I have always intended to do a trip report, and I am finally following through. Myself, DH, and our DDs (5.5 y/o twins), decided to do a last minute trip to WDW over Labor Day weekend. This is unusual for me, as I normally plan my Disney trips like the D-Day landings, but I just really needed a vacation.
Day 1 – Flew SW super early from STL. As usual, flight was on time and the staff excellent. The flight was as full as it could be, but SW is not selling middle seats until 10/31. I felt safe, it was clearly a recently cleaned plane, and everyone had to wear masks. They enforced this policy though no one tried to break the rules. Our bags were waiting for us by the time we got down to luggage claim at MCO, so we headed over to DME. We were told it could take 60 minutes, but we walked on to a waiting bus after approximately 30 seconds. There were 2 (TWO!) other people at the DME bus area waiting. It was eerily quiet. I did online check-in, and by the time we pulled into the parking lot, we were notified our room was ready. This was huge, b/c it meant my kids (read: me) could take a nap and we could unpack and just unwind. We also hit up the pool, which my kids LOVED. They had lifeguards at all exits/entrances to the pool and they made sure there weren’t too many people in the pool area. We had ADRs at Olivia’s at OKW, which was delicious, but gravy and fried chicken aren’t the best options when it is 96 degrees out. Still, I regret nothing.
Day Two – We hit up MK our first full day - Saturday. We got the first bus at 8:15 am from CBR (went to the Old Port Royale stop) and were through security and into the park by 8:35. My DH took one of our DDs to Space Mountain, as she was tall enough. It was entirely too scary for her, scarred her for life, and she will never trust us again. Myself and other DD went to BLSRS, which she loved. So at least we have one DD who still loves us and won’t need extensive therapy. We went on SDMT, PP, and IASW by 10 am. It was very hot, so we left and hit up the CBR pool. It hit capacity so we had to wait 15 mins. to get into the pool. People behind us waited close to an hour. We then headed back to MK and did JC, BTMRR, and Dumbo. We left right around 6:45pm.
Day Three – Epcot day! We rode the Skyliner from Riviera, b/c our room was closer to this stop at CBR, and it is a game changer. Super convenient and fast. I am terrified of heights so every time it stopped, I almost had a panic attack, but other than that, totally wonderful. We entered around 10:30 and headed to Soarin. We were let in, but held in line until it started operating right around 10:50. We then got immediately back in line and rode it again. By the time we left, the Land Pavilion was very crowded. They had to form a line outside because the building itself reached capacity. We went to WS, and got snacks at Refreshment Port. I saw @Pod4Christ! It was around 95 degrees and miserably hot. I saw a man throw-up in his mask, which, if you have not experienced this, you haven’t lived. It was crowded and just ridiculously hot so we left and went back to take a mid-day break. Even the pavilions around WS had lines to get in, so it was just really congested. Skyliner, again, is great for just popping back and forth to resorts. Big storm rolled through, so when we headed back to Epcot post-nap we took a bus. Again, I recommend catching buses at the Old Port Royale stop at CBR. We seemed to have good luck at that one. Ate at Regal Eagle, and it was excellent. We then closed down EP, and proceeded to wait an hour for a bus to CBR. I will never again wait for a bus to CBR at park closing. I will always take a Lyft. Pop Century had at least eight buses come and go in the amount of time it took for us to get one bus to CBR. This was made worse b/c buses have limited seating capacity so for every bus, maybe 15 to 20 people can board. It was a cluster.
Day Three – HS – Got up early, left the room at 8:55am and headed over to the Skyliner. They had at least ten buses just waiting to take people to HS to avoid an obscenely long line for the Skyliner, which was genius. We still opted for Skyliner and got into HS around 9:30am. We did SDD, and then I sat by myself in a small alcove right where SWGE meets TSL to get a BP for ROTR. I got BG 46, did a happy dance, and then heard multiple swear words yelled while others were not so lucky. We did MFSR, ST, and ToT, and ate lunch. BG was called around 12:45 pm and then experienced ROTR. No spoilers, but it is really unlike anything I have ever experienced. It takes theme park attractions to an entirely different level and I am still processing it. We left via Skyliner, took our break/nap, then headed back for 6pm ADRs at Sci-Fi. We ended the day with watching some Mickey shorts and riding MMRR, which is ridiculously fun. Left on the Skyliner.
Day Four – Flight home on SW, which was on time and even got us home early. It was again a full flight (sans middle seats) and I felt safe.
Final thoughts: (1) I cannot stress enough how friendly and welcoming the CMs were at CBR. Each and every CM waved or said hello as we passed. They made my kids feel so special, and to me, that is worth the price of admission. These employees have had to put up with a lot and I greatly appreciate their kindness. (2) We normally stay at Deluxes, and I don’t think we will next time. Paying a premium to be close to a park makes no sense when PH isn’t an option. (3) This was our first trip without a double stroller and I will never go back. We could have accomplished more with a stroller, but instead we let our kids walk and they set the pace. They were so proud of themselves, and honestly, so was I. (4) I hate wearing a mask. I understand the need and we were diligent in wearing them and following the rules. But, not seeing a smile at Disney is depressing. It was obscenely hot and I could feel sweat pooling inside it all day. Taking it off for breaks in relaxation stations felt amazing. Mask enforcement was diligent and CMs were friendly but firm. (5) With the parks closing so early, it is difficult to take a mid-day break. We felt it was more important to take the breaks and have a few enjoyable hours in the parks than skipping it and being miserable. I am glad we did, but it is hard to justify paying full-price for a park ticket when it closes at 7 or 8. (6) There needs to be an area for Transportation on MDE where it shows if the Skyliner is operational. It closes down a lot due to storms but there is no way to be notified when it is back online. So, if you are in the Land Pavilion in Epcot, you have to walk all the way back to IG to see if it is running. (7) I called this report Diet Disney, b/c the whole trip felt like Disney-Lite. It was the same great Disney, but the flavor was a bit off. The parks are less lively, without the Dapper Dans, fireworks, character meets, people of Main Street, cable/trolley cars, stage shows in front of the castle, etc. These are things that just happen around you at Disney that breathe life into the parks. Without them, the parks just do not feel the same.