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 . 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)
- 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!
- 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)
- 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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…