Trip report - 10/17-10/20: Striking FP Gold

Reading trip reports is one of my favorite parts of the forum, so for my third trip of the year, I decided I needed to return the favor!

The backstory:

My last trip was in May for my 30th birthday. One of my friends had to back out at the last minute, so I bought his ticket from him and changed the dates, originally planning on doing a solo trip sometime this fall. Another friend of mine (Mike) is originally from Florida and his family goes often, so instead of a solo trip, decided I would tag along with them! This was my first time at Food and Wine, since growing up we always came in the summer, so I was especially excited to check it out. The group would be three “childless millenials’ - me, Mike and his sister - and four “real adults” - his parents and two aunts.

The original plan:

Thursday, 10/17 – drive to Orlando, lunch at a resort, staying at Fort Wilderness.
Friday, 10/18 – HS for EEMH, then EP for the rest of the day
Saturday, 10/19 – RD AK, then MK for the rest of the day
Sunday, 10/20 – 4 parks 1 day – HS > MK > EP > AK. Staying overnight at Old Key West before departing on Monday

Things ended up deviating a bit from the original plan, but I’ll break that down day by day!


Thursday, 10/17

I departed Charleston, SC after work on Wednesday and drove to Jacksonville to stay overnight. I had a Marriott reward hotel night I needed to use by the end of the year, so decided to break up the trip a bit so I wouldn’t have such an early start on Thursday. Got up and on the road around 9:30am Thursday, to get down to MCO by 12 to pick up my friend Mike and his sister. Got them picked up with no issues and we headed over to the Poly to get lunch. Had gone back and forth between Captain Cook’s and Geyser Point for lunch but decided to do the Poly so we could get a Dole Whip. Plus, since we were staying at FW, assumed we would be able to hop over to WL at some point to check it out (never ended up happening).

I was driving, so just let the parking attendant know we were there to eat and had no issues at the resort. It was a beautiful day with a fantastic breeze, so we grabbed our food and ate at the outside tables. Could see the castle over the lake and it was a perfect start to the trip. I went with the pork nachos and highly recommend. The pineapple salsa on mine was really just pineapple, but no complaints from me! Then we got our first Dole Whips of the trip. Mike went with the classic, I got a float and his sister got the lime. All were delicious of course.

Once we finished up, we headed over to Fort Wilderness. We were spending the first three nights in a camper spot. It was me, Mike, his sister and his parents, so 5 adults in a camper was a tight fit! We would also be joined in the parks by two of his aunts, although they stayed at Old Key West. His family brings the camper over from Tampa several times a year and it seems like a great way to take advantage of their AP. We helped get the campsite set up, then took some time to walk around the campgrounds. We were in the 600 loop, which didn’t have a comfort station, but the 800 loop was across the street so just a short walk to get to it. This came in handy since there was no way 5 of us could get ready each day in just the camper bathroom. We were also just a couple of sites down from the path over to the Meadow Depot area with the theater area, pool and gift shop. We grilled burgers for dinner and spent some time just chatting and enjoying the great weather. Mike and I walked over to check out a couple minutes of Chip and Dale’s sing-along, which was pretty cute. Appreciated the food truck there as well which seemed to have some good options. They also sold smores kits for $10, so I recommend packing your own if you will be staying on property here.

We decided to try and call it an early night since the plan was to arrive at Hollywood Studios at 5:45am tomorrow!


Definition of “real adults”, please? :rofl: Thanks for report. I always enjoy reading.

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Haha! Even at 30, I certainly don’t feel like a grownup yet.


I’m twice your age and I refuse to be an adult; especially at Disney. Gotta ask since I see you are a Tarheel…did you see any of the VT/UNC game last Saturday? After 6 OT’s I knew I was going to feel bad for whoever lost

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Friday, 10/18

I slept terribly, not falling asleep until almost 2am, which ended up being a bit of a trend. I live alone and with a fan on, so it just ended up being a mixture of too quiet, where I could hear every little noise, and also far too loud thanks to snoring and sharing a small camper living room space with three adults on air mattresses! I was up around 4:45 to get ready for the day, luckily with the excitement of HS to get me going. One of the things I loved about FW at this time of year was all of the decorations around the campground. This is a terrible picture, but was one of the campsites I passed on the way to the bathroom at 5am all decorated for Halloween to give you an idea!

I should mention that while I had a 3-day park hopper, everyone else in the group has AP and also have another family trip planned the week of Thanksgiving. This was the root of any “conflict” for the week since I wanted to do as much as possible and go RD to close, while the rest of the group was more inclined to take things slowly and leave the parks early/not get there early enough to truly RD. So, our plan for HS was to leave at 5:20 to arrive at 5:45. We ran a little late, but were driving over instead of using the buses, so that at least meant we didn’t have to worry about the bus schedule. We were parking around 5:50am (no one at the parking gates to check if we were resort guests at that time) and were in the first row of cars, but at the end of the row. We got up to the gates and through security quickly. They scanned one member in our party to confirm we were resort guests and then the rest of us scanned into the actual park at 6am.

Hollywood Blvd was pretty clear and there weren’t a ton of people milling about. I was worried that since we had missed the actual RD, we should adjust our plan. TP said SDD was a 45 min wait already, which made me nervous! But we decided to stick with it and head to TSL first. We got to the entrance of TSL at 6:06 and grabbed a group picture in front of the sign. At 6:07 we were in line for SDD and had just a 10-minute wait, so glad I didn’t pay too much attention to the TP expected wait that early in the morning. We headed over to A$S and just had to wait for the current ride group to finish before boarding. By 6:30 we were in line for TSMM with a 5-minute wait. Off the ride and theoretically done with TSL by 6:45 in the morning! And didn’t have to arrive well before RD to make it happen!

By this time, Mike’s family was starting to understand why he and I had pushed them to get up early and take advantage of the EEMH. This was another trend of the trip. Mike and I are big Disney blog readers and generally are in the know about strategies and what is going on thanks to websites like this (although he isn’t yet a TP member!). His family thought we were a little crazy, but so often our research paid off and by the end I was giving his aunts pointers for getting FP for their own trips later this year.

Mike’s aunts had arrived at the park a few minutes after us and were still waiting in line for TSMM at this point, so Mike and I decided to ride again (plus he thought he could beat my score). Slightly longer line this time but we were done with the ride at 7:03 (and I retained my title of highest score) and heading down Sunset Blvd. We hit RnRC with a 3 min wait and ToT with a 9-minute wait and were done with that by 7:40. Back across the park for the real star of the show…Batuu!

We had Oga’s reservations at 8:55, so needed to hop straight into the MF line to make sure we were done in time to get to those reservations. Planned to explore more after. We were in line at 7:50 and had a 43 min wait (60 min posted). Only 6 of us were riding, and I took a gunner spot. The ride was a ton of fun, although I accidentally pushed a button at the beginning because it was flashing and put it on auto-aim, which I wish I hadn’t just to make it a little more difficult and engaging. There were a ton of buttons to hit during the ride, both for the purpose of points, and just to pretend like I was part of the crew! Mike and his dad did a generally good job piloting us, so not terribly rough and overall, I think it was worth that 45 min wait range. It was cool to be in the Falcon, even as someone who loves the Force Awakens and generally thinks the first 6 are overly campy.

We were off just in time to get over to Oga’s at 8:50am. They were accepting walk ups as well as the reservations, but we did have to wait a couple of minutes to go in. They warned all the guests that 90% of it is standing room, but we were lucky enough to get one of the booths. We had 7 people in a 9-person booth and the hostess told us to all squeeze to one side because others would be joining us which felt a bit awkward. When no one else had come in 5 minutes or so we stretched out. The waitress came over and got our drink orders. We tried 3 alcoholic drinks and several of the non-alcoholic ones as well as the breakfast food items. My drink, the Bespin Fizz was delicious and fun with the dry ice vibration and smoke. Mike had the Fuzzy Tauntaun and the whole group tried a sip to experience the numbing foam. Was weird but fun! The Mustafarian Lava Roll was basically a cinnamon roll and was a good accompaniment with alcohol considering it was 9am. Generally, service is a bit slow, so even though there is a 3 drink max in the 45 min time slot, you’d really have to be telling your waiter/waitress up front that you wanted to try that many to have a shot at pacing it well. We did have a couple join us at our booth while we were waiting for checks, but since we were leaving in just a few minutes it wasn’t a huge inconvenience. Upon exiting Oga’s we spent a bit exploring the Outpost and picked up a Ronto Roaster wrap to try (fancy hotdog on a pita bun, but tasty and fun).

We were heading out a bit before 10:15, so decided to slide into the 10:30 Frozen sing a long, since it was a favorite of Mike’s mom, and I had never seen it.

We decided this was all our must-do items at HS for today, so walked back out of the park and were on the boat to HS at 11:25am. We had finished up all the rides (except ST) by 8:50am, so could easily have done it all before the RD crowds arrived if not for our Oga’s reservations and wanting to walk around GE a bit. The EEMH are such a nice perk and getting more than an hour makes a huge difference in what you can accomplish. I will be sad to see those go away!

We took the boat and got off at YC/BC at 11:37 and walked over to the IG. We would have taken the Skyliner, but it wasn’t starting until 1pm this day. Walking may have been faster, but it was nice to be off our feet for a little bit, and I did convince the group to get off one stop early at least.

Next up was Epcot! We walked through the IG and stumbled upon M&G for Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. The lines were all pretty short, so we waited to meet Mickey and got some fantastic pictures. I don’t know what it is about the non-face characters, but since they can’t talk, I always feel like I also have to make hand motions instead of speaking to them as well which is silly.

I had originally made our FP reservations for HS, but we didn’t realize we were going to be able to accomplish everything so early, so I switched them over to Epcot. Was able to get a FP for Soarin for us at 12:55, so we took our time walking through F&W and getting some lunch on our way up there. We hit the Cider tent (Beer Flight and Charcuterie board), Canada (Cheese and Bacon Soup), Refreshment Port (Duck Confit Poutine), Wine and Dine Studio (Butternut Squash Ravioli), Cheese Studio (Maple Bourbon Cheesecake), Coastal Eats (Shrimp/Scallop Dip, Lump Crab Cake and Bass Tostada) and Active Eats (Salmon). We each kept a fork and got to sample everyone else’s purchases which worked well, although 7 people is a little bit much to share across. Everything I tried was great, but I think my personal favorite was the soup. Luckily it was only about 80 degrees and cloudy today, so hot soup wasn’t quite as much of a burden.

We had a 13 min wait for Soarin with the FP (didn’t wait for B1) before hitting up more of the F&W booths. We did Flavors from Fire (Steakhouse Burger and Smoked Corn Beef), Shimmering Sips (Tropical Mimosa) and Thailand (Shrimp and Cold Noodle Salad). The mimosa was the only thing I personally enjoyed from this bunch, but the rest of the group found everything tasty. The Cold Noodle Salad was a bit polarizing as some, like me, found the texture and temperature of the noodle dish off putting. Mike was a big fan though.

The margaritas from La Cava were favorites of ours when we drank around the world for my birthday in May, so that was our next stop. Mike’s sister, Mike and I stayed to wait in line while the rest of his family continued to Germany to sit and rest there. The line has always been long there when I’ve gone, but always worth it. I went with the Passion Fruit Margarita this time and it didn’t disappoint. We continued around the WS to meet the rest of the group in Germany. I had wanted to try the Apple Strudel there, but the line was very long so I skipped it. In general, it wasn’t too busy (Friday afternoon), and most booths had very reasonable lines, if any, at the registers. I did notice a trend that several of the booths with registers on both sides would have lines on one side and not the other, so its worth doublechecking as you go! I got the Hanson Mmmhops beer at Fife and Drum at the America Pavilion, to cheers to my first concert as well as Pao de Queijo from the Brazil booth. Mike got a Grey Goose slush at France, but we were all a little full on food for a bit. We continued to the UK to check out the 4:30 British Invasion show, which is a favorite.

While waiting for it to start I grabbed a Smithwick’s from Rose and Crown, since it is a beer that is impossible for me to pass up when available on draft. We sat on the curb in the garden waiting for the show to start and talked about what we should do next. Our plan had been to stay at Epcot for Epcot Forever, but since the “real adults” in the group never left to take the nap they had originally planned on, they were going to call it a day after the show. I said I would stay out solo, but I wasn’t ready to throw away all those park hours by going back to the resort yet. Mike and his sister decided to stay out too. We knew we wanted to spend the majority of Saturday at MK, and the morning at AK, so we figured we would head over to AK tonight as well to knock out some of the things the whole group wasn’t interested in.

So, while waiting for British Invasion, I turned to MDE to get us some FP. This is when the magic happened. It’s Tough to Be a Bug was down…so I quickly grabbed 5 FP (for me, Mike, his sister and his parents) that converted to anytime. And then I did that 5 more times. And then also got FoP for the three of us (me, Mike and his sister) at the 5:01 drop. We also never used our 3rd FP of the day, so I grabbed one for Dinosaur for the three of us. It was about to be an epic night in AK.

We walked up to the buses and got one to AK pretty quickly. We were walking in at 5:30pm and used our Dino FP with a 10 min wait. Next up was the FoP FP at 6:20 with a 22 min wait including a preshow that lasted longer than normal, must have been some delay in the process. We were off just before 7 and it had started to mist a bit. We walked from FoP all the way through Africa looking for something to grab for dinner, and everything was either closed or just not sounding like it was what we wanted. Ended up all the way around the park at Restarauntosaurus where we got chicken nuggets. It actually hit the spot perfectly and we got to take advantage of the free fountain drink refills for a bit. By 7:40 we were at EE and using our first anytime FP at 7:40. Everest is tied for my favorite coaster with Space, and it was also cool to ride and look over and see RoL going on. After the first ride, we decided to hop into the SR line and were able to ride 3 more times, each with less than a 5 min wait. We had planned to check out RoL for the later show, but at this point the mist had turned into a drizzle and we didn’t want to sit in the rain, so we decided to call it a night around 8:15. We went back up to the front and I stopped at Guest Relations, since we still had 5 more anytime FP left. They were able to transfer all of them (5 each for 5 people) to be good for Saturday at either AK or MK. Hopped on the bus and got over to FW. The internal bus for FW took forever, so was back in the room around 9:30. Showers felt incredible after almost 15 hours in the parks and on our feet, and it was shortly afterwards we all hit the hay, aiming to be at AK at 8am tomorrow.

29,861 steps
13.2 miles
15 attractions
3 FP used


We were streaming what we could from the park…I’ll have a little bit on info on how the outcome felt on my Saturday report, but it was a lot of emotions across 4 hours!

Can you explain exactly how this worked. Since I’ve been following the TP forum for years, I feel like I should understand, but I don’t.

Saturday, 10/19

Another bad night of sleep for me, although the rain overnight on the roof of the camper was really soothing. We were up around 7am but realized Tropical Storm Nestor was atop us. Mike’s parents were leaning towards waiting a couple hours and going later, but I was ready to charge on (solo or not), so the whole group decided to head out.

We decided to ride the buses this time, so waiting for the internal bus and then the AK bus took much longer than we hoped, and we weren’t to AK until almost 9am. While we were waiting, our EE FP had already converted because it was down, and I was able to get two more booked. I brought a backpack with some dry clothes and shoes and threw that in a locker when we arrived at AK. Our first booked FP was for Dinosaur, so we arrived there at 9:20am. It was raining pretty steadily, and my raincoat was not up for the job. I took it off in the preshow and my shirt was already soaked through underneath. I was glad I had also packed a poncho, despite how silly I am sure I looked doubled up. At the last steps down to the rider at Dinosaur, Mike’s mom hit a wet spot and fell. She landed on her back and caught a step with her elbow. Pretty much no reaction at all from any cast members, despite one being just a couple steps away with a full view. We got on the ride and got her some ice for her elbow from a QS stand. Walked over to KS, passed EE but it was still closed. We used an anytime FP for KS. Despite it still being very wet out and raining, were able to see lots of animals and stayed pretty dry in the trucks. We walked up to Pandora and had a few minutes before our Navi FP, so we tried the Pongu Lumpia, which was one of my must-do snacks. It did not disappoint, except for that I didn’t have a chance to get another 2-3! Used our Navi FP and were off a little before 11 and at that point we were all soaking wet and a little worse for the wear. Mike’s mom’s elbow was starting to bruise and swell, so she and his dad decided to go back to the resort to rest for a little bit and change clothes. The rain was finally stopping, and it looked like we would have a relatively dry afternoon. I changed into my dry clothes and shoes and was able to send the wet ones back with them. Having dry socks and shoes made a world of difference. Our last stop was at Guest Services again to talk about the fall. Mike’s mom mostly wanted to express concern about the cast member’s lack of concern. They offered another anytime FP, which we took, but the only real response was asking if she needed first aid or wanted to file an accident report.

Mike’s mom and dad took the bus back to FW, and me, Mike and his sister went on to MK. Waited about 30 min for a bus which was frustrating since 3 EP buses came in that time. Finally got over and through security at 12:10.

Went to meet Mickey first since it was just a 15 min standby wait and it was the only thing at MK our anytime FP were not good for. Then we headed on to Sleepy Hollow to grab a sweet and spicy chicken waffle sandwich to hold us over til the rest of the group arrived for a late lunch. It was really tasty and I’m not even a fan of slaw!

Next was BTMRR and we used another anytime FP. We headed back up to Main Street to meet the rest of the group and grab a spot on the curb for the parade around 1:30. It was pretty open when we arrived, but spots were mostly claimed by the time the HS marching band came through at 1:45. I tried to pop into the Emporium to grab the Arendelle Aqua Minnie ears I have been coveting (and since they are basically Carolina blue and I wanted to wear them for the football game that day!) but evidently they are totally sold out. Still available online, so I’ll just have to place an order and wait. Parade finished up around us about 2:30. My own family has never been the type to stake out spots for the parades or fireworks before, so that was a change with this trip. But I enjoyed getting to see the parade from a seat, and it had warmed up and the sun had come out, so we finished drying out while waiting too!

Next up was a Buzz FP I was able to book before lunch at CHH. While we ate, I booked our HM FP for right after (3:40). We went over to Space Mountain and used anytime FP before circling back to 7DMT to use another anytime FP (Loved that these were included!). I grabbed Pirates FP for the group, so we headed over there next. Mobile ordered Dole Whips and had a bathroom break before JC FP at 6:10pm. Meandered over to the Philharmagic to get another break off our feet before UTS FP at 6:45. Mike’s parents and aunts decided to grab a snack and head up to the Train Station to grab spots for the fireworks at this point.

The younger adults decided to use one last anytime FP at Splash mountain and were off around 7:40pm. Throughout the afternoon, Mike and I (Carolina grads) had been streaming the UNC vs VT football game…through its 6 OT. The last OT occurred while we were on Splash, so it was not our happiest picture as we found out we had lost just seconds before the drop. Fitting.

Before meeting up with the rest of the group at the Train Station, I went by guest services again about our anytime FP. It would only be Mike and I the next day, and they were again able to move our FP so that he and I had 4 each (in addition to our prebooked 3). We got Mickey bars and grabbed our spots for HEA around 8:15. The Train Station definitely filled up, and it was good that most of our group was there early and got us a spot on the railing. This is a perfect location for the fireworks, and the projections were not difficult to pick up either, although I am sure we missed some of the details. You can see Tink though! The lights go out on Main Street, but the stay on around Town Square and at the Train Station, and there are not speakers at the Train Station, so the sound is slightly lower from there. I think this did lessen the overall ambiance a bit as you didn’t really feel like you were in it. There were also people around us having full conversations, and I think the lights and sound level allowed for that more than it would on Main St or the hub. That being said, it was still a great show as always. I always get goosebumps and tear up, and that happened from this spot as well. Another pro is that we were the first out of the park and beat the mass exodus. The park was open to 11, but after dragging Mike’s family around from FP to FP, I didn’t want to push them too much and whine about staying out until closing. We took the boat over to FW which was a nice end to the night and then walked back to the camper from the dock. Packed up as much as we could, grabbed a hot shower and went to bed!

23,233 steps
9.8 miles
14 attractions
11 FP used


Sunday, 10/20

Mike’s parents and sister were heading out this morning, so we had an early start to get her on the ME. I drove from FW and we were on the road around 7, heading to HS. We parked, and were in the second row, but just a few spots from the front of the park, which was perfect. This was supposed to be our 4 parks in 1-day challenge, so we were just focusing on the highlights at each park. Mike wasn’t feeling a packed day however, so I knew that odds were good we were going to end up cutting out AK at the end of the day

Decided to start with ToT and RnRC, then Mike wanted one more chance to try and beat me at TSMM (and was finally successful). We were finished with all of that and walking into GE at 8:21. We went through the Single Rider line for MF and were able to do that 3 times before 9:05. All three times we were engineers, as expected. Since the RD crowds still hadn’t arrived, we decided to hop in the standby line with the hopes the cast members would let us get pilot since I hadn’t done that yet. We waited 28 minutes, and both got pilot! It was SO worth that wait. Being pilot is absolutely the best gig on the ride, unsurprisingly. You feel like you are much more involved than just wacking at buttons. And by that point we knew what we needed to do to be successful, so it was the highest score we got. Much different than our other trips where people couldn’t figure out how to put us into hyperspace or couldn’t get us anywhere close enough to the train, you’re following to be able to hit it as the gunner. So, so fun. That did it for us for HS, so we were up to the MK bus (luckily one was waiting!) at 10am.

We got dropped off at MK at 10:20 and hustled up to our Splash FP that ended at 10:40. Decided to go no poncho on this run, and while I didn’t get wet from the big drop, one of the smaller ones sent a ton of water sloshing in from the side. I ended up with a completely drenched bottom and had to wring out my dress after the ride. Used an anytime FP next at BTMRR before our 7DMT FP. Next up was a quick lunch at Starlight Café. They didn’t offer mobile ordering at the time, but we got seats with a great view of the castle.

We started walking over to our last booked FP for Space, but I noticed my Magic Band was no longer on my wrist. We ran back to Starlight to see if we could find it, but no luck. Went to one of the Guest Services tents and they gave me a card to use in place for the rest of the day. I had an extra magic band in the car but wasn’t much use to me there. Luckily this was just a standard free resort MB, so all I lost was the sticker I had added. Would have hated to have paid for an upgraded one. My MB had come undone a couple of times before, so I was already worried about it, and knew I should have gotten one of the snaps to hold it on, but oh well.

Next up was the Space FP. I had front row on both of our times on this ride this trip, and there is not much that can beat that. Its harder to tell where you are going when you can’t watch the person in front of you and I love that totally open view of darkness. We hopped on the People Mover next to check out the Tron construction and then used an anytime FP for Buzz. I could have booked us a regular FP for this, but it was becoming more unlikely Mike was going to want to do AK tonight, so we just went with using up the anytime passes. We hit the aerial hub photo spot on our way out of MK and were on the monorail to the TTC at 1:46pm. I can never have too many castle pics, in case that isnt obvious yet. Got to the TTC and waited for the Epcot monorail, which came at 2:03 and we arrived at Epcot at 2:18pm.

We went to SE with a FP first. This ride can make me anxious when I’m trying to cram a lot into a day because it takes so long, but today I enjoyed just relaxing and thanking the Phoenicians. Soarin was next and used an anytime FP, again didn’t wait for B1. Had the very end seat again and the distortion is very obvious but doesn’t really take much away from the ride. I love the smells on this and will definitely be looking into getting a candle of the scent. We went to Mouse Gear so Mike could get his AP magnet and I picked up an Epcot Forever t-shirt. We grabbed the Strawberry Donut Holes from The Donut Box and hopped in the SR line for TT. This was a fantastic snack to share as the donuts were nice and dense. And tasty. SR line ended up being a mistake for TT as we should have just used our last anytime FP. We ended up waiting 36 minutes to get on, and then the ride stopped for 10 minutes while we were 2 car lengths from the exit. TT is not a favorite of mine since its been redone. We watched the video on the upcoming changes at the Epcot Center, and then circled around WS. We stopped at China (Black Pepper Shrimp), Japan (Teriyaki Bun and Ramen Noodles), Brazil (Pao de Queijo again) and Australia (Deconstructed Pavlova).

Then it was time to say goodbye to Epcot and the parks for this trip. It was only 6pm, so we definitely COULD have done AK with plenty of time, and still had one anytime FP, but three days of nonstop walking and terrible sleep had us ready to get to the resort and get in the hot tub to relax. We took the Skyliners from IG and got to HS at 6:26. We stopped before the turn for about 3 minutes, and it was a hot day, so you could definitely tell that they are uncomfortable when you aren’t moving.

Got back to the car and drove over to Old Key West where we were staying for our last night with Mike’s aunt, a DVC owner. She was at dinner at DS, so we went straight to the pool and changed into bathing suits to hop in the hot tub and try and minimize some of the sore muscles! Checked out the resort a bit that evening as well but ended up crawling in bed around 9:30pm. Up around 7 the next morning to drop off Mike at the airport for his flight and make the drive back to Charleston.

24,352 steps
10.4 miles
15 attractions
7 FP used


Overall thoughts:

  • I’m a RD to close kind of girl. I like moving from one thing to the next and packing the day. I do this on my other vacations as well, getting all the sightseeing in I can.
  • Because of this, 3 days is a pretty ideal length of time for me. If I stayed more, I would need a rest day or need to take it slower each day.
  • This was my first trip in a while with Park Hoppers…and I liked them. It was nice to feel like you could just jump over somewhere else if the weather wasn’t cooperating, or if you wanted to call an audible on your plan. I’d consider them again for this kind of trip.
  • Grabbing anytime fast passes when a ride goes down…game changer. I haven’t always had a ton of luck with this since I usually can only look in the park I am currently at, so the PH helped here. And don’t be afraid to ask GS to move them if you can’t use them up! I had no trouble either time I asked. Did have to be more cognizant of FP windows since I couldn’t use my booked FP in the grace periods, or it would have taken an anytime pass. I also didn’t try getting FP while a ride was down for a park I didn’t actually visit…so I wonder if that would have worked.
  • I probably should have stuck with the solo trip. I travel solo on most of my vacations and love the flexibility it gives me and the freedom to do exactly what I want. I’m not great at sitting back and letting others direct, and Mike’s family was happy to give up the power to let me take care of fast passes, but I was probably dragging them around a bit more than they would have done themselves. I was very conscious of the different styles and me wanting to maximize my paid ticket days vs them being okay popping in and out of places because they are here frequently. I appreciate how nice it is to not feel like you are having to read between the lines with peoples answers when you ask for suggestions of what they want to do next.
  • This was my third trip (3 long weekends) in 2019. My own parents are looking at a trip for January, and I am thrilled, but this year has been well above my usual visit frequency. I’ve got a solo trip to Disneyland Paris as part of a Europe trip next May, and then I expect I will be back to a once a year traveler.


So, on the TP app, I noticed that ITTBAB was reported closed. I went over to the MDE app and booked a FP for the ride. Now, in my case, we hadnt used all of our original 3 FP, so I used one of those, but if you already have something booked you would need to modify it to the ride that is down. I modified the FP to be as close to the current time as possible. For some rides, like ITTBAB, this is easier since there is more fast pass availability. You are basically trying to beat the clock of when the ride comes back online. For example, I think I noticed the ride was down around 3:30. I grabbed a 3:45pm FP for the ride, and kept refreshing to see if I could move it closed to the current time. Sometimes I could, sometimes I couldnt. But once 3:45pm rolled around, if ITTBAB was still down, my FP converts to an anytime FP good for AK. Then I would book another FP for as soon as possible and repeat until the ride comes back up! I probably spent about 45 min on my phone doing this, as we walked, as I waited for a beer and as we say waiting for British Invasion to start. I stopped once I got to the 5:01 FP window because I wanted to FoP FP and at that point didnt have an additional FP to modify over to ITTBAB again.

The anytime FP are good for most rides at the park the ride that was down is at. For example, I could use the ITTBAB anytime FP for anything at AK except the Pandora rides. These anytime passes dont count towards your FP allotment. The other caveat is that if you are using a normal FP, and you have anytime FP available, you cannot use the grace period for the normal FP (5 min before or 15 after) or it will pull your anytime instead of your booked. Normally they are just good for the day and the park where the ride went down, but GS didnt put up a fight about adjusting those for us at the end of the night to a different day or park.

Let me know if you have any other questions about that or if I can clarify anything!


I should also say it helped here that ITTBAB was down for a considerable amount of time. It’s obviously harder/impossible to get this many when the ride is just down for a few minutes It was down for at least an hour and a half while I was playing around with this, and I’m not positive it opened the rest of the day.

Thanks for taking us along!!! You guys had such a great trip and you crushed those anytime FPs!! My last trip was in July and it was the first time I had a lot of luck snagging those and they make such a huge impact on the day!

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Does the FP automatically convert to an any time FP? Or is there something you have to do?

Also thanks for sharing your trip report.

They automatically convert once the FP window starts. I even had some convert 5-10 minutes before the window started.

This is good to know. Thanks.

Thank you so much for this!! will keep an eye out and try this next week while we are there. So if we have our 3 FP’s booked, and we see a ride that is down we should modify?

It depends. It is kind of a risk. There is a chance that if you modify an existing FP to a ride that is down, the ride can come back up before the FP window starts and you wont get an anytime, and it may be difficult to try and switch back to your original FP.
So if you would have to modify a FP that is really important to you, it may not be worth it. I, for example, wasnt willing to modify FoP (not only because the anytime FP wouldnt apply to it) to try and get an anytime, but for something like Dinosaur that I felt comfortable being able to pick up another one for it later, I did.
For my MK day, I would be more hesitant to drop 7DMT or BTMRR, for example. If you feel more confident the ride will be down a while (like it is raining) and you’re okay possibly losing your original FP to gain multiple anytime FP, then the risk is more worth it to me!