Our trip was from Thurs 11/17- Fri 11/27
at the Polynesian. Keep in mind that most days were a crowd level of 10, so if you’re going during off peak days some of this will probably not apply to your stay. Just wanted to post a few things I learned as well as hits and misses for our crew.
1. Uber is my friend. Was worried about safety but after the first trip we couldn’t stop using it. Super easy and fast to get a ride from the hotels, but it was more difficult to find the pickup location from the parks and ds. From ds the drop off/pick up location is in the back, I believe its called the strawberry parking lot. Most fares were $7. Taxis were $20
2. You can always find last minute dining reservations. We were able to reserve beaches n cream, bog day before. Beaches and cream is our new favorite. Read some bad reviews but the burgers were delicious. The arcade next door was a hit too.
3. BOG bf was awesome. Strolling in, in front of crowds and taking photos, Priceless. Had a 8:00am reservation on a 8:00 park opening. We were let in at 7:45. Cm’s let us ride 7dmt x2 before going to bf. This happened 1 out of 2 days so it depends on the cm. This was my picky eaters least favorite meal.
4. MVMCP is a must do for us. Low crowds and was a magical way to start our vacation. Festive environment. Sandy claws was one our favorite character meets, he really is a show plus a photo. My dd15 loved him.
5. During November, pack more cold weather clothes. It was really cold this year and I had to do laundry (use the laundry app) during the trip. It was chilly at night.
6. Space out fastpass times during busier days. Hated rushing around and most days it was slim pickings for a 4th fp.
7. Set aside enough time to travel. We ran late many times waiting for the monorail.
8. Monorail from the Contemporary gets super backed up. We had to actually leave the line and uber once.
9. Senses spa at GF is wonderful. Staff is so nice and welcoming.
10. Candlelight Processional was beautiful. Standby was lined up as early as 2:00. We had a ticket and guests were lined up at least an hour early but you were let in early too. I think you have to see this at least once.
11. Soarin’ was awesome with the new show and I even have a fear of heights. We had a pre rd gg reservation and I wouldn’t hesitate doing to do this again. Lined up with plenty of time at 8:35. As soon as we were done the herd was in by 8:45
12. Illuminations dessert party. I have mixed feelings about this one. The food was meh, but the view we eventually had was amazing. The problem was getting a table. We showed up about 45 minutes early and there was a considerable line already. When they let you in, its madness. People running to tables, putting their hands on them and claiming them. I had 2 tables snagged from me, so be prepared. I wish they would just assign tables. Less stress
13. Wishes dessert party was worth it, imo. We tried to see wishes the Weds before Thanksgiving and it was insane. My dd was upset so we booked the Tomorrowland Terrace Plaza viewing Dessert Party. The desserts were good and they also had an assortment of cheeses. When its time they escort everyone to the reserved area in front of Casey’s. Plenty of room to really enjoy the fireworks. Perfect spot without the stress. The area will be opened up after and you can stay for once upon a time. Most of the crowds left after the fireworks so there was plenty of room regardless.
14. Frozen. We had a fp for this but of course it was down during our time. We received an anytime fp and went later. I really wanted this to be a one and done but we all loved it. I was really surprised. Everything about this experience is Disney perfect. I def wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes so a fp is a must.
15. Via Napoli has the best pizza… ever!! I’m not kidding, perfect cheese to sauce ratio, and that dough. I’ll be missing this one until we return.
16. Disney springs. I can’t believe how much has been added in just a year. Our first mistake, do not go on the weekends during high crowds. It was a zoo. We were there for an hour and it was so overwhelming we left. The drone show was a fun experience. You have to get a clear view of the water near house of blues. I wouldn’t make a special trip but if you’re there during a showing it’s worth checking out.
17. Chef Mickey bf was our best character meal. It’s something about seeing the fab 5, even my ds13 was smiling. Food was good too.
18. Kona bf is always a must do for us. All of us were able to find something delicious here.
19. HS emm. I’m on the fence on whether this was a good deal. Get in early, as soon as you get near tsmm Buzz and Woody are waiting for you for a photo. Rode tsmm x2. As soon as we got off the cm’s made us go all the way back around so by the second time no one wanted to ride it anymore. Went to star tours, saw Olaf. We were first in line for Chewbacca and then Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren was very intimidating but a very memorable character meet.
20. Be flexible with your schedule. We rope dropped mk for btmrr and it was down for 2 hrs that morning. At epcot, spaceship earth and frozen were both down for our fp’s.
21. Cinderella’s Royal Table for lunch. The best meal of the trip. Not sure why this gets bad reviews sometimes, it really was delicious!
22. Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Kidani. Dress warm, they do have blankets but it is chilly. Night vision telescopes, ride in a vehicle on animal kingdom lodge property. Ds and dh went on this. They enjoyed it. Tons of information provided, up close encounters with the animals. Great to do at least once.
23. Trader Sams Grotto at the Poly. Loved this place. Fun atmosphere, a must do. Lines forms early on the weekends, probably 30 min prior to opening. Less crowded during the week. Kids are welcome from 4-8. One of the highlights from our trip.
I would say that as a family we felt that the parks were definitely more packed this year than last year. Felt like we were always working our ways thru crowds and feeling a bit stressed. Next time I would split Epcot into 2 days and not do any back to back park days. It was just too much for us. We all had such wonderful moments and the weather was beautiful. I hope someone can benefit from some of this info.