With two weeks to go and plans (mostly) finalized, I figured it was time to start a pre-trip report which will evolve into a trip report! Buckle up - it’s a bit of a bumpy ride!!
Me! Just me!
My name is Beth, and I am a lifelong Disney fan (first movie my parents took me to was Bambi - on a re-release, and I remember watching The Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday while eating TV dinners on a TV tray)! I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been to WDW - but the last time was Marathon Weekend 2015 when I ran/walked/slogged the Goofy Challenge. So it wasn’t really an all-out “let me play” kind of trip as I didn’t want to overtire my legs and then after I didn’t really have the energy.
I teach special education in NYC, and this trip will be over my Winter Break, which is Presidents’ Week.
Originally, this year’s trip was going to be a cruise on the Disney Wonder, but I kept going back and forth and back and forth about it but never actually cancelled it while debating (just changed my cabins a lot). I’ve never used a TA before as I can clearly be pretty indecisive, but I decided to contact one I’ve worked with on a trip that didn’t happen for a variety of reasons, and she got back to me with some quotes. I pondered it a bit and then decided to cancel the cruise and go with WDW. Partly because I haven’t really been to play since Christmas of 2010 - all the other times were for RunDisney races - and partly because I really wanted to see Pandora and have been so good about avoiding spoilers but knew that would get more and more difficult. So I pulled the trigger.
Initially I booked at AKL because I love it there (stayed there once) AND because it was lining up price-wise with the cruise cost more or less.
Pondered for a bit and decided to go with the dining plan and change to POFQ. Never stayed there and not the biggest New Orleans fan, but it always gets raves - and I know I don’t really like POR or CSR from prior visits, and I adore CBR, but being gluten-free I was not comfortable with their food tent set-up and did not want to have to do breakfast elsewhere on property or with Luna bars or something.
Pondered a bit more and decided to give AoA a try so I changed to that.
And then finally decided I’m really not going to be in the room that much so I finally decided on Sports. Preferred section strongly requesting the Surfs Up section. With dining plan. And thus it has stayed. The TP fax is all set with my requests in priority order. And I did not check the “early arrival trumps all” box with online check-in!
Then it was make the ADRs, change the ADRs, repeat ad nauseam. And ditto for FP+. But I think I’m mostly finished with them. Just minor tweaks here and there.
Today is the 2-week mark, and having tole my cashier at Trader Joe’s this morning “Have a Magical Day”, I figured it was time to get this report going.
When I went to look at flights, the least expensive option for non-stop flights ended up being JetBlue out of Newark. It also had flights that will allow maximum time in Orlando, so bonus!! The flight is “Disney early” - 5:35am. But my dad had gifted me some Hilton Hhonors points, so I’m staying at the Doubletree Newark Airport the night before so I can get a little bit of sleep more than a nap before heading to the airport.
The flight is listed as getting in at 8:23 (by the published schedule - I don’t think I’ve ever been on a flight from the NYC area to MCO that wasn’t 20+ minutes early, we’ll see if that trend holds). I’m a carry-on only girl, so I’ll head right to DME and to WDW as soon as they’ll take me that way!
If the room is ready I’ll go drop my stuff off. If not, I’ll store it with Bell Services (or whatever it’s called at the values), go grab my mug and get some soda - possibly a bite to eat if I’m hungry, and head off to Epcot.
After much consideration, I’m 98% sure I’m going to upgrade to an AP before heading into the park (or if the line outside is crazy, at Guest Relations right after entering) as I’ll have at least a couple more days of visit before my Winter Break cruise on the Disney Dream in 2019 - and possibly one other trip in the fall. Then off to play!!
I’ve got FP+ for Mission Space Orange, Spaceship Earth, and Soarin’ to start with.
Then it’s a 2:50pm ADR at Rose & Crown as part of the Disney on Broadway concert series. I’ve gone back and forth between R&C, Coral Reef, and Garden Grill - but at this point GG is only showing up as an ADR for 2 - and I don’t trust that in a case like this I wouldn’t be charged for the “no show” since it’s a dining package - and CR gets me a 6:45 concert rather than the 5:30 I have (even though the ADR time is the same). So R&C it shall be.
Disney on Broadway concert at 5:30. Then wander and do what I can before Illuminations. My plan is to watch it from the FW side of Epcot and then hop the monorail to MK, which is open until midnight - but I’ll see how I feel and be willing to head back to the resort if I am too tired.
Animal Kingdom day number 1.
It’s an EMH morning, and I plan to do my best to hit that and head to the non-Pandora things to take advantage of what should be a lower crowd level.
FP+ for the day to start are Safaris, Na’vi River Journey, and Meet Disney Pals.
I’d love to do Satu’li for lunch, but I’ll see what the line is like (since I am gluten-free, mobile ordering is not an option). If it’s too long, I’ll hit one of the other QS options.
My big splurge (besides the vacation itself) comes up that afternoon and evening - the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour!! I decided early on to treat myself to that so I wouldn’t have to get overly stressed about FP+. And then I purposely chose NRJ for the first one because the little I have let myself hear (via a podcast) about Pandora is to do NRJ before FOP. That will also let me experience Satu’li if I don’t get to do lunch there that day.
Disney Springs in the morning and lunch at The BOATHOUSE!! Super excited for that.
Then it’s off to Epcot for the afternoon, evening, and evening EMH!
FP+ for that to start are Frozen Ever After, Meet Disney Pals, and The Seas with Nemo. I’m thinking I’ll take a little break and head to either the Contemporary or the Poly for a QS dinner, but we’ll see if I feel like heading out or if I just grab something QS there - or even a snack depending on my appetite.
Magic Kingdom Day with evening EMH!
Starting the day with breakfast at Kona! I hadn’t really decided that until I saw two magic words - Mimosa Flight. Yes, please!! (Also gluten-free Mickey Waffles with the Strawberry Sauce!!)
It’ll be a princess morning since my starting FP+ are Rapunzel/Tiana meet, Cinderella/Elena meet, and Enchanted Tales with Belle! I have a lunch set at BOG, but I’m also pondering going to either the Contemporary or Poly for QS (whichever I didn’t eat at the night before if I head out for dinner).
Another treat will be the Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza viewing - I debated it since I have never seen Happily Ever After before…but I was also a huge Wishes! fan, so I’m iffy on the new show, but at least the desserts and the special viewing area will make it doable.
Then it will be a magical few hours playing all over Magic Kingdom!!
Animal Kingdom Day 2
Kicking the day off with Caring for Giants at 9:30! I love elephants and all the reviews plus knowing the money goes towards conservation made this a no-brainer.
FP+ are Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, and Flight of Passage.
The evening is up in the air for this day. I have an ADR at Boma at 8:05, an open table reservation at Bongos in Disney Springs at 7ish…or I’m pondering staying in AK and getting QS or going to Disney Springs and doing either Blaze or De-Lux and Ghirardelli… A lot will depend on my first evening in AK and also how tired I am.
Sad day as I leave, but the flight is not until 9:22PM, so I’ll have most of the day to play.
MK with morning EMH!!
Breakfast at BOG at 8 - I know, I know. But reading another solo trip report on here where he had an 8am time and getting to pretty much choose wherever I want to sit rather than where there’s a free table? Yes, please!
FP+ are Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise. Timing that second so that I’ll then go to my lunch at Skipper Canteen!!! And then an early afternoon FP+ for Meet Mickey!
I’ll head back to Sports in plenty of time to catch the Tragical Express back to MCO. And then it’s home. I’ll have Saturday and Sunday to rest before school starts back on Monday.
So that’s the plan in a nutshell! There has been a lot of tweaking and as you can see, there will be a little more tweaking, but that’s what I’ve got now!
Can’t wait to report on how things are!!
Thanks for reading!