*We're Back!* A Hurricane Cut Short Trip Report

Have a fabulous time!

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Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

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Need help… At AK today. Booked Remy at 7 for hopping tonight. Mde says I can’t book again until 11 (2 hours ager EP opens) but AK opens at 8. I thought I could book at ten?

Someone responded in your other thread. But it’s 2 hours after the park opens from where you booked your first G+ so 11 is accurate

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Didn’t see your initial report until now - thanks for the very detailed write up! It was particularly interesting to read about doing WDW with an RV and the camp grounds, which I’m not too familiar with.

Sorry to hear about the ending of you original trip but glad to hear you made it back. Hope you have a good time!

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Correct.

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In spite of the extra hour wait… I snagged everything we wanted. Not pictured, Navi at 3:50 which I booked at 11. The modify feature came in clutch.

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Should be downloading our photopass shots tonight, so I’ll kick off our trip report in pieces…

Day 1: Animal Kingdom, MLK day

We had to wake up extra early thanks to an adjusted opening time at Animal Kingdom, but I’ll always take more park time! We stayed about 20 minutes away and drove the RV to Animal Kingdom. DH and I had a mix up, and he had to get our magic bands out of the back to scan at the gate. We pulled up at 6:38 for a 7:30 EE. They parked us at the end of the row so it would be easy for us to leave later.

I had already bought G+ for DH and I so we could stack rides for our hop to Epcot that evening. While waiting, I booked Remy as soon as the time passed 2 pm and continued modifying and refreshing until I got a 6:50 time slot.

It was 38 degrees, so we were all bundled. :cold_face: They opened the taps at 7:20, so it was a long and chilly wait, but we were only about 10 people in front of us at the taps. We got a little held up getting through the taps and then DH, MIL, and I took off, leaving the kids with my parents to ride Navi. I should have told them to ride twice before meeting us at the end of the FOP line on the way to Africa.

Walking into the park at sunrise was pretty beautiful.

We were at the end of the FOP line at 7:33, passed the LL entrance at 7:39, and came to our first real stop in the laboratory at 7:47. We were in the preshow at 7:55 and off the ride by 8:15.

The first Safari of the day was at 8:15 and we hit the line at 8:26. It was posted 20m and jumped to 35 while we were in line. We waited exactly 30 minutes. It was an excellent safari. Several animals right alongside the vehicle or crossing in front of us. We saw the hippos out of the water and the male lion walking around roaring.

Meeting Mickey & Minnie was next on our list, but the wait time was pretty high when we got off the Safari. We did a walk by and it had dropped to 35 when we got there, so we hopped in line. Waited 40 minutes, but we weren’t buying G+ for the whole family today, so it was a now or never sort of thing. We let the kids watch youtube while we waited and we also got to see Kevin outside the window. As expected, DS6 launched himself into Mickey’s arms. We have started reminding him not to knock the characters over. :laughing:

To be continued…

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Got our photopass!

We crossed into Dinoland and got a rider switch at Dinosaur. It was posted 10m wait, which I’m guessing is why the CM wouldn’t let my parents leave with the kids. I had planned for them to ride Tri Spin, but they waved us down when we walked off the ride. This was a first ride for me, since we only RSed FOP on our last trip when DS6 was 2. It’s a weird jerky little ride and might be a one and done for me. After my parents got on the ride, we took the boys to Tri Spin.15m posted, actual 12. We were next to load at 11 am so I was frantically trying to book Navi so I could put my phone down and actually enjoy the 17 second ride.

We sat in the Dinoland area and ate our packed lunch, got 2 ice cream cookie sandwiches from Dinobites, and at 11:40 got in line to meet Chip & Dale. The boys LOVE meeting fur characters and Chip & Dale were one of DS3’s requests. Since they meet every 30 minutes, they just take quick 5 minute breaks to eat acorn cookies, so the line is almost continuous.

We walked back to Africa and enjoyed the Gorilla trail, getting a great view of the hippos getting in the water and swimming to us. We also picked up the Wilderness Explorer books and the boys enjoyed getting a handful of badges over the rest of the afternoon. We stopped for Dole Whip and then took the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This is where we finally got our notification that our campsite was ready. Last time we got our notification before 9 am, so we had planned to leave right after lunch and we were starting to get antsy that we wouldn’t be back in time for our Navi G+.

Pausing here to insert the rest of the G+ stuff. At 1 and 3 I booked Soarin, modifying the first at the 2:47 drop to Frozen and at another drop (maybe 4:47) to Test Track. I had to refresh for several minutes, because I didn’t actually want to grab the dropped times. I wanted to grab the times people were giving up modifying to one of the dropped times, because we were hopping later in the evening. It worked surprisingly well.

DH and I pointed the grandparents towards the Boneyard and walked out of the park at 2:47. We got parked, unhitched, hooked up, and drove back to AK, walking back in at 3:59. The whole process with taking the RV to the parks first thing and parking it at FW midday couldn’t have been smoother. I was worried that would be more cumbersome than it was, but it was so much faster than parking in the overflow lot at FW at the crack of dawn and waiting for a park bus. We hopped on Navi and then met up with our family to mobile order dinner. We picked up 2 meals from Pizzafari and the rest from Satuli and got a photo in Pandora on the way out.

A note on photopass:
I used the app to find where photographers should be, but since they don’t post hours, they’re not always where you expect them. I had a lot more success keeping an eye out for the uniforms and stopping whenever we found one with a short line. We found several with no line at all.

I’m bummed that we missed seeing Pandora at night, but just getting the boys through dinner was a stretch. They had hit the wild and loopy stage and DS6 had done an impressive amount of walking. We had also stacked a few rides for Epcot and needed to head over there.

We dropped MIL and the boys off at our campsite (my parents stayed at ASMovies and met us at the park in the morning), and then we drove to Epcot. Tapped into Soarin at 6:54. Walked nearly all the way to the merge, so we were at the preshow by 7:04.

I had booked both Test Track and Remy from 7-8 with Frozen at 8, and Remy was my must-do, so we ditched Test Track and headed over to France. It had apparently just come back online from an extended downtime, and the LL line was absurd but moved very quickly. I loved the little dessert displays by the fountain.

And the wallpaper in the LL queue is very cute!

Such a cute ride! The trackless rides are definitely a favorite and I enjoyed the way they paired the physical set elements with the screens.

After Remy, we tried for a snack, but Les Halles had a long line, so we enjoyed the lights walking around WS to Norway, rode Frozen and then got the apple cake in Norway and found a bench to rest for a bit. Park open to close is not easy on the feet or the hips!

Found a window to watch Harmonious as it was starting and ended up joining a group that was watching the show sitting down. I really enjoyed the show and especially enjoyed the fireworks experience of only standing 5-7 people deep spread around WS with plenty of space to step away if you feel crowded.

I took this one as we wandered out of the park.

Our Day in Numbers:
Time awake: 2:30 AM
Daily step count: 25,000
Characters hugged: 4
Photo pass photos taken: 78
Park hours: 14 with EE and Harmonious
Attractions completed: 9 for most, 12 for DH & me
G+ booked: 5 (just for DH & I)
G+ used: 4
Wilderness Explorer badges earned: 9
Crowd level: 7 for AK, 6 for Epcot

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Looks like a great day! nice work on the G+ bookings :smile:

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Day 2: Hollywood Studios

We headed to the park a little bit later today… arriving at the midday time of 7:15. :laughing: I was very pleased with the small number at the taps when we walked up. They opened the taps at 7:30 with an announcement that we’d be queuing at rides until EE began at 8. We powerwalked to Rise and got our RS, sending the grandparents into the line and taking the boys to TSM at 7:44. It was cold again this morning, so I was hoping we’d be waiting inside TSM (they were sending people into the indoor Rise queue), but they had us wait outside instead. We were family #3.

At the end of the ride, one of the CM asked if we wanted to ride again. This is my favorite bit of pixie dust! There was a little mix up if they were going to move us to a different show building or reload us on the same track (I guess they were having trouble with something) and they ended up sending us through on a totally empty ride. I think they ran it on ‘slow’ so it didn’t swing us around to each screen like it did on the first round.

We were waiting to board Aliens at 8:29 and our parents walked over from Rise. We sent them on again and DH and I went to Rise. My dad is a hard one to impress, but he really loved this ride. (He also mentioned later how much he enjoyed that Rise & MMRR were both trackless.) We were off Rise at 9:07 and we headed to Olaf. He starts meeting at 9 and had a posted 5m wait. This was DS3’s second character request, and we waited 16 minutes. DS6 and my mom got out of line to take him to the bathroom while we were in the outdoor queue and I told him I thought he’d miss meeting Olaf. He was ok with that, but definitely sad when they returned and saw we weren’t in line anymore. The sweet CM saw that he was sad and asked if there was something they could do to help. She popped inside to the hallway queue, called out my name, and got our party reunited.

The boys were wearing their bear jackets, which I bought for their Ewok Halloween costumes and have been their go-to jackets this winter. Parenting hack for those who fight their kids on coats. Having a coat that feels like a blanket helps… sometimes. Anyway, Olaf pointed at their ears and starting pretending to shoot arrows, saying they were like Merida’s brothers.

Our MFSR G+ was for 8:30-9:30, and we tapped in at 9:40 during our grace period. My MIL road by herself and the rest of us filled a cockpit. DS6 hated this ride. Maybe I should have prepped him more about it being pretend and we weren’t actually going to crash. He cried during part of the ride and I felt terrible that I couldn’t give him a hug until the end. DS3 was completely unphased. He also asked repeatedly if he could ride Slinky. We told him ‘next time when you’re a little taller’ but I’m pretty sure he’s tall enough now. DH & I aren’t really rollercoaster people, so he might be the most adventurous one in the family. Guess we’ll be playing rock paper scissors to see who’s riding along with him next time.

We took a snack and bathroom break for about 30 minutes and got a few light saber photos. It started to feel like we hit the bathroom after every ride today, and towards the evening we let go of the ‘when one person goes, everybody goes’ rule and then it really got ridiculous!

We watched the 10:45 Indy show, which DS6 LOVED and then ate our packed lunch. I should have brought the food into the show with us, but it was on the early end for us and we had just had a snack.

At 11:45 we did MMRR G+. It wasn’t the shortest wait, but I didn’t time it, because I didn’t realize there would be a second queue after the little preshow. It was probably around 25 minutes based on when we got to SW Launch Bay.

Meeting Chewy and BB8 were DS6’s two character requests. They each had a 15m posted wait, but we met both in 25 minutes total. Chewy was a little intimidating to DS6. I don’t think he expected him to be so tall. Something happened with our Chewy photopass shots and half of each photo is blacked out. Fortunately I’ve been handing my phone to the CM at every meet with a non-human photographer, so we still have a few group shots. BB8’s line was very short and the boys wouldn’t stop hugging him!

To be continued…

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Picking up at 1 pm…

After MMRR, we had booked TSM G+, so we headed there next. My third score was my best (175,700) but DH was higher than that.

We walked through Galaxy’s Edge a few times throughout the day, so we spotted storm troopers, Chewy, and Rey. We also enjoyed watching people drive their droids around.

We took a Mickey Premium Bar break and then watched Muppetvision, before heading back to TSL for our Aliens G+ at 2:40.

I sent DH to do MFSR single rider (he was 10th in that line and got on the ride very quickly) and the rest of us walked down Sunset Blvd. On the way we saw Chip & Dale with their acorn picnic basket and had a fun time interacting with them. In the absence of a parade in HS, these little walk up character interactions are so fun. I hope they don’t cut things like this.

It took us a minute to find Lightning McQueen. I’ve only been to HS once and it was steady rain all day, so the park is very unfamiliar to me. The boys are huge Cars fans and they loved the show. I also caught the grandparents chuckling. My dad really liked Chick Hicks’ ‘offer not eligible in Orlando’ joke.

At this point the boys were starting to get squirrely and I kind of wanted to call it a day and send them home, so instead of watching Beauty & the Beast, we headed out of the park for a break and a ride on the Skyliner. We rode over to AoA and let the boys run around the playground and then ‘introduce’ their grandparents to all the Cars characters.

Meanwhile, I tried to figure out our mobile orders for dinner. I gotta say… I’m not a fan of the QS food choices at HS. I felt like the kids QS options were really limited and I couldn’t find a kids hot dog anywhere. I think there was some sort of app glitch too, because Backlot Express (where the adults wanted to eat) has chicken tenders and mac and cheese on the kids menu but neither would show up when I tried to do a mobile order. And then the two restaurants with hot dogs and pizza close at 5, but we were still at AoA at 4:30. :weary: I ended up getting kids meals from AoA and taking it back on the Skyliner with us.

After we ate, we watch M&M’s Vacation Fun and walked through GE & TSL to see the lights as the sun went down. We sent the kiddos and grandparents home on the bus, tossed our stroller in the truck, and headed to Fantasmic.

My back cannot handle an hour of sitting on bleachers (honestly, Lighting McQueen was too long for me), so we asked a CM about the last row of the stadium and I happily took a terrible view with back support for the 40 minute wait that we still had before the show. And the stadium was mostly filled when we got there. Some of these people queued way too early! That said, it was an excellent show.

Up next… park hopping to Magic Kingdom to close out our trip and some final thoughts.

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This is the way.

#teammickeybar

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The Finale…

After driving to TTC and taking the monorail, we walked into MK around 9:20.

I had booked G+ for HM, Tea Party, and Dumbo. We saved a few minutes at HM but the other two weren’t necessary. Then we walked on Little Mermaid. I started looking for MK G+ at 2:30 after we tapped in at Aliens. I booked at 2:30, 4:30, and 6:30, so I obviously left some G+ on the table (which hurt a bit!) Earlier in the afternoon, there was availability for even the most popular rides since the park was open so late.

We had planned to get in line for SDMT at 10:59 but at 10:40 we could tell it wasn’t a true 50 minute wait. It seems to have a full standby queue every time I walk by and posted around 60-75 minutes throughout the day. So being able to see lots of empty outdoor queue, I knew it would be a shorter wait. We were ready to load at 10:59, just as the park was closing.

I’m so glad we got a chance to do this ride and test it out before our next trip with the boys. At least one of them is going to love it! :laughing:

We had a sweet little goodbye moment with Mickey up on the train station balcony. (I forgot to mention, walking out of Epcot yesterday after Harmonious, there was a line of CM with Mickey hands giving high fives and saying goodbye to guests.) I love Disney magic like this! An unexpected last little moment to give you something to smile about as you leave.

Our Day In Numbers:
Time awake: 4:50 AM
Daily step count: 24,000
Characters hugged: 3 plus Chip & Dale
Photo pass photos taken: 65
Park hours: 15 with EE and MK until 11
Attractions completed: 15 for most, 19 for DH & me
G+ booked: 7
G+ used: 7
Crowd level: 7 for HS, 7 for MK

Some Final Thoughts:

Most of our waits in the first hour of park open were longer than the posted wait when we got in line. This makes sense, because they must bump up the waits as lines lengthen whereas they artificially inflate them at the end of the night. I don’t regret any of the lines we waited in, but it’s worth noting.

G+ requires so much phone time! And because I’m grabbing whatever time is available and then trying to modify it, it’s hard to remember when we need to be where. Definitely made me miss the FP system where my first 3 were preset and I wasn’t constantly refreshing until the 2nd half of the day. Also, My Genie Day is very cluttered, so it’s hard to see what you have booked and what they’re just recommending to you.

All in all, it was a wonderful three park days, even though we had to split it into 2 trips. The grandparents all had a wonderful time (first time back for all of them in roughly 30 years) but they requested that ‘next time’ we have a rest day after every park day. :laughing: Considering how little I slept, they’ve certainly got a point!

I think ‘next time’ for us will be fall of 2024, but we’ll see if I can keep away that long. :two_hearts:

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What a lovely end to your trip! I agree that My Day on MDE is a mess.

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