Tate's Trip Report


#1

Tate’s Trip Report

Myself, DH, DD5, and DD7 have recently returned from a week at Walt Disney World and it was fantastic. Thank you liners for helping make it so magical and annoyance free. This holiday was booked 10/11 months in advance so despite being a first timer I had plenty of time to do my research. I loved touring plans and spent way too many hours playing around with my TP’s. To the extent I knew them by heart and never once got them out. However the planning process was priceless as I always knew where to go next and what to skip or add if we were ahead or behind schedule. We came from the UK and this was supposed to be a one off trip, so we splurged on the accommodation and went for a deluxe. I was very taken with the Animal Kingdom Lodge but we decided on the Poly because of the location, theme, and being able to see Wishes from the resort. Initially when I started making daily plans at 10 months out, I had thought we would come back for a rest every afternoon, and visit a different park in the evening. However my final plan had only 1 evening set in stone, and one park hop. Most days I had our FPP around a lunchtime Park ADR as I was trying to build in flexibility. This worked well for us because we bailed early on our first two days and later in the week we added two extra park evenings.

Tuesday 13th Dec Arrival Day
As we were coming from the UK this was a very long day, nearly 17 hours from the time we left home until arriving at the Poly. Everything went smoothly, though it took two hours to pass through all the security checks and collect our bags at the airport. The magical express was painless, no queue at check in, 5 minutes in the indoor queue, 10 mins waiting for the bus to leave, and we were the first stop. By the time we checked in around 7pm we were all knackered. DD5 fell asleep on the bus and never woke up again. I carried her in and put her on the floor in front of check in desk while I went back to help the others with the bags. As we were first timers Check in took about 15 mins. We took half our bags up to the room, and were pleased to see a man with a trolley when we came back to pick up the rest and our Garden Grocer order. I had requested a balcony room overlooking a pool, and we were very impressed with our room 3806 as we could see the high fireworks above the longhouse in front of us. DD7 went straight to bed, and DH was asleep by 9pm. So I headed down to the beach to watch Wishes, which was a lovely way to end the day.

Day 1 - Wednesday 14th December – Hollywood Studios CL6
It’s been a couple of years since we all shared a room, so once the first person used the bathroom we were all awake. Also our body clocks were telling us it was five hours later, so the girls and I were exploring the resort at 5am. We all had breakfast at Capt’n Cooks at 6:30am, delicious but very sweet as everything came with syrup. We called an Uber around 7:20am and seconds later watched a bus for HS turn up. At that hour there was no queue at bag check and we were waiting at the turn styles by 7:45am. The kids settled down to do some coloring and I got out my thermos of tea. I had been worried that I wouldn’t find any boiling water anywhere, but the hot water at Capt’n Cooks was sufficient so I never used my heating element that I’d brought with me. I can’t remember exactly what time they let us in, but we had signed up for Jedi training and ridden TSMM by 9:05am. As we were queuing for Jedi sign up we were called over to have the girls ages checked and I was given an anytime FPP, then when we signed up they gave us another. I didn’t see any need to mention I’d already been given one. This was great as we used one for GMR, and the other we saved for a repeat ride on Star Tours when we came back to see the Star wars fireworks. We saw a lot during the morning, TSMM, wandered Launch bay and traded with Jawas, Mermaid show, TSMM, GMR, BatB, TOT only DH, though we picked up a rider swap, 40 min ice cream break and relax for the girls, DH saw Stunts & Path of the Jedi, while the girls and I did the Frozen sing along. The only thing we missed was Disney Junior and that was the girls choice as they were enjoying sitting in the shade eating their ice cream, that and they’d made a new friend. I was glad we did TSMM twice as it was a family favorite, the Frozen sing along was far more enjoyable than I expected, but the start was delayed so we were 5 mins late for our 1pm H&V reservation. That didn’t seem to be an issue and we were seated within minutes. We all enjoyed our lunch, especially the kids, and I even went up for seconds of the garlic mash and meatballs. Afterwards it was Jedi training at 2:40pm for the 3:10pm show, which was fantastic. The kids loved it, and DH & I got a thrill out of watching them fight Darth Vader. My timing was good as we would have felt rushed to finish by 2:10pm, though we would probably have seen all the characters by then. Next was Star Tours, DD7 & DH enjoyed this but I had my eyes closed nearly the whole time as I thought I was going to throw up. DD5 was fine though she covered her eyes a few times and didn’t want to do it again. We were supposed to do the Muppet Movie next, however no one was keen so we tried to check into our Sci Fi reservation early. They were actually running behind, but they let us cancel with no penalty. The plan had been to stay for Fantasmic but we were all tired and decided to call it a day. I had asked at lunch if we could use our Dining package seats on a different day, and they said that would be fine. We had less than 5 minute wait for a bus back to the Poly, followed by a swim and dinner by the pool. The kids were asleep by 8, and DH & I saw some of the fireworks from our balcony.


#2

Day 2 - Thursday 15th December – Magic Kingdom CL5 & Animal Kingdom CL3
We were up super early again, so were among the first in line for our pre rope breakfast at BOG. The food wasn’t the best and my Cronut was disappointing, to the extent I only had a few mouthfuls and left the rest. DH ate all of his Croque Madame, and I helped the kids with their Gastons feasts. DD5 didn’t like the thunder in the West Wing, but the rest of us enjoyed the setting. We were the first to ride Peter Pan and had finished before 9am, Winnie was down so we went straight to Ariel, then the mermaid ride, Brainstormer, Dumbo, and the Carousel, all walk ons and we were done by 10am. We then caught the bus to AK, arrived before 11am, and it took less than 5 mins to get into the park. We had planned to have a drink at the Nomad Lounge but it didn’t open till 11:30am, so we went to Harambe Market instead. Where we shared ribs and fries, and enjoyed the ambience of the place. We did Gorilla Falls, Lion King, Safari, Boneyard for 30 mins, Dino only DH while the girls and I had an ice cream break and rest. Then we spent $30 for 10 tickets at the fair, which equals about 10/15mins of entertainment, next time we will know better. Onto Everest for DH, while the girls and I had a drink and ordered a pretzel with cheese. We shared 1 pretzel between 4 people, we all tried some and went back for more, however we didn’t finish it and doubt we’ll ever buy another. Lastly was the Mahajah trek before calling it a day around 5pm. I was the only one who wanted to see the tree at night and the girls had been asking about swimming since breakfast. We had FPP for everything we did, with DH using my magic band for Dino, our waits for attractions were minimal with LK at under 15mins being the longest, probably Safari next at 10 mins. We all loved the Animal Kingdom with the Safari and Lion King being our favorites. As we were walking towards the bus stop we watched a Poly bus pull away so we jumped on one to the Contemporary via the Wilderness Lodge. While this didn’t save us any time it gave us a brief glance of both resorts. Definitely want to check out the Wilderness Lodge next time. Our day finished with another swim and very enjoyable dinner by the pool. We were all asleep by 9:30pm.

Day 3 – Friday 16th December – Magic Kingdom CL6
We didn’t wake until 6am, which we were all quite impressed with. It was EMH at MK and we were front of the pack again, though only because we were all up and ready. We saw the welcome show then did Buzz for the first of many times, Astro Orbiter was down, so onto Speedway and Winnie with 10/15 minute waits, they didn’t impress us and we never bothered to do those again. We were first in line for Merida at about 8:50am, and this was our longest wait for anything if you don’t count waiting to get in the park. Jungle Cruise 10 mins, Aladdin 5 mins, POTC 15 mins, Splash Mountain 5 mins with FPP, BMR only DH, Muppet Show, Elana on the castle stage show, Meet Rapunzel & Tiana only Girls and me, Carousel, and 7DM. DD5 wasn’t impressed with Splash Mountain but it was DD7’s favorite ride in MK, and they both liked 7DM. The girls preferred Aladdin to JC and POTC. We were finished by 1pm, picked up a 4th FPP for Dumbo and then took the train to the front of the park. The afternoon was spent swimming and then Ohana for dinner at 5:30pm. This was DH’s & my favorite restaurant, the food was delicious, we had a table by the window and we didn’t have to go anywhere to get there. DD5 barely ate anything and by 6pm was fast asleep on 2 chairs pushed together. After dinner we transferred her to the buggy and moved down to the Tiki terrace to watch the water parade at 9pm, then it was back to our room to watch the fireworks from the balcony.

Day 4 – Saturday 17th December – Epcot CL7
This was the first morning we needed the alarm, but getting up at 6:30am was still quite easy. We called an Uber about 7:15am and were among the first in line at EP. I put my rug down and we had breakfast while we waited. The Jamitors came over to entertain everyone and the first monorail didn’t arrive until minutes before they started letting people in. We walked on Soarin, LWTL, Figment, and Nemo, then 14 mins wait for Crush that we wandered around for most of, and then Spaceship Earth with a FPP all before 11am. Soarin was brilliant, we were all blown away with how good it was, would have happily done that numerous times. I’ve been a Figment fan for 30 years and was a bit worried I’d think the ride was awful. Fortunately I enjoyed it, it’s a sweet kids attraction that DD7 loved and wanted to do again. Next DD5 and I had a sit down while DD7 & DH did Mission Space, which my DD7 is still raving about, though she is very into Space and currently wants to be an astronaut. After my experience with Star Tours I decided to give this a miss. DH had a FPP for Test track but it was down so we moved onto Mexico where we did the ride there, followed by meeting Anna & Elsa with a 15 minute wait, they liked Anna but weren’t that impressed with Elsa as she wasn’t friendly. Then the girls and I used our FPP for Frozen Ever After. We checked into Coral reef about 10 mins early and had about an half an hour wait. Our food was delicious and the view amazing despite not being next to the tank. I had picked up a 4th FPP for Nemo, but only DD5 wanted to ride again, I think she enjoyed it more the second time. We got back to the Poly about 4pm with the intention of napping, but only DH fell asleep so I took the girls down to the kids club at 4:30pm. Ten minutes after I’d left my phone rang, DD5 had an upset tummy and had needed a full change of clothes. Arghh, we really needed a night without the kids. Fortunately they didn’t need us to pick her up unless it happened again. We popped in later to check her out, and she was fine so we headed back to EP around 6:30pm. DH still had a FPP for Test Track, we had planned to get a rider swap earlier but it was down, when we explained this to the CM he kindly let me in too. We were glad to have done the ride, but for us it didn’t rate that highly. Then we wandered round to Biergarten for our dinner reservation. We were seated within minutes with a nice but very opinionated American couple and three lovely Mexicans who spoke very little English. It was a good meal and an interesting setting, but after making small talk for an hour we were glad to get out of there. I would like to come back with the kids next time as they would have loved the entertainment. I had picked up an extra FPP for Soarin but we didn’t want to rush around World Showcase so we cancelled it. We found a good spot near the International gateway and behind a VIP area to watch illuminations. We thought it was nice, but not something we would go out of our way to see again. We slowly wandered around the outside parts of the UK and Canada as we made our way out the park. I had really wanted to try Sam’s Grogg grotto at the Poly, unfortunately there was a 30 mins wait by 10:30pm, so we called it a night and picked up the kids. They had both loved the club and asked to do it again, but at $55 per child the answer was no.


#3

Day 5 – Sunday 18th December – MK CL10
This was our relaxing morning. We all slept in, had a swim followed by an early lunch at the pool, and headed to MK around 1:30pm for MVMCP. It only took us 15 mins to get from our room to Town square, the monorail was our friend. I had got our tickets on a dummy account so we had 6 FPP before our 5:30pm dinner reservation at BOG. Meet Mickey, Haunted Hs only DH where they wouldn’t give me a Rider swap. The girls and I found a spot for the parade and put down our rug. I do recommend bringing a rug for parades and fireworks as it’s a great way to mark your space. We loved the Festival of Fantasy Parade, thought it was brilliant. I actually preferred it to the later parade, though I’m sure that was partly due to less crowds and having a place to sit. Then the girls & I met Elana & Cinderella, followed by 7DM for DH & DD7 and we picked up a Rider Swap, Peter Pan for me & DD5, Small World, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and the Mermaid ride. Dinner was great, our steak was good and we even met the Beast at the kids insistence. We enjoyed the party, and the evening was special because we met up with a fellow liner, Stephanie and her family. The kids had an awesome time, their favorite part was seeing Wishes, watching Tinkerbel fly, and the dance party, however I wouldn’t do MVMCP again because we hate crowds. We left just before the second parade and DD5 was asleep within a minute of getting in the buggy.

Day 6 – Monday 19th December – EP CL10
Another lie in. Around 7am I caught DD5 creeping across the room to wake up DD7 and decided to remove her and let the others sleep. We had a wander around and then swam with the ducks in the quiet pool. We headed to Epcot about 11am where we did Spaceship Earth again and DD5 & I met Goofy, Mickey & Minnie. As we had a rider swap for Mission Space I swapped DH & DD7’s FPP for Figment, however DH left it behind so DD7 was a little disappointed. Lunch was at Akershus which we all enjoyed, food was delicious, and the kids loved the princesses. We all did Frozen ever after next, this was a sweet ride, however in hindsight we would all have preferred to do Soarin twice. We walked around world showcase spending most of our time in China & Japan and then caught the boat to Hollywood Studios. It was about 5pm when we arrived and it only took 5 mins to get into the park. We found a good spot for the 6:15pm Starwars fireworks and took it in turns to have a wander around, DD5 & I picked up drinks and DH & DD7 used our anytime FPP on Startours. We were sitting in the area they used later for the JBJB dessert party, just behind the walkway they keep clear. We all loved the fireworks, and for DH & myself this was our favorite of all the evening entertainment. I had managed to get another Sci Fi reservation and we headed there next. We were seated within 5 minutes, the food was fine and it was a unique setting, however we didn’t get time to relax as we needed to make the 8pm Fantasmic show. I asked for a doggy bag and a few plastic cups and we took our leftovers with us. It was a bit of a rush to make Fantasmic, we arrived with 10 mins to spare, though we found decent seats and didn’t have any trouble using our old Dining package tickets as no one was looking closely. While I was glad we had seen it, we weren’t that impressed, in hindsight we would have preferred to have stayed at Sci Fi. However I know the rushing and the crowds were a big factor in our disappointment in the show. I would advice sitting on the end of a row as it’s easier to make a quick get away. DD5 fell asleep within minutes of it starting, so carrying her back to the buggy was a bit of a struggle, especially as I’d left it my the entrance. I didn’t realise we would come out in a different place or that there was a buggy park at the top. I’d managed to snag an extra FPP for TSMM and I’d hoped we’d see JBJB, but we decided to call it a day, which was a wise decision as the heavens opened within minutes of us getting on the bus.

Day 7 – Tuesday 20th December – MK CL10
The alarm went off at 6am and no one was pleased, we left the Poly around 6:40am and arrived during the welcome show. DH & DD7 did Space Mountain first while DD5 & myself ate our muffins and had some tea. Next was Astro Orbiter, Buzz, Brainstormer, Dumbo, Mickey’s Philamonic, which the kids loved as I caught 2 gems. Then the Tiki show which they also thought was brilliant, followed by our FPP for Pirates of the Caribean. The kids weren’t keen to do this again but it was too late to change our FPP so they put up with it. Next was Tom Sayer Island which we were all impressed with, followed by Big Thunder Mountain. We had a rider swap so DD7 & DH did it again and then they went onto Splash Mountain. DD5 didn’t like it the first time so I had changed our FPP to Tinkerbel. Enroot we stopped off at the sweet shop where we used up our leftover dining plan credits on lollies, fudge, rice crispy cakes and animal crackers. It was back to the Poly for lunch, then DH supervised the girls swimming while I did the packing. Dinner was at 1700 Park Fare and this was our most disappointing meal of the week. The food was fine, but we had a 30 minute wait to be seated, the bill was brought almost immediately after we ordered our drinks, and Cinderella & Prince Charming had to be queued for after we had finished eating. It would have been an OK lunch but as a dinner it was rubbish. We had planned to hang out at the Grand Floridian for a while but it was so crowded we headed back to the Poly. When we arrived back at our hotel we were amazed to see a very long queue for the monorail, I suppose that’s CL10 for you.

Last Morning – Wednesday 21st December – MK CL10
If the weather had been nice we might have skipped MK and hung out at the pool, but it was drizzling. While the alarm went off at 6am, only I got up to finish off the packing. We left about 7:30am and arrived as the welcome show was ending, this was the first time we had to queue for bag check. We walked on Buzz, Barnstormer, Dumbo, Mermaid, and Small World. Used our FPP on Enchanted Tales with Belle, while DH did Space Mountain again, the Carousel yet again, then I managed to sweet talk the CM on 7DM into letting us do our FPP early, and we used our last one on Peter Pan before leaving the park. We were back at the Poly by 11am. We had asked to keep our room until 1pm and they said that was fine. It was fortunate we had left early as my DFIL turned up at midday. While I was sad to leave, we were tired of rides, and the crowds had started to bother us.

It was a brilliant week and nearly everyday we saw or did something we had never done before. We found Disney transport great, never waited more than 5 minutes for a monorail, 10 minutes for a bus or boat, and for the two mornings where timing mattered we ordered an Uber. That said we avoided peak times. We enjoyed all our ADR’s though would probably only return to Ohana, Coral Reef, and Biergarten, that’s assuming our girls are over the princess phase when we come back. We liked BOG, though the main attraction was getting into MK early and being able to have alcohol at dinner. As a family we liked Animal Kingdom & Epcot best, and I could have scheduled less time in the Magic Kingdom. Our favorites of the week were TSMM, Star Tours, Jedi Training, Safari, Lion King, Soarin, Mission Space, Splash Mountain, Star Wars Fireworks, swimming in the pool, and playing in the sand. We didn’t think much of Winnie the Pooh & Speedway but rode Dumbo, Buzz, the mermaid ride, and the Carousel numerous times. DH thought Tower of Terror the scariest ride followed by Everest, neither of which we let DD7 try. She enjoyed Space Mountain but didn’t want to do it again. DD5 coped with Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain, but didn’t want to do them again, however she enjoyed 7DM. DD5’s favorites were the carousel and swimming. We picked up a pile of rider swaps that we never used, but it was nice to pass them on to another liner. I was glad we did the Disney Dining Plan as we had so many buffet meals but we had tons of quick service and snack credits left over. The most useful liner wisdom was arrive at the parks early and take a buggy even if your kid hasn’t used one in years. I can’t emphasis those two enough. Whether you need to arrive an hour before the park opens does depend on what you want to do first. If it’s Buzz then it doesn’t matter, but if it’s 7DM, PP, TSMM, Soarin, TT, FEA, or Jedi training then the time waiting for the park to open will be made up within your first hour in the park. We arrived at HS nearly an hour before they let us in, and it was so worth it because by 8:50am when we had signed up for Jedi training, the line was probably an hour long, then we rode TSMM and had finished that by 9:05am. The wait to get in the park was also enjoyable, the sun was out, the kids had things to entertain then, though we mainly just chatted to those around us. When it comes to booking ADR’s I recommend booking a few duplicates and extras to keep your options open. It’s useful if you keep changing your plans, or want to make your nights more flexible. For our date night I had ADR’s for both Biergarten and Kona as I wasn’t sure whether we would want to go back to EP. Also other than BOG I ended up changing the day of all my other ADR’s, though that was mainly due to being a first timer. We will be back, though unfortunately it will probably be a few years. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about our trip, and to anyone new to Disney I hope you have found my report useful.


#4

Yay! I'm going to come back tomorrow to read this!


#5

Yay! Thank you for the report! I too was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Frozen Sing along and with your H &V reservation Disney Junior was a good drop.


#6

Love the report..sounds like you and your family had a great time..


#7

I know it's a bit long, got to the stage that I thought I better post it before I wrote anymore.


#8

No worries! It's not too long at all! I just didn't have time to do more than peek in last night, and commented so I wouldn't forget to come back this morning. I'm going to pour myself a cup of tea and rad it now that I have time to enjoy it.


#9

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! I'm impress that you fit so much in during such a busy time. Do you think you'll want to come back someday? Or do you feel like you've had The Full Disney Experience?


#10

It sounds like all your planning resulted in a successful trip. I always find myself cutting one activity to do another.


#11

We'll be back someday, hopefully in less than 5 years. Next time we'd like to stay in Orlando for longer and see some other things too. We'll probably have a few years where we have cheaper holidays in the UK, and save up. For us the cost of our flights is a delux holiday in the UK.


#12

Loved reading this! I know you worked hard planning and it shows - I loved how you had plenty of swim breaks, sleepy mornings and naps - so important! - and that you returned to MK frequently. I bet the girls appreciated that! Thanks for sharing!


#13

Thanks for sharing!


#14

Thank you for reading about my holiday. One thing I didn't recap on was the characters, we saw 25/30, all at meals or with FPP with the exception of Merida and Anna & Elsa. My girls loved them all, but the only ones they still talk about are Tinkerbell for DD5, and Elana for DD7, and they were their favourites before they went.


#15

Thanks very much for posting your trip report. I have enjoyed reading it and it sounds like you had a great time! What did you think of the Poly? We loved it there! Which building were you in?


#16

Saving for a slow read lagter.


#17

Loved the Poly, was perfect for us, great mixture of facilities, restaurants, and all casual. We were in Rotangu, that's the wrong spelling I know, it was next to the Main Building on the TTC side. If we were to stay again I've ask for the same room. It only took us 15/20 mins to get into EP & MK at non peak times, which was great as that's where we spent most of our time.


#18

Wonderful report @Tate! Thanks so much for taking the time to share it with us! You certainly didn't tour like a first timer - you had everything so perfectly organized and successfully added changes as you went along! Well done! :heart: Great information shared!


#19

Of course I skipped right to our MVMCP day :slight_smile: It was great hanging out with you guys! We sure did have a blast :slight_smile:


#20

Excellent! We found the Poly perfect for us too. I will hopefully get round to writing my trip report sometime soon!