Free before 3! Our December TR.


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Countdown is on for our next family Christmas trip and I'm so excited!

Cast: Me, trip planner extraordinaire. Hubs, huge Disney fan and up for anything. DD, C, will be turning 3 in January. We figured we might as well get one more trip in before she costs us more money!!

Dates: 12/9-12/14

Staying at POR in a Royal Guest Room with a Garden View. This will be our first time staying at POR and I'm excited for somewhere new. We never spend much time at the resort but decided to go for it. I was able to tour POR and see one of the Royal Rooms when visiting WDW with the travel agency last year and really fell in love. When it was time to book the bounce back, POR was on my list of places to stay.

12/9: Landing at MCO around 1pm. Will head to resort, hopefully be able to get into our room (fingers crossed) and will have dinner and wander at DS. I really loved the Christmas Tree Trail last year and look forward to exploring that again.

12/10: Magic Kingdom in the AM, hoping to hit most of Frontier and Adventureland. Then heading over to EP! We love the storytellers and looking forward to checking out some of the Festival of the Holiday booths. I think DD will like the cookies :)

12/11: AK! Hoping to try to get a 4th FP for Rivers of Light if we're feeling up to it as we've never seen it before.

12/12: MK in the AM for Fantasyland and Tomorrowland! Headed to HS in the afternoon; hubs has an appointment to build a droid and we're going to have a drink at Ogas! I'm hoping SWGE isn't too insane.

12/13: Epcot! Keeping evening plans open, maybe stay or hop.

12/14: HS in the morning for anything else we didn't get to do on the 12th and hopping over to AK since we have a FP for FOP. Leave from AK to airport :(

Thanks for following along, can't wait to tell you how it goes and share lots of pics!!


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Day 1:

We were up and out the door around 6:30AM for our 10:30AM flight. With luggage and a toddler in tow, we like to leave extra time for bathroom breaks and whatever else may come next. C is a good traveler and was happy to enjoy some donuts in the car on our way to the airport.



The lines for pre-check were insanely long at BWI this morning. It was one of those times I was glad we had extra time. Not sure if anyone else out there is a BWI flyer, but they never have enough lines open for pre-check. We ended up going into the regular line and they gave us a sticker that we didn't have to take off our shoes. We didn't have any computers and few liquids so we got through easily. I think sometimes they just see someone with a small kiddo and let you go through.

We got to our gate, used the bathroom and soon it was time to line up! I'm A-list preferred and hubs is A-list so we both had really great boarding assignments. I asked the gate attendant if C could board with me instead of waiting for the family boarding, and they said that was fine. I've only had one time they've told me no, which is nice. I know they don't have to say yes but I appreciate that they do. I imagine once she gets a little bit bigger they won't let me do that anymore.


Flight was uneventful and we landed around 1PM, and of course C fell asleep on the plane like 15 minutes before we landed. Talk about a short nap.


I miss the old sign!

We took the "monorail" to the main terminal and found our way to the DME bus. We were the first ones in line for row 5, going to POR and POFQ. I was nervous because I didn't know if we just missed a bus or would be stuck waiting a long time. Thankfully it wasn't a terrible wait, maybe 20-25 minutes tops. From when we got off the plane to when we got to our resort was about 90 minutes, which I think is fairly standard. We stopped at POFQ, then POR and then they were headed to SSR and OKW after that. So a lot of stops. We were lucky being the first ones on the bus because we got to sit in the front and have a great view going over the arch!


We didn't have park tickets so our plan for the day was swim and head to DS. Our room was ready which was nice! We grabbed our mugs, headed to our room to change and went quickly to the pool. We were staying in a Royal Room and decided to just hit the quiet pool right near our building. C didn't know any better and I don't mind not having the music and CMs doing activities. The water was not very warm but we had a great time. At some point hubs went back to bell services to pick up our Amazon now delivery.



Around 4 it was starting to get chilly so we went back to our room, showered and headed to DS. Our bags had not arrived yet but I was thankfuly we had packed a change of clothes in our carryon.

The boat ride to DS was very nice. Took maybe 15 minutes?



We didn't really have a plan, just wander and find some food. We had eaten at Cookes of Dublin before and DH like it there so that was where we went first. Since the bar and restaurant are separate, we could not get a drink with our dining plan. It was unfortunate, but not the end of the world. DH had chicken and mushroom pie which was really delicious, I had a burger which hit the spot and we paid OOP for DD chicken tenders and fries. We grabbed a seat outside and DH got us beers from the bar. There was no live entertainment at the time but it was a nice meal.


Our next stop was Ghirardellis because we promised DD some ice cream. Her favorite flavor is vanilla so we got two scoops for all of us to share. Its SO much ice cream! We did not finish it between the three of us.

After dessert we walked some through WOD, DH bought a Genie coffee mug. DD and I spent a lot of time looking at and hugging all the stuffed animals. She was really good about seeing things and wanted to hold them, but then putting them back and going to see something else. We really didn't buy too many souvenirs. My pocket didn't mind!

Last on our list was going through the Christmas Tree Trail! DD did not care much about the trees but she LOVED the fake snow. She danced and ran around in it every chance she had. It was really adorable to watch her and the other kids enjoy the snow. We saw the trees last year so I didn't feel like I was missing out not being able to take it all in. Watching her dance and light up was the fun part.



After the trees we took the boat back the resort. Our luggage was there when we got back so I unpacked and DH got DD ready for bed. We all passed out pretty hard. The next morning was RD at MK and I wanted to be there early!!


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Love your photos!! Looks like a great start! We arrive 2 weeks from tomorrow...your TR will help me get through the next 2 weeks!
Yay, I appreciate having a fun trip report to read while on holiday break! I'm envious of your trip dates; I would love to go sometime earlier in December before the holiday crowds stream in!


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How is she nearly 3!! Oh my...I remember you announcing her birth here on the forums!

So fun living the magic through their eyes.


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Love your photos!! Looks like a great start! We arrive 2 weeks from tomorrow...your TR will help me get through the next 2 weeks!

I need to update but I am glad it helped! I need to start reading your TRP!

Yay, I appreciate having a fun trip report to read while on holiday break! I'm envious of your trip dates; I would love to go sometime earlier in December before the holiday crowds stream in!

It really is a great time to go! I'm really hoping to go in late October this year and enjoy MNSSHP as a family!!

How is she nearly 3!! Oh my...I remember you announcing her birth here on the forums!

So fun living the magic through their eyes.

I know, her birthday is tomorrow!! Time flies.

following along. Love these trips with the littles.

Same. It has its moments, but when its great, its great!

Seems like the kid has fun :) Great photos)

Such an unhappy kid! Thanks for following.

Can’t wait to hear more about your trip!

Thanks for following along! I need to get updating.

Following. Looks like a great trip so far! POR is, by far, my favorite resort.

We really loved it. The quiet pool was so nice, we didn't really have bus issues and our room was perfect. We stayed at Sports last time and the difference in space in the room really makes such a difference.


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Day 2!

I was up bright and early to get coffee and breakfast for everyone. The lobby at POR was looking extra beautiful and I didn't mind a minute enjoying the tree with no one around.


MK opened at 9am and we were at the bus stop a little after 8am. One of my fav pics of DD and DH:


Part of me feels bad rushing us out the door, but its also the reason I get up and get myself ready and go get coffee before DH and DD wake up. I can focus on getting them together so we can get out for RD! We were in the park at 8:30am and our first stop was for me to get a new pop socket for my phone. The CM at the Emporium told me that they don't sell them anymore but they had ones you can hook your finger through. I don't love it because you can't balance your phone sideways on it, but it worked. I still have it on my phone so I guess its good enough. We caught some of the Main Street performers outside and started making our way farther down Main Street.


We were very ready for our day!


We got up to the front and caught the stage show, and then the park was open! Horray!


First stop: Meeting Tiana and "Punzel."



Next we rode the carrousel. DD loves it and this picture is so beautiful to me.


Next was our FP for Pirates. This is where our trip took a downturn. As soon as the boat started moving and it got dark, DD lost her shit. From then on, anything dark resulted in a minor meltdown. We learned our lesson the hard way. She cried on the entire thing poor girl.

I'm glad our next stop was a ride on the carpets because it was at least outside!!


After the carpets we got in a small line to meet Jasmine and Aladdin. Our meet was cute but I still can't get over her new outfit. I don't mind that its more coverage, but it looks strange to me, especially the weird bangs.


We had a FP next for JC but the FP line was really long, like all the way to the steps long. I asked the CM if she could make a guess about how long it would be until we got onto the ride from the back of the line, she guessed about 30 min. I love JC so much, but I knew we wouldn't do well waiting that long, so we skipped it. I'm sad we never made it on, but that is what traveling with a 2 year old is!!

Up next was Tiki Room! DD loves birds so I thought this would be good. Nope. Dark. We left halfway through the show because she was crying. Funny thing is now that we are home, she asks to watch youtube / listen to the songs from it. Maybe next time will be better.

We decided it was a good idea to go grab lunch, so we headed to Pecos Bills. Hubs and I both got fajita platter and DD had a PBJ. I love the toppings bar here and have always liked the food.

We had FP for BTMR, so hubs went to ride. DD and I stayed back for my favorite... CBJ! We just missed the show so we went outside to walk around before the next one. The bears were out wandering so we got to meet Wendell! DH got off BTMR and was able to get into the CBJ theater right before the doors closed so he got to "enjoy" the show too. DD didn't love the dark but she liked the music and I think just meeting a bear had helped.


After CBJ, I went to ride BTMR and DH took DD for a treat. I found them on a curb eating dole whips after my ride and she was a very happy camper to be enjoying dessert.



On our way out of Frontierland we waited in line to meet these two sillies.

We headed over to Fantasyland to ride the Tea Cups, met Gaston (who she clearly did not trust), met the girls at the Pete's Silly Slideshow, went for a ride on Dumbo and then used the 4th FP I grabbed at some point for Tomorrowland Speedway.






To be continued...


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DH wanted to go get a speciality MB with "the child" aka baby yoda so he went into the shop by Space Mountain, and I walked around with DD who fell asleep in her stroller. He was taking awhile so I grabbed a coffee at Joffereys and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Tomorrowland. He was taking awhile and finally came out of the shop and said they told him to go back in 30 minutes to pick up his band. There were some pins he saw in Frontierland that he wanted to buy, and with a sleeping child, we walked back that way. Of course, 2 seconds after we got into the shop, DD woke up and said she was hungry. By this point it was close to 30 minutes so we went back to Tomorrowland to get DD a hot dog and for DH to get the magic band. I grabbed a hot dog and chips for DD, and the CM gave me another hot dog for free which was nice. DD and I sat and ate while continuing to wait for DH. He came back 20 minutes later, frustrated that the band was not ready. They were going to ship it to our room. He was annoyed that they didn't tell him it would take longer, and that we had wasted time at MK doing nothing. It was what it was. DD was fed and happy, we were at Disney World, life is OK.




We left MK and took the monorail over to EP. She wanted a seat but with a full monorail, she was forced to stay in hers!


I wanted to check out the new character spot so that is where we headed first. There was NO ONE over there and DD was SO happy. The first character in line was Mickey, and I kid you not, they hugged for a solid minute. The CMs didn't try to break it up, Mickey didn't break it up, DH and I just stood there like, should we do something? It was the cutest thing ever. DD was happy to see Donald and Minnie and her happiness there was a highlight of our day / trip.






I love the Epcot tree, it may be my favorite. I like that you can see it from most places around the park.


We headed towards Mexico and we saw Daisy with a short wait so we met her next. DD had some energy and was sort of dancing around and got on the ground. I was SHOCKED when Daisy also got down on the ground with her. I was scared she wouldn't be able to get up!



We went into Mexico and rode three caballeros, which DD was not so great on. She did not like going through the restaurant but was fine in the other parts of the ride where its not so dark. After the ride we met Donald which was fun. We got to meet the Fab 5 with short waits on our first day- winning!


It was getting dark, none of us were super hungry, and we had no plan. The worst way to spend time at EP. We got some beer and a pretzel to split in Germany, bought DD a bubble wand and walked through World Showcase. We left EP around 7:45pm and headed back to POR. I took DD back to the room to take a shower and get ready for bed, DH got off at the main building to grab us some food to share for dinner. I think we were all showered and fast asleep by 10pm. It was a long day, but a great day!!!



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Day 2!

It was another beautiful day at Walt Disney World and on today’s agenda… Animal Kingdom! Our first FP wasn’t until 10am so we were a little bit slower getting out the door on this day.


Our first FP was for the Safari and tried to scan in early, but they didn’t let us. We walked around Gorilla Falls to kill some time. When our window opened, we got right in line for KS. It was probably one of the best safaris I have ever been on that I can remember. We had great views of all the animals. Our guide was just OK, but the animal sightings made up for it.





After the Safari, we booked it over to see the UP! Great Bird Adventure. If you know me or read my reports, you know that UP and those characters are my favorite. This show just didn’t do it for me. I thought the woman troop leader was over the top. We sat way in the back, so we could spread out, talk and not interrupt anyone. I’m glad we did it but I don’t think we will be returning.


After the show we walked around the Tree of Life to go see Dug and Russell! I wish Mr. Fredrickson met with them. We loved the decorations with the cone of shame on top of the Christmas tree!




Next was FOTLK, which was great, as always. When the show started, DD was not a fan of the dark, but got over it after the music and dancing started. We sat down on the end of the row just in case we needed to get out if she started to lose it. Near the end of the show, some of the dancers grab kids from the audience to participate. DH didn’t think DD would want to do it, but she went down, and she did great! I may or may not have cried watching her participate. Definitely a highlight from the trip. Now when we’re home and “Just can’t wait to be king” comes on, we have to shake medicine bottles or shakers like she did in the show :p



After the show it was time for lunch! DD said she wanted pizza, so we headed to Pizzafari. We had never been there before so was good with us. For some reason mobile ordering was not working there, so I waited in line while DH an DD got seats. I have to say; the pizza wasn’t bad. We also grabbed the garlic knots which were really good. We were happy to sit and eat, so it was nice.

After lunch we went to use our last FP to meet Mickey and Minnie at the Adventure Outpost. I was hoping they’d be in their holiday outfits, but it was more like just extras on their normal safari outfits.



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Loving the report!

I feel your pain on the first dark ride "ruining" things!

When my son was 3 our first ride was Peter pan.... WRONG CHOICE! He freaked out in the dark. What made it really sad for me was that he wanted to ride buzz lightyear so badly, it's all he talked about for months. Because of the Peter pan scare he wouldn't even step into the buzz queue bc it was dark!

I'm glad she still went on some dark rides and was able to overcome... at least a little!


My fave pix are DD and Mickey booping her on the nose, and DD with Daisy down on ground in same position. I really think the CM in the meet and greets are the superheros of the parks, they are some amazingly good with the kids and willing to go the extra mile.


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On our way to Dinoland, we spent some time dancing with Viva Gaia Street Band! DD was having a fun time, and its moments like these that I really think Disney trips are so special. She was dancing around without a care in the world and watching her have a blast was just so fun for us.


In Dinoland, we met all of the characters in about an hour! We all met Scrooge, then I waited in line for Chip and Dale while DD and DH met Launchpad. After Chip and Dale, DD and I rode Triceratops Spin while DH waited for Donald. After Donald, we met Santa Goofy. DD and DH had a few more rides on Triceratops Spin, which was her first ride ever at WDW!





We were hoping that DD would take a stroller nap, so we slowly walked over to EE. We had grabbed another FP, but the single rider line was SO short. We both waited maybe 5 minutes to get on, so it was really fast. DD did never fall asleep.


On our way out of the park, we saw the Merry Menagerie puppets and they were so beautiful. DD enjoyed interacting with them!



We wanted to hit up the food booths at Epcot, so instead of taking the bus to EP, we took the bus to the Boardwalk and walked. DH had never been through the International Gateway so it was a nice, new thing for him!

On our way through the International Gateway, we saw Mickey, Minnie and Goofy meeting! We decided to say “hi” to Minnie on our way through!


We tried food from L’Chaim, Morocco and Japan for dinner, saw Pere Noel in France and Daruma Storyteller in Japan. The Pastrami on Rye and the Smoked Salmon Latke from L’Chaim were our favorite snacks for sure. We also learned that there are only two toilets inside Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, both gender neutral, and both with lines. Very thankful for the people who let us cut them in line after listening to a toddler cry out “I HAVE TO GO POTTY” over and over. I really wish every country had a lot of bathroom options. When a 2-year-old has to go, they have to go NOW!



We left Epcot on the earlier side because our next day was dealing with the insanity that was RD and ROTR!