Fresh back from the World and wanted to share some thoughts while they’re fresh.
We booked at 10-day/9-night trip for myself, DH, & DSs 4&6. DH not a WDW fan, DSs are 'fraidy cats (i.e., we didn’t do Dumbo last time…)
DAY 1: After 3:30 am start, arrived by noon at AoA for Nemo room on August 28th. Met by CM who noted our (rather specific) room requests, and spent time on phone trying to accommodate. It was much easier to just say, building 4 overlooking the Cars area, please. Sounds as though the list of specific room numbers and compass directions were complicated for them to wade through. Rested, swam, ate, had Garden Grocer order (produce and breakfast foods) delivered to room and picked up stroller from Bell Services (Kingdom - always had great luck with them).
DAY 2: Saturday Pre-RD 0800 BOG. Food good, DS tried 7DMT with DH once (never again), and we swapped out all our 7DMT FPPs for the rest of the trip. Did the “right side” of the park, Fantasyland/Tomorrowland with rides and M&Gs (7DMT,HM,PP,Carousel,UTS,Ariel,Minnie/Daisy,Dumbo,WtP,TS,Buzz), back to hotel for rest, Epcot for Coral Reef for supper (amazing food, great server with too many guests to look after) then trapped in the Seas with Nemo for lightening storm. Learned that WDW has 200,000 lightening rods, which still didn’t convince DH or storm-averse DSs that they weren’t on the verge of being zapped. Almost had to be forcibly removed from The Seas by CMs at park closing… lol.
DAY 3: A little late to AK EMH. Great AK day: Safari, Outpost M&G, Conservation Station, FOTLK, Y&Y QS, Nemo, Boneyard, KRR. My kids are the perfect personality for the Conservation Station, but they hated it - huge waste of time. I was the only one interested in watching bat surgery, apparently. Back to hotel for the evening, ordered in Flippers Pizza (which was amazing).
DAY 4: Late start to Typhoon Lagoon. DS6 loved the little kids area but was a little too tall for the slides, which was too bad because he was too afraid of EVERY OTHER slide in the park. After the previous day’s KRR success, took them on Gangplank Falls, and traumatized the little fellers against waterparks forever. Left at 2 pm so had to bus to Epcot then transfer to AoA (Bah). Supper/laundry at AoA, packed up for move the next day.
DAY 5: Packed up by 8 am, Bell Services picked up bags for YC (including backpack of laptops); we went to MK and did rest of Fantasyland and “Left side” of park (PP,WtP,IASW,ETwB,HM,JC,Swiss,Philharmagic). Skipped a lot of things because of the heat/wait/fear (Aladdin, Tiki Room, all coasters). Bus to YC at 2 pm - just too hot to wait the extra hour for the parade. YC was amazing, AND we got exactly what I requested for room “Near lobby, prefer low/first floor, day bed if possible”. Free upgrade to Lagoon View overlooking boardwalk, steps from lobby, it was perfect! Settled in, went to the (TOO AWESOME FOR WORDS) pool. VERY good supper at Captain’s Grill including a (delicious!) grown-up drink with a glowing ice cube. Got Strollers-n-Groceries grocery order from Bell Services (fruit, breaktfast supplies and beer - free delivery with our stroller rental so we decided to get a second delivery mid-trip.)
DAY 6: Boys did Pirate Adventure Cruise from Yacht Club (9:15-11:30). Great time! Only a little more $ than 2 hours of Sandcastle Club. DH and I dashed to Epcot and back in the crazy heat for SOAT/SE but should have just enjoyed the pool and some adult drinks. Relaxed afternoon then Epcot for QS supper, SE (my kids love the play area afterwards). Night swimming at Stormalong Bay cannot be overrated.
DAY 7: MK am EMH. Busy, even through CL2… most of the crowd came from on-site for EMH. (Did WtP, HM,PP,Tink,Railroad,TS,Buzz,MILF). CP brunch was chaos. We were in and out in 35 highly unsatisfyingly rushed minutes, then retreated to hotel at noon. Split up for parent-son “dates” for HS evening. QS for supper, TSMM FPP; DH and DS6 did GMR and watched JTA. DS4 and I to M&Gs, met up at boat back to YC before Frozen Fireworks could terrify our kids. At this point we looked at the last 2 days of our trip and decided to avoid further am EMH crowds, and changed all of our ADRs.
DAY 8: Boat to HS for 0900 RD, signed up for 10:05 JTA, dashed over to TSMM (20 minute posted), it took over 20 minutes and dashed back just in time (phew). JTA a great experience! Crazy heat, so watched Muppetvision 3D, lunch at Sci Fi, FPP TSMM, bought light sabres for the boys, and back to hotel. Swim/rest then supper at San Angel Inn Restaurante in Mexico, followed by DD/DisneyQuest for DH/DS6, while DS4 & I did 3-Caballeros and Agent P China adventure (DS4 a little too young to fully enjoy).
DAY 9: We were beat. Told the boys they could do anything they wanted for the day. Morning in pool. DS6 wanted DisneyQuest. Bus stop attendant told us 25 minutes until next DD bus, so we took a cab for $12.80 from YC. Epcot in the evening for Figment, LWTL, supper at Garden Grill. Where each character came by THREE TIMES, and the food was excellent. Then rode SE and sprinted for IG exit before Illuminations started (fireworks terrify my kids.) Packed up, put kids to bed, and I went for one last swim in Stormalong bay before 7:55 pickup next morning.
P.S. You read correctly people: On Day 9, our Epcot FPP were Figment, SE, and, wait for it, LIVING WITH THE LAND. We’re THOSE people. Bwahahahahah. Because my children would hate all of Soarin’, Test Track, AND Illuminations.
THINGS WE LEARNED:
- The very specific TP room faxes are precise but complicated for some of the room assignment people. Perhaps a more generalized request may be easier to fill?
- If we don’t request specific room numbers, we may end up upgraded (like we were at YC.)
- Leave the parks earlier with little kids. Right before or right after lunch. Really.
- Skip the Conservation station of AK. But don’t skip the Boneyard with kids - especially the hard-to-find Mammoth Excavation on the other side of the bridge! (Awesome PP photographs from there, too!)
- Flippers Pizza Delivery.
- Captain’s Grill at YC is good, affordable, and relaxing.
- If crowds are low, the crowd that goes to a park will be comprised of a lot of on-site guests who flock to EMH. SO if CL 1 or 2, consider going to non-EMH park for even shorter lines.
- Try as we might, our family still doesn’t like CP for brunch/lunch. Too chaotic/rushed.
- We missed Soarin’, TT, Splash, BTMRR, didn’t use half our FPP, didn’t do any of the planned Frozen festivities or singalong, skipped Tom Sawyer Island and HISTK, cancelled half our ADRs last minute, had a packed trip, and still felt like we planned too much stuff given our kids’ ages/temperments. There is a lesson in this for me.
- Split stays are dead easy.
- Buses to DD are awful, and only drop off/pick up at the far opposite end from DisneyQuest.
- Cabs to DD from Epcot resorts are cheap and worthwhile, and will drop you off right in front of DisneyQuest. (CM told me it would be $30, Mears Cab from front of YC was under $13.) Not sure if it was legal/safe for my 50" DS6 to ride without a booster seat. I asked the Cab driver and he thought it was okay, so we went for it. Would probably tote a booster along next time.
- August really is hotter than the sun’s surface at WDW.
- YC is awesome. I love WL ambiance, but YC pool/location wins.
- Garden Grill VERY expensive, but unique with good food and great character interaction; nice to stay seated and not to have to navigate buffet/kids/characters.
- Magic is everywhere. We had a couple of very minor issues (e.g… no housekeeping at YC for 3 days), mentioned at front desk and they were super responsive. Shared a cab to DD with an older couple from and they insisted on paying for it (I might have gotten a little pixie dust in my eye over that one). Friendly CMs and guests were abundant.
- We have two kids on the mild end of the autism spectrum. It’s always a risk to send them up alone for JTA or on a pirate adventure, or to even wait in a line up… we always debate whether we should even attempt these things, but we did, and it went well. People (including CMs) can tell that our kids are a little odd, but there were no meltdowns. We decided against DAS, and although trying at times, with a good TP it ultimately gave us a lot more confidence to keep pushing ourselves as parents, and our kids, out into the world.