The trip where we brave a pandemic and a hurricane - in 2 parts

Part 1: Travel party - myself (46 - happy birthday to me yesterday!), DH 48, DS11, DD7, and DD3.

Travel day- I always promise myself I’ll pack early this time, and get sleep the night before our trip. Foolish mortal. Once again, up until 2 AM packing, and realizing that yes I am going to have to check some luggage. Oh, and hunting a wasp which had made its way into my bathroom. Fell off a swivel stool in that process…not a good choice!..and hope I only bruised my heel. Up again at 6. Checked AutoSlash and sure enough was able to rebook my minivan rental yet again for $20 less! DH was already gone to coach an early freshman football practice, which got turned into a lifting session by the governor yesterday who moved our football season to spring. Woke the kids and loaded up the car. We pulled out as DH arrived home, we were driving separately since we return at different times. Was pouring rain all the way to St Louis but thankfully slowed to a sprinkle by the time we reached parking. DS11 helped me get all the bags, stroller and car seat transported. Shuttle and bag check went smoothly but the scanner didn’t like our car seat, probably too much cereal and waffle crumbs! Had to wait 10-15 minutes for a supervisor to inspect it. We were disappointed that Auntie Anne’s was closed but found some other snacks and reached the gate just before DH made it, in spite of leaving 45 minutes after us! DD3 has a habit lately of screeching at the top of her voice when frustrated and did so while we waited to board. The gate agent beautifully called her out and told her she couldn’t get on the plane if she was going to do that! She made quite an impression on DD3. Plane only had 44 passengers and we headed to the back so it wasn’t crowded. This was my first time bringing a car seat on the plane. The flight attendant had to bring a seat belt extender to get it buckled in but worked out fine! DD3 was more comfortable with it and cannot climb around touching everything, and most importantly I can rest my head on it and try to sleep! Arrival at MCO also went smoothly. Bag check was a little crowded but I hung back with the kids. Car pickup was easy and our Walmart pickup order was ready just as we approached, in and out in no time! Kids were dying to know where we were staying because I hadn’t told them. Arrived at BRV and it will work out nicely. With the blow up toddler bed we brought, each kid has their own sleep surface. It is a little cramped with 5 but we won’t be in room much except one day. Had dinner at Boathouse at DS (tuna poke appetizer was awesome!) and DS11 decided he wanted to try lobster, oblivious to price!
Returned to hotel to swim. The kids love the slides at the pool. Closed down the pool then off to bed.

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Yay! Another one! These trip reports are such an amazing pick me up while I am recovering. Thank you.

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Looking forward to following along. Seems we have the same packing style…and car seat

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Did you check to see if your car seat would work on the plane before taking it? Winging it seems easier, and I kinda want to just go that route. I’ve tried doing some research on it and it seems overwhelming. Makes it seem like only certain kinds will work on A plane. Did the car seat go in rear facing or forward facing?

ETA just looked it up again and doesn’t seem as complex as I remember. Our car seat will work!

Day 1 : HS - Getting everyone out the door took longer than planned so we were 30 minutes behind starting out. At 9:30 we were still in a long car line at the tollbooth and I was formulating a plan to bail to Epcot today if we didn’t make it in the park by 10 to get a boarding group. However we were parked fairly close and were through tapstiles shortly after 9:45. MMRR line looked really long already so we headed to Slinky instead. Were in line there at 10:00 and got boarding group 31! This was DD3’s first coaster ride and DD7’s (who in past has been hyper-afraid of anything that moved fast) first ride on Slinky. To our astonishment they both loved it!!


We hit up AS2 and TSMM (DH’s favorite) twice by 11:15. Then went to MMRR. It was posted at 60 min, we waited maybe 30-40.

But part of the line is out in the sun and it’s not pleasant. After that we went to Sci-Fi for lunch. I had booked there before but always ended up cancelling so was excited to finally go. The movies were cute and the food was pretty good, but it was so dark! Had to use my phone light to see which condiment cup was what and even what I was eating. But it was a nice place to cool down.
We headed to Star Wars land next, had blue milk and shopped a little until our group was called around 2:30. We made it completely through the ride! Last trip we got evacuated 3 times before making it all the way through. Had to explain to DD7 what had happened afterward, she was a little confused. Also had to tell her to stop asking CMs to height-check her sister at every opportunity!

We walked on (!) Millenium Falcon, then paused for snacks and headed for MMRR again (20 min wait) before making our way up Sunset Blvd. DH and DS rode TOT while the girls and I saw Lightning McQueen.

Then we rider-switched RNRC - my favorite! Headed back to Slinky around 7 and rode twice, maybe 5-10 minute wait, before walking on TSMM and then getting in line for MMRR again just before 8. Each ride on MMRR we had a different train car and saw things a little differently! Exited the park around 8:30 and planned on dinner at Geyser Point but wait was long, so DH waited for carry out while I got the DDs their baths. So tired but they still didn’t go to sleep til 11!

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Awesome, sounds like you had a great first day!

We just booked BRV for next summer, looking forward to hearing how it goes.

AK Day
Everyone needed rest after yesterday so given the low crowds we didn’t get up early and arrived at AK around 10:30.


Started with Tough to be a Bug which only freaked out DD3 a little. Then KRR - they are leaving a pair of seats between parties so rafts go out about half full. All shooting water is turned off, so the only real chance to get wet is the one big drop. As usual that took out DH!

:joy: Hurried to Up! Bird Adventure which was about to start. I never saw the version with Dug but this iteration was awesome! Informative and focused on the birds.

Then DH and DS went to ride EE while the girls and I went for another round on KRR. That took awhile due to a pause to clean all the rafts but it’s good to know they are sanitizing regularly. Next up was lunch at Yak and Yeti and the Ahi tuna nachos!! Our waiter kindly brought us some gigantic paper cups of ice water at the end of our meal which we used to fill empty water bottles.
After lunch we headed to Pandora. Used rider switch for FOP, the first leg took 30 minutes entrance to exit so maybe 20 minute wait. I had never been through the regular queue before - there was so much to see but the line moves pretty fast with all the spacing.

Moved on to NRJ, then to the safari. We stopped at a Wilderness Explorers station for the first time and both DDs got a book. They were so excited to make the stops for the rest of the day! How did we never do this before? I did not really care for the plastic dividers in the Safari vehicles, they make it harder to see and harder for air to circulate which it would have done in a moving open-air vehicle anyway. After safari we went on the Gorilla Falls trail and hit several more WE stops.

The kids loved seeing the animals and fish. Then finally we were off to Dino Land to get that ice cream sandwich…but it was after 5 and Dino Bites was closed!!! :weary: As was just about everything in Dino Land. DS, DD7 and I rode Dinosaur and DD3 and DH rode the Dino spinner about 4 times in a row without getting off.

There was almost no one in Dino land. We were pretty wiped out but decided to speed walk over to Pandora for one more ride on NRJ. We had hoped to go to Sana’a for dinner but nothing was available there - with restaurants at low capacity ADRs seem to be harder to get last-minute than usual. I pre-ordered Giordano’s for 7 pm delivery to our resort which worked out perfectly, the pizza arrived just as I was parking the car! After dinner DS and I went in search of desserts to make up for our missed ice cream sandwiches, and we all went swimming again. DD3 met a little girl who was celebrating her 4th birthday today and they became pool buddies!

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Great report so far, cute kids!

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Really enjoying your report!..and having some deja vu.

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Man, hate you missed the IC sandwich. It was a great find.

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I just knew the label said it was certified for aircraft use. I used it forward facing since DD is 3 1/2, not sure if they can be rear-facing flying. Honestly we used to just take the easy and cheap route and have our under-twos be lap children. But it worked out well bringing the seat and the airline staff were very accommodating.

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I’m still determined to get it on round two of the parks. It will be Dino Bites or bust!! I am really liking our studio in BRV. The resort is lovely and the kids love the pools. The fold down bed is pretty sturdy, more so than the CBR one as I recall. And DD11 says the sofa bed is comfortable enough and it is a good size. I like the villa room setup and perks better than I expected, it’s all working out really well. Only thing I would change is to request a room nearer the elevator, as we are at the far end of the hall. And although we never really got the torrential rain that was threatened, there is a good wide covered walkway to the main lobby so I think we would have been fine.

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Determination!

Thanks for the info on BRV. More I look into it, the more I think it will be a great fit for our family. Love hearing about the pools, pool themeing was something I really missed at FT. W. Bed info was great too. Not sure if one of my kids will fit the pull down, but could stop a few fights before the begin if they can.

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Day 3: Break/Hurricane day
Isaias was supposed to hit today and rain started a little before 10. But, it only lasted maybe an hour and that was all the rain we saw all day! Luckily for us Isaias had shifted away. We were prepared to hunker down but no need; however we also did really need a break so were still glad for the day off. The storm brought cooler air and lower humidity. It actually would have been a great day to be in the parks.
DH took the girls to the pool In late morning and DS and I met the Walmart delivery driver for our order.


We ate leftover pizza warmed in the microwave, watched Mickey shorts on TV (no way to use our Disney+ in the room…come on Disney! But I suppose replacing resort flatscreens just might not be in the budget this year) and lounged on the balcony. Later went for dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe, another restaurant I’d always wanted to try. We really enjoyed it- ketchup was a non-event but our waiter still inserted a lot of fun. DD7 spilled her drink right off, so he brought her first a tiny new cup:

and then a secured model:

He didn’t want to be bothered with DS11’s refills:

The plant-based sausage was better than it had any right to be, and the piggy wings were also delicious.

After dinner we went for a walk around the resort grounds and then headed to get the kids to bed for our early morning tomorrow. Looking at the forecast, I decided to swap our parks for the next two days. But, MDE didn’t want to cooperate with this for the 4-park magic tickets and I spent 30 minutes on the phone getting it straightened out. I was glad IT works Saturday evenings.

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Day 4: Magic Kingdom
We decided to take the boat from WL to MK. The official word is that boats start at 8:30, but we were there at 8:12 and the first boat showed up at 8:15.


By 8:30 we were off the boat. Very nice start to the morning! We headed first to 7DMT and rode twice by 9:15.

Fantasyland at 9:30 AM:

We caught a few more Fantasyland rides and then off to Sleepy Hollow for waffles with fruit for breakfast!

As we waited in line there, the Cavalcade came right past us with Mickey and friends! After 2 rounds of HM for DH, we did all the Adventureland rides and then headed to Splash.

DD7 didn’t want to try BTMRR yet so she and I waited while the rest of the crew went, and were treated to another Cavalcade albeit at a distance. We then all were ready to cool down and went to Plaza for lunch which we really enjoyed.

Tomorrowland was next; DS11 rode SM, a walk-on, 3 times, with me, DH and once by himself. The girls did a few rounds of Buzz while waiting. Sadly the PeopleMover was still out of commission. We all saw COP and then headed for Dumbo and Ariel. The girls and I did IASW while DH and DS rode HM 3 more times.

Quick stop for Dole Whip, another ride on BTMRR which DD7 was finally up for (and then wanted to ride again!) and it was time to head to Be Our Guest for dinner. Overall lines were short, and usually shorter than what was quoted.
At 4:30 AM on the day ADRs resumed I had scored a 6:55 pm BOG reservation, and luckily I didn’t cancel it right away when I had moved our MK day away from Isaias. We had not done dinner at BOG since it went prix fixe so looked forward to trying it. Overall it was so-so. Our entrees were brought right after the appetizers, too soon. DS and DH didn’t care for the lobster bisque, but my French onion was pretty good. DD3 had the kids fruit and cheese app - the cheeses were not very kid friendly, a white cheddar and a smoky cheese.

DD7’s peach applesauce app was good and was a huge bowl, they shared it. Both DDs had the Mac n cheese which was fine, big servings. Two of us ordered the filet which was excellent but the mashed potatoes with it were too salty. DH ordered the scallops, they were very good but only 3 of them. The desserts were all the same, a dark chocolate almond truffle, raspberry macaron and grey stuff in a white chocolate cup. The kids’ version came with an empty cup that they could paint with edible paint, and grey stuff on the side.

The kids barely ate any of the desserts, actually DD7 spit out the chewed truffle all over her napkin, although they enjoyed the painting part.

They did enjoy seeing the Beast and took a distanced picture with him, but kept asking when Belle was coming out. Really, why don’t they include her, especially now that she isn’t busy with Enchanted Tales?

As we were working on our desserts at about 8:30 the lights dimmed…the music and snow stopped…and it was dark! Ok we were one of two parties left but still! They did turn the lights back on so we could finish. A park manager asked what resort we were at to ensure we had a bus ride home, although actually there were lots of buses still there and we were later told to take any bus 11-34 and tell them where we were going. So a quick, private bus ride back to WL! It was nice at least having a chance to walk through the park at night again and I got a few pictures.


We did notice the park manager and security followed us out at a distance, so much for DH’s hopes of spending the night on HM!

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Wow, can’t believe how empty it all is!

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I am loving your nighttime photos of Casey’s, the Carousel, and the Castle.

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Well I think your experience settles it - I will not be doing BoG unless quick service returns. That’s too much money for a mediocre meal.

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It’s so empy! I can’t believe they turned the lights out on you at BOG :hushed: Great pics!

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Day 5 - Epcot
On the girls’ last day in the parks, DD7 was desperate to choose her souvenir! We headed to TestTrack first but had to wait through a brief shutdown.



Then to Gran Fiesta Tour (all 3 caballeros were back!) and Frozen whose line had gotten a bit long and stretched outside. We grabbed some food from the nearby China booth to snack on while we waited - the dumplings were outstanding and the bao was good also. After making it through Frozen and vetoing several poor souvenir choices, we set off through the World Showcase to find snacks to serve as lunch. Picked up cheese flatbread and cannoli in Italy, tempura shrimp and cold ramen noodles in Japan and beef kefta and baklava in Morocco. All were very good. We had to fend off the resident bird population however who were quite persistent and seem to really enjoy the Taste of Epcot also!

A character cavalcade came by while we ate.

The girls and I then headed for a trip on Skyliner just for fun while DH and DS checked out the French patisserie.

The girls were determined to find a Mickey bar, but somehow there were no ice cream stands around and they never achieved that goal. We stopped in a restroom and suddenly the rain let loose. We hightailed it then to The Land pavilion for DD3’s first ride on Soarin’. She had a mixed reaction; she liked it but also was very concerned that we had been in the air in the middle of firework! Next was LWTL which was enjoyable until we neared the end of the ride and it malfunctioned. We started floating backwards! It took 10-15 minutes for them to get the boats moving the right direction again. It was still raining but we made our way to The Seas, enjoying the Nemo ride and observing the fish for awhile. The rain had stopped so we tried to make it to Biergarten for dinner, almost making it before the skies opened again! Biergarten is a favorite for our family and we usually go once per trip. It was different this time however with family style service instead of the buffet. We appreciated not having to get up to fetch food, but there was a lot less variety offered. The band still played and was fun to watch; the girls danced by our table.

After dinner we made another round through Frozen and then tried to make it to SE for another ride, but were too late. We ended up shopping, where DD7 finally chose a water globe and journal and DD3 latched onto her new buddy “chicken”, aka Hei Hei, before heading out.

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