I’m not going to bore you with a full trip report, but thought I’d share some of the highlights and other thoughts from our trip.
There were three of us - DH, myself and DD who recently turned 5. We have all been plenty of times before; this was DDs 8th trip. We stayed in a 1BR at Beach Club Villas for 12 nights, and relied on Disney transportation to get us everywhere.
We had been in late April / early May quite a few times before (~10ish) so we had a good idea what to expect in terms of weather and crowds. The weather was pretty much as predicted, but crowds felt heavier overall than previous years. It wasn’t super busy, just not quite as light as we’ve been used to in the past. It certainly wouldn’t put us off going this time of year again - in fact, we’ll soon be booking a trip for early May next year, when we’ll be taking pretty much my whole family. Those trips are the best, can’t wait!
Getting 4th (and more) Fastpasses for what we wanted was as easy as always. The highlight was our first AK day. DD is probably Na’Vi River Journey’s biggest fan, so I had booked us Fastpasses for that after Safari and Everest - we were going to do Flight of Passage later in the trip. On our way from Everest to Pandora DD announced that she wanted to go on Flight of Passage instead. Now, at 5 she obviously doesn’t appreciate the amount of work that goes into getting Fastpasses - she just tells mummy what she wants to go on, and mummy sorts it out… I thought it would at least be worth a try, so we went to the Boneyard for a pit stop so she could play while I played the refresh game. Ten minutes later I had Fastpasses booked for the three of us, with a return time just 15 minutes later. DD was happy, and I was mildly surprised. As we walked into the gift shop after riding Flight of Passage DD said she wanted to go again… I really didn’t think there was much chance of snagging Fastpasses that would work for us, but said I’d try while she designed a necklace I had promised her earlier. Lo and behold, I snagged a set almost immediately, with a return time less than five minutes later! So, we walked back onto Flight of Passage for the second time in under 45 minutes. Soooo good! While we were walking thought the FP line, DD kept making funny noises. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was quietly laughing at all those people in standby, who were waiting instead of just getting Fastpasses like mummy…!
One thing which was a lot quieter than before was the DVC Lounge. I’m guessing a lot of people no longer bother going after they removed the large snack selection. We still enjoy it as a place to just relax for a little while, and now it’s easier to get seats which is a bonus.
Flower & Garden was nice, although most of the dishes were the same as last year. We focused on the new ones as well as revisiting some of the old favorites. DD wanted to spend lots of time in the F&G play area, which gave DH and myself the opportunity to relax with an adult beverage occasionally. DD was also going to do the Spike’s Pollen Nation map, but she wasn’t too bothered about this year’s prize (patches) so ended up just spending more time in the play area instead.
We did two dessert parties, HEA and Frozen. The spread was nicer at the Frozen one, and DD loved being able to walk onto the ride straight after IllumiNations. This was our last opportunity to see the show before it disappears - I may have shed a tear… I’ve seen it countless times over the years and have always loved it.
Food wise, top highlight was definitely lunch at Jaleo. DH and I both had the Jaleo Experience which was absolutely delicious and sooo much food! DD had the Butifarra Casera con Mongetes and said the beans were the best ones she’d ever had.
Cape May Cafe was good as always (we went twice, once for dinner and once for breakfast), as was Via Napoli. We all had our fill of Mickey waffles at Chef Mickey’s, and huge ice cream sundaes at Beaches & Cream (none of us could finish them). Sci-Fi was ok but freezing - to the point where DD said she wants to eat somewhere else next time (which is honestly a bit of a relief).
Wine Bar George was very nice, although none of us were hungry enough to have the skirt steak I’d been looking forward. We shared some charcuterie and cheese instead. The atmosphere was lovely, and Mr Miliotes himself was there. Very nice man.
DH and I had a date night when DD did the Captain Hook Pirate Adventure one evening. We decided to go for one of the tasting menus at M. Paul. The food was nice but not exceptional, and neither of us felt the meal was worth what it cost us. The portions were also very small. Now, we have done plenty of degustation menus all over the world, so we are very familiar with the concept, but we both came away a little hungry still which was a first. Neither of us are very big eaters.
The Captain Hook Pirate Adventure was apparently amazing. It was a small group of children (six I believe) and DD was pleased there was one other girl there. They went on the boat all the way to Studios, did a scavenger hunt, decorated bandanas and cupcakes…and met Captain Hook of course. The first thing DD said when we picked her up was that she wanted to do it again.
Other highlights for DD was being chosen to play the Beast in Belle’s Enchanted Tales for the first time, and being invited into the cockpit of our 747 on the way there. She’s a seasoned traveler and knows a fair amount about planes - the pilot asked her if she had any questions and looked rather surprised when she wanted to know how the flaps and slats are deployed on a jumbo jet! She was also pleased about meeting Fancy Nancy and Vampirina for the first time.
This was also the first trip she suddenly became interested in autographs. We bought her a book on the second day, and she was very excited about getting all the characters to sign. I’ve printed out all the meet and greet pictures, and she’s taken the book with her to school today to show her friends.
Something else she was suddenly interested in was pin trading. A very kind CM and the Boardwalk Community Hall gave her an Anna pin which was apparently too beautiful to trade, so I bought her another (“I want one I don’t really like”) to start her off. I’ve promised her a starter pack with lanyard next trip.
Overall, we had a great time. We followed our usual strategy: early starts the first week, with parks from rope drop to early afternoon, a pool break and then another park in the evenings. Mostly later starts the second week, with pool time in the morning and parks around lunchtime. The next trip planning spreadsheet is already in progress - looking forward to doing it all again!