First things first: thank you so much for helping me plan our trip!! Your advice was great!!!
Traveling party is me and my DD10 meeting up with my parents (Dad 77 Mom 71) We left the house at 4:45am on Sunday. Nothing is quite as great as waking up your kid by saying “it’s time to go to Disney!!!” I have a bit of anxiety so even though I knew I had packed the itinerary and taken pictures with my phone I almost pulled over half a dozen times to check the bag one last time!!! Luckily the airport is close by because I got all sorts of confused in the parking garage but my confusion saved us $20 so not all was lost! I checked for the paperwork when we got out of the car and of course It was right where I had packed it! Laughed at the “check yourself in and check your own bag” at Southwest…really?!? It made it faster I think but just struck me as funny. Through security quickly and grabbed breakfast (theres a theme here…we love taking a break from home cooking!). Then ran into one of our favorite people!!! Seemed like a good omen. Then laughed as we watched a bunch of people run to their flight at the very last second while we ate breakfast…I couldn’t live like that but there were at least 5 different parties on one flight that barely made it! I couldn’t cut it that close! Flight attendants were really funny, read a book and played UNO with my sweetie pie.
Arrived at MCO right on time, took a picture with Goofy outside the Disney Store (let the nostalgia begin…the first time she was 5 with no front teeth now she is 10!!!).
Off to The Magical Express! the thrill of the magic band lighting up never gets old…CM calling my kid “princess” does!!! She hates it but never says anything she knows they are trying to be nice. It was one of our longest lines but I still think best option for us. Finally off we went!!! Got a text that my parents room was ready 5122 and then a text from them that they were there!!! We hadn’t seen them in a month so our eyes were on them not Jambo House when we first arrived! Lots of hugs!
I had hit STOP when their room text came through which turned off my room alert. Our room wasn’t ready but they offered to put us in a different room. I said sure until we went upstairs!!! My parents were right on the Ostrich Trail! We were across the hall so I went back down and asked if it would be possible to be next to them…NO PROBLEM!!! This is not something I would normally do but because it is Disney I took the chance.
Back upstairs into room 5120 and within 10 minutes a giraffe was walking by!!! We named him George (I have no idea why) then he was joined by 2 more!!! This was a theme of the week just marveling at the giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and the funny bird that looks like a little old man with blue golashes (a stork I think).
Made some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we were off to the pool!!! So gorgeous both the pool and AKL! Every detail was just incredible! The iron work, the lighting made to look like torches. The only issue we had was my Dad’s eyes aren’t great and the lobby being so dark was tricky for him.
It was mostly overcast but the water was nice my kid was in heaven! My mom even went down the water slide! We almost got her to do the hula hoop contest! My Dad had a nice nap! Then showers and off to Disney Springs!
We found the buses to be very convenient the only complaint was the distance from the lobby to the bus stop. It was hard for my Dad who refuses to use a scooter or wheelchair…he holds our hands which is nice for us but harder for him. It was st Patrick’s day so we were even happier not to be driving. We went to eat at Homecomin’, go to Pele Soccer, and take a peek at Raglan Road. Mission accomplished! Homecomin was amazing!!! Before the food came my mom said “ok I think we should all try each other’s food” we laughed until we cried as she had ordered a SALAD!!! She is known for this…doesn’t order a dessert but eats everyone else’s!!! My Dad had the fried chicken dinner and was so happy with it, DD had chicken tenders with 2 sides of mashed potatoes (loved it), I had the fried chicken sliders on drop biscuits…aMAZiNg!!! They come drizzled with some type of spicy honey incredible! I ordered the appetizer thinking I would be able to get dessert but I couldn’t even finish them or have dessert!!! We were all sooooo full!!! I also had the peach sangria which was huge and delicious!!! also the hero for bringing everyone’s rain gear not only to Florida but to dinner! It was cold and drizzling but we were warm and happy! Off to Pele Soccer where we paid way too much for soccer jerseys for my nephews. It was the only thing they wanted but next time we will order them from Amazon! It was a fun time though because we had to call them from the store because we couldn’t remember who played for what team!! No dancers outside at Raglan Road because of the rain but we were ready to go back anyway! Caught the bus and off to bed around 8pm!
Next up Lots of food!!!
7:30 breakfast at Boma!!! It was terrific!!! The scrambled eggs with goat cheese and chives was my favorite! Tried all the savory options and they were really good…African corned beef hash, some type of similar dish, grits/porridge was great, fried plantains, pickled ginger, my parents did the omelet station, my daughter had mickey waffles, fruit, and yogurt. Coffee was good and so was the jungle juice! I was happy with the amount of options considering the price and was glad to do it once but it confirmed for us that we are happy to eat breakfast in our room and spend the money on other things!
Then caught the bus to Epcot! Park opened at 9 we were there by 8:45. Security longer than normal I think because of what happened in New Zealand. Usually they just look at all our ziplock bags this time they had us open each one. SE was our first FP we loved it!, next up the seas really nice…no one wanted to look through the aquarium except me! Then LWTL which we all enjoyed (the infrastructure at Disney is amazing!). Then DD and I had a FP for Soarin and loved it!!! Incredible!!! Then imagination which we all liked. off to China to see the show then my mom and DD (who switched MB with my Dad) went to their FEA FP (I really wanted to do this but split the FP’s so my kid could do both and my mom is afraid of heights!). My Dad and I followed behind them enjoying all the topiaries and marveling at the food kiosks. It was really pleasant overcast, cool, didn’t feel crowded.
Then to Tutto Italia for lunch…calamari, spaghetti and meatballs, caprese panini, and mozzarella sticks…it was all solid but we have really good Italian restaurants at home and it was nothing special. The break was important for my Dad and he liked his spaghetti and meatballs so it was a win. The mozzarella was delicious!
My mom and DD raced off to Soarin as I had scored a FP on the way to lunch and my Dad and I followed! We had a nice time walking around everything looks so beautiful. Scored another Soarin FP so my mom and I rode again while DD and my Dad found a table to rest. Then my parents went back to see England and Germany while DD had a mickey bar by the jumping fountains! My DD was done at this point so we just stayed there and enjoyed the fountains! It was so nice to just have quiet time with her. There are times my heart hurts with love for her. She’s growing up so fast. How ten years has gone by I just don’t know! When my parents came back we decided it was time to leave (even though I finally scored a TT FP!!!) it wasn’t until 6:40 and no one was interested! We left at 3pm.
I was able to change our Sanaa reservation to 6:30 so to the pool we went! So much fun!!!
Thankfully there is a shuttle to Sanaa so we didn’t have to walk back to the bus stop. The Kidani lobby is also beautiful! We checked in and went off to the Savanah with our pager. Nice fire and rocking chairs! Something spooked the animals so suddenly they all came running. It was amazing!!! Can’t believe how much we loved AKL. It was relaxing, amazing, and incredible. Ok this meal was great!!! Bread service to start, my Dad and I got the Goan Seafood delicious! DD had the butter chicken (great) and fruit, my mom had a salad with white raisins that she devoured! Then dessert…DD got the Pumba thing with Oreos and gummy worms, my Dad and I shared the triple chocolate mousse…we couldn’t finish it (even with my mom’s help) but it was FANTASTIC!!! Back to Jambo House and off to bed!
MK day!!! 7am wake up call for our 8am BOG PPO. Didn’t want to use a FP for 7DMT so even though EMM day hoping for the best! First battle of the day was to get my Dad to wear the golashes we brought for him! Basically forced the issue because he has diabetes and wet shoes would have been a disaster (he ended up in the ICU a few years ago when he rode every roller coaster which dislodged his multiple kidney stones and he ended up in kidney failure). Got them on him, then convinced my mom to wear hers, DD and I had our Keens, I lost the battle of the rain pants but you can’t win them all!! Then off to the bus stop with our actual rain coats!
Hit the MK by 7:50 and made it to BOG by 8:05. My Dad was already sooo happy with his golashes! It was great!! Walking though a near empty park was wonderful. We had pre-ordered which was so easy. The system they have in place for food delivery with the trolleys was so cool! I could have watched them all day. We ate in the main dining room just because it was less walking but my mom and I enjoyed touring all the rooms. My favorite was the library. DD and I had the Masters cupcake, mom had the oatmeal and loved it, my Dad had the quiche and said it was great! We asked to just share one pastry service because we didn’t feel like wasting that much food. One was enough for 4 of us.
Kate and I took off at 8:45 to get in line for 7DMT. They did hold us until 9am but we got right on and when we came out the line was already crazy!!! Off to Under the Sea which everyone loved (I love walking though an empty queue) then PP FP, then IASW (no FP?! my mom says I tell her not to worry) on and off in no time and fan favorite! Then my DD and dad switch bands and she and my mom go ride BTMR with FP, then she and I ride Splash with FP (my parents stood in the rain so they could watch us go down the drop), then we ducked into Columbia House for coffee and hot chocolate while we waited 15 minutes for our HM FP. HM was so much fun! My Dad is such a kid and even agreed to do the magic shot! We caught the muppets after that. So funny! My mom and I finally got to go into the christmas shoppe! The nicest little old lady straight out of central casting waited on us!!! After that my Dad and DD were ready to head back (my mom and I almost sent them by themselves!). Caught the bus back to AKL. My parents were leaving after lunch so nap for Dad, arcade for my mom and DD. I watched the animals and read my book. Tearful goodbye…we miss them when they go to Florida for a month and a half but we had a lot of fun!!!
DD and I hit the arcade, made some pressed pennies, just missed face painting, and half heartedly tried to rest. Got a hamburger and falafel bites from Mara (both were good) and then off to MK for 5pm. We took my parents magic bands with us to see if we could use them for fastpasses even without them with us (it worked!). We rode FP until 7:45 with the modify trick and extra magic bands. JC, IASW, BTMR, Splash, barnstormer, and people mover. Even snagged 2 fast passes for SM after the fireworks!!! Then it was time for the HEA dessert party!! This was a surprise for my girl!!! It was great!!! We got a tour of the desserts which all looked amazing and had our own reserved table. I Loved the cheeseburger egg rolls with special sauce, the pineapple dessert, the mickey pushpop, ooey, gooey dessert with ice cream, and the cheesecake brownie, DD loved the choc covered stawberrie, the fruit, the cupcake with the castle picture on white chocolate, the s’more station, the mickey pushpop. We both had water with a splash of juice and neither of us finished everything…it was way too much food we just had bites of most of it but it felt like such a decadent splurge!!! We’ve never done anything like it! Then they led us over to the garden viewing area!!! We went straight to the back left corner and sat right against the fence and stretched out. We spent our time people watching and laughing. It was worth every penny! I hate crowds and this was great! We were able to stretch out and relax until the fireworks started. Then we stood to watch the show which was incredible!!! I might have gotten teary-eyed! This is what I had waited for fireworks at MK with my girl!
Then off to SM which hooray my girl loved!!! We were going to ride a third time but we had closed the park!!! She bought an astronaut Mickey instead! (My Dad had given her $20 to buy whatever she wanted). So cute!!! Then walked to the bus and collapsed into bed!
Rest day and moving to universal for our last night. I read on the balcony and packed, Kate woke up around 9. Had breakfast, hit the gift shop (I got a mug and a little carved giraffe and Kate got a pressed penny holder and a light up pen). We both decided we could find the tshirts on sale at some point. Then we hit the pool!!! It was a beautiful sunny day!!! We swam until the last possible second! It was really hard to leave AKL what an incredible place. I hope to come back!
Quick Transpotation was the company we used through MVT (I booked the universal part of the vacation through them for a discount). Our driver was kind and full of universal tips. We stayed at the Royal Pacific for the express pass and it was the cheapest. Still crazy expensive and a let down after AKL. It was beautiful and fine but the room was meh and no balcony…I hate being trapped inside. We were still in our bathing suits so we dropped the backpacks (we sent the larger backpack with my parents because they will be home next week and are driving) and hit the pool. Thankfully Kate met some kids so I didn’t have to go in! It was just right dry in a chair with my book!
After a few hours we showered and went to Cowfish…we ended up only getting sushi and it was great!!! We had planned on pool hopping this day and exploring some of the other hotels but Kate was done so we went back to the room and went to bed early. Watching TV on a big screen TV in bed was a novelty for both of us! My kid is in bed and asleep every night by 8 every night so the late night and early wake ups took their toll even though we had plenty of down time. For me it felt right to honor that and just be done when she was. For us the point was having fun together. There were times when I was tempted to push/cajole but managed to stop myself!
7:15 wake up to hit early entry at Universal. We had park to park tickets and Express Pass through the hotel. The best part of universal was being able to walk everywhere! It was amazing 10 minutes from our room to park entrance. We went straight to Diagon Alley and rode the Escape from Gringotts. The land was cool, the ride was cool but it felt a bit lazy compared to Disney. The ride operators did some weird half hearted clapping thing when the cars returned. We had planned to buy a wand to do the spells but the lines were already long to buy the wands and to do the spells…in the end we decided not to. Not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that my kid is pretty practical. Went to the 3 Brromsticks for butter beer no line as compared to the Butterbeer stand which had a long line. I loved the hot butterbeeer…Kate thought the cold one was too sweet!! Loved the shops! And just wandering around. Movies come to life. Then we rode the Hogwarts Express what a thrill!!! to see the knight bus and Grimauld Place and Kreacher at the window! He scared me even though I was watching for him! Oh the castle!!! Just pinch me! The queue was cool, the ride was fun! Nothing felt like we wanted to do it again though I don’t think I’m a fan of the screens I like an actual ride. The Hippogriff ride was fun. We again just took in the atmosphere then over to Suess landing where we rode the Trolley which was really fun then to Dispicable Me which we both liked. We had more on our list but decided to call it a day…a very expensive day. Maybe if my daughter had been up for riding Rip Roaring Rocket or the Hulk it would have seemed more worth the cost or if we had stayed longer and could have taken advantage of but 2 get 2 days but not at that hotel. Although the EP allowed us to at least not wait. My kid chose the pool over doing the 2 flume rides.
We did stop at Toothsome on the way back for totchos which were good and the “may contain nuts” sundae which was incredible! We shared both. Then grabbed the bags at the hotel and hit the pool until 5. The pool was wonderful and warm and when I was ready to get out there were plenty of kids for Kate to play with. Only mistake here was I thought we could get into the gym to use the showers but our keys no longer worked so instead we washed up in a regular bathroom and changed into our clothes to go go home. Our ride came at 5:30 and we were at the airport for 6:10. Security was slow even for MCO and had just enough time for a piece of pizza before our 8pm flight.
We prefer Disney to Universal but glad to see Harry Potter World. Would suggest doing it first.
Flower and Garden is beautiful. The topiaries are stunning. It didn’t feel crowded at all maybe because of the overcast skies.
Missed doing Animal Kingdom.
Disney Springs is not our cup of tea but Homecomin was incredible!!!
AKL is amazing!!!
Glad to have real rain gear because we enjoyed the park and were comfortable!
More pool time!!!
I think next time we will do DAH events and spend the days sleeping in and enjoying the resorts. I thought I had scheduled enough resort time but we didn’t get to an 1/8th of the activities! This is a theme for us…we love the resort time!
Can’t believe we are home:joy: I decided I need to live in Orlando for a year someday and get an AP or even work for Disney someday. The only reason I was glad to come home was to see the dog!!! It was a magical, incredible trip!!!