Qwerty and Company's Quasi-Commando Christmas Caper 11/11-11/21

Since I blog my family’s adventures, I thought I’d go ahead and share our trip report.

Late last summer DD15 mentioned how she would love to see Walt Disney World at Christmas time. We had recently returned from DLR. I quickly responded with, “I’m sure we will, someday.” Then I realized that once she started at community college January 2020 (we homeschool) she wouldn’t be able to leave during the holiday season. Or she’d be limited to the school breaks, which would mean terrible crowds. So I started to do some research into what it would cost to visit WDW in the 2019 Christmas season. The numbers looked doable, so I just set to pray about it.

In December 2019, I heard about Traveling Homeschoolers from a friend at church.

In February, the dates and prices were posted on the Traveling Homeschoolers website. They were traveling in November and were affordable. I had to wait for airfare costs. I booked a campsite on Disney property (which we would never actually stay at) to allow for early access to Fast Passes (FPP).

In May, Southwest posted their fares and they were out of my budget. I looked again a week later and they were now in my range!

Meanwhile, I churned 5 credit cards to earn money to cover many of the costs.

In August, I found a rental house that exceeded my expectations for the low budget I set.

Autoslash helped me to find a rental van in our range.

We told the girls in September. It was/is their 2019 Christmas gift (I am sticking to this)!

Monday morning I drove DH to work at 6:30 AM. I came home and placed grocery orders for ALDI and Walmart in the 34747 zip code to be delivered to our rental house in the evening.

At 10:30 AM I picked up my DMom and Dsis, and then we picked up DH. He had us to the airport by 11:10 AM.

It was our first time flying as a family since 2007. Two of my girls weren’t even born yet, and the other two can’t remember.
Left to right:
DD15, DD9, me47, DMom 71, DD6, Dsis45, DD13

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They watched Toy Story 4 while I watched Endgame.

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We navigated MCO easily.

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We found our rental car and he tried to saddle me with a higher charge. Such snaking wording. I got out of there for my original price and went out to select our van.
Dsis and I had to really WORK to get all our luggage into the Dodge Caravan.

We headed to Kissimmee area for Chick-fil-A.

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Then a quick stop at a junky Dollar Tree and off to our rental house on Santee Drive.

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Our rental stroller was already there, and our groceries came right on time.

We dug into making lunches for the next day.

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Originally our goal was to make lunches each of the first five days in an effort to save money, and then we would buy lunches toward the end of vacation. I wanted to make sure we could buy some of the special (and $) treats Disney makes.

We hit bed around 9:30 PM. I shared with DD9. Dmom and DD6 had a room. DD13 and DD15 had a room. And Dsis had her own room.

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I honestly don’t know if anyone will read this… but I will plunge on!

I was awake before my 5AM alarm. I was up and at ‘em and started morning prep. DSis and DMom were up by 6AM and then it was time to get the girls up.

Our plan for this day was to Disneybound as the characters from Winnie the Pooh.

Breakfast at 6:33 AM.

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On our way I got in the wrong lane and got us a little behind.

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We finally got to the Transportation and Ticket Center and got on the proper monorail, only to have it experience technical difficulties. We were instructed to disembark at the Polynesian Resort and told to stay close to the security area so that we would be able to re-enter the next monorail as soon as it arrived. All of these delays were messing with our ability to be first in line to Rope Drop the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train ride we hoped to Rope Drop. I had not been able to get a FPP for 7DMT for the trip.

We finally got to Magic Kingdom and did not stop to properly admire any of the decorations. We hurried to queue for RD. After I stood there a few minutes and processed our position, I decided to forgo this plan for this morning.

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We moved over to the Adventureland side of the Hub and waited over there until they RDed around 8:50AM.

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From there we headed to Splash Mountain because Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was closed.

I got soaked!

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We then went to use our first FPP for Jungle Jingle Cruise, which was EXCELLENT. We had the funniest skipper.

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We waited a whopping 7 or 8 minutes for Magic Carpets of Aladdin and some were complaining… We’e been spoiled at DLR last year. Thankfully my girls recovered in their impatience and the reset their expectations henceforth.

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We went to Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and then decided to eat our lunch. I admit that at first I was willing to acknowledge that it is a little “sad” or even “pathetic” to pack a lunch. Nuh – uh. No way. It is now my favorite thing. Our breaks were super short. No ordering and waiting, etc., It was so easy.

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We went and rode Dumbo and from the air my girls spotted Pluto coming out. So as soon as we got off we headed directly over to where he was walking.

We were the only ones in that area, and he quickly engaged DD6. They danced and then he walked her up and around to a closed food trailer. He pretended to want to eat something. It was a few minutes before anyone else joined our grouping.

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We finished our visit with him and then went inside to meet Goofy and Donald.

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We rode the Little Mermaid ride and opted to skip Tea Cups.

Around 2PM we decided to find some treats.

DD9 and DD6 went for the Arenedelle Aqua ice cream – cotton candy flavored with Mickey Head candies.

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DD15 had a Minnie’s Gingerbread treat.

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We had done so much already, we decided to bite the bullet and queue for the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train.

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And after 50 minutes we were next up for the ride.

And it went down.

They made multiple announcements about it being down and many people left the line. We stayed put. After about 10 minutes they now announced it was down and everyone would get FPP for later. The park was only open until 6PM so we weren’t sure if we’d get to use them or not.

We queued to meet Pooh Bear and Tigger. This took a long time, but there was no way we wanted to miss meeting them.

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Dsis and DD15 went to ride Haunted Mansion and the rest of us went to meet Tiana and Rapunzel. They were both excellent and engaging.

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DD13 and I decided we wanted our treats for the day. She wanted an iced coffee and I wanted a Dole Whip.

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At 5PM we decided again to try 7 Dwarves and we were on in just a few minutes.

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As we inched closer to closing time we rode the Tomorrowland Speedway and looked on in excitement as they started to roll out the special items for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP) starting at 7PM. We had tickets for Thursday, 11/14.

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We left at 6PM and rode the monorail around and around. LOL. It seemed that way.

We went to the Contemporary Resort to look at decorations (not many yet) and have dinner. Dinner was really good and the CM helped me work our meals to maximize food for the two youngest at the cheapest price point.

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From there we rode around to the Grand Floridian which was beautiful. For just a moment I could actually catch myself wishing we were staying in such a luxurious hotel. It was gorgeous.

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Then I remembered that behind each door was a hotel room and how much I don’t love hotel rooms, and it wasn’t so hard to not want to stay there anymore…

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A cast member noticed us admiring the tile work in the floor and then proceeded to give us a tour. Meanwhile the band was extraordinary. I’m SO glad we stopped here!

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Finally we circled back to the Transportation and Ticket Center and took a parting picture of each girl next to the character she had bounded for the day. :heart:

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The villa looks lovely!

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I love your photos and the amount of detail you go into! We’re homeschoolers, too. Unfortunately, my husband is a professor, so we have to stay on the academic calendar…I think it is so wise to do it now before your DD starts cc! Looking forward to reading your other posts!

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What a great day! I have never seen that floor, gorgeous! I love a hotel room because someone else cleans it, makes the bed, empties the bins…:joy:

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i’m reading!!!

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I’m excited to hear more about your adventures! Thanks for sharing!

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The location was wonderful. It wasn’t as modern as a lot that I saw, but it was extremely well priced and so close.

Well - I did tell the girls we didn’t have to make our beds over vacation. There are perks to hotels, but I find sleeping difficult enough in a whole house, if I put 4-5 people in a room I don’t sleep at all. I tolerate it for cruises, but if I could find a wore around there, I’d do it, as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I wish I’d heard of Traveling Homeschoolers years ago. She does do some trips to other places over summers, etc. I don’t know if I will be able to utilize her trips otherwise, but I will pay attention to the emails. DH wasn’t able to go with us, nor my sons who are in college. It was a girls trip this time.

Thanks for the encouragement @DumboRunner @BoilerMomPharmD! I think I will get one more posted before I have to make dinner!

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I must admit that when we had 4 at Hard Rock this year, I did find it more difficult to get to sleep. It was a smaller room than POFQ though.

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Did you have many people who recognized your Disney bounding? Were you Rabbit?

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Commando Day 2-Hollywood Studios

We were on the road a little after 7AM with a quick stop at Walmart which was conveniently located between our house and WDW.

We cleared security by 7:49AM

We were about a dozen people back from the tapstiles at 7:57AM.

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I had the stroller and was about the fourth “row” back from the rope, with the rest of my party at the front of the rope or just behind them in the second “row.”

Each girl was invited out to welcome the crowd. DD6 went first, but I only recorded hers as a video.

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Behind us was an amazing sea of human beings.

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I tried to take a photo or two as we were walked to Toy Story Land at 8:53AM

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I started to get pushed further and further back and then had to park my stroller, no less.

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My family was all separated and I started to wonder if I would even try for the ride through.

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In the end, the girls ended up riding in the third train out, and Dmom and Dsis in the fourth and me in the sixth.

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It was an amazing ride. I was off by 9:11 AM.

DD6 spotted Jessie, whom she was dressed as, so we queued in her line. DD9, DD15, Dmom, Dsis rode Alien Swirling Saucers.

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I took some photos as DD13 waited in line with DD6 - Jessie had gone to check on Bullseye.

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Today DD15 bounded as Snow White and DD13 as Bolt. The family actually got off the line before we met Jessie.

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It was finally time to meet Jessie.

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We headed over to use our first FPP for Rock N Roller Coaster. Everyone but Dmom went on. We tapped her band to dismiss it, though.

Then DD15 and Dsis went to Tower of Terror and the rest of us went to watch Lightning McQueen Racing Academy and Beauty and the Beast. While in there, I got a text from DS17 at home that he’d just been advised that the class for spring semester he was on the wait list for now had room. I missed part of the show registering him… LOL. Reminders that real life was continuing without us.

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TOT wait was long and DD15 and Dsis missed their chance to tap into Beauty and Beast and therefore didn’t discharge their FPP. I had to visit a Guest Experience Team Kiosk to get it off. It only took a minute. I didn’t want to wait to see if it fell off, because I wanted to grab some same day FPP at the 12:01PM drop.

We ate lunch while watching the Star Wars stage show and tapped in to our FPP for Frozen Sing-a-Long 6 minutes early. Dsis’s phone worked better than mine, so we poised ourselves to grab FPP at 12:01PM and got a set of Toy Story Midway Mania for later. Then we sat back and enjoyed the sing along. It had a slightly holiday-tweaked theme that made it a lot of fun.

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From there we enjoyed Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and then Muppets. It was only 66F. Temps just kept dropping through Sunday at this point. I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that the weather forecast started tanking just after we got to Florida…

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We headed back to Toy Story Land for our Fast Pass.
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We were off the ride by 2:40PM so I picked up another set for later. I could have had FPP for Slinky Dog again for three of us, but try as I might I couldn’t get all seven of us back on.

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From there we went to explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. DSIs had a reservation for Oga’s Cantina (no way we could get one for all of us) at 3:55PM.

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While she visited the Cantina we went and met Olaf.

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She texted us when she was done and some of them rode Star Tours while Dmom and I shopped a little.

We then had an early dinner. It’s an unpopular restaurant, but we’ve enjoyed Backlot Express in the past. I like they have refills on the pop so we ate there again.

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It was delicious. DD13 started to order kids’ meals, because she just doesn’t eat enough for a whole meal.

After dinner we decided we’d wait the 50 minutes to ride Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. We boarded around 6:05PM. It was the Best Decision. We had a blast!! I think it helps a lot that our family filled the capsule and we loved cheering and yelling to one another. Even the little two who have never seen a movie were totally into it.

When we were done the park had been plunged into darkness. We headed back to Toy Story Land to start our hunt for treats and ride Toy Story Midway Mania again. It is such a great ride.

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Dsis bought DD6 a refillable popcorn bucket. DD9 and I found treats at Starbucks.

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My carrot cake “cookie” was every bit as amazing as I’d been advised and was honestly too big for me to finish myself.

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This was my second day in a row enjoying a Venti Cafe Mocha.

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DD6 and I rode Alien Swirling Saucers that we’d missed in the AM. Nan waited and the others went to ST again.

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At 8:31PM we went to enjoy some projections. The park was wonderfully uncrowded. There was lots of room as people continued to arrive right up until the fireworks started. I didn’t even know there were projections to look forward to!

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Guests remained seated for the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam which started at 9. Dmom walked up just then. There was tons of room everywhere.

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This show blew us away. So many lesser known Disney movies were included in the show. It was exceptional, in our opinions.

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It was getting so cold, but we had such a great day.

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Chances are the GF rooms are wonderfully large, but it helped me park any envy that might be starting up. :wink:

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Everyone recognized DD. She ended up bounding another day as Pooh, as well. Hers was the best and I think it helped everyone figure out who we were. I was Rabbit. The handlers for Pooh and Tigger were so excited to see us. Pooh and Tigger left for a break when we had just lined up. Tigger recognized DD13 as Tigger and went wild for her as he was leaving.

When they came back and we’d been waiting a while we heard that they were leaving again for another break. (It was a LONG long.) Thankfully, we got to be the last family before they took that next break and they took an extended time with us. They knew who we were, for sure.

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I’m posting on my last day in my trip report today or tomorrow, but I was there with my son and we did a 4 park challenge. We had t-shirts made for the event, and the characters were amazing at noticing our shirts. I can’t wait to read more of your trip report.

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I will be reading yours soon.
I stopped looking at reports during the period with the amazingly long hours. I was super sad that we didn’t get those long hours. We have no trouble getting up early and I could have made those hours work out really well for us.

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I’m reading too. :smile: The villa looks lovely. We usually rent a 3-4 bedroom when we travel, it is so nice to have all that space. Except at Disney, then we all cram into 1 room to be onsite. But everywhere else, love having all the space.

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following and enjoying

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I’m reading and enjoying it!!

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