Trip report in pictures - Jan 22-Feb 1/ 2020

Let me begin by saying that I was never planning to do a trip report and do not have much experience with it. But yesterday, I was going through our album from winter trip and the nostalgia hit me hard. I decided to share some pictures with you and re-live our now 3-month old trip again.

Day 0. Arrival.

DD7, DS12 and I woke up at 4 am to catch the 7:30 flight and arrive at MCO at 10:30 am. DH dropped us off at the airport as he was not joining us this time. The travel was uneventful, except for the 1-hour long border security line before boarding the plane (we have US border set-up in Toronto airport as strange as it may sound). We saw many folks being late for their flights and were glad to arrive with plenty of time to spare.

Walked right on the Magical Express upon arrival and the bus departed soon. Let the magic begin! We were at ASMovies just before noon, picked-up our magic bands and headed to Disney Springs. Polite Pig for lunch was a big hit.

After browsing Lego and Star Wars stores and building two light sabers, we headed to the VOID. I was worried that DD7 will not be allowed because of her age, but it wasn’t a problem as long as she met the height requirements. I never experienced VR before and it honestly blew my mind! This photo is actually from our last day, as we unanimously decided to experience it again before we leave.

After the VOID we had a bit of time before the dinner at Raglan Road, so we browsed the shops a bit more and finished the day with the wonderful dinner and music.

Off to MK tomorrow.


What a great first day! Thank you for sharing !

Day 1. Magic Kingdom

Early start and arrival to the Main Street for the morning show. Bippity boppity boo! We head to meet the favourite princesses and DD7 is a bit nervous, but the worries go away after Rapunzel’s hug.

IASW next (I need this song in my head!) FPP for Haunted Mansion followed by the first run of the Liberty Belle.

Next FPP is for BTMR – our first ride (it was closed for refurbishment during the first visit in 2016). Super fun!

At this point DD7 is a bit moody and demands chocolate ice cream. Any other kind, including proposed Dole Whip or Mickey bar will not do. We track all the way to the hub and enter Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Two nice ladies go over all the ice cream options very patiently, and DD7 finally selects something with chocolate and sprinkles. Whew! Whining and nearly crying child in, smiling and chatting out. I cannot thank the CMs enough!

After enjoying ice cream and castle view, we now head to adventure land where we have reservation at Skipper Canteen. Another good meal, DS12 is ordering steak again as expected. Glad to have the DDP credits to use for it.

Our third FPP is for Space Mountain, long awaited DS12 favourite. The strange thing is that it is much wilder and faster than I remember from three years ago. I was a little worried how DD7 will handle it, but she proves to be a dare devil.

4th FPP for Buzz and Speedway while we wait for it ends the first half of the day.
Back to resort for some pool time. As cold as it was, we still were able to enjoy our fav resort activity on most days.

Back to MK to watch fireworks, two more FPPs (Mermaid and Dumbo) and Barnstormer. Barnstormer seems faster and wilder for me too. Oh well, maybe I am just getting older…

We are lucky to get a wonderful spot for HEA - bridge leading to Tomorrow land, right before the roped off area, so no-one is in front of us. Also lucky that after the show, the walk is open between Tomorrowland and the entrance behind the Main street buildings.

Looking back, I am happy we watched the fireworks on day one. We were getting more and more tired as the trip progressed and would not have desire to stay late on another day.

Off to Epcot tomorrow.


Day 2. Epcot

The plan was to start the day with Nemo ride and explore the Sea pavilion, but kids were more interested in riding Mission Space, so we headed there. Didn’t dare the Orange version, but the green was exiting enough.

Headed to use our Soaring and Living with the Land fast passes after that and watched the new Awesome Planet movie in between. I know this new film gets good reviews, but it did not connect with me for some reason. Soaring and LWTL were great as always, thought.

After the third fpp for Mission Space (green again), lunch at Coral Reef. It was good, we were seated right next to the aquarium, but it was not the highlight of the day.

What was the highlight is the Agent Ps scavenger hunt game. We helped Agent P in UK and Japan and explored other countries on the way. Morocco pavilion with all the mosaics is just amazing!

At this point it was starting to rain, so we took the boat across the lake and spent the evening at the resort with pool time when the rain cleared.

Day 3. Animal Kingdom

Extra Magic Hours had us started at the Navi River. This was the first for all of us, and I must say this ride exceeded my expectations. I hear a lot of complaints about how short this ride is and how there is not much other than shaman to look at. Not for us! DS12 declared it his favourite dark ride and I really enjoyed all the theming in the queue, sounds, visuals which come together harmoniously. Ok, enough about Navi.

We headed to Expedition Everest next and rode it twice just before the crowds started to build.

Maharajah trek was next, but we waited a bit for it to open at 10 am enjoying the gibbons swinging on the ropes. CMs looking after the gibbons explained the difference between apes and monkeys: monkeys have the tails and apes do not. Who knew?

Maharajah Trek had mixed reviews among my kids: DS12 did not want to spend any time looking at animals when he could have ridden EE a few more times, but DD7 did not want to leave and spent too much time (according to her brother) in this ‘zoo’. Eventually, we left to preserve family piece and headed to use our next fpp. Dinosaur was so fun! Again, the first ride for us and my worries about DD7 being scared did not materialize.

After some running around the Boneyard, we had lunch at Flame Tree BBQ, and explored the trails near the Tree of Life before heading back to resort for some pool time.

This is were I want to mention how great the longer trips are. We spent a good 40-45 minutes finding the various animals in tree carvings and did not worry about the time. At all.

We ended the day with our first FoP. What can I say – great ride, flying banshee was surreal. One tiny let down for me is that when you wear 3D glasses on top of your regular ones, they tend to slip and distort the image a bit. This is why I am not a big fan of 3D rides. FoP was good though.

For dinner we headed to Sanaa and I can confirm, the bread service is as good as everyone is raving about. The main course of pork with apricots and pap was also wonderful.


Yes! Someone else who appreciates Navi as much as we do!

DH and I count it a must do. He enjoys the thrill rides but always seems more concerned with whether or not I’ve included Navi, the boat ride in Mexico, and It’s a Small World in our itinerary. The boat rides are his favorites. He finds them relaxing.

FoP is great according to everyone else in my family who can ride, but I cannot. So I’m always thankful that something was built to share Pandora with those of us who cannot handle the 3D/Screen rides.


It’s a Small World is also a must do for us!

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Day 4. Hollywood Studios

This is the day DS12 waited for with great hopes and excitement. I was waiting for this day with trepidation. The alarm went off at 5 am and my troops were at the bus stop just before 6. We were walking into HS at 6:30 and my anxiety started to go down – step one complete, we are here on time. Then, 7 am strikes – I am getting group 111 to huge disappointment of my son and frankly myself too.

We still have two more days to give it another try and decide to make the most of being in the park. We head to Galaxy Edge first to explore and have breakfast. The morning is extremely cold and we move on to Launch Bay to warm up. Meet BB8 with no wait before encountering Darth Vader himself.

Next is the Tower of Terror FPP. For me, the sign of a truly scary ride is when you afraid to ride it the second time more than the first. While DD7 is happily chatting approaching the elevator, DS and myself are gathering our courage.

After ToT we have nothing to do (we ended up skipping all the show fast passes). We head back to Galaxy Edge to explore some more. Then we join the MF line.

When the role cards are distributed the 3 girls in front of us do not want to pilot. My hand raises immediately – we get two pilots! This ride is sooooo fun! It is also bumpier than I expected.

Lunch and Docking Bay next followed by Indiana Jones show.

Now we officially run out of things to do and head to Disney Springs where we have a 5:30 pm T-Rex reservation. This place does not get much love, but we have been here twice and the dinner was relaxing and yummy on both occasions. Perhaps it is our love for BBQ, perhaps it is the fact that we were seated at the very back in a quieter room. Don’t know.

While enjoying our meso-bones, we keep an eye on the BG count. It is starting to look promising and now reaches 100. We head back to the bus station with only three groups before ours. No buses directly to HS, so we take one to Riviera and than hop on Skyliner (wonderfully convenient, but approach to the station can qualify as a thrill ride). While on the bus, our BG is called, just one hour before park closure!!! We made it with 20 minutes to spare!

Exiting the empty park and cannot believe that today is the EMH night with almost two hours still open for resort guests. We are extremely tired to take advantage of this and tomorrow is the PPO breakfast at Epcot, so we hurry back to our room.

Day 5. Epcot

This was rather relaxing day after yesterday’s epic adventure. We met all the princesses at Akershus and enjoyed smoked salmon and herring for breakfast.

Hopped on the first Frozen boat right after. We finally dared to get on the Orange version of MS. It is funny how DD7 was not affected at all and headed straight to the playground, but DS12 and myself needed a few minutes to sit down and gather ourselves. But it wasn’t too bad.

We spent some time catching water near Imagination pavilion, enjoyed the chalk art and rode Soaring and SE before taking the afternoon break.

For dinner we returned to Epcot and celebrated Octoberfest in Biergarten.

Agent P needed our help in China this time.

We finished the day by meeting Anna and Elsa. DD7 drew pictures for all the characters she wanted to meet and had fun chatting with Anna about this.


What great pictures! That was a great plan to go to Launch Bay early in the cold!

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So, what did you think of Rise of the Resistance? I’m glad it worked out for you!

It is hard to describe. I think RotR should be judged as an ‘experience’, not simply a ride. The actual ride is impressive, but mostly because of the surrounding movie-like sets. I would not put the ride itself in my top three.

However, combined with elaborated queue, two pre-shows, amazing cast members (this is spot-on term for this attraction. CMs are exactly that, playing their roles wonderfully) as a whole experience RotR is the top attraction, of any I have seen.


Day 6. Hollywood Studios

Another HS day and early start. When planning the trip, I did not expect us to wake up at 5 am for three days, but kids surprised me with their willingness to wake up at this hour. We arrived at HS around 6:40 am and made our way to the Toy Story Land rope drop location.

7 am and we get BG 74 this time – not a back-up! We are ecstatic! We are heading to TSM. Even though the line starts outside the entrance, we keep moving and board in about 10 minutes. Breakfast at Woody’s next – those potato barrels are good!

When I looked at this photo today, I was puzzled when were we in TSL after dark? Then I realized it was before the sunrise lol !

AS2 is next, the line is 25 minutes long at this point, but we want to ride it. After some exploring of GE and tasting blue and green milk, we head to our first fpp of the day – Star Tours. Not a new ride, but feels new to me with the Rise of Skywalker video.

The stand by line is not too long, so DS12 decides to ride one more time, while DD7 and I are meeting Olaf.

We skip the Mermaid show we had fpp for (as well as Beauty and the Beast and Frozen on other days) – these FPP tiers were a joke, I am glad it was changed later.

We have lunch at Ronto Roasters. Gee the details in this place are amazing!

FPP for Slinky next.
And voila our BG is called. We enter the RotR queue, walking slow for about 10 minutes and than the movement stops. 40 long minutes we are staying/sitting in the same spot. CMs are giving out water, chips and bananas :blush:. Eventually we start moving again and finish the ride after an hour-long wait.

The rest of the day we spent at the resort as I had to do some work remotely (oh horror) and finish the evening with dinner at Boma. I had great expectations for this place, but it did not quite live up to them. I guess I expected wider variety of ethnic foods, but the selections were toned down somewhat. Still very enjoyable meal.

Day 7. Animal Kingdom

We will remember this day as our epic Everest climb. We were in the park before rope drop.

As soon as the rope dropped, we speed walked to EE. My plan was to ride it twice, but we kept circling through almost empty line.

I am not prone to motion sickness, but after 6 rides was seriously nauseous and glad that our FoP time has already started. I happily hurried the kids away from EE.

After FoP and Pongu Lumpia rolls (it is now my favourite snack in WDW), we headed to the safari. So nice to sit back, relax and observe the animals!

Next is the Tusker House lunch. This was the longest wait to check-in, but I was secretly glad because we waited outside and enjoyed Harambe musicians. Harambe is probably my favourite spot in WDW. It feels authentic.

Tusker House surprised me with great food selection. In the Boma vs. TH comparison, TH came on top for me. Character interactions were also great.

We watched FOTLK and left for the afternoon break.

We had the third FPP in the evening, which I have done on purpose as an excuse to see Pandora at night. The fpp was for Expedition Everest. We used it and… because the line was only 15 min, rode it again. At this point, we only needed two more rides to reach nice and round 10 in a day. So we did.

The ROL show just started and we glimpsed at it partly from the ride and partly when leaving for Pandora. I have never seen this show in full, perhaps next time…

Pandora at night is truly magical.

And guess what was waiting for us in the room?


Day 8. Magic Kingdom

This morning we waited for the bus about an hour in the rain. This was the biggest hiccup of the trip and set the mood for the morning. When we finally arrived to MK it was already open. DD7 and I went to meet Ariel, DS12 did not want to waste time on this and headed to Tomorrowland Speedway. To my surprise, there was no line at the grotto and DD7 perked up after meeting her favourite princess.

TS, on the other hand, already had 25 min wait. We finally saw DS12 approaching the boarding area and off he went driving like a grown up :laughing:

Next was the Space Mountain for DS12 and face paint for his sister.

DD7 and I watched Enchanted Tales with Belle while DS12 waited outside. He maintained he does not want to see any shows or meet princesses. I cannot blame him, ETWB did not impress me either, except for the mirror in the pre-show room.

We walked to Peter Pan and attempted to lift the sword on the way.

Enjoyed our lunch at Columbia Harbour House and rode the BTMRR. Our gloomy mood thankfully disappeared by that point. We took the raft to the Tom Sawyer Island and spent good chunk of the day there.

We explored the caves and run through barrel bridge before heading to the fort. It is amazing how you can find animatronics even at the children playground! Escape tunnels are also remarkable.

My kids played two rounds of checkers in the middle of the busiest theme park and I enjoyed tranquility!

We explored some more before heading to the Adventureland for some pirate treasure hunt.

This was another big hit for us. After finding the treasures and enjoying the deserved reward in the form of PotC, we headed out of MK and took the boat to WL for the dinner at Artist Point.

We probably enjoyed the wait in the lobby by the fire more than the meal itself. The food was decent, but the whole experience felt super rushed. The main course was brought when we were half-way through appetizers and the desert showed up immediately after we started on the main. Perhaps it is my expectations, we like to take time and chat during dinner and we certainly were not encouraged to do so here.

Nevertheless, the character interactions were hilarious and we still had good time.

DD7 received royal ascent for her Dark Fairy face paint.


Day 9. Hollywood Studios

This was our last day in HS and last attempt at BG. This time I have entrusted DS12 with the task and was not wrong. He got us BG 21. Wow! I should have let him do this from the beginning.

We headed to Jedi training registration next. This was not in The Plan and I did not research the Jedi training at all (it never occurred to me that DD7 could be interested). But, on our previous HS day, she saw the show and was determined to get on stage. I looked-up all the necessary information (thanks Touring Plans Forum!) and we successfully signed up for the afternoon.

Soon after our boarding group was called and after joining the resistance, we left the park to return by lunch time.

The Jedi training was a big success.

We rode Millennium Falcon once again, this time as engineers and a gunner. I would much prefer to just sit back and watch instead of participating in the action, but DS12 insisted that pressing the buttons was the best part, he felt like being on the Falcon crew.

We didn’t do much the rest of the day, explored Galaxy Edge some more, rode Slinky, watched Star Wars Galactic Spectacular and enjoyed GE at night.

Day 10. Disney Springs / Magic Kingdom

Our last park day and the only morning we allowed ourselves to sleep in a bit. Nevertheless, we arrived to DS by 10 am in time for the Void to open. It was as much fun the second time around.

Then we strolled back to the buses and rode to Fort Wilderness for our brunch at Trail’s End. Very enjoyable and relaxing start of the day. DS12 even commented on how we should have a slow start for a day or two next time we are here.

Boat to MK in time for the parade.

Country Bears and some more pirate treasure hunt followed. The Country Bears are hilarious! I kept happily grinning the entire show.

We rode Space Mountain, 7 Dwarfs Train and concluded our last park day with free popcorn (‘it is on Mickey’ the CM said) and my kids learned the concept of pixie dust.

Day 11, February 2. We took ME to MCO which was operating as normal. However, when we arrived to Toronto, all airport personnel were wearing masks and gloves. Such a harsh return to reality…

A few days before that my son asked what is coronavirus and should we be worried. I replied ‘ah, it’s only in China, it does not concern us at all!’ If I only knew :sleepy:

Now I feel very lucky to time the trip just before the pandemic started. We will be back. One day…


I have enjoyed your trip report so much! Thank you for sharing.

Your DD7’s pictures at Jedi Training are priceless.

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Thank you for following along!

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