Why did I never get around to sharing my trip report here? I don’t know, let’s say I was saving it for such a time as this. First, thank you all so much for helping me plan this trip and sharing your advice and experiences! We had a great trip, and I couldn’t have done it without this forum. I actually wrote this trip report when it was all fresh in my mind, and most definitely included too much detail. Whatever, nobody’s paying me to edit it. Here goes!
My history: I’ve been to WDW once, when I was around 11. There were two things I wanted to do: Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. The first was closed for repairs, and the second was not yet open. (The California version was, and all the publicity on the Disney Channel implied that the WDW one was up and running). Super disappointing. I would have loved to meet some characters, but I was too preteen to admit it, and since there weren’t any roaming around freely, I never saw a single one. The whole thing was a pretty big let down, and I was still holding a grudge. My mom remembers this trip differently — she says we had such a great time we extended our stay.
Cast of characters: Me, my husband, our five children — four girls ages 4-9, and a 1yo boy — and my mom. I’ve been having a variety of health issues over the last few years, so I rented an ECV to get around. My stamina is a fraction of any other member of this group, including the toddler, and I didn’t want to be the one slowing us down. One of my daughters and I can’t eat gluten, and my mom can’t eat dairy, so we got familiar with a lot of allergy menus. Lucky for my gf daughter, she likes grilled chicken breast, which was on every single kids allergy menu we encountered.
Lodging: We stayed offsite. It was free, because my grandfather is no longer enjoying his timeshare and allowed us to use it. It’s a points based timeshare. We chose The Fountains by Bluegreen on International Drive. We had an awesome two bedroom unit with kitchen and laundry, and my mom had a matching one next door. We used our laundry every day. We barely took advantage of any of the amenities outside our units, because Disney World was the whole point of this trip. Nice place, though. My mom served our breakfast in her unit every day.
Travel: We drove. All seven of us in our large family sized vehicle. (Mom doesn’t live near us, so she drove separately.) There were several factors in this choice, chiefly that our kids aren’t mature enough to be responsible for their own luggage, and I’m not capable of manhandling suitcases or pushing a stroller very far, so airplane travel would have meant DH was doing all the heavy lifting at once. We’re also experienced roadtrippers, so the 14 hour driving time isn’t intimidating — we drive farther for family Christmas. Plus if we flew, we’d require a large family sized rental car. And all those car seats. Nope.