Trip Report President's Weekend

Recently back from a family trip and was the planner for a group of 10 and was able to get some amazingly helpful information from this site so I thought i’d let you all know some of things that worked.


I was planning for a group of 10. Myself, SO and my 5.5 DD, along with grandparents, a kidless uncle and my sister, BL and their two boys 4.5 and 2.5. To say it took quite a bit of research and organizing to try and make everyone happy is an understatement and would never have been nearly as sucessfull as we were with out this site.

Grandparents paid for a house rental so we were offsite and had to deal with 30 day window for FP. I had checked daily and had a pretty good idea on what would be available and had a pretty good schedule in place with which FP to go for. The final result ended up being pretty damn close. No availability on 7 Dwarfs or FOP which was expected. MK plan was to get FP for JC, PP, and TM (thunder mt). I was correct in my expectations that PP might be hard to get and only had availability late in the day. I did end up having to grab later times for my FP and then modify, modify, modify it down to get to the time slots I wanted. TM I had to break the group into 2 groups of 5 and again modify down to get us all into the time slots we wanted. The earliest I was able to get PP for 4:40 which was fine as we were planning on doing dinner right by it. I did have to get on right at 7:00 am to get the rides/time slots I wanted.

We didn’t have the luxury of being onsite but our house rental had a pool and I have to say being able to take a late night swim after the parks or sit in the hot tub after walking all day while the kids were in bed sleeping was a huge plus. Being able to grab breakfast at the house before the parks was also a nice perk. We were able to work around the missed FP’s with rope drops so I really think this is the way to go for us. All the family’s had their own bathrooms and bedrooms, house had 8 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. It really was fantastic.



We had my DD got to school for half a day as we were pulling for two days before mid winter break. Therefore we arrived later in the day. At the airport I had DD pick out her disney ears so we could save time at the partk. She was so excited to wear them and wore them the rest of the night.

Hit Disney Springs on the way to the house to swap out our online tickets to actual tickets so we wouldn’t have to waste valuable time the day of. The wait to do this was surprisingly around 30 min. SO took DD to grab a fast dinner while I waited to exchange the tickets and then catch up at the end of their dinner to eat myself.

Hindsight I would take the full day off school and get in earlier so we could walk around DS and enjoy the area more.


DAY 2-MAGIC KINGDOM (park level predicted 5, actual 7)

The original level was predicted at a 5 with Sunday expected a 6. I felt Thursday would be the least busy day in the park and would be our busiest day. Also I felt MK would be a nice first day experience for the littles first Disney experience. The family felt I was crazy for wanting to get to the park so early so we broke into 2 groups me, SO, DD and my brother hit the park first to rope drop 7D. We arrived to parking around 7:45 for a 9:00 park open. We flew through parking, boat ride, and ticket booths and had about 45 min to kill while waiting for rope drop. Hindsight we easily could have arrived a good 20 min later. We were lined up straight back from the RD area for 7D and after 20-30 min people were starting to pile in from the street area between Fantasyland and tomorrow land and ended up cutting in and getting in front of us. Next time would aim to wait over there. I was paranoid about where to park the stroller and wasn’t wrong. The rope drop itself was pretty crazy and toward the area right before the line I ran to park the stroller and get back to the group but lost them. I jumped into line and called them trying to figure out where they were, I thought they were about to enter the front by the wait time so I jumped out of line to get to them to only figure out they were behind me. So I jumped back in and waited in place to the side until they caught up to me. It was about 5 mins of peer craziness. We ended up getting off the ride about 9:25 so the RD was worth it but didn’t need to be at the park quite so early. 2nd group arrived a bit later and went to buzz and had a pretty short wait. This was my DD’s first coaster ever so I wasn’t sure what to expect. She said she liked it but was gripping the hand rest in front of her for dear life the entire ride and looked a little shaken. But I do think this is the smoothest of the coasters and a great one to use as a test.

Next was to hit Belle but we decided to wait for the other group to get off Pooh so let my DD kill time by riding the carousel. This was against my better judgement as the other group ended up not wanting to join us for Belle. Wait time was on the plan as 15 min but ended up being almost 50. We were miserable waiting with very little movement. While this was cute for my DD at 5.5 next time we’ll be skipping this one, it’s not worth that long of wait. I really wish I had jumped in the Tiana signing at 15 min as that line never got back down and once we had the rest of the family there wasn’t time to do any princess signings. The other group hit Barnstormers and we all finally met up at Under the Sea. We had a FP for noon for JC so headed over that way to break and eat, do the tree house and then hit our FP. The FP line was much longer than expected but compared to the 1.5 hour wait for stand by it was a great use of a FP.

We had time to kill before our next FP for TM so we hit pirates as the wait said around 30 and didn’t look like it was going down anytime soon. This was the second time the app didn’t really work for me as the wait ended up being 50 min. The kids were getting antsy and my sister had to leave with the 2.5 as he was getting tired and crabby and just couldn’t make it through the long line. Surprisingly the 5.5 and 4.5 both said the ride was scary and didn’t take to it too well.

Next up TM and thought this was little rougher than 7D so wasn’t sure about the two littles but they wanted to go. DD 5.5 said she wanted to go again and DN 4.5 cried through the whole thing. We grabbed some ice cream and found a spot by the bridge to wait for the 3:00 parade. I highly recommend the frontierland area and even better if you can grab a spot in the shaded area by the buildings. We were near the side by Splash and the sun was a killer. Kids loved the parade and it was nice break.

We continued trying to hit the lower wait rides now that it was the peak of day between 12-3 everything had crazy waits. The park was 7 but it felt like an 8/9 to me. Headed to the Tiki room and noticed pirates had a much longer wait. Future note to hit this one right after parade as the crowds seemed to be following the parade towards the other side of the park and pirates was now empty. The plan was to hit country bears while we wait for PP FP to hit but the ride was down.

Group headed to small world to kill time for FP and the wait was listed as 30 min. It ended up taking them over an hour. My DD fell asleep we skipped and headed back to catch the history muppets and so glad we caught it. It was nice to get a nap in for DD and for me to get off my feet for a bit. The show was hilarious. Once DD woke up we were still waiting for the group to finish so DD asked to go on the riverboat. That was the one ride I had not even considered all day but it’s what she wanted and there wasn’t a wait so riverboat it was. It was nice but not something i’d do again. Hindsight we should have used the time to find Merida as that was one DD wanted to see and I didn’t realize this was our only day to do so.

Met back up with the family and headed to PP. My SO and brother had FP for SM so they ran to that while we did PP. I had a bad experience as a kid so I refused to let DD ride this one just yet. Maybe next trip. My brother said it wasn’t at all like he remembered. We then hit Columbia Harbor House for dinner which was nice and empty upstairs. Another good break for the kids as I know this is a long day.

Next up we decided to try our luck on the haunted mansion, it’s my dads and my favorite ride. It was down for the last couple of hours and before that the line was pretty much an hour plus all day. We walked by earlier in the day and line was crazy long. As we walked over we noticed the posted wait was 50 but the line was much shorter than earlier for around the same time posted so I was pretty sure the wait would be less. It ended up around 30 and the line moved steadily. I have an ants in her pants type of kid so the lines where we stand still are very hard for her. As long as we are moving it’s not too bad.

I was able to pick up a 4th FP for Dumbo so while the grandparents and sister grabbed fireworks spots the other half went to dumbo. We didn’t get a chance to go in and see the inside kids area which worked out as we needed to get over to the fireworks. The FP que was outside and the wait for this was still over 45 min so it was a successful 4th FP grab. Small world was also open at this time and I would have grabbed that for us since we missed it but decided it would be nice for DD to go a ride with her cousin.

We didn’t head over to the fireworks nearly as early as I wanted so i’m surprised we ended up with a pretty good spot on the bridge between tomorrow land and fantasy land. It also was the spot tinkerbell flew right above us which was pretty cool. Half the group decided to head home after HEA and SO and I decided to stay for the second show. We moved to the edge of the bridge where we could now sit but after looking online it seemed the second show was pretty similiar to HEA so we decided to head back ourselves since it had been a long day. Somehow we beat the other group home who left about 20 min before us so my advice is take your time after HEA and not bother going with the rush to leave. I wish we had hit buzz instead of the 15 min we sat waiting for the next show but at least the crowds weren’t as bad for us. Getting back to parking was much more a hassle then getting in. All in all it probably took us about 45 min and DD was asleep in the stroller before we left the park.

Final thoughts-we crammed quite a bit into a full day at AK, not easy to get to everything in one day but I think we did a pretty decent job. I debated on the stroller and am so glad we rented one for a week from Kingdom Strollers. It was nice to keep changes of clothes, water bottles, etc in the stroller and definitely helped getting a nap in and not having to carry DD out of the park for that 45 min. She walked mostly through the day but I made her get in when we were moving from one end of the park to the other so we weren’t waiting on her slowing walking. I’m glad we have some character meals coming up so I wasn’t too upset about not getting any signings in on our first day. I also brought my lunch box from home that has a built in ice pack so that was awesome to use after sitting in the freezer overnight. Used it to for lunch sandwiches and snacks such as fruit, string cheese, yogurt sticks etc. Also glad I brought a box of baggies. I use baggies for everything in case or rain and to easily keep things separate. Needless to say the family also used my bags and we had to run to the store the next day to grab some more but as we had a late flight in the first night I didn’t have time to stop before our AK day.