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

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

Thank you so much! DD has loved meeting characters since she was tiny. This is from our very first trip to disney:


Things haven't changed much. :RpS_wink: She was a sweaty mess this time, but still loved meeting princesses:

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.
The irony is that we weren't expecting it at all. I've always read about it happening at DHS, so was hoping we might get lucky there. This was completely out of the blue, which made it that much better I think. Hoping you get lucky next time!
Friday 5/31/19 Part 3 DHS

The kids spent the afternoon playing in the pool at Beach Club one last time before we moved over to BWV.


I had requested early checkin in hopes we could freshen up in our room before heading to DHS, but no such luck. So we just changed in the lobby bathroom and left our bag at bell services before we caught the boat to DHS. We had fp+ for ToT, RnRC, and SDD. DD has been pestering me to go on the roller coaster with the “loop-de-loops” since she was tiny, but I didn’t think my kids could handle it before this trip, so it would be the first time on ALL of these rides and the kids were super excited!

We arrived at the park around 3:30 and headed toward ToT, stopping for a few pics on the way. I don’t like rides that drop you, but wanted to see the pre-show, so I walked through the line with the family and then took the chicken elevator to the exit while DH took the kids on the ride.


The expressions on their faces crack me up!

Then we made the short walk over to RnRC. This time I took the kids and DH waited for us. DH has motion sickness and it seems to be getting worse with every trip. I finally convinced him to try taking dramamine this trip and it seemed to work fairly well the day before. But he hadn’t taken any that day and was feeling a bit woozy after TT in the morning, so we thought it would be safer for him to sit out.


Another winning ride photo ;) DD loved both rides, but DS declared that he was never going on either one again :(

Then it was time for dinner. We got lucky and managed to catch the March of the first order on our way to Sci Fi Dine-in.


It was our first time eating there. The burgers weren’t bad and the kids really enjoyed the atmosphere after we explained the concept of a drive-in movie ;)


As soon as we left the air conditioning, DS looked like he was melting again. It had been a really long day and by the time we made it to Toy story land, he was feeling dizzy and out of sorts. So DH took DS back to the hotel and I took DD on SDD. DS was disappointed that he couldn’t go on SDD, but we consoled him with a promise that we’d be back the next day. The boys made a stop at Ample hills when they got back to the Boardwalk and I’m sure that didn’t hurt either ;)

It was no surprise that DD loved SDD and still had plenty of energy for exploring toy story land after, but I didn’t want to stay too late since DS was back at the hotel. We headed to the dock and a boat came after only a few minutes.

DH had texted me that they had the same problem with the magic bands not opening the door at BWV, so we stopped at the front desk to have them reprogrammed AGAIN. We continued to have problems with the magic bands not opening doors for the rest of the trip. This was the only real downside of this trip (besides the heat). On one of the many trips back to the front desk, I made a point of saying how inconvenient it was to have to do this again in hopes that I would at least get a heart felt apology, but the CMs at the front desks seemed completely disinterested. My SIL actually got a free memory maker and free gifts for her kids by writing a polite email to the manager when she had problems booking her trip a few weeks before us, so I briefly considered writing to the manager to complain, but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. Maybe someday I’ll be the person that asks to speak to the manager, lol.


prefers quisp over quake
I had the same issues with the magic bands at Yacht Club last year. CMs tried to come up a couple of times to fix it, tried fixing it at the lobby and finally we left the bands at the front desk while we went to eat at Ale and Compass before they finally worked. Since we weren't really headed out it wasn't a big issue but still very annoying. I think they gave me $150 resort credit because we were being nice about the delay.

Glad you seem to be having a good trip.

I hit enter before finishing...

I also had stayed at another resort before checking in to the YC and the front desk seemed to think there was an issue with it not setting or resetting properly. Sounded like it happens occasionally.
Saturday June 1st Part 1 DHS

The kids were up bright and early as usual. They had a quick bowl of cereal and then we boarded the boat back to DHS. We got there about 8:15 am and thanks to the new rope drop procedure we were signing up for Jedi training 5 minutes later. There was no line at all and we were able to pick any show we wanted. Since we had fp+ for SDD, we weren’t trying to beat the crowds to toy story land, so we headed to Starbucks to hydrate the kids and caffeinate the adults. We had a brief moment of panic when it looked like we wouldn’t be able to make it across the giant crowd of people filling Hollywood boulevard. But I am small and used to dodging between people, so I started walking through. After assuring everyone that we weren’t trying to cut in line, and we just really needed some coffee, people were pretty good about letting us cross.

Have I mentioned yet that it was HOT!?! The high temp was 96 or 97 degrees every day of our trip and the overnight lows were in the 70s. It was already super hot and humid at 8:30 am, so we decided to wait inside Starbucks until the rope drop crowds dissipated. They started letting people walk at 8:45 and even though we deliberately walked with the back of the crowd, we were still in line for TSMM 7 minutes later. It only took about 5 minutes to walk through the queue before we were on the ride. I had originally planned for the kids to ride AS2 before our SDD fp+, but they were NOT interested and decided they’d rather ride TSMM again instead. We went back to TSMM , but the line was already up to 35 or 40 minutes, so we got a DAS and headed to Woody’s lunchbox for a snack. DH got a breakfast sandwich and DS split a raspberry tart with me. DD won’t eat anything resembling fruit, so she nibbled on a tiny piece of DH’s sandwich and decided she was good. By the time we finished eating, it was time to go back to TSMM for round 2. When we finished the ride, DS was complaining that his slingshot wasn’t working great and one of the CMs overheard and told him that we could all ride again in another car without waiting. DH and I had had enough, so the kids went on by themselves for a bonus ride before we headed to SDD.


DS finally got to ride and loved it. Yay! :RpS_love:

Then it was time to head back to the Jedi training signup area. There were a couple smaller kids there already and DS had a good time imparting his wisdom from his two prior experiences fighting the dark side ;) This would be DS last time for jedi training as he’ll be too old during our next trip. He was excited to fight Kylo Ren this time. We’ve been lucky in that he’s battled a different villain each time (the other two were Darth Maul and Darth Vader).




So serious ;)

After Jedi training was done, we had 5 minutes to kill before our fp+ for Star tours, so we made a quick trip to see Olaf.

Saturday June 1st Part 2 DHS

We got one of the newer sequences on star tours and then we walked over to launch bay to meet some characters. We managed to see Chewie, Kylo and BB8 in less than 15 minutes!



Kylo Ren was trying to be menacing, but DD just couldn't stop laughing. Too funny!:RpS_laugh:

Our next fp+ was for RnRC again, but neither DH nor DS had any interest in going on so they decided to go back to the hotel to relax while DD and I went on RnRC and then went in search of more photo ops ;)

Both Mike and Sully and Edna mode had lines that were longer than we wanted to wait, so we decided to take advantage of some of the Incrediberg photo stops that had no wait.



By now, we were tired of the heat so we decided to go back to the hotel for a little rest. We spied Daisy on the way out and DD couldn’t resist getting an autograph.


We headed for the boat only to see the boat pulling away with a full line of people still waiting at the dock. This was actually the first time we had any wait for transportation the whole trip. Since it would be 20 minutes until the next boat, DD decided that we should just walk back to the hotel. It wasn’t a bad walk and we beat the boat pretty handily.
Saturday June 1st Part 3 DS

DH and DS love all things Star Wars, so after reading good reviews here, I decided to splurge on the VR experience at DS. We arrived around 4:25 and registered for the 5pm show. The CM originally said that the whole experience takes 45min to an hour, but after I told her I was worried about missing our 5:50pm dinner ADR , she said we’d “probably be fine” so we decided to go for it. We did a little window shopping to kill time, but then made sure we got back 10 minutes early. They let us sign our waivers and get our wristbands as soon as we got there, so we ended up being with the first group to go back for our orientation right at 5pm. After the brief orientation, we got fitted with our gear and then we entered the VR chamber. the kids absolutely loved it! They thought it was the coolest thing ever and asked if we could go back the next day ;) I thought it was pretty neat too. My only complaint is that the actual VR experience is pretty short (25ish minutes) given the cost. We were done in plenty of time to make it to dinner at Homecoming. The deviled eggs were super yummy and everyone enjoyed their entrees. While we ate, the sky opened up and there was suddenly a downpour. Luckily, it lightened up a bit as we were leaving the restaurant and we made a mad dash to the Lego store.



DS found a set that he wanted and then we headed back to the hotel. DD wanted to see the fireworks at DHS but I didn’t feel like going back, so we compromised by watching the fireworks from the bridge to Epcot.


I decided then that we would have go back to see Illuminations for real for one last time before it disappears.
Sunday June 2nd AK

Disney decided to screw up my plans by extending hours at AK only a few weeks before our trip. We had fp+ for the evening at KRR, EE, and FOP and I had planned to ropedrop N’avi river followed by safaris before we went to brunch. But an 8am ropedrop is way different than a 9am rope drop, and I dithered back and forth about whether I should try to rearrange our day. Eventually we decided to just make a game day decision.

The stars aligned and the kids were awake early as usual, so we decided to try a “lazy” ropedrop at AK. We got on the bus at 7:50am and were strolling through security at AK at 8:01 :) We got to N’avi river at 8:14, waited 10 minutes (posted sb wait was 5) and were back out front before 8:30! We headed straight to KS. The posted wait was 15 minutes but we only ended up waiting for 6!


We still had time for Starbucks, seeing the parrots fly, meeting Kevin, and going on Dinosaur before we caught the bus to AKL for brunch. The only disappointment is that the otters were nowhere to be seen :(

The kids thoroughly enjoyed their brunch at Boma (another first!). In fact, this was one of their favorite parts of the trip. They had never been to a buffet before and thought it was awesome that they could keep going back to get as many pastries as they wanted ;)


We didn’t feel like taking the bus, so we got a Lyft back and relaxed for a couple hours at the pool.

We caught the bus back to AK a little after 3:30pm and were walking through the gates a couple minutes after 4. It was hot as heck again, so it was a good thing that our first fp+ was for KRR. DS got soaked and that kept him cool on the walk over to EE.


As I mentioned before, DH gets terrible motion sickness and EE almost killed him on our last trip 2 years ago, so I was hoping that he would sit this one out because I didn’t want him to miss FOP later that night. Well, DH stubbornly decided that he was going to ride EE anyway.


The kids had a blast, but DH felt terrible even with the Dramamine and seabands :( Luckily, we only had one ride left that night. We walked over to Pandora and had a yummy dinner at Satuli Canteen. DH still hadn’t recovered from EE, so he waited in the gift shop while the kids and I went on FOP. Another first for the kids and they absolutely loved it! So sad that DH wasn’t able to experience it. It had been another long day, so we headed straight to the exit and back to the hotel for an early bedtime.
Monday June 3rd Part 1 MK

Well, this trip report is limping in to the home stretch...

The plan was to rope drop tomorrowland, so I thought we’d be ok to arrive about 8:30. We went down to the bus stop about 10 or 15 minutes before 8am and there was no posted wait time for the bus to MK, so I assumed that we had probably missed one a few minutes before. But there were an awful lot of people waiting for the bus and some confirmed that they had been waiting quite a while. People were asking the CM at the bus stop what was going on and he said he wasn’t sure. After a few minutes of him fiddling with his tablet and making calls, a wait time showed up, but then it kept creeping back later and later. I was starting to worry that we wouldn’t make it in time for rope drop, so we decide to just get a lyft to the contemporary and then walk to MK. There were a bunch of cars waiting right outside the gates, so we literally only waited 1 minute before our driver came to pick us up and we were going through the super easy security line on the path from the contemporary maybe 20 minutes later. We even had enough time to make our customary stop at Starbucks on our way down main street. We lined up at the bridge to tomorrowland, watched the opening show and we were off! We started at Buzz with no wait and were done before 9:10. I was loosely following the same plan we had used at our last visit except that last time we rode tomorrowland speedway. Since I just can’t handle all of the fumes, I had planned to substitute winnie the pooh this time. Well DS really wanted to ride the speedway, so DH made the sacrifice to drive with him while DD and I went to winnie the pooh.



We met back up at the speedway around 9:30 and still had 10 minutes to kill before our first fp+ so we took a spin around on the peoplemover. It’s one of my favorites :) DD stopped at one of the pin booths outside and wanted to buy another pin. While she took her time looking, DH sneaked around to the other side and bought 2 packs of pins to squirrel away for christmas. Unfortunately, he forgot that we get a discount for using the disney visa card and used a different credit card to pay. He didn’t really want to go on space mountain anyway, so I took the kids on space while DH went off to see if he could get them to return the pins and then buy again with the discount (It worked. Yay!)

We took the path up toward the barnstormer, but it was starting to get really hot again so we made our first slushy break of the day and enjoyed some air conditioning while DD made yet another pin selection ;) We were finally ready for the barnstormer and got to check out the construction on the Tron coaster while we waited in line.


We continued through fantasyland with a stop under the sea on our way to our BOG lunch ADR. It was then I realized that I had completely forgotten to pre-order our food. I hastily tried to pre-order right then, but no dice. We were stuck waiting in line to order. Luckily the line wasn’t too bad and we were soon enjoying our lunch in the main dining room.


After lunch, we used our fp+ for 7DMT.


Our last fp+ was for splash. DD was chomping at the bit to meet more characters, but I knew DS was not interested so I asked DS if there were any other rides he wanted to do again. He wanted BTMRR, so we walked over and got a DAS and then continued to splash to use our fp+. While we were on splash, it had started to rain and it was still raining after we were done, so we let DD examine all of the pins in the gift shop while we waited for the rain to stop. took advantage of the time by finding us a fp+ for Ariel. About 10-15 minutes later the rain was done and we were ready for our last ride on BTMRR.
Monday June 3rd Part 2 MK

At this point, the boys were feeling done and decided to go back to the hotel to rest.


I took DD to meet Ariel and immediately started looking for another fp+ for a character meet. Initially all I could get was Tinkerbell for 2.5 hours later. So we walked over to try Cinderella again while I continued to refresh MDE. Once again the sb time was showing 20 minutes but the line definitely looked longer. DD decided she wanted to wait even if it took longer, so we got in line and I continued refreshing. After modifying fp+ for Tinkerbell 3 times, I finally had a time just 10 minutes later. At this point it was getting close to 3pm and I figured that if we stayed in line, it would start moving a lot faster because everyone would be going to the parade and that is exactly what happened!


After meeting Cinderella and Elena, we hustled down to our Tinkerbell fp. The posted wait was ~25 minutes, but the CM told us not to bother using our fp+ because the sb line was empty! There were maybe 2 groups in the fp+ line ahead of us, so we finished meeting Tinkerbell just 10 minutes later.


The line for Mickey and Minnie was looking pretty nonexistent, so we hopped in


we were back out a few minutes later just in time to watch the floats go by :)
Monday June 3rd Part 3 Epcot

DD decided that it was time to try for one last dip in the pool, so we caught the bus back to BWV. The kids got their bathing suits on and DH took them down to the pool. I had planned to meet them down there, but they were back less than 15 minutes later. Pool closed due to lightning strikes :( There was no lightning or even rain near us, but apparently disney shuts the pools down if lightning strikes within a 6 mile radius. So we let the kids watch TV for an hour then ventured out to enjoy the last night of F&G festival.

We started at Florida Fresh with our favorite shrimp and grits and then proceeded around the world on our way to TT, where I had scored a 4th fp+ during our break. On out way we tried the fried cauliflower in moracco (made my eyes water spicy), picked up burgers for the kids at Liberty Inn, had the berry buttermilk cake and perused the F&G merch in the festival center. Then we headed over to the imagination pavilion so DD could finally meet Ralph and Vanellope before we took our final lap on TT.


At this point we were pretty tired and didn’t think we’d make it another 2 hours until Illuminations started, so we decide to walk back to BCV for a brief rest and then return later for the fireworks.


We just had to stop for a blueberry violet cronut and the violet lemonade on our way out. That lemonade was sooo good, I was wishing I had gotten a couple extra for the road ;) We rested back in the room for an hour or so and then headed back to Epcot to watch Illuminations for one last time


Hoping the replacement show will be just as good.
Tuesday June 4th Epcot

The kids were up early as usual. We quickly finished packing our suitcases and dropped them at bell services. I had planned a relaxed morning with no real agenda other than getting breakfast and using our fp+ for TT. We strolled up to the IG right as they were allowing people to walk into the park. We started our day with some delicious pastries from France.

Then DD decided that she really wanted to ride FEA again. MDE was showing a 15 minute wait, so we walked over to Norway and were happily surprised to find that it was a walk-on at 9:45am :RpS_biggrin:.

i’d been eyeing the Minnie’s garden party t-shirt since my April trip for the star wars race, but hadn’t gotten it yet. All of the F&G stuff was marked down 25% the night before since it was the last night of the festival, but I kept putting off buying the shirt because I didn’t feel like carrying it around with me. As we were leaving, DH asked if I wanted to stop, but at that point I was too tired and figured that I’d just get it the next morning. So we kept an eye out for the shirt as we walked around WS, but all of the F&G kiosks had disappeared overnight! :RpS_thumbdn: We even stopped in to some of the actual stores that had carried the shirt and asked if they still had them , but the CM said that all of the F&G merchandise had already been removed. The one time I was actually hoping disney would be slow getting things done, they were masters of efficiency :RpS_confused:. So, lesson learned - do not wait to buy festival merchandise because it will disappear as soon as the festival is over :RpS_crying:


We continued on to TT to use our fp+. As usual DS decided that he had to ride again so instead of taking our chances with single rider, we got a DAS return time. We made a quick stop at Starbucks for some caffeine and then headed to Mouse gears for some last minute shopping before our next fp+ for SE (probably the last time we’ll see/hear this version!) Then it was back for one last ride on TT. DD decided that she just HAD to have crepes one more time before we left, so back to France we went for crepes and a meeting with Aurora.


Our time was up. We sadly made our way back to BCV to catch our 1:45p DME. We arrived at the airport just 33 minutes later with plenty of time to kill before our flight. Thankfully, the return trip was uneventful.
The grand tally and lessons learned

Even though it was our 4th family trip to Disney World, it was an eventful trip. There were lots of firsts:

  • 1st trip for DS as a Disney “adult”
  • 1st trip during the summer
  • 1st split stay
  • 1st time using DAS
  • Multiple 1st restaurants for the family: Sci Fi Dine in, Boma brunch, Satuli Canteen
  • 1st resort fun run
  • multiple 1st rides for the kids: SDD, RNRC, ToT, FOP, NRJ
  • 1st VR experience at DS
  • and 1st characterpalooza!!!:RpS_love:

There were also plenty of lasts:

  • last trip with a Disney kid (both will be disney adults next time)
  • last summer trip (because I never want to deal with that heat again)
  • last time seeing illuminations
  • Last time on SE (at least in it’s current incarnation)
  • and (hopefully) last time in Epcot when there is no festival!

Lessons learned

  • Even though DS was a Disney “adult”, they never gave me a hard time about him ordering off of the kid menu
  • My family cannot handle the heat and humidity of central Florida in summer, so no more summer trips for us
  • Transfer of stuff between reports for our split stay was surprisingly easy
  • Getting and using DAS was also surprisingly easy. We’ve never used it before and I’m not sure that we will again, but it definitely made this trip easier.
  • If you want to meet characters in MK with little to no wait, go during the parade!
  • If I want DH to be a fully functioning human, do NOT let him ride EE :RpS_laugh:
  • The last day of our trip was the first day after F&G and almost all of the topiaries and in-ground flowers were ripped out overnight. I didn’t like it at all. Epcot just seemed sad and empty without them, so all future trips will be during festival season
  • and finally, I should just buy the shirt if I really want it because it may not be there tomorrow. (But luckily I just bought it on eBay - hopefully it’s the right one)

Currently dealing with Disney withdrawal by planning and counting down the days to my next trip. Disney World Marathon here I come…


Great report . My goal for my next trip (or maybe even still this one) is to learn how to add photos to my trip report. I will take a page from your book and add a "wrap up" post to mine.