My trip report - I hope I can help someone

Ok, so I don’t post here much, but I have read a lot and I planned obsessively to get the perfect trip. Well, it wasn’t perfect because in hindsight I would have done a few things differently, but my wife told me I did a pretty good job planning this out. I’ll start from the very end first, then I 'll tell about the trip in order. I’m not a professional writer, as you’ll probably see and I apologize for the length.

Our last day in the parks was Saturday November 19. My wife and I agreed our last thing was to go eat at BOG for our reservation at 5:05. After we had eaten we had our picture taken with the Beast and walked out to of the park. I had a rush of emotions I have almost never had, but as I walked out of the park, I was really sad. I knew at that point our trip was over. One of my 6 year old daughters told me she wanted to ride 7 Dwarves again and I told her we would have to come back and I promised her I would ride it with her again. We had a lot to do to get ready to leave, but I just didn’t want to. I’m sad now just thinking about it.

We started out our trip driving almost all day (getting up at 4 AM CST) to drive and stay at AoA. We had our reservation for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ that night and I wanted to get our vacation started off the right way. We weren’t going to the park that day, so I figured to help my two 6 year old girls get in some good Mickey time and we could eat dinner too. Two birds with one stone. The food was better than I thought and the show was really good. Word of caution here: They had a trick rope guy that came out with a bullwhip with it mic’ed up. He was cracking the whip with the kids around and it was pretty loud. My kids covered their ears, but some kids went back to their parents crying. He then did some rope tricks and the band played a little more. My kids got their pictures taken with Mickey and Minnie and Chip & Dale and danced with Goofy and Chip & Dale. They had a blast. I had about 4 Mickey ice cream bars and loved watching my kids laugh so hard. I find it funny now, but when Minnie Mouse first came out, my daughter was so excited that she turned around to tell me about it and fell off the chair and hurt her hand. She cried a little bit, but she was ok in about 5 minutes.

Day 1 in the parks. MK. November 13.
We first got to the park and my kids wanted some ice cream bars. We got them some Mickey bars and I got a Dole Whip cup. After they ate it (slowly I might add) we went on the Jingle Cruise. It was a walk right on ride at that time, so no waiting. It was fun and there were some new jokes. My kids loved it and commented how real the animals looked. They just have never seen many animatronics. I enjoyed the Christmas theme. Next, we rode on the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Another walk on ride. I rode with my other daughter. When we first took off, she had a look of shear horror that as quickly as I could notice, went to a face of shear joy. She was so happy as we went up the air. Next we went over to Pirates of the Caribbean. We had to wait about 5 minutes for this. I was surprised that they enjoyed it, but they did. We hit up Splash Mountain (which they didn’t like), then ate at Columbia Harbor House. After lunch, it was time to go over to It’s a Small World, Peter Pan, and the Teacups. They loved all 3, but by this time the wait for each was pretty long. Luckily for us, we had a fastpass for Peter Pan. After the Teacups, it was time for our next fastpass, which was Enchanted Tales with Belle. Both my wife and I were selected to be the knights in shining armor and one of my daughters was selected to be the Beast. When they got to the part where the Beast dances with Belle, well, let’s just say I was one proud dad. The way she was looking at Belle in awe as they danced, the only thing I could really think was that I hope she can find a spouse that she looks at like that one day.

They were having Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that night and we didn’t have tickets here, so we left to Epcot for our dinner reservations at Akershus. We got there a little early, so stopped by and met Anna and Elsa. At Akershus, we saw the Princesses and ate. The food was good. I asked the waitress how to pronounce some of the names on the menu, and you could tell she got proud and really into it. I could do the 3rd one, but the first two I wouldn’t even try to imitate. After dinner, we headed back to our room and got ready for day 2 in Animal Kingdom.

I hope in the process of writing this, I can offer some helpful advice that may help some future travelers with some young ones. If you have any questions, post them and I’'ll let you know my thoughts.


Enjoying the read; looking forward to the next installment :slight_smile:

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Love trip reports, don’t make us wait too long for the next instalment please.

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Good job, love the report.

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Thank you for sharing!! So far sounds like a great trip!!

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Thanks for sharing!! We live in Norway and are spending two days in MK in February. I´m soaking up all of the information I can.

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Great start! Thanks for sharing

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Day 2: Animal Kingdom Monday, November 14

We got off to a late start and made our way over to Africa to ride on the Safari. I had a fastpass, but it probably didn’t help that much. Our wait was fairly significant. Probably about 30 minutes. I love this ride, and it’s probably the signature ride in all of Animal Kingdom. After it was over, we hit up the gorilla trail. We liked seeing the animals, but the highlight of this was definitely the gorillas in the cage at the end. Maybe we were just lucky, but they were very playful with each other, almost like they knew they were putting on a show. After we finished that, we went over to watch the drummers in Africa. Having played drums for about 30 years, I really enjoyed this. We went over to watch The Lion King. It was awesome, but it was very loud. We ate lunch at Tusker House. My kids didn’t like it very much, but did enjoy seeing Safari Donald, Mickey, and Goofy. After lunch, we went to It’s Tough to be a bug. We had to leave early, because my kids got really scared and started crying. We were able to fit in a few more shows, and hit up the dinosaur ride that lifts you up like the Magic Carpets do, but not the DinoSAUR ride. I think it was closed, but I knew it would be too scary for them, so we just didn’t go. Since my kids didn’t like Splash Mountain because you get a little wet, we decided to cancel our fastpass to Kali River Rapids. They were wearing a poncho for Splash Mountain and still didn’t like it. You only get a little wet on that, but on Kali you can get drenched. Kali and Expedition Everest were the only things I wanted to do but didn’t in Animal Kingdom and I didn’t because of my kids. After this, we had a long day ahead, so we only had one item left. To get a picture in front of the Tree of Life. We went there and had our picture taken from a park photographer. That was one of the best pictures from our whole trip. Yes, Monday was a light day, as Animal Kingdom is really a smaller park. With Rivers of Light not showing yet, we decided not to stay too late, or even go to another park.

We knew the next day was going to be long, because we had an early morning reservation to Be Our Guest before the park opened and we also had tickets to the Very Merry Christmas Party. I’ll talk more in the next installment about that and another area I messed up the scheduling.


Really enjoying your trip report, thanks for sharing.

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Day 3: Tuesday November 15. Magic Kingdom

So we got to our bus stop around 6:45 to get to the park before park opening to get to our breakfast at Be Our Guest. The restaurant itself is pretty sharp, but for breakfast the food is just ok. Dinner will come later. The reservation served it’s purpose though. To get our picture taken on Main Street without a bunch of people in the background. When we got there, we sat in the West Wing. One of my daughters got very upset because she wanted a biscuit. The waitress was very helpful and tried very hard, but they just didn’t have one.I was pretty embarrassed to be honest, but I also realize my kids weren’t the first to have a fit and they won’t be the last either. I had ordered 3 “Grey Stuff” cupcakes, and to my surprise, my kids didn’t want them. More for me! We finished up and made our way out into the parks to go get on some of the rides. We hit up the Haunted Mansion first, which to my surprise was my youngest daughter’s favorite ride. My oldest was scared to death of it. We used our fastpass for Peter Pan, then went over to Laugh Floor and the Carousel of Progress. I love that show. It’s old, but it’s fun. Next, we used our fastpass for the 7 dwarves mine train. My daughter that liked The Haunted Mansion didn’t like the 7 dwarves and my daughter that didn’t like the Haunted Mansion loved the 7 dwarves. My wife and I decided we would divide and conquer the next time, because we didn’t want to make our kids go on a ride they were genuinely scared of. We rode the Teacups again. I had told them going in “If you want to ride fast, ride with daddy, but if you want to ride slow, ride with mommy.” My wife gets motion sickness, so she doesn’t spin them. In Sunday, they had both been with my wife and this time, they chose to ride with me. Once we started, they laughed the whole time. My wife told me she was just scared they were going to throw up, but they loved it. We saw Cinderella and then took a trip back to the room for a few hours. This is where I messed up.

I messed up because I expected my girls to be worn out and want to take a nap. They didn’t. They stayed awake the whole time we were back at the room.

We went back to the Magic Kingdom around 5 and got our place to wait for the parade. We waited there for about 2 hours. Our view of Mickey’s merriest celebration was not good, but I headed over to get us cookies and hot cocoa. By the way, the hot chocolate was among the best I’ve ever had. It was awesome. The parade was incredible. They had every Disney character you can imagine. They even had Wreck it Ralph, and I didn’t even know he was a Disney character. They had the Toy Soldiers in a marching band, and at the end of the Parade was the big guy himself. Santa.

We stayed and watched the fireworks and my wife wanted to leave because she said it was chilly and she didn’t have her coat. We walked down Main street in the “snow”. Most of the crowd was leaving at this point, but the party was well worth it.

Next up, Hollywood studios.


Doesn’t sound like you messed up at all! The kids had a nice break even if they didn’t sleep! Sounds like a great day at MK!


If I had to do it over again, I would have let them sleep in a little while longer so we could have gone longer in the Christmas Party. I would have scheduled the ealry morning BOG maybe on Friday instead of the same day. Asking a 6 year old to get up at 5:30 and go until midnight was just too much on them.


I had this as we STARTED our trip… While we watched the Welcome Show at MK, when the main characters got off the train and started waving to everyone. Crazy that a grown man would tear up seeing this, but it was the culmination of a year of planning and my kids first time seeing it.


Wednesday, November 16 Hollywood Studios

This day was kind of nice because we knew there weren’t a lot of rides for us to go on, mostly just shows. We slept in a little longer so made it to Hollywood Studios around 11:00. We were going to hit up Pizza Rizzo, but it was the day before it was set for the soft opening… They asked for ice cream, so even though I hate to do it, got it for them. After all, we were on vacation. We made our way to the Frozen sing-a-long. I was shocked. If I had to pick out one thing I did that I thought we would do just because of the kids this would have been it. I just knew I wouldn’t enjoy it. When we got in there, it was really good! The historians are really funny. This was the biggest surprise I had of something I didn’t think I would like, but actually did. After that, we went to Indiana Jones. My kids didn’t like it and were a little scared of the fire, so we left a little early. We headed over to Under the Sea. Ariel is my oldest daughter’s favorite princess, so of course she really liked this one. We stayed and watched some of the Star Wars First Order March. Next we were going to hit up Beauty and the Beast, but I told my daughters I knew were the camera was if I could go on the Rock;n Rollercoaster. I hit up the single rider line and was back in time. We watched that, then made our way over to Minnie’s Seasonal dine at Hollywood and Vine. Loved it. The food on the buffet was right up my kids alley. The best 1 service credit restaurant we went to. After that, we went over to Fantasmic. I love that show, but one of my kids didn’t like it quite so much. I love how it is so well orchestrated. My plans were for us to hit up Jingle Bell Jungle Bam, but my kids were a little tired and it was kind of chilly, so we headed to the room. I felt like we got alot of the things we wanted to do done, but I will say it was far more crowded (or at least seemed that way) then I thought it would and than it had been all week leading up to this point.

Next up: EPCOT and Soarin!


If I might make a suggestion… if your purpose of this post is so people can learn from your mistakes, then highlight the mistakes (make them bold, or put them on a separate line with some sort of marker like “TIP:”). That way if readers are just looking to learn from your mistakes, if they don’t have time to read everything, they can quickly get to the meat of your posts.



i’m really enjoying your post, just as it is. Looking forward to reading more.


My DD didnt really like Fantasmic either. Someday we’ll try again!! Cant wait to hear about Epcot!

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Great trip report. I enjoy reading about your family’s emotional reactions. So relatable!

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Thursday November 17 EPCOT

So we got to EPCOT about 9:30 or 10:00. My personal mission for the day was to “Eat around the world”. I had a list of foods that I would have liked to try, just because it’s not something I get to do around my local town. My list included a Cronut from Canada, Schoolbread from Norway, Kakigori from Japan, Crepes from France, Gelato from Italy. That was for the afternoon/evening. We had no table service dining today, so I figured I’d be able to get to all of them. I didn’t.

Once we got to future world, we went to the Seas with Nemo. My kids loved it. We were originally looking to go to Turtle Talk with Crush, but we saw it after the Seas, so we made our way over there. I think the technology is really cool here. How they can get the animation to talk in sync with the voice with the kids is really amazing.After this, we had our fastpass for Spaceship Earth. Couldn’t miss that. It’s kind of funny. My kids thought it was a rollercoaster with big drops and didn’t want to go on it. When we got there and they saw it raise up into the ball, they really got scared. But in the end, they loved it. I didn’t remember the part about the world tomorrow, so that was new for me. We thought that was really funny and added something a little more memorable to the ride. After that was over, we had a fastpass at the Character Spot, but we decided to skip it because we had plenty of access to the characters by this point. We went over to Soarin. Side note about this. My parents had been a month or so before us and had told me that my youngest daughter likely would not like this ride. One thing I have not mentioned yet is that she is on the autism spectrum, so they figured it might be too much for her. So we waited and when it was our turn, we got on. We were originally going to be on the 2nd row, but I requested to be on the first so we wouldn’t see the feet hanging in front of us. When we took off, it was absolutely amazing. I felt the wind in my face and felt my stomach go up into my throat kind of like when on a rollercoaster. It felt SO realistic. I really don’t want to spoil anything for anybody that hasn’t been on it, but after about the 3rd or 4th scene, there’s a nice little surprise that caught me off guard. But it just made the whole experience even better. I could hear my wife telling my youngest daughter a few times “If you’re scared just close your eyes.” a few times. After it was over, my wife told her “Tell daddy what you thought about that” she came up to me and said “That was fun!” and gave me a high 5. My wife was then trying to brag on her and said " I even told her to close her eyes and she didn’t." She looked up at my wife and said “Well I did a little bit.” I think she thought she had broken some rules because she had a melt down. She was really upset and it lasted for over an hour. We asked her if she wanted a toy or some ice cream, but she couldn’t be calmed down. We had our fastpass for Frozen Ever After and didn’t want to miss that, so we went ahead. The picture they take on it was one of the funniest pictures I think I’ve ever seen because she was balling in the back row, but also there was an older boy (probably around 12 or so) that looked as if he was holding on for dear life. Memories. That’s what this trip was all about, right? We decided we needed to take a break because she was so upset. We told our girls we were going back to the room and my oldest daughter got really upset." We’ve only done 5 things all day!" They had both said they wanted to see “The Circle of Life”. I told them we would come back to it once we got some rest. We went to the room, and when we came back a little later, we got to the last showing of “The Circle of Life”. We started to go set up to find a place for the fireworks. On my way, I got a Cronut. We got to Japan and I and mygot my girls a Kakigori while we waited. I missed out on the Crepes, geato, and the schoolbread this day, but I had a funnel cake, a Cronut, and a Kakigori, All in all, the Cronut was highly recommended, but the kakigori is just shaved ice and the funnel cake is something I can get here. We set up and watched the fireworks. My youngest daughter who didn’t like the Fantasmic didn’t care for this either. After that was over, we went out with the rest of the park and waited quite some time to get on our bus to end our day.

Next up: Magic Kingdom and what I was looking forward to most this trip


Awesome report @jason.darnell1976! You mentioned your wife gets motion sickness…was she able to ride Soarin’ with no problem? Other than the Tea Cups, is there anything she absolutely cannot ride?

I get motion sickness a lot easier now compared to the last time I went to Disney and I’m concerned I’m going to have issues on rides I used to enjoy. :pensive:

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