Trip Report: April 2018, Really Into It Adults

Cast of Characters: Me, sis, 2 friends and their son. We are all old friends and Disney enthusiasts, with most of our fun happening at Disneyland. We used a trade show in Orlando as an excuse to go to the World. Four days in the parks, two days of work. I think our priorities are straight, don’t you?

First evening, all arrived from west coast around 4 PM. Magical Express to POR Riverside. Royal Room! So cute. Pretty resort and most importantly, comphy beds! Took Lyft to Grand Californian. (Lyft will pick you up and drop you off at your particular building, yay!) Had cocktails accompanied by the magical orchestra there. Live music is a big YES! What a treat. But you can’t see the orchestra from the bar, which seems to be a rather large layout misfire to me, but anyway… We then caught the monorail (!) to the Contemporary. That Mary Blair mosaic!!! We were dying. Then we went up to the California Grill for dinner. We loved it here. The food was amazing, the service was amazing. We drank two bottles of wine and took a break to go out on the patio to watch the fireworks. We saw a couple get engaged (!) and cried at the fireworks before going in the finish the night. I’m afraid we decided to serenade the newly engaged couple with the song from Lady and the Tramp on our way out. I’m sure it was horrible but they seemed to love it anyway. We managed to catch a couple of songs by Yee Haw Bob back at the hotel. What a hoot, he was too fun.

We slept in and then took the bus to MK to ride a few rides I had fastpasses for. We did Haunted Mansion first and spent considerable time and money in the gift shop, Momento Mori. So delightful! Had packages sent back to resort. We also did Pooh and Peter Pan. The MK version of Peter Pan is superior. We admired the mosaics in the castle (a must see) and then got a bus over to Animal Kingdom where we had a reservation at Yak and Yeti and tickets for their tour. It took forever to get a bus. It was hot. Yuk. But lunch was wonderful.

Thoughts on the Ultimate Nights of Adventure Tour, Animal Kingdom
We met the tour by Dinosaur at 4:30 PM and met our plaid-clad tour guides. They had one to lead and one to follow and make sure that everyone is keeping up. They asked us what dessert we wanted for our “snack” and they had water for us too. The guides were charming and professional as per the usual Disney standard.
Having done Disney tours in the past, I was kind of expecting the headsets and lots of information about Animal Kingdom. But on this tour, you are basically running after your guide to get from ride to ride. There is some chat about the park, but not a lot and there are no backstage experiences.

In the middle of the tour, they surprised us by serving us a full-on dinner, with meats, veggies, rice, tofu, fish and yummy sauces from the Satu’li Canteen in Pandora. Plus dessert. There was about a half hour break for this and we enjoyed the food and talking with some other people on our tour. We have a celiac and vegetarians in our group but everyone had a lot that they could eat. The food was GREAT!

The tour covers Dinosaur, a sunset ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris (we had a great safari ride and saw the baby hippo, lions “wrestling” and tons of other animals) Everest, Navi River, FOP and nice seating for Rivers of Light. It costs $250. FOP! Even if you are prone to motion sickness, do this at least once. So much fun and did not mess with anyone too much. After Rivers of Light, we went back to see Pandora at night. If you can fit this in, do, because it is gorgeous. Pictures don’t do Pandora justice. It really is an experience.

All in all, we all really enjoyed the tour. If you want to get all the major attractions done in Animal Kingdom in one evening, with no lines, then this is for you. In our situation, a delay of getting our tickets through the military meant that I could not get fastpasses at the 60 day mark. Knowing I would not need any for Animal Kingdom took much of the worry about that away. (I did not have an issue getting any of the fastpasses we wanted for anything else at the 45 day mark.) Also, we just had four days in the parks total so it was worth the money to take the tour.

We are a bunch of 50-somethings and really into Disney details. If I was to make the tour more to our taste, I would add in couple of hours to allow for more information about the park and the animals, and to slow down the pace a bit. If you have the time to spend, don’t do the tour–just do everything on your own. There is no real reason to do the tour other than the time savings.

There was a big family with toddlers in strollers on our tour, which seemed a bit odd, as the kids were too young for the rides, meaning half the adults in the party (in this case, the moms) would not get to ride either. Seems like a lot of money to pay out, but maybe they decided the dads should get a special thing just for them during their vacation?

Hope this is helpful for anyone on the fence about this experience.

The next day we hit Epcot, starting with Spaceship Earth with fastpasses around 10. Note: we are not rope drop people. I just hate getting up early and being in that mob before they open the doors, so we don’t do it. If this is you, then just say no. We are, however, the very last people to leave at night. You don’t have to wait for a bus and you get that beautiful, empty park with the sweet night lighting that is just so lovely. We did all of the fine vintage fun in the Land and the Sea areas and then went for cronuts (!) and then to ride Frozen. First time for all of us and we loved it very much. Nothing makes me happier than a boat ride in the dark, and the cue area in the village at night, so adorable. I think they could stand to fill this ride in with a few more scenes though, don’t you? At this point we grabbed a boat to head over to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. More soon!


After blissing out on Frozen, we caught a boat to Hollywood Studios. We enjoyed the ride as we were all getting a bit hangry and hot walking around the World Showcase. Oh, I must mention how beautiful the Flower and Garden Festival was. Like Pandora, pictures just don’t capture the majesty of this. It made me miss my Mom so much, she would have loved it. Do you all find sentimental longing for the past and people who are gone is part of your Disney experience? I do and I think that is one thing that makes it so much sweeter, even with that little tinge of sadness. But I digress.

At Hollywood, we had an ADR for Sci-Fi. This was a big hit with us. We needed dark and AC and cocktails! None of us had been there before and it delighted us for sure. We loved the movie shorts and the little cars…we are fans of all things retro. Veggie people: the Falafel burger is nasty. Stick with onion rings and you will be happy. Fortified, we made our way into the park. All of us love shows so we saw Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, delightful! The princes in particular gave us much joy. The 19 year old in our group was thrilled to be accosted by storm troopers and had fun in Launch Bay. Tower of Terror! It’s gone now in our home park and this version is soooooo good. We had dinner at 50’s…the decor was amazing. We are very over the top people and our waitperson could have been a bit more obnoxious, but we enjoyed her anyway. The meat eaters liked their food more than the vegetarians. The HS vegetarian food offerings focus on pretend meat options rather than just making yummy vegetarian dishes. If you are veggie, I recommend sticking with salads or side dishes. We saw the galactic fireworks, which were pretty good, but not as good as the show my sister and I saw back in 2016 that was fireworks without the projections. We didn’t really bother with Toy Story as we can do that in DL. Pooped, we got a bus back to PO Riverside.

Random Thought: This is my second adult trip to Disney World. The first time was a blowout big birthday trip where we splurged on staying at the Poly. This has ruined me forever. At this stage, I like being able to run by the room for a bit. You just can’t do that staying at PO. Since trips to DW will be a very rare occasion, I will find a way to stay at a Monorail Resort or Wilderness–or I will just stay offsite and get a car next time.

Second Random Thought: (Also very middle-aged person in nature) I just don’t want to have to be on my phone when I am at Disney! I want to enjoy being in the moment, not having to look for more fastpasses on my dang phone all day. Fortunately, with our Touring Plan we didn’t really need additional fastpasses, but I never really hear many people complaining this, so I thought I would put it out there. My husband and I are taking our granddaughter for her first trip to Disneyland soon, and I am excited to work the Maxpass but also dreading it because having to be on my phone is going to bum me out really bad. The whole point of Disney for me is getting lost in being there. The phone is a reality buzz kill.

OK, Magic Kingdom next! More Soon


Great report so far - enjoying following along.

Great report, looking forward to the next instalment.

I totally get your feelings about the phone. I would rather find a kiosk to add my additional fastpasses than spend my time playing with the app on my phone!

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Yay, back to Magic Kingdom. We had ordered Prime Now so we had breakfast each morning in our rooms. I had not done this before but it was seamless. We got yogurt, peanut butter and rice cakes, water, Bai drinks, bananas, that sort of thing. If you are a coffee person, those little double shot espresso things from Starbucks are mighty nice. We got coffee from the food court as well and they did let us take it on the bus. I think we got there about 10ish.

We started out in Tomorrow Land, heading straight to the people mover! (No longer in DL) We all loved the views of the future that never was and the castle. Does the people mover move faster than it used to? We then went to Carousel of Progress. A NATIONAL TREASURE! So thankful that it has not been destroyed. We were pretty focused on doing the things we can’t do at Disneyland, but somehow we missed the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. What the heck, I love that and I know my friends would have loved it too.

We must have had to go and do our Fastpasses: Splash and Thunder Mountain. Joy! Then another attraction that is gone in DL, Country Bears. We loved it so much, and we loved that the 19 year old, who had no sentimental attachment, loved it just as much as we did. We had fun fellow audience members who clapped and sang and that made it even better.

Lunch at Columbia Harbor House was good, everyone seemed happy. The healthy got cous cous and veggies and the shrimp salad and the not so healthy got fried things and tuna sandwiches.

During lunch, everyone’s phones went off with the emergency signal. I don’t know why but none of us bothered to see what it was. We headed out for a quick visit to Haunted Mansion and then to play in the shooting gallery before the parade–and a huge squall blew in. Turns out there was a tornado alert and everything. We took shelter under the roof of a fruit stand and watched people eat turkey legs, the sky falling and the ground filling up with water. “To the caves Gilligan,” it was nuts. It lasted for a while but finally we ran for it into the Christmas store, where we did some shopping until it was over. Undeterred, MK announced that the parade would be delayed a bit, but the show would go on. We did some shootin’ and waited. The natives grew restless but I told them that the parade would give them much joy and was worth waiting for. It started at last, and two school marching bands led in a pre show. That was awesome! We were right in front row and could interact with all the performers which was fun. The parade was magical and everyone was charmed.

We were afraid waiting for the parade would make us late for our Seven Dwarfs fastpasses and it did, but we turned green…they must have had to shut the ride down during the storm so they were honoring them after the return time. I could ride this one all day long. The shadows of the dwarfs marching is just my favorite thing!

Then we had a date with Master Beast at his Castle! We requested the West Wing and were sat right by the fireplace. This was the first time there for three of our party and we all enjoyed our food and our time in the castle. Our waiter was slammed, but we were not in a hurry. When we went to the library to meet our host, a baby was having her way with him. She was not scared one bit and he must be a baby expert because the two of them were clearly madly in love and it was just the most adorable thing EVER! I would kill to see those pictures. It had been a perfect Magic Kingdom day, and we decided to head over to Epcot to see the rest of the World Showcase and try to ride Frozen again. We took the monorail, which is so fun!

Epcot was all fresh and glowing and gorgeous after all that rain, and it was pretty empty too, considering it was EMH night. We did ride Frozen again and the Three Caballeros and saw Illuminations. None of us had seen that before and while we enjoyed it, I don’t think we would make a point of needing to see it again. We wrapped it up with the American Adventure. I learned all about how white men did everything in American history. Wow, who knew? The park was now closed and we were dragging so we decided to walk over to the Boardwalk and get a Lyft from there. It was a pretty good plan except that our driver had a bit of a tough time getting us back to our building and we had no language in common for communication, but eventually we did get close and just asked him to let us out. We staggered into our lovely rooms and crawled into bed. In the royal rooms, they have a “tapestry” featuring all of the princes. One of the poor fellows has no name, he is simply the prince. Goodnight sweet prince.


Thanks! I love reading trip reports!

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Wonderful reports!

lol… I’m a history teacher and this gave me a chuckle.


Marsha, when using Maxpass at Disneyland you may have to move around a bit to find a signal but you will love it. I am in your camp about the phone being a bother. Pack your charging stick but its one more thing to put in your bag. Sounds like a wonderful trip thanks for sharing.

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On Wednesday, we had to check out of our Royal Room and move over to our Convention hotel, Vista Cay. We checked our bags and took the boat over to Disney Springs for lunch and shopping. The boat ride was nice! I did not make an ADR for lunch as I wasn’t sure what we would be in the mood for or when we would want lunch. We chose Morimoto Asia and this was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. Food, ambiance, service, all perfect! We also enjoyed the Marketplace Co-op for shopping. There were things in here we had not seen before at other shops. My buddy got the cutest Alice in Wonderland backpack and I splurged for a tiki dress.

We caught the boat back and then a Lyft to Vista Cay. We had a three bedroom, two bath condo here for maybe around $250 a night? The location was great for the Convention Center, but you kind of get what you pay for. The place was soulless and full of the cheapest furniture possible, all of which was very worn out and/or broken. We did find the staff to be nice and professional: we had an issue with the AC and they got it fixed quickly. It was clean enough. If you need a lot of space for cheap, this might be a good option, but I think you could probably do better.

Once we were settled, we caught a Lyft to MK! We arrived around 5 and had the whole evening with EMH till 1am, hooray! We began in Adventure Land, with Fastpasses for Jungle Cruise. The DW version is so awesome. Then we had dinner at Skipper Canteen. Once again our server was a bit normal for us, LOL. We did Tiki Room, very much enjoying the entrance area. Beautiful! Pirates had just opened from it’s refurbishment so we did that standby. I think the wait was about 20 minutes or so. They did a good job with the new scene… the redhead makes a fine pirate and the story makes sense. We did everything in Adventure land and made our way back to Fantasy Land, where we rode Peter Pan again, Small World, Little Mermaid and did Micky’s Philharmagic which was very fun! Sitting in the middle is really so much better for this one. We were on Seven Dwarf’s during the fireworks, which was amazing. We rode and rode until they threw us out at 1 am. We decided to take the monorail over to the Poly and get a Lyft from there, and that worked out nicely.

Although the next two days were for work, in the evenings we got back in the bubble. The first night we went to Animal Kingdom Lodge to see that and to have dinner at Sanaa. We loved the animal viewing area and enjoyed that while we waited for our table. The bread service was a lovely as everyone reports. Truthfully, I was pretty sick of curry by this point but the food was good. We caught the inter-resort bus after dinner to see the main lodge. So beautiful, and what a fireplace!

The second night, we went to Wilderness Lodge to dinner at Artist Point. We had a cocktail in the lounge while waiting for our table and really enjoyed the food and wine here. That mushroom soup, dear god. The lodge and the restaurant are so majestic! Then we went over to the Poly to have a drink at Trader Sam’s. We had to wait a while, but that gave us time to walk on the beach a bit and see the resort. Trader Sam’s was great! A little different than the DL version. It was a good move to schedule these experiences after our work days. It helped to ease the end of vacation blues!

Final Thoughts:

Best meals: Morimoto Asia and Artist Point

Best Things about Disney World: Site seeing at the Deluxe Resorts, the monorail actually being a transportation vehicle, the vintage rides that are still in operation, the shopping, especially Momento Mori, the mosaics at the Contemporary and in the castle, the ability to get cocktails everywhere, the fun themed restaurants, the cast members seem sweeter, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, FOP and Frozen Ever After.

I loved planning the trip, and have had so much fun on this forum. All of the effort paid off and my travel mates were impressed and grateful. Disney World is a lot. We were well and truly exhausted at the end of each day. For the best experience, you need time. Lots of time. With our touring plan, we did everything we wanted to do in four days, but it was a bit frantic. It’s extravagantly expensive. I look forward to going back some day, but I’m not in a big hurry. My heart belongs to Disneyland, where you can just enjoy without all of the back and forth and reservations and frantic planning, as much as I did enjoy the planning. Maybe you just love the place that feels like home to you, be that DL or WDW. Wishing you all wonderful Disney dreams, thanks for sharing your wisdom, signing out for now.


This is the truest thing you could possibly say about any Disney park - and it applies perfectly to all of them.

Loved reading your report.

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