Trip Report: DisneyGirlMama Does Disney


#1

The Prequel:

Almost five years ago one of my MILs asked me if we wanted to go to WDW, their treat. My girls were 2 and 3 at the time, I was pregnant, and our oldest was a major flight risk. We politely said, “No thanks,” and did Dollywood instead the following summer, which was perfect for us at the time. DH and I had talked before about a trip to WDW and timing and cost and had decided that we could probably only ever go once due to living overseas, the cost of a trip, and wanting our girls to remember the trip. So, in our minds we had planned on going when they were around 8, 10, and 12, for a one-and-done kind of a trip.

Fast forward to 2016. We came to America for 3 weeks in February, saw family and friends, and turned around back to Russia. In early April DH learned that one of his good, longtime friends whom he had just seen in February had pancreatic cancer and would die within a month. In late April he went to visit her and say goodbye, and when he returned, he basically said we need to do the WDW trip as soon as possible, because you never know what tomorrow holds. DH and I both have memories of WDW with our parents or grandparents and really want our children to have those memories, too.

So, I started researching and we started saving and scheming and planning. We asked all the grandparents if they wanted in on the trip and 5 out of 7 said yes. We do enough traveling and staying in hotel rooms with kids to know that our idea of a vacation does not involve us all sharing one room. The larger on-property places are just plain out of our budget, so we decided to use our timeshare and exchange for a place off-property for two weeks, allowing up to 3 additional people to stay with us. We found a 3-bedroom at Hilton Grand Vacations Tuscany Village (or something like that) and will be there from November 30-December 14. Our trip has very much been planned “on a budget.” It’s a kind of large budget because nobody can go to WDW for 2 weeks and not spend some serious cash, but for 5 people for 2 weeks we are definitely “on a budget.” We have carefully chosen ADRs, no extras, and plans to enjoy free things like the resort swimming pool, the water parade, and resort Christmas decorations.

We’ve been staying in North Carolina for the past two months visiting family and DH has been promoting his business. We’ve been telling our girls that we were going to leave here on Friday and go to Alabama for the rest of our time in America, but surprise! We told them on Sunday via a scavenger hunt that we were going to go to Disney World first. They were shocked and surprised and DD8 actually cried she was so overwhelmed.

So here I sit, the night before we leave. The plan is to drive to south of Charlotte tomorrow and spend the night with my brother and then to drive the rest of the way on Friday. Saturday morning I’m actually going to get to see a friend whom I haven’t seen in 4.5 years because they’re in WDW, too, and leaving Saturday afternoon. I happened to plan a day to swim, settle into the resort, buy groceries, and do some resort hopping, so getting to see a longtime friend is an unexpected bonus.

The cast:

Week 1: me and DH (late 30’s-early 40’s), DD8, DD6-turning-7-in-WDW, DD4, my mom (mid-60’s), his mom and stepdad (late 60’s)

Week 2: the 5 of us, DH’s dad and stepmom (late 60’s-early 70’s) and DH’s brother (late 40’s)

The rough plan:

December 2: EPCOT. RD until we’re tired, making sure to hit up some of the WS Festival of the Holidays stuff.

December 3: MK. RD until after our 12:00 lunch at BOG. Return around 5 and stay until after HEA.

December 4: Day off. Swim, puzzles, resorts, whatever we feel like.

December 5: AK. Show up around 10-11 and stay until after ROL at 6:15.

December 6: breakfast ADR at Trattoria al Forno, then head to HS at around 11:00. Stay until after JBJB!

December 7: Day off. My mom leaves this day. I have a lunch ADR at Sanaa that we may drop if we just don’t want to go anywhere. DH’s parents will pack up and prepare to leave the next morning, unless they decide to leave later this day to get part of their trip behind them.

December 8: MK. Not sure if we’ll RD or just use our first 3 FPP and then see what we can get. DH’s other parents arrive this day so we won’t stay too late, probably will leave by 4ish.

December 9: EPCOT. RD Soarin’, use our FPP, go to WS and see the rest of the Storytellers that we didn’t get to see before that we want to see. Head back to the resort for a break and be back in EP by our Garden Grill ADR at 6:45 (If I can get one for 3 more people…I have 5 of us so far!). Stay for Illuminations.

December 10: Day off. Swimming, etc. DH and I have a date night planned at Raglan Road.

December 11: MK. RD, use our FPP, have a late lunch at CRT. Stay until we’re tired (or 6:00, when they kick us out for MVMCP).

December 12: AK. This could totally change as it’s my DD6’s 7th birthday. So, if she wants to go somewhere else then we will. 5:30 pm ADR at T-REX for the dino-loving birthday girl.

December 13: pack, swim, laundry, etc.

December 14: head to Alabama.

Tomorrow we’re off! More to come!


#2

Have a great trip!


#3

Wow, it looks like you could have a career in the diplomatic corps! Hope your trip is all kinds of magical, your DH is right; you just never know what’s around the corner.


#4

Have a wonderful trip! I will be there 12/6-11, but none of our park days match up. Your trip sounds very relaxing, mine feels exhausting in comparison. :laughing:


#5

You have been planning so long! I hope you have a great trip!


#6

Ha, all these in-laws and divorced parents does make it difficult! We’re doing two weeks in part so that certain ones don’t have to be with the others! :joy:


#7

Eeks! So exciting!!! Can’t wait to see you on Monday!!!

And I suppose it’s time for me to start packing. :joy::joy:


#8

I’ve been enjoying hearing about your planning and look forward to hearing how it all turns out. Hope it’s a wonderful trip!


#9

Have an amazing time! Your plans look great!


#10

Day 0

Today we got up and hightailed it out of my brother’s by 8:15. Arrived at our resort exactly at 5 pm after a looooong day with kids in the car. Four stops, missed rush hour traffic in Orlando by thismuch. About 30 minutes out our car started to overheat so we rolled the windows down and cranked the heat. I felt so ghetto, lol. So crazy but it worked. Hopefully after a night off the car will be fine but we’ll likely get it looked at tomorrow.

We got to the resort and got checked in and finished up about two minutes before my in-laws showed up. They had been to Publix for breakfast stuff and a veggie to go with dinner. We unloaded the cars, got dinner in the oven, and gawked at our accommodations. All of my sadness about being off-site has evaporated. We have three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a full kitchen and living room and balcony. It’s super nice and there’s so much room…it’s bigger than my brother’s 3-bedroom house. I know I’d be so much more stressed if in a small space with three kids.

I’m also already glad that we planned an off day for tomorrow. There’s time to swim, time to get groceries, time to leisurely unpack the rest of our stuff, time to take the car to be looked at. After a full day of driving preceded by a full day of packing and cleaning and driving, I’m very glad to know that there’s no pressure for tomorrow except to get the kids to the pool and to not be late getting my mom from the airport.

Day 0: complete success, accompanied by some stress related to kids in the car for 7.5 hours, but all in all day 0 earns a 9 out of 10 for a travel day.


#11

Sounds like you are off to a great start. Enjoy


#12

Day 1

Today started with a 7 am coffee date with a friend of mine whom I’ve known for 15 years but haven’t seen in 4.5 years, and we’ve only lived in the same city for 1.5 years of all that time. But her family was leaving Orlando today and mine arrived yesterday, so we managed to squeeze a short visit in. It was wonderful.

After I got home DH took the car to be looked at since it was still overheating. Turns out the radiator had cracked, so we spent $600 this morning that we weren’t planning on spending replacing it. Overall, though, it’s alright. Someone is letting us borrow their car and we haven’t paid for anything for it. We’ve put almost 5,000 miles on it. So, a new radiator seems to be our payment for using the car for 6 months.

When DH called and said the car needed work and they could do it right then, my FIL took DH his computer so he could get some work done. As soon as FIL got back, MIL and I went to Publix for groceries. Right after we got back, DH also got back. We all ate some lunch and then I took the girls out for a swim while DH went to the airport to pick up my mom. My in-laws stayed in and watched football the whole time, I’m pretty sure.

The girls and I swam until almost 4:00, then came in ‘cause I was starting to get chilly. A funny thing happened, though, while swimming. I learned that DD4 can totally swim. If her mouth and nose are both covered. We got a snorkel mask and she can put that thing on and hold her breath and swim with her face in the water. Apparently she can’t figure out the swimming and breathing at the same time thing, though.

After swimming we got everybody showered and jammied. I helped chop some lettuce and such in the kitchen and while the rice was cooking I took the girls for a walk around the lake. They’re terrified that an alligator is going to get them. We came back, ate some dinner, and chilled. More football was watched. I had such grand plans for today involving going to the Grand Floridian and looking at the gingerbread house and riding the monorail. And nobody would have any of it because they all wanted to watch football all day. Humph.

We got DD4 and DD6 in bed by 7:30…a little early but they need the rest! DD8 went to bed around 8:30. 6 a.m. wake-up call in the morning for a 7:45 a.m. departure from our resort. Next stop: Epcot! We’re rope dropping the Character Spot!


#13

Day 2: Sunday December 2. Epcot. Predicted CL: 4. Actual CL: 5

Today started out bright and early. We were pulling out of our resort at 7:52, headed for Epcot. We arrived around 8:15 and while one person reserved us a spot in line the others went to the bathroom (DH and DMiL, mainly) and the girls and I went to get 1st visit buttons, maps, etc. When they let everyone into the park we went straight for the Character Spot. My girls were so cute…they were so shy but I thought this was a good introduction to Disney. Then DH and DMiL went to the bathroom again. (You’ll notice a theme here, which I was unprepared for…)

Afterwards we went to Living with the Land to use our first FPP. It was totally unnecessary but we needed to use the tier 2’s… After LwtL we headed to TTwC to use our second FPP. This was so cute. Everyone laughed and loved it. Afterwards, you guessed it…the bathroom again! By this point I was already past the “when one person goes everyone goes” bit. They’d been four times since we arrived, I think!

Here our plan was to head to Mexico for the Donald Duck ride and then to Norway for our FEA FPP. But we had a decent 30 minutes before that FPP so I thought, hey, let’s do Figment standby. Yeah…we bailed on that line after about 10 minutes. Went to Mexico and found a bathroom. Did the ride, the girls loved Donald. Then went to Norway and found another bathroom. Rode FEA which had them immediately asking to ride again. By this point they were loving the FPP and not understanding that we don’t have them for every ride.

After FEA everyone was hungry and it was starting to get hot. My in-laws were getting grumpy from so much walking and they wanted food NOW and did not want to walk to find better options. So they got hot dogs at the outpost between China and Germany. We got the girls some of the cavatapi (just ok) from the Italy food booth, I got the pork and rice from China (also just ok), and then we got three of the pretzels from the bakery in Norway. Of course the girls loved those! They were seriously messy kids, though, so back to the bathrooms in Germany.

We stopped in Italy to watch Serveur Amusant and the girls laughed and loved it. While they were all watching him I managed to snag Soarin’ FPP at the 1:30 drop. Wahoo! Then to Japan to attempt an Agent P task, but only DD8 really liked it. DD6 was complaining about wanting to ride rides. We made our way to Morocco and waited about 10 minutes to meet Jasmine. Then to France and waited maybe 20 minutes on Aurora. We made it all the way to UK before another bathroom stop. We made it to the Land pavilion and MiL and FiL decided they were done for the day, so they left and the five of us went to Soarin’. We waited on B1 and it. was. amazing. I was worried I might feel sick but I was fine. Awesome ride. They immediately wanted to do it again. But we didn’t want to wait in line, so we went to Nemo (FPP) and then to see what the TT line was looking like. The 3:30 FPP drop didn’t give anything early enough for TT, so we skipped it. DH and the girls did Mission: Space, and I waited since I was worried about getting sick. We met up at Spaceship Earth, rode it, and then headed back to the resort. Nobody really liked SE, but I knew they’d never believe me if I told them it was kind of boring.

My girls, ages 4, 6, and 8, walked all day. Nobody complained about being tired. They did complain about being hungry, hot, and bored at various points. But not about being tired. I carried DD4 from the park exit to the car. I walked 6.5 miles today, they all probably did 5.5. We took it slow. It can be done without a stroller if you want.

We got home right at 6:00 and my mom and in-laws had dinner ready. Everyone ate, the girls got a quick bath, and were in bed by 7:30. They’re very excited for MK tomorrow. I’m very glad we did Epcot first. I think it would have been a letdown for them if it had come after MK. Then again, I also think they were hot (it got to 86 today) and they are more apt to complain when hot. We may give Epcot another day next week. We may not. We’ll have to see how they’re feeling after having had one day in every park and two in MK, what they want to do.

All in all, a very good day. If I could change anything I think we’d have rented a wheelchair for my MiL, even though she said she didn’t need one today. I think she would have had more fun. They were a little grumpy and tired, but I think it was a good call for them to leave early. They got an extra three hours of rest and didn’t walk an extra 1.5ish miles. And we wouldn’t have waited in the Figment line at all, ha.


#14

Day 3: Monday December 3. Magic Kingdom. Predicted CL: 6. Actual CL: 6

Today started really early for me. At 4:45 DD4 came in and said she’d wet the bed. After taking care of that I couldn’t fall back asleep and just decided to get up at 5:15 to get ready for the day. We all managed to pull out at 7:38, just 8 minutes later than we’d hoped. We parked in Aladdin 207, got to the monorail, and…you’ll never guess what!?! My MIL had to go to the bathroom. Sigh. We finally got to the park entrance around 8:30 or so. I hopped in the Guest Relations line with my mom in order to fix a problem with her ticket. The rest of them got a spot for the opening show and…used the bathrooms. :roll_eyes: We got in and caught up with them right as the show was ending. We veered left for Peter Pan. We waited about 20 minutes and then headed to Gaston’s Tavern for some cinnamon rolls and to wait on Gaston and, of course, to pee. The girls hopped in line and got his signature…he was so funny and arrogant and one of the highlights of our day.

!

After Gaston we headed to Under the Sea which was a walk-on. Then to the grotto to use our first FPP to meet Ariel. She was amazing and my DDs were in heaven. Then to Dumbo where we waited stand-by but they wouldn’t let the kids play while we waited…they could play but then we’d just be waiting that time, too. Note to Liners: the kids don’t get to play “while” you wait unless it’s busier than a 15-minute wait. Then on to the…bathroom! Then Barnstormer which was fine but DD6 and DD8 were major grumps that it was so short. But it was a good intro coaster and I’m glad we did it first. After this we headed to the Carrousel for a ride and then to BOG for our 12:00 lunch reservation. By this point everyone was tired and hungry and this was a good break. While I enjoyed BOG I wouldn’t recommend stressing out about getting a reservation here. My DDs were not super impressed with the décor or being in the castle…they didn’t really seem to care. Our food was all good and portions were not small. We left at 1:07 to head back to our resort for naps for DD4 and DD6 (and DH and DM as well!). It took a solid hour to get back and awhile for them to fall asleep.

We woke DD4 and DD6 up at 4:20 and were on the road again by 4:32. Once again it took right at an hour to get back into the park. We hightailed it to 7DMT for our FPP, leaving my mom and MIL to wait it out. When we were finished we grabbed dinner at Cosmic Ray’s, which was just ok. I had mobile ordered (you can’t order the ½ chicken or the lemonade slushee on mobile order, just FYI) and it was a little glitchy. But we eventually got our food and grabbed a spot on a bench on the bridge to watch A Frozen Holiday Wish while we ate. In hindsight this was not the best plan as they turned out all the street lights and it was completely dark while we were trying to eat. I was glad we didn’t have rotisserie chicken then! When the show started I took the girls down a little closer and we watched from the bridge almost to the hub. We had a decent view for not being in the crowded hub. They loved it and it was, of course, magical.

Afterwards we got the rest of our party and headed to Frontierland. We left my mom and MIL in Liberty Square to wait while we did BTMRR with our FPP. It was hilarious, DD6 and DD8 screamed the whole time but they loved it. DD4 loved it, too, but she wasn’t screaming. When we came out it was starting to sprinkle a bit and lightening in the distance. We picked up my mom and MIL and headed to HM while it sprinkled on us. We waited in stand-by maybe 15 minutes. DD4 did not like this ride and cried at the end of it. DD6 and DD8 didn’t hate it but have no desire to go again. By the time we got out it was raining and I had left our ponchos at the resort during our break because the forecast had no rain in it for the evening. Liner fail. We quick-walked to IASW were we used FPP that I had snagged after checking in for BTMRR. IASW is so much better than I remember it as a kid. Not nearly so creepy.

After this the rain had let up and we went to the Tinkle Towers and I looked for a photographer to do lanterns photos but couldn’t find someone. We had about 45 minutes before so we went to Philharmagic, which was very cute…my kids kept trying to grab stuff. My MIL and FIL bailed on Philharmagic to go find coffee, which they never found. Turns out she had gotten very cold from getting wet and then being in the A/C and hadn’t been able to warm up. But of course she didn’t tell anyone until the next day, so we couldn’t try to fix it. Sigh. After Philharmagic we headed to the hub for HEA where we met up with a couple of Liners for HEA viewing. HEA was amazing. It was beautiful and it was so wonderful to be there with our girls, watching them be completely enamored and in awe of the fireworks and projections. It was completely worth the 4 hours travel time (to MK and back and to MK and back again) and inconvenience of letting the girls stay up so late.


Liner meet-up! So nice to meet you, @Randall1028 and @JuliaMc!

We hung out until OUAT, which was also amazing and worth staying for. I’m so glad we decided to stay for it instead of going to ride Buzz, which had been the loose plan. Afterwards we headed for the ferryboat back to TTC. My DDs did not complain one time today about being tired or their feet hurting until it was time to leave the park and then the whining began. They did so well, though, overall, for walking about 7 miles. We were home and kids in bed around 11:30. I’m so glad there are no plans tomorrow!


#15

Great meeting you too!! So glad to hear the OUAT was the preferred choice. I was actually nervous that you might’ve regretted it instead of a ride. :smiley:


#16

Great report so far. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the trip goes!


#17

Beautiful family!


#18

I am enjoying your report, you definitely get an award for patience with all these bathroom stops! You should retitle your trip report “How I visited every single bathroom in WDW in just a few park days”. :rofl::rofl:


#19

Ha! I might do that!


#20

I might feel differently if we didn’t have two more MK days planned! :wink: