Last summer (2018) my family of 6 went to WDW for 7 days, had 5 park days (non-hoppers) and stayed in a 2 bedroom at WBC. It was a great trip, and we are going back summer 2020 but I needed a little trip in between. DH isn’t interested in going until after GE opens. On a business trip, I gave up my seat on a flight and received an $800 american airlines voucher, enough for 3 of us to fly to WDW from Ohio for free, so this trip was born! I planned it for me, DD8 and DD10. Last summer DD8 was my roller coaster girl, EE, SM, she couldn’t get enough! So she was really excited! DS10 couldn’t wait to ride FOP again and they both wanted to go to AK on our first day back!
I booked POP on Priceline for $113/night June9-12, which I thought was a great deal. Was excited to stay there for the first time. However, I kept an eye out for PE deals, and when one came up for Dolphin for $93/night on those dates, I booked it and cancelled Pop! I thought we would enjoy the location between Epcot and HS. With the $33/night resort fee, total price came out about the same in the end. We didn’t end up going to epcot or the boardwalk as much as I thought we would (spent every spare minute at AK, as you’ll see), but we still enjoyed it and I definitely loved the boat to and from HS!
I bought 4 day PH tickets because I wanted to make the most out of this short trip and I thought it would be easy and fun to hop around from park to park, and it was!
Day1: June 9 Uber pick up at 5am for 6:30am flight with TSA precheck, landed at MCO 10:30am. We had a layover in DC, and almost missed our connection because our first flight couldn’t land due air traffic, so we were stuck circling DCA for a good 20 minutes, I was worried, then had to take a shuttle bus to our next gate. The bus was loaded and ready to go but the driver was just hanging out chatting, ugh! I was nervous! Must have gotten some Pixie dust, we made it, flight attendants were calling for us as we got off of the bus! The flight to MCO was full of excitement and happy families going to WDW, we usually drive so this was a new experience. It almost brought me to tears!
At MCO, quickly got an Uber to Dolphin. We had FPP at 12:30, 2:30 and 3:30 for FOP, EE and KR. Arrived Dolphin around 11:15am, and our room was ready, so we headed up to the 16th floor to quickly change and get on our way.
My kids were really into the resort. Staff was very friendly. The room was a typical very nice hotel room. Beds were super comfy as we expected from reviews. DS10 and DD8 noticed the swan boats and the pool and couldn’t wait to get back and swim later that day.
Day1 AK: Found the bus stop at the Dolphin and we waited about 5 minutes for a bus to AK. Got there a little after 12 so we headed to Dinoland and hang out in the dig site for a little while as well as ride triceratop spin. Then walked back to Pandora, tapped into flight of passage and walked all the way through directly to the ramp right before the pre-show. Amazing as always! The next morning was 7am EMH and I asked them if they wanted to get up at 5am for rope drop to ride FOP again and they were totally willing! After FOP we had lunch at flame tree BBQ (mobile order). Then on our way to EE saw thunderstorm coming, scooted inside the Nemo show and decided to stay for it to wait out the storm. EE and KS went down and FPPs converted. After the show (which was very cute, but a little long), storm passed and rides started coming back up. We walked passed the FP line for EE because it was so long and went to KR instead. We managed to not get soaked! After KR, back to EE. Rode first with our FP, then a few more times on single rider line. Single rider line was much shorter than the fp line! EE is DD8’s favorite ride! DS10 wouldn’t ride it so he had an ice cream and watched from the bridge. He promised he’ll consider it next year!
There she is in the front row (pink skirt) as a single rider
We had a great time, and by 4:42 we were on a bus back to Dolphin for an afternoon swim.
The Grotto pool at Dolphin is wonderful!! We loved the slide, hot tubs and waterfall. Plenty of seating and waiters walking around taking drink orders. We swam for about an hour and then got ready to go to MK.
It was a long day already so this MK visit was just for the purpose of stepping into MK and seeing the castle/main street on our first day.
We had two other 1/2 days planned at MK with prebooked FPP’s. I had picked up a FP for JC for 6:30pm. After JC, it started to drizzle and we hopped on line for POC; we didn’t have a FP, but we waited approx 5 minutes. Off POC, heavy heavy rain and thunder!! We scooted into Pico’s Bill for dinner and I realized I left our ponchos at the hotel. I left the kids there to finish eating and went over to the mercantile to buy ponchos. After that, the rain seemed to be letting up and it looked like BTMRR was running, so we went there and walked on all the way to the downward ramps but were stopped there. Closed. The storm was getting heavy.
I had picked up a FP for Buzz so we made our way there - walking calf deep through the MK overflowing streets. People were sitting in puddles in the hub just waiting for HEA! We were a few minutes early for Buzz but they let us in anyway. After Buzz we were ready to head back to the hotel - the next morning was going to be an early one! The only snag this whole day was waiting for the bus from MK to Dolphin while being wet and tired. We waited about 30 minutes before the first one arrived. Fortunately, we never waited that long for a bus (or anything) the rest of the week.
During the last hour of MK operating time I managed to grab a fpp for speedway which converted to anytime for the next day. However, the next day it had disappeared before we used it. I could have gone to guest services but I didn’t want to waste the time and knew we would be able to manage without it :).
Day2: June 10 Double Rope Drop! SDFP!
This day was the day AK opened for EMH at 7am and MK opened at 9am. Our original plan was just to RD MK, but when AK EMH hours changed to 7am, I thought about this plan. It was a success! Here’s how it went:
5:15 wake up, get ready (had out bag/snacks/clothes packed & ready the night before)
5:43 called uber
5:58 dropped off at Ak
6:00 first in line for bag check; chatted with the security guard while waiting. He was from the same area in Brooklyn as my dad!
6:14 through bag check and 2nd in line at taps. Here we are
6:35 let through taps, checked in for EMH and held at bridge. We were about 3 rows deep. I lost track of time after this. Held tightly to my kids as people tried to cut us off, but nothing overly stressful. I noted the time we got OFF of FOP - 7:03am! Success!
Right after that walked on Navi; exiting Pandora before 7:15am Line for FOP was 120 minutes and people were still streaming in!
DS10 wanted to go ride Primevil whirl, so we went there. Rode it 2x, he loved it!
By then it was about 8am, time for a bathoom break and Uber to MK.
I had the Uber drop us off at the Contemporary, told him we were getting coffee at Contempo cafe. Security guard let us in no problem, we hopped out right near the walkway to MK. By now it was 8:30. I was getting a little worried we would miss RD, but we got into MK at 8:40 and hopped in a Main Street Vehicle.
This was a wonderful experience and it was great to avoid walking up main street at this time. Arrived at the castle at 8:46 and situated ourselves on the bridge to Liberty Square. We were about 12 rows of people deep and watched the welcome show from there. Walked with the masses towards BTMRR.
Boarded BTMRR at 9:14, then went to HM. After HM we were ready to start our FPP’s: 7DMT, PP and SM at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30. After 7DMT we went to speedway, wait time was 25 minutes. DS10 wanted to ride it but did not want to wait 25 minutes (imagine that!). I assured him it would only be 15 and we had to pass the time anyway before our PP FPP. 15 minutes it was, and I submitted my first wait time ever!
After that we went to Micky’s Philharmagic, enjoyed that, PP, and SM. As soon as I tapped into SM at 11:30 I started looking for a Soarin FPP and got one for 1:30, perfect!
At 11:50 we were ready to head out of MK and hop on the monorail and headed to Epcot.
We got to Epcot at 12:35 (I only know this based on the time stamp of the pic I took in front of SE). We were hot, so I thought it would be a good chance to check out club cool for the first time. We really enjoyed it and tried everything, including the Beverly, lol!
After that we went to Pixar Film Festival and watched some cute shorts in the AC, and finally rode Soarin’. Unfortunately my kids thought it paled now in comparison to FOP. After that we rode Livin’ with the Land for the first time ever. Not sure we will need to do that again, but it was relaxing.
By now it was starting to rain and out feet hurt. We had been to 3 parks already and had two very early mornings in a row. We walked over to the boats to take us back to Dolphin, but they weren’t running. So we walked back to Dolphin. I kept an eye on the time, because while we were walking I grabbed another FOP FPP for the 3 of us for later that evening! So we had time to chill in the room and headed back to AK for the 3rd time in 2 days!
The FOP FPP time was around 5:30, and once we got to the ramp waiting for the preshow I scored a 6:10fpp for KS! We had more animal activity that I’ve seen before, so that was fun. After KS, EE single rider 4-5 times, FPP for KR again, and a FPP for primevil whirl again because DS10 doesn’t ride EE. A very very good day! We were heading out of AK around 8pm, and ready for a good night’s sleep! Popcorn and a movie in the room. We could actually make out the MK fireworks from our window.
Day 3: June 11
Today we were spending the morning at HS, FPP for SDD, ToT and ST 9:35, 10:35 and 11:35. We had EMM the following morning at TSL, so we did not attempt any rope drop on this day. We had a very nice boat ride from Dolphin to HS, got to HS around 9:30 and leisurely walked back to TSL. SDD was down, so we got root beer floats from Woody’s lunch box (it was morning, but hey, we’re on vacation!
We knew our fpp would turn anytime, so we weren’t worried. We watched a few test runs of SDD from the bridge, but the CM’s were telling people it would still be 45 minutes before they finished the testing
At the same time ToT was down, fpp turned anytime. We wanted to check out the Lightening McQueen show, so we headed back there at around 10:30. We got into the nice AC theatre just a few minutes before the show started. The show was cute, the hydraulics and projections on LMq were pretty cool. After that ToT opened back up… Since we were already there I convinced DS10 we should ride it now since there was no line. He was nervous to ride it, wanted to, just nervous. He did it!! He clung to me the whole time but in the end liked it (although I don’t know if he will do it next year!). After that, on to SDD!!! Tapped in and waited about 10 minutes to ride. It was so much fun! I asked my kids if they would ride it as much as we could the next day at EMM and they were very enthusiastic! After that we got a num num cookie and hung around the Incredibles interview/show. DD8 got in line to limbo with Mr. Incredible, and after a round or two, DS10 joined in too!
Next we used our FPP for Star Tours and caught a boatride back to Dolphin. We really wanted time to enjoy the pool this afternoon and to take out the swan boat. By the time we got back and changed, picked up a ticket for the swan boats, hopped in the pool, another t-storm was approaching and they were trying to clear the pool. At this point we headed inside to have lunch at the QS restaurant, Picabu and waited out the storm. After about 45 minutes the storm cleared, we headed back to the pool and took the swan boat out for a few laps around the lake, then more swimming and many runs down the slide. This was one of the highlights of our trip! I was so unsure about switching from pop to Dolphin but the pool/slide/swan boats definitely made it worth it!!
That night was evening EMH at Epcot. I had thought we would go want to there after our long afternoon break/swim, maybe try Agent P’s, but my kids wanted to go back to AK. It is by far their favorite! So, like a good mom, at 3:01 on the dot I had MDE ready and got our 4th FOP FPP for the week! They were thrilled!
When we got to AK, it was like putting on an old glove: FOP, grab FPP KR, EE single rider until our hearts are content! Wonderful!
Day 4: June 12
This is our last day. We had a 6:30 PM flight home but we had another full day planned before heading to MCO.
EMM TSL: worth every penny! I had read lots of reports and watched youtube videos. We weren’t interested in meeting characters so we started with TSMM, then went to Alien Saucers.
SDD was still a 20 minute wait at this point but we got on line. After the first ride, we went back to TSMM, then back to SDD for three more rides. The 3rd ride we waited about 6 minutes, the last two complete walk on as everyone had headed elsewhere or had had enough. It was neat to see the crowds entering from way up high on SDD. I pointed it out to my kids and they were amazed! Then we rope dropped TSMM and ST, had breakfast and left to catch a bus to MK.
[[Before leaving HS, I stopped at guest services and upgraded my ticket to an AP, yay! I had at least two more trips coming up (a conference in feb, family trip next may/june - and I recently added another trip for 4 days in august with twins DD5’s (soon to be 6!)) - so I knew it would pay off.]]
AT MK, we had FPP’s for BTMRR, Splash and 7DMT starting at 11:30. When we got to MK, I used the AP taps, walked right through with no wait and the kids didn’t even have to scan their fingers! We walked up on the left side through the shops to avoid main street in the middle of the day and headed to BTMRR.
Next it was my my kids’ first time on SPLASH and they loved it!
After that we went over to Tom Sawyer Island. Also one of the highlights. Last summer we enjoyed our time there so it was something my kids really wanted to do again.
When we got back from the island, we headed over to 7DMT to use our fast pass. By the time we got in the car it had started raining. So this was our first experience on a roller coaster in the rain - OUCH!!! While on line for 7DMT, I got a FP for SM. After our ride on 7DMT they closed, and we headed over to Under the Sea to kill some time before our very last ride of the trip - SM!! It didn’t disappoint!!
Raining again, we walked through the shops down main street, picked up some souvenirs for DD5 twins, and got a Bus back to Dolphin. We had left our bags with bell services in the morning, so we picked them up and found a bathroom to change into dry clothes for the plane. We hadn’t had a Micky bar all week, but after we changed we went back to Picabu and bought one there, and DS got a sundae at the Fountain.
Called an Uber back to MCO, but our flight was delayed and we would have missed our connection in DCA. Luckily since I am a frequent flyer, American Airlines easily switched us to another flight and we made it home by midnight that night.
This trip was truly spectacular, everything worked out so well, and thanks to all I had learned here, when a ride went down, rains came, I knew exactly what to do to make the most of it. I couldn’t be happier with how this trip turned out and my kids were so grateful and we made so many wonderful memories It was really fun to focus on DS10 and DD8, and do all the disney things they love to do, and I know my next trip with the younger twins will be so special as well! With them there will be more princess meets, shows and experiences that they will love! By next year when we all go together again with DH they will really know how to roll!