. . . in which we are all in tears before lunchtime. No, not really! We had fun! But I already feel the details fading away so I’m going to try to write them down before they’re gone. I didn’t do a good job of keeping notes while we were in the World, so here goes.
Background: I went to DW several times growing up. After my grandfather retired from the Navy he was a food service rep, and Disney was one of his clients, so he got tickets somewhat regularly. I always wanted to take our kids, but money was tight and my husband had never been and couldn’t imagine what all the fuss was about. We finally planned a trip for our then two kids 8 years ago (12 and 7 at the time), and of course DH (and all) fell head over heels in love with DW. We used the Unofficial Guide’s preprinted touring plans last time (pre-smartphones!) and felt like we had won the parks!
We wanted to wait to go again until our youngest was old enough to remember. So, for this trip it was me and my husband (DH), our 20 year old son (DS20), 15 year old daughter (DD15), and 6.5 year old son (DS6). We booked an AirBnB for 8 nights and had 6 day park tickets. Our trip dates were constrained by several factors, most limiting was DD20’s college schedule. When we planned the trip, we knew CLs would be higher than we wished for the first part of the trip (but no more than 6 in the park we planned to be in), and would drop for the last few days. Of course the CL predictions changed drastically, but we felt pretty confident that the TPs could handle the change. I also failed to understand the new FPP system (it was paper last time), and so didn’t book ours until about 3 weeks out, so our FPP situation was not ideal.
Travel & Arrival:
We left Columbus, Ohio at about 8am on 1/16 and drove to Kingsland, GA where we spent the night. We would usually drive straight through, but middle age has convinced me that not arriving tired is a good thing! We drove down the A1A (the historic coastal highway) from its beginning to Atlantic Beach, where my grandparents lived until my grandmother died last year. We spent a little time on the chilly beach (DS6 not minding the frigid ocean and getting soaked!) before grabbing lunch and heading on to Kissimmee.
We arrived at our AirBnB right around check in time on 1/17, got the van unpacked, and went to Walmart for groceries. Then DS20 and DH headed to a movie theatre to see the limited release Dragonball Z movie. Main Street Strollers dropped off our Keenz, I got our lunches packed for the next day, and we all tried to get to sleep–not as early as we’d hoped, of course.
Day 1: Magic Kingdom
Although there were EMH at MK the first day of our stay, my DH insisted that DS6’s first experience of DW be MK. Though my internal OCD planner cringed, it’s hard to argue with such logic as “the monorail,” “Cinderella’s castle,” and “the morning show.” We still got there early, tapping in around 8am. We had time to stop on Main Street for a first visit button for DS6, and got a good spot for the show in front of the castle. We even witnessed a proposal!
After the show, we went to SM. SM had been closed during EMH, so there was already quite a line, but the posted wait was only 25 mins and Lines still thought this was the best time to ride. DS6 had never been on a rollercoaster, and I made the mistake of letting DD15 (7 yo at the time) ride SM first thing on our last trip, scaring her badly. So, I had been telling him for weeks that he wouldn’t ride it this time, but we’d come back to MK another day and he could ride it then if he wanted. Well, so much for my good plans. He begged and begged and my DH reasonably said “it won’t kill him,” which is true enough. So we rode. It scared DS6, but he was okay and not scarred.
Next we went to Barnstormer (which DS6 LOVED) and then made our DD15 ride Dumbo with DS6 (DH and I can’t do too much spinning). At around 11 we used FPPs for Under the Sea, which my DS6 had been really looking forward to. Then: MTP (DD15 on the hook again), People Mover (which stopped in the totally dark tunnel, scaring DS6). It was about 12:30 by now, and it was warm and we were getting tired, so we took our packed lunch into CoP and ate during that. Man, I love CoP. I feel like the animatronics have gotten better, but maybe I’m imagining things.
Duly refreshed, we headed over to the Laugh Floor, which we all really loved! My husband was “That Guy” and never has DW pegged someone so well–he loved it, and got a sticker saying he was That Guy so that he was greeted thusly for the rest of the day! Next we used FPPs for Buzz Lightyear, which was a hit.
We then went over to Liberty Square for the Hall of Presidents, which I found cringe-inducing and wished we had skipped. We then switched off riding Haunted Mansion because DS6 DOES NOT LIKE CREEPY. FYI.
DD15 and I rode last, while DH, and both DSs headed to find a spot in Liberty Square for the FoF parade. This is when the CL began to bother me. I had several people be very rude to us, and a couple of middle-aged ladies even elbow my DD out of the way to stand in front of her. I admit to not enjoying crowds generally, but we’re in DW people, come on! Anyway, the parade was great, the crowd eventually dispersed, and I didn’t say anything snarky too loudly–so all’s well that ends well, I guess.
Next we rode Small World with FPPs I grabbed after HM. Then it was time for a Mickey head ice cream break, and we were glad to score a shady table at the Sherwood Forest cafe (is that what it’s called? Right there across from Peter Pan.) DS6 and DD15 rode the Carousel and then we were on to PhilharMagic, which my DS20 just loves so much and we all enjoyed. We then stood in line for Winnie the Pooh, my DD15’s favorite ride. This was the longest line we stood in all day, I think, at about 30 mins. I don’t know if we were just tired but it seemed to move incredibly slowly! We all loved it, though.
We mobile ordered dinner from Cosmic Ray’s, and found a nice quiet spot to eat outside, tucked in a little corner made by the steps and the wall of the restaurant. DD20 (who had a hip replacement in August) was done walking, so he and I hung out there while DH took DS6 and DD15 to ride the Barnstormer again–twice! We then watched the fireworks from the bridge by Cosmic Ray’s. It wasn’t the best spot as you can only see the back of the castle, and the fireworks are at a weird angle, but we knew we’d be back for fireworks another night. DS6 was asleep the Keenz wagon immediately after the show ended, and slept through all the rigamarole of getting back to the van and back to our AirBnB.
All in all I’d say it was quite a successful day! The CL was a 7 (instead of the predicted 6) and between that and SM being closed during EMH, our wait times were a little off. But, I had added the Astro Orbiter, Enchanted Tales, and Muppets History to this day, fully intending to drop them if we needed to, so we weren’t heartbroken over missing those.
Following @Cgerres’s lead:
Steps taken: 18,693
Characters hugged: 0
Attractions: 14 (not including repeats)
Up next: Day 2 at EPCOT, wherein we nearly drown in the roiling crowds of WS