Hey everyone! Long time chat user, first time on the forum. Glad I found my way over here!
My family (DH, DS9 and DS6) just came back from our family’s first trip to WDW. My mom had used the UG for our family’s trip back in the 90s, so I was delighted to find TP and Lines when I began my research a year ago. Not only were Liners incredibly helpful… but there is a kindness in this group that I’ve so appreciated. This is a special community, and I’m grateful to you all!
Our trip was a blast, and far less stressful than it could have been because of you all. I loved reading trip reports in my planning, so I thought I’d pass along what wisdom I could. We did some interesting things— a triple split stay, individualized Jedi Training for my kids, and several restaurants. We also made great use of the new DAS Pass, and I’d be happy to share any information about that too.
Okay, without further ado, here’s our trip. Get comfortable, because this is a long one!
Trip: Sat, Feb 12th - Sun, Feb 20th, 2022
People: My husband, two kids (9 and 6) and me
Best restaurants: Homecomin’, Liberty Tree Tavern, Sanaa, Topolino’s
Places stayed: Beach Club, Art of Animation, AKL Jambo
Best recommendation: Rope Drop!, this app, lol
Special focus: DAS pass
Random tip: If you’re still concerned about indoor dining, book meals early after the restaurant opens. We did a lot of early breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (2-3/day)… and while this is purely anecdotal, we came home with a cold, but not COVID.
Saturday: We arrived on the afternoon of the 12th, and picked up a car through Turo at MCO. (Turo was seamless, highly recommend.) We then went to Primo Piatto at Riviera for a quick lunch (they did let us park there with a mobile order). Check in to Beach Club, then a few hrs spent at Stormalong Bay. Such a fun spot for the kids! Then a trip to Disney Springs for dinner. The place was packed on a Sat night. We had dinner at Homecoming-- one of the very best meals we had on property. Absolutely delicious. Then Ganachery (chocolate drink was amazing!! And their custom-made s’mores are out of control) for dessert. I also bought myself two Eycatchers which I had been…eyeing. Good first day.
Sunday: This was a down day that we had intended for Stormalong Bay, but the weather messed us up a bit. So we headed to Whispering Canyon Cafe for breakfast (waiter had a lot of fun with my kiddo), then back to Disney Springs, and again, it was a mob scene. We managed to get silhouettes, pick a pearl (don’t buy a setting or a cage— much cheaper to do at home!), and Photo Pass done. Then we had a ride in the amphicars (super fun!!) before heading back to Beach Club to check out, and for Beaches and Cream lunch. This was the most disappointing meal we had on the whole trip. I would not recommend the food-- the ice cream was good, but the lunch was a slight step above fast food.
Enjoyed the arcade, then checked into Art of Animation (Lion King Suite) and explored the resort before heading to Storybook Dining at Artist Point for dinner. The food and character interactions were both quite good, though the prime rib (while cooked perfectly) was unseasoned and could have used just a bit of salt and pepper.
Monday: First MK day (15 rides/attractions total)! We rope-dropped this-- to be at the front of the pack for any park, arrive at your transportation (bus, SL, monorail etc.) 75 minutes, an hr and a quarter, before early entry starts. We RDed Peter Pan, got a DAS return time for 7DMT, then went to Pooh, but the ride broke down. After ten minutes of waiting, we bailed. Managed to get onto Haunted Mansion when that opened at 9am. Did 7DMT, Carrousel, cycled back to Pooh, and sneaked in Mad Tea Party before our early lunch at Liberty Tree. This meal was wonderful, and a wonderful break from the building crowds.
After lunch, we used a return time for Small World, then caught Hall of Presidents before heading down to Adventureland for our pre-selected return times for Pirates and Jungle Cruise. We missed our Pirates time due to a long line, but they didn’t bat an eye, and we got on, no problem. Most annoying line was for Aloha Isle-- took us about a half hr after our return time to get dole whips. Also hit up Carpets, Tiki Room, and Tree House. Then we scooted up and did Dumbo and Barnstormer before dinner at Be Our Guest. Food was fine but not special; ambience was lovely.
Tuesday: Epcot day (15 rides/attractions)! We had an early breakfast at Ale and Compass so that we could park there (all day!). Chocolate waffles were absolutely top notch. Then we walked to the International Gateway at Epcot, where we rope-dropped Remy. We then got a return time for Frozen, and made our way around Future World, looking at various Festival of the Arts things. We hit up the chalk art and saw the Jammitors before Spaceship Earth.
Then, we showed up for our 11:30am reservation for Space 220 Lounge. The experience was fine, and the restaurant lovely, but food and drinks were just okay-- a once and done, in my opinion. Then, went to our pre-selected Test Track time, then booked it to America Pavilion for the Animation Experience. We stopped in L’Artisan des Glaces for some absolutely delicious ice cream, and I tried to sneak into Les Halles, but the line was really long. We never made it there, and missing this and ToT (which no one else but me wanted to ride) were the two big losses of the trip. Ah well. We walked around the world showcase, catching all the pavilions, and finally made it to Frozen. Then over to the Seas, for the aquarium, Nemo and Turtle Talk with Crush. Ended the day with our dinner reservation at Garden Grill (very good food, and AWESOME character interactions, the best we had. They came around three times in the hour we were there, and they took their time at each table). Ended with Soarin’ and Living with the Land. Walked back to our car at Yacht Club and then back to hotel.
Wednesday: Hollywood Studios (15 rides/shows/attractions total!). We took the skyliner, I mobile-ordered lunch at Woody’s, and we rope-dropped Rise of the Resistance, then Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. We finished both just in time for our 9:15am reservation at Oga’s-- fine, but another once and done. Then, a bit of shopping in Galaxy’s Edge, and over to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (which I had requested a return time for as early as I could). Then on to Toy Story Land. We had these nicely lined up-- I had DAS pre-selections for Slinky and Toy Story Mania, so we did those, and got a return time for Alien Swirling Saucers as well. Then, it was time to pick up our lunch from Woody’s. Great quick-service meal! Hard to find a table, but great food.
After lunch, we hit up Star Tours, built light sabers at Tatooine Traders ($40 instead of $200+ at Savi’s), then booked it to all the shows: Frozen, BatB, Lightning McQueen, Indiana Jones. We had an early dinner for 50s Prime Time-- nice break-- and then we finished up with building droids. This was a cute experience, but took a long time because they were woefully understaffed. My husband and one kiddo went back, while the other one and I stayed to watch the Beacon of Magic light up, at his request. A good night!
Thursday: Animal Kingdom day (5 rides and 4 shows/trails). If you’re still reading by now, you’ll have noticed that we didn’t have park hoppers. This was the one day we probably would have used them. We rope-dropped Flight of Passage, then Navi River Journey, before taking a break for some food at Pongu Pongu. We went to Africa and used a return time for Safari, and grabbed some corn on the cob from Harambe Fruit Market before walking along the Gorilla River Falls trail. Then, over to Celebration of Festival of the Lion King. We scooted back down to Pandora after that for a Satuli Canteen lunch (very, very good). Then, over to Dinoland for the kids-- who loved the Boneyard. We had some yummy ice cream from Trilo-Bites after that, and then we scooted over to Asia for Maharajah Jungle Trek and a ride on Kali (using a return time). We finished by 2:30ish, so we scooted back to the hotel for some arcade and pool time, before our dinner ADR at Sanaa. This tied with Homecomin for the best meal we had on property-- it was absolutely wonderful. Bread service, butter chicken, and chocolate dessert— all perfection. (Request a window table-- it’s worth the wait. Our ADR was for 5:35pm, and in this winter season, it stayed light throughout our entire meal. Perfect timing to see the animals out the window.). After dinner, we scooted back to AK for my older kiddo to be able to see the Tree of Life light up. Very pretty!
Friday: Our last park day, and a return to Magic Kingdom (12 rides/attractions, for those of us who stayed all day). This was the only day we didn’t rope drop: we started with a Chef Mickey’s breakfast, and parked at Contemporary all day, so we could walk. We still got to MK early, around 8:50am. We hadn’t been to Tomorrowland yet, so we did Buzz (DAS), Carousel of Progress, and Tomorrowland Speedway (using DAS). People Mover was down, so we went over to Philharmagic and Little Mermaid, then back down to People Mover, then Laugh Floor (our one DAS return time this day). We then went over to repeat Haunted Mansion (my kids’ favorite from Monday) and Tom Sawyer’s Island (which they adored) before going to CRT for a late lunch. CRT’s food was very good-- it didn’t make my top choices simply because it was very pricey for what it was, but still a very solid choice, and good experience.
We split up then-- my husband took one kiddo over to Tiki Room, then back to the hotel for a break, while I took the other one to Pirates again. Kiddo then decided they wanted to do Splash AND Space-- which they had been adamantly opposed to doing whenever I had asked before. This is my kiddo with the DAS, so we used that for both, and played in the play space outside Splash before then. My husband and other son got back in time to get us a spot for the fireworks in the hub-- a first for all of us to see them at the castle! Enchantment was whatever, but the fireworks were iconic and beautiful. Best snacks for the day: SH chicken waffle, and Cheshire cattail. Both get high marks!
Saturday the 19th was a rest day. Topolino’s breakfast-- very good!!-- and then back to AoA to do some intentional packing, then check out, and have a time of Jedi Training with Justin Aldridge, from Ear for Each Other. He was wonderful with my special needs kids; highly, highly recommend. Then we checked out (got balloons deflated at front desk of AoA), and went over to Disney Springs one final time. This time, we managed to get to World of Disney, Goofy’s Candy Shop, and Gideon’s. Cookies live up to the hype; we’re still enjoying them. Then, boys built mini-figurines at the Lego store. I would highly recommend a reservation-- we avoided a 2+ hr virtual queue, just to get into the store.
We left DS, and checked into Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House. We hit up the arcade and pool, then cleaned up in time for our dinner reservation at Boma. Boma was also very, very good. The soups and zebra domes were especially yummy! We also ate here the next morning just before leaving for the airport for our return flight.
Sunday the 20th was just that: breakfast at Boma (hooray for the bread pudding and those pecan rolls!!), and our trip home.
Again, please feel free to ask me any questions you might have!! Happy to pass along anything I picked up along the way, and thanks once again to all of you for all of the tips!