Our 3,000 Mile Roundtrip Adventure to WDW Mar 4-10, 2018

Background Info

This trip consisted of:
me (37)
DH (40)
DS8 - my cautious one
DS6 - my thrill lover
DD4 - my princess/tomboy
DD2 - my Mickey loving Disney baby
My dad (77)
My mom (71)

We had previous trips to WDW in Sep 2014 (stayed at GF and came home with Disney baby), Sep 2015 (stayed at POR when Disney baby was 11 weeks old), Nov 2016 (stayed at CBR).

I always dreamed of staying at Wilderness Lodge and around early June 2017 I realized that if we wanted to all squeeze into a deluxe studio then we had to do it before DS2 turned 3 in June 2018. We asked my parents if they wanted to come with us and they said no, they weren’t quite ready for another Disney trip yet (they took us in Sep 2014). So I looked at calendars and we decided the first full week of March would work best for our schedule, plus it was right before the spring break crowds would arrive. My kids are homeschooled so we didn’t have to worry about taking them out of school. This was our early spring break!

I found an owner to rent points from and she booked us for a studio at Boulder Ridge Villas at WL for Mar 4-10. I spent the next 9 months planning!

We are from Missouri, about 50 miles west of St. Louis. My parents live in Tulsa, OK. About 3 weeks before our trip we were facetiming with my parents and the kids were telling them about their upcoming trip. The kids were being really sweet and my parents enjoyed the conversation. Later that night my mom called me and said they changed their minds and wanted to go with us. I am a crazy planner so was in a bit of a panic, but I knew I couldn’t let that stop them. So thankfully they found a room at WL, paying rack rate (ouch!), bought their tickets from Undercover Tourist and I was busy trying to add them to our few ADR’s and fastpasses. It was a challenge but I liked that. We were NOT on the dining plan so we only had BOG breakfast, MBYBBQ, 50s PT, and Bon Voyage Breakfast booked. I got them added to all of them and was thankful for the TP reservation finder to do so. I got them added to most of our fastpasses but not all of them (like FOP or 7DMT). Also, about a week before our trip I was doing my daily morning check to see if any RO discounts were available for my parents’ dates and finally it was for their whole trip! Thankfully I had my mom’s MDE login and was able to modify the reservation to save them almost $300.

Our original plan was to leave around 4am on Friday, March 2 and drive 850 miles to Valdosta, FL then get up on March 3 and drive the remaining 250 miles to Disney’s Wide World of Sports and watch our beloved Cardinals take on the Braves in a spring training game. We would stay at a Hampton Inn in Orlando that night and then check into WL on March 4. My parents also made plans to drive from Tulsa, leaving on Mar 2 and arriving at WL on Mar 4.

However, 1 week before departure my dad’s sister was hospitalized. She had battled with breast cancer last year, having a double mastectomy and never fully recovered. Her body was failing and the outlook was not good. It was a tough week for my dad and he was so torn with what to do. Of course he would be there for the funeral and all, so they decided to leave for WDW as planned and be ready at any minute to turn around and drive back. But God had different plans and He brought her home to heaven on Tuesday, February 27. Her funeral would be in Oklahoma City on Friday, March 2.

We changed our plans and decided to drive to Tulsa (400 miles) the afternoon of Thursday, Mar 1. We would stay with my parents and then drive to OKC the next morning (Mar 1) for the funeral, then drive just past Memphis to Southaven for the night. The next day (Mar 3) we planned to drive to Ocala, FL about 45 minutes from WDW. Then Mar 4 we would drive to WL.


Day 1 - Thursday, Mar 1

With the change in plans above, I had to do some rearranging with our packing. We had 1 suitcase packed for our overnight stops, then the rest of the clothes were in a couple other suitcases. I ended up having to pack another suitcase to fit all of our funeral clothes and shoes, plus DH had to bring along his suit as they asked him to be a pallbearer. So that morning I ran through the packing list one more time adding in all the extra stuff, got all the kids snack bags packed for the roadtrip, and DS8 finished up his schoolwork. DH was off work that day so he was able to help out a lot. We had eaten lunch and left the house about 1:00. We got 2 miles down the road and as I was running through the packing list (again), I realized I left 2 important water bottles at home. So we turned around (DH was not very happy) and I ran inside to grab them and threw them into the back of the Ford Expedition EL (there was little room left at this point)! We swung by our church to pick up some shoes that we were borrowing from a friend for DS8 to wear to the funeral. Those got thrown in the back as well and we were finally off! This 400 mile trip was somewhat uneventful. DS2 and DD4 fell asleep quickly. All the kids are used to this trip to Grandma and Papa’s, although this time they did have backpacks filled with new Disney stuff like crayons, stickers, notepads, coloring books, notebooks, and they all got new Disney travel lapdesks, which I thought they would love and would give them something flat so they could do all of their new activities. Plus, they could eat on it as needed. Well, honestly only 1 of them used their new lapdesk (mom fail) and the rest of the time they stared out the window, watched a movie, or listened to Disney music. We stopped at Wendy’s in Joplin for dinner and then had only 1.5 hours to Tulsa. We arrived in Tulsa about 8pm. My mom was there and my oldest sister came over to see the kids. My dad was not there as he was in OKC already for the wake and rosary that night. This was better, because there is a lot of tension between my parents, and when you add in a disney trip and a funeral it could be a recipe for disaster. The kids were excited but we eventually got them to bed around 10pm and I pulled out their khaki pants and my dress and threw them in the dryer to get some wrinkles undone! DH and I went to bed around 11pm with the alarm set for 6:30 the next morning. I gave my mom firm instructions not to wake the kids when she got up, that we would let them sleep as late as possible, then if they were still sleeping at 7:30 we would wake them. My mom is a bit of a control person (like me), and still finds herself coming to wake me up in the morning if we are staying at her house and have to be somewhere! So I could just see my mom waking the kids early, trying to get them up and ready, all the while DH and I are trying to get dressed and ready too, which does not work well in our family! I forgot to add that DS2 decided he did not want to sleep with the big kids and wanted to sleep with DH and I in our full size bed. I was actually thinking about sleeping in the room next to it by myself so there would be more room, but didn’t want to offend DH by mentioning it. Well, thankfully he mentioned it first so we each had a great night’s sleep!

Day 2 coming up next!


Looking forward to hearing more, including what you thought of MBYBBQ. Sorry to hear of your loss.

Thank you. Yes, there will be plenty to say about MBYBBQ! Most people in our group loved it!

Day 2 Friday, March 2

I had a wonderful night sleep in a full bed all to myself and was ready to go when the alarm went off at 6:30. I thought I would sneak into the shower before DH and the kids woke up but once I got into the bathroom, DH was up too! So we quickly showered and I started getting ready. I could hear the kids waking up so I just let them play while I finished getting ready. Turns out my mom was up too and was getting them all breakfast ready! That was really helpful of her to do. We finally got all the kids dressed in the funeral clothes and DH in his suit and we left the house at 8:15 with the start of the next leg of our journey.

It’s about 1100 miles from our town in MO to WDW. But when you go thru Tulsa and OKC, it makes the total trip nearly 1,800 miles. So we were 400 down the day before with 1400 to go! The drive from Tulsa to OKC is only 100 miles. My mom was in her car behind us and we also met up with my sister while on the interstate. We arrived at the funeral home about 10:30am, with the funeral starting at 11. My dad was there and it was really good to see him but I could tell he was out of it a bit. I gave him a big hug and so did the kids and I think that helped. My 3 cousins were there that I had not seen in over 10 years. These were the sons of my aunt. They all had on pink ties and pink socks with their suits in honor of breast cancer awareness. I thought that was a nice touch. I should say that this was hard for my cousins as well. They lost their dad back in 2000 to early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 62. My parents were actually at my SEC college softball tournament in Columbus, GA when they got the call about my uncle. They had to leave right away to make it back for the funeral. My other sister later arrived with her husband and 3 kids. It was good to have the whole family together. We attended the funeral (with DD4 yelling “I’m hungry” from the 3rd row for several minutes). After the burial we had lunch at the church and got to visit some more with my cousins. DH was anxious to get on the road but he was also very patient in this situation. About 2:15 we went to the car and got clothes for all of us to change into. DS2 needed a nap really bad and did not like changing his diaper, putting clothes on, etc. I was wrangling him in the bathroom, along with trying to help DD4 get changed, as well as myself. While battling this I hung my clutch wallet on the door hanger inside the bathroom stall. We finally got everyone dressed and said goodbye to our family and about 3:00 we headed west from OKC to Southaven with a 480 mile drive in front of us.

After battling through Friday afternoon traffic we finally got out of the city and onto the open road. I settled in and put a movie on for the kids. I went to get my chapstick that was inside my wallet when I realized…oh no! I didn’t have it! I panicked. DH wasn’t really sure what to think because I get nervous about lots of things so he told me to just keep looking. I couldn’t find it anywhere in my stuff in the car. I looked at the clock and it was 4:30. We were about 75 miles out of town by then. I looked up the number for the church and I was talking to the secretary when I got another call from a Texas number (my cousin is from Texas so I figured it must be him), I told the secretary I had to go and would call back if needed. Sure enough it was my cousin. Someone from the church had found my wallet and called my cousin, knowing it must belong to someone from his family. The church told him I needed to pick it up by 5:00 otherwise I could wait until Sunday when they were open again since the next day was Saturday. He told the lady “she needs it now, she’s going to Disney!” All this was happening and we were coming up on an exit so I told DH to exit until we figured out what to do. I briefly thought about not going to get my wallet and having them overnight it to Disney, but then thought that was a bad idea. So my cousin was very nice and offered to pick up the wallet for me and he started driving east on I-40 and we headed back west. We ended up driving all the way back to the Bricktown area and met at the Bass Pro parking lot. I apologized over and over to my cousin but he said he needed the distraction anyways. He had already checked to make sure my cash was still in there (I had not split the cash between DH and myself yet). In addition to the cash I had $500 in Disney Gift cards that were still in there. So we were very thankful God was with us. We said good-bye to my cousin (again), I gave him $40 from the wallet and told him to buy the family dinner and some beer. He was appreciative of that, even though of course he didn’t want to take it. But we made him. It’s getting close to 6:00 by this point and there was a McDonald’s right by the Bass Pro, so we ran in and got some food to take on the road. DS6 ate his McD’s on his lap desk and that made me smile.

Our family does not like driving late at night so this was going to be different for us. I don’t sleep well if I think DH is tired. Around 10pm we discussed the option of changing our reservations and staying somewhere outside Little Rock. I pulled out the map and found some towns between LR and Memphis that could be possible stops. We had reservations at a Home2Suites in Southaven, using our HHonors points. I called Hhonors and explained the situation (my aunt’s funeral, leaving my wallet, etc) and even though we were past the cancellation point he said it would be fine to rebook another hotel. The only one that seemed like a decent option would reduce our mileage about 100 miles, but cost an additional $60. We were looking at a 1am arrival in Southaven. The guy was really helpful but in the end we just decided to push through to Southaven. We hung up and I went ahead and checked in using the Hhonors app and chose my room #. The kids fell alseep and we arrived at the hotel at 1am. It was actually a really nice and quiet drive. When I walked in to the lobby to get our room keys, the worker guessed who I was, probably the last one to check in for the night. I took the DS2 and DD4 with me to the room while DH went to park the car. DS8 and DS6 stayed behind to help bring in luggage. Can I just say how nice it is that these boys are growing up and can help with things like this?! It used to be so hard to juggle checking in, unloading the car, all while trying to keep kids quiet in the room.

Our room setup was 2 queen beds plus a pull out sofa bed. I can’t remember who slept where, but I do know DH and I slept in the same bed this time! :wink: We discussed what time to leave in the morning, but we both just kind of said we should sleep as late as we can as it would really be our last night to sleep in before Disney! We had about 730 miles to drive the next day, plus 1 hour time change from central to eastern. But we were ready! So far our mileage amounted to 1,080 miles down with 820 to go! (We added an extra 100 with my wallet debacle)

Be back later to post on Day 3…the day we will finally arrive in Florida!


Day 3 - Saturday, March 2

We slept until about 8…for some reason my kids always sleep late in hotels…I think it’s because of the nice dark curtains. We got dressed and I took the 2 littles down to breakfast while DH and the 2 older boys loaded the car. DS2 decided to spill all of his apple juice but the front desk workers were really helpful. Home2Suites is a modern eco-friendly hotel that serves everything on real dishes and real silverware. I would have preferred less breakable stuff with the kids like when we are at Hampton Inn, but I guess I can’t complain too much. We finally hit the road at 9:30am. We stopped for gas at some point (I think it was a Love’s…we always try to stop at the travel stop gas stations so there is room to pull over to make lunch). All the kids took a potty break and then I noticed there was a McDonald’s in the building and for some reason I had a free McCafe drink on my mobile app so I got the biggest frozen caramel frappe available. It was a nice vacation treat for me! I made some quick sandwiches so we could get back on the road. Each kid got a soda from the cooler too…it’s vacation after all!

I don’t remember much about this day which means it must have gone pretty smoothly. There’s not much to see when driving from Oklahoma to WDW…although one benefit of having forgotten my wallet the day before was that we got to drive by Tinker AFB in OKC 3 times and the kids got to see all the cool bomber planes! One thing I do remember doing during the drive was putting together our Walmart Grocery pickup order for the next morning. We wanted to stop at Walmart for some water, beer, and other important food items so we reserved the earliest window possible from 8-9am at the Walmart in Ocoee, FL.

After lunch I could tell DH was starting to get tired so I offered to drive but he said he was fine…we were only 1 hour from Atlanta and he didn’t want me to have to drive thru Atlanta (which I totally could have as I have driven all over the country by myself, including LA but I was also totally fine NOT driving so I didn’t protest!) We breezed through Atlanta on a Saturday afternoon and the kids enjoyed watching the planes take off and land at the airport. I had hoped we could stop at the Florida Welcome Center as we always do and get our free orange juice, but someone on the TP Lines Chat informed me that it closed at 5. I was thankful we found that out ahead of time. It was around 7pm eastern time by now and everyone was hungry again. I was craving sweet tea and biscuits from BoJangles so I looked them up on Google maps and found one in Tifton, GA. We were all ready for a potty break and we needed gas again so it worked out well. We took the order from BoJangles to go and while we were at the gas station I divided all the food out to the kids. They gave us little boat baskets at BoJangles which were perfect for the kids to eat of (and my sweet DS6 made sure to use his lapdesk). If you have never tried BoJangles you need to stop just for the biscuits! So buttery and warm and melt in your mouth!

We passed the FL-GA line around 8pm and continued on to our hotel in Ocala and arrived at 10pm. We were using points again at Hampton Inn. DH dropped me off to check in, I got the room keys then went back to the car and got the 2 littles. I gave DH one of the keys and he went to park the car. I took the 2 littles up to our room while DH and the 2 big boys brought the overnight bags in. We had only 2 queen beds so I offered some kind of incentive to whichever kid would volunteer to sleep on the floor. I can’t seem to remember what the incentive was though, haha! DS6 volunteered for the floor. There was extra bedding in the closet to use as a pallet so that worked out great. (I should add that all 4 kids sleep in the same room at home, by choice. There are only 3 beds in that room so 1 always ends up on the floor.) DS8, DD4 and DS2 all slept in the other queen bed. We got the kids in bed and I took a shower. Let me tell you…showering at night is CRUCIAL when staying in a hotel with kids and being able to get going quickly in the morning. It’s not the best for my hair, but I am willing to sacrifice my looks in order to have a better experience with my family the next day. DH showered after me and while he was showering I was checking for any updates on TP Chat, Disboards, etc. I also reviewed our touring plan for the next day…because we would be arriving at Disney!

DH finished showering, climbed in bed and went to sleep. I was pretty pumped up at this point ready for Disney. There were still some fastpasses I was looking for, but more importantly I had been wanting to upgrade our MBYBBQ for Tue, Mar 6 from Category 2 to Category 1 seating. I had been trying for weeks, but for a party of 8 that was hard. But around midnight that Saturday night I was checking for availability and lo and behold it was there! The thing was I had it booked for a party of 6 under my MDE and my mom had it booked for party of 2 under hers. It won’t let you change the reservation from Cat 2 to Cat 1, you have to book a whole new reservation, but it won’t let you do that either because you already have something booked at that time. I didn’t want to take the risk of losing our Cat 2 by cancelling so I created a whole new MDE account for DH and booked all 8 under his name. Then I proceeded to cancel the one under my MDE and my mom’s. Note that the next day would have been our 48 hour window to cancel without penalty which is why I think it became available that night. I was so excited that I finally got this booked for all of us that I couldn’t go to sleep. It was 1am once I finished the booking and we planned to leave the hotel at 7:30am the next day. FWIW, my fitbit measured 4.5 hours sleep that night…the first of several nights with less than 6 hours sleep in the week to come!

Mileage update - 780 for the day, and 1850 total for the trip, with 45 miles to go to Disney!

Next up is Day 4 and we FINALLY arrive at Disney!


I’m a fan of Home2 - we stayed in one on our trip down 2 weeks ago, and both the room and the breakfast were fantastic. Given that it was Me, DW, DS15, DS13, and DD10, we need the third (sofa) bed or we’re totally hosed, and Home2 fills the bill nicely. A delicious breakfast rounds out a great package.

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Day 4 - Sunday, March 4 - Disney Day!

I forgot to mention above but for anyone that is following along, my parents did not convoy with us after the funeral. They actually drove back to Tulsa after the funeral so they could get a good night’s sleep then they drove to Birmingham on Saturday (about 1/2 way), saving the rest of the drive for Sunday. DH was relieved with this situation because he hates to convoy with people. Driving with a wife and 4 kids is stressful enough, he didn’t want to have to worry about another car keeping up with him! So back to the story…

Around 3am in the morning I was awakened by a loud thud and I knew right away someone had fallen out of bed. DD4 was on the end of the bed next to me and it happened to be her. Honestly, I was frustrated having been woken up and I basically got out of bed and told her to get back in bed again. I felt so bad because I didn’t even ask her if she was ok. But she didn’t make a peep and seemed almost like she was still asleep. She crawled back in bed and I didn’t hear from her again. Our alarm went off at 6 so I got myself dressed and ready then started waking the kids up. DD4 got out of bed and DH noticed right away something was wrong. Her lip was swollen and she had dried blood on her lip and face. We looked at the bed and there were spots of blood on the sheets and pillow. I felt so bad for her and it actually took me a minute to realize what happened…when she fell out of bed she must have hit her face on the nightstand. Poor little girl…she never complained once and was such a trooper about it. We cleaned up her face and she was good to go. This girl is one tough cookie (she was born in the car and she also happens to be a redhead!) We left the room at 7 and headed down with the normal routine of the big boys helping load the car with DH and I helped the littles get breakfast. We were ready to leave the hotel by 7:30am. We made it to the Walmart in Ocoee about 8:15 and waited on our grocery delivery. In the past we have always gone to this Walmart as it seems to be the closest one without going too far out of the way, but we have always gone in to shop. So thankful for grocery pickup! They came out with all the stuff and I know the worker was thinking “Where are they going to fit all this stuff?” We had a case of water, three 12 packs of soda, a case of beer, milk, coffee, creamer, plus several other snacks. I didn’t want just random Walmart bags scattered throughout the car so I had packed an extra collapsible storage bag in the car. I brought that out and put all the loose items in that. We shoved the drinks on the floor and on top of the cooler and anywhere else we could fit them. Then we were on our way!

When you drive to the MK resorts off of 429 it takes you in the back away, by Disney University and all that, which is pretty neat. One of the kids spotted the castle first then we drove right by Space Mountain which is really cool to see from the road. We were following our AAA TripTik and for some reason it took us to the back entrance of Wilderness Lodge. It seemed strange because the signs didn’t point to WL but a couple people followed us that way so we thought we were ok. However, once we got to the gate we knew right away it was the wrong one. DH tried his Magic Band just in case but of course it didn’t work. However, there were 2 cars behind us and both of them had to back up so we could turn around. Funny thing is, they must have had the same directions because we saw them turn around too. We finally arrived at the correct entrance, told the CM we were checking in and he directed us where to go. We actually just wanted to park and head to MK so we found a parking spot. We got the double stroller out and the park bags and headed to the lobby of WL to use the restroom. It was close to 9:30 at this point and we had fastpasses starting at 10:30 so we were not in a rush. We took a few pics in the lobby and then we headed out to the boat launch. It took us a couple tries to find the correct route with a stroller but we eventually got there! We waited about 15 minutes for a boat, but it did happen to be the small boat where we were required to fold the stroller. We were then on our way to MK!

As soon as we got off the boat we brisked through security (the dedicated security for boats is really nice). Our first fastpass was for Buzz so we headed to that and arrived right at 10:30. The FP line was pretty long but we didn’t mind as DS2 loved looking at all the Buzz stuff inside the queue. I noticed that even though we rode Buzz several times during the trip, this ride photo was the only one that showed up in our photopass account (we had purchased memory maker). Anyone know why that would be? After Buzz I could tell it was pretty crowded and since our next FP didn’t start until 11:30am we decided to grab a quick bite at the Lunching Pad. (I tried moving our Space Mtn FP up but couldn’t). We ordered a pork sandwich (for DH and DS2), Coke, Mickey pretzel (for DS8 and DD4), Salted Caramel Pretzel (me), and a hot dog (DS6) for all of us to share. My pretzel seemed a little overcooked and heavy on the caramel. The Mickey pretzel seemed a little undercooked and even though DS8 lived off these on our last trip, he barely ate any of it and didn’t ask for another one the entire trip. Go figure! The snacks filled us up enough and then it was time for Space Mtn. DH and DS6 rode this with their FP and we walked up with them to get a rider switch pass. Once they gave DH the lanyard the rest of us went to ride the Peoplemover (a favorite of my cautious DS8). The line was a bit long but we were on in about 10 minutes. When we got done and headed to the down moving platform, DS2 thought it was a slide so instead of stepping onto it, he sat down at the top thinking he could slide down. There were people behind him so I had to grab him up quickly. He wasn’t too happy about that but thankfully the people behind were kind and thought it was funny. Once we got down we ran into DH and DS6 and moved on to our next FP which was also scheduled at 11:30 and that was 7DMT for me, DS8 and DD4. I wasn’t sure if either of them would ride it because on our last trip DD4 rode it once and was done. DS8 rode it back when he was younger but didn’t ride our last trip. However, they both surprised me and said they wanted to ride! So we approached the FP line and asked for a rider switch pass. I got a lanyard and then DH waited with DS6 and DS2. When they gave me the rider switch pass they did mention that it was good for that day only. I’m glad they told me that because I may not have noticed! DS8 had to ride in his own row and they seated him with another boy close to his age so it worked out great. DS8 was nervous but talking to the other kid helped. They both ended up loving the ride! It was then DH’s turn to ride so he took DS6 and DS8 while I took DD4 and DS2 on the carousel. DS2 loves the carousel anywhere we go. We had to wait about 20 minutes and that line was really hard for him. Plus, he was tired. But we pushed through and he loved it, along with DD4. After that we all met up again for our next FP at 12:30 for Winnie the Pooh. As soon as we scanned in I was trying to book a 4th FP, but at this point DS2 was tired and wanted to be held, which makes it really hard to use my phone. I couldn’t find anything and once the ride was done I checked again but the next thing available wasn’t for another hour. I should have just grabbed something and tried modifying but I didn’t really put this practice to use until later in the trip. After WTP it was definitely very busy and I checked the times guide and noticed that the Muppets show was starting at 1:25 so we walked over for that. We stood in some shade and the kids had some snacks while we waited. We saw the Declaration of Independence version which the kids enjoyed. After that I asked the kids if they wanted to ride some more rides or go back and swim. They all yelled “Swim!” So we decided to head back to WL. On the way out of MK I bought a refillable popcorn bucket, hoping to make good use of it on the trip.

We took the boat back to the resort and got the big boat this time, so no stroller folding necessary. We had gotten our room ready text while at MK but I stopped by the front desk anyways to pick up a resort map and some Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt papers. We still had all our luggage to unload which was not going to be easy. I kept the kids outside while DH went to get the car. The bellman gave us a luggage cart and we started loading that thing up. Amazingly we were able to fit everything on it! I had to carry a couple of small food tubs but that was it. DH went and parked the car again while I waited with the kids and luggage. While we waited we enjoyed talking with other families which is one my favorite ways to pass the time at Disney while waiting. DH came and then pushed our cart over to the Boulder Ridge Villas section. Our room number was 4563, which was on the lakeside and on the 4th floor, both things we had requested. However, it was the last room at the very end of the hallway. But we made it work and it was nice and quiet down there. We got everything unloaded and put away. There was so much storage space in our studio villa! I had brought a hanging shelf to put the kids clothes in, but it broke on me due to too much weight. Each day had a gallon size ziploc bag filled with their clothes so I just lined those up on the top shelf of the closet instead. The kids were anxious to swim so we got changed and finally headed to the pool. DS2 had still not taken a nap and it must have been at least 3:30 by then. I heard from my parents and they were still an hour away. We went to the main pool and found a spot. The lifeguards were great so I felt comfortable sitting in the hot tub while DS8 and DS6 swam in the big pool. DS2 and DD4 would wander around from pool to splash pad to hot tub, depending on where we were. We spent about 2 hours there and then I heard from my parents they were caught in traffic. We finally headed back to our room to change and decided to meet my parents for dinner at Geyser Point. They texted me when they arrived to their room so I told them we would head over. Keep in mind my kids did not know they were coming as they wanted to surprise them. So we told the kids we were heading to eat but needed to stop at the lobby first. We walked over to the main building then took the elevator up to their floor. When we got off my parents were standing right there! The kids were so excited! We headed to eat at Geyser Point and got seated right away. They had heaters going in there and it was nice and warm. DS2 ended up falling asleep on the couch chair and they brought him a blanket and said we could take it back to our room to keep him warm. That was so nice! DH ordered the bison burger, I got the cheesy brisket (one and done for me), and the kids got chicken nuggets and grilled cheese. We finished just in time to watch the HEA fireworks at 7:55. We had to walk to the pathway by the lake to get a good view of them, but it was such a great way to start the trip. It was quite breezy by the lake so I was somewhat relieved when they were done! We were tired by then and the next morning planned on rope dropping the 7am EMH at Animal Kingdom, so we headed to bed and made plans to meet my parents for the 10am Lion King Show at AK (they are not morning people and had no desire to RD the next day).

We went back to the room and got the kids situated in bed. DS6 on the murphy bed (I remember what my incentive was for the one that volunteered to sleep on the floor the night before…he would be the first one to sleep on the murphy bed). So DS6 hopped on that while the other 3 slept on the pullout couch bed. It’s wider than a normal pullout bed so I was thankful for that! After the kids went to sleep I started my normal nightly routine…lay out the kids clothes for the next day, put a new bag of snacks in the backpack (At home I packed 5 separate gallon size ziploc bags full of snacks and just put a new one each day in the park bag to eliminate having to do inventory, refill, etc), fill water bottles with water, prep the coffee maker, plug all electronics in to charge, check the park bag packing list for any items that can be placed in the night before, etc. Then I showered and finally got in bed and DH did the same. The alarm was set for 4:45 as we planned to leave the room at 5:40 to head to AK (crazy I know!) My fitbit says I was in bed by 10:30!

Up Next…Will we make our planned AK EMH rope drop adventure??


I have loved reading all about your trip!! thanks for sharing!

Thats great thank you for reading along!

Day 5 - Monday, March 5

Animal Kingdom had 7am EMH this day. It was originally scheduled for 8am EMH but when it changed a few weeks before our trip I was ecstatic! I had always wanted to do a 7am opening at WDW and now this was my time. At home I am not a morning person but after few trips to WDW I finally realized how and why DH gets up at 4am when he goes on hunting trips. It’s all about the hunt…or the adventure…and once your adrenaline gets going it’s awesome.

When the alarm went off at 4:45 I was ready to get out of bed. I started the coffee, quickly dressed and got myself presentable for the day. DH did the same and I headed to get ice for the water bottles. We waited until 5:15 to wake the kids. Surprisingly they were all in pretty good spirits when we woke them up…maybe because I had laid out some surprises for them…little Tsum Tsums I had bought before the trip. DD4 loved her Ariel one and carried it with her all day. She always wakes with a smile on her face and I say to her “Good morning princess, are you ready for a magical day?” DS2 was not happy about being up and he protested changing his clothes. But eventually us 2 parents were stronger than he was and he finally had clean clothes on. We had picked up donuts from Walmart the day before which was a huge treat for breakfast so I think that also helped get the kids out of bed. Sometimes they would ask to eat as soon as they woke up, but we always told them they had to get dressed with their shoes and socks on then they could get something to eat. That’s a good motivator for my DS6. Finally everyone was dressed and we headed out the door at 5:40am, with coffee and breakfast in hand.

We were at our car by 5:50 and headed to Animal Kingdom, arriving around 6:05. We went thru security and tapstyles and were held at the ropes by 6:20. I looked around, there were maybe 50 other people there and I did not see any strollers. I kept thinking we must be the only crazy ones. Watching the sunrise at Animal Kingdom was so magical and it was at this point that I thought “all that planning is totally worth it.” They let us in at 6:45. I had previously debated whether or not to do FoP at RD but since we had a FP for it later we decided to just head to N’Avi River Journey. However, the walk to Pandora was not hectic or crowded like I kept reading which was a relief! We got on NRJ and the kids just LOVED it. It was such a beautiful ride and even though it was short it was actually really relaxing to sit and take it all in. After NRJ we headed back to Dinosaur. DH took DS6 and DD4 on the ride (I was proud of DD4 for getting on it!) That part of the park was empty so I took DS8 and DS2 over to Dinoland. DS2 had decided at this point he wanted to be held and wanted nothing to do with the stroller. He did this 80% of our trip. So I carried him while DS8 pushed the empty double stroller. We rode Triceratop Spin (they loved it) and DS2 cried when we got off. We met up with the others and headed to Expedition Everest. DS8 and I rode this a few years ago but he refused to ride again. DH had never ridden it so he took DS6 with him this time. DS2 was still protesting the stroller and to make matters worse our stroller broke on one side and kept collapsing on us and it made it really hard to push when empty. This was a double maclaren stroller I had purchased USED back in 2014 for our first trip, thinking we would just resell it after the trip. Well it was now on it’s 4th trip to WDW and it was DONE. Ok, back to the report…DH LOVED EE and DS6 said it was great but no one else wanted to ride with me so I went by myself (it was still a walkon at this point). I popped a couple peppermint beadlets in my mouth, sipped some ginger essential oil, and rubbed some digestzen on my belly. I hate the backwards portion of this ride so I was trying all I could to brave it. I had to take some deep breaths and I was glad when it was over, but at least I wasn’t feeling yucky afterwards. It was getting close to 8 and the opening time of Kilimanjaro Safaris so we headed over there. The park was still amazingly empty and I was enjoying every second of it. We got to KS right at 8 and the the line started moving about 8:10 and we were on the ride by 8:25. It was a wonderful ride and we saw so many animals. The male lion was perched on top of a rock looking out over Animal Kingdom. I seriously had to keep looking to see if he was real.

My parents had arrived at this point and it was 9am. Our Lion King FP was for 10am so we had a few minutes. I checked the wait time on the app for the Advernturers Outpost and it still said 15 minutes so I told my parents to meet us there. It took us a while to get over there (DH and I argued over the best route to get there) and by the time we got there the posted wait was up to 25 minutes. We found my parents and of course they wanted to chat but I was trying to get everyone to enter the line. The CM was discouraging us from going in and said it was actually 45 minutes. I didn’t believe her at first and we got in line. After not moving for a few minutes we left the line. But Dug was close by and the line looked short so we hopped in the that line. My parents had no idea who he was, nor do they really get the character meet and greet thing. But they were patient with us and enjoyed chatting with the kids while in line. We were starting to cut it close to our FP for Lion King and then they told us Dug would take a 3 minute break. Ugh! We were done with Dug by 9:35 and briskly walked over to Lion King. As we were walking over there DS8 said he had to use the restroom. I actually told him he needed to wait and he protested. So we tapped in with our FP and then I asked a CM about taking him to the bathroom. She said that was fine and showed me the closest place and said to just come back and she would remember us. So we walked in with the group to know where our seats would be then we headed out again to the restroom. (I secretly had to go too!) Then we headed back in and of course the CM remembered us and let us right in. We enjoyed the show and DS2 had no problems sitting still through it all. I actually think he enjoyed the shows more than anything else on the trip. He loves to sit on our laps. I still don’t know if my dad enjoyed the show. I think he was wondering what in the world it was. He is a rides kind of guy and doesn’t understand all the Disney IP stuff.

After Lion King we planned to eat lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. I thought it didn’t open until 11am but I looked on the app and it actually opened at 10:45 which was really nice. My dad was surprised we were eating so early but I told him we had been up for 6 hours already! I showed my mom how to use mobile ordering so we each placed our order from a shade tree and it was ready in about 5 minutes. DH got a pork sandwich, I got the pork fries (they were great!), DS6 and DD4 shared the pork mac n cheese except I took the pork and gave it to DS2. DS8 had a hot dog. This kid finally decided about 6 months ago that he likes hot dogs, which is a small miracle! Otherwise he would have eaten nothing at Flame Tree! I had also packed a small cooler with cans of soda and this was a big hit with the kids and saved us a ton of money. I don’t drink a lot of soda at home, but for some reason when I am at WDW I crave a soda by lunchtime! I even had an extra for my dad and he was so happy. During lunch we asked the kids if they wanted to do the 12:00 Nemo show or go back to the resort and swim. They said “SWIM!” This was fine with me because then I could just relax during lunch and not try to rush to get to the next thing. DH also declared that the double maclaren must go, so I found that Kingdom Strollers would deliver at 6am for an extra $10 fee (the only stroller rental company I could find that would deliever before 7 in my brief search). So I placed the order to rent a stroller and then we headed out for the afternoon. (My parents stayed for a bit because they had a KS Fastpass.) We tried to meet Pocahontas on our way out but the line was quite long (it seemed this way every time we tried to meet characters on this trip) so the kids were ok skipping it in order to get more pool time. We headed back to the resort to swim and I was ready to relax in the hot tub while sipping a beer. Once back at WL, it actually took us longer to change clothes and head to the pool than it did to get ready in the morning! DS2 once again didn’t want to change and he really needed to nap, so I headed to the villas pool (quiet pool) with the kids. It was the perfect amount of relaxation needed. DH and DS2 showed up about 30 minutes later as DS2 finally decided he would put his swim trunks on. So no nap for him! The kids had so much fun with DH in the pool…he was flipping them and throwing them. And DS8 and DS6 kind of learned to swim on this trip. I enjoyed watching them from the warmth of my pool lounger.

Eventually we headed back to AK with the broken stroller and went straight to our FoP FP that started at 5:20. We actually couldn’t quite figure out where the ride was and accidentally tried scanning in for NRJ instead. The CM laughed and pointed us in the right direction. DH took DS6 on FoP, we walked up with him and they gave us a rider switch. Then the rest of us went to ride NRJ with our FP. We were done in a few minutes and headed back out to meet DH. We had to wait a few minutes and DD4 and DS2 were so tired at this point. I tried finding them a snack in Pandora but there really isn’t much, plus there’s not much to do with kids while waiting in Pandora. It wasn’t quite dark yet so they couldn’t enjoy the lights. If anyone has tips for this please let me know! DH and DS6 came back and said the ride was awesome and gave us the rider switch. I asked DS6 if he wanted to ride again but he said no so I took DS8 with me, wishing good luck to DH with the littles. I was really nervous about this one and my motion sickness. I did the peppermint, ginger and digestzen routine again. We got in line and the ride was operating at reduced capacity so it seemed to take us forever. Meanwhile, my parents had arrived and were texting me and I told them to meet us at the Rivers of Light Fastpass Entrance. We finally got in the room to put our glasses on and I slipped a headband on DS8 to keep the glasses on (a tip I got on these boards). It worked out great and he didn’t worry about them falling off. I wasn’t sure if he would like the ride but at this point I was glad he got on it and I was more worried about myself. Let’s just say I made it through the ride but there were a few times I had to breathe deeply and/or close my eyes. My stomach churned just a little but I managed to suppress it. I was relieved when it was done but glad I did it once. DS8 declared it the most awesome ride of all time so I was happy to have experienced that with him. We came back out and it was already 6:50 and we needed to get over to meet my parents. Thankfully DD4 had met a little girl while waiting and she had the exact same birthday as her! So they enjoyed talking and eating suckers together. We had to say goodbye to go meet my parents for ROL. We finally got there right at 6:55 and with 5 minutes to spare for our FP so I ran over and filled up our popcorn bucket at a nearby stand. I found it strange that the refills were different prices at different parks and stands?! We took the popcorn into ROL with us. We had really bad seats, even though we we entered with our FP right at 7 for a 7:15 show. They were on the end and the 2nd row from the back but honestly I didn’t really care as I was glad to sit down for a bit. DD4 refused the share the popcorn with her brothers so that made for a fun time, lol. Some kids behind us gave them glo sticks so that was really nice, since I had forgotten ours back at the room. ROL was ok but definitely a one and done for us, unless something changes with it. After it ended, I jokingly asked if anyone wanted to ride Kali River Rapids. DD4 said yes! I tried to convince her otherwise because it was cold! But she said she didn’t care so I took one for the team and we changed into flip flops and put on ponchos, except I forgot her sandals and she had to wear her big brother’s. She looked so cute trying to shuffle over in her adult sized Arkansas Razorbacks poncho and flip flops. All the CM’s were smiling at her and that made my day. I was still dreading the ride but man was she a good sport! We were the only ones on the raft and I think that helped as we barely got wet at all. Last time I rode in 2014 I got drenched. So we both came off the ride with huge smiles and I was thankful I said yes to riding with her, this became one of my favorite memories of the entire trip. So parents sometimes it is worth it to go out of your comfort zone in order to see your kids smiles! We headed back to WL with plans to meet my parents at the bus stop in the morning at 7am for our PPO BOG Breakfast!

Next Up - How will our PPO BOG Breakfast + Early Ride before rope drop crowd arrives work out?


I enjoy your posts - they are so entertaining (and make me excited for my upcoming trip!)

Thank you I am glad you are enjoying it. The excitement buildup is so much fun!

Day 6 - Tuesday, March 6

With plans to meet my parents at 7 at the bus stop, I got up and got ready and by 6:15 I headed to the lobby of WL to pick up our newly rented stroller. The bellman was really nice and showed me how to fold it. I had totally forgotten to take cash with me to tip him so I said I would be back later. I felt really bad. So I headed back to the room and the kids were starting to wake up. This morning they had new Disney themed small stuffies. Not a huge hit, but enough for DD4 who is at that age where she thinks she needs something new all the time. But thankfully she didn’t ask for stuff in the parks. DS2 decided on this morning that he wanted to sit on the toilet, he does this at home but nothing ever happens. But this time he had HUGE success…so much he wanted to stay there and didn’t want to get off. DH said “you can’t rush greatness”. Of course I’m trying to get him off so we can go meet my parents. Finally we pried him off the toilet and headed out the door. It was about 6:55 and my mom was waiting and the MK bus was right there but my dad was not in sight. She said he went back to the room for his hat (he needs a park day list like me!) Thankfully it was only about a minute and he re-appeared. We got on the bus and were the only family on it. It was a quick drive to MK and we were there and through security by 7:10 probably. It was also an EMM morning so there were 2 lines forming on the far left. One for EMM and one for PPO guests. We hopped in the right line, they checked us on the ipad and gave us a PPO paper with a map showing which way to go. About 7:30 we were let in through the tapstyles. My mom and DS8 had issues all week with their fingerprints and they ended up holding up the line behind them. I felt so bad and the crowds were kind of pushing through at that point. Finally they got through and we stood near the tunnel waiting once again. My dad didn’t quite understand all this waiting…why do we need to get here so early and then just wait? I just told him you never know how long it’s going to take to get somewhere so I always like to allow plenty of time. My dad had his his replaced about 6 years ago and he still has pain when he stands for long periods of time. But I was proud of him for keeping up with us. I assumed they would let us all in at 7:45 but it wasn’t until 7:50 that they let everyone into MK. We walked somewhat briskly back to Be Our Guest. We had pre-ordered so we checked in outside, they gave us a rose and we went inside to pay for our order on the kiosk. We were one of the first few families to enter and had our choice of seats. We sat at a large round table in the main ballroom. They told us to help ourselves to our drinks. I had ordered 1 Gaston’s feast, grey stuff cupcake (for me), a kids french toast and a kids waffle. I really couldn’t remember which meals came with a drink so honestly I just got drinks for everyone. My parents pastries came out first so we nibbled on those. Then their food came, then our pastries. They did only bring 1 tray of pastries for our family of 6 but we were ok with that. Thankfully I had told my parents about our plans to hurry up and eat and then exit. My dad is a slow eater so thankfully they got their food first! As for the food…the Gaston’s feast was pretty good, the cupcake was great, the pastries were great (we bagged the leftovers and I ate them the next day for breakfast), but I would not order the french toast or waffle again. I was expecting french toast sticks like you buy at the store, and a thick mickey waffle. Instead we got 1 piece of bread that was cooked french toast style and cut into strips, and a thin waffle, even thinner than Eggo. But the kids didn’t complain. My parents shared the Gaston’s feast and enjoyed it. We made a quick trip to the bathroom and headed out the door about 8:35. Let me back up and say that we got in BOG by 8. But by 8:10 it started getting crowded and hectic so I would suggest to anyone with a PPO breakfast to get to MK by 7:30!!

Our original plan before my parents decided to join us was to get in line for Peter Pan and ride it at rope drop, then head to Frontierland. But my mom really wanted to ride 7DMT and since I could not find a FP for her, I told her we could get in line for that instead. However, since DS2 could not ride 7DMT I told him to take my dad (he didn’t want to ride 7DMT) and go get in line for Peter Pan, then we would meet up at Big Thunder Mtn. Now, since it was an EMM morning, I knew that they would not let them on Peter Pan until after the opening show. But I didn’t explain this to DH. When I told him to go get in line, he thought I meant go ride the ride. When they wouldn’t let him ride he took DS2 over to the carousel (they let him ride it twice)! However, DH wasn’t really paying attention to the time and by the time they were done with the 2nd ride on the carousel the park had opened so he headed over to Peter Pan. Back to that story in a minute.

Meanwhile, I took the 3 oldest and my mom to get in line for 7DMT. We walked out of BOG and there was a line against the fence so I asked the girl ahead of me if we were in the right place and she said yes. There was also a CM at the front of the line holding a sign for 7DMT line. I would say we had about 15 people in front of us. At 8:55 they started walking us over to the ride entrance, then right at 9 they walked us through the regular queue. We got on the ride, everyone enjoyed it and then we headed over to Big Thunder. We got there about 9:15 and DH and the others were nowhere to be found. I tried calling, texting but no answer. The wait time at Big Thunder was at 20 minutes and then I checked the app and saw that Splash was down. Then the wait jumped to 30 minutes. I was getting anxious and a bit upset at this point because this was not going according to my plan!! Finally DH called and said they just got off the ride. I was upset and didn’t understand how that could be so he explained what happened above. They ended up having to wait about 15 minutes in line for Peter Pan. He told me to go ahead and get on Big Thunder. I was trying to wait for them so we could get a rider switch pass (turns out DH never rode Big Thunder that trip and I never rode Peter Pan). So I got in line with my mom and 3 older kids and we waited close to 20 minutes. Our TP had us going from Big Thunder to Splash then to Jungle Cruise for our first FP. We had planned to arrive towards the end of the window at 10:15. But my mom was getting nervous about missing that one so I told DH to meet us near Jungle Cruise. Splash was back up by the time we got off Big Thunder so we headed over to JC to find the others. (Just FYI Pirates was closed for refurb.) We met up near Magic Carpets and the kids wanted to ride it. We had some extra time so we took the kids on that while my parents rested on a bench. Now, knowing I had definitely wanted to ride Splash I managed to switch our Haunted Mansion FP to Splash. I didn’t ask my parents about this so when I asked my mom which she would rather do (HM or Splash) she said HM. Uh Oh. I tried to switch the FP back to HM but could only do it for 4 people. Oh well, at least they would get to ride it. So we all got on Jungle Cruise (our skipper was great), then the FP window for HM opened up. At the same time DD4 saw Jasmine and Aladdin and wanted to meet them. This worked out great because my parents took the boys to HM while DH, myself, DD4 and DS2 waited for Jasmine and Aladdin. The line didn’t look very long, but they never do. We ended up waiting at least 30 minutes. DH pushed DS2 around in the stroller and DD4 enjoyed finding the jewels in the concrete. It was 11am at this point and we planned to meet my parents at Columbia Harbour House for lunch. We arrived and they had already ordered for the 2 boys, so I placed a mobile order for the rest of us. Our order got messed up in the system and it took forever, at least 20 minutes. My parents were done eating by the time we finally got our order. They did end up giving us a frozen lemonade for our trouble. DH ordered chicken nuggets and I got the lobster roll (it seemed really heavy on the bread this time). We also got 1 chicken nuggets kids meal. It seemed tiny compared to previous years. After CHH, we used our next FP on It’s a Small World (my mom loves this ride). It was noon by this point and we had plans for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ that night and since we had Category 1 seating we needed to be there by 4:30. We were planning to stay at MK all day until after the FoF parade and then take the boat to Ft. Wilderness. However, I just wasn’t sure if my parents would last that long. So I suggested it would be a good time for them to go back and rest if needed. They agreed and headed out of MK. We then headed over to Frontierland/Adventureland to spend the afternoon!

Next Up…Our Festival of Fantasy Parade Experience…and how I managed to lose DH and DD4.


Great trip report! I would be in complete anxiety-mode after that morning! I hope the afternoon goes better :grinning:

Ha just wait…there are more troubles to come! But it’s all followed up with a great evening!

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Day 6 - Tuesday, March 6 Cont’d + Mickey’s Backyard BBQ Review

We had 3 fastpasses for Splash (since I had split our 7 between Haunted Mansion and Splash), so DH took DS6 and DD4 on Splash while I took DS8 and DS2 to sign up for Pirate’s Adventure. They explained the game to us and we headed off to find treasure in Adventureland. We were close to Aloha Isle so I ordered 2 Dole Whips via mobile order. They were ready pretty quickly and I forgot how big they were! I wanted to save some for DH and the other kids so I asked for extra cups. I was able to use those extra cups as lids and then I could carry them around in the cupholders in our stroller. It was only mid 70’s so they weren’t melting fast. We finished the first adventure (there are 5 of them and each one takes about 15 minutes) so we sat down on the curb to eat some of the dole whip. DS2 was really struggling at this point and desperately needed a nap, but he didn’t want to sit in his stroller! DH returned with the other kids and we took them all to get another Pirate Adventure map. It was getting close to 2:15 and I still wanted to ride Splash (DH had gotten a rider switch) but the kids were so engrossed with the Pirate Adventure game that no one wanted to ride with me! Seriously, they loved this game and the “freedom” it entailed. And it was nice for us as parents to sit back and follow them around Adventureland for once. I finally convinced DD4 to ride with me on Splash. As we were heading to Splash I told DH to try and find a spot for the 3:00 FoF parade in Frontierland. (DH is not the best about following directions, especially if I do not stress the importance of following them…see BOG and Peter Pan above). We went through the FP line for Splash but they were having technical difficulties and kept announcing slight delay. So I texted DH to tell him not to wait for us to find a seat, hoping he would find a place for all of us and the 2 of us could just squeeze in (I know some of you hate this strategy but don’t worry because it didn’t work out anyways). We finally exited the ride at 2:45 so I called DH to see where they were…turns out they were waiting right by the exit of Splash (The boys had been insistent on finishing another adventure and then they were fighting and then on and on so he never had a chance to get a spot). Ugh! I rushed to Frontierland to find a spot on the sidewalk and they were packed! Plus, they were not letting people walk down the street. We were kind of stuck and I was really frustrated. DS2 was still refusing to sit in the stroller so I grabbed him and started pushing the stroller, laying my phone on the canopy of the stroller. Realizing I would not fit the double stroller walking down the roped off area (on the opposite side of Pecos Bill), I gave DH the stroller and told him I would walk with the 3 boys and find a spot to stand and DH and DD4 (who was in the stroller) should walk on the wooden walkway and once I found a spot I would let them know. This was a horrible idea! We should have just parked the stroller somewhere and walked down the walkway single file. Lesson learned! I did find a spot pretty quickly and I went to grab my phone to call DH I realized I left my phone on the stroller. My stomach dropped but since we were right in front of the wooden walkway I figured we could just wait for DH to walk by and call him down. We never saw him. The parade was about to start so I turned to a nice lady next to me and asked if I could borrow her phone. She was a sweet lady from North Carolina and let me borrow her phone. Thankfully DH answered so I explained to him where we were and told him to come find us and we would be looking for him. He said he was near Liberty Tree Tavern and I asked if he had a good spot and he said “not really” so I said our spot was pretty decent so he should come there. Another big mistake on my end. The music for the parade was starting. I LOVE the Festival of Fantasy Parade, I love the music, I love the floats, I love the characters and I love watching my kids stare in amazement. But I missed all that this time because I had my head on a swivel looking for DH and DD4 (I soooo wanted to experience this with our whole family together like we did on our last 2 trips). The parade ended and DH never showed up. The nice lady asked me if I wanted to call my husband again so I tried and he didn’t answer. But I figured that’s ok, he knows where we are so he will just come find us. Wrong again. I waited at least 5 or 10 minutes in that same spot and he never showed. I went to a couple stores to find a CM that could help. One let me use her store phone but it couldn’t call outside the park. Another CM told me to go to the restrooms between Adventureland and Frontierland and there was an emergency pay phone. I went there (with all 3 kids tagging along and me holding DS2 of course) and could not find a phone so I went in another store and asked another CM what to do. (Again, a lesson learned, always establish a meeting place with your party if you get separated) This CM told me to go to Pecos Bill to find an emergency phone. We were still a bit away from Pecos Bill, so I didn’t like that idea and on top of that DS2 grabbed one of those long lollipops from the store and I had to pry it out of his hands to put it back. He started crying and so did I. The older boys felt so bad for me…anyhow I rushed out of that store and headed to Pecos Bill with tears streaming down my face…and who do I run into coming the opposite direction…DH and DD4. I was so excited and so angry at the same time. We hugged and I tried to figure out what happened. Apparently he couldn’t make it back over to where we were before the parade started so he just stayed put since he said he had a decent view and DD4 was enjoying the parade. Merida even waved to her and pointed out their similar red hair. And I Missed it!! :frowning: So I asked him why he didn’t come to our spot after the parade, knowing that’s the last place I was and would be waiting for him. He said because he thought I would come find him since he told me where he was on the phone. Ugh! Such horrible communication. But that’s ok, we still love each other unconditionally despite all of our flaws. We needed to get going at this point because it was 3:45 and we needed to be at Ft. Wilderness by 4:30 and you never know how long the boat is going to take. However, the boys were not happy because they had just 1 Pirate Adventure left to complete. DS8 is a highly anxious and task oriented person (like me and DS2 has some similar qualities we can already tell). We actually took him to some occupational therapy for a few months after he turned 4 to get help for his sensory processing disorder. Anyhow, when he starts something he wants to finish it. He was about to have a meltdown so we told him we would come back the next day to finish. He wasn’t happy but well that’s life.

So we exited the park and went to wait for the boat to Ft. Wilderness.

My parents were meeting us at Ft. Wilderness and I was actually kind of worried about this. I told them to take the boat from Wilderness Lodge to the Fort but sometimes they are like my husband when it comes to following directions (haha!) Turns out they showed up on the boat right behind us! We walked over to the pavilion and there were just a few people in front of us. They let us in at 4:30 for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (we had upgraded to the amazing Category 1 Seating) and there was a sign on one of the picnic tables with our name on it. They even had a high chair set up on the end for DS2. This was great seating. We were right next to the dance floor so we didn’t have to move to watch the kids dance. The food wasn’t out yet but they said to help ourselves to the Mickey bars…so of course we let the kids have Mickey bars! They were still upset about the whole Pirate Adventure thing and DS2 still hadn’t napped so this helped all the kids. We also got some soda and then a few minutes later the bar opened and we filled up on Yuengling (a favorite of ours since we can’t buy it in Missouri…in fact just writing this makes me want one so I am helping myself to one that we brought back from the Florida Walmart in my Pirates of the Caribbean frosty mug that I got last year on the Shop Disney Parks App). Ok back to the BBQ. With Category 1 seating there were maybe 10 tables reserved and I noticed that not everyone had shown up yet for their early seating! I think this might be because it’s not explained very well when you register (imagine that). About 4:45 the characters came out. Chip and Dale and Goofy all met together on one side and then Mickey and Minnie met together in front of the stage. There were photopass photographers in both locations and we had plenty of time with each set. It was so nice to get this meet and greet done early! We were done by 5:00 and the food was ready by then so we went and got some (there was no line and it felt like we had the place to ourselves, the bartender even recognized us all night which I thought was nice even after the crowd of people arrived). I was starving by this point and was excited to eat! The kids got simple plates with hot dogs and mac n cheese. DH and I loaded up on pulled pork (it was your standard stuff but made better with cole slaw on top), ribs (really good and better than the pork), caesar salad (yum), macaroni salad (yum), potato salad (yum), mac n cheese (pretty good) and cornbread (yum). I didn’t try the corn, hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, cucumber salad, kale apple salad, or even the strawberry shortcake dessert! I’m still kicking myself for not trying that one. But I was just so full from the other food and I didn’t want to overstuff myself because there was still a lot of night ahead of us! Everyone else was let in around 5:15 and the show started around 5:30. DD4 loved dancing on the floor but never even got close to dancing with the characters for 3 reasons: 1) She pretty much stood on the edge near us and the characters danced mainly in the middle, 2) All the parents followed their kids to the middle so they could get pictures of their kids dancing with the characters, and 3) The characters spent so much time with meet and greets that they were actually only dancing for MAYBE 1/2 the songs. This part surprised me and the lines for the meet and greets were long all night. In fact most people had to stand in line waiting for the characters to come back after their dance set. You do NOT want to do this! After a few songs the band took a break and the trick roper came out. The kids all lined up sitting around the edge of the dancefloor (our kids didn’t have to go far because this was right next to our table). My kids LOVED this part of the show (we are country folk so we like this kind of thing). During the trick roping show the characters would go to their spots and do their meet and greets. I think there were 2 trick shows and after each one the band would start playing again and the kids and parents would dance without the characters and then eventually the characters would come back. I will say that DD4 enjoyed this show a lot as most of the kids were around her age. DS8 felt he was too old to be on the dance floor and DS6 danced some but also sat some with DS8. DS2 wouldn’t go anywhere near the dance floor and wanted to be held the entire time. My parents LOVED this show and even danced with DD4 some. I have never seen my dad dance in my life (other than our father/daughter dance at my wedding) and it was hilarious! But he didn’t care what he looked like and DD4 was grateful.

Around 7:00 I could tell the older boys were getting a little bored. Our plan was to go to evening EMH at Epcot since it was open until 11 and we had a rest day the next day. I pulled up the Lyft app to see if there were any Minnie Vans close and there were a few. I didn’t order one just yet though, as I needed to see what my parents wanted to do. I told them we were going to head to Epcot and they said they planned to just go back to WL. I must admit I was a little relieved because that meant our family of 6 could fit in a Minnie Van. Otherwise we would have had to take a different route to Epcot. My parents were ready to go so we headed out about 7:15. The band was about to play one last song which I think was perfect timing for us to go. I pulled up the Lyft app to locate the Minnie Van again and finally after a few minutes it located one. Whew! I had been stressing about that because I had heard it could be difficult at peak times. We headed to the bus stop and the CM there told us that Minnie Vans picked up near the barn and pointed us in the right direction. We headed over there and another family was just getting in their MV. While we waited another lady came up and asked if I was able to locate a MV because her app kept timing out. I told her I did but it took a few minutes. So thankful I ordered it just before the show was over! The kids didn’t know what we were doing, they knew we were headed to Epcot but had no idea how we were getting there. Our MV pulled up about 5 minutes later and they were so excited (especially DD4). The driver did have to install both car seats which took a few minutes, but we were able to cram our double stroller in the back so I was relieved. I got to ride shotgun and DH had to ride in the very back since the car seats went in the captain’s chairs in the middle row. The driver asked us where we wanted to go and when we said Epcot he was shocked. He said “most families are heading back to their hotel by now”. We just laughed and said “yes we know we are crazy.” We enjoyed chatting with the driver and we arrived at Epcot a few minutes later. Here’s a tip…I downloaded the Lyft app right before our trip and put in the code “50TWITTER” which gave us $5 off our first 10 rides. This worked on the Minnie Van so it “only” cost us $20.

Up next…evening EMH at Epcot…oh how I love it!


Day 6 - Tuesday, March 6 - Evening EMH at Epcot

Earlier in the day when we had finished our fastpasses at MK, I was able to get one for Test Track at Epcot for 8:20-9. We arrived to Epcot about 8 and the plan was to do the Nemo Ride, then Turtle Talk, then race over to TT by 9. We got to Nemo and it was a walk on and all the kids loved it. We then went to Turtle Talk but the show had just started so we had to wait another 20 minutes. At this point I just accepted the fact that we wouldn’t get over to Test Track in time. Once I let that go I was able to enjoy Turtle Talk. Before it started we explored the Seas pavillion which the kids love. I also enjoy doing Turtle Talk at night because there are less kids which means your child has a better chance of being chosen to talk. Our kids weren’t chosen this time (they were back in Nov 2016), but that’s ok because the show was pretty much still the same as late 2016. After Turtle Talk we went over to the Land Pavilion because I had checked the wait time for Soarin and it was only 15 minutes. First we dropped the stroller off outside and then we headed in. DH was going to take all 3 of the big kids (it would be DD4’s first time!). We walked to the CM at the line and asked for a rider switch. She gave it to us and I mentioned to DH that I would take DS2 on Living with the Land while they rode. The CM heard this and said “Actually, LWTL is already closed.” I was surprised to hear this because even though EMH had just started at 9, I thought LWTL was still open for EMH. I was trying to decide what to do with DS2 and I walked around the corner and saw that LWTL was actually open! This is why I never trust CM’s! So we got on the ride and he loved it (DS2 loves to just sit in our laps for anything really…as long as it’s not the stroller!) I really enjoyed this ride with him. The ride itself is ok, but it’s nice to just sit and relax for a bit with just 1 kid to take care of! :wink:

After Soarin I decided to save the Rider Switch for our next Epcot day so we could move on and do something else. We then rode Spaceship Earth (again no wait) and the kids really enjoyed doing the interactive games at the exit of the ride. We stayed there about 15 minutes or more and they would have stayed longer but we were ready to move on! It was after 10 at this point but DS6 was getting tired of walking so we decided just one more ride. I took the 3 oldest to Mission Space Green while DH took DS2 and walked around future world with him. We arrived at Mission Space and boy does this ride take forever! There was no wait, but all the instructions and everything really drag it out. But, it was a cool ride for the kids (I didn’t care for it and even had a brief stomach lurch/dizziness at the end but that was mainly because I wasn’t prepared for the sudden movement). When we were done the kids saw another interactive play area and wanted to do that, but I told them it was time to go. It started sprinkling on us on our way to meet up with DH so I am glad we left when we did. We finally got to the bus stop to head back to WL and barely had to wait for a bus to pull up. It was close to 11 at this point and the kids were dead tired. I was holding DS2 as we got on the bus because he had fallen asleep. The bus was crowded so we headed to the very back to try and find a seat. A nice person gave me their seat since I was holding DS2. There were also spots for DS8 and DD4 but DS6 had to stand. The lady next to me could tell DS6 was really tired so she offered to let him sit on her lap (so sweet!) but he was too shy to do so. The drive back to WL took about 15 minutes and DS6 almost fell asleep standing up. He ended up kneeling on the floor. DD4 also fell alseep next to me. DH was down in the middle of the bus standing with the folded stroller. This was a shared bus with Ft. Wilderness but it was dropping off at WL first. So when we arrived at WL not very many people were getting off and our path down was kind of blocked. Plus, DS6 was so tired he refused to stand up off the floor! I had to wake DD4 up because I was still carrying a sleeping DS2. We finally all made it off the bus but it was quite a spectacle! (This is why we prefer to drive to the parks!)

I was so relieved to make it back to our room and the best thing was I didn’t have to prep for the next day because we got to sleep in! We planned to lounge at the pool all day then head to MK in the early evening.

So up next…Our Rest Day at Wilderness Lodge and Evening EMH at MK!


Thanks for sharing your trip report, I loving following along.

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Day 7 - Wednesday March 7

I learned on our 2015 trip that our kids could really only manage 2 full park days in a row. On our 2015 trip we stayed 8 nights, doing 3 full park days, a rest day and then 3 more full park days. That was really hard on them (plus it was hot in September) so in 2016 we cut the trip down to 6 nights and that seemed to be much more manageable for everyone.

Ok, so after the late night at Epcot we planned to sleep in on Wednesday. DD4 was the first one awake at 7:30 and I tried to find something on TV for her to watch while everyone else slept. I don’t think I ever went back to sleep but I was able to stay in bed until after 8 at least. The kids started waking up one by one and they were content for a while just watching TV. DH and I sat on our balcony together and drank coffee. It was great to not be in a rush. DD4 even brought me her blanket to keep me warm on the balcony. This was really our first time enjoying our balcony. We were able to watch the Electric Water Pageant on Sunday and Monday nights at 9:30 from our room, but because it was so chilly outside we just opened the door and watched from inside!

It was a really lazy morning and I would have liked to sit around and drink more coffee but around 9:30 the kids were getting restless so we started getting ready for the pool. Thankfully even thought it was a cool morning the sun was out so it looked like it would be a warm day. We got everything together and headed down to the Boulder Ridge Cove pool (the “quiet” pool) and had no issues finding a spot to camp out for the day. I never actually got in the pool but I spent a lot of time in the hot tub. I finally heard from my parents and they had gone over to Epcot that morning. I was proud of them for getting out on their own, even if it was just to souvenir shop. They said they would meet us later at the pool.

We had a waitress at the pool that day which was really nice when we wanted to order lunch. We ordered from Geyster Point. DH got the bison burger again, kids got chicken nuggets and grilled cheese and I had the crab cake sandwich. Everything came with these amazing waffle fries with a cheese seasoning that made them really good! My crab cake sandwich was ok…I had one back in 2014 at the Grand Floridian’s beach pool and loved it. But this one was different and not quite as good, but I still ate most of it!

My parents came down right after lunch and sat with us for a bit and we made plans to meet at the boat dock later to head to Magic Kingdom. I changed some things around with our fastpasses. We had Talking Mickey scheduled but since we had already met Mickey at the BBQ and my parents weren’t really into characters I changed theirs to Splash Mtn since they missed it the day before. I changed our Mickey to Under the Sea Lil Mermaid (this was a must do for our DD4 so I wanted to go ahead and knock it off the list). We also had Enchanted Tales with Belle planned but I ended up changing that to Meet Ariel (another must do). I also changed my parents Big Thunder Mtn (my dad didn’t want to ride as he was worried about dizziness) and got them the Ariel Meet as well so they could see DD4 with her. My parents were also booked for Space Mountain but I ended up changing that one later as well. I think it’s funny how before the trip I spent several hours creating our touring plans, then printed them off and brought them with us each day. But the more trips we take the easier it is to change things on the fly and then we barely end up using the TP’s. Now after I made all the FP changes I was ready to get back to MK!

The kids had a great time swimming and of course no one wanted to nap so about 2:30 we headed back to the room to change and get ready for the parks. We met my parents at the boat dock at 3:30 and were on Main St by. First thing on the list was to let the kids finish their Pirates Adventure game. That took only about 15 minutes but it was a good chance for my parents to sit and rest their feet. DH and I enjoyed trailing behind the kids, watching them run from one treasure spot to the next. It was time for my parents to head to Splash Mountain so we made plans to meet them outside Ariel’s grotto. We filled up our popcorn bucket and on the walk over to New Fantasyland we finally got DS2 to ride in the stroller and he fell asleep! So I took the oldest 3 on the Little Mermaid ride while DH stayed with DS2. DS8 and DS6 were very different this trip and wanted nothing to do with the princesses. In the past they would always go along with their sister on these rides and the meet and greets and didn’t mind taking pictures and giving hugs to the princesses. Not so much on this trip, which really surprised me. I ended up telling them that for years she waited for them while they rode the big rides so it was their turn to wait for her. That seemed to help some. After the ride we waited for my parents and it turned out they took the train over from Frontierland to Fantasyland which I thought was a great idea for them! We were happy they came up with that idea on their own. DS2 was still sleeping so everyone else but DH and him got in the FP line for Ariel. The line looked long to me, compared to the past when we had done it so I was a little concerned. However it moved really quickly (there must be multiple grottos??) Again, the boys wanted nothing to do with Ariel and would barely even look at her. I was frustrated but DD4 was in heaven and they got some good pictures together. Ariel did convince the boys to take a picture with her but they stood as far away as possible!

It was only about 6:00 at this point and our next FP wasn’t until 6:30 so we headed over to Philharmagic. DH had to sit out again because DS2 was still asleep! But everyone LOVED Philharmagic (it was only my 2nd time seeing it and it had been a few years). I really think it’s a must do attraction! While we were in Philharmagic I spent some time working on fastpasses again. I knew my dad didn’t want to ride Space Mountain and my mom didn’t want to go either so I was able to change their FP to Winnie the Pooh. DH and DS6 were scheduled for Space Mtn as well but since we still had a rider switch for Space I decided to edit theirs to Winnie the Pooh as well. I was scheduled with DS8 and DD4 for 7DMT at the same time. However, with DS2 still sleeping I decided to stay with him and gave my MB to DH and he rode on 7DMT with the other 2. My parents took DS6 on Winnie the Pooh which I think is always a treat for them to take their grandkids without the parents getting in the way! I found a ledge to sit on outside WtP while everyone was riding and DS2 was sleeping and started working on fastpasses again. Everyone had scanned in for their 3rd fastpass of the day so a 4th was ready to be booked (except for DH which I just modified his 3rd to Buzz). I was able to get Buzz for all of us after HEA (which was at 8pm). Park was closing at 9 but EMH was until 11. After Winnie the Pooh it started getting really windy and cold! My dad had not brought his jacket to the park so my parents decided to just head back to WL after doing some shopping on Main St. We still had the rider switch to use for Space Mtn so we headed over there. DS6 was the only one that wanted to ride it so DH took him while I took the other 3 on the Peoplemover. Thankfully DS2 didn’t try to “slide down” the moving platform this time. DD4 was tired and cranky at this point so I promised her cotton candy after the ride (yes, terrible parenting I know). We found a stand with only 1 person in line so we grabbed some and then DH and DS6 came out of Space. It was at least 7:35 at this point and HEA was starting in 20 minutes. I had wanted to get a spot much sooner than that but it just didn’t work out. Plus my kids really enjoy rides more than they like to sit and wait and they didn’t know what they would be missing by not having a straight on view of the castle. We took the walkway past Monsters Inc Laughfloor, got across the bridge and then found a spot on the left before getting to the hub. We had a decent view of the castle. I just had a look at Robo’s Fireworks map and we were actually on the edge of a “green” area so that makes me feel better. The kids started fighting over the cotton candy so I jogged back to the place I got it to get another one. Of course the line was about 5 deep this time. Then I jogged back to our fireworks spot. The show started about 2 minutes later and a man right in front of us put a boy on his shoulders. I was furious as it blocked our entire view of the castle. This guy had no clue! I really wanted DH to say something but he wouldn’t. Thankfully this guy couldn’t stand still and ended up moving enough that I could zig when he would zag (I had DS2 on my hip and DH had DD4 on his hip). Our fireworks viewing spot was also slightly obstructed by a small tree in front of us. It’s funny how you don’t notice those things until it’s too late to move! But that was ok because I found it really hard to watch both the projections and fireworks. And since we had seen the fireworks from WL on another night I was trying to mainly watch the projections. The show was great and we loved singing along (my boys favorite part was the Pirates song). The fireworks ended and our goal was to get to the Buzz ride and use our FP. However, this was tricky because we needed to cross over a sidewalk that consisted of traffic heading to the park exit. DH put me in control of the double stroller. I had read horror stories of these crowds and trying to move after the fireworks so I was just trying to be patient. I was basically trying to part the red sea with my double stroller and the funny thing is I ended up almost running into the shoulder kid guy with his double stroller! Except he couldn’t figure out which way he wanted to go. He ended up nodding to me and told me to go first. Finally a path broke through to get across the walkway and there were people that said they would follow behind us as we made a path with our double stroller! Thankfully everyone seemed to be really nice! We rode Buzz and then we headed back to Fantasyland to use a rider switch for 7DMT (which we had gotten when we rode with a FP before the fireworks and had to use that same day). On our walk over there it was about 9pm and we noticed how EMPTY the park was. We think it had to do with the bitter cold wind earlier because it really was a nice day up until that point. I took DD4 and DS6 with me on 7DMT while DH took DS8 and DS2 over to Dumbo. After our 7DMT ride I texted DH and he said they were going on Dumbo again so we headed over there and rode it also (it was a complete walk on). There was still plenty of EMH left and I really would have loved to stay but the kids were tired after swimming all day, plus they were hungry (we didn’t eat dinner) so we decided to head out. I really wanted some corn dog nuggets from Casey’s and tried to use mobile order but it told me Casey’s was closed (probably because it was EMH hours). So we walked over there and the line was way out the door. I was bummed but we had some food back in the room so we headed back. We got to watch part of the Electric Water Pageant while we waited for the boat. We got back to the resort and once we got in the room we cut up some cheese and sausage to eat for dinner! I then got everything ready for the next day, took my shower, then set my alarm for 5:45 as we were going to 8am EMH at Epcot the next day and wanted to leave by 6:45.

Next Up…a Day Filled with Tears and Pixie Dust!