Friday 8/18 to Tuesday 8/22
Disney Yacht Club (club level upgrade)
Disney dining plan.
(Cliff notes at the bottom)
So on the plane I receive a text saying to see the front desk about your room assignment. To my amazement, the first thing that happens when we arrive is an upgrade to club level. (Wohoo!). No idea why, but I requested room 4065 and there is still a good amount of work going on. Maybe our request wasn’t granted and we got a score. However, the walk to our room included construction work with a guy bleaching mold behind open dry wall and then our magic bands not opening our door and a long walk back to club level concierge. Ugh!
Finally we got in. Our room was very nice with a view of the pool and some small construction areas. No biggie. And the daily snacks were a bonus but I did learn it’s something that I would never pay for. Overall I was very happy with the room minus the door issues.
We ate a quick snack in club level and headed to Pandora. MDE was reading a 100 minute wait for FoP so we completely abandoned our well thought out TP and went for it . 90 minutes in and a long way to go we hear the announcement, “due to technically difficulties we are down one loading bay and your wait will be longer than posted”. Ugh!!! It was a crawl. The queue outside was hot but seeing pandora for the first time will impress.
Inside the first 2 rooms were nothing and the 3rd room with the black lighting was cool enough. But this is where we hit a stand still that was brutal. The final 2 rooms are engaging with cool science displays that helped the time go by. 2 hours and 45 minutes later we finally get past the FP check point and we’re in. After a loading line the first info room was entertaining with the imaging to link you to an avatar. The second room a little less but it’s short. Important note tho. Twice small children lost it in these rooms scared. If you have a little one that frightens easily it may be a problem. I recommend watching the entire queue online with them first so they know what’s going to happen.
Then we got on your motorcycle style simulators with our 3-D glasses and we’re off. WOW is all I can say. It’s 10 x’s more gripping than soarin. To me and my girls it was better than advertised!!’ You ride a banshee through the valley of Mo’ara. Totally bad ass. I don’t want to spoil the ride but to me it takes the top spot of virtual style rides in Orlando now. It’s great to see that Disney stepped up to what Universal is doing and put out such an incredible product. If you don’t have a FP but came all the way here, bring some snacks and patients and wait the queue. It’s a Must-Do.
We ended up missing our FP for safari and it was time to use our FP for the Navii River. We never saw the queue for NR and never will. As a FP it’s fine. The immersive experience is visually cool and beautiful. And worth about a 20 minute line. But I was not impressed. If you feel like you have to see it and can’t FP it I understand. I would’ve done the same thing if I had too. But be prepared to be let let down.
Next, It was time to grab a beer, a pandora style smoothie for my girlies, which they didn’t like much, and head out around the park. We went on Everest twice, always amazing, Dinosaur and then to an empty Flame tree BBQ for dinner (QS-1) as rivers of light went on behind us. We walked back over to Pandora as I was expecting my daughters to get the shoulder baby banshee’s. They both thought about it and decided to save their money for Disney Springs and clothes. I guess they have grown up . Pandora is beautiful at night. The immersion is incredible and I can only imagine what is in store when all the current projects are completed.
The next morning we slept in and had a character breakfast at Cape May (TS-1). Food was very good. Then we went off to the pool for a few hours. When we returned to our room and for the second time our bands wouldn’t open our door. It was another long walk back to concierge. Finally, they had to get a guy to open and change battery. This all happening in our room when we wanted to get ready for MK. The concierge could tell I wasn’t too happy. So we got 3 fast passes to use on anything but the Pandora rides and FEA. Second huge score for staying with the yacht club.
So then it was off to Magic Kingdom. We started off by going to Pirates of the Caribbean for our first time ever - 2 thumbs up. Then over to the always fantastic Splash Mountain, BTM, up to the haunted mansion and over to the Mine Coaster. Then for the first time in all of our visits we had dinner at Cinderella’s Royal table (TS-2&3). Probably should’ve done it with my daughters when they were younger but with them being older they ordered steak and roasted chicken and not mac & cheese for $70. The food was better than I was expecting. Actually a lot better. Overall the experience was fantastic.
In addition, I was prepared to make the night even better as I got a, “genius” drop by a couple with a grumpy toddler when I got caught adding some magic potion to my club soda.
Then is was out to the park again where we found a spot to watch the new HEA fireworks. An amazing show!!!
After that, a trip on buzz light-year the The people mover and Space Mountain to finish off our night.
One huge bummer was the earlier closing hours for MK. This was a summer Saturday night. I was expecting midnight at least, not 10PM. And with my girls being older I was really looking forward to a long fun summer night. Felt like Disney was being cheap.
With three extra fast passes loaded. We got to sleep in a little extra and head to Hollywood studios at a normal hour not rope dropping the EMH’s. Using one of the extra fast passes, we were able to do RRC, HTT, the launch bay and TS. Never made our way over to star tours (not a huge fan) as it was incredibly hot with rain clouds building. I immediately grabbed a FP for soarin for that night. Tons of construction all around in Hollywood studios. Not much to do or see right now. One big poster by TS, is advertising the new land including a rather long but calm looking roller coaster. Also, while on HTT, you can see the beginning construction of what has to be the new star wars land. Huge cranes over there and an enormous piece of property. You only need one morning here now but I’m sure in a few years things will be dramatically different. You definitely get the sense Star Wars is taking over.
We watched the clouds come in from the pool at the yacht club. Realizing that the night might be rough I was constantly checking the radar on my phone. We had our Epcot night planned and I wasn’t happy seeing thunderheads everywhere. This for me is my favorite night.
So it was off to Epcot in the rain with 2 free FP’s still and Soarin loaded. Test Track was closed due to inclement weather. Rain was always around us but never really opened up except when we were on the boat going over. First stop, Soarin. The new movie is a huge improvement. Imaging so much clearer. Also lines move with the additional theater. Then it was Nemo, a memory fav for me and my girls. And off to the world showcase with the hope of having test track late. In the world showcase life was truly wonderful. The skies calmed, It was so peaceful with very little crowds and everyone just happy.
After making several stops to look around different stores and shows like the jeweled acrobats we made our way over to Katsura for dinner (QS-2). Next, we walked a very quiet Epcot to test track while watching illuminations. It was awesome. BUT we got to TT too late and the lines were closed off, totally my bad. My girls were not happy with me:disappointed:. I was really hoping they would leave it open a little later due to so many people not going on when the rain fell. I think the girls were more mad about walking all the way back to YC after walking over. But we ended up skipping like idiots and made the best of it in a very Disney way.
Monday August 21st 2017-day 4
One of our best Disney days ever. 6 AM wake up and an early bus over to animal kingdom for extra morning hours. (Helpful hint, if your gonna RD FoP definitely consider ubering that morning. It’s so worth the saved time for placement getting on line). After about 20 minutes on line we were able to get right on FoP. Walking out the line had already grown to 180 minutes. (Uber!!!). This was at 8:30. The ride, so awesome! We then made our way over to EE and went on it multiple times. We made our character breakfast reservation at Tusker House (TS-4) - very good, then it was time to hit our only fast pass for FoP, did I mention it’s awesome? After, we made our fast pass on EE, did a Safari and cooled off on KRR with a FP. AK was so hot at this point it was time to leave.
So we ubered again over to Epcot. We still had 2 fast passes in the queue from our broken door. So we did test track once and walked over to frozen ever after. On the way over we were able to borrow some solar glasses and look at the eclipse. Really fascinating and added to the entire day. The posted wait time for FEA was 50 minutes but turned out to be closer to 35. And I was surprised at how good the ride was. Thought it was much better than navii river and worth a longer wait. Then some tacos at La Catina ($) and back to test track to use our final free fast pass. And with the white flag up from the heat, we walked our way back to the yacht club.
After cooling off and resting a little bit we made our way over to Disney springs. The renovations are beautiful although it feels a little bit more like a walking an outdoor mall in Naples Fla rather than Disney. But I understand the changes to appeal to all guests.
We found the older section of the use to be Downtown Disney and enjoyed a great night walking around and buying a few things.
After reading some reviews we went to the new D-luxe Burger (QS-3). Great hamburgers and awesome french fries. A gluttonous meal that’s a great QS use for Disney. Then it was back to collapse.
Finally with a heavy heart, it was a boat ride over to Hollywood studios for a quick stop on HTT and TS one more time then back grab lunch at the YC (QS-4) and our magical express home.
Cliff note version……
Flights of Passage is worth the wait. Awesome.
Navii river is not. Only ok. FP only
If rope dropping FoP definitely Uber
HEA firework were fantastic.
Earlier summer closing hours at MK were not.
Frozen Ever After was a pleasant surprise.
New Soarin movie is a huge improvement and shorter lines now.
Cinderella’s Royal Table food was actually pretty good.
Yacht Club is doing work but nice and service definitely excellent
There’s construction everywhere.
Thumbs up to D-Luxe Burger in DS.
Disney is still awesome.