The trip report I wasn't going to write


#1

I told myself I wasn't going to do a trip report. People don't want to hear about my trip. But then I got to work in my small office and realized I couldn't tell my story enough, so I am now subjecting you all to it. I will have to do it in stages since it was 9 glorious nights of a WDW vacation. Hopefully someone can get something out of this so I don't feel totally selfish about just dumping this all out there. So, here goes day 1...The Arrival.
We awoke in Buffalo just around the corner from the airport. I made sure to wake the family and get to the airport in plenty of time for our 7:20 am flight, last trip we were cutting it a little close. Arrival at the airport went smoothly, got through security just fine, other than the bottle of dish soap that I accidentally packed in the wrong bag. We came out the other side of security to find that our flight was delayed by 30 minutes. The plane ran late at another stop the day before and was trying to get caught up. No matter, by the time it all played out, we actually only arrived at our gate in MCO about 10 minutes late. We walked down to Magical Express expecting the worst, as it looked like there was quite a line. Somehow though, the line we were sent to was loading right at that time and we walked right on to a bus. As my phone was coming out of airplane mode, the text came through that our room at Animal Kingdom Lodge was ready, which was the surprise for my DS7 & DS10, My wife and I had never told them that we changed our reservation from POFQ to AKL. The oldest was a little concerned when he didn't hear the driver announce POFQ as a stop. I told him we got on the bus for AKL because we had some extra time and wanted to go there first and then we would get to POFQ. We got to AKL and began to look around the lobby, then said, "why don't we go down the hall and see what it is like?" "Try that door and see if your magic band will open it." When it did, there was a mix of shock and surprise. The room was awesome, bunk beds, and the view was great. We were all so excited to be staying here. It was time for my parents to go get into their room at AKL, and then grab our order from Garden Grocer. All of that went perfectly. Boys had some time to swim before we headed to Hoop-Dee-Doo for dinner.
We chose to bus to MK and then boat to FW. This went smoothly and we had plenty of time to relax at FW before our seating at the first dinner show. The show was great, the food was what I expected, adequate, not amazing. I was singing "Raise the roof at the Hoop-Dee-Doo" until the next morning. After the show my boys decided to have a race back to AKL. DS10 and I were heading by boat back to MK and then bus to AKL. DS7 & wife were busing from Pioneer Hall to the front of FW, then to a park (ended up being MK) and then to AKL. There was quite the line for the boat and DS10 decided to jump out of our line for the MK boat and onto the resort boat, then get off at the Contemporary and walk to MK bus stop. I was impressed that he knew this was an option, so we went with it. It didn't pay off though, as we were boarding the bus at MK I received a text of a picture of DS7 & wife in our hotel room already. Once we all got back into the room it was time for some unpacking and relaxing as the plan was to be at MK by 730 for Welcome Show and rope drop. .


#2

I didn't realize the boat at MKP and presumably the other 7seas resorts goes all way to FW in Epcot?! Please let me know


#3

It doesn't, sorry, my FW was for Fort Wilderness.


#4

I've decided that I need to just keep thinking more positive thoughts on this day, so here is an update for Day #2, our first in the parks.

I had built touring plans for the last trip we took, but used them as more of a guide than an actual to-do list. I decided that at least for this first day at MK rope drop, I would follow the plan as it had been prescribed for as long as I could. I had built it with the preferences of my family and what I knew we wanted to get to first, so I was sure it would go over well with the family, and it did.
We left the hotel on time, reached the MK on time and got a great spot for the Welcome Show and then right in to rope drop Peter Pan. In and out of there, then over to Winnie the Pooh. Next up to Under the Sea, Little Mermaid. As we came out of there we realized that we were actually already ahead of schedule and had time to grab a cinnamon roll from Gaston's, so we sat down for that before heading to our Mine Train Fastpass. It was the first ride on Mine Train for DS7 & DS10. They didn't want to do it last trip. I knew DS7 would be into, he is becoming a bit of a coaster guy. DS10 though is not, so I wasn't sure how it would go. We asked for the front car because I had heard that it is slightly slower coming down the last hill since the release actually comes after the car is already down that first little drop. This seemed to help him accept it more and though he was a little nervous at the beginning, he was definitely happy by the end of it, and loved it.
He also loved that the Haunted Mansion was next because that was his favorite. This was one that DS7 wasn't too sure about, but he made it through fine and we went on to the Jungle Cruise, then Pirates. Magic Carpets after that and then over to small world before heading to lunch just before noon. The plan was working great and we had gotten to everything that we wanted to in the morning. After grabbing some lunch at Cosmic Ray's it was on to a family favorite with the PeopleMover before hitting our 4th fastpass for Buzz's Space Ranger Spin. Snuck in a Peter Pan M&G before finding a spot on Main Street for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. We found the CM that picked DS10 to start the parade 5 years ago and got a picture with him. He also gave the boys some stickers and a sorcerers card they didn't have. After the parade, DS7 wanted to ride Barnstormer before we left for Whispering Canyon, so I took him to do that since we had time. Then a boat to WL for dinner. Whispering Canyon was great as always. We were in the first seating of dinner guests and the first to need ketchup, so that was fun, and definitely got some confused looks from the next table that did ask for it when we all came over to see them. We were pretty full from the dinner, but DS10 saw the 10 Gallon Challenge on the dessert menu and really wanted to get it. It was huge and we didn't come close to finishing it, but it was definitely fun to order.
After dinner the plan was to go back to the room for a few before going to Epcot for IllumiNations, but the boys decided they were up for staying out, so we went straight there. We had a ride on The Seas with Nemo and met Baymax before heading to the Gran Fiesta Tour and catching a spot for the show. They weren't that impressed with IllumiNations and I guess i wasn't really anymore either because when suggested we leave early, we did. It was a great starting to touring though, and I knew it was setting us up for more to come.


#5

I'm glad you're writing one. I often learn tips from people's reports, and I'm enjoying reading your report.


#6

Great report! I'm thinking of doing Hoop de do on our next trip, glad to hear you enjoyed it :wink: We like WC, it's fun and the servers are great, haven't done the 10 gallon challenge (don't remember seeing it before) I know my boys would be up for the challenge!
You certainly packed a lot in on your first day, it's always satisfying when you have planned well and everyone has fun (without realising quite how much planning you have done to ensure it!)
Keep going :wink:


#7

I would definitely say we enjoyed it. I would also say we probably are not going to hurry back to do it again. Not that it doesn't warrant a return, I am sure we will be back at some point. We are just the type that like to go new places each trip, so we will probably try something new next time.


#8

Great reading so far!

We love AKL. That must have been a wonderful moment when their magic band opened the door to the room! I'm guessing they forgot all about PORQ by that point! We've stayed at both and really like POFQ but it's no AKL.

HDDR is the best. Going for the 3rd time in about 70 days!!

More, please...


#9

Thank you for sharing your trip report! Those of us who have a long wait for our next trips love hearing them. Plus, I'm enjoying a pleasant distraction today. I really need it.


#10

This is so great!!!


#11

Loving the report; looking forward to the next installment.


#12

We did Trails End on our last trip. We had no ADR'S and it was easy to get. About the same food as Hoop de Doo. I have done the show in the past.


#13

Really enjoying your report! Looking forward to reading more!


#14

Back for more and today's report is from Halloween Day/Night.

We started the day at Animal Kingdom. This was just the first day I had planned to be in DAK and the basic plan was to knock out all of Africa during this time. DAK is my favorite park. I just love the laid back atmosphere and I don't feel as rushed and pressured to get to things when I am in there. I could spend all day just wandering if I was allowed to, but eventually I give way to others wanting something else to do. I had a FP set for 9:20 for Kilimanjaro Safaris. The plan was that if we rope dropped it and got there quickly we would ride stand by and then maybe turn around get right back in FP line. We didn't quite make it there that quickly and couldn't walk by Flik without stopping for a M&G so that 9:20 FP was perfectly aligned for us. After a great safari we stopped in to get a little snack and wander through Gorilla Falls. Then we were back out in time for our FP for the 11:00 Lion King Show. The theater never filled and I guess we could have avoided the Fastpass for it, but I will say that the FP did give us some pretty good seats in the second row of the elephant section. This was actually the first time we had sat for the Festival of the Lion King. When the boys were younger, we didn't think they would sit for it. It was amazing, and I was probably wrong that they would not have sat for it in the past. Glad we did it this time. We had an 11:45 ADR for Tusker House which meant we came out of the exit for FotLK and walked right over to TH. This is easily my family's favorite character meal at WDW. We need to do it every time we come. The character interaction is always great and the food is fantastic. I like buffets at WDW because the time length of the ADR is pretty much up to us at them. I don't have to wait for servers to bring each course. After another great meal, we headed toward Asia to meet Baloo and King Louie before getting on Kali River Rapids. Kali was our last ride in the park for the day so that we could go back to get ready for MNSSHP that night.
Priority #1 at the Party was Jack & Sally. DS7 is a big fan of Jack and we knew how hard it would be to meet them if we waited, so we headed straight for the line when we got there right at 4pm. The line wasn't too long yet and it was definitely worth the wait. I knwo for most the next priority is the 7 dwarfs, but we met them during the Chistmas party before and they don't wear any different costumes, so we weren't worried bout them. When we done with J&S, the party was still a ways away from actually starting so we took our Phineas, Ferb, Candace, and Dr. D costumes for a ride on Pirates. Then we headed from there to the Storybook Circus area. We knew there were a lot of characters and candy up there so we wanted to be able to knock out the furthest corner of the park right away. My wife sat in the line that had started, ok she basically started it, for Minnie, Daisy, and Donald while I took the boys on a Dumbo ride. Being second in line to get 3 characters in their costumes was great, we did that and then quickly got some candy under the big top. From there we knew we wanted to get a spot in Liberty Square or Frontierland for the parade. DS10 had to ride Haunted Mansion on Halloween night, ok so did I, so we did that while DS7 & wife held down our spot. We got back from HM just a few minutes before the Horseman came through and had a great spot for that awesome parade. After the parade we headed to the Hub area via Adventureland grabbing some candy along the way. We got seats in the new fenced off area in front of Casey's. I went to get some food from Casey's while we waited for the shows to begin. The Hocus Pocus show was fun, it was great to see Celebrate the Magic one more time, but by the time Wishes came, we were ready for some more action and more characters. The boys are character hounds and especially like meeting the characters that are only out at special times. So, we figured we could watch the fireworks while walking and headed to Lotso. After Lotso was over, we went to the M&G line for Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet. We got there just in time because they cut the line for the night two people after us. Which I thought was interesting since it was only 10:45. We actually let those two people in front of us so that we could say we were the last ones to meet the crew in their Halloween costumes this year. Then we headed to back to Adventureland to catch the Aladdin characters. When we got to the line, they weren't quite back open yet from the second parade and then we found out that Abu would not be returning at all. That was bad news for us, DS7 really wanted to get that rare character M&G. Nonetheless, we jumped over to the line for Jafar and got that one done. At this point though, the night was beginning to wrap up for us. It was 11:30 and we wanted to stop for some pictures on the way out. Away we went, and we grabbed our last Photopass pic from the party in front of the train station on the way out just after midnight. Bus ride back to AKL to grab some sleep with a late start planned the next day for Food & Wine at Epcot on Tuesday.


#15

On to Food & Wine Tuesday...

Seeing as we were up so late on Halloween night, the plan was to sleep in and get to Epcot somewhere around noon to start touring the Food & Wine festivities. This was fairly easily accomplished, the boys even had some time to swim in the pool for a bit after they woke up. We made it to Epcot in time to catch our fastpass for Spaceship Earth on the way in, which I had never before been able to convince the boys to get on. They were convinced it was some kind of fast roller coaster and I couldn't tell them otherwise. In one of my proudest WDW Dad moments, they loved it. I had wanted to go to the Festival Center next to get started with some F&W fun, but they knew that Figment was the next fastpass we had. We would have had plenty of time to go my way first and then over to Figment before the window closed, but it was decided we go there first. I know Fastpasses for Figment are kinda useless, but the boys really love it and its a way for me to make sure we go do it. If it wasn't for the tiering, it wouldn't be chosen, oh well.
Now we can finally get on with F&W. While in the Festival Center, I purchased the Tasting Sampler lanyard with 8 tickets for drinks on it to be used around the event. Technically it could be used for food or drinks, but our plan was snack credits for food and tickets for drinks. The CM where I was buying it informed me that anything over $6.95 would make it worth it. It was a good tip, but that number was based solely on the total cost of the lanyard divide by the number of tickets. We had some additional value in the special pin that came with it, so our number was a little lower. We then headed out to begin our tasting journey. DS10 was surprisingly into the idea of sampling these new foods. He tends to be a picky eater, but for whatever reason the small portions and the ability to decide he didn't like it without having to worry must have made him a little more adventurous. But to keep DS7 busy we had planned a two pronged attack. We stopped to sign up for Agent P's Adventure, and we got each of the boys the Remy's Hide and Squeak maps. This proved to be a wise decision as it kept them moving through the countries as we went from one to the next. I am sure this type of thing was implemented by WDW solely to have something to keep kids busy while mom and dad were partaking in F&W. In our case, it worked as planned.
We started with the path from Innoventions that runs near the Imagination Pavilion first. The Chocolate studio was definitely a hit there and the Mojo Pork at the Caribbean booth was probably our favorite thing we tried. We used a couple drink tickets along the way for some frozen beverages. From there we headed in the direction of Canada. I am normally a clockwise guy when it comes to World Showcase, but the FP time I was able to get for Frozen Ever After was 4pm, so by heading this way, I figured it would put us over there right about that time. This is where I cop to not being much of a foodie. We certainly enjoyed F&W, and I would do it again. However, very little of what we got was memorable enough for me to go on about it in this report. We did make sure to get my wife a cannoli while we went past Italy. This proved to be a wise move based on future events that would occur. We continued around and got to Norway during our window and went on Frozen Ever After. It was a fun ride. I definitely would not wait in an hour long line for it, but it was worth our fastpass to check it out. After the ride we made a couple more stops on the way out of World Showcase, and handed in the maps for the Remy H&S game. The boys each got to pick the pin they wanted for completing it. So basically we paid $10 for them to keep busy and get a pin at the end, money well spent in my opinion.
A check of the app showed that Soarin' had a 20 minute wait. We had it in our plans when we return to Epcot the next morning, but for a 20 minute wait, and no other plans for the night, we decided to go for it. LOVED the new Soarin'. I did see some of the CG that people are complaining about, but it wasn't that bad, and it was necessary for the story line of the ride, so it didn't bother me at all. Then before we could leave, DS7 wanted to go on Spaceship Earth again, like I said proud WDW Dad moment. DS10 and wife didn't so they headed to the bus stop. SE was a walk on, so by the time we did it and got out to the stop ourselves, we were only one bus behind them. Back to the hotel for the night. We checked out the night vision goggles at AKL, but there weren't any animals out to see at the time. The boys still got a kick out of the goggles though, so it was a good experience. A little bit of swim time and then back to the room for sleep. Back to Epcot in the morning for an 8am Garden Grill ADR to try to get an early jump on the Soarin' lines. Check back to see how that turned out.


#16

So far anyway, it sounds like you had as nearly a perfect trip as you could hope for :slight_smile:


#17

It really was near perfect. There were only a few minor hiccups, and even one of those worked out for the better in the long run. That part of the report is coming soon.


#18

Wednesday was my most anticipated morning probably. I had secured an 8am ADR for Garden Grill in the hopes that we could eat and get in line for Soarin before the lines came. Having used a FP yesterday for FEA, and today's FP for Test Track, I was thinking this may be the only chance to get on Soarin' without a long wait. Having caught it yesterday without much of a wait, a little of the pressure was off, but I was still curious to see how it would go. Well, we got to the gates at 7:30, let into the park around 745 and went to GG. The server got us right into our booth and took drink orders. I did let her in on the plan that we were hoping to be in line for Soarin' before the rope drop people. We happen to be right by the character entrance, so when they came out all together, we were asked if we wanted to get a picture with all of them. That was pretty cool, becuase I am guessing that doesn't happen all that often. We didn't rush through breakfast, the family style service made it easy for everyone to get fed though. We were out of there, after meeting all of the characters individually, and in line for Soarin' by 8:35. There was one other family with the same idea in front of us and another that came behind us a few minutes later. Around 8:45 we started the walk toward the ride and were in the middle section of the first ride of the day with maybe 20 other people tops. It was pretty cool and went exactly as planned.

From there we went to the M&G for Joy & Sadness. The line had been long the other 2 times we were in Epcot and tried to meet them, but with the early start, there weren't many people at all in the line so we hopped in and it was one the best M&G's we had on the trip. They were very fun and we all came out smiling. On we went to Mission:Space Green. My wife and I had been on this, but not the boys. I myself have had issues coming off of it, so I knew we had to go Green with them. They really enjoyed the ride and we hung out in the lab after for a little bit. We had a few minutes before our Test Track Fastpass so we wandered into Club Cool for some Beverly. Then onto Test Track. DS10 decided he didn't want to ride, so I took DS7 while DS10 & wife went to check out the Jammitors. He is a drummer anyway and always likes to see them. We enjoyed our ride on TT and met back up with them after. We popped into the Disney Visa M&G on our way back out to World Showcase and then made our way to the American Pavilion. We didn't get a chance to watch The American Adventure yesterday during F&W so I decided we would make a trip out there this morning. Before we went in though we found DS10's favorite stop of the trip. The Chase lounge was pretty cool and it blew his mind that he could just drink soda a sit there. And not like Club Cool, but actual drinks he knew. I pried him out of there in time to catch the AA show and after that we caught a boat back to the front of WS and made our way out. Oh, but not before another ride on Spaceship Earth.
Wednesday night was going to be Star Wars night at DHS for us. I had planned on just going there and doing any and everything Star Wars that they wanted before the Fireworks show. Well, we ended up with a little more time there because we cleared out Epcot sooner than expected and even after the break at the hotel, we got there early. That meant we added Indiana Jones, an Olaf M&G, and a ride on Great Movie ride into the plan. We were not a fan at all of GMR by the way, but this trip was a lot about doing things we hadn't done before, so we had to try it. We still managed to get in our Star Wars stuff. Backtrack a little to when we arrived at the park right as Captain Phasma was leading the march by the entrance. We made our stop in the Launch Bay to meet Chewy and see all of the artifacts. Kylo Ren was waiting until the next time we came to DHS and we would use the Visa M&G for that, we didn't catch him before the Visa meet was done for the day this time. We had a really good spot, dead center right up at the stage in front of the Chinese Theater, for the Galactic Spectacular Fireworks show and I was just amazed. It's not even fair to call that a fireworks show, because it is so much more. The bad news with our good spot was that it meant we were near the back of the line to get out of the park and this gave us our longest wait for a bus of the whole trip, but it was worth it.
Tomorrow is a light day, a bit of a break, so that report won't be nearly as long. Thanks for following so far.


#19

With a plan to take a break from the parks and packet pickup for the Mickey's Holiday 5k on this day, the plan was pretty laid back. Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch at the Poly, then WWOS for RunDisney Expo, and then Disney Springs for The Boathouse and shopping.

We arrived on time for our breakfast at 'Ohana, although that hasn't seemed to matter anytime we go there. This time was no different than when we had been in the past. We still ended up waiting well past our reservation time before our name was called to go in. No worries though, we weren't in a hurry to get anywhere today. The food was great as always and the characters just as much. We took the shuttle bus from the Poly to get out to WWOS for the Expo and proceeded through the check in process without any issues. While we got the there it began to spinkle a little. I mention it because it was the most precipitation we saw during the whole trip. The plan was to go from there to Disney Springs by taking a shuttle from the expo to Saratoga Springs and then boat or walk to DS. But we had enough from the Expo that we needed to take back to the room, so we decided to make a stop back at AKL.
After a quick stop at the room we headed to DS. We were behind schedule for sure. I was hoping to be able to have most of our shopping done before our dinner at Boathouse so that we could head back and rest up for the race soon after, but it didn't work out that way. The simple wrap up of Disney Springs for me is this... The Boathouse was amazing, probably the best meal we had while we were there. The shopping areas were very nice, everything was well lit and setup well. I wouldn't have minded having more time to be there so we could have seen and done more, but we also had things to do.

So, to bed we went so that we could wake up early and get on the RunDisney 5k bus in the morning. I am going to include the Mickey's Holiday 5k report in this since there wasn't much else involved with Thursday. Friday morning we woke up and were out to the bus by 4:45am to get to the starting area. When we got there, we noticed an already long line for Mickey & Minnie. A long line that wasn't moving very fast. As we slowly made our way to the front, we began watching the clock and wondering if we would make it to them in time. When were about 8 families from meeting them, they sent them off and told everyone to head to the starting corrals. Basically, 1.5 hours wasted. I reasoned with it that we would have been just standing around waiting anyway, so we didn't really miss out on anything, and besides the CM's said they would be back after the race and we would definitely be able to meet them then. So off to corral C we went. This was our first runDisney event and the plan was to hit every character on the way because that's what we were paying for. We run a bunch of 5k's together, so this wasn't for time or anything. We managed to get all of the characters in. We barely got to Santa Goofy & Donald before they closed off the line, and then we had to selfie with Pluto from a distance, but we counted it. All in all, it didn't seem like the 5k took all that long. As we finished we knew we had to head over to Mickey and Minnie to get that photo op in. As we arrived to the lengthy line, we were told that the characters would be leaving in about 20 minutes. One look at the line told us we were not even going to come close to making it. So, that's pretty much the most disappointment we had on our trip. Not all that bad really, but we would have liked that picture. With the race over, it was back to the hotel to rest up before heading to Hollywood Studios for our planned day there, which I will pick up at next time.


#20

Great trip report, I do love reading them. What is the Remy hide and squeak map please?