“The Ultimate Split Stay” - December 2018 Trip Report

PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Cast - Me (48), DH (48), and DS (18), all Disney veterans!


Date: Sat, 12/22 - Arrival
Resort: POFQ
Park/Other: Disney Springs
Sit-Down Meal: Maria & Enzo's

The trip started with a small flight delay, but it didn’t get us down! Our Southwest crew was cheerful, and got us as close to back on track as they could. This was our first time staying at POFQ, and we really liked it! We felt close to the food court, bus stop, boat, etc., and really liked the Christmas decorations and jazzy holiday music.

We took the boat to Disney Springs and checked out the Christmas Tree Trail before our dinner at Maria & Enzo’s. We enjoyed trying someplace new, and while it probably doesn’t make our top favorites list, the food was good, the service great, and we had the perfect window seat to view the balloon! - which we finally went on after dinner. (We’ve tried on two other trips, and it was closed due to wind both times.) It was so cool!

1a - POFQ.JPG 1b - balloon.JPG 1c - baloon view.JPG
 
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PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Date: Sun, 12/23
Resort: POFQ
Park: Epcot
Sit-Down Meal: San Angel Inn

Our first full day, and we were already changing plans. The intention had been to do EMH at MK in the morning, and then Epcot later on (and reverse tomorrow) but between getting in late and staying longer at DS than we’d planned, we really hadn’t unpacked properly. Plus, DH already had a decent-sized blister on his foot! So we opted for a slow morning, and then headed straight to Epcot, where our FPs were booked. Crowds weren’t too bad yet, and we fit in Test Track, Soarin’, Living with the Land, Turtle Talk with Crush, and a Pixar Short Film Festival, as well as eating our way through the holiday food booths and seeing more shows and attractions in World Showcase. I loved the holiday storytellers, DS got his favorite sodas from around the world, and we took some cute pics of “Mooskie” (our travel agent’s mascot) in the countries.

Lunch was splitting snacks at all the holiday food booths, and dinner was at San Angel Inn, which had been on the bucket list for a while, and definitely did not disappoint! The service was wonderful, and I had the Chile Relleno (“Poblano Pepper stuffed with Pulled Pork, Pine Nuts, and Almonds topped with Roasted Tomato Sauce and served with a side of Rice”) which was the best stuffed pepper I’ve ever had (including my own) and my favorite meal of the trip!

2a - Chip and Dale.JPG 2b - La Befana.JPG 2c - Mooskie.JPG
 
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PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Date: Mon, 12/24
Resort: POFQ
Park: Magic Kingdom
Sit-Down Meal: Skipper Canteen

Since we’d done Epcot all day on Sunday, we did MK all day today – but slooooowly. We’ve been many times, and knew the crowds would be insane on Christmas Eve, so we kept our ride expectations low and enjoyed the holiday atmosphere and people-watching. Throughout the day, we did our FastPasses (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and the “Jingle Cruise”) plus the Laugh Floor and Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and took lots of breaks to rest our feet and just soak it all in. (If you’ve never sat near The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and watched the camel spit on people, it’s worth a little time!)

Lunch was at Columbia Harbour House (a long-time family fav) and I splurged on a Lobster roll, since it was Christmas Eve. We sat upstairs, and even caught a bit of the parade from the window!) When it came time for Dole Whips, I conquered mobile ordering! (If you heard my family tell it, you’d know this is a much bigger accomplishment than sounds, because I am “so not techy, Mom.”) - The yummy reward was worth the learning curve!

Dinner was our first time at Skipper Canteen, and we really enjoyed it! I liked my steak salad, our server, again, was great, and we all highly recommend the Kungaloosh for dessert! (And if you go, take a minute to check out the bookshelves on the way to the restrooms. - As always, “Disney is in the details.”)

After dinner, we headed over the bridge from Adventureland and I got my first view of the castle all lit up for Christmas. I was in Disney heaven! We staked out some seats early, took a lot of pictures, and made some new friends from Arkansas while we chatted and waited for the fireworks. What an awesome way to spend Christmas Eve!!

3a - tower.JPG 3b - Jingle Cruise.JPG 3c - Castle.JPG
 
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PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Date: Tue, 12/25 to Wed 12/26 – off to visit family for Christmas!

Here’s where the “Ultimate Split Stay” title comes from, as we didn’t just stay at two different resorts – we actually left Disney for two nights in between. (Thank you to whoever posted the idea of using a shoe bag to organize toiletries and stuff and make all the moving around simpler!)

I had been planning beignets for Christmas morning breakfast since we booked the trip, and they were everything I’d hoped! Then DS and I packed up while DH got the rental car (Disney Car Care, right on property, will pick you up) and we were at my Dad’s by noon.

We hadn’t been with my side of the family on Christmas in a long time (we’re local to DH’s side) and we had a great time seeing everyone! All together, there were 16 at my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas dinner, and then we spent Wednesday and Thursday morning at my Dad’s catching up, relaxing, and working on a Christmas jigsaw puzzle:

4 - puzzle.JPG
 

PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Date: Thurs, 12/27
Resort: AKL

We headed back to Orlando in the afternoon for our first ever stay at AKL, and it was gorgeous!! The lobby tree was huge and amazing, we had a terrific savanna-view room, and we loved the Starlight Safari! - We took the shuttle from Jambo house over to Kidani, checked in near Sanaa, and boarded our vehicle, where we were issued night vision viewers and taken all around the hotel savannas and even a little “behind the scenes” where the animals are cared for.

5 - AKL.JPG 5 - giraffe.JPG 5 - Sanaa.JPG
 

PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Date: Fri, 12/28
Resort: AKL
Park: DHS
Sit-Down Meal: Boma breakfast

We started the day with an early buffet at Boma. It was delicious and just adventurous enough - I could find new things to try but also old favorites. But it is rather expensive for breakfast, so I would probably only do it again if I were leaving for home that morning and not trying to avoid over-eating right before going on roller coasters!

Which brings us to DHS and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster - both DH and DS’s favorite ride there! We also did Star Tours and soaked in the Christmas decorations - I love how they’re different at each park! We had a late lunch at Backlot Express (thank you again, mobile ordering!) and spent a few minutes trading corny Star Wars jokes with a fun DVC rep named Kimberly. I think if DH had been feeling better, we’d have gone to the pitch, but his allergies were acting up, and vacation food was getting to his stomach, and he’d just sort of had it for the day, so he headed back to the room while DS and I did our last FP - Toy Story mania. Would you believe we’d never managed to get to it before!? We both loved it (and he beat me by a mile).

We met DH back at the room, and enjoyed an unplanned show from our balcony. Apparently, the CM feeding the birds forgot something and left the truck unattended for a few minutes. Two enterprising birds actually managed to get a bucket of fish open and have a grand old feast before he came back! It will forever be remembered as "The Great Bird Heist".

DH called it an early night, but DS and I headed back out for the evening shows at DHS, then hopped over to end the night at MK. We did the Laugh Floor again, the People Mover, and the Teacups (which DH hates). It was so strange and cool to be going in when most people were leaving! And I loved seeing the castle one more time.

6 - bird heist.JPG 6 - DHS night.JPG 6 - MK night.JPG
 
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PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Date: Sat, 12/29
Resort: AKL
Park: Animal Kingdom
Sit-Down Meal: Sanaa

Our last full day was spent at Animal Kingdom. Highlights were an early safari, Expedition Everest, and the tiger trail - which we had run out of time for on the last trip and promised each other we’d get to this time!

We headed back to the resort for an early dinner at Sanaa, as the bread service is our absolute favorite! Then we went back in the evening, got a bonus ride on Everest thanks to the single-rider line, and finally got to go on Flight of Passage! (A late FastPass was all I could get.) IT-WAS-AMAZING!! We all agreed it was the best ride we’d been on.

7 - meerkat.JPG 7 - posing bird.JPG 7 - tiger.JPG
 
  • PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    Date: Sun, 12/30 - Departure
    Resort: AKL
    Park/Other: Disney Springs
    Sit-Down Meal: Raglan Road

    Our last morning was spent hanging around the resort, taking some last great pics of the animals, and checking out/leaving our bags with guest services for our Magical Express pick-up later. (This was fairly unfamiliar to us, as the last few trips, we’ve left by car, but it worked out fine.)

    We headed out to Disney Springs for lunch and DS’s appointment for the Star Wars virtual reality experience at The Void. The MDE app was working, so we snagged an ADR for Raglan Road on the bus over, and really enjoyed it! Then the boys headed over to The Void while I shopped. DS said he had a great time doing the Star Wars Experience and would definitely recommend it! After that, we had some gelato from Vivoli and headed back to say goodbye to AKL.

    Our flight back was actually a little rough, but we were glad to see DH’s dad at the airport and the kitties when we got back home.

    8a - Xmas tree trail.JPG 8b - lego Nessie.JPG
     

    Twilight Sparkle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 24, 2015
    What a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us. Your photos are gorgeous. AKL is one of our favorites. DD and I would have loved seeing those birds help themselves to the fish. How smart they are! Since your FOP FP was a late one, does that mean you were able to see the land in the dark? It's pretty at both times, but night is my favorite. Photopass manages to capture beautiful pics then. Did you manage to see Illuminations with the holiday tag? Love the puzzle you guys worked on. When I first saw the pic, I thought it was a quilt you received as a gift. That's how pretty it is! Lol! Oh, and mobile ordering is fantastic! Our holiday trip was the first time I tried it, too, and DD was also very surprised I managed to figure it out. Ha!
     

    PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    What a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with us. Your photos are gorgeous. AKL is one of our favorites. DD and I would have loved seeing those birds help themselves to the fish. How smart they are! Since your FOP FP was a late one, does that mean you were able to see the land in the dark? It's pretty at both times, but night is my favorite. Photopass manages to capture beautiful pics then. Did you manage to see Illuminations with the holiday tag? Love the puzzle you guys worked on. When I first saw the pic, I thought it was a quilt you received as a gift. That's how pretty it is! Lol! Oh, and mobile ordering is fantastic! Our holiday trip was the first time I tried it, too, and DD was also very surprised I managed to figure it out. Ha!
    Thanks for the compliment on the photos! Yes, we did see the Pandora area at night, but not the holiday-tag Illuminations.
     

    Micca

    SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather
    Joined
    Dec 5, 2000
    Great report and the photos are top notch. Sounds like you planned your ADRs carefully and enjoyed all of your meals. I love chile rellenos, didn't know they had them at San Angel.:)
     
  • GrantDB

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 20, 2018
    Lovely report, great choice of restaurants, so happy you enjoyed yourselves!

    Loved the tiger shot, feel like he's wondering when it will warm up again.
     


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