Enjoying your trip report and looking forward to more!
Yay! Loving your report @OBNurseNH!! Can’t wait for the next installment!! Thank you!
I am absolutely loving your trip report. I can not wait to read more. We have a reservation for Sanaa on our 2nd day. Can’t wait to eat there. I made the reservation there just because of the bread service.
Loving your TR, @OBNurseNH - can’t wait to read more about your trip!
You will not be disappointed. I salivate to think of it!
More coming in the next day or so. Got caught in a work cycle for the last 3 nights and my only focus between shifts is sleep and playing taxi mom
Great report so far! Can’t wait to read more!
Love your trip reports! Looking forward to it.
Sunday, April 23rd: On vacation together, separately!
The planning of this trip started some time ago when I said to my husband, “At some point soon I’m going to have to agree to a Universal trip for you guys, aren’t I?” My family – except me – are all Harry Potter fans and have been dreaming of some time at Universal to do all that HP stuff. And I was feeling bad that we hadn’t yet gotten them there, always traveling to WDW instead. My husband suggested that we plan a WDW trip and he and the kids could spend a day at Uni together. He told me I didn’t even have to go! I asked if he was really okay with that – these trips are family time – and he said he understands that I’m not a fan and wouldn’t really be interested. He suggested I could spend some time with some of the friends I have made here through TouringPlans and Lines and maybe have some solo time in the parks too!!! I love that man! He knows what I need, and he knows what I love, and he makes sure I get both! It turns out a bunch of my friends were going to be there the weekend we arrived for the Star Wars RunDisney events and so the timing was perfect!
I had helped my husband set himself up with some TouringPlans for Universal, and had researched for him the best way for them to get from WDW to Uni as we had not rented a car. We all rose early as they needed to be leaving AKL via Uber by 0800 in order to reach Uni ahead of rope drop. We had an in-room breakfast (I ate light – you’ll see why soon!) and headed out the door right on time, and with a smooch and a wish for a good day for all, we headed off on our separate ways – a first for us on a family vacation!
I stepped out the door – that secret door by our room, right on the end of the bus path – and saw the MK bus was pulling up to the curb! It was some bus magic! I boarded with standing-room only and we were off! I was soooooo excited to be going to the park on my own! There are some things I’ve never done because they are just not that interesting to my family and so we have always shuffled them off to the side when our plans got tight and something had to give. It’s the whole “burnt toast” thing we moms do sometimes. But today was All About Me and I was going to get to do those things, dammit!
The ride from AKL to MK is typically just about 20 minutes. But today was different. There was a small matter of a Half Marathon going on, and there was just one lane open for travel on some roads. We crawled along, stuck in a bit of a traffic jam. All around me I heard guests beginning to freak out: “It’s only supposed to be about a 16 minute ride! It’s already been 20!” and “So much traffic to get into the parks! I wonder if it’s always this bad, or just on weekends…” One family with super cute kids and I began chatting it up and I was able to reassure them that this was out of the ordinary. They were relieved! As we finally passed runners, I think they started to believe me And I started to think I need to do a RunDisney event someday! Around that same time my husband texted me, “We are stuck in a traffic jam! We are never going to make rope drop! I’m starting to panic!” I replied, "You’ll be fine - the traffic will clear in a moment. You sound like a Liner " It was a proud moment for me
At 8:38 (wow! that WAS a long ride!) we passed under the MK arches:
I was interested to see how the new security checkpoint would work. The bag check area had been moved out closer to the bus stop and further from the tapstiles just a few weeks before we arrived. I had heard good things about it but was anxious to experience it for myself. But first, I had to take a moment to enjoy the beauty.
The bag check was smooth and quick. There are plenty of bays to serve guests and those of us who Line know to find the empty line; people are lemmings sometimes and just follow one another without looking at the bigger picture to see if there might be a better way. I walked right up to a security guard and had my bag zippers open and ready for inspection. There wasn’t much in there, and the most of it was in a large zip loc baggie – my park essentials were whittled down that morning to sunscreen for my face; blister band aids, moleskin, and scissors; and my poncho, just in case. I was past security in moments and excitedly made my way up to the tapstiles. It seemed often this trip we found ourselves behind less experienced travelers and those without magic bands, and this morning was the first such time. We tried to be understanding, but it was frustrating at times to be held up. I wonder if it might be smart of WDW to have some lanes that are only for guests with magic bands. Not that they don’t malfunction sometimes, but guests with paper or electronic tickets who need to present a credit card, yadda yadda yadda — it takes some time.
By 0851 I was passing under the train station (and getting choked up, of course)
One of the things I had set out to do on this day was to get up in that train station and just take it all in. It was, as you have seen already, a beautiful, warm sunny day and I felt so blessed to be able to enjoy it in such a special place. I posted this picture to Instagram, with the caption “This morning this Catholic girl is worshipping in the Church of Walt Jesus”
It was fortunate that I was able to get this photo: when we returned as a family on Wednesday The Emporium was wrapped in some (really ugly) scrim that looked like burlap. I’d have been sad not to have seen a picturesque view up Main Street. At 0900 the new Welcome Show started in the hub. I “watched” from the train station, but you can’t see much from there. It only lasted a moment and has nothing on the old Welcome Show, but I was glad to have had a chance to see it.
I made my way to the Fire Station. Our family has never explored Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and since I was moving at a more leisurely pace than that at which we normally tour, I planned to check it out. While in line to get my game and cards for the day I noticed the patches on the walls from Fire Departments all over the country. Of course I made sure to find some from the 603:
I did not find one from the MHT, which was a little disappointing. Maybe it’s there somewhere. I’ll just have to go back to look some more
I got my cards and off I went:
I have always wanted to ride up Main Street in one of the Main Street vehicles, and this was another of my “to do” items of the day. I wasn’t quite sure where to go to hop on board one, but soon enough found signs for the Fire Truck – just outside the Fire Station, of Course - and the Horse Drawn Streetcars at the flag pole.
In a moment, a vehicle arrived and I hopped on board, excited to be accompanied on this ride by the Dapper Dans!
A perfect start to my perfect day!
The vehicles drop you off in the hub, in the case of this one I was let off near the Adventureland bridge, but headed to Liberty Square. Since I was spending an extra day in the park today, I needed to add a day to my ticket so that I could join my family on the last day I had heard that the new Guest Relations in Liberty Square was a quick place to do this with little in the way of lines so after my horse-drawn streetcar was complete, I headed there. No lines, no waiting, and I added a day easy peasy.
I wandered over to the Liberty Belle to see about taking a ride. She doesn’t start running until 1000 so I had some time to enjoy Liberty Square. I took some time to notice details I’d never seen before. I learned about the Liberty Tree, a tradition which was begun in Boston Common giving people a place to gather for political movements, and I found the NH State flag flying proudly as one of the original 13 colonies represented in this part of the park that focuses on history.
I wandered through Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe as the only guest there. As I exited, the Town Crier announced the start of The Muppets Present…Great Moments in History. I had been looking forward to seeing this show and really enjoyed it!
At the conclusion of the show I made my way back to the Liberty Belle. One other lady was waiting to ride and before long the boat pulled up and announced boarding. She turned to me. “Are you coming?” she asked. I enthusiastically replied that I was! We both made our way up to the top decks and had a little chat. Turns out, she is from my neck of the woods – nearby Maine - and was also riding the Liberty Belle this morning while her family was off doing other things. She said, “I’ve been waiting to do this for 5 years, but my family never wants to!” Kindred spirits, us Moms – we may have bonded a bit during our relaxing trip which passes by some of the more iconic attractions in the park.
The carousel was next on my list of things I wanted to do this morning. My family always rides this one, but it was closing the next day for refurbishment, so this day was my only chance. I just love feeling like a kid up on those horses, watching Fantasyland zip by, listening to the magical music! Of course I just had to take a carou-selfie!
I realized that I was now near where my SOTMK game was set to begin. So I took some time to play one mission through to the end. It was kind of cute, and I thought my kids would enjoy it sometime. The mission took 15 minutes, and then directed me to Main Street to continue. I didn’t have time on this day to play any further, but my understanding is that we can pick up here next time and so we shall.
I made my way back to Main Street just the same. I wanted to wander around there and visit some of the stores I’ve never been in, like Uptown Jewelers and Crystal Arts. On the way I passed someone quite famous and decided to have my photo taken with her. I don’t know if I hit it just right, or if this is always the case, but there was NOBODY in line.
When I got near Casey’s it occurred to me to have some photos taken in front of the castle, just me myself and I
I dropped into the Main Street Bakery next to grab a beverage. Of all the Starbucks locations I visited this trip Main Street Bakery has always proven to be the most crowded. Guests nearby my joked that they need a FPP for this! I used my Starbucks app to rack up some points, and gave a name for my cup:
I found myself a seat at a table at the end of the little side street between Crystal Arts and Uptown Jewelers. I had heard that if you sit here a while you can sometimes hear “singing and dancing lessons” going on just above. Sure enough, I heard it! It was neat to watch people pass by and hear it too, and look up puzzled. Just a bit of magic <3
I made my way at a leisurely pace through the shops and found that, as is always true in WDW, the morning had passed quite quickly. I had plans for brunch at California Grill (squeee!) and decided that it was time to make my way there. I headed out of the park, and made the short walk to the Contemporary.
Great report. I really liked the Muppets show. It’s amazing all the little things we miss
I have found that “efficient touring” often comes at the expense of missing some of the details that make the magic.
We have also learned that, as WDW has become our happy place and we visit about yearly, we feel less pressure to do it all (not that you ever can, but YKWIM). This was one of our most relaxed trips for that reason, and we had a really great time.
Love your great report! It is so fun to read about other families Disney adventures! Our trip is coming up in 2 weeks! Thanks for the great info - LOVE your MK coffee cup in the first pic!! Where did you purchase it?
Great report so far!
That is one of the “You Are Here” series of mugs that Starbucks sells. They have them for many cities and they have them for each of the four parks too! The one in that pic is the MK one. I completed my collection this trip. Just drank coffee “at” Animal Kingdom this morning!! The mugs are found at the “Starbucks” locations in each park.
I know I am repeating myself, but I love this report. Really enjoying it
Thanks, all, for the positive feedback. Sometimes I write stuff and I think, “Nobody’s going to care about that” or “you’re being a little wordy here, Vattes” so it’s good to hear that those nasty inner voices are wrong
Never listen to the inner voice! (Unless it’s telling you something positive)
You and I both know the inner voice is not usually a nice “person”. I will heed your advice, my friend!
My inner voice is a jerk.