Trip report 12/5-12/10 with DAH at HS and WAT

Another addition of family vacations with my crazy family! This time around, cast of characters is myself, DH and DS10. Planning this one was a little strange, as I knew I wanted to go the first week of December again, but DS’s school calendar wasn’t out when I booked the DVC Rental, so I only booked 3 nights. When I found out that he had a half day Thursday, I added 2 nights to leave Wednesday after school and return Monday, so he misses a total of 2 1/2 days of school. I booked Beach Club Villa through the DVC Rental Store and added 2 days at Boardwalk with my AP discount. Flight in was uneventful (yay! Last time was a nightmare). When the flight out of ORH (Worcester, Ma) works, it’s great. I had a car service take us to the resort to save some time since we were arriving later. I used Ultimate Limo this time after a not so great experience with Happy Limo last time out, but DH and I agreed the driver had no personality and drove like a bat out of hell (as did the return driver - we’re done with Ultimate Limo). But we arrived safely to a great room 2 doors down from our requested room.

Thursday was Magic Kingdom day. DH is not a huge Disney fan, so I get a lot less accomplished when I go with him than without him.

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We made it close to rope drop and my plan was to head to Haunted Mansion first. But alas, it had a delayed opening. So that was a no go…changing plans, we headed down to POTC which was an easy walk on. First FPP was for BTMRR which we really didn’t need but I was trying to burn to get my 4th FPP underway. DH went on the ride which was a surprise as he usually skips due to his bad back (More on this one later!) but he survived.

The boys were starving at this point and I had booked breakfast at The Plaza. DS and I had Mickey waffles, DH had the All American Breakfast. A pleasant enough experience, they decided it was too cold for Splash, so I flipped that FPP to Space Mountain and DS and I headed there (no DH on this one).

We moved onto the PeopleMover while I tried to move up our FPP for 7DMT, which I was able to do. Again, just DS and I on this one. DH’s 6’4” frame does not fit in well with this ride. I still love it, even though it is incredibly short.

While in line for 7DMT I snagged FPPs for Buzz, so we headed over there. DH beat my score, which stung a little, not gonna lie.

And with that, they were done with rides. So we did some shopping, I got my new Pandora charm (I’ve been getting one each trip - this one was Dumbo) and we headed back to BoardWalk. We relaxed for a bit and killed some time around the resort (I love their gingerbread display)

Dinner was at ESPN (DS’s request). It was ok, nothing to write home about. Spent some time on the Boardwalk just walking around (the boys played Pokemon) and hit an early bedtime for AK tomorrow…and the worst day of our trip. I was furious when I went to bed that night…luckily 2 great days after that saved the trip for me.

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Ok, day 2 otherwise know as the day I’d like to forget. As I mentioned, we did a split stay, so we packed up and called bell services to get our luggage to move. Easy enough. We were on our way to RD at AK. Plan was to head to Dinosaur while everyone else headed to Pandora. Only to find out Dinosaur didn’t open until 9:30…oops.

Oh, well, we headed to PH instead. DS and I rode back to back without having to re-queue (which he thought was really cool).

Headed back to Dinosaur around 9:23 and waited until they opened. DS and I rode and then it was time for the carnival games at DinoLand. DS can’t get enough of these things. He loves playing here. For $15, he played 7 games and won 4 prizes (I didn’t care as long as he didn’t win the jumbo prize - carrying around a giant serpent all day is not fun - trust me on this one, I am the voice of experience). On one game, he beat me and the CM was so nice to give him a sloth for his cousin who was watching our dog at home and any prize he wanted since we were first of the day…luckily, he didn’t choose the giant Mammoth (probably because I told he he would need to carry it!).

I wanted to check out the Maharajah Jungle Trail because we’ve never done it - we usually do Gorilla Falls. This was shorter, but a nice change! Saw the tigers, a few other animals and some really cool birds. I’m glad we did it.

Next up was the Safari. I will spare you Pictures here because the ones from WAT were sooo much better! And here’s where we started to go downhill. The boys were hungry, so we headed to Rainforest Cafe (again, DS’s pick and I have the Landry’s card, so really easy). They are tired, food takes a while and DH starts to get snippy with DS who is obviously overtired and overemotional. I’m trying to diffuse the 2. We finish an uncomfortable meal and head to NRJ for a FPP. DS is complaining the ride is boring before we even get there. I tell him last ride and we go to Disney Springs, so he sucks it up. The boat moves in such a way at the beginning that it tweak’s DH’s back and he’s making faces throughout the ride. At this point, I am done. But alas, because we are changing rooms, I have no place to go back to to chill at the moment. Ugh.

We get a Minnie Van to DS. DS has saved up all his birthday money and all he wants to buy is a new pair of shoes. There are 2 sneaker stores and he hates them all. I am hating life at this moment. DH is talking about how I promised him Italian (I had booked Terralina for dinner) but we are all pretty miserable at this point and I tell them we are going back to the resort. Thankfully, it is 4:30 and our room is ready. DS wanted to swim an if it would improve his mood, I was all for it. It was sooo cold…air temp was around 68 but the water wasn’t so bad when you got in…but then you had to walk back to the room.

I booked Trattoria Al Forno for dinner to appease my Italian food wanting husband, knowing he’s hated the restaurant in the past. We walked over and had dinner (he said it wasn’t too bad this time) but the waiter was terribly slow…and my patience has run out. I’m done with family time. I announced that tomorrow instead of Epcot we would do a resort day and DS and I would head to the pool. Save our energy for DAH at HS that night. Best decision of the trip.

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Ok, day 3. Day 2 was a disaster so I needed a win. As I said, I declared we would be Epcot free and it would be a pool day…but it was cool to start the day and I wanted just to walk to MouseGear and shop. DH and DS wanted to come with. Fine. I bought 2 beach towels to make our pool experience a little more enjoyable and let DS pick his own which he loved. Headed back and staked our our spot on Stormalong Bay. We arrived around 11:15, I ordered an adult drink and DS and I enjoyed our day while DH hung in the room (he’s also not a pool guy).

We ate lunch by the pool, swam some more, headed to the lazy river. I dug our the deck of cards, DS and I played a game of Pepsi (I won) and we headed back for showers. I booked a last minute dinner at Ale & Compass which was ok, but nothing too spectacular. We then headed to the boat for HS.

Even though over the phone they told me I needed to pick up the tickets for Disney After Hours when I arrived, I had loaded the ticket number they gave me to MDE and I was able to scan and get my DAH band. It was around 7:30ish so we did some shopping and watched a few scenes on Sunset Blvd. I kept reassuring DH and DS that it would begin to thin out the crowds once Fantasmic and Jingle Bell Jingle Bam were over (I prayed I was right!). We headed to TSL around 8pm and hit TSMM first…after some pictures! It’s really neat lit up at night. It is a long walk through the queue, but there was only a 5 minute wait at the end. Again, DH beat my score.

Then over to ASS with no wait. I love this ride. DS and I were flung about and loved every minute of it (the only ride DH did was TSMM with his back).

Now we head to SDD and I figure this would be the true test of how successful this would be. It said 15 minute wait. And in front of us is Josh from EasyWDW, so I’m trying not to embarrass ourselves and wind up in a blog post. DS starts to get really nervous, even though he did this ride over the summer and loved it. He’s saying his stomach hurts, he’s going into full blown panic mode. I try to calm him down(quietly) and tell him it will be great. Our turn, Josh is right behind us…and DS pulls the lap bar down too tight, he can barely breath and starts freaking out even more. I motion to the CM who releases the restraint and resets them (Along with Josh and I believe Tom Corliss behind us). Ugh.

We take off. DS starts to relax…and then the fireworks start going off. It was amazing! And because we had bloggers behind us, they posted these great photos of our experience the next day! As you can see in the picture, DS was ok but not thrilled.

We get off, the line says 5 minutes and DS wants to go again! Yay! And a much better photo

And then on ASS again, TSMM again and SDD again. We then decided to venture to Sunset Blvd for the Sunset Greetings and watch a few of those, which was fun.

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A few Mickey bars and drinks, then a ride on RnRRC and TOT.

Given the day before and knowing how tired DS was (he looks pooped on the TOT picture!) we bailed around 10pm. But overall, I consider this a huge success. I love walking around an almost empty park, not stressed about anything and feeling the wonderful Christmas vibe. Worth every penny to me. We hopped aboard a nearly empty boat and made our way back to sleep. DS was doing WAT for the first time the next day and I couldn’t wait!

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I had done WAT for my birthday this year with my niece and absolutely loved it. DS saw the pictures and has been complaining ever since that he didn’t get to go…so we gave him this tour for his birthday present.

We woke up to pouring rain and I really wasn’t sure how it would go. We left DH sleeping, DS and I hit up breakfast at the Beach Club Marketplace and headed to AK with ponchos ready. Luckily it was raining but warm. I had a FPP for FOP from 10-11 so we headed there when we arrived around 10:15. Love FOP. It is now pouring and all the indoor areas are packed. I told DS we’d grab a snack and head to WAT to see if they would let us sit down there and eat it while we waited for our Trek (scheduled for 11:45 because that is when the AP discount rate starts for WAT). We sit down and wait. They don’t rush for anything because there is lightning in the area and that is the one thing that will cancel the Trek. We are on hold to see if we are a go or not. At 11:40, they announce the lightning has cleared and we are a go. We get hitched up in our gear and head out. There are only 4 to start…a family of 5 was supposed to join, but someone was pregnant and couldn’t go so they decided to all do the modified version which cut out the suspension bridges.

Our 2 tour guides, Nick and Macie were awesome. It poured through the first part. We headed down Gorilla Falls and stopped to see a few things.

Then it was off the beaten path to the hippos where they tethered us up and we were able to stand just above them and get some education about them from a trainer.

Then came the suspension bridges. I told DS if I could do it with my giant leg braces and all, he could do it. I posted the pictures online afterwards and my aunt asked me if they were fake alligators…I told her nope, 100% real crocodiles! DS did a great job! And baby Gus the hippo was out!

We then were tethered up above the crocodiles for some education there.

The rain started to let up a little.

We the boarded a vehicle with the other family of 5 to head around the Savannah. I think the rain really energized the animals! We learned a lot about their conservation efforts and breeding programs. Plus, the new baby giraffes were out. And baby Stella, the elephant.

We then headed over for some food. DS got a kids box that has cheddar cheese, trail mix, carrots and ranch dipping sauce and a turkey and cheese wrap, I had the adult one which I enjoyed more this time than last (the curry chicken was delicious!).

Then it was the back part of the tour by the lions and cheetahs and rhinos. All were out in full force and the lions were very active (which I had never seen during the day!)

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I can honestly say even in the pouring rain, this tour is incredible! It is something DS will remember for a long time to come and I heard him talking to his friends while playing Fortnite upon our return (we managed no Fortnite during the trip!) about his adventure here.

DS was rightfully exhausted but DH had been sitting in the room watching a completely horrendous showing by the Patriots in their game against Miami (I made it back for the end…Oh My God!!!) so he wanted to get out. I booked the one place I knew DS would agree to go - Boathouse. I booked it on Open Table and we had a great dinner. Steaks were delicious and oh, those Parker house rolls!

I got in some shopping and everyone was in a great mood! We headed back and packed up. The next morning we checked our luggage and headed to Ale & Compass for breakfast (I absolutely don’t recommend this meal - and definitely not the buffet - so not worth it).

So in short, DAH at HS and WAT saved the trip for me and I highly recommend them both. I will work on a modified schedule for my February trip to give DH more down time and then ramp it up for June when it is just me, DS and my niece. If you have any questions, ask away!

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Great report! Going to DAH at HS in Jan so I am glad to hear you enjoyed it and found it worth the money! My husband isn’t a Disney fan either. We both enjoy Disney more when he doesn’t go! :slight_smile: He doesn’t care if my son and I go but it’s not his cup of tea!

It makes it tough because he wants to go to be with the family but I know he’s not happy when he’s there. I usually get two trips without him for every one with him.

I understand. I think you either LOVE Disney or you don’t and, if you do it’s hard to do it with people who don’t get it. If you’re like me, you spend more time trying to make sure they are having a good time and, they still really aren’t having a good time! :smile: My son is 20 now. He still loves to go with me so we generally go either by ourselves or with other friends or family. It used to bother me to leave my husband at home but we have worked it all out now. If he’s ever being hard to get along with I tell him that he’d better be nice to me or I’m going to have Tinker Bell to spread his ashes over the Magic Kingdom when he dies! He immediately starts being nicer! :wink:

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That is EXACTLY it! I spend the whole time trying to remove the things I know will bug him (hence the car service instead of DME, etc) and end up not enjoying myself as much. I’m a people pleaser by nature which I think is why we worked so well to begin with - he’s high maintenance and I’m always trying to please, but it wears on you, especially on vacation. Last year, I did a trip with Mom and my niece, one with just my niece, one with DS, mom and nephew (another high maintenance crew!) and one with Mom and Dad. I usually plan very differently for each group. But the ones with DS and my niece are the ones I can plan more MY way. (DS is also a bit of a people pleaser!)

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The trek looked brilliant. What did you think of stormalong bay?

Beach Club is far and away my favorite resort on property and a big part of that is Stormalong Bay for us. We sit closer to the Yacht Club side away from the noise and activity. We bounce around between the lazy river and pool areas. DS absolutely loves the feel of the sandy bottom in the pool. The wait staff has always been outstanding here. I actually had a problem with my magic band and it wasn’t allowing for charges for some reason. He still brought out our drinks and told us to take our time in resolving the problem. I texted DH to bring down my wallet so I could just use the credit card and make it easy. And as we left, he stopped us because he wanted to know who had won our card game. :grin:

In the warmer months, it can be really busy and chaotic. But for this time of year, it’s not crowded at all and we had our choice of loungers. The water slide is more difficult to get to than other resorts (it’s across a walk way) but DS isn’t that into water slides so that’s not an issue for us.

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Thanks for sharing your trip report! I love your animal pictures especially the lion photos. Those are some great shots!

Our tour guide Nick was very excited about the lion pictures, said they were the best he’s ever taken. They give you all the shots the tour guides take and you get a bonus 50 shots of the best taken on any WAT tour. He said he will be highly disappointed if these don’t make there way to the 50 best shots ever taken!

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Sounds like a great trip!!

Is this an option?

Wait did you do Terralina or TrattorioAlForno? Curious because we are thinking of Terralina for a future trip

We actually never made it to Terralina because of the boys. I booked it for February and hoping to finally give it a try. As for Trattoria, I’ve always been a fan of it (the bread to start is yummy!) but I was a little disappointed in my meal this time. I always get the Bolognese but the noodles were different this time. Instead of the deliciously thin tagliatelle pasta that usually comes with it, the noodles were thick and gummy. It was my first disappointing meal I’ve had (but then again, I always get the same thing!). The Bolognese itself was still really good. For me, it’s usually my go to for the Epcot hotels.

I’m so confused tho! You said you had dinner reserved at one but then went to dinner at the other. Was it a timing thing? I’m trying to figure out why you didn’t use your Terralina reservation. Am I making sense. Lol.

Either way, sorry you missed out and that Trattoria wasn’t as expected. I wonder if the mood of the day clouded your experience

Totally making sense! We had the reservation at Terralina, but it wasn’t scheduled until 5:45 and I couldn’t take any more of the boys, so I ditched the reservation (actually, moved it out and then cancelled). Then later on, we needed to eat so I snagged the one at Trattoria for later on.

And I totally think my mood may have colored my experience!

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Gotcha! Now I follow you lol

Anything is an option for a price! I’m sure there’s a package for it with a preferred viewing location! You just thought that was pixie dust you felt as Tinker Bell flew over! :smile:
P.S. Yes, I do realize this post makes me look like a crazy person or at least someone with a twisted sense of humor! :wink:

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