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Old 11-22-2011, 02:03 PM   #1
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,884

Trip report Nov 11-21, kids ages 2, 5, and 8

The crew: Myself, my husband, 2.5 year old 38" boy, 5 year old 44" girl, 8 year old 54" boy. All counter service so I won't comment on our meals. Plus, I can't remember the exact order of all rides or even all that we did so expect not a perfect report! We did Six Flags in June with little success. Both the 5 and 2 year olds didn't want to do rides, though the 5 year old loved Disney when we did it in Jan 2010.

We did not change our clocks with the rest of the east coast the weekend before - this put my kids to bed an hour early and up an hour early. (I homeschool so there's no school to be up for). This meant, we easily made rope drop without waking up a single child.

Friday, Nov 11 - Surprised the kids with the Disney trip. They were in complete shock. The drive took almost 9 hours down due to some traffic on I-4 but went well. Thanks to Starwood hotel points, stayed at the Sheraton Safari Hotel.

Sat, Nov 12 - Easily made Rope Drop at Epcot. Went on Test Track twice quickly. (Also got fastpasses. Also didn't use our rider swap card and saved it for later - meaning kids could go on ride 3 more times later in the day). It was a walk-on and they let everyone skip the briefing room, speeding it up. Since we have one under 40" child in our group, it was off for something for him. He wanted Nemo, so we figured that was a good into to our sensory quirked ride-phobic child. Ooops, we were wrong. Nemo is not harmless and can be scary for toddlers. Luckily, Turtle Talk went much better! Though I had forgotton that my middle child is scared of fish so the aquariums were a bit challenging. The day went well. It was the last Sat of Food and Wine but Future World was pretty empty. I think everyone but us went to Soarin first. Mission Space went well with our 44" child who easily made the cut-off. Thanks to child swap, the older two did it twice in a row. The kids also enjoyed Circle of Life, Living with the Land, and Captain EO. Though the 2 year old did have to snuggle up to me at the start due to being a little scared. Figment and the Imagination Pavilion went well. Ellen's Energy Adventure was enjoyed too as was Spaceship Earth. I'm not sure how we spent all our time since we were there until 5pm and my list doesn't look all that long. I think it was all of our repeat rides and doing things like watching the fountains that take up time. We skipped Soarin for another day. We never made it into Innoventions as a family either - though the youngest did while others were on Test Track. Luckily, my anti-ride youngest child did like the rides. Unluckily he screamed when it was time to get off of almost every ride because he wanted to do it over and over and over.

Based on our Epcot experience at Food and Wine on a Sat, I now highly recommend going to Epcot then as long as you stay in Future World. Others avoid Epcot due to that. A lot of the F&W crowd isn't at rope drop. And those who are, try to leave FW at 11am. It's a great day to go to Future World!

Sunday, Nov 13 - We checked out of our first hotel and drove to AKL. The kids were up early so we made it easily. When we checked in, she showed us the balance due for our standard room and we paid it. She wasn't talking much to us and seemed to be doing her basic job. The sheet said our room was 22XX in Jambo and would be assigned later. I overheard the person next to me ask if there were any free upgrade and she was told no. We had booked the cheapest room - and had 40% off, so it was $165 a night. So, I didn't expect a free upgrade but was hoping still. My husband looked at the map and the 22XX rooms looked liked they were Savannah room. But, since she had even said standard room and hadn't said a thing, we figured it must be a standard room.

So, off to MK. We hit BTMRR first, since that's another favorite of my kids. We did the same thing - got fast passes and got a rider swap card that we didn't use since there was no line. Then we hit Fantasyland. Dumbo already had a 20 minute line, which is too long for my crew though it got much worse. (We don't go in lines longer than 10 minutes - that's what fastpasses are for!) We did the rest of Fantasyland minus Mickey's Philharmonic and Dumbo easily with short waits or fastpasses. My 5 year old daughter decided she did want to do Space Mountain - which was a walk-on. She started crying halfway through saying she didn't like the ride. She was still crying when we stopped. But then she said she wanted to ride it again with Daddy now that she knew about the part she didn't like - so she did it again without tears. Skipped Splash Mountain since kids don't like getting splashed. Did the Haunted Mansion since the older two loved it last time. The 2 year old wasn't sure what to think, until the 5 year old burst out in tears. Then I had two kids in tears so that ride wasn't a success. All loved Buzz lightyear which we did twice. I think we did Small World three times. We had to do it after Snow White was a bit too scary to reinstate that not all rides are scary. Pooh was enjoyed and now has a really cool waiting line. (HM line is also interactive now). Kids and husband loved teacups - which I skip. They did the Aladdin Carpets so we could skip Dumbo, though the younger two didn't want to do it. They enjoyed Peter Pan. They thought Monsters was Hilarious but once again, we still were not chosen. People mover was nice and relaxing. And that's about it for what we did that day. It seemed crowded in the park to me compared with the end of Jan but no rides had crazy waits except for Dumbo. We also made the 3pm parade. We left around 6pm and headed to AKL. My husband went back out to Disney Studios after dinner with EMH. He said it was quite crowded then.

We were assigned room 2230. We walked in to . . . our Savannah view! (But you likely figured that out by my use of foreshadowing). Not only was it a Savannah room, but it had Bunkbeds. The older two were more excited about the bunk beds than the view. I'm glad I didn't pay extra for the view but even more glad that we got such an incredible upgrade. We saw zebra, girafee, antelope, ostrige and another type of bird out of our window daily.

Monday, Nov 14 - Our kids decided they didn't want to do Jedi Training, so the plan was clear. We were first in line at the turnstyle. We weren't the first at the park. But apparently, people are sheep and blindly go in line with each other thinking the park will only open a couple turnstyles. By the time we made it over to TSM, the three kids and I made it in the ride in less than 5 minutes. It took my husband less than 10 minutes to get a fastpass. Then off to Star Tours which was a walk-on and didn't get longer than a 10 minute wait all day. Somewhere in the morning, we met Phineas and Ferb which the kids thought was the coolest thing. They had someone doing entertainment when we were in line, which helped with the short wait.

We were not able to fit the Stunt Show in our plans this time nor the Little Mermaid, both that we did last trip. The kids enjoyed Beauty and the Beast, Disney Channel Rocks, Indiana Jones, Great Movie Ride, Muppets, Shrunk the kids playground, and the Backlot Tour - though the Tour was most enjoyed by the oldest. We didn't make it over to Fantasmic! until 6pm despite plans of an hour before. We easily found seats. At 6:30, there were still seats left on the very edge. At 6pm, we were about 1/3 of the way from an edge. I'm glad we didn't do an hour before. We enjoyed F! though the youngest actually decided that was the best time to take a nap. We did not make it to the lights. I had hoped to make it but we ran out of time on the tired-o-meter. (We had seen them two trips ago, but the youngest wasn't born then and the middle child was a baby).

Tuesday, Nov 15 - Off to Islands of Adventure. We surprised the kids with this the night before since the plan was a Disney-only trip this time and IOA/US/SW next time, but we have trouble staying away from IOA. They love Harry Potter and were thrilled. The 2 year old even loved the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster. Forbidden Journey is nothing short of amazing. We got there at rope drop and had no issues at all with lines. Again, we never had more than a 10 minute wait, even in WWoHP. Even rides like Hulk were operating more than half empty. Kids thought it was really cool to eat at the Three Broomsticks and the theming was great. Though Disney's rider swap allows us not to all have to wait together - and manage to get an extra ride out of it if it's not crowded - I liked that the shorter kids could wait near the actual ride at Universal. It allowed us to walk through the castle together or other attractions. They also enjoyed Spiderman, Caro-Seuss-el, Cat in the Hat, Suess Trolley, One Fish, Two Fish, Storm Force Accelatron. They had a little storytime in one of the buildings in which Sam I am, Grinch and Thing One and Thing Two were met. It was a nice way to both watch and meet the characters in minimum time. We left by 6pm.

Wednesday, Nov 16- Are you getting tired reading this yet? We were starting to realize that the heat was making us all more tired. 80 degrees is one thing. By 85 degrees and muggy is a totally different thing. It was a day to adjust our plans. We hit MK at rope drop - since we're always up in time. We did a relaxing day, hitting Speedway first, doing teacups again, doing Pirates, Jungle Cruise, Tom Sawyer's Island, Monsters Inc again, People Mover again, and other favorites of the kids. BTMRR was closed.

By 3pm, we realize the heat had us so we went back to the hotel. The toddler took a short nap while the older two did the Jambo pool. The older two enjoyed that water slide, the hula contest and the pool party, which was games and competitions. When the youngest woke up, we headed to the Kidani pool. That pool was a little warmer. Plus, the little water slide was perfect for the 2 year old. The big one was great for the 5 and 8 year old. We decided to do a silly dinner and eat dessert first and did the marshmallow roast, then we ate dinner and were back out to MK by 6pm. By then, BTMRR was working again so we were able to do that a couple of times. We did a couple other rides that I can't remember as well. We stayed for Wishes at 8pm and then headed back.

Thursday, Nov 17 - Finally, our off day! It was originally scheduled for Friday but we realized we needed one now. Plus, the crowds had been managable so we thought it was fine to sacrifice a lower crowd day for an off day. We headed to Downtown Disney in the morning where my kids spend two hours at the Lego store alone building their cars. We ate lunch and did the Potato Head stuff=a-box. Our youngest saw a black and white Mickey that he really wanted so he took his yardsale Mickey out of our stroller and tried to trade it - three times. We consented to the purchase as his one non t-shirt souvenir. (We bought them t-shirts on a different day). We got back to the hotel and enjoyed the pools again. We also did the animal rubbings and the older two did the nightvision animal viewing. It's amazing how fast the day went by.

Friday, Nov 18 - AK was a total flop on our last trip so we had planned just a half day. It still could have been missed but at least we knew and planned accordingly. We did the Safari and the adults did EE since no one else wanted to. We saw the animals, the Nemo show and ate lunch and then went on our merry way to EP. At EP, we of course, had to go to Test Track and Spaceship Earth again, so we did those. Then finally off to World Showcase. This was our 4th with-kids trip but the first time we had made it to the WS with them. The oldest loved the Kim Possible missions. The younger two liked getting their Duffy Bears stamped. They also liked Maelstrom. We left around 7pm.

Sat, Nov 19 - Back to EP again. This time, my husband took the older two to Soarin' while the youngest and I took our sweet time getting over there to do Living with the Land. We spent at least 5 minutes chatting with Stitch and then to the character pavillion. The 2 year old absolutely loved it. And since everyone else was going over to Soarin or Test Track, there were no lines. There were a lot more people this Sat then the Sat before, but it was still quite managable. We made it to the Innoventions building this time and spent quite a bit of time in both. And of course, we managed Test Track yet again with fast passes. My oldest did about 5 more Kim Possible Missions and we visited many countries which they enjoyed. On the way out, we hit up Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, and Test Track. Then we finally rode the monorail since they had been wanting to do that. We left at about 7pm and drove to Cocoa Beach to our next hotel.

Sunday, Nov 20 - Relax at Cocoa Beach. Had some relatives who live an hour away meet up with us.

Monday, Nov 21- Drive Home. Only took 8 hours, including an hour stop for lunch this time. Yippee! Kids said that they did enjoy being surprised and would like to be surprised again. We weren't so sure since our surprise was met with complete shock. I don't think my middle child really got out of her shock until about an hour into the drive when I asked her if she wanted to do Test Track the next day.

Notes: It was a great trip, with great weather (though a bit hot at times) and no sick kids. AKL was amazing though I had several unresolved issues with housekeeping. I could have complained more but that would have taken more energy than I cared to use. The busses were not an issue except for the bus my husband took out to Studios when he went alone. The driver went an odd way so I wonder if there was an accident or something. There were always enough seats on the bus for me and the kids. My husband stood about half the time - meaning that half the time, there were enough seats for everyone on the bus. We used Disney transportation for everything except for our last day at EP and our first day at EP and didn't use it for DTD either. If I had to do it over again, I would have skipped AK and given us another half day at EP. We really could have used three full days there. Also, I wish there would have been some way to see the lights at DHS, but that's a night event and the kids have to sleep sometime. The 2 year old did not nap in the stroller at all until the very last day and only for 15 minutes then. His longest nap was 30 minutes during Fantastmic! with no nap most days. He's sleeping right now as I type this however! (Though I did take them to a homeschool playgroup where they played outside in our 80 degree weather for 2.5 hours. Maybe I should go a bit easier on my kids!) The 8 year old had no trouble keeping up. The stroller was for the 2 year old but he refused to go in it most times, meaning little 100 lb me was carrying 35 lb him more than I cared to. However, that meant the little 5 year old could ride in the stroller on occassion and those breaks helped her.
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