK. It was an 8am opening, so we were not good Liners that day! When we got to MK(CL=8), we rode Buzz, watched the Trolley Welcome Show, rode Under the Sea, I used both of our fastpasses for 7DMT, did People Mover, Buzz with fastpass, Hall of Presidents (haven’t done this in awhile. It was different. I liked it, but I did NOT like the fact that there were three security guards in the theater the whole time!), Jungle Cruise fastpass, then lunch at BOG (12:00 reservation). We had preordered. I got the allergy version of Kids’ Beast Feast (pulled pork w/no sauce, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes), and hubby got the Ham and Cheese with fries. I always enjoy our lunch here. After that, we headed back for our afternoon break. I sat by the pool bar and wrote in my travel journal. It was still a tad too cool for me to get in the pool, but the pool was very crowded. For dinner that night, we went to Trail’s End. We drove to Fort Wilderness and took the Internal bus to the settlement area. Once again, I asked the chef to make me some plain chicken and veggies. My tummy was awful that night, but I don’t really think it was the food. I think it was just the stupid Crohn’s.
We walked around our resort, listened to the duo at Scat’s Cat Lounge for a little bit, and went to bed early.
Sunday-Epcot (CL=10). Spaceship Earth, fastpass to Nemo, Turtle Talk (we still love this!), F&G pictures, butterfly house (really a lame butterfly house! Where are the butterflies??), Living w/the Land w/fastpass, Soarin’ fp, lunch @ Sunshine Seasons, Voices of Liberty, back to resort for naps. We walked to Riverside for dinner–more chicken and green beans for me. Then we drove over to POLY, walked over to GF and got to listen to the pianist and the orchestra, then walked back to POLY for Dole Whip Swirls and fireworks on the beach. This has become one of my favorite things to do, and this time the beach was much more crowded than the other times we’ve done it. I realized that if you want to watch the fireworks from the POLY beach, go to the right side (facing MK) of the little rock circle. We were on the left side this time and couldn’t hear the music as well as when we sit on the other side of that little circle. It’s probably only 8 feet difference, but those rocks must block the sound really well! A young lady sitting next to us pulled up the Youtube version of the fireworks and synched it so that we could listen to the music on her phone.
Monday- We didn’t rush, but got to HS(CL=8)right at 9:00am and headed straight to TSMM. We did standby and it was a 30 minute wait. Then I used both of our fastpasses for SDD. I liked it, but now I really want to try it at night. I think it will be better at night, just like 7DMT. Our timing worked out so that we walked right into the 10:30 Frozen show. I love how they update the jokes to keep the show fresh for returning guests. We then rode Star Tours with our fastpasses. After that, it was time to check in for lunch at 50’s PT. Aunt Kyra was very sweet. After lunch, we were just in time for the 1:00 Beauty and the Beast show, but we had to sit in the bleachers! I’ve never been in the bleachers, nor do I think I’ve seen them used! Yeah, it was busy! I was able to use our fastpasses for RNR and ToT (one on Hubby’s band, one on mine). Then back to the hotel. I wanted some pool time, so got suited and sunscreened up and walked to the pool. I could not get a seat! So I decided to walk up to the quiet pool at Riverside. When you are watching your time and have a limited amount of it, that extra walk seems way longer than at other times when we’re just walking and enjoying the scenery! The quiet pool was very nice though. I had a choice of seats, and even though there were people in the pool, it was much quieter than the main pool. Then we got ready for the evening–Air Supply concert at Epcot (CL=8) at 5:30. We ended up standing in the back since the theater was full. Air Supply was one of the bands I listened to as a moody teenager, and we had attended quite a few of their concerts in their prime. It was fun to hear them again live. We then tried the Ale and Compass for dinner at the Yacht Club. It was good. We walked around the Epcot Resort loop, then back to the hotel. We decided to take another boat ride to Disney Springs where we walked a little more, then got the boat back. I saw a meteor on the way back. That’s the second time I’ve seen a meteor from the boat ride. It happened two years ago as well.
Tuesday-For our final day, we had a 9:35 fastpass for FoP, so we packed, checked our bags at the airline desk so we wouldn’t have to do it at the airport (in case you didn’t know this, you can check your bags even if you are not taking DME), then drove to AK (CL=9). It took awhile to get into the parking lot! The front of the park was packed too. We rode FoP. I have to say, there’s something very satisfying about walking past people who are waiting in a 3 ½ hour line and getting right to the front of the queue. Tapped in and were off the ride in 30 minutes.
The weather was beautiful. Not a drop of rain. I’m one of those people who tends to be cooler than most, so I was very comfortable in jeans and a hoodie for a majority of the time. Most afternoons, a t-shirt was fine. I did swim the one day.
As I mentioned, crowds were higher than we typically experience, but very manageable. We’ve been frequently enough that we don’t feel like we have to ride everything each trip, so we don’t wait in lines. If we missed it this trip, we’ll try to get it on the next one. All in all, though, we did pretty much everything we wanted to . I’ll be going back solo for a couple of days in September, so I’ll concentrate on doing lots of the thrill rides that Hubby doesn’t like to do. We’ll also be back together in November before our Annual Passes expire. I think we’ll take a break for about a year after that. We’ll see!
I hope this report is somewhat helpful to someone! Thanks for reading. If I can answer any questions, I’ll be happy to do so. Have a magical day!