Spring break 2021 April 4-11: trip of many firsts

Well I’ve fussed enough over this trip with all of your help and advice so in case anyone is interested I’ll update on how it’s going! Party is myself, DS12, DD8, DD4, my mother, a friend and her DS12.

I’ll start with the day before we left because that’s when it got really interesting. I was packing, going to DS17’s football game (because Covid in Illinois means spring football!) and preparing to celebrate DS19’s birthday. Noticed I missed a call from LBV and voicemail was from Disney asking me to call back by 6 pm. I called back and didn’t get the CM who called me, but was transferred to another. We had 2 rooms at ASM for the 5 of us and my friend had another. The CM informed me she had some pixie dust for me and wanted to offer to move our party of 5 to a family suite at AOA. I declined since we really wanted 4 actual beds, so she said she would check to see what else was available but then said there was nothing else. So I thanked her and hung up, admittedly disappointed. Soon after my friend texts me and she is on the phone with the original CM who had first called. They offered her AOA also, apparently there was some mention of connecting LM rooms for us, but then somehow it morphed into transferring us all to the Grand Floridian!!! Still with 3 rooms total for the lot of us and connecting rooms for my five. We were so incredibly excited!!

After celebrating Easter at home with our family, we packed up my husbands car, since mine decided it had emissions trouble the day before, and headed to the airport. No crowds, more was open in the airport than I expected on Easter, and our plane was 3/4 full. Flight went well. I had chickened out on DME because I really didn’t want to have to wait, wanted to get the girls to bed ASAP. So I reserved a Quicksilver van to transport us which went very well. They had a car seat and got us out fairly quick. Only issue was finding him at baggage claim since it was utter chaos there.

We were placed in first floor connecting rooms overlooking the lagoon at GF. Rooms are very nice, beds soft and cushy and furniture is beautiful, and the resort itself is lovely. We feel spoiled, but I still wouldn’t pay their full price or even current AP price for a room here. It’s crazy high. My only complaint is there is no door between the sink area and bedroom, so no privacy or blocking the light from those asleep. But it seems that is standard in deluxe level, not sure why value/mod is better in that regard. Our friends’ room was up the hall but right by the elevator, and they had to request a room change the next morning due to noise from elevator and neighbors. Which the hotel accommodated with no problem.

This AM we were up bright and early for boarding groups and I got my all-time lowest at BG5!!


I was on cell service even though it was a measly 2-3 mbps. 5 of us tried, some on WiFi and some not. Everyone was linked and was included. We headed out to the bus stop at 7:15ish and arrived around 7:20. The bus CM actually nearly told me to leave, repeating firmly “buses to HS don’t start until 45 min before opening!” I firmly replied we would wait, and lo and behold at 7:40 the first HS bus arrived. We arrived at the park at 8:03 and they opened screens at 8:10. Further behind than when we walked from YC, but not too bad.

We opted first for SDD, AS2 and then MFSR and were off those by 9:27. Because we were a group of 7 we had to split; I was surprised they gave my DD4 and I our own cabin so we both got to be pilots!! I had always deferred to my sons or got engineer so it was my first run as pilot. Very fun!! We rode ROTR, had blue milk, early lunch at ABC Commissary which was very good. Oga’s was a great break mid-afternoon. Kids had two rounds of carbon freezes which led to the below problem! 50s PT for early dinner was great except for the reception CM. We were coming out of Frozen show right at our ADR time and my DDs needed the bathroom badly. So I took them and the rest of the group went to check in for dinner; we hurried over ASAP. The CM checking people in repeatedly threatened them that if the rest of our group didn’t arrive within 5 minutes, they would not seat us for our ADR. My mom and friend were really upset by this treatment. During dinner I asked for the manager and explained what had happened, as I was appalled and it ruined the good mood of the meal for them. He was very apologetic and made sure we were well cared for the rest of the meal (even though our waitress was wonderful). Loved the onion rings, apple crisp was panned (just canned apple pie filling with topping) and I had to try the PBJ shake - it was ok but I’d rather have chocolate. We headed back to resort after a few more rides and were thrilled to catch the Electrical Water Pageant from our balcony - another first for all of us!

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Sounds like a great trip so far, and what an upgrade!

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That is an amazing hotel upgrade! Sounds like a great day at HS (minus the rude CM at 50’s).

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Wowzers! I heard of
Some of these upgrades over the next few weeks. Evidently the values are sold out for a cheer competition AND a pipe burst in one of the buildings taking it out of commission. Voila! Upgrades!

Enjoy every minute!

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Minus the rude CM’s, what a good day. Can’t believe your pixie dust. Sweet!!

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:heart_eyes:

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Wow! Great pixie dust!

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Trip got to be too exhausting to keep up during, sorry!
Day 2 - MK 4/6
This morning felt like a colossal liner fail! I was set on heading to MK via the new GF walkway, not sure why in retrospect, and we started off later than planned which was my own fault. After leading my reluctant party on the 1-mile walk to MK we arrived apparently well after rope drop and found the end of the 7D line near Gaston’s. Once it started moving it did move fast and we still rode with a relatively short wait. Next we headed to Space - and found out it was not open yet! Forgot to check first. More precious time lost. So we then headed over to adventure land and lines were already getting long everywhere. We did Pirates and HM and got Sleepy Hollow waffles which makes any morning better! After COP we headed out to ride a boat to the Poly for lunch at Capt. Cook’s. The meatballs were very good, but the Aloha Pork sandwich and pulled pork nachos looked even better. We meant to get Dole Whip after but couldn’t find the stand. Then headed back to GF to swim and rest for the afternoon.

I took my kids to the pool. DD4 had a great time with the kids slides for a bit and then we headed to the big pool. It was crowded; there were no chairs available and I ended up setting my bag near a table and chair that appeared empty but were next to some chairs in use; I had to leave it somewhere! Wish they had cubbies or something for people who just need to set their stuff down but don’t need a chair. I swam with the kids and went down the slide once with (well, after) DD4. Putting my feet down at the end of the slide, I hit shallow concrete hard and really jammed my big toe. It was all bruised and ugly the rest of the week, but fortunately I think not broken because it wasn’t too painful. Lesson learned there.
After our break time, we caught the monorail to CR for dinner at California Grill which was fabulous as always. LOVE those short rib wontons!! We arrived back in MK around 7:30 with 9:00 close. Waited for Space but friend’s DS12 bailed in the end; he really struggled with ride anxiety the first half of the trip but it was great to see him overcome much of this by the end of the week! We ended the night riding Jungle Cruise all together after dark.

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4/7 - Epcot
We headed for the bus stop at 9:30 and caught an early bus from GF to Epcot. At rope drop (10:10), we headed for TT and rode with a minimal wait. Afterward as I went back to fetch our stroller, the line for TT was astronomical. We headed to Frozen next where the line already extended to China. Arrived at 10:45 and were on ride at 11:18. After this we just meandered through WS toward Japan for our 12:10 Teppan Edo ADR. By this time the exhaustion had caught up with my girls. DD8 fussed about being tired walking, and DD4 tantrumed just about through the entire meal. “I want nothing! I don’t want to sit by you! Why didn’t you order me anything?!” :sweat_smile::joy:. She did however eat most of my steak! So after lunch the rest of the party headed off for a leisurely afternoon in the park without a tirading 4yo, and the girls and I took Skyliner to HS, then bus to GF to avoid a long walk to buses. After their nap we journeyed back to the park for dinner at Via Napoli. Where once again, DD4 displayed her ability to mimic a cyclone. After pacifying her with lemonade flavoring in her water (as the restaurant did not have lemonade) she calmed down and we greatly enjoyed our salad and pizza! After dinner we had to shop in the Japan department store, stop at the French bakery for dessert and to pick up tomorrow’s breakfast, then headed to Soarin’ which still had a substantial wait. Everyone loved it! The boys and my friend headed back to the resort, and the girls, my mom and I finished out the night walking onto Journey to Imagination, Nemo and SE before heading for the bus.

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We were at Epcot 4/8 and didn’t make RD. The line to TT was so long I couldn’t believe it! We opted out of rides for the first part of the day and tried again in the evening. We had to forego Soarin’ (which is okay since we have done it so many times at DLR) and FEA but did get on LL, Nemo, SE, Gran Fiesta, and TT. It was still crazy lines up to close!

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Yes! Early in the week lines were crazy and very discouraging. Even rope dropping didn’t help for very long. It did get better for us later on though. I hope you had a great time! Haven’t really caught up since mostly tuning out when we were there. I’ll look for your report too!

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We just did Thursday at Epcot and Friday at AK. We were so tired from UOR so took breaks in the middle of both days to nap. Plus we had a savanna view that couldn’t go to waste at Kidani Village! We didn’t do everything, but it was a good trip.

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Blizzard Beach - 4/8
Big first for us as none of us had ever been to BB; my family had never done a Disney water park at all! It turned out to be a wonderful break day. I thought it opened at 10 but since we were out late at Epcot we decided not to leave til 9. Later turned out it wasn’t opening til 11 which was good for us! We caught the bus to Animal Kingdom and joined a line which became quite long waiting for BB bus. They didn’t start until around 10. There was only room for 4 of us on the first bus so we split up. My friend and mom wanted to be able to lounge in shade, so she was wanting to try to get a polar patio or umbrellas. So my friend joined that line and I went on to scope out the situation for free seating. She was told they only had one umbrella (for 4) left which didn’t help us. I ended up in line in front of Lottawatta where they held the crowd until nearly 11, the rest of the group joined me. From there I went straight and the rest of our group went over the bridge, where they found plenty of free shaded seating. Going straight got me to the rental umbrella section, so no good. We headed off to the slides. The kids did not have any trouble going barefoot.



Took awhile to get the lay of the land figured out but then it was easy to get around. The only thing that was a bit of hassle was the need to return to our seats to get masks in order to use the restroom or buy anything, and then again to put them away. That made centralized seating valuable. People in slide lines were far more lax about distancing which given that no one was wearing masks, did put me on edge a bit at times. We had a great time overall though! DD4 loved playing in the sand and DD8 and DS12 loved the wave pool. Food at Lottawatta Lodge was pretty good for lunch. We ordered Dole Whip later and my DS was disappointed that his “waffle cone” was served in a cup with the empty waffle cone perched on top! What’s the point?! Oh well, Dole Whip is Dole Whip! They also had good churros at the Warming Hut. We had an ADR at Rainforest Cafe for dinner since we had to pass thru AK to get back anyhow. That was also a first and one-and-done for us. Food was adequate but not Disney quality food or atmosphere, and it took a long time to get seated and to get our food. We headed back tired and ready to get to bed early for AK tomorrow!

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AK - 4/9
Our whole crew reluctantly trudged out the door at 6:30 into the darkness to catch the bus to AK with 8:00 opening. They were excited though to finally get one of the motorcoach buses - first bus at 6:40. We were among the first into the park and of course headed straight to FOP, walked on. My mom and DD4 were going to ride NRJ but it wasn’t open yet, and they were still standing at front of line at the podium outside NRJ when we got off FOP. So we joined them; soon it opened and we got first boat and cleared two rides with no wait!
From there we headed to Dinosaur, Triceratops Spin, Expedition Everest, which DD8 rode for the first time and friend’s DS12 liked so much he rode again! DD8 was mildly traumatized so picked up a new friend to help her relax and remember she did it!


Next up, KRR (the water effects are turned way up since August!) and then Maharajah Jungle Trek.

It was only 10:00 after all that! We headed to Tough to be a Bug which had a bit of a wait by then, but exited about 10:45 and headed to Nomad Lounge for lunch. Arriving at 10:50, the outside was already full for large groups but they seated us inside. We had a wonderful lunch; everyone enjoyed their food and drinks. The safari line was long so we headed to Rafiki’s after lunch,

then came back and saw the bird show. By then there was only a short wait for KS. Finally some of us took another ride on Everest while the rest did the Gorilla trail.

Then we reconvened at Yak and Yeti for an early dinner. Which was absolutely delicious even though we didn’t get the ahi tuna nachos this time. The waiter was extremely patient with DD4 who again didn’t want ANYTHING (until she did). He brought her a side of fries to get her appetite going. By 6:30 we were heading out of the park. Grandma took the girls for a brief swim, then we got them to bed early for a big day tomorrow and listened to DS17’s football game online. Meanwhile the safe in my room wouldn’t open. The GF staff was wonderful about very quietly inspecting and finally opening it for me without waking the girls!

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We were at AK that day! We were the 12th party in line for FOP! Then went and got in line for NRJ. We probably saw you getting in line with the rest of your party and didn’t even know it!

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I’m sure we crossed paths a few times! Wish we had known. It was a great day!!

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MK - 4/10
This time we got it right! By now several people in our group were having foot pain/swelling issues so I purposely tried to reduce the walking. We left again at 6:30 but headed to the GF monorail instead…which didn’t open until 7. So we could have left a bit later. There weren’t many people there besides us. Learned another important lesson: don’t have the person carrying the umbrellas also be carrying most of the other bags! I did the hold the umbrellas out in front thing but they still wanted to search me and my 3 other bags…meanwhile my family was on the monorail hoping I made it on! But I did make it and we arrived at MK at 7:04. They held us at exit from monorail briefly before letting us walk up to the taps and wait there. THIS is how to be first at MK! Several minutes before the CR walkers and bus folks streamed in.


At rope drop we made a beeline for 7D and headed right in and off at 7:28. Then, after checking that it was open, off to SpaceMtn which was also near walk-on… and friend’s DS12 rode this time! Left there at 7:47 and headed to Splash which had maybe a 20-30 min wait already. For some reason my DD8 is terrified of the drop on Splash which I don’t get at all given she will ride every coaster she is tall enough for. She cried and pleaded the whole line not to go…but we couldn’t let her wait alone and I did not want anyone else to have to miss it as it was unlikely we would go again. So being the terrible mom of the day I made her ride with me, hoping she would find it not to be so bad. No. She screamed, cried and panicked the whole way through. Sigh. Although, this used to be her on every ride a couple of years ago, so we have made progress.
We headed for another round of Sleepy Hollow waffles and then friend and her son headed off to shop and rest. Mom, my kids and I rode IASW and then got in line for Tom Sawyer island at 10:45, which opened at 11. As we waited we saw a family of baby ducks:

After a 30 minute wait we got over to the island and the kids loved running around thru the caves and fort. After returning to “land” we had a Dole Whip run (the coconut Dole whip in the Kakamora float was incredible!) and headed off to shop and return to resort for a break.
Mom took the girls to swim again as I worked on packing up all our stuff.
We had a 4:20 ADR for CRT and as we entered the park again we could feel the wind picking up and see clouds rolling in bringing the storms that were forecast. The first round hit while we ate. CRT was wonderful by the way, despite having only one princess. The salad and squash soup were both phenomenal. The scallops were very good, with an earthy mushroom and tiny pasta base which I liked but may not be for everyone. The tenderloin was fantastic also.

Desserts were ok, cheesecake was good and the clock strikes 12 was delish but so rich, I couldn’t even eat half of it. When we got out, the rain had stopped but the wind picked up and more was coming. We all decided to head back to the resort while we could stay dry. But, at the last minute I decided I just couldn’t miss the last night! My DS12 had gone ahead with his friend, but I decided to stay with DD8, and then DD4 wanted to stay too, so we kept 3 umbrellas and sent the stroller back with my mom. Headed for the carousel before the rain returned which was still a bit of a wait. By the time we were done the rain started. DD4’s umbrella kept flipping inside out and I was questioning my sanity briefly, but we made it to HM and by the time we got out the wind had died down and we just had a steady light rain. So many people had left, everything was nearly walk-on. We caught Pirates, Jungle Cruise and Peter Pan while it rained. When it stopped we headed to BTMRR which we had not yet done this trip. The girls loved it and we spent the last 30 minutes or so riding 4 times in a row until closing! They had so much fun! Made our way out after closing and took the monorail back; DD4 passed out riding home and I had to carry her back to the room. So glad we stayed!!

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Ok, someone please explain it to me like I’m a five year old. Where and how do you check? Disney app? Lines?

I looked in the Lines app, but Disney app should show it also.

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MDE map doesn’t show wait times until the official opening time and not a minute before. At least that was my experience in both Dec and March. I, too, checked lines app pre opening for either an overall estimated wait time or actual user submitted times to know if a ride is running.

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