Fixed it for you.
I think I can get in one more day today…so day 2 in the parks. I knew this was going to be a long one, because we started in AK and it’s an early start! So we got the troops out about 6:40 and headed to the bus. I forgot to mention on parks day 1 that I hauled it down to the Pop food area on the first morning and the coffee station wasn’t open! This was such a bummer the whole trip. If the parks are open as early as 7:30 then the coffee areas at the hotel should be open. It just seems to make sense. But anyway, AK is such a gorgeous place and hubby’s favorite and we split the day between there and Epcot so two perfect spots.
We had no plans of huffing it to Pandora and used DAS to handle those rides, the rest we could get done on our own. My mom at 65 has health issues that qualify her for DAS and make super long lines a no go. Our last trip we didn’t get it for her because FP+/touring plans were enough to ensure we didn’t wait. The new Genie does not seem quite as adaptable but we still used it a few times. We RD Dinosaur which was recommended by Lines, and it was great because I think we saw maybe 5 other people in the whole area. Katie wanted to try that one and it was a one and done but she was proud she did it. Then we headed over to Pandora for FOP and Navi River. FOP is the best E ticket and just miles better than Star Wars in our opinion. We’d done it before but it’s still unreal. The littles loved Navi River. Katie still says “ah eh wah” is one of her favorite rides. It’s short, but I also love it. Being ahead of schedule we then were able to sneak in Lion King before the safari. Watching the girls dance at FOTLK is precious and all the performers were back!
The Safari never disappoints and this time what stuck out was seeing like 12 giraffes together and we saw the lion roar! I know it’s been ages since the poaching storyline, but I miss the song they used to play on the savannah so much! So far the girls were getting to do more in this park, which was great! I popped into some gift shops in Africa but was disappointed… just minimal Lion King merch so we headed to Asia.
We started with Kali River Rapids and I am a sucker for the queue and audio leading up to it. Katie came on the first time and had a meltdown just when we were going to board the raft. She’s a very tall 4 (48 inches) so people are always taken aback when she acts her age. One CM was amazing, she talked to her and put a special handle bar down for her and convinced her to ride (can I take this CM everywhere). All poncho’d up she made it through and laughed but didn’t want to go again. I still don’t understand why she doesn’t like to get wet when we swim everyday but I guess that’s the mystery of a 4 year old. Post Kali, we had lunch at Yak and Yeti QS and although it’s outdoors it wasn’t bad after Kali—we also love the food. No one ate too heavy, because Everest was next and never disappoints. The yeti who rips the track was on vacation but the ride was still excellent. Between watching the ride and the Kite Tails the kids were well occupied while we swapped. Planning to hop to Epcot, we decided we could squeeze in the bug show. Knowing to pull the kids up for the sting and cover eyes for spiders, they did fine with it. We left the park a little later than expected so we didn’t get to Epcot until 3. But it was all good. And big shout out to Emma who handled a 12+ hour day like a champ. She can be very temperamental at home, more so than Katie was, so apparently we found out she just needs to be Disney at all times like her momma.
So we had another full day at Epcot later in our trip so this time was just nice. We went straight on Spaceship Earth and the girls loved it! Then we headed over to the Seas and did Nemo and Crush. Katie was upset Crush didn’t ask for her question, so we told her we’d visit him again before we left. Her question was why does your back have a rock and her future question is even more special.
Whoops cut off… but next was The Land, which is quintessential Epcot. Did Living with the Land, which is one of my all time favorites and then did Soarin (requested B1). Katie tried Soarin and liked it, but wouldn’t repeat it. Next up we had dinner at Garden Grill and I’ve been there with my family in college, we then went the night before our wedding, and did breakfast our last trip. Characters are great, but the restaurant has gone downhill. None of the food was impressive, the server was just okay, and there’s only meat options—I’m a big fish person. I hope they bring breakfast back, I’m not a big breakfast person but it was much better food! The girls were enchanted with the characters, and Katie couldn’t believe Mickey ate with her again, so it was good fun. None of the dessert options had chocolate, which seems criminal on vacation. After dinner it started to get a little darker and we walked to Norway to do Frozen and then Mexico for 3 cabs. I was afraid DH would get grumpy, but I promised him a margarita so he went along for the ride. At this point it was almost the night show so we went back and forth about whether we should just do the show now, but ultimately decided to wait. So we grabbed the skyliner and saw fireworks on the way back. Overall a busy and amazing day!
The pictures with Mickey!
When we went DS was 4 and DSD was 18 and we were also celebrating graduation. . They are now 8 and 22 and she decided she didn’t want to come on our December trip so as to not miss school.
Sad to hear this. Garden Grill dinner was one of our favorites.
I’m not crying! You’re crying! Love this so much. These are the kinds of memories that keep me going back to WDW even long after my bad kids are grown. Sniffle!!!
Aw, I figured this is the last guaranteed trip we get with Ingrid. After that, maybe she’ll join us or maybe not.
Such a bummer, hoping they make some changes soon!
I love the ears!! Great family photo
Oh my goodness, Mickey and your daughter playing peek a boo is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen!!!
It totally melted me and we have videos too of them giving each other the binky and taking it. It was precious❤️
So day 3 in the parks… Magic Kingdom! I purposefully had us hit all the other parks first so Katie would appreciate the other parks and not have MK as the expectation every day. We opted to go on a party day because we had 2.5 days scheduled for MK and figured it’d force us to call it early and we heard the parks can be slow on party day. What I didn’t expect was for MK to be so empty, to the point where I almost felt like are we sure we’re at Disney. I bought Genie because I knew from reports it worked well at MK. And while we probably didn’t need it seeing we had DAS and it was so slow, I’d do it again, because we walked onto every ride.
We did the early half hour, which we really utilized all week. The Halloween decorations were low key, which I’m grateful for and getting used to since last trip. It just seems so crazy to see in August! Main Street just has that magical effect and I love the music and the whole vibe. We were really excited to show Katie and Emma the castle. We’re old classic movie people-so if you haven’t watched Hello Dolly, Music Man, etc, I can’t recommend enough because it’s like you’ve been transported there. We did not join the rush to Mine Train and instead went to Peter Pan. As a character and movie, Peter Pan is my all time favorite, so I adore this ride, We walked through the queue, which we saw once before, and it’s adorable. Katie and Emma loved it, and I could tell MK was going to be great with them. We then went over and did Pooh with no wait and I love watching my kids as babies on that one. It’s too cute! Then we went to Mermaid and walked on—we might have seen maybe 5 other people near the ride at all. We have managed to avoid spinner rides on basically every trip except once on Dino with Katie at 1.5 and she didn’t even like it. But I knew with a 4 year old, we’d definitely be in for them. After mermaid, I peeked at Dumbo and it didn’t look busy. So I made Katie the happiest kid by asking if she wanted to go on. She flew me around and Emma sat with J. I think there were maybe 2 other families on it. From there we went to Mine Train (used a DAS, which I think was the only one we had to use all day, we mostly used Genie and just booked 1 right after the other). Katie did Mine Train once with me and didn’t like the hills (a theme this trip), but was proud she tried it. While we did it J did another ride on Pooh with Emma with no wait. Then when I stayed out with the kids, I poked in the Pooh shop and got Emma a Roo lovey. Even though they’re overpriced, I had gotten Katie one at that age of Piglet so it was sweet. I told Katie she could pick out one lovey some time that day too and she got a 50th Daisy later.
After Mine Train, we did Small World and PhillarMagic. I love both. Small World I have a big soft spot for, and was wearing my Small World necklace. If you’ve never seen one and are a fan check shopDisney. It’s the clock face and I wear it all the time, and most people think it’s just a cool design, and every once in awhile a Disney nerd like me will be like omg I love that. So it’s like the bat signal for Disney fans. Anyways, I smile so much on that ride and just adore it. PhillarMagic then is a huge family favorite and I caught a diamond for Katie —one of the liner recommendations. She was in awe! All in all we did almost all of fantasyland in like 2 hours—crazy!
We then headed to Adventureland. We wanted to do Pirates, but planned on waiting to do Jungle Cruise for our next MK day. We used LLs on like every ride, but I noticed at times the CMs kind of laughed because there just weren’t serious lines. I don’t worry about these rides with Emma because she’s too young, but I wasn’t sure how Katie would do… and surprise she didn’t like the hill. But otherwise was fine. After Pirates, we went to Splash and Big Thunder. I wasn’t surprised that Katie opted out (even after watching YouTube 1000 times), so they did the playground under while we swapped. I did Splash twice and it’s always been my all time favorite, but they’ve let it go. The place to look over MK is all weeds, the ride is too dark, and a lot didn’t work. So there was some sadness to it, but I was trying to take it in. Seeing how Katie won’t go on at 4, I wish they’d give Tiana her own amazing ride that everyone can go on, but alas Disney is going the layover route again… It was hot by Big Thunder so I got some drinks and popcorn, but we were pretty quick there too. So we did our mobile order for Harbor House. On our walk to Harbor House, we saw some of the parade, but saved our specific viewing of it for a future day. So we basically did most of fantasy, adventure, and frontier before lunch!
It was easy to get a table at CHH. The lobster roll was okay, not as good as we remembered. And the fish baskets were good. We like the setting, even though being from the NE, we’re used to eating in actual historical buildings. But this feels authentic. We then did Haunted Mansion, and I closed Katie’s eyes during the black out part in the stretching room, and otherwise she was good. Then we headed to Tomorrowland, but on our way we saw Pooh and Tigger walking by and freaked out and followed them to their meet. I was sure this one wasn’t open yet, so I was psyched because we had the best times at Crystal Palace when Katie was 1. This was really our only line of the day and it was long and hot. We wanted to do it though because Ingrid also had her adorable Pooh outfit on… I think they changed Pooh and Tigger 4 times before we got to them and my husband wasn’t loving that wait, but it was worth it. I forgot to mention, we also squeezed in all the princesses after lunch. So it was a great character day. Knowing that the Pooh line took some of the group’s stamina away, I brought them to the icecream place in Tomorrowland. I’m not sure if I don’t remember it, but there was a lot of seating, which I didn’t remember, it made for a great break and got everyone reenergized.
Space was down, which is Ingrid’s favorite. So we did Buzz, Laugh Floor, and Carousel of Progress. I was definitely one of the only ones to stay awake for COP, but I love it. Katie loved Buzz and we’re all MILF fans, but none of us were on camera. At this point we had done almost all the park and just wanted to get in Space and PeopleMover before dinner. Both were down, so I suggested walking around by the castle and we caught some of the show. This worked perfect because Space came up very soon after and we happened to see it, so we raced back to it. We managed to swap and get everyone to ride Space and then hopped in line for the PeopleMover. There was about a 15 minute wait so the party crowds had started to arrive. I got a little nervous about being late to dinner, but we love PeopleMover and the new narration is A+. After, we raced over to Be Our Guest and they had no problem taking us. We have always loved Be Our Guest as a quick service, so we’ve gotten used to going to the castle as part of our traditions. So this meal was a splurge to get us in the castle. Our server was pretty good and we still love the castle, but I’m very meh on the dinner. I’m not sure why they’re going for high end eating in the middle of fantasyland. Bring back the croque monsieur sandwiches and drink station! I had the fish, which I didn’t love and my mom and J had filet mignon, which they said was good. The best part was dessert—grey stuff, and the kids one where they get to paint an edible Chip cup. Overall, I feel like I’m trapped on this one because it’s become such a tradition, but I’m really hoping they bring back the QS because I think the price tag is absurd. And for the price Beast should pose for pictures, not just walk through the room. If they brought in Belle and maybe another Princess couple, it could also make for a neat character dining. Anyways, we did not have party tickets and it was now after 7pm. They gave us special bracelets and had one of the employees walk us to the front of the park, who told us we could shop as long as we wanted. So we spent probably 40 minutes in the emporium as we’re usually not good at leaving shopping time and moseyed out of the park. It was fun seeing people dressed up, but the blaring music takes away from the Main Street charm. I do think we’ll do a Halloween party seeing they start godly early when the kids are older. Anyways it was an awesome day and when we got to the bus stop, we just missed a Pop bus so I had a genius idea to take the Caribbean bus and use the skyliner. This idea ended up being horrible as it started storming and the skyliner shut down. I asked the driver if we could go back to MK to catch a Pop bus and she just took us directly to Pop. Big cast compliment was sent her way!! (She couldn’t take any money). Anyways a great three days before our break day.
What a wonderful day!
It’s the best feeling when you get more done than planned. We were saving princesses for our half day before fireworks and got that and other characters in earlier. So it let us ease up future days. We even got in little extras like getting pixie dusted at Sir Mickeys!
And while Rider Swapping takes more time at all parks, I find it gives me a chance when I’m the person waiting to sneak in a snack or just sit and take in the atmosphere quietly, which is a great feeling!
Break Day—Needless to say, Ingrid and J were especially happy to sleep in… even Emma slept until 9am, when she’s usually up at 6. We took our time and went down to the pool. We set up in the kiddie splash area and went back and forth between there and the main pool. We have a pool at home, so luckily we’d been able to keep the kids focused on the parks during our touring days. The girls had such a blast in the splash pad and I am just always going to love this memory watching them play and splash together, turn on the outside shower, and hearing the oldies at Pop. We are big Pop fans. I love telling people that when I got married at Disney, I walked the perimeter of the main pool at Pop and literally no one noticed me We have some of our wedding pictures in the Pop rooms and great pics with the flowers from the hotel railing in them. The Florida sun does get to you quick though and I wondered if I was more tired than if I’d been in the park lol. So we took turns freshening up and taking showers, then did a QS meal at the food court. Had okay chicken sandwiches and got to make use of the drink station. We then put Emma down for a 2 hour nap, her only normal nap of the trip. She did great with stroller naps or just going full throttle.
After nap for the kiddos, and Disney must do channel for me, we headed out to the boardwalk and dinner, which Katie was excited about because we’d be using about every mode of transportation. It just worked out that break day was our actual anniversary (9 years) and we were going to visit the boardwalk where we got married. We took the skyliner to Hollywood Studios, then hopped a boat to the boardwalk. I love taking a boat to this area as its just gorgeous. I took some photos that I’m making into canvas wraps for my family room.
Katie was fascinated that we got married there. We popped into the boardwalk shop and J got me an ornament for Christmas I’m not supposed to know about and I asked about fairytale cuvée, which I never found anywhere. One of the CMs at the store was kind of rude to us, which was disappointing, but overall we had great CM interactions. We then went and got some margaritas and Mickey pretzels and planned on heading to SeaBreeze Point (actual wedding location) to take some pictures. As we were eating, there was a massive downpour so we ended up hiding under a small restaurant canopy for about 15-20 mins, and got wet but not saturated. It let up enough that we did get to Seabreeze for a few pics, which was bittersweet too after the loss of Dad. I should add the boardwalk is the first place we went on my very first Disney trip as a kid so it’s a very full circle location for us. So then we headed into the Boardwalk Resort, got some towels to dry off the baby and hopped a bus to Magic Kingdom, so we could take a monorail to the Contemporary for Chef Mickeys.
Getting to the monorail was easy. Katie got scared to go on it and we weren’t expecting that, but she was fine. We haven’t done Chef Mickeys since Ingrid’s first trip when she was 7 so it was fun to see the Contemporary again. Their gift shop is pretty good and I found a jacket for Emma in case she was cold from the rain, but she refused to wear it. Chef Mickey’s was great. Our server gets an A+ (and cast compliment) and lots of character interactions. Very family friendly food options and overall just a fun time! Family style worked fine, but I remember when they had soft serve, I think I prefer buffets because they bring you everything so you feel like you’re wasting food when there’s things you don’t want.
Having eaten a good meal, I convinced the crew to take one more monorail stop as the Poly is the only high end hotel I haven’t seen. We got off, checked out the gift shop, but couldn’t look outside because it started down pouring. I was kind of surprised that I wasn’t in awe, so I’m not sure if it was just bad timing. I‘ve always heard amazing things, but it was more crowded, lazy, and chaotic than the values by a long shot. It was also very dark, which isn’t necessarily bad, but different. My original plan was to try a drink there but we were way too full from dinner. So back to the monorail we went. Then they decided they were waiting out the storm so we sat on the monorail for 20-30 mins, which was kind of peaceful. I looked into Minnie vans but I couldn’t stomach an almost 70 dollar price tag for a ride that still wouldn’t show up for 20 minutes. They finally sent us down to the busses and those took forever to come. We ended up going to Disney springs so then had to walk forever to the Pop bus stop, where there were a million people waiting. It took forever for busses to arrive to the point that the bus stop cheered wildly when one came. We had to wait for one more and finally got back to Pop. So that was my second time this trip where my impromptu transportation ideas backfired, but it was all good and I’d rather deal with weather issues on off times like break days than in the parks. Overall, another great day!
I went to the Poly for the first time in July and also thought it was chaotic. Sorry about the transport issues but definitely better on a rest day as you said!
Yes, maybe it’s an unpopular opinion, but DD24 and I didn’t really like staying there (Poly) as well as other places. The room was beautiful and spacious (2 bathrooms!) and the grounds were pretty but it was just so loud and busy and crowded. It was a bucket list stay and now we’ve done it but probably wouldn’t stay there again.