Thanksgiving week 2018

nolarookie

Well-known member
We got back from our Thanksgiving trip yesterday. Our party was just our immediate family, me , my husband, and our two sons who are 10 and 12 (although our 12 year old will be a full-fledged teenager in just a couple of weeks :RpS_scared:).

This trip was a surprise for the kids because we weren’t certain we would be able to go due to their school/sports schedules. However, things worked out beautifully, with our older making the school basketball team and there being NO Practices or games during the holiday week. Win - win!!

The weekend prior to our departure, we wrapped up the box of magic bands like a Christmas gift and told the bus we had an early Christmas gift for them. My youngest son saw the magic bands and said, “New magic bands, cool.” My older son looked at the them for minute, then asked, “Are we going to Disney?” —In a rather accusatory tone. Needless to say they were both pretty excited and we spent the rest of the evening talking about our plans.

The following Friday, we left our house and drove to Tallahassee. We arrived at Pop Century at about 1pm on Saturday. Miraculously our room was ready. We quickly unpacked and headed to HS. The boys were excited to see TSL.

We typically don’t stay onsite so it was an extra treat for the kids. Those rooms are still pretty tight, but it seems like there is better storage after the refurbishment. Being able to store our bags under the bed was great. We were also offered a $10/night digital gift card if we didn’t request housekeeping. We took them up on it, and we were able to get new towels kid-week.

After a big lunch at the Pop food court we headed out to HS. TSL was a mad house. We rode the Alien ride and had a FP for TSMM, RnR, and ToT. We also enjoyed the Christmas projection show show on ToT.

We spent Sunday at MK...
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
Magic Kindom was on the agenda for Sunday. It was an EMM day, but we were headed to Frontierland first, so the EMM did not make a huge impact.

We had a great day. We hit all of our favorites in Frontierland and Adventureland in the morning. We had FPs for Tomorrowland attractions in the early afternoon.

We took a little kid-day break to have lunch/brunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe. My husband and I both had the Benedict Flight, which did not disappoint. The gingerbread house was set up in the lobby, but no tree, which was a bit of a disappointment. We took the ferry to the Polynesian and checked out the Christmas tree (which was up—yay). Then we took the monorail back to MK.

We had a mine train FP for early evening. So we did a few anytime attractions, had a peppermint sundae from storybook treats and rose the mine train. We headed back to Pop and closed at the night.
 

Anne

Well-known member
I'm looking forward to hearing how your holiday went and what you thought of crowds. And how much holiday stuff was up. We're considering Thanksgiving week next year to minimize time out of school but not excited about crowds. Although this year we did a spring break week which Josh had listed at 4th busiest of the prior 17 (?) months and we still had a good time.

What is the Benedict flight? I don't recall it being on the menu my last trip. It sounds intriguing.
 

kmc8826

New member
Following...in the middle of our extended family Thanksgiving dinner I was like why don't we go to WDW over the holiday next year?!? Such a good time to go school/activity wise. Flights not so much...but I guess I could deal.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
I'm looking forward to hearing how your holiday went and what you thought of crowds. And how much holiday stuff was up. We're considering Thanksgiving week next year to minimize time out of school but not excited about crowds. Although this year we did a spring break week which Josh had listed at 4th busiest of the prior 17 (?) months and we still had a good time.

What is the Benedict flight? I don't recall it being on the menu my last trip. It sounds intriguing.
The Benedict flight included the traditional, lobster, and chorizo Benedict. Perfect for when you can’t choose!

The crowds were definitely heavy, but we did surprisingly well, especially with a late-arrival morning at AK on Thanksgiving Day. I love being able to enjoy being on vacation, and enjoy the early Christmas decorations, without missing any school or that much at work.

Following...in the middle of our extended family Thanksgiving dinner I was like why don't we go to WDW over the holiday next year?!? Such a good time to go school/activity wise. Flights not so much...but I guess I could deal.
It IS a good time school/activity wise. I do feel little pangs of guilt/homesickness. But at the same time, cooking for 20+ people is tough. Especially for me this time of year since we have three other get togethers within the next few weeks. I tell myself that skipping one isn’t the end of the world.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
Monday at HS

It was a bit of a madhouse. At least three CMs told is they were not expecting the crowds to be that big. We arrived at 8 am for a 9 am opening, and the lines were back to the ticket booths. The park was hosting an EMM that morning, and we were trying to RD SDD, since I could not get a FP for this early in our trip. We were let in at 8:30 and walked back to the rides at 8:45. We were on SDD I about thirty minutes. We then did the Aliens and rode RnR and ToT with FPs. We had a FP for TSMM, but I can’t remember when. This day was really a blur.

The thing that sticks out the most for me was that I liked the Christmas decorations at this park the best. They were everywhere, and kind of funky and retro. But all the areas were very decked out.

I also enjoyed the Frozen show. They added in some songs from the Christmas Frozen tv show, and my kids will never admit it, but they enjoyed it. The town historians had them cracking up.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving we went to Epcot. We pretty much spent all day here. We RD’d Soarin and had FPs for Test Track, Mission Space and Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth stopped completely while we were on our backwards descent and had to get walked off the ride. Not a huge deal, but our vehicle was at an awkward angle, which made getting to the staircase a little difficult. We were given an anytime FastPass for whatever Second tier ride you’d like. I guess they don’t have to do anything when you get walked off a ride, but you generally don’t need a FP for any of those attractions other than SE, which we weren’t going to ride again at that point. We used ours, rather wastefully, on the Pixar shorts. We did enjoy the show though. And sitting on SE for awhile allowed me to refresh MDE enough to get a 4th FP for the Frozen ride. My sons weren’t so excited about that, but the used to like the Maelstrom and we hadn’t been on the new ride since it opened, so we did it, and it was fun.

We had lunch at the ESPN Club. I enjoy walking around the Boardwalk and my husband and sons enjoyed looking around at all the sports memorabilia. The food was ok, nothing to write home about. We returned and looked around World Showcase a bit. The boys ate a few of the Christmas cookies available on the “cookie trail.” These offerings were all pretty weak. Our favorite was the black and white from the L’Chaim holiday kitchen. They were big, heavily frosted and they had a little bit of a lemon taste.

We headed back to Pop around 6 and got a pizza from the food court.

We liked the new layout at Pop with the Murphy bed. It made spending time at the room more enjoyable with more space to have a snack and move around. There were lots of little storage spaces in the bathroom to keep your stuff organized.
 

3dadknight

Well-known member
Brandi, you did better than I did getting your boys to do anything FROZEN related. I had the same experience getting the ride as a 4th FP, made the same Maelstrom rationalization, and had fun on our last trip. My boys were 17 and 19, though. They would have been “too cool” for that at 10 and 12.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
Brandi, you did better than I did getting your boys to do anything FROZEN related. I had the same experience getting the ride as a 4th FP, made the same Maelstrom rationalization, and had fun on our last trip. My boys were 17 and 19, though. They would have been “too cool” for that at 10 and 12.
They’re funny about Frozen. They act all cool, but they loved that movie when it first came out. The Frozen show at HS was genuinely funny, and I think that warmed them to the idea of doing the ride—plus a bit of nostalgia.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
Wednesday before Thanksgiving—we did a late start at MK this day. We had never been to a late EMH at any park, so we decided to do it this trip. We spent the morning at the pool at Pop. The kids went swimming, but it was too cool for me and my husband. Then we ventured out to DS to check out the LEGO store (which is an essential stop for my boys) and the newly revamped World of Disney store. After purchasing some mini figures and making mental notes for their Christmas gifts, we headed to the contemporary for an early dinner at the Wave.

The Wave is one of our favorites, and this meal did not disappoint. There was a strip steak special that was really good. We proclaimed this was the best meal we have had on Disney property. Funny coincidence, one of our servers was in the college program and is a student at the University of New Orleans (where my husband went to college) and he is from our hometown. So it was fun chatting with him, mostly talking football.

After dinner we looked around the contemporary a bit and took some photos by the gingerbread display, then headed out to MK.
 

Anne

Well-known member
I love it when we have a chance to talk with a CM and find something in common. That's when Disney feels most "Disney" to me, the personal interactions.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
I love it when we have a chance to talk with a CM and find something in common. That's when Disney feels most "Disney" to me, the personal interactions.
It was a pretty cool—an “it’s a small world after all” moment. He actually is a server at a restaurant really close to our house when he’s at home.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
EMH at MK

We headed into MK around 6/6:30. We had FPs for the mine train, big thunder and the jingle cruise. As you all know, the jungle/jingle cruise is only as good as your skipper. Ours was just ok on this cruise, but we still enjoyed the jingle overlay. We ended up doing a lot of stuff this night, the tiki room, HoP, Dumbo, pirates, IASW, and the coolest thing watching the fireworks in Frontierland, on the little pier or wooden walkway leading to the boats for Tom Sawyer Island. We were actually able to snag a seat.

As far as EMH goes, it’s probably better on a non-holiday week. The waits were still pretty long, and is was only a two hour EMH. We ended up going on space with a 20 minute wait and riding Buzz a lot. My husband always beats the snot out me at Buzz, then this happened:

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We got stuck and I landed on a good target, but it still felt great to finally win!!! (Although I’m the family champion of TSMM—so I’ve got that going for me).

So when all the rides shut down, we got a few photopass pics with the castle all lit up and the decorations on Main Street. It was a good night, but EMH is not something we’ll repeat on a major holiday week.

The next day we did a late arrival at AK.
 

nolarookie

Well-known member
So as I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve, I’m thing back on Thanksgiving Day and remembering I d like to finish this trip report. I think having to “rope drop” the store to pick up a Christmas ham got me thinking about our trip.

We spent Thanksgiving Day at AK. We did not rope drop. We slept in and got there in time for our FOP FP around 11:00. We have still not gone on the river journey ride, but that’s ok. We also had FPs for EE and KS. The weather was cool and overcast so we had an awesome safari ride. Lots of animals out and about.

We were able to get subsequent FPs for Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl. We also saw the Up bird show. It had been awhile since we saw the original FOW, so I don’t really remember it well enough to compare.

We ended the day at Boma for Thanksgiving dinner. I love AKL, it was decorated beautifully and the food was great. We went out to look at the animals before our reservation and a couple of CMs from South Africa were there helping guests look for the animals. We chatted with one for awhile and our oldest son couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful her accent was. I think he was a little smitten.

Dinner was excellent and we made it back to our room in time to catch most of the Saints game. It was great day.

Merry Christmas to all of you!
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