This Changes Everything. (Where "Everything" is our WDW dates and reservations.)

Hi all! Starting a new thread because I need to redo my planning. Here’s the old one, with our background (me + my dad + DD9 + DD7 = first Disney trip without my late mom).

So from poking around here and reading the Unofficial Guide (which I went ahead and bought for Kindle), I figured out I’d need ADRs, etc. etc. Originally the plan was to go May 3rd-9th. However, two things have happened to cause me to throw everything out the window:

  1. Dad and I had lunch. It was a good lunch; we spent a lot of it talking about the trip. We both teared up when the subject of my mom came up but that was okay, a healthy moment. More practically speaking, I got info on his preferences. He’s pro-character meals but otherwise doesn’t give a fig about super-nice restaurants (and was absolutely horrified when I described the concept of Prime Time Cafe to him – glad I checked!) so I’m not going to worry too much about TS bookings or a dining plan in general other than character meals. Also he’s not high on rollercoasters. The kids won’t be either, so if we don’t get to, say, Space Mountain, it won’t be such a big loss. BUT he does want to splurge on the hotel and get something where it’s easy for us to take breaks. And he’s kind of nostalgic for the monorail. :smile:

  2. The one thing I knew I might have to shift dates for was DD’s orchestra – she just joined this semester, and her music teacher has confirmed for me that they have a concert on May 9th at 5:30 pm. No way I’m making her miss that, or scheduling the trip over the rehearsal time she’ll need. So I’ve bumped everything back a week to leaving Friday the 10th, returning the 16th or 17th.

So a lot of factors I wasn’t considering earlier come into play. I had assumed we wouldn’t be able to do HS on the Saturday of our trip because it would be May the 4th and there would be lines for all things Star Wars-related, but maybe that’s not such an issue on May 11th. My original reservation was at the B Resort and Spa, so our original home base was Disney Springs, but now the field is much more open.

Current questions I’m working on:

  1. What hotel? Or hotels – I saw that @TheProphetPaul is splitting his trip between the Contemporary and the Boardwalk, and maybe that’s an option for us? Difference is that we’ll have a car (and also will still reserve one day for UO).
  2. Assuming that it takes us Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning to actually get to Orlando, what do we do Saturday afternoon? Dad’s worried that the kids will be impatient to get to UO. I’m still inclined to do one of the Disney parks for a half-day – my original plan was to do Future World with a Garden Grill character dinner, and I went ahead and got a Garden Grill reservation for 6:10 pm on 5/11, but HS may be a better option for a half-day.
  3. Should I plan to save UO for later in the trip (and risk the kids getting impatient at the wait) or plan it for earlier (and risk that overshadowing WDW for my Pottermaniacs)? (I haven’t looked at the CLs or EMHs for the new dates yet.)
  4. If we’re not worrying much about rides, are there experiences I should focus more on planning for? I’ve got Enchanted Tales with Belle and Frozen Sing-Along on my FP must list, but I still want to research other potential less-ride-based experiences.
  5. How much am I kicking myself for missing the Epcot Festival of the Arts and the how-to-draw-a-Disney-character event? Sigh. Not that we could have gone during those times anyway.
  6. Edited to add this one: Illuminations! How big a deal is it? I suspect we’d all enjoy it but I need to figure out if it’s worth configuring the schedule to include the inevitable wait.

All right! Back to the drawing board we go! Thanks to all of y’all for being so helpful and friendly during this!


IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is, hands down, my favorite nighttime spectacular currently at WDW. So much so that during my last trip I saw it both my first and last park days. It also will be ending a 20-year run this summer - so this will be your only chance to catch it.

As far as finding a place to be, because it’s done in a “theater in the round” style on World Showcase Lagoon, there are good spots to be had, behind no more than 2-3 people, within 15 minutes of the start time.

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1 - Can not help here.

2 - I’d think a fun character meal might fit nicely here. What about Backyard BBQ? Is that possible?

3 - I’d do UO first, and condense the Disney time. My brain is sort of linear like that, though.

4 - I suspect your interests will start to clarify this for you as you work through your UG. (I love the book.)

5 - No thoughts on this.

6 - Oh - man - now I feel like a goon b/c I don’t mean to sound like I am directing this at @MouseGirl42, but Illuminations is our least favorite (BUT - we haven’t seen ROL yet, so maybe it won’t be?). (Sorry!!) If it fits, that would be nice to experience for yourself, but there are other things I’d be more apt to work around.


Fighting words.

You have my condolences. :wink:

I said I was sorry… :upside_down_face:

Which is your least favorite night time entertainment?

I don’t have any good I put on the other points but on enchanted tales with belle - is one of your kids a Belle fanatic? I think you said they are 7 and 9. My 10 year old found this really underwhelming; I think it seems like it would be wonderful for 5 and under belle fans but for a fast pass use for a non-Belle-fanatic it seemed to us a waste.

After letting the question roll around in my head, I have an answer for you.

Happily Ever After.

It’s the only one that I actively dislike.

That’s great that you had a chance to really talk to your Dad and get a plan you are both happy with!
3. We are doing UO at the end of the trip because I wanted to stay on-site and get the Express pass as part of the room and just do one day there with the park to park pass. The math worked for us and it gave us more time at WDW.
4. Beauty and the Beast Sing Along might be open in Epcot by then (it is showing as a choice in our March TP). We did Enchanted Tales with Belle and my then 5 year old was underwhelmed (I thought it was cute).
The Nemo and Lion King shows at AK were great! We also really like Tusker House for a character meal.
5. Just read about an experience at AKL from 1pm-3pm. where you learn to draw/paint I forget what it is called but it is listed on their resort activities page…makes me think there might be art type experiences in other places.
Good luck planning! I hope you have a wonderful trip!

For #2: Character meal could work, but Backyard BBQ is no more. Ended at end of 2018…

Oh. I’m actually sad. This was a bucket list thing for me. Crud. Phooey.

Thank you for the info.

If you’re set on a monorail resort, I’d say either the Contemporary (if you’re more of a MK fan, since you can walk there) or the Poly (since you’re strategically in walking distance to the TTC for quick access to the EP monorail as well as on the resort loop to MK). I’m definitely partial to the Poly…

That’s our exact plan for our arrival day. I thought about this a lot and finally settled on this plan with the help of fellow liners, because 1) GG is a great way to start the trip with Mickey and friends and 2) You can manage to cover pretty much all of Future World in a single afternoon.

If you’ve never seen it, I’d definitely do it. It’s going away supposedly at the end of the summer, so this may be your one and only chance to see it!

Back to planning! (While the new dog snoozes after her first vet visit. But only for a little bit – the vet has recommended training to help with all that vast amounts of mental energy she seems to have, so as soon as I post this I’m going to go read how to train a 1-year-old rescue.)

EMHs for the new dates (May 11th-16th):

Saturday 11 May: AK 8 am - 9 am
Sunday 12 May: DHS 8 am - 9 am
Monday 13 May: AK 8 am - 9 am
Tuesday 14 May: Epcot 9 pm-11 pm
Wednesday 15 May: MK 9 pm-11 pm
Thursday 16 May: Epcot 8 am - 9 am

So my first question for y’all is: is Tuesday 5/14 a good day to hope to see Illuminations, as people won’t be stampeding out after the event? Or is it a terrible day to hope to see Illuminations, as the show will be delayed due to EMH? The TP scheduler says it’s going to be 9 pm, so that’s going to be my best guess. Went ahead and got a dinner reservation at Rose & Crown for 7 pm that night (it was the only slot available for four between 6 pm and 9 pm) but feel free to talk me out of it. :grin:

Still haven’t decided on a hotel yet. Right now I’m thinking the Poly, the Contemporary, or WL. Also looking at (thank you to whoever posted that link!) to see if Riverside would be a good idea instead. I know Dad wants the convenience of being close to MK, but I’m looking at a $200-per-room-per-night difference right now!

(the dog destroyed her brand-new bed. I’ll have to snap a pic for the doggo pic thread.)

got WL reservations. now I only have to worry about changing my mind 30 more times!

Hey all. Thought I’d go ahead and give an update while procrastinating on all my chores.

I went ahead and linked the WL reservations to my MDE account. I went and checked in with to see if I could get BLT studios that way – it would be a little more cramped than at WL, I think, but would do more for my dad’s priority for MK access. but, as people here warned me, they don’t have anything available. I also talked to Magical Vacations Travel and they sent me a quote, but I’m waiting to see if the quote is actually right – the price is good but I’m not sure they got me two rooms.

I’m torn, frankly. When I first started thinking about a Disney trip months ago, before my father even brought up the possibility, WL was my first-choice hotel. I still think it’ll be a nice addition. And we’ll have a car, so the transportation issue isn’t as make-or-break as it would be if we were flying in. But the idea of being right on top of the monorail is also appealing.

If we stay at WL I might try to pick up a Snow White character meal – not sure. It’s not a high priority. So far I only have three dinner reservations: Garden Grill on the 11th (our first night); Rose & Crown on the 14th (with a hope of watching Illuminations from there); and 1900 Park Fare on the 15th (because I still want to meet Lady Tremaine and her daughters at dinner :smile:).

oy! I need to go back and look at the planning checklist. at some point I need to start nailing down our itinerary in time for FastPass reservations, though I guess that’s still a month away.

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I have no thoughts on your recent questions, but I wanted to disagree with some comments on Enchanted Tales with Belle. I’ve had a variety of ages get into it and highly recommend it. All kids who want a part get to participate. I think your girls are at great ages for that. As far as other non-ride experiences, I had a 7 year old get really into Wilderness Explorers badges at Animal Kingdom.


I really liked ETWB as well. And it gets a long wait so it’s a good use of FP.

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