Just back from our latest trip to WDW. Four adults and two children ages 3 and 7. We arrived on 3/19 and had a three bedroom suite at Club Wyndham in the Bonnet Creek Resort area. This cut our lodging cost in more than half and still gave us great access to all the parks and resorts. While we missed staying at a WDW resort, having all of us in one condo was great. Yes, DVC points for a villa might have been possible, but at the time paying upfront for points did not make sense with COVID so prevalent.
Anyway, onto the trip! We purchased 5 day parkhopper tickets and later added the Genie+ option for the entire 5 days. While I was annoyed at the extra cost, having Genie+ made our trip enjoyable. yes getting up at 6:45 and trying to make reservations at 7:00 was stressful, we never waited more than 10 minutes to get on any of the rides/shows we wanted. This was especially helpful the first day at the Kilmamanjaro Safari where we had a 9-10 window and when we arrived there was already an 60 minute in the standby lane. Wow! A great time saver especially with two small children.
Now, we were disappointed that the Frozen ride in Norway went on Genie+ instead of ILL because we really wnated to pick our own time to ride but the first night, when we parkhopped, we did have a good time through Genie+. However the ride broke down and I could never get another time the rest of the week that worked with our schedule. Other than that the system worked very well and like I noted we never had more than a 10 minute wait.
On our last night we were celebrating our grandsons bithday at Narcooses at 5:30 with a 6:30-7:30 window to ride Big Thunder Mountain. We finally left dinner at 7 (after a terrific birthday cake that looked like Mickey’s head) thaks to our wiater, got across the Grand Floridian and rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom arriving at 7:23. It took us 8 minutes from entering the park to speed walk to the Big Thunder Mountain and we were able to enter and were on the ride in less than 10 minutes while the standby lane had more than an hour’s wait. My grandson loved the "game’ of getting to the ride and the ride itself! it would be great to know the walking diatance times from point to point in the parks as it does factor into what you can do while at the park.
We spoke to another family who had also prepurchased Genie+ and they agreed it saved them a great deal of time. They had bought an ILL for Rise fo the Resistance but similarly to us with the Frozen ride, there were technical problems and they never got onto the ride the rest of the week.
We usually ate breakfast and dinner at one of the resorts each day and would leave our car and take the monorail, boats or skyliner to the parks without paying for parking at the park and walking. The only exception was Animal Kingdom. The kids enjoyed the different breakfast and dinner sites and transportion atmospheres and walking to the car was easier than walking from theme park parking lot.
We walked nearly forty miles in six days and usally spent the afternoons back at the pool. We would be back home by 8-8:30 (except the last night, we stayed for the fireworks) and interstingly the last night the resort monorail was down and we were able to walk back to the GF and pick up our car. Not a bad walk and quicker than waiting for a boat.
Finally, know your group, plan carefully, use Genie+, eat early and enjoy!