After months of planning, my wife and I survived our 9 day trip with her family. My wife and I went to WDW/UOR for our honeymoon two years ago, staying off property, but we always knew we wanted to come back! We just didn’t plan on it being less than two years later. My wife’s family had gone to WDW ten years ago, and when they were on their last day, WDW offered them three day park hoppers to come back for the same price and the tickets never expired. My wife’s family decided it was time to cash them in, and of course we were on board! Our travelling party included myself (29), my wife (25), my brother-in-law (28), my sister-in-law (26), my father-in-law (54) and my mother-in-law (55)…oh, and our nephew at 10 months old! If I learned anything from this trip, bringing an infant to WDW is less than ideal but we made it work. Fortunately, we all had our own rooms within the time share that we were borrowing from a friend.
Day 1 - Arrival - Feb 5th - MK & EP
My wife and I flew a red eye flight from Seattle to Orlando that left from Seattle at 9:00pm, PST, or 12:00am EST. We landed in Orlando at 4:30am, thanks to a wonderful tail wind and were somehow ready to go to the parks with our rental car by 5:30am. And being the crazy couple that we are, we went straight to MK for our first day after minimal sleep. We arrived at MK at 8:30, and somehow were able to rope drop 7DMT with only a 30 min wait, then headed to SM with a 55min wait, then had FPP for JC, POC and BTMRR. All of it was done by lunch, which we had at the Skippers Canteen. After lunch we wanted to ride Splash Mountain, but right as we got to the inside portion of the queue, the ride shut down for the remainder of the day. I think the lack of sleep finally hit me, and the large number of dance teams from the weekend. So we left MK and went to EP for the evening, where I was lucky to snag FPP to Soarin’ on the monorail ride over, and Test Track later in the evening. We waited 55 min for Frozen, and walked around the beginning of the World Showcase, partaking in my favorite activity - drinking beer! We went home after Test Track at 8:00, a successful first day for my wife and I!
Day 2 - DVC Info Meeting, Brunch and Disney Springs
While we were in Epcot, a CM at one of the DVC Info Booths approached us. We had never heard of DVC before, and were curious to hear more - not to mention more fast passes! Went to the meeting, my wife and I love the idea of being able to stay at deluxe hotels rather then off property. We’re still in the process of discussing it, and would love to hear what some of you have to say! After the meeting we had brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe, it was amazing. My wife had the lobster eggs Benedict, and I like the large child I am, had a Mickey waffle and beer for brunch. After brunch, we walked from the GF to the Polynesian, then went back to the condo to wait for her family to get into town. Once everyone was there, we headed to Disney Springs, ate, walked around, and then we went to the Star Wars VR Experience at the Void. And it is not to be missed! If you like Star Wars at all, you need to experience it! It is well worth the $30 a person. After a long day, even not in the parks, it was time to get to bed to try and RD the MK the next day.
Day 3 - Magic Kingdom
This day was exclusively for the MK since my in-laws did not want to add another park hopper day to their preexisting 3 day park hopper. We tried our best to be at RD for 7DMT, but it was more crowded then when it was just my wife and I, and 7DMT was already around the backside by the time we got to it. So, we bagged it, and got onto PP, Small World, Haunted Mansion then used our FPP for Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. Afterwards, we used our DVC FPP for Splash, then waited in line for Big Thunder. Most of this was accomplished with child swaps as well. I think the toughest part of our first day was that my in-laws had a hard time walking past rides with no waits, when I tried to tell them the big name rides would get longer throughout the day. By the end of the trip, they were finally on board, but day one was a lot of teeth pulling to get people to walk across the park for a shorter wait, then standing in line for 60 minutes. We ended our day with BLRS, Under the Sea, and caught the train to Main Street to watch Once Upon a Time before heading out before the crowd got too heavy after Happily Ever After. Overall, a successful day! The child swaps were starting to become quite useful, and we were starting to understand how to use them correctly for adjusting future FPP.
Day 4 - Epcot
We let this be a sleep in day, since we had FPP for Frozen, and still had two FPP for each of our group members to use from our DVC meeting. But still were through the gates at 9:30. It seemed to be a slow day at EP, which we were okay with! My family rode Mission Space, while I watched the nephew. I got way too motion sick last time we were there. Then off to our lunch reservations at Via Napoli, then toured the rest of the WS back on our way to FEA, then did Soarin, The Land, Nemo and Test Track. Our nephew really enjoyed the Land and Nemo, plus the aquariums once we were off. We stayed for Illuminations, one of my few regrets on the trip, as we then got stuck in the Disney Death March trying to leave Epcot. We started to really get the hang of the FPP and Child Swap combo though, with each of us riding Soarin’ and Test Track multiple times.
Day 5 - UOR & IOA
We decided to do UOR and IOA on a Friday, in hopes of avoiding some of the large crowds that often visit WDW on the weekends. We were both partially right and wrong. This is the first day that caused some tension in our group. My wife and I got up early and RD UOR, while her family slept in and waited until later to arrive. In the short time alone, my wife and I got onto Transformers, Mummy, Gringotts, Hogwarts Express and Hulk before her family arrived. Her family got there around 10:30, so we had only been in the park for 90 minutes. But the rest of our day was much slower, with the heat, infant, and crowds playing a large part into it. We rode FJ, and hung out next to the Hoghead Bar for a majority of the afternoon before getting dinner back in UOR, and then quickly trying to ride Gringotts, Mummy and Transformers again before the park closed. UOR closed at 7:00, and IOA closed at 8:00, so we decided to sprint across the parks to Kong for one last ride - it was worth it!
Day 6 - Kennedy Space Center & Cocoa Beach
This was my father-in-law’s day, he claimed he could have done another day at KSC, but I think one was enough for me! It was a fun day, and saw and learned a lot. The slow day was appreciated though compared to the 20K plus days of steps in the theme parks, as we didn’t even approach 6K this day. Dinner was in Cocoa Beach, was delicious. My only hesitation about this day was how far away KSC and Cocoa Beach were, with an hour plus drive each direction. We were still exhausted at the end of the day even with 1/4 the steps happening.
Day 7 - Young Person Day - AK, Sanaa, EP
My in-laws volunteered to spend the day watching our nephew, so the young people went to AK for the day since I had scored FP to FOP earlier in the month thanks to our Liner group page! We tried a lazy man’s attempt at a RD, and were on and off NRJ before the park even opened, then used our FP to ride FOP. I don’t think words can describe how awesome FOP is, the immersion is incredible, and I loved every minute of it! I didn’t think anything would touch Indiana Jones in DL for my favorite ride, but FOP soared above it! We had FP for KS and EE. Then we went to stand in line for Dinosaur, a child threw up inside the queue (it was absolutely horrendous smelling) and right before we got into the preshow, the ride broke down for the rest of the day. But we did score another FP to use inside AK before the end of the day. We were cutting it close to lunch at Sanaa, so we would have to come back later. Always love lunch at Sanaa, and just exploring the lodge. Still my wife and I’s dream to stay there for a trip one day. After lunch we went to Epcot to just leisurely stroll around the World Showcase, I still continued my drinking around the world, which was almost complete. We then hustled over to AK for the evening to see Pandora at night, and use our last FP. Rode EE with our FP, and EE is even better in the dark. I would recommend riding it at night as it adds a whole new element. Walked over to Pandora, and the wait was only at 105 minutes, but only my wife and I were willing to stay, so we went home early.
Day 8 - EP/HS
Gave ourselves another sleep in day, but we left later then expected. Arrived at parking around 9:30, then didn’t even get into the park until 10:30. I heard there was reports of the RDF readers not working correctly. So, after waiting an hour to get into the parks, and it being exceptionally warm for February - it was almost 85 each day we were there. Our group was especially cranky. We walked around the WS, my wife and I bought a piece of art we had our eye on the whole trip, I finished drinking around the world, and we left midday to go to Hollywood Studio for the afternoon. I think with the heat that our patience with each other was severely tested on Monday afternoon. There seemed to be little shade in HS, and my family doesn’t handle the heat well coming from Seattle. We had FPP for ToT, Rockin’ and Star Tours fortunately. Also, our sister-in-law, knew a CM from college and we scored some extra child swaps for ToT. I only rode everything once that afternoon, my wife and I volunteered to watch the nephew a little bit while everyone else rode ToT and RRC again. We ventured into Star Wars Launch Bay, which was an excellent choice, met Storm Troopers, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and BB-8 all within about 45 minutes. My nephew wasn’t truly a fan of any of them, minus BB-8 who seemed to be the least intimidating. Afterwards we walked out to enjoy the laser show and fireworks. They were my favorite of the trip by far. I enjoyed the MK fireworks, but HS show gets it - I don’t want original songs, I want the movies or attractions that makes WDW great.
Day 9 - Final Day - AK & MK
It was both bitter sweet, and somewhat relieving to get to the end of the trip. We attempted to rope drop AK, the park opened at 9:00, we got there at 8:00, started going into Pandora area around 8:30, but we were so deep in the crowd that the cast member said we had about a 90-120 min wait for FOP. We decided to bail on FOP, and hit up NRJ instead again. We had FOP FPP for later in the morning, and using the child swap, our group all got to ride twice. Then we used our FPP for KS, and had a long break before our next FPP for EE and Dinosaur. We used the time to eat lunch at the Yak and Yeti, my wife and I love the sushi nachos, and then explored the animal trails. After we were done with AK, we hustled over to end our trip at MK. We got onto Dumbo and then spent time trying to find something to eat. Not the easiest when the food stands start closing around the park. Found corn dogs at the Sleepy Hallow, and not bad seats for the fireworks. Post fireworks, my wife and I rushed to BTMRR to end our trip on our favorite ride. The rest of the family headed towards the exit, and somehow we only ended up one ferry ride behind them after catching an extra ride!
Overall, it was an enjoyable trip. Crazy at times! We did a fair job of managing our fast passes and cutting down on wait times when our longest wait of the trip was FEA at 60 minutes, but on average we were in a FPP line. The heat didn’t help us, when forecasts were for mid 60s-70s, and we ended up getting mid 80s every day. Travelling with a 10 month old is challenging, but he ended up helping us out with the child swaps once we figured out how to use it in conjunction with the FPP. My in-laws also got much better at understanding how to get to the park early and take advantage of smaller crowds. I feel like if we went back again soon, we would have an even better experience as we’re all professionals by the end of the trip. My only regret was not staying at AK to ride FOP on standby to see the queue, and not getting to Trader Sam’s at the Polynesian, but I think I got enough drinks in