The Goldilocks Trip [CANCELED, probably...]

Who: Me, DW, DD1 (Little Bear), DS3 (Big Bear), and DS5 (Biggest Bear)

When: Late April

Where: Art of Animation, park hopping between HS (x3), Epcot (x3), and MK (x2)

Why and What….

I’ve spent some time trying to think of a good pun or “theme” for this trip (my third) and the best I’ve come up with is the Goldilocks Trip. Our first trip (included us “bears” plus all 4 grandparents over Halloween; trip report here ) was amazing and a unanimous trip-of-a-lifetime. But really it was too long (8 nights) and we spent more than we should have: we stayed in a 2-bedroom villa, did 5 character meals including BOG and CRT dinners, HEA dessert party, MNSSHP, and on and on. I used a lot of cost-saving techniques, but it was still WAY over what we would normally spend on a vacation (or 2 or 3 even).

My second trip (just me over Marathon weekend in January; trip report here ) was also amazing and I consider it the pinnacle experience of my Liner abilities: 4 parks AND the race expo in one day, ROTR x2, 70k step day, FOP same day drop, and on and on. Well, except for the part when I lost my wallet in the France pavilion and was having panic attacks the night before the marathon :frowning:. However, I sorely missed my family on that trip, and I did some new things that I knew my boys would love.

So, here I am planning my 3rd trip in 6 months. Crazy, I know. The goal for this trip will be to try and get it “just right”. Not too long (or short), not too expensive (or cheap), and not too many personalities (loved having the grandparents with us, but 8 nights was too much!). So, the “Goldilocks Trip” this will be.

Truth be told, I was suffering from some pretty bad Disney Depression upon my return from running the Dopey Challenge in January. Pretty soon, I started to think about running the Star Wars races in April, perhaps another solo trip or a very short family trip. I had gone way over my Dopey Challenge fundraiser goal for Autism Speaks, and they agreed that I could use the excess towards the Star Wars runs. Basically, I could run the 10k and Half Marathon for free. At this point, I think I was pretty much set on going. However, the more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that a family trip without 2AM wake-up calls sounded much better. I also had a strong feeling that DW would just laugh at me for even proposing another race weekend (I also did the Wine and Dine races during our family trip over Halloween). To get DW on board in any case, I knew I would need substantial justification.

The List of Justification

This is the list I actually showed DW…

Pros (High Level)

  • Compared to other vacation ideas, this is most “toddler friendly” (also looking at long weekend in Chicago or Rocky Mountain National Park)
  • Can redo HS and Epcot w/o GM/GP (we had to skip a lot due to much slower pace in October)
  • DS3’s Cancer-versary (April 28th) is a “top 5” week to visit for low crowds (read about our Cancer here )
  • DS3 is now 40” (so many things he missed in October when he was 39”)
  • DD1 is now sleeping through the night (FINALLY!!!), and no more bottles
  • AP and TiW discounts

Pros (Specific, New Experiences):

  • Stay at AoA and ride Skyliner to/from HS and Epcot
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Star Wars: ROTR, MFSR, Build-a-Droid, Jedi Training Academy, and fireworks show
  • Lightning McQueen Racing Academy
  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-A-Long (B&B is my “thing”)
  • DS3 is now 40”+: Splash, BTMRR, Soarin, TT, M:S, ROTR, MFSR
  • Space 220 restaurant (brand new, boys love space)
  • Sci Fi Dine-in restaurant (DW really wanted to eat here during last trip, for nostalgic reasons)
  • Fantasmic!
  • Flower & Garden festival at Epcot

Cons (compared to other trip ideas)

  • Expensive (significant!)
  • Exhausting (significant!)
  • Repeat experience (can be mitigated by doing new/different things, see above)


  • 6 months since last trip, but 13 months before DL (May 2021), 2 years before return to WDW (2022)

Slowly, after a few days of off-and-on discussion, DW came around. In fact, she just texted me this morning to say she is really excited about our trip. Funny story: when she finally gave me the green light the other day, she smiled at me and asked knowingly, “you’ve already booked this, haven’t you?” Well, duh! I even had all the ADRs booked, lol!

The Plan

Day 1

  • DME from MCO to AOA, arriving around 1PM
  • Afternoon “business” (this means naps and DS3’s special needs care)
  • Evening in Epcot: quick World Showcase tour w/ dinner at Via Napoli and FEA ride, and 1 or 2 Futureworld favorites (SE then Soarin’, if time)

Day 2

  • RD HS to get ROTR BG and knock out Toy Story Land rides
  • Rest of morning in Batuu (or SW related): MFSR, Droid Depot, ROTR (hopefully), then Jedi Training and ST
  • AOA for pool time (or Indiana Jones show if boys choose that instead, with later return to AOA and no pool) and afternoon “business”
  • Back to HS for dinner at SciFi, then flex evening (ROTR? MFSR? Shows? will do Frozen show if Equity Ben is scheduled) and SW Dessert Party + SW Spectacular

Day 3

  • PPO breakfast at Garden Grill followed by Soarin, LWTL, and the Seas pavilion
  • (Option A) spend a little more time in Futureworld, then UK at 11 to meet Pooh and/or Mary Poppins, followed by 1230ish lunch at Beaches & Cream, no pool time afterwards
  • (Option B) skip out of Epcot early for 1130ish lunch at Beaches & Cream, pool time afterwards
  • AOA for afternoon “business”
  • To HS for dinner at Mama Melrose (Fantasmic! Dining Package), followed by MMRR, flex time (shows? characters meets? will do Frozen show if Equity Ben is scheduled), Toy Story at sunset, then Fantasmic!

Day 4

  • Non-RD arrival at MK for morning in Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square
  • AOA for afternoon “business”
  • Epcot evening for Mission:Space followed by dinner at Space 220, then Test Track and maybe Soarin if the kids have any steam left

Day 5

  • PPO breakfast at Be Our Guest followed by nearly complete tour of Fantasyland
  • AOA for afternoon “business”, maybe bring boys back to MK for 3PM parade
  • Back to MK for evening in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, capped with Happily Ever After

Day 6

  • Pack and airline check-in at AOA
  • Non-RD arrival at HS for morning on Sunset Blvd: TOT (if boys want), Lightning McQueen academy, and Beauty and the Beast stage show
  • Back to AOA to catch DME around 1PM
  • Be sad, very very sad…

I’m an extremely visual person. Below is how I generally plan things at a glance before diving into detailed touring plans. Then I keep this up on one screen and start tinkering with actual touring plans on another screen.


Looking forward to following along! Looks like a great trip! Your spreadsheet is great!

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What a perfect plan!

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“Perfect”. Ha. I’m sure it will change tomorrow. Feels weird to exclude AK, and do 2 full days at HS and ~1.5 at Epcot and MK each. I just can’t fit AK into one of the mornings or evenings in a way that makes sense, and HS/Epcot are accessible so easily via Skyliner.

Every plan I make is perfect…until it’s not…then it must be “tweaked”. You?


Indeed it is. But it is so hard to create a solid TP for HS right now! To make it worse, in January I saw Equity Ben in the Frozen Sing-a-long, so hilarious, and I’m hoping to catch him again on this trip. So I’ve got 2 “flex” evenings in HS to account for that, as well as possible late ROTR BG on the 1st day.

I had heard all about Equity Ben, but when we were there last May he was not there. How do you find out if it’s “his” day? I thought it was a fun experience and a nice break, but I’m not sure DS20 will be into seeing the Frozen Sing-a-long again on “his” birthday trip in April when it’s just the two of us–UNLESS I can promise the elusive Equity Ben experience.

He posts his schedule on Instagram. If you click on his photos his captions have his schedule

I’ve started tracking his schedule. I’ll let you know if there are any trends.

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Yay for new countdowns! I mean, you did buy an AP right? Might as well use that sucker!

So exciting for your newly minted 40 incher! Last year our youngest was under 38” so couldn’t ride so many of the bigger attractions. Can’t wait for next year to take her on all of them!


Happy to see you are now planning for earlier than 2022. I was wondering how you were going to make it that long!


Just reviewed your touring plans. Looks like fun! I would have a back-up plan for another day/time to ride MMRR in case you are unable to get a FP+ for 60+2. Maybe you will be ok, but I don’t think it’s a certainty.

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So many good pros! We keep coming back to DW because of the toddler justification - it’s designed for them, we can eat at nice restaurants without getting the evil eye, and the other passengers are expecting them to be on the plane to Orlando :joy:

I have to agree on a shorter vacation time, too. I think we always get “too much vacation”itis around 5 nights, but I usually try to push for a week to make it worth all the packing and travel. Our next trip will be a night shorter, so we will see how it goes!

Can’t wait to see how your planning and trip unfolds :raised_hands:t2:


Sounds just right. :wink:

AoA - are you doing a LM room or a family suite? We just did a suite and I’m doing a LM room in March. I loved the suite - didn’t even share the master bathroom with my husband - all boys were banished! It kind of ruined me though for future family trips (March is just DS7 and maybe my mom).

Also - love the visual plan! That’s not excel, right?

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We will have the disability pass for DS3, so we’ll be fine. I was actually super relieved when FP was announced for MMRR. It’s already so hard to plan these trips, that’s one less thing I need to worry about.



It’s Powerpoint

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Nemo is the best. My kids really wanted one of the other two suites but they’re too busy for my tastes.

Looking forward to following along!

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So, I had no idea who Equity Ben was, until you started posting about him. I just had to go stalk his instagram, and it looks like we lucked in to seeing him on our last trip. I didn’t realize Frozen might be different with a different actor. :flushed:
Time to see if he’ll be there for our next trip!


So I’ve gone through Ben’s Instagram posts back to November, and here is what I’ve found. I’ve excluded the second half of December because his schedule looked different than before and after.

From Nov 30 through Feb 16:

  • Rarely any shows on Monday (only one so far) and never on Tuesdays
  • Late shows (3:30PM and later) on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and most Sundays
  • Early shows (2:30PM and earlier) on Fridays and Saturdays

Number of shows (8 full weeks of data):


Unfortunately I had planned to see frozen sing a long on a Friday or Saturday evening. So I’ve rearranged some things. Another perfect plan @PrincipalTinker

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