Trip Report - November 2022

Hi Touring Plans Family! I thought I would do a very brief trip report of our recent visit to Walt Disney World. I’ll probably add on to this post over the next few days, but for now…let’s get into it!!!

The Who: My fam (DH, DD-16, DS-13, DS-11) + DH’s family (additional 16 peeps)
The When: November 18 - 25
The Where: Split Stay between POFQ and Boardwalk
The Special: Tickets to MVMCP - first time attendance for all!

Let’s start with Table Service Dining:

50s Prime Time - This was our first time eating at 50s Prime Time and I thought it was just okay. The theming was cute, especially given that I saw many of those things in my grandparents’ kitchens growing up. My kids didn’t really get the appeal. Food was good, but nothing noteworthy. I think it will be a one and done for us.

Hoop Dee Doo Review - We had a party of 12 for this event and I was the only one in the group who had attended before. We had three generations represented - six kids between the ages of 7 - 16, their parents and their grandparents. Every single person in the group LOVED this dining experience. I was worried going into it that folks might think it was too much, but everyone really, really enjoyed themselves and agreed they would love to go back again during a future trip. I hope this becomes a Disney tradition for our family!

Garden Grill - In pre-COVID days, breakfast at Garden Grill (especially a pre-park opening breakfast) was a must do! Loved the breakfast food, loved the character interactions, and honestly thought it was a decent value for the experience. This was our first time eating there for dinner and I don’t think we will be going back again. The dinner began after a 30-minute wait to be seated. I don’t think I’ve ever waited that long for a table service reservation, but the entire Land seemed packed that night. I’m wondering if they took too many walk ups or overbooked and expected more people to drop within the 2-hour window? I’m not sure. I think the wait set the tone for the dinner though. After we were seated, it took another 10 minutes for a cast member to stop by our table to take our drink order and then another 10 minutes for us to actually get our drinks. The food was fine - the steak was actually excellent! - but the combination of the long wait for a table and slow service just left a bad impression. Character interactions were good, so that was a positive…still, it wasn’t worth the time or money spent on the experience.

Homecomin’ - This restaurant NEVER disappoints! It was our third time eating there and everything was fabulous. We were seated right away and, even though we had three separate reservations for our party of 16, they were able to seat us at two tables. The service was fast and on point with refills, taking our order, and getting the food to the table (which is critical when you have hangry kids you are managing!). Food was excellent…definitely some of the best (if not the best) chicken I’ve ever eaten. And as a bonus, Homecomin’ is located super close to Gideon’s Bakehouse where I was able to snag several different types of cookies, a pin for my DS-13, and a creepy family t-shirt for me. Win-win-win!!!

Topolino’s - Y’all! This dining experience! We were a full Party of 21 for a late brunch and were split between three reservations. Caught the skyliner from the back of Epcot with no wait and kept the kids busy in the courtyard of Riviera playing games until our tables were ready (minimal wait). Once upstairs in the restaurant, we were able to relax on their outdoor patio and enjoy the beautiful view. The food here was AMAZING!!! I was a little worried about the price - $45/person for breakfast is a little rich for our tastes - but loved the fact that you could order multiple items from the menu. Every dish we had was just excellent. What is with Disney and their bacon? Why can’t I cook bacon like that!?! Service was excellent, character interactions were great - my absolutely favorite Minnie costume! - all in all, I highly recommend this dining experience, especially for breakfast/brunch.

Space 220 Lounge - If you have a chance to get a reservation for either Space 220 Lounge or Space 220 Restaurant, grab it with both hands! What a cool experience this was. The kids and DH had no idea what to expect, and we were all in awe on our trip up to space and when we walked into the restaurant. DH kept saying that he felt like he was sitting in the restaurant on the Starship Enterprise. It was just so cool! The food was also amazing. I had the chicken and waffle - LOVED IT - DSs had pork rib sliders and kids’ chicken strip meal, and DH had calamari and shrip cocktail. Everything we had was excellent! The only downside to this experience was the slow service. I think our server had one too many tables to focus on; however, I would go back to the restuarant in a hot second!

Liberty Tree Tavern - Y’all…this restaurant is a family favorite. We love everything about it - the food, the location, the ease of making a reservation…everything. I lead with this because we are LTT regulars and have probably eaten here more than any other restaurant at WDW. So when it came time to book a place to have Thanksgiving dinner for our Party of 21…this was it! I just knew they would be able to accommodate us - if not all of us, most of us - in the same area. NOT SO! Our group waited over an hour passed our reservation time to be seated and when we were finally taken to tables, they were all over the restaurant. At one point, a hostess came up to our group and said, “I called your name for your party of 5 and no one answered…you need to pay better attention.” What?!? First off, it was so loud in the lobby and very hard to hear. Second, my SIL had been in constant contact with the main hostess about our reservations and our desire to be close together for Thanksgiving dinner…I’m pretty sure the folks working the reservation area knew who were were since we were all in one location in matching shirts and trying to keep the children from eating the furniture. It was a complete mess and we had kids crying because they couldn’t sit with their grandparents and cousins…had we not been so hungry, I would have suggested we leave and go to Casey’s…but it was late in the night and the fireworks were getting closer and I knew crowds in the hub would be a mess. The only positive I can say is that LTT consistently has excellent food and service (once you are seated!) and everyone left with a full belly. It feels petty to complain about our experience, but it was such a letdown from our prior times there and I’m hoping it was just a bad night rather than a indication of a larger issue.

Whew! I think that about covers table service reservations. Stay tuned for more reports about resort stays and touring!


This is a reason for me to never go back to a restaurant. Poor service ruins everything

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And that’s why I am not going back (see above). Glad you had a good time.

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I like a dining focused trip report.


Continuing with the Trip Report…now let’s move to our resort accommodations! We started our trip staying at Port Orleans French Quarter. I absolutely adore this resort! We typically aren’t able to stay there since they only accommodate up to families of 4; however, since we were a larger family with some older kids, we decided to swing a 5th room so that everyone had a place to stay. I’m so glad we did! The size of this resort is just perfect for our family. Love the pools, love the arcade, love the cafe, love the beignets, love having a single bus stop, love being able to catch the boat to Disney Springs, love the under-the-bed storage for luggage, and love how friendly and welcoming the staff is! This resort is just so homey, and is my go-to for trips where I’m not a party of 5!

We stayed at POFQ for four nights and then moved to Boardwalk. This was our first time experiencing a stay at the Boardwalk Inn and I really wanted to love it. Part of the reason why we chose to do a split stay is so that we could experience the upgrade of moving from a moderate to a deluxe resort and have that feeling of starting our trip over again. I think this time it backfired on us a bit. Our stay at POFQ was so lovely that when we moved to Boardwalk and stayed 5-to-a-room, it felt more cramped. This was compounded by the lack of under-the-bed storage at Boardwalk as well. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely resort and it is hard to beat the location - the ability to walk/boat to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, as well as easy access to the Skyliner - but in hindsight, I think I would have rather stayed the full time at POFQ and saved the money for a future trip! I also felt like the staff at POFQ were much kinder and welcoming to our group. Just overall, a more relaxed/family atmosphere. I’m glad we tried Boardwalk at least once, but doubt we will stay there again unless there is an amazing deal!


I stayed at POFQ for the first time in October and loved it. We went to the jazz club Friday night and saw a fantastic band. Love the vibe of the whole resort.


It doesn’t sound petty at all!

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FQ is the best!

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Part 3 of my trip report - Lightning Lanes & BG1

Going into this trip, I was beyond nervous about how to best use Lightning Lanes and how to create a helpful touring plan. Pre-Covid, I was the person who faithfully built a daily touring plan, mapping out when to snag Fast Passes and then completely readjusting my plans after I actually booked my three daily Fast Pass times at the 60-day mark. I loved, LOVED making touring plans and consistently followed them for a smooth touring experience. So this Lightning Lane business - get one at a time, but you don’t know for what time, and you can get more but only when you qualify, and you can qualify in several different ways so you need to keep track, and then be prepared to completely adjust on the fly to go a ride whenever you booked a Lightning Lane…yeah, that whole thing freaked my type-A self out.

Did I make daily touring plans in advance? Yes! Did I use them in the way I had in the past? Not at all. A big THANK YOU goes to @PrincipalTinker who talked me off the ledge before my trip and gave me some advice to build a plan and then as I snagged Lightning Lanes, add those to my plan and then use the Optimize feature in the Touring Plans app while I was in the park. This strategy helped so much once I got the hang of it and learned to trust the app.

The real hero of my Lightning Lane story is @joelbruick and his BG1 creation! Joel, I was amazed at how well BG1 worked compared to my experience when trying to book a LL in MDE. I loved that you were able to allow us to set members of our party in advance. This really helped our party of 21 as we shifted which family members were together each day. I LOVED the expected drop times for LLs. We used that daily and it helped us book LLs for key rides that either had no availability or availability way later in the evening. And I cannot say enough positive things about the virtual queue portion of BG1. Not only was I able to literally get Boarding Group 1 for GotG, but I was also able to get a good virtual queue position for meeting Santa at Disney World. BG1 is easy to use, easy to read, and made our touring run so smoothly. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Finally, a word about showing up late to Lightning Lanes. We took full advantage of showing up late to several Lightning Lanes and only experienced an issue one time - Thanksgiving Day at Haunted Mansion…we showed up over two hours late and the cast member was not having it. She was super grumpy at us too, which I’ve never experienced from an attraction cast member before. I think she must have been having a rough day since the LL for Haunted Mansion was clearly backed up more than usual. We were able to cancel our LL and rebook it for later in the evening. On all other late arrivals, the light turned green and no one said anything to us about arriving late.

All in all, it isn’t too hard to make Genie+ work to your advantage. As a planner, I still prefer the old way of building touring plans around set fast passes, but this new way is manageable, especially with BG1. I am so grateful that we added Genie+ on to our resort package and locked in the $15/person/day. When I saw the rate hit $29/person/day, I about fell out of my chair! However, even at that rate, I think Genie+ would be worth it for HS and MK.

I hope y’all enjoyed this trip report! It was my first time writing one, and I appreciate you reading through everything!


Thanks for all the kind words!


I loved hearing about your trip!


Great report on your LL and BG1 usage! Thanks for sharing your trip with us.