Phew – these trip reports take a long time to write! But it’s such a fun way to relive the trip!
I love that picture! Where did you get those amazing ears?
I loooove Baymax, too! Fist-bumping him was one of the highlights of my trip last summer.
they certainly do! I managed to get 3 or 4 and then I stopped! Will try again in July!
Thank you for sharing. How nice that you have a friend to travel with, that you get on with so well.
Saturday, March 23: Day 2 – Magic Kingdom
As I was planning our TPs, the hours were updated, and the MK was now going to open at 8am instead of 9. Knowing that it was going to be a busy day, I knew it was important to rally the troops (er, rather… troop, singular) and hie off to the park as early as possible! My alarm was set for 6:15, and I was aiming to get us to the bus stop by 7:00. DF had gotten up and gone down to Fuel for coffee – I checked the MDE app and saw that there was a bus that was supposed to arrive nearly the minute I got downstairs. Sure enough, we walked out the front door of the Dolphin and there it was! Since we both had coffee in our hands, we didn’t run for it, but luckily the boarding of a Disney bus is significantly slower than an NYC subway car. We had plenty of time to hop on – off we were whisked to the Magic Kingdom!
Looking at the timestamps on the photos we took, we were through security and the tapstiles before 7:30am – by getting the bus at just the right moment, we’d made good time! There weren’t a ton of people there by then, so we stopped off for some MM pictures, and then joined the crowd waiting to go through the tunnel. DF decided riding the Main Street Vehicles was a priority, and I’d told him that meant we really had to be up early! But ooooh it was worth it – I’d never ridden them either; how fun to be escorted directly up Main Street, and stopping right in front of the castle! By 7:45 we were sitting on the top deck of the little double-decker bus vehicle. After a little toot-toot we were off. This was our view:
My general plan was to ride as many rides as we could in the morning, before stopping for an afternoon rest. I knew it was going to be busy (predicted and actual CL was an 8), and we also wanted to make time to hang by the pool. Here’s what we did, all before 11am with literally zero wait: (rope-dropping WORKS, y’all.)
- Main Street vehicles (7:50am)
Watched a bit of the opening show from the entryway to Liberty Square
- Peter Pan (DF wanted to see the regular queue, which really is totally cute)
- Winnie the Pooh
- Buzz Lightyear (at 8:39am)
- (stopped for a bathroom break)
- Barnstormer (okay wait but seriously this is the shortest ride ever)
- Dumbo (9:02am)
- Little mermaid (9:14am)
- We stopped for a Gaston cinnamon roll because we hadn’t really had breakfast, and they just looked too tasty…
- Haunted mansion (FP+) 9:40ish
- When we were in line for HM, I modified our Peter Pan FP, since we’d already gone on it – after a bit of refreshing, I found a FP for 7DMT at 7:20pm. Score!!
- We looked at splash and big thunder to see what the lines were like – very long. No thanks.
- Off we went to our PotC FP (10:30)
By the time we were off Pirates, it was 10:42 am. We stopped to look at the gift shop, and realized we were starting to get a bit peckish. Crowds were really building, so we caught the second boat to Tom Sawyer Island and bopped around there for a bit. Aunt Polly’s was open, and after wandering around, we sat down and split the pulled pork sliders. They were tasty and totally hit the spot.
After taking the boat back to the mainland, we went to see how long the line was for the PeopleMover – 25 minutes, no thanks. The crowds were pretty overwhelming by this point, and we were ready for a pool break. We walked up to the Main St. train depot, took some pictures, and headed out. It looked like we might have just missed a bus back to the Swan/Dolphin – we got to the bus stop at 12:33 and waited for a while. When a YC bus pulled in we decided to hop on it and walk back to the Dolphin – we got to the YC at 1:08. All in all not terrible, but not ideal.
We wended our way back to the Dolphin – man, that hotel is not very well marked. The east and west wings have different elevators, and there aren’t enough signs pointing you towards where you want to go. (Still, it was a nice hotel – but definitely not very ~Disney~) I changed into my bathing suit and we went to go find out where the pool was – it’s definitely not as well situated as Stormalong Bay is at the YC, that’s for sure! The pool area was PACKED, and we had a lot of trouble finding seats. We eventually found some under the waterfall area, but it was so shady that it was kind of cold. We moved to an area under an umbrella when it freed up, but I never felt quite warm enough to get into the pool… (I have to be HOT to get into anything cooler than bathwater temperature. I’m a wimp.)
By 3ish I was hungry, since we hadn’t eaten all that much that day. DF said he could be in the mood for a snack, too, so I trekked all the way back to Fuel in the lobby (that’s a pretty far way to go!) and picked us up some little sandwiches and a beverage each.
Our evening plan was to park at the Poly, have drinks at Trader Sam’s, maybe grab something to eat at Kona (where I’d made a reservation), and then go over to see HEA. We were running a bit behind, so we missed our Kona reservation time (and MDE wasn’t working so I couldn’t even bump-and-run it. Darn.) We did have a leisurely drink at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace – but to my horror, they weren’t serving the drinks in the tiki mugs! I did not come here for a cocktail served in a crappy plastic cup! I came here for the tiki mugs! I’m considering writing a complaint email. (Apparently they’re having trouble keeping enough of them in stock to be able to serve them outside. Humph.) We also ordered a small plate each – my sushi roll was just ok, TBH. I wouldn’t recommend it. But DF’s sliders looked tasty.
After paying the bill, we went up to catch the monorail – one pulled in right as we went through the metal detectors! Off we went, back to the MK. We were 15 minutes early for our 7:20pm 7DMT FPs, so we just perched nearby while we waited for our window to open. This was DF’s first time riding – he’s a huge scaredy cat, so he skipped it last time. It’s such a short ride, but still so much fun. After that it was about 7:30, so we booked it to the dessert party – I’d booked the pre-fireworks party because I figured it would be busy then anyways, figuring that we could get in a ride or two after the fireworks (MK was open until 11 that night). We ate our desserts (that ooey gooey toffee cake IS the tastiest) and then got to the viewing area by 8:30. We sat down and just hung out while we waited for HEA to start at 9:15.
HEA was, as always, a complete and utter delight. I never saw Wishes, so I don’t have that to compare it to. But when Tinkerbell flies, UGH it just gets me every time. So magical.
After the fireworks, we swam upstream to ride the PeopleMover at night – it feels faster in the dark somehow! I’d also snagged a Buzz FP for 10:10, so we had to kill a bit of time in the gift shop. I found a gigantic Baymax plush and reader, I came thisclose to buying it and having it sent back home. I might cave and get one when we’re there in June… it’s an outrageous $49.99, but with the AP discount it would only be $39… hmm…
After Buzz (I lost! Curses!) we called it a night – the line for the monorail was the most insane I’d ever seen it; luckily we knew taking the boat back to the Poly is usually faster – and it definitely was. We caught the second boat that came – just before it pulled up, the Electrical Water Parade started! I’m not sure if I ever saw it when I was little. It was so fun to watch it as we floated over back to the Poly.
The drive back to the Dolphin was quick, and with that, we closed out an extremely successful day at the Magic Kingdom. Final step count: 26,230. Phew!
Next up: Disney Springs and Hollywood Studios!
Etsy! From this seller: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShimmeringSplendid?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=574239836
I asked for jewel-toned flowers and was quite pleased with what I got. The ears part was a bit heavy, but overall they were really comfortable.
I’m reeeeally procrastinating on all the things I should be doing today… but it’s Sunday and there’s a whole week ahead of work so… shrug!
Buy Baymax!!! I have a Baymax pillow and life is the better for it!!! Thanks for your great trip report – I think you are among the best writers I have ever read on this site!
A little worried about only 1 bathroom break for the whole day .
Sunday, March 24: Day 3 – Disney Springs & Hollywood Studios
Figuring that we’d be wiped out from a late night at MK, I scheduled a sleep-in day. I ended up sleeping terribly (maybe I was still too keyed up from such a magical day??), and finally let myself get up by 8:15ish. Once DF texted to say he was up and at 'em, we headed out to Disney Springs.
Based on a tip from the Backside of Magic guys (love that podcast!), I knew we should park in the Lime Garage. I think we got to DS around 10ish? We didn’t have anything in particular planned – I wanted to go to the World of Disney store, and we were going to have an early lunch at the Polite Pig. We shopped a bunch at WoD and had it all shipped back to NYC. Sidebar: I bought the softest, comfiest Mickey lounge pants and oooh that was a good purchase.
We did a little loop around – Disney Springs is SO big! I didn’t feel like tackling it all, so after poking our noses in a few stores, we headed to the Polite Pig. Verdict: Extremely tasty. Try all the sauces! Sufficiently stuffed, we got the car (the garage had gone from completely empty to almost completely full in the course of two hours!) and drove back to the Dolphin for a bit of a rest. I didn’t feel like dealing with the pool again – it’s such a long walk and was loud, so I opted to just stay in my room and rest.
I’d booked our afternoon FPs at HS – DF rode ToT once and HATED IT, so I booked myself a ToT FP and him on ST. He ended up not using his, and just came with me towards ToT. He got a snack while I rode – after I was off I bought myself an iced tea from a Joffrey’s cart, and we moseyed over to TSL for our TSM FP at 3:40. That ride is SO FUN (and not only because I usually win, mwahaha). I could seriously ride it over and over. Crowds were pretty bananas this day too – predicted CL7, actual was CL9 (and it felt like it!). We tapped in for our Frozen singalong FP and I tried to find something else, but it was slim pickins…
A side note on For the First Time in Forever: I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s basically the readers’ digest version of the movie? Equity Ben wasn’t in it, so maybe having him in it would change the experience, but… man, this really fell flat for me – total one and done. (The snow was pretty neat though.) In line I’d grabbed a FP for the Muppets show just for giggles, even though I knew we wouldn’t need one to get in. We saw that, I kept looking for other FPs and didn’t find anything, really. I’d planned for us to get dinner at Tune-In Lounge, since I couldn’t find an ADR at 50s Prime Time. We sat at the bar, had a beer, and split the fried chicken. It was basic, but pretty tasty!
At some point we rode Star Tours – I can’t remember if it was before or after dinner… I used my Relief Band and it actually did kind of stave off some of the motion sickness I usually get on that ride! It felt like more than just placebo; if nothing else it was a tactile distraction for my brain to focus on instead of just letting my inner ear go wild. In any case – it’s something I’d recommend if you get motion sick on the simulator rides. It never used to bother me when I was little, but when I rode ST last September I’m pretty sure I was a little green…
As I was planning our trip, DF decided he really wanted to see the Star Wars fireworks. Since he’s kind of a fancy guy, he wanted to do the dessert party. Overall, I think it was an okay deal – the dessert selection was just okay; I did enjoy the frozen nutella ball… thing. We were seated at a table with a couple who literally did not even acknowledge us or return our greeting when we sat down – super weird. DF didn’t get any booze, but I decided to try one of the fruity rum drinks; I think I had three of them – if only to get my money’s worth … We ate and drank and watched the Stormtroopers as they walked through the party – they are so scary! They make me think I’d be an absolutely terrible rebel. I’d crack the minute they started interrogating me. Eek! Then we went to meet Kylo Ren who is ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING. This is the only face I could make as we got our picture taken with him
Before we were escorted out to the viewing area, I got one last fruity rum drink, since they said we could bring drinks with us. We were towards the front of the procession, so we ended up getting an ideal seat at the back of the area near a raised border, so I actually had some back support. Disney Movie Magic played, and then the Star Wars show began. It was pretty neat, but could use a bit of editing to improve its coherence, IMHO. The effects and projections were cool, but it doesn’t feel like it has as much of a story as some of the other shows do. Still – I’m glad we saw it.
The park was already closed by the time the show was over, so we followed the masses out. Hoooo boy was the line to the boat long! Instead of waiting for it, we just walked back to the Dolphin – it actually was way easier than I’d expected. It didn’t take us long at all, and DF isn’t the fastest walker.
Thus ended day 3 at Disney. Total steps: 16,166.
Next up: the Animal Kingdom for our last day!
@DumboRunner aw shucks, thanks! Guess that English major finally paid off…
You’re such an enabler!!! But… OKAY you’ve convinced me. (I live in a very small New York apartment so Baymax would take up like half my bed, but… he was just soooo perfectly, pleasingly squishy!!!)
Bahaha – I stopped keeping track of our bathroom breaks; I guess I just wrote that one down because we were being SO productive that morning that I wanted to remember everything we did.
Well if it is vacant at the moment, I say why not😉.
We are still talking about Baymax?
Monday, March 25: Day 4 – Animal Kingdom & departure day
Our last day at Disney dawned – sob! At least the light was dramatic that morning:
DF wasn’t feeling super hot that morning, and I’d planned for us to have a chill start to the day regardless, but in hearing he wasn’t feeling great I figured I’d have us go at an even more relaxed pace. While I was still in bed, I got on MDE to see if there were any open ADRs for brunch at AK, which I figured would be a good excuse to go sit and take it easy. Lo and behold – there was a reservation for 10:40 at Tusker House! Perfect! I booked it, and we each got packed up, brought our stuff down to the lobby, and I pulled the car around.
PRO TIP for getting coffee at Fuel in the Dolphin: If the line is super long and you’re only getting regular coffee, there’s another cashier (near the froyo) that you can go to and mostly skip the line. It was busy that morning!
It took us about an hour from leaving the Dolphin to getting to Tusker House, but going at a super leisurely pace – waiting for the parking tram always takes an extra minute. That morning had EMH starting at 8am, which we’d skipped – by the time we got inside the park I could tell the crowds were pretty bonkers. If that’s what CL9 feels like, I really can’t imagine what Christmas CL10 is! We strolled slowly to TH – DF checked in while I went in search of the ladies’ room; knowing TH is usually slow to seat you, I figured I had time. There was a fairly long line for the bathroom, and DF texted me when I was still in line that our table was ready! I scampered through the crowd and met up with him – we were seated in no time, in a side part of the main room.
I really, really enjoy Tusker House. It’s such a great atmosphere, the characters are so fun in their safari outfits, and the food is really, legitimately good! We each got some breakfast food, and then went back for some of their lunch offerings, which they started putting out at 11:15. Everything was super tasty. Daisy came by just before the 11:01 FP drop, so I sort of frantically was like, “Oh hey hi yep take a picture really fast I NEED TO PRESS REFRESH SOON!!!” But we got some pictures with her and I sent her on her way so that I could attempt to modify the Na’vi FP I had at 5:30 (when we’d already be gone) to something earlier. After frantically mashing my fingers on my phone screen for a couple of minutes, a Na’vi FP for 3:55pm showed up – that’ll work! (I did see one FoP FP show up, but not for much later in the day, and I didn’t want to risk losing the bird in the hand.)
Since it was so busy, I ended up mostly throwing out the TP I’d planned and just using what I’ve learned from everyone here. I find that making an actually useful FP for Animal Kingdom is nearly impossible anyways, so I had a loose plan in my mind, and we sort of winged it (wung it?! ).
It was just about noon as we were leaving TH – I figured we’d try to get into FotLK, but the line was crazy and it didn’t look like we’d make it. Instead we headed over to UP! A Bird Adventure. Now, maybe I just enjoy birds more than most, but I thought this was a cute show. Sure, the dialogue is stupid – but the birds were so neat! We had a few MM pictures taken along the way, and afterwards we headed to our 12:35pm Safari FP. The standby line at this point was over 80 minutes – ooftah! We had a nice safari – no lions, but the giraffes were out and being all cute.
Since I’d basically thrown out our plan, we didn’t have any super hard and fast Items to Accomplish. As we strolled our way around the park, I saw that the single rider line at EE was pretty short – I asked the CM how long it would be and he told me it shouldn’t be more than 10 mins; it ended up being about that. I was in line at 1:25 and off the ride at 1:40. DF will NEVER ride that again – I took him on it in 2017 and I think I ruined him for any other even slightly thrilling ride ever again. He haaaated it – and still talks about how awful it was. Hah! So this time I rode alone – I actually think I enjoyed it more this time, since I didn’t have to worry about him being scared. It’s a fun coaster!
Our biggest goal for the day was to meet the DuckTales characters – DF is a huuuge DuckTales fan, so he was looking forward to meeting Scrooge and Launchpad, as well as getting the Huey, Dewey, and Louie magic shot. Look how happy he was! (He has a grouchy exterior but a heart of ooey-gooey gold. Aww.)
By that point it was almost 2pm, and time for our Dinosaur FP – but as we walked up to the entrance, we were turned away by a line of CMs who told us it was down. Sure enough, an anytime FP popped up in our MDE accounts. I was sort of flummoxed about what to do next – our Na’vi FP wasn’t for almost two hours. It was pretty warm, so I figured we could go over and see It’s Tough to be a Bug – we went standby for that and didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes. Afterwards, DF had to deal with a work email, so we sat down for a minute. I checked Lines and it looked like Dinosaur was back up, and I figured we may as well head back that way and try to ride with our anytime FP. Sure enough, it was working again, and we were on and off pretty quickly (they must have been moving the FP line through with a lot of priority, because I think the standby line was loooong.)
Our flight out of MCO was at 8:50 that night, so I figured we’d ride Na’vi as our last thing of the day. We used our FPs – it is kind of a silly ride, but that Shaman at the end really is incredible. You can totally see how they used 85% of their budget on that one robot. Still – neat.
We were off NRJ and leaving Pandora by 4:10; we had a 4:50 reservation at 'Ohana, so we were accidentally cutting it close! It took a little bit to get out of the park and to the car, and we ended up getting to the Poly at 4:52, only a tiny bit late for our reservation. We were seated pretty much immediately, and we got a nice view of the lagoon and Cinderella’s Castle off in the distance. We gobbled the food – those dumplings are so. tasty. I can’t even. I’m actually kind of neutral on the skewers, partly because I fill up on the other stuff first. The bread pudding was almost as good as everyone says it is. But by that time it was almost 6:00, and time to head back to reality… Sigh.
We settled up and went back to the car. It was an easy drive back to MCO, even though it was close to rush hour time. After returning the car, we went through security and waited for the plane. With that, our impulse trip had come to a close. Total step count for the day: 16,241.
All in all, it was a completely successful trip. Everything went more smoothly than I could have imagined – it just goes to show that the more pre-planning you do, the better you’re served when inside the parks. I used all the tricks and strategies I’ve learned here; even at CL 8s and 9s, we never waited in a line for more than 10-15 minutes. We didn’t try to ride everything, but we did everything we’d hoped to in our little impulse getaway. We warmed up, built back our stores of vitamin D, we ambled through the most magical place on earth, and we just had a bunch of plain ol’ fun. 10/10 would recommend.
If anyone has questions, I’m happy to answer them! I have spent a concerning amount of time reading posts in this forum, so I know a lot of things now!
I’ll leave off with my favorite picture from the trip – I feel like it encapsulates how relaxed and happy 4 days at Disney made us
We’ll be back in June, staying at AKL! I’ll report back on how that goes then!
(Phew! That took practically all day!)
Love the last picture! Seems to capture you both so well (says a stranger on the internet), just easy breezy and totally at home. Great trip report, amazing what you were able to accomplish on a short trip and relaxed pace with high crowds. Please do another for your next trip!
Thank you for taking the time to write all that up. A* for you.
Your wish is my command! It was actually really fun to write up
We’re staying at WL in November so based on your screen name, I’ll really have to do a trip report then!
Phew — I would be very upset not to get a good grade!
I’m glad you finally got around to posting a trip report, lol! It seems there are quite a few Baymax fans around here! We found a little plush Baymax, but if I had found that HUGE one, it would definitely have come home with us! Thanks for sharing!