Our Vacation - a Success

I’d like to thank everyone here who helped me out by answering my questions - or providing answers to others - that I was able to use and learn from.

I spent a lot of time at Touring Plans - planning our days, learning the ropes. As a way of thanking you - I will describe some parts of our vacation - in hopes that maybe something I say will help someone else.

While I created many plans using Touring Plans - once there with the grandkids - I threw most of them out the window - and went with the flow of what the kids wanted to do. However, the knowledge gained during the planning phase - allowed me to make suggestions to maximize our experience. Also, I was able to get many difficult to get Fast Passes - and the family was amazed at how wonderful it was to skip many of the lines.

I will break this into several parts so that this doesn’t become a novel in one note.

The trip was April 15 - 23. It was my self and husband, son and daughter-in-law, grandson age 9 and granddaughter age 5. We did not stay on a Disney property - and saved a lot of money by staying in a condo at Windsor Hills. It was perfect - 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, kitchen, living room, swimming pool.

My husband and I arrived first because of a good airline deal. We used that time to discover how to travel back and forth to Disney. On our first night we went over to Disney Springs for dinner - we had no reservations but our timing was perfect and we were able to walk right into Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar - and get a small table for 2 - and had hors d’oeuvres and drinks - which worked just fine for dinner.

The next day, Saturday, before picking the rest of the family up for dinner at the airport - we had lunch at Disney Springs at Bongo’s Cuban Cafe - Cuban Sandwiches - which were very good.

We picked the family up from the airport - and made dinner at the condo - while the kids enjoyed the condo pool.

Late Saturday night - while everyone else drifted off to sleep - I made one more attempt to get a FP for my granddaughter to meet Anna & Elsa (something I had tried to get for 30 straight days with no luck). To my surprise and delight - a FP for 6:00 pm for 2 showed up and I was able to grab it - and surprise everyone with the acquisition when they woke up the next morning.

The original plans and Fast Passes were as follows:
Sunday - Magic Kingdom (try to stay all day and leave after Electric Parade)
Monday - Typhoon Lagoon (morning and afternoon) - Magic Kingdom (evening)
Tuesday - Hollywood Studios (morning and early afternoon) - Epcot (evening)
Wednesday - Blizzard Beach (morning and afternoon) - Epcot (evening for character dinner at Akerhaus Banquet Hall)
Thursday - Animal Kingdom - Epcot evening
Friday - whatever park we wanted to revisit (morning - I had FP for MK - because I anticipated that would be the park in demand) - Disney Springs evening for a farewell dinner at The Boathouse

I’ll describe what the reality was in a future post - as plans are made to be broken - we deviated a bit from this ambitious plan. No sense in ruining a good time in order to keep to an arbitrary plan.


Can’t wait to read the rest! Thank you for sharing!! Love living vicariously!!


Sunday is our first day - and off we head to the Magic Kingdom. We made it in time for the rope drop - but we were in the back far from the rope.

The plan was to head first for the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. I had a hard time getting Touring Plans to optimize and make those first - but I decided that they would be a great introduction to MK for the grandkids and their first visit to Disney World. There was hardly any wait time - and I was fumbling with my iPad to try to record the wait time for TP - and just couldn’t manage to do it. We all enjoyed JC - but the darkness in Pirates scared by granddaughter a bit - and that then became a recurring problem for this vacation.

Next was the Haunted Mansion. My granddaughter didn’t go on - she and her mom saw that there was a short waiting time for meeting Cinderella and Rapunzel - so that’s where they went.

It was time for a break - and we stopped for waffles at Sleepy Hollow. I ended up covered with more powdered sugar than the grandkids.

My grandson really wanted to head to Tomorrowland Speedway - this wasn’t in the plan at this time - but I remembered that the wait time would be minimal early on - so off we went across the park to TS. Grandson was tall enough to drive car with my husband sitting in passenger seat. Son drove granddaughter - and daughter-in-law and I had our own cars. Wow those cars were hard to steer - you’d never know that I really know how to drive.

Still not following the plan - we decided to head off to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin - as it was close. I stayed off the ride with granddaughter who was afraid it would be dark. The picture of my husband and son together on this ride trying to shoot targets is really funny - they are really intent on hitting the targets.

We had our first FP then on Splash Mountain - and wow did we enjoy missing the long line and using the FP entrance. My granddaughter was fine on Splash Mountain during the rollercoaster-like part - but once we went underground to the darkened tunnel with the singing Brer Rabbit characters - fear of the dark took over - and she did not enjoy that part.

We then took a break on Tom Sawyer’s Island for some free play and exploring.

Then it was off to use our FP for Peter Pan. (Granddaughter was not about to go on this dark ride - so she and daughter-in-law headed off to meet Ariel and go on the Carousel.) I’m glad we had a FP for PP - the line was over an hour. I’m glad we saw it - but it would not have been worth an hour wait. If we ever go to MK again - this would not be on the top of my list of rides.

Finally it was time for lunch. I had a 2:05 reservation at BOG. We had pre-ordered our lunch - so we were able to go right in. I wasn’t really impressed by this. It was very noisy - and seemed like a cafeteria to me. I guess I’m glad we had the experience - but it would not be on my list for a future visit. They forgot to bring our dessert - but that was okay - we were tired - and we were ready to head back to our condo for a break and a swim in the pool. (This was not in the plans - I had planned to tough it out and had a list of easy things to do if we got tired - but it really felt right to take the break.)

We had a 6-7 FP for Elsa and Anna for granddaughter and daughter-in-law and a 6-7 FP for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for the rest - so it was back to the park for those.

Meanwhile - I had discovered that I had lost my prescription glasses in the park earlier. So when we arrived back in park - while the others went off to rides - I headed to the Town Hall to report my missing glasses. They hadn’t found them but gave me a number to call for central Lost & Found. I had a second pair of glasses with me - so the vacation wasn’t ruined - and this story has a happy ending when I call the Lost & Found after our return home.

Thank goodness for cell phones - I texted son - and met them at Swiss Family Robinson Tree House - and then headed off to Big Thunder Mountain with them - and again we marveled at how wonderful FPs were.

It was time for dinner - and we stopped at Columbia Harbour House. The menu was just what we wanted - and fried shrimp for me hit the spot. It wasn’t crowded and we had a nice table outside - which just happened to be near the night time parade route. So after a leisurely dinner - we found a nice spot to watch the parade. We all really enjoyed the Electrical Parade - that was really impressive and not to be missed.

I would have stayed for Wishes - and the fireworks - but everyone else was tired - so we made our way through the crowds to head back home. On our way out - we were able to turn around a few times and see Wishes - which looked really great.

End of day 1.


Great report so far!! Thx for sharing!

Sounds wonderful! I’m planning a similar trip for next year; me, DH, kids and my mom, but without waterparks since we’re going in Jan/Feb. Staying at Windsor Hills too, so it’s great to read your report!

Monday Day 2 - the plan was to go to Typhoon Lagoon. I figured we would be tired after our first day of waking early to be at rope drop for MK and spending a full day there. Typhoon Lagoon doesn’t even open until 10 - so we had a leisurely morning before leaving for there and arriving shortly after opening.

The day before I had ordered an umbrella, beach chairs, and towels package for our day. For about $50 this seemed like a nice luxury - especially since I like to keep out of the sun. They emphasized that this was a package for 4 - but I figured that we didn’t all need towels (we brought extra) - and we wouldn’t all need chairs. I didn’t understand how it worked. When we got there I found out that we were assigned a special area - and that we would have paper bracelets that served as proof that we belonged in the area. So what to do with only 4 bracelets - who would wear them - who would be left out? I knew that there was no refund. They mentioned the upgrade to the Beachcomber Shacks - but I knew this cost $300 and was out of my league. We settled on buying a second package for 4. It was an unplanned for extra $50 - but we really had a pleasant day and it was worth it. We were right next to the people in their $300 cabanas - which were nice - if money was no object - I would do that.

The day was warm but a bit cloudy in the morning - sun came out by noon - and the weather was great all day. We floated down the lazy river - went on the water slides - grandson loved the wave pool - granddaughter loved the Ketchakiddee Creek area.

We left about 4 to go back to condo and get ready for an evening at MK.

I had a 6 pm FP - but got there close to 7 for Enchanted Tales with Belle. I thought this would be special for granddaughter - as there were rides that she couldn’t go on - and she went to the Meet and Greets without everyone else there (just her mom) - so this would be something we did for her. Boy - was I wrong. She was afraid the whole time - despite our reassurances - that the Beast was going to show up. So even though her grandfather and father played guards - and her brother played sugar or salt or some condiment - she could barely look. The Beast was played by an adorable 3 year old girl - but granddaughter was sure the real Beast would show up. Only at the end - when it was picture time with Belle did she relax. Oh well - we have pictures of grandfather and father as guards with Belle which we can use to taunt them with for the next year.

We then had FP for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. (I made a mistake in Sunday’s story - we did not go on that ride on Sunday.) I stayed off ride with granddaughter - we went and had ice cream.

The final FP at 8 was for 7 Dwarves Mine Train. Again I stayed off ride with granddaughter - since I had gone on Thunder Mountain the previous day - and daughter-in-law missed that one. Granddaughter and I were going to go on Winnie the Pooh with FP - but she was content to just enjoy watching the crowds go by. (This was just as well - because I later learned that Winnie was shut down during our FP time.)

We were all hungry for a late dinner so we headed for Pinocchio Village Haus. It was very crowded and we had a wait before our order was taken - but we had a nice meal. The Caprese Flatbread was very good.

It was time to head home. We had planned to leave early and miss the parade - but we ended up leaving after the parade went down Main Street. On our way out the wait said 15 minutes for Tinkerbelle and Mickey. So granddaughter went in to see Tinkerbelle - and grandson went in to see Mickey. The wait ended up being more like 25 minutes as the after parade crowd had all gotten on line. Still they had nice pictures. Mickey had my grandson do a lion pose with him for the picture.

End of Day 2 - it began leisurely - but it was long - and everyone was tired as we made our way back to condo.


Sounds like a wonderful day!!

I am so enjoying your trip report. You did such a wonderful job of planning yet remaining incredibly flexible! Your family is so lucky to have you. I hope I can do the same for my kids and grandkids one day. I hope you take the time to make a small picture album of your trip. It will be a treasure for your family.


Aw! Why didn’t you just rider switch?!

You should have been given an alternate FPP or the option to return any time later

I agree with others - I love that you planned but were flexible and that even in being flexible you were better prepared than many because you had info that helped guide that flexibility in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible :slight_smile:

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love this, I love to follow other people’s trips!

Thanks for sharing your trip report! I love to read about other people’s trips!

Tuesday - Hollywood Studios

First a re-evaluation of our plans. Wednesday the plan was to go to Blizzard Beach in the morning and then Epcot in the evening. We had a 5:05 reservation for a character dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. We needed to discuss if we would be able to get the grandkids away from the BB in time for dinner. The options were to choose a different day for BB - but we had some rare FP for some of the other days. I presented problem to son and daughter-in-law and let them decide. Their solution was to skip BB and instead of just go to Epcot in the evening - to spend some time there in afternoon also.

They also wanted to skip Epcot for Tuesday evening and instead just spend a relaxing evening at the condo.

So off to Hollywood Studios we went. When I chose Tuesday for HS - and picked out our FPs - it did not have EMH in the morning - but those had since been added. TP showed HS as having a very low crowd day (a 3 or 4) - but the reality was - it was very crowded when we arrived a little after 9 - it was also hot and sunny. I would guess the crowds were more a 7 or 8 - maybe because of the change to EMH?

The first FP was for Star Tours. Four of us went on and daughter-in-law and granddaughter did not. Really loved this - I didn’t even get motion sickness. Grandson loved it - and wanted to go on again with his mother. So we still had the FP for her and granddaughter - so we switched Magic Bands so that grandson could go on again. (And here is a suggestion for everyone - if you think there will be any Magic Band switching between a boy and a girl - be careful what color and kind of Magic Bands you get. Poor grandson switched to a very pink MB with princesses all over it. He held his hand over it and hid it until the time came to touch it to the entrance sensor.)

We briefly watched some Jedi training afterwards - but were way in the back and it was hard to see. Then it was off to use our next FPs. Granddaughter and DIL were off to the Frozen Sing-a-long and the rest of us were off to the Tower of Terror.

I was the one who wanted to go on the TT. I am scared of heights - and I thought this would be the one challenging ride that I would go on. I had watched what it was like on video - the actual free fall elevator part was only for a short amount of time - and I thought I could deal with it. I wasn’t sure if anyone else wanted to go on - and offered to get them FP for something else - but they all came along. It took a little persuading to get grandson to do it - as he too is afraid of heights. He went along - but he was scared - you can see the concern in this face on the video that they took of us on the ride. When it was over - he indicated he wouldn’t be going on it again - but he now has bragging rights and can tell all his friends that he went on it.

It was time for lunch - and we had reservations for Sci Fi Cafe. That was a highlight. We all loved it. I thought granddaughter might be afraid of the semi-darkness and the movie - but they gave her crayons and something to color - and that occupied her immediately. By the time she realized there was a movie - she forgot to be afraid. I loved the atmosphere - and the food - and we all loved the fried pickles. We spent a nice leisurely lunch - with drinks for the adults.

Next we headed to the Indiana Jones stunt show. This was a great show for the whole family. We all enjoyed it. If you haven’t seen it - go - it’s funny and interesting.

After that it was off to Toy Story Mania - I had the FPs. Granddaughter wanted to be afraid and not go on - but this time her parents pushed a bit and convinced her to go - she wouldn’t wear the 3D glasses - but she was happy with herself for still scoring some points.

It was hot and crowded and we were getting tired - so we ended the day at Star Wars Launch Bay. There were several Storm Troopers outside. The lines for the characters were too long - but we enjoyed all the exhibits.

That evening - our son made us spaghetti and meatballs at the condo - we all enjoyed some time in the pool - and then we all watched a rented Star Wars movie on the DVD player. It was nice family time - I would have gone to Epcot for dinner for the Flower & Garden Festival Food Carts - but I went with the flow - and we all had a great time.


Good for you that you got your family on TOT!! I’m still trying, but no takers yet😒 You are all going to have such great memories!!