Summer at Disney World: A trip of firsts … and lasts

Well, it’s been a whole month since I got back from our last trip to Disney and if I don’t start this trip report now, I’ll probably forget everything, so here we go…


This was our first family trip during the summer. We usually go during spring break, but decided to try early summer instead since I was going to be at Disney for the Star Wars Half marathon weekend with my BFF the weekend after our spring break ended. It was also a lot less expensive and we were hoping it would be less crowded as well. The bonus is that the Flower and Garden festival was extended this year and continued through most of our trip. :RpS_love:


The details:
5/29/19-6/4/19
Me, DH, DS11, DD9
Split stay (a first!) BCV first 2 days, BWV last 4 days
7 day park hopper tickets bought at UCT prior to date-based pricing


Side note: DS11 has ASD and lots of sensory issues. He qualifies for DAS, but we have never used it before because I felt that I could control his environment reasonably well with a combination of rope drop, fastpass+, frequent breaks and a good touring plan. For a variety of reasons, we decided that this would be our first time using DAS. Although we didn’t use it a whole lot, it worked really well when we did and I think it is a really great resource for kids with ASD.
 
Wednesday May 29 Epcot

We had an easy trip to the airport, sailed through security with no wait (a first, yay!), and an easy flight arriving at MCO a few minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival ~2:10pm. After bathroom breaks and a quick trip to Starbucks, we made our way to DME and waited a couple minutes before getting on the bus. We got our room ready text on the way to BCV, so we went straight to the room and … magic bands wouldn’t open the door :( We tried all 4, but none worked, so DH called the front desk to complain. They said they were sending a CM up to figure things out. While we were waiting, I noticed the “use your phone to open door” button in DME and decided to give it a try. It worked! So at least we could actually bring our bags inside and sit down while we waited for the CM to fix the magic band problem. About 10 minutes later, she showed up and tried to perform some disney magic with her tablet, but alas, she couldn’t fix the problem. She said that we would have to bring all of the magic bands down to the front desk to have them reprogrammed. Since we were wasting precious park time, we decided to just go straight to Epcot and stop at the front desk on our way back.


At this point, it was close to 4pm and everyone was hungry so we headed straight to world showcase to grab some food. My kiddos love the crepes from the cart in France, so DH stopped and grabbed some crepes for them while I made my way to the Florida Fresh booth and got some shrimp and grits and carne guisada for the adults. So yummy!


It was finally time for rides! As we started walking toward future world, the heat really hit us. DS has terrible heat tolerance and was perilously close to melting down, so we stopped for some frozen lemonade for all of us.

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I may have had the “adult” version ;). We had a fp+ for Figment, but didn’t need it. It was a walk on. We enjoyed the air conditioning as we rode and 20 minutes later we were boarding our boat at living with the land. Still my favorite.


DS was still acting grumpy which is typically a sign that he needs to eat, so I got the kids mac n cheese at Sunshine seasons. Despite his protests that he wasn’t hungry, DS perked up almost immediately after eating and shed his grumpiness. He noticed that there was a pokemon raid about to start at the entrance to Epcot. For those of you not familiar, pokemon raids are a limited time event, so like fp+, you need to get there before your window closes. There were only a few minutes left, so we fast walked to the entrance and DS prepared to battle. A few minutes later he emerged victorious with a new pokemon in his collection and we headed to his favorite ride.

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The kids were so excited to ride test track that they immediately wanted to ride again, so we got in the single rider line and we were in a car making a second lap only ~15 minutes later. DS and DH were ready to go back to the hotel, but DD wanted more park time, so the boys headed back to the hotel

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looks like they may have made a detour ;)

I took DD to Mouse gears. This was the first trip that she expressed an interest in collecting pins and she very carefully perused the entire collection before making her first selection :RpS_laugh: I was still hungry so we headed to Mexico for a snack and the 3 caballeros.

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DD wanted to try to ride FEA, but the standby line was long and I couldn’t snag us a fp+, so I convinced her that it was time to go back to the hotel. We stopped and had our magic bands reprogrammed at the front desk. Finally, it was time for bed.
 
Thursday May30 Part 1 Yacht Club

The day started with two firsts for us: The Yacht Club Regatta Run, followed by a MK day with NO rope drop!


For those of you who have never done one of the fun runs at the resorts, I highly recommend it. The Regatta Run starts at 8am at the YC marina and you can just walk up and register right before. We got down to the marina ~7:40 and there was a sign and a couple other people waiting, but no CM to be found. Over the next 10 minutes or so, a few more people arrived and then finally a couple CM showed up. Luckily the registration process itself was super quick (sign waiver and pay $15 per person) and we were ready to run! We all started together, but it soon became apparent that DS was not going to last long in the heat, so DD took off while DS and I took our time and slow jogged with some nice long walk intervals. DH was waiting back at the finish because even though he is a runner too, he doesn’t believe in exercise while on vacation :RpS_wink: We ran toward DHS and gave the CM at the turnaround point a high five before making our way back to the boardwalk and around crescent lake back to the finish. The run is officially billed as a 3k (1.8 miles), but it was closer to a mile and a half. When we got back to the finish line, there were plenty of snacks and fun props for picture taking :RpS_thumbup:

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… and just look at the swag :RpS_love:


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DD was super happy she got a “limited edition” pin for “free” :RpS_laugh:
 
Thursday May30 Part 2 MK

We headed back to the room for a quick shower and change of clothes and ate our post-race snacks while we headed to the bus stop. The bus came almost immediately and we were walking through the entrance of MK ~9:40am. DH was in desperate need of caffeine, so we made our usual pilgrimage to Starbucks for iced coffees and lemonades, then started slowly walking toward frontierland. DH and DS diverted to the restrooms, while DD and I headed to BTMMR. We got there ~10:15 and I was pleasantly surprised to see a posted sb wait of only 20 minutes. But the line looked a little longer and we were still waiting for the boys, so we asked for a DAS and were given a return time for just 7 minutes later. By the time DH and DS caught up to us, we only had to wait a couple minutes and we went straight into the fp+ line. This turned out to be a good move because they changed the standby wait to 35 minutes as we were walking up. We were near the end of our window for our first fp+, so we headed to jungle cruise with a brief stop to pick up a DAS for pirates on the way. In the next 50 minutes we were able to hit jungle cruise (with fp+), pirates (with DAS), and splash (with fp+)! DS was melting so we stopped for another frozen lemonade before making our way to mine train for our last fp+.


DD and I had a date for a tea party at the Grand Floridian, so we left the boys to their own devices for the afternoon. We had about an hour before we had to leave for GF and DD was dying to have some princesses sign her autograph book. Cinderella and Elena were showing a posted wait of 20 minutes, but the line looked much longer. We got in line and I immediately started refreshing MDE to see if I could find us a fp+ for one of the characters. I managed to find one for Tiana and Rapunzel for later in the afternoon, so I snagged it in case we wanted to come back to the park after tea. The line for Cinderella was barely moving, so we bailed and headed around the castle to meet Merida instead.

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She was great and had a very animated conversation with DD. We had waited 25 minutes in line and I was worried that we might be late getting over to GF, but a boat was waiting for us as we walked up and we actually ended up being about 15 minutes early!

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The tea was delicious. As usual, I was completely full after the sandwiches and scones, so we had them box up the desserts to bring back to the hotel to share with DS.


We headed to the monorail and after only 30 seconds or so we were on our way back to MK to meet Tiana and Rapunzel. DD got her signatures and plenty of hugs.

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Then finally we were ready for a break. Another quick wait for the bus and we were back at BCV ready for some pool time. DH and I relaxed in the shade while the kids swam. I thought that we would probably walk around the food kiosks at Epcot for dinner, but after running around all day, DH decided that he would rather have a sit down dinner. So I got on MDE and was able to snag an ADR at Trattoria Al Forno. When we got there, I was so glad that I had made the reservation because the place was packed! They were giving walk ups an estimated wait over an hour. Even with the ADR, we ended up waiting about 20 minutes and our food was a bit slow coming out. Later though, the chef showed up at our table with apologies for our wait and a sweet ending to our meal.



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It was a good day.

 

Monica

New member
following along as I love trip reports in general, but I am especially interested in hearing about how your son handled the parks as I was apprehensive about that also.
 
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Anne

Well-known member
Love the run pictures! I keep forgetting about the resort fun runs. How many days per week do they do the run?
 
following along as I love trip reports in general, but I am especially interested in hearing about how your son handled the parks as I was apprehensive about that also.
This was our 4th family trip, so he considers himself a pro at this point. We've always been really conservative with the amount of rides that we try to do in any given day and leave lots of down time for him to decompress and it's always worked great. He also wears ear plugs all of the time to decrease the amount of auditory stimulation as that is one of his biggest triggers. This trip was more challenging than usual because it was so hot out and he does not tolerate heat well, so we had to make some modifications to the plan along the way, but everyone ended up having a good time.
 
Love the run pictures! I keep forgetting about the resort fun runs. How many days per week do they do the run?
I think there is a different resort run almost every day of the week. YC is every thursday, BW is every friday, POFQ is on Sunday. Can't remember the others but I know they have them at SSR, OKW and one of the all stars too.
 
Friday 5/31/19 Part 1 Epcot

I had promised DD a ride on FEA, but I hadn’t gotten any FP+ for it, so we decided to rope drop FEA. Since we start from the IG entrance, I figured we wouldn’t have to be there too early. We strolled up to IG at 8:35am and we were maybe 20-25 people back from the front. They held us at the bridge until 8:55 and then we were off. We fast walked to FEA and were entering the line at 9:02! We only waited in line about 5 minutes and were back out front at 9:17. The line for Anna and Elsa was still really short, so we hopped in and DD got some signatures, while DH and DS grabbed a snack at Kringla bakeri. The topiaries in front were so pretty, so we stopped for a few pics.

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The original plan was to walk back to France to get some pastries, but DS really wanted to go to TT again, so we made our way to the TT SR line. The kids were expecting another short wait after our experience with SR the day before, but it ended up being close to 40 minutes this time. In retrospect, I should have just gotten a DAS return time because DS was freaking out for the last 20 minutes we were in line. lesson learned.

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Worth it to see him so happy:RpS_love:

I had promised DD time to meet more characters for her signature book. So after finally finishing our ride, we walked back to France for a snack and a meeting with Belle.



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Alice was meeting in the UK, so we headed back across the bridge to meet her when we stumbled into …
 
Friday 5/31/19 Part 2 Epcot

CHARACTERPALOOZA! This was another first for us and it was AWESOME!

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There were so many characters lining the walkway from the IG. I think we just caught the tail end because we only had time to catch these guys before the characters started closing up shop, but there were many more characters including Mickey, Donald, penguins from Mary Poppins, and Liver lips! Since the whole thing only took us 12 minutes, DD still wanted to go see Alice, so we finished our trip to the UK and then turned back toward the IG to walk to the hotel. Look who was waiting to turn on the smolder ;)


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BSS

Member
I just LOVE all the pics of your daughter with the characters! Looks like she had a blast!
 

mgarbowski

Well-known member
I also love the character photos. And too bad about TT SR being 40 minutes the second time. It really is highly variable.
 

Anne

Well-known member
We ran into character training at Epcot once before and it was so much fun! Glad you got such a great experience!
 

Monica

New member
Trying very hard to be purely happy for you about Characterpalooza - and Flynn! Holy Snuggly Duckling, FLYNN! - without tainting it with envy about our Palooza- and Flynn-less state, and not altogether succeeding. Very cute pix.
 
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