Very Late Trip Report

I have never done a trip report, annnnd it’s been a long while since the trip actually happened. I’ll do my best, I want to get back in the groove and do a complete 180 with our new trip coming. I’ll summarize this one while still adding details that really stand out to me.
Basically, life…We made a trip, rushed back, DH was thrown back into shift work at the fire station, training schedules, and new hires, I was tossed right back into jury prep, office rearrangements, and kids had us hopping with art, wrestling, and track, all while we also had home DIY going.

DH and I made a trip Dec 31, 2022 - Jan 8, 2023. This was planned to be a Marathon week for DH, his first. We did not get in, and decided to keep the trip planned anyway, and celebrate our anniversary. We cheered on all the runners we saw at the full run in EP. It just drove the desire for DH to get in on the 2025 Dopey Challenge. But, this was our first time to ever see WDW in all the holiday beauty, and I took so many pictures, I had to order prints for my scrapbook in batches, because the cost at one time was outrageous.

We live in western Oklahoma and DH does not fly. So, this trip starts with us leaving at 3am and driving non-stop to Lake City, FL. It was not the first driving trip we have done to WDW, but it was the first time we had driven this far in 1 stop.

We planned this with the intention to back load our LL’s while driving from Lake City. We purchased G+, and we did purchase ILL’s. We didn’t know if this would be a one and done, or if we would be coming back soon. And we had all the marathon entry $ saved, so we splurged on a lot that would not be the normal trip for us. We stayed in POP, the room request was sent through TP, and we were happy with the result we got.

This was also a different route for us to drive, so I was excited this was the first time I have ever seen the archway sign. We arrived at POP on Dec 31 around 11:45am, but our room was not ready. So, we parked the car and hit the bus to DS to find all the trees before they were removed. I did not know how long they would actually leave them once Christmas had passed.

DH wanted to stop at Jock Lindsey’s, we loved it. We made it a point to stop on our check-out day, too. He says it is now a tradition for us to do on future trips, I have to say I’m perfectly ok with that.

We got the room ready text and headed back to the resort, we got there around 3pm. We have a cheesy tradition of finding our years and snap a pic, please excuse my fuzzy hair. FL humidity wreaks havoc on those of us from dry climates!

It was a little cloudy and misty when we arrived, but still brought tears to my eyes to see all the holiday decorations. I found out I have Disney roses at home, too!!

Dec 31 4pm-1am MK
**Forgot to wear my Apple Watch
LL - Space Mountain - Jingle Theme
Fancy - 7 Dwarfs
LL - Peter Pan
Big Thunder Mountain
Little Mermaid
Carousel of Progress - We made sure to try to spot the new updates.
Hall of Presidents
Tiki Room - 1st time for us, even after 3 previous trips.
LL - Splash Mountain - Had to get our “goodbye” ride in.
Jingle Cruise - Literally the 1st cruise of the New Year, our Skipper was so awesome!
Around this time, we got a New Year’s kiss in on the boardwalk area by Country Bears, and I cried when I saw Tinkerbell fly!
LL - Haunted Mansion
LL - Buzz Light Year - We got stuck and I made Galactic Hero.
LL - Pirates
On our way out, we saw Sage from AllEars on the castle stage as he was leaving. DH was star struck.
We hopped a bus to AoA, because the line was shorter, and crashed in bed ready for RD to MK the next day.

I’ll be back to add each day in a separate post. Hope you hang in there, and enjoy the photos. I have always wanted to do a trip report, so this first is exciting and weirdly nerve-wracking. DH thinks he wants to start blogging… :woman_facepalming:t3:


Thanks for writing! I can’t wait to hear about it :smiley:


Sounds like a great start to you trip so far!… but a loooong drive


Enjoying the photos! I’m glad you have decided to share your experience. :blush:


Thanks for sharing! You’re not late with anything! You’re 5 months early to share your best WDW holiday tips!


So much fun! I wish we could drive but it’s way too far for us.


Yay! It’s like Christmas in June!


New Year! We aimed for RD, because we were feelings giddy and excited. We did not accomplish that. :laughing:
We watched a bit of the castle stage show. I jumped when Daisy spoke to me, I just plain forgot they would. And between me standing close and the little girls bouncing around beside me, she spoke up.

We grabbed a ham and cheese and cinnamon roll at Gaston’s. It was yummy, as usual.

We moved some people and enjoyed the castle from all new angles.

We had a meal at Be Our Guest. The whole theme of Beauty and the Beast has been a thing for us. However, we walked away from this both agreeing we will skip from now on. We will attempt it, after we hear multiple reviews of improvement. It was noisy, we were placed against a wall in a corner, the food was eh. Overall, I feel cheated when I look back at the other restaurants we experienced.

We got to see the Water pageant as we were leaving. I have never seen it, so I was giddy with another 1st! Its blurry, I’m sorry.

Jan 1 12pm-10pm MK
8.13 miles 19,725 steps
LL - Big Thunder
LL - Buzz Lightyear
LL - Haunted Mansion
LL - It’s a Small World
Tea Party
LL - Winnie the Pooh
Monsters Inc
LL - Pirates
Food - Be Our Guest
Fancy - 7 Dwarfs
LL - Space Mountain
Swiss Family Treehouse


On to Hollywood! I am loving all the decorations every park has.
We saw a few characters, we ate some good food. This was a good day for us.
I rode ToT, and was so focused on not getting sick, I don’t remember much of it. It’s not even the drops, its the part when we are in the dark, but the car is moving and the the little star lights are showing. I lose my sense of place and start getting sick.

That little band decor? I had to take that off. Cute, loved it, but I kept jabbing myself.

We at Hollywood Brown Derby for the first time. We made a lot of firsts for us on this trip. 10 out of 10. I will argue for this restaurant again and again. LOVE IT! We got the Fantasmic package, and had amazing seats, right in the middle, just level enough for a perfect view.

We felt the water sprays, we felt the heat from the fire. I cried.

Somewhere in here we had Ronto Wraps. Another first, loved them!

Jan 2 8am-9pm
7.58 miles 18,187 steps
Tower of Terror
LL - Rock n Roller Coaster
Muppets 3D
Frozen - DH was not enthused, but walked out laughing. “Disney After Dark” has become a joke in our house now.
Vacation Shorts
Museum and Film
LL - Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway - Even with a LL, we chose a bad time to go during our hour. Other rides had gone down and MMRR’s line had snakes back forever!
Fancy - Rise of the Resistance
LL - Smugglers Run - We traded our pilot assignment tickets with 3 girls and their mom that we were with. I love getting a chance to give a highlight to younger ones. The ride lasted so much longer, they were awesome.
Hollywood Brown Derby
LL - Toy Story Mania
Package - Fantasmic
Toy Story Mania


I feel ‘ya! Even when there is a special and prints are half off I still spend sooo much. But I enjoy making scrapbooks and reliving the memories.


On to Jan 3, we hopped the Skyliner to EP. I love the Skyliner. The Skyliner is my serenity. Being an introvert, I love getting a cabin to ourselves. My DH is a chameleon, he can fit in anywhere, talk to anyone. But, that also comes with me wrapping up those talks, because sometimes he doesn’t catch the small cue of “Thank you, but I’m done.” So, the Skyliner is also my nemesis.
I loved how EP handled the EE for resort guests, and especially love the CM’s that handled Remy’s early line. We lined up against the side of the bridge, and we walked in a line all the way back. Shout out to the guests that were mindful and stayed in said line. It made it so much better than RD for FoP in AK. I will never do that again. People become animals for that ride at RD. Anyway, the France Pavilion is very pretty, I really enjoyed the views. The CM’s at Remy’s did not impress DH. He felt they were snooty, I will say they didn’t talk to guests much, and didn’t smile. It was odd considering we were at WDW, and smiles are the usual.

I have been obsessed with aquariums since I was a little girl. I enjoy the calm of walking around The Seas. I love to watch the sea turtles.
DH and I looked wide-eyed at each other when a teenage girl ran up with her BF. “Look Babe, its a shark!” He looked at us, we looked at him, there was an awkward silent acknowledgement of the incorrect labeling. It was a dolphin, the shark was a bottlenose dolphin. I don’t think she ever realized her mistake, or she genuinely believed it was a shark.

I enjoyed watching the little ones interact with Pooh. I miss the days my girls were little bitty, they still grin ear to ear and giggle at 13 and 22, and I do enjoy those moments, too. My bonus-boys are just too cool at 14 and 26.

I love walking around and just absorbing all the detail and beauty in Canada and the UK. It’s gorgeous. Can I live in a little cottage like that after retirement? Does that place exist outside the bubble?

We got food at the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. There has to be a better way for mobile order pickup. The line to order was looong and in the sun. But, there wasn’t an assigned place for Mobile Order. So, a moment of confusion, asked a CM and they opened the chain in the line to let us get our food. We could tell that particular action did not please the people in line. Surely, something else could be worked out. Also, after I found a table by the water, DH said he was going to get a beer at the R&C Pub. He comes back with 2, “Here I got one for you.” I don’t drink beer, it makes me gag. I was upset because that was $16 and I saw it as a waste. He explained it was a hard cider instead and had a shot of black current. So, then my stubborn side kicked in and I decided I was going to drink it, I could not let the money be wasted. Needless to say, we got back home and ordered Black Current Juice from Amazon.

We paid for an ILL for Guardians, I am prone to motion sickness. The plan was to do it once, and if I could handle it, we would attempt a VQ and an ILL on the next day.
Absolutely amazing. LOVE LOVE LOVE 10 out of 10. I don’t even know what song we got. Speeding around the planet and the moon, was so cool.

This beautiful cradleboard, is actually very close to my area of home. It was exciting to see the exhibits inside the American Pavilion. We got to watch the drummers in Japan. We missed seeing this when we made a trip in 2021. We had never explored the Morocco Pavilion, its beautiful. However, Insta models, if they really think they achieve the label, are annoying. Many posers in the twists and turns of Morocco. And, they get cranky when you try to go behind, or around, and their phone camera person hesitates. Girl, I just wanna move my way thru, not admire your weird poses. I’m not waiting 30 minutes for you to get the perfect shot. This is only in regards to the cranky ones. I saw many young people posing for photos and paying no mind to the other guests, this is only a complaint with the posers who assume the area is off limits for their own photo taking pleasure.

We made our way to the front to watch the SE light show and enjoy the music. I didn’t find the MB+ to be any benefit, I very rarely noticed the vibrations and I wasn’t going to stare at my wrist to watch the lights when there are many other things to enjoy.
We finished our night with Space220 and TT at night. We did the lounge at Space220. I had the sliders and they were yummy. I would absolutely go back for the lounge. I do not think I want to pay for the prix-fixe meal. There are so many yummy food options in EP, I can be satisfied with the lounge portions. Our server at Space220 was great, we were running short on time, because the restaurant was running 45 minutes behind schedule. We explained our LL was about to run out, and he explained typically if we tell CM’s what happened and if need be show our receipt, they will let you on. However, he made sure to get our ticket quickly and didn’t hesitate with bringing our items out. He was great, we left a good tip and a great CM Compliment. I wish I had known about giving little stickers or tokens to CM’s, I would have done that, too.

Jan 3 8:30am-9pm
10.40miles 25,701 steps
Soarin - Even after RD on Remy’s, wait time on Soarin was almost nothing, and we were in the perfect section. B row 2
Christmas Living with the Land - We got to see the Holiday theme, its cute.
Nemo & Friends
The Seas
Canada Far & Wide
Fancy - Guardians - By far an amazing coaster, 10 out of 10
LL - Mission Space
LL - Spaceship Earth - We got stuck for a bit on the way down, and every time I almost fall asleep.
World Showcase - So much yumminess in the all the snacks.
Figment - Loved seeing his little sweater, little and silly, but loved it.
LL - Soarin’
LL - Christmas Living with the Land
Food - Space 220
LL - Test Track - It was my first time to ride at night, its so thrilling.


I’m so glad you did this! I’d rather see a “late” TR than none at all. You did so many awesome things! I would love to spend New Year’s at WDW!!


So begins our day at AK. This day was managed so well. We had plenty of time to sit and look at the tree.
By far, my opinion - I will always pay for FOP. We did rope drop and people are absolute animals. Pushing, stepping on feet, pulling, horrible experience. We were not first in line, we were not even in the first batches of people to go in. We still waited 15-20 minutes after reaching the building. After we left there, the rest of the park was still pretty empty comparatively. Everyone, early entry or not, seems to go FOP with their entire family tree. We rode Everest x2 and Dinosaur and still had not started seeing large groups of people yet in the rest of the park. We were at AK during a CL of 8. Even at this CL 8, we were able to do all kinds of things. We just paid close attention to the wait times on the app and we used our opportunities to bump LL’s back when we were able to.

I love Everest. Regardless of where you sit, you get a chance at speed. Back? It will be fast from the start. Front? It gets fast when you go backwards. Love this ride!

We went to KS and we saw a lone little ornament. It was pretty.

We had great views of the animals on this day. The giraffes were so close. Going to KS close to opening hours was a great time.

I got to see the birds fly in. They were so cool to watch.

We got in line for Nomad Lounge around 10:40am, that seemed to be a good time for both days. We had time to scan for new and bump LL’s. We sat and discussed some things for the other days, and text the kids back home. We really enjoyed Nomad. I wasn’t too thrilled at the grandfather that brought his kiddos directly behind our chairs and yelled to characters from the flotillas. But, I understand wanting the kids to see the characters, maybe he just didn’t need to yell like it was a football game. We really enjoyed the drinks and the food. I had never tried yucca fries, so much yumminess. Churros, sliders, and yucca fries, OH MY!

We strolled through the Gorilla Falls. That toad is evil…ALL toads are evil. The ducks were so pretty. And the gorillas were pretty lazy this day.

We had an LL for FoLK. It was not open when we took the kids in 2021, and my girls last saw it in 2017. It was just as amazing as before. The emotion, the passion, the smiles! I cried, I loved every moment. The same CM that led this one, was the lead in 2017. I love that so many CM’s are still there, linking memories from past trips.

We spent so much time at the Tree of Life. We would meander and look for new animals. A CM told us that there are 325 animals. We then wondered if there was a checklist for the whole list. We found so many, but I know we didn’t find 325. It’s beautiful from so many angles.

We rode back row on Everest. That was such a blast.
We ate at Tiffins for the first time. I was worried it would be too fancy for us. It was great, great food, great service. Loved every minute of it. The raves about the bread service are spot on. It is a must, every time, a must!

They decorated the robot thing in Pandora. Oh, the AMP suit. Had to look that up.

The Tree of Life is beautiful at night. The stories they play are so cute, the lighting is gorgeous.

We hopped a bus back to AoA, this time only because there wasn’t much of a line and it was there before Pop. The CM’s arranged towels right outside the lobby door. It’s the little touches that add to all the magic.

Jan 4 7:30am-8pm
9.63 miles 23,326 steps
Flight of Passage - People are animals, I will always pay for this going forward.
Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest
It’s Tough to be a Bug - So many parents forced little bittys to stay through the show, personal opinion, parents should take their kids out if they start crying, don’t make them more scared by forcing the issue.
LL - Kilimanjaro Safari - The 9-10 hour is the best time to go, the animals were so close.
Food - Nomad Lounge - Arrive around 10:40am and just chill, then you’ll get in and enjoy.
Gorilla Falls
Maharajah trek
LL - Lion King
LL - Expedition Everest
Food - Tiffins - I love the food, the art, the atmosphere.
Fancy - Flight of passage
LL - Navi river journey
1/2 Tree of life
Tree of life show


We went to DS for some reason, I can’t remember, I guess we just wanted to. Then we headed to MK. We were rained on, smothered with humidity after, and smooshed for fireworks. That’s a trip to WDW in a wrap!

We rode the train around MK and saw it from a whole different view. When we arrived back at the station, we caught the end of the Parade of Fantasy. We loved seeing all the different characters and watching them interact with the littles in the front.

We ate our anniversary dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table. It was another first for us. We loved our waiter. The food was delicious, we had a view from the window. I would pay for this dinner again before I went to Be Our Guest again.

We meandered some shops. I dreamed of getting a crystal castle, and wondered if my DH would let me reverse mortgage our home for a castle by the Arribas Brothers. I love the hand blown glass. It is now my mission to get an ornament and get a Sorcerer Mickey that we watched a gentleman create.

We were wiped out, we were goofy. We were like toddlers that need a nap, but refuse to sleep.

Jan 5 2pm-11pm
8.36 miles 20,130 steps
Food - Cinderella’s Royal Table
Fancy - Seven Dwarfs
LL - Pirates
LL - Space Ranger Spin - DH says he needs to watch more videos, or he will never be able to compete with me.
LL - Jungle Cruise
LL - Big Thunder Mountain
LL - Haunted Mansion
LL - Splash Mountain - Our last true “goodbye” for Splash.
Under the Sea with The Little Mermaid - I love this ride, just childhood, songs, it’s just special.


Love it! :rofl:

I’m loving your photos. What a fun trip!


WOW! I adored all the photos! Christmas at WDW is my favorite time of year!


Sounds reasonable to me. :woman_shrugging:


This day was for my DH. I got reservations for the after-hours at Oga’s. I’ll be honest, club scene is not my thing. This was for him, and to have a chance to see SE when it was practically empty.
We RD’d RRC. This RD was a a back to back, and then I had to stop. We were towards the back and it was so rough, I had a headache and was nauseous. So, I took some excedrin and dramamine with some Joffrey’s from the ToT exit.
This RD was low crowd compared to the first day we were in HS. We made our way over to GE to look around while waiting for our ILL on Rise. We had our first Ronto Wraps, and I love these! DH was worried he wouldn’t like them because of the slaw. But, even he agreed, they are some of the best.

Gertie was so cute with her hat on!

We watched Indiana Jones. It was a neat show, I would have been able to enjoy it more if we weren’t sitting on the end in the sun. We were walking up after they had already started sitting guests. So, I would get there earlier next time.

We zigged and zagged, not speed walking anywhere. We just watched times on the app, and went to items that had shorter waits.

We always stop in the museum and watch the video. I spend so much time finding new things that I missed before, and staring at all the details in the displayed costumes. The visit in 2021 the costumes were from Descendants. This time, we looked at costumes from Willow.
I convinced DH to sit with me in Frozen. He was not sure about that at all. Then he started catching the humor as one actress stated, “Disney After Dark.” I sang and he made fun of me, sending videos back to the kids, he laughed and said he would go again.

We ate at Mama Melrose. It was good, but I loved Hollywood Brown Derby better. I thought Mama Melrose was a decent Olive Garden type of situation.
We had the Fantasmic package and waited a longer to go in to the amphitheater. The seating wasn’t as great this time, but not horrible. It was colder this night, and we were very chilled.

I loved seeing GE at night and almost empty. So many details come out. It is beautiful. This is something to experience. I’m not huge on the club type atmosphere of Oga’s after park hours, but I love the view of GE.

Walking out of HS was beautiful at night. I love the neon lights and the music.

Jan 6 8:30am-10:15pm
8.70 miles 20,683 steps
Rock n Roller coaster
Rock n Roller coaster
Mickey & Minnie Railway
Indiana Jones
Beauty & the Beast
Mickey’s Vacation
Muppets 3D
Walt’s film
LL - Rock n Roller coaster
LL - Slinkey Dog
Fancy - Rise of the Resistance
Package - Fantasmic
Food - Mama Melrose
LL - Toy Story Mania
Food - Oga’s After Dark


Our last day at AK. We spent so much time just wandering and looking. It was a good relaxing day.
We enjoyed Nomad Lounge, explored the tree, watch the new Nemo and Friends show, ate yumminess at Yak & Yeti. I know many people see AK as 1/2 day or 1 day, but I love this park.
PSA - Save your patience, Save your sanity - RD Everest and/or Dinosaur.
My opinion!! We rode Everest 3x and then Dinosaur, and had not even seen park open crowds yet. The RD for FoP is not contained or organized, it is chaos. Awful, horrible. I will pay for that ride or get in line before close. Never doing RD for FoP again.

This gentleman was playing when my girls and I came in 2017. I love listening to his music. DH didn’t understand when I was telling him that the music in the speakers in the direct area was his music. It was live music, he just wasn’t putting the pieces together.

DH is a 25yr firefighter, so finding the hub in AK was a neat thing.

Jan 7 7:30am-7pm
9.43 miles 22,089 steps
1/2 Tree
Lion King
Maharajah Trek
LL - Finding Nemo
LL - Kilamanjaro Safari
Gorilla Falls
Bugs Life
LL - Everest (last seat)
Food - Nomad Lounge
LL - Na’vi River
Fancy - Flight of Passage
Food - Yak & Yeti


Such beautiful photos!! I love the flamingo one.