Our Last and Longest Hurrah: Holidays 2022 Trip Report

This trip was supposed to be just a two night, no parks symposium thing for dh’s work, but we figured since we probably won’t be renewing our annual passes we would add on our own 5 day holiday extravaganza as well. Despite having been to WDW over 30 times, this 7 day adventure would be our longest stay. And yet it still flew by!
Day 1 was travel day and the Christmas party that night. I already recounted that fiasco herehttps://forum.touringplans.com/t/mickey-s-very-hot-and-muggy-christmas-party-report/91017

Our pre-symposium stay was at our favorite resort, the Pop Century. We were in building 4, facing away from the pool, but imo it was an even better view and just a quick hop down a Yo-Yo to the skyliner.



They did not disappoint with the Christmas decor. I gasped when I saw their tree.



Our first park day was Epcot. I booked us a Behind the Seeds tour at 11. We rope dropped Remy, got our map for Olaf’s scavenger hunt, rode Figment and watched the short films, and rode The Land before checking in for the tour.




Behind the Seeds tour report here. Behind the Seeds Trip Report
After the tour we ate some lunch at Sunshine Seasons then headed back to Pop for a break.

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Looks like a nice start (other than the party), looking forward to hearing about the rest.

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After our break we headed to Hollywood Studios for an early dinner at Minnie’s Holiday Dine. We loved Pop Century before skyliner, but man, now I hate staying anywhere else! Every skyline ride we took was so relaxing and fun.










The buffet was good, the desserts were yummy and the characters were awesome (although Minnie never actually came to the table.). The restaurant I would probably not go to again, it was like a Steak and Shake and not very Disneyish.

We enjoyed walking around and enjoying the holiday decor and then caught the last showing of Frozen sing along. It was the best! They added a holiday theme to the story and Olaf made an appearance!




We leisurely caught the cartoon show and a walk on MFSR ride. The night was so fun and relaxing, I had a smile on my face the whole time.





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Wow, 9 days since my last post? I am a bad trip reporter! It’s not going to get any better either, because I didn’t do my usual nightly diary entry while we were there so I am relying on my pictures and a 55yo lady’s memory lol.

Okay, we are on vacation day 3, park day 2, MK reservation. We rope dropped SDMT, my favorite roller coaster. On the way in, we saw the first of three weddings on the trip!






We were hoping to have breakfast at Sleepy Hollow where we once had the waffle thing with ham, eggs and cheese but now they only have the Nutella and fruit waffle thing so we got this very poor substitution at Friar’s Nook. And who eats tater tots for breakfast?




WtP, Small world and Haunted Mansion, followed by Liberty Belle. Somewhere in this area is where stuffed Tigger and I were separated.



A Dole Whip break then Pirates, Tiki Birds and Jingle Cruise.





Now it’s lunchtime so we mobile ordered flatbread pizza from Pinocchio Village but got caught on the wrong side of Frontierland during a cavalcade. I honestly enjoy these smaller parades more than the big ones.




We had knocked out the other half of the park during the Christmas party so we took our break. We wound up not going back out that night and just enjoying the hotel. Tomorrow is HS and my first Liner Meet!

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4th vacation day, 3rd park day, Epcot reservation and planned Liner Meet at HS Brown Derby for late lunch. We rope dropped Frozen this time. Dh had us go to the left of IG to approach from the Mexico side, instead of right to walk through WS. I don’t know if it made a difference.

Between the WDW website and MDE there was a lot of conflicting info about the Festival of Holidays. The site said it opened at 9:30 but it turns out only those booths offering “breakfast” opened early. So all I managed to get festival food wise was a black and white cookie. Nothing else in WS was open but we had our Olaf scavenger map and enjoyed finding him in all the countries.

On our way out we saw Pere Noel in France. A little kid kept yelling out, “Santa!” All during his story telling. It was hard for the guy to stay in character lol.

Now on to HS for the Liner Meet! We had a few minutes before the ADR so we got in line for Frozen Ever After. I heard my name called out and low and behold it was @ParkRanger! So we had delightful company for the show (and it turns out she has a beautiful voice!). I have never eaten at BD but was really looking forward to the Cobb Salad (and meeting other Liners, of course.)

The salad looked nothing like the pictures, but tasted great. I got a fancy drink just so I could have a glow cube. The dessert was very tasty. Our waitress was nice but a tad creepy (she would lean in and call us “ladies” in this deep, raspy voice) and of course I had a wonderful time chatting with @ParkRanger, @LTinNC82 and @dboothsummers. Thanks so so much for inviting me, “ladies!”




I had left dh to his own devices whilst we dined. He told me he would do some Christmas shopping. Turns out he made his way to Star Wars land and acquired this…

Can’t even leave him alone for an hour lol.

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Hahaha I forgot about this and I’m so glad you reminded me!

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That Emperors cloak is epic!

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It really is! I thought it was just going to be an expensive robe, but when he put it on he really looked like Palpatine.

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Ok, vacation day 5 (already??) with a HS reservation. We rope dropped MMRR. By now I had a lovely routine on skyliner mornings, where I ran down the ramp at the Caribbean exchange to the Joffreys and snagged a yummy coffee before heading to the next destination. Bliss. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Next up was Toy Story Mania.

No, best in vehicle was not me, it’s never me. On to Star Wars land so dh could get the emperor’s lightsaber to match his cloak.

We also did a mission with my mb+. It was a little odd. You scan the band, get an “assignment” and then walk around until the band turns purple. Then you go back to the place on the wall and put your band in for “credits.” I’m still not exactly sure what happened.

On to the Muppets and then ABC Commissary for lunch. I got a Mickey sipper that everyone I walked by from then on commented on. The gingerbread dessert was awesome, as was the buffalo chicken grilled cheese.

Last part of our HS day was my very first visit to the Beauty and the Beast show! Yeah, I know, how is that possible, but I have 4 boys and never got to see princesses or shows on any of our family trips lol. Now poor dh indulges me (although he has become as much of a Frozen Sing Along fan as I am.)

Back to the hotel for us, to pack up and get ready for the move to the Grand Floridian tomorrow!

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You drowned poor Mickey!

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We actually went back out after HS and hit AK. It’s pretty and relaxing there in the evenings.

I can’t do anything in AK until I have gone on safari. We didn’t see many animals on this one but I still loved it. Our ride was stopped by a CM in a truck for a while and we were entertained by two ostriches that pecked on her windows and posed.

We strolled toward Pandora as it got darker and walked right on to FotLK. Never saw it before. It was entertaining, especially the fire guy and the monkeys. We did have some people sitting nearby that hooted and hollared like they were at a sporting event instead of a performance. I don’t know that this would be a priority for me in the future as they really pack the place full!

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Just now catching up with your trip report. So glad you decided to extend your trip and we got to do a liner meet!

Your enthusiasm is infectious—I want to go back right now!

P.S. Love DH’s cloak!

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Me too! Let’s run away together lol. :joy:

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Only if y’all take me too!

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image

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The best way to do a trip report is to leave it for days at a time and then jump right back in, right? I thought so.

Vacation day 6, last park day, AK reservation.

We got the car loaded and drove to AK for our last park day and the transition to the GF. We haven’t driven our car to a park in years and it didn’t go well. More on that later. We hoofed it over to Africa for the Caring for Giants tour. Caring For Giants Trip Report After that we walked the gorilla trails and took the train to Rafiki to pet some things.

I’m not sure how long Conservation Station can survive in it’s current form. When we last visited years ago there was a lot more to do and characters to meet. Now the coolest thing there was the fancy bathrooms. Although we did enjoy the animal hospital and had a funny encounter with a cm making up meals. There was glass enclosure all around except for her area, and when she spoke to us we kinda freaked out lol.

We lunched at Restaurantosaurus (take that spell check) and saw the Nemo show. I enjoyed the older version better as far as story and “acting” go, but there were neat new “costumes.”

We receive our room ready text and head for the exit. Anyone else think AK has the hardest to find exit? The directional signs are all large and the exit sign is like an afterthought pointing in no real direction. Anywho, we board the trams to the parking lot and drive right past the entire right hand side of the lot. They make the u-turn and start letting people off at the left and we ask the cm in the back what’s up and she says they don’t stop on the right side, it’s (insert a bunch of bull here.). She says we can ride back to the tram loading and walk from there. She must have noticed we are old and didn’t want us passing out/dying on her watch so she flagged down another cm in a golf cart and they gave us a ride to the other side somewhat kinda but not really near our car. In the words of dh, “Never again!” Now off to the GF to experience life on the nice side of the tracks!

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We pull up to the gate at GF and are wished good luck by the guard for parking as the main lots were pretty full with convention goers. Can’t really complain when we are among that group. But we give it a try and discover that the parking lot one ways (yes, it’s a verb) you out to the entrance again so we are greeted once more and told we can park over yonder in the Villas lot. Or valet park. Well, we pulled up to the unloading area and ask for a luggage cart and are curtly told, “Madam, this is a concierge hotel, you can’t do that here.” The guy unloads our luggage and dh goes to the other side of the property to park. I go to the check in kiosk and a kindly old man asks if I want a ride to the room in a golf cart. Not wanting to be told off again I say, “Uh, sure?” He then re-loads all the luggage onto the golf cart and we wait for dh. Off we go on a lovely tour with our guide pointing out things and dropping knowledge about the resort. We arrive at Sugar Loaf.

I really like the layout of this property, each area of rooms has it’s own little lobby and the hallways are not super long and far from the elevators (looking at you Beach Club.). The room was nice, tucked away in the corner so we only had a half balcony. Dh only had a $50 bill on hand so he really made our valet guy’s day.


This was our view. There was construction going on involving machinery that BEEP BEEP BEEP’s a lot. A lot!


The tree was glorious, the gingerbread house was awesome. But these facts made for an incredibly busy lobby. It felt like we were walking in the parks just to move through our own hotel!

We picked up some dinner from the lovely Gasparilla Grill and enjoyed an evening in. Tomorrow, last vacation day and Epcot dinner and fireworks! Don’t get excited.

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We had the morning free, but no park tickets so we went on a monorail resort tour. It’s great how each resort has their own vibe for the holidays.


The Contemporary apparently uses more sensitive security equipment, dh got wanded (verb) even though we passed through others just fine.

Now that I have stayed at six of the eight deluxe resorts I feel I can critique them freely. The busses at the deluxe resorts suck! There is ONE area for all the busses to load/unload. The line at the GF stop was long on both sides…people wanting to board and busses trying to do so. After seeing how smooth things run bus wise at the other resorts I just can’t believe the deluxe hotels can’t get their act together. All that to say we took a bus to DS. Nothing went right there so I’ll just post pics and move on.

Time to clean up and head to the busses that are taking us to the convention dinner and fireworks viewing at Epcot.


The last convention we attended in 2019 had this event at the American Pavilion. This time we had dinner in the China Pavilion and watched fireworks in Italy. It was all very enjoyable, although we are not fans of the Epcot fireworks/show. That’s a wrap! Snarky summary of this glorious trip coming next.

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Love the snowglobe sipper cup!

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I can’t wait for this! :rofl: I felt baited when you said things like

I like reading the good along with the bad :rofl: You have quite a way with words too–love it!

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