“You’re My Favorites: Now Go Away!” Feb/Mar 2019 First Family Trip (Complete 8/19)

TheOneWithTheTriplets

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 27, 2018
Welcome, Internet!

As you all know, after an absolutely incredible family vacation, all you want to do is tell everyone about it, right? Well, it turns out very few people in my circle of friends have the appropriate reaction to being told I picked up a same day drop of four FoP FPs for only 90 minutes out. That’s where you all come in!

In all seriousness, I planned my family’s first trip to the World for about a year and got so much valuable information from here on DISBoards. Afterwards, it seems only right to come back and share with you all my successes and failures. Think of this trip report as a case study of just how much one can learn from a year’s worth of research but no first-hand experience. If you’d prefer to read through the nitty gritty details of my planning, my PTR can be found here. For those of you who want to skip straight to the good stuff, some basic details:

Who:


Me



Hubby


Our 5 year old triplet girls, whom I’ll refer to as A, B, and C, monikers kindly bestowed by my ultrasound technician.

Hubby and I had both traveled to WDW as children, most recently senior trip in high school, but never as adults in control of the plans. The girls had never been.

What: 10 days, 9 nights at Walt Disney World. We had a very park-centric trip, with only our arrival day as a non-park day.

Where: Boardwalk Villas studio on points rented right here on Dis.

When: February 25th to March 6th 2019

Why: This is the girls’ last year of preschool and seemed like an ideal time for their first trip. They are old enough to hang for a long day but still young enough to be fully immersed in the magic of Disney. We wanted to take a long trip so that we could fit in everything a 5-year-old girl may want to do, knowing that we won’t be back for several years and will be returning with much taller, more jaded kids when we do. We picked the last week of February for the (supposed) chance of lighter crowds, as well as the cooler temperatures and shorter park hours. We wanted the girls to make it to night spectaculars, so the earlier schedule for HEA in particular was a big draw. It didn’t hurt that a February trip meant we were leaving dreary, cold NJ for sunny Florida to break up our winter.

If you decide to stick around, you’ll be able to enjoy highlights such as:

- Detailed breakdowns of how the DDP worked for our family
- A time-stamped discussion of our days in the parks
- An inability to sleep in until anything resembling a normal waking hour
- My constantly being surprised by the Festival of Fantasy parade, despite being fully aware of when it was scheduled each day
- Amazing family memories I will cherish always

On that thoroughly sappy note, I do hope you’ll decide to join me in reliving our trip. As my girls bellowed from the front row of It’s A Small World, “ALL ABOARD!”
 

StarWarsMomofGirls!

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
I am the first one!!! Woo Hoo!

As a fellow South Jersey Mom and someone who was there basically at the same time, I def can't wait to hear all about it!!!!

As you all know, after an absolutely incredible family vacation, all you want to do is tell everyone about it, right? Well, it turns out very few people in my circle of friends have the appropriate reaction to being told I picked up a same day drop of four FoP FPs for only 90 minutes out. That’s where you all come in!
Ha! I know what you mean though. People want to hear about your trip but only a certain amount...

We picked the last week of February for the (supposed) chance of lighter crowds, as well as the cooler temperatures and shorter park hours.
That whole sentence is funny... ;)
 
  • cadien

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2017
    Yay! I've been looking forward to seeing how this went, since we went through a lot of the same planning.
     
  • PAsFab5

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 12, 2017
    Joining in! My brothers and sister are triplets so I love meeting other families with triplets...oh and I love Disney lol!
     
  • TheOneWithTheTriplets

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2018
    As a fellow South Jersey Mom and someone who was there basically at the same time, I def can't wait to hear all about it!!!!
    Yay! I can't wait to hear about your trip, either. Have you started a TR, yet?

    I'm delighted to follow along.....trip report forward march!
    Welcome, glad to have you along for the ride.

    Following along!
    Welcome aboard!

    That look on the Queen's face is the BEST. Now I want a photo with her.
    She really was excellent. We were so glad to be able to fit her in.

    I'm here! So excited to hear all about it!
    Yay, welcome!

    Joining in! Can't wait to hear all about your trip!!
    Awesome, glad to have you.

    Joining in! My brothers and sister are triplets so I love meeting other families with triplets...oh and I love Disney lol!
    Lol, I think the Disney love is a pre-req, right? Always good to meet another member of the triplet tribe.

    Joining in! Can't wait to hear how the trip went!!
    Thanks! I can't wait to tell you all how it went. :-)

    Excited to hear all those details!
    So, so many details. Husband-annoyed-that-I-kept-taking-blurry-photos-for-a-timestamp level details.
     

    TheOneWithTheTriplets

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2018
    Preparations and Travel

    Unlike a normal person, I had been packing for this trip for months: setting aside things as they were acquired, washing outfits purchased for the trip, and planning out what the crew would wear each day. With so much out of the way, the weekend before we left wasn’t particularly hectic. I still had to gather together the last-minute items that were part of daily use, but my extensive packing list made even that relatively painless.

    I was somewhat worried about our flights because there was a wind storm coming through the area. Now, planning a flight out of Philly in February, you certainly run the risk of a snow storm messing with your plans. However, 60 mph winds were nowhere on my radar until I got a notification from Southwest saying that our flight was under a storm warning and we could change it at no additional cost. I did log in to see if there was anything to be done. We could have driven north toward NY or south to MD to avoid the storm if it meant our flights wouldn’t be impacted. However, when I looked at the list of the airports subject to the warning, it was everywhere within a 4 hour radius. Apparently, the wind was going to be bad throughout the mid-Atlantic region, so we were just going to have to take our chances.

    I checked in on Southwest right at the 24-hour mark, despite knowing that we’d be able to family board between A and B groups. I had heard that, rarely, Southwest doesn’t do family boarding for one reason or another and I wanted to be prepared, just in case. We were assigned mid-B group seats but, more importantly, we all had TSA precheck. In preparing for this trip, we had opened a credit card that reimbursed the cost of a Global Entry application. We used that towards Hubby, as he travels for work and would get more use out of it than I would. His known traveler number meant that, at the very least, he would be able to use precheck and bring his young children through with him. If I didn’t get it, he was going to take all the bags and the kids through precheck while I went through normal security with the peasants. Luckily, I was umbrellaed into the precheck as well, so we wouldn’t have to split up at the airport.

    Our other important final day business was getting Mickey manicures for the girls. Since they have tiny fingers, I didn’t try to get designs on every nail, but we all picked a fun polish and got Mickey ears on our thumbs.



    Our flight wasn’t scheduled until 11:15am which, given our proximity to the airport, meant that we didn’t have to be on the road until 8:30am. We could wake up at our normal 7:00am, grab some breakfast, and hit the road. Despite that, I was wide awake at 6, so I hopped up and started final preparations. It was a good thing, too, because the laundry that my husband was supposed to have pulled out of the dryer the night before was still there and much of it still damp. I folded what was dry, ran another drying cycle for the damp clothes, and eventually the rest of the house started to stir.

    My father-in-law had kindly offered to ride with us to the airport, drive our van back to his house, and then come pick us up at the end of our trip. However, with 3 adults, 3 kids in car seats, two strollers, and luggage for a family of 5, our van just wasn’t going to cut it on the storage front. We had recently installed a trailer hitch to be able to transport 5 bikes with us for future family outings. We decided to get a cargo holder (pictured below), as well, so that everything would fit in one car.



    Hubby tossed the strollers in the trunk then got the rolling suitcases all snugly into the carrier. This was our first time using it, though, and the wind was really strong, so he wasn’t totally confident in the set up. Regardless, it was time to get moving. Just as we were calling my father-in-law with our ETA, we heard a loud, scratching noise coming from the back of the car. We quickly pulled over, convinced that we’d be looking at our luggage strewn across the road. Thankfully, it was just a large stick that had gotten caught in the tire well and we were back on track quickly.

    I have to stop here and wax poetic about the combination of curbside luggage check and Magical Express luggage transfers. We pulled right up at the Southwest curbside check-in desk and started unloading our clown car of people and bags. The baggage handler pulled our names from the ME yellow tags and had our boarding passes printed before we had all of the kids and bags out of the van. We left 4 rolling suitcases and 2 stroller bags, including the monstrous double stroller, right there on the curb and didn’t see them again until they arrived at our room that night. It was so nice to be able to navigate the airport with just personal items for the 5 of us and a rolling carryon each for myself and hubby.

    The airport security lines were super short, both precheck and regular, but it was really nice that we could leave our liquids and electronics in the bags and our shoes on our feet. I’m not sure that we really saved any time with precheck for this flight, but we certainly saved aggravation. Security only took us 4 minutes, and most of that was me trying to get the kids to back up from the conveyor belt so that I could get all of the bags onto and off of it without bonking any of them in the head. Seriously, kiddos, I know you want to grab your backpack quickly, but I’m trying to wield a much larger piece of luggage, here!

    We had tons of time to kill, so we followed the tradition of @StarWarsMomofGirls! and grabbed some crab fries from Chickie and Pete’s.




    I’m going to be honest, they were delicious for a little while, but I just couldn’t chow down on all that fried goodness at 10am. Perhaps my stomach prefers Old Bay seasoning only after noon.

    We headed over to our gate to watch our plan land, unload other passengers’ luggage, and load our luggage. This was the girls’ first flight and they loved seeing everything being done down on the tarmac. I took them for a last bathroom break and we got into the line for family boarding. The attendants were being very lenient with the family boarding groups. While the announcements stated that it should be for immediate family of young children only, whole extended families were being allowed to family board. In our case, with more five-year olds than adults, we would have been fine either way.

    We decided to let the kids sit together in one row with the parents immediately behind. I had the aisle seat, so I was jumping up and down whenever someone needed assistance, but the kids were pretty self-sufficient.




    There was a lot of turbulence at takeoff, presumably from the wind storm, so I was glad it was the girls’ first flight. They had no way of knowing that the shaking was out of the norm and it didn’t bother them one bit. The kids did very well on the plane, other than making a bit of a mess. Every time they went to grab something out of their bags, something else would end up falling. When we landed, we let a few rows around us disembark, then moved the kids to empty seats so we could clean up after them. The way I see it, if we’d been sitting next to them, I would have just been doing lots of little clean ups throughout the flight rather than saving it all for the end. Being a row behind, they didn’t bug me for every little thing and I was able to have a relatively relaxing flight.

    We made our way out to the trams and ran into a family with twins about our girls’ age also heading to Disney World. We started chatting and they had no idea where they were going. I told them that it would depend on whether they were picking up luggage, since ME is on the opposite side from that terminal’s baggage claim. The husband told me that they were using the luggage transport service, at which point the wife pulled out their yellow tags and asked how they would get them onto the luggage. This was my first of many moments where I was glad to have done my research before this trip. Now, in this case, if they had just read the letter that came with their tags, they would have tagged them properly to begin with and wouldn’t be in their current predicament. Instead, I explained that they should to go down to baggage claim, get their bags, drag them back up to the main level, and go down the other side to ME. That was about the time the tram arrived at the main building and we parted ways.

    To say that my girls were hyped would be quite the understatement. They were downright giddy, skipping their way through the airport and insisting that we stop for photos at the Mickey and Goofy statues outside of the airport Disney store. I tried to tell them that, the sooner we got through the airport, the sooner we’d actually get to Disney World, but eventually I just caved and took the photos.





    We made great time in the airport, at least as great as 5-year-old legs can make. They were so focused on looking around that I had to keep reminding them to keep moving and look where they were going. Hubby had time to peel off, use the bathroom, and catch back up with us because they were moving that slowly. There was a very short line to check into Magical Express, our assigned bus number was already waiting for us, and we were on the road three minutes after boarding. We had a 2pm scheduled arrival in Orlando and were moving at 2:15, so we were making great time. Our bus was headed to Caribbean Beach Resort, Boardwalk, and Beach Club, making us the second stop. Walmart called to confirm my grocery delivery while we were on the road and we were pulling up to the Boardwalk at 3:04pm to officially begin our vacation.
     

    StarWarsMomofGirls!

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2015
    Yay! I can't wait to hear about your trip, either. Have you started a TR, yet?
    I have not... You are faster than me! I hope to start it this weekend!

    I was somewhat worried about our flights because there was a wind storm coming through the area. Now, planning a flight out of Philly in February, you certainly run the risk of a snow storm messing with your plans. However, 60 mph winds were nowhere on my radar until I got a notification from Southwest saying that our flight was under a storm warning and we could change it at no additional cost. I did log in to see if there was anything to be done. We could have driven north toward NY or south to MD to avoid the storm if it meant our flights wouldn’t be impacted. However, when I looked at the list of the airports subject to the warning, it was everywhere within a 4 hour radius. Apparently, the wind was going to be bad throughout the mid-Atlantic region, so we were just going to have to take our chances.
    Man, I don't know why but I am baffeled that we didn't even know this was going on!

    Our other important final day business was getting Mickey manicures for the girls. Since they have tiny fingers, I didn’t try to get designs on every nail, but we all picked a fun polish and got Mickey ears on our thumbs.

    Benefit of the trip not being a suprise! too cute.

    Our flight wasn’t scheduled until 11:15am which, given our proximity to the airport, meant that we didn’t have to be on the road until 8:30am.
    We are spoiled with how close we are to the airport. DH and I were talking about that as we were driving there this time.

    . It was so nice to be able to navigate the airport with just personal items for the 5 of us and a rolling carryon each for myself and hubby.
    It feels so good to shed those suitcase for sure!

    We had tons of time to kill, so we followed the tradition of @StarWarsMomofGirls! and grabbed some crab fries from Chickie and Pete’s.

    YEAH!!!!!

    I’m going to be honest, they were delicious for a little while, but I just couldn’t chow down on all that fried goodness at 10am. Perhaps my stomach prefers Old Bay seasoning only after noon.
    They had no way of knowing that the shaking was out of the norm and it didn’t bother them one bit. T
    Gwen thinks that turbulance is a "ride"... Oye.

    The husband told me that they were using the luggage transport service, at which point the wife pulled out their yellow tags and asked how they would get them onto the luggage. This was my first of many moments where I was glad to have done my research before this trip. Now, in this case, if they had just read the letter that came with their tags, they would have tagged them properly to begin with and wouldn’t be in their current predicament.
    I always wonder who are the people who show up and don't know about fast pass... But apparently those folks...

    Club, making us the second stop. Walmart called to confirm my grocery delivery while we were on the road and we were pulling up to the Boardwalk at 3:04pm to officially begin our vacation.
    YEAH to vacation!!! It always feels so good!
     

    d-train

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2009
    Looking forward to reading the rest of the story!
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
     

    KathyM2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2011
    Just found your TR and excited to follow along!! Way to go on the planning front with the ME and luggage!!
     

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