The Many Adventures of B and Jen

BSS

Member
Foreword
I'm Jen, a 40-something mom of 3 grown-ish kids. B is my 21 (about to turn 22) year old son. We have been to Disney World many times with DH and B's siblings and have been going just the two of us each year while he has been in college. We typically go the first week of October, but had to push back to January this year due to some mid-term exams in October.

We stayed at Wilderness Lodge at B's request. We have stayed at value resorts the past several trips, but he was nostalgic for WL so I booked it. The moment I arrived I remembered why it is our favorite. It is just such a beautiful and calm envioronment. A great place to relax and escape the hustle of Disney World while still being in the heart of the bubble.

We tend to take a fairly relaxed attitude at Disney and constantly modify our plans on the fly. It is the benefit of knowing it is neither our first trip nor our last.

Chapter 1: In which we arrive and go on a wild ride
We arrived at MCO at about 11am on Saturday, January 4 and made our way to Magical Express. This ride on DME would be the wildest ride of the trip! Our driver was a little aggressive in his driving and it began to pour about halfway through the ride. B and I were in the front seat watching many narrow misses as we weaved in and out of traffic and one moment where we very nearly missed rear-ending the car ahead of us. I have never had a DME ride quite like it and hope to never again. Wilderness Lodge was the first stop - YAY!

I hadn't gotten a text at all about the room being ready or not so we stopped at the front desk and discovered that our online check-in had not gone all the way through despite MDE saying it was complete. The cast member pushed it through and asked if we still wanted to wait for our high foor request or if we'd rather she see what was available now. We said we would wait.

It was raining when we arrived and we checked our carry on bags with bell services and decided to get some lunch at Geyser Point to hopefully wait for the rain to pass and since our fist fastpass was at 2:40. We were given a lovely table overlooking the lake and shared the cheesy brisket dip, a crab cake and some teriyaki wings. All were delicious, though the wings were a bit salty for my preference and the crab cake had a lot of filler. This spot and the brisket dip would be recurring themes for the week.

At about 2:00, the rain ceased and we took the boat over to MK. The boat is a lovely way to get around and the security screening upon arrival is a breeze. Being the last Saturday of most school breaks the crowds were as we expected. Upon arrival we rode Pirates which I believe was posted at 35 minutes and that was pretty close to accurate. Next, we used our FP+ at Jungle Jingle Cruise. It was cute, but we both agreed we prefer the regular cruise. This version felt like the effort to squeeze in the holiday lines removed a lot of the opportunity for improv that makes this ride so wonderful. Next we used our FP+ at Splash and Big Thunder. We knew our favorite ride, Splash, would be closing on Monday for refurb so this was a priority.

By this time we had gotten our room ready text, so we headed for the boat. Our bags were in room 4029 (4th floor, courtyard view) when we arrived so we unpacked, bundled up for the COLD and then headed back to MK. The boat is so convenient! We had a dinner ADR at B's favorite, Liberty Tree Tavern. We enjoyed our meal. We eat here every trip and it is a little different each time. Currently, they bring each person their own personal plate of food with shared bowls of mac n cheese, cranberry and gravy. On previous trips they brought a platter of meats and bowls of sides for the group to share. I love the green beans here!

After dinner, we used the Buzz Lightyear FP we had secured before riding the people mover and visiting the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor which we both love. During the fireworks we rode Haunted Mansion with only about a 10 minute wait. We went to PhilharMagic next and had gotten a FP for Pooh so we did that. By now, it was about 10:30 and we debated riding Splash again since Saturday and Sunday would be our only chance, but it was very cold, we had been up since 5:45am, and we were rope dropping Epcot the next morning so we decided to call it a night.
 
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BSS

Member
Chapter 2: In which there is a Little Teacup and we discover a distant land
Committed to rope dropping Soarin' we arrived at Epcot about 8:10am and found ourselves about 10 groups back at the tapstyles on the far left. At 8:30 they opened the line to the left of us which had been for PPO reservations and tours. We moved over and were about 4 groups back when they began to let us in at 8:40-ish. We made our way to the rope on the Soarin' side. There was only one person between us and the rope as we watched the JAMitors do their thing. Wen the rope came down about 8:50 we managed to stay near the front of the pack and were on the first flight of the morning. B doesn't love this one, but humors me. He is never sure we're all really secured in our seats. I watched him panic as the dad and daughter next to him proceeded to lean forward for the entire ride. He was just sure they were going to fall out. My poor worry-wort!

Once off Soarin' we rode Living with the Land. It has been a couple years since we've done this one and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. Next it was on to Nemo followed by a FP+ at Figment. We were hungry so we made our way up to france and had quiche croissant. YUM!! Then we made our way back down to our FP+ Spaceship Earth and Test Track.

Our plan was to take the monorail to MK to ride Splash again since this was the last day before it closed for refurb. However, when we looked at the app we discovered Splash was down. We decided to take the monorail anyway and hope it would reopen. When we got to the TTC Splash was still closed. The MK monorail had a crazy sea of people waiting, so we hopped on the resort monorail. When we arrived at the MK station, still no Splash, so we continued on to the Contemporary to grab a boat back to WL. As we got to the boat dock at Contemporary, Splash came back up and quickly had a triple digit wait. We decided we would rather go back and relax at WL.

After a nice break in the room and refreshing showers, we went downstairs for our 5:00 ADR at Whispering Canyon which B had requested. It was good not great. We both particularly enjoyed the ribs. Unfortunately, our server was very inattentive and didn't have much personality. She forgot B's shake, repeatedly, so that when it finally arrived halfway through our meal it was really chocolate milk. We saw all the other servers multiple times without a single sighting of our server and this happened over and over again to the point we didn't get our food for almost 30 minutes, could not request more ribs or get our check. The saving grace was B, along with all the other men over 21 in the room, performing I'm a Little Teapot. I have a video but, since I value my life, I will not post it. Let's just say it was a priceless moment and at least lessened the dissapointment that was the rest of the experience.

After dinner, we headed out for Hollywood Studios. I had managed to secure a Toy Story Mania FP+ and we were looking forward to checking out SWGE. We rode TSMM right after arriving and then headed into SWGE. WOW! I am not a Star Wars fan and I was blown away by both the beauty and detail of this land. We wondered around in awe for almost an hour. We popped out for B to ride Star Tours and then back in to get in the line for Smuggler's Run at about 10:10 with an 11:00 end to EMH. It was posted at 55 minutes and we waited just about that, but the queue was interesting and it wasn't a terrible wait. We were engineers and I am proud to say my side of the Falcon took no damage (it would not fare as well when I was a pilot later in the week!) Smuggler's Run is a fun ride. I am prone to motion sickness and did have to do some breathing at a couple moments, but the cockpit is spacious and there is air moving which always helps me. As we left the ride and were passing Oga's there were cast members inviting us inside even though the park was technically closed. We popped into the Cantina for one drink in a completely uncrowded and relaxed atmosphere. The servers were cheery and welcoming and there was plenty of space to stand or sit. I am so glad we were able to experience it this way, especially after some of the reports I have read of crowding and being rushed. We cancelled our reservation for later in the week.

By the time we got to the buses, they were consilidating stops, but WL had not changed and the bus arrived quickly to take us back for a good night's sleep.
 
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