Hi everyone, seebee here. You might remember me from such threads as:
“Surprising the kids with the trip”
Well, we made it back for a 10/31-11/6 epic tour de force. We honed in on what was important to us, and had an absolute blast. We only wound up full out, foot hurtin’ tired one day, but we wouldn’t have traded it for anything. It was worth it. And the effects didn’t carry over to the next day. The feets were not that bad at all. Before I get to the touring deets, I’ll preface.
This trip was kind of a “This is it for WDW!” trip. We’ll probably go back in two years for a quick three day to check out Galaxy’s Edge, and whatever else is new after the SW fanfare dies down, but this trip was planned to be the “we’re done” trip. Not in a bad way, either. We’ve gladly had our fill, and vacations will just be different places going forward. We still have to do Universal - but that’s only a few days, and not as much planning.
So, from the start, this was pretty simple, because, we just needed to pick an appropriate time frame, because we knew where we’d be staying. Swolphin, all the way, baby! Costco makes things so darn easy. Highly recommend you give them a glance if you are members. Jr’s school gave us a four day weekend choice of MLK or Election Day, and early November weather, plus low crowd levels was the easy choice for us. So that was set. Next, airfare. From Chicago, we found round trip for a hair over 200 bux each. No Brainer! We actually wound up booking the flights via Coscto as well. They had the same price we found, PLUS, they had a special offer if we booked with United in a pkg. (we missed the deal by one day, it was a limited supply deal, and their booking agent said it sold out quicker than they thought it would.) Not a big deal, still decent price. So with dates, flights and tickets all in place…the strategy.
Price + Location. Go ahead, price out BC/YC, or BW. Those are my only comps. Don’t you dare tell me CBR is “Epcot Area.” It’s the ONLY “Ep Area” resort that is not on the walking path for Epcot and Hollyweird, so, just save it.
The dining plan does not work for us. At ALL. We just don’t eat that much food, or snack that much. We’re also trying to eat sensibly, even while on vacation. Trust me, we ATE.We pigged out a few times, but the DP would be way too much food for us. Since we don’t need a dining plan, Swolphin is even more attractive for us.
The pools. Just awesome.
Kimonos. We eat sushi. Kimonos is a super value.
Those Heavenly Beds are pretty nice.
We have TSA precheck, so using DME would just tick us off to leave that early for our return flight. Uber is 30-45 bucks each way. NO big deal at all. I actually had a once way rental car set up from Costco for 40 dollars, but decided to cancel it. I could rent a car at MCO, and then return it at Swolphin to the valet, and not be charged for parking. We decided that Uber would probably just be faster than having to go to the rental desk after landing. Uber is our friend, by the way…well, I almost choked one out on the way to Hollyweird for emm - more on that later…
Ok, so back to WDW strategy. We are early risers, and the Costco pkg includes hoppers (you can modify your tickets, too, and take the hoppers off.) So planning park days is simple: Always go to the park with AM EMH, then chill at the pools during the hottest part of the day, then hop to a diff park at night for little while - usually for pre-planned fastpasses, or just to check out shows - low stress stuff. Since these ppl I live with were not that interested in Fantasmic again ( I don’t agree with that one, I like F!) and they were not interested in Illuminations (that I can let slide,) I decided in order to go for big air for the last trip, to do the SW dessert party, and also the HEA Dessert party. This decision also meant that we’d be in bed or the pool earlier on a few nights, since we were skipping two night shows. I learned from our last trip to remember to RELAX where you can. It’s a vacation…CHILL. Don’t rug yourself ragged. Keep your feet happy. I swear, even though on paper, you want to see as much as possible, you gotta prioritize to have time to CHILL, and enjoy the time together. It’s a vacation, and an expensive one at that. ENJOY IT. Ok, so now we have a basic outline of what to accomplish:
- Go to each park
- SW and HEA dessert parties
- No need for illuminations or (sigh) F!
In looking at the EMH patterns, and applying them to our trip dates, FP selection was easy. I was up and at em right when I needed to be, and I got everything pretty much perfectly, except no SLinky.
No worries. We’d RD slinky on HS EMH day, and if the line was too long, screw it. Reports were that TSMM had been walk ons during EMH, and we are TSMMaholics so - all good.
BUT THEN, Walt slyly announced EMM on Nov 5th. BONUS! Grabbed that as soon as I heard.
As for ADR’s?
Yeah. I don’t care. Res Finder for the win. All. Day. Long. We don’t play into the ADR game. The restaurants at Swolphin are pretty great, and well priced. No need to play Walt’s games for food. i choose the parks first and foremost, then once those are penciled in, I figure out my TP, and where I’ll be at a time we’ll want food, and go from there. I made adr’s for Tusker House, Teppan Edo, Hoop De Doo, (and the EMM, and two dessert parties if you wanna count those.) Park food was Columbia Harbor House, Flame Tree, Sunshine Seasons, Backlot Express. We turned the Dessert parties into dinners, and it worked out just fine. Completely enough food for us, Both have plenty of savory items to load up on, and we did just that…TRUST ME, we were full.
I’ll post more very soon. We absolutely CRUSHED WDW. I think in 5 days of tickets, no joke, we did TOT (Jr’s new favorite) 14 times. We completely mastered FP hunting, and everyone needs to use mobile ordering at the QS places. I simply couldn’t understand all the lines, but most mobile ordering lines were totally empty. We just walked up, grabbed our stuff, and found a place to sit, easy peasy. Coming up:
Epcot, Thursday, 1, November, AKA - “Test Track and LWTL are STILL DOWN???”