A Post-Thanksgiving Mother/Daughter WDW TR * Update 5/27: More AK and AKL

Disneyhanna

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Table of Contents

Hello all! My name is Hanna (with one H!) and welcome to my first WDW trip report!

I am 24 and living in cold and snowy Minneapolis ❄ and Disney trip planning has become a fun obsession hobby for me over the past two years.

A few of my Disney favorites:
Movie
: The Lion King, but I just saw Frozen 2 and it was hilarious!
(Lost in the Woods, anyone?)
Song: Part of Your World
Princess: Mulan, even if she’s not technically a princess?
Park: Magic Kingdom
Ride: Winnie the Pooh
Merch: Ears


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This TR will cover my 5th trip to WDW and first time as an Annual Passholder! With multiple trips planned, I figured the hotel/food savings along with memory maker would make it worth it. (Now did I really save or did I use the discount as an excuse to upgrade to a nicer resort…)

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I work a lot, but anything to pay the Disney bills!

I have also been to Disneyland Resort three times (don’t make me pick a favorite). Most of my trips have been with my lovely mom, as it has always been just the two of us. We flew out on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) and stayed on property for a week. Crowds were great and I highly recommend traveling after holidays if you can swing it.

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Last year's MVMCP! No party for us this year, but we recommend doing it a least once.

Since I am working now, we went a bit more “all out” since I can pay for my half. In the past we only did 1-2 TS meals and ate a lot of kids' meals. For this trip, we pushed ourselves to try more new things since it can be really easy to fall into routine at WDW and miss out on new and awesome things.

Some highlights from the trip:
Two new resorts for us (Coronado Springs and Animal Kingdom Lodge)
Polite Pig
Trying the Skyliner
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Boma x2
Happily Ever After Dessert Party


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Spoiler: AKL was EVERYTHING

Some things that didn’t go as well as we’d hoped:
Our Universal day overall (our 3rd time)
California Grill

Overall, it was such a fun mother-daughter trip and we made a lot of memories. Since we’ve gone a few times recently I did better at slowing down the pace for my poor mom. She does not ride anything except dark rides basically, so I try to plan everything to make sure the trip is fun for her as well.

I’ve read a lot of recent posts about people saying WDW is losing the magic, and that CM interactions haven’t been great. That made me a little worried but I can definitely reassure you that we did not find this to be the case at all. I think that as long as you manage your expectations and do not let little things get to you, it will be a great time!


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Anyways, I hope you all enjoy this TR! I’m happy to answer any questions! I am very much a lurker when reading TRs so all are welcome here for this TR.

Here we go!

Day One - Part One: Travel Day
 
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Disneyhanna

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 29, 2017


Disneyhanna

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Day One - Part One: Travel Day

As always with our trips to WDW, we left with about a foot of snow back home. Luckily it came a day or so before our flight, so we didn’t have to worry.

Funny story, but it also always snows when we are at Disney, and Mother Nature did not let us down. (Ever carry luggage through feet of snow when you get back? Fun times! :sad2:)

My mom parked her car at my apartment since I live next to the light rail, which we can take for $2 to the airport. A quick 20 minute ride and we were there!

MSP is a great airport, and it has an underground version of the tram at MCO.


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What a view!

When I dropped off my checked bag, the guy at the desk was like “let me guess, you’re going to Orlando?!” We love the yellow tags, so easy!

We always get to the airport plenty early, and our flight was around 1PM on Black Friday. Perfect timing to have lunch before boarding.

Pro tip: hardly anyone travels on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so you will have the airport to yourself. We didn’t even book flights until mid October. There were only 12 people ahead of us at security around 11AM.

They put in a nice new food court so I had Shake Shack and mom had a Firehouse Sub.


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Yeah, I’m not really sure why I chose to eat a burger and fries before going to a theme park for a week either.

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Mom learned the lesson “phone eats first” for the first time.

Usually we bring a disposable plastic water bottle to fill at the airport but we didn’t have any from home, so we had to buy some. Mine was under $3 but mom’s was $5. Shop around folks! :teeth:

We love flying Delta, we were in the air just a few minutes after 1PM and settled in to watch our screens. I ended up watching the Game of Thrones special “The Last Watch” which made me appreciate the train wreck that season 8 was a lot more.


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Did this make anyone else cry a bit? Just me?

About 3.5 hours later we landed in Orlando! And of course I had to document our first “ride.” :rotfl2:

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I love the walk to DME, it feels so familiar now. There was a bit of a line but we shuffled around from line to line and didn’t end up waiting more than 10 minutes. I noticed a lot of people had paperwork and it took them a long time to get it sorted out. With our magic bands, we scanned them and that was it.

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We lucked out and were one of the last groups loaded onto our bus. We stopped at all three All Stars before heading to Coronado Springs. It was nice seeing the All Stars for the first time, I hear the Movies renovation is as nice as POP’s and I would be open to staying there for a quick trip.

I took very good notes for this TR and it took exactly 50 minutes to get to CSR. The beautiful Gran Destino Tower greeted us! :eek:


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It’s quite a spectacular building and it really upgrades the resort. We had never been to CSR before and it was such a grand entrance, mom and I both thought WOW! The best part of being last on the bus was that our bags were off first.

Continued in Part Two: Coronado Springs Resort and Disney Springs on Black Friday (oops)
 
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  • Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Day One - Part Two: Coronado Springs Resort and Disney Springs on Black Friday (oops)

    We did online check-in but didn’t get a room number, which I heard is pretty typical for CSR.

    The check-in line looks long at GDT but it only took maybe five minutes.


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    Red and green lights for Christmas!

    The CM was very friendly and we were off to our room! We took a peek around the lower floor of the tower first, and saw the tree! :lovestruc

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    Photos never do the trees justice at WDW, it was massive and very beautiful.


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    We did not every try Barcelona lounge, but the drinks look great.
    It’s a bit smaller of an area than it looks in pictures.


    We were on the top floor in Ranchos A, which is probably the closest Ranchos building to El Centro where the food court and bus stop is. The only room request I made was top floor during online check-in. I wished we could have gotten a tower room but the standard tower rooms book up really fast :sad1:.

    It ended up being a six minute walk to the food court which was not bad at all, the new bridges make it a lot faster to get around the resort. I imagine it was not as ideal before the bridges were added this summer.

    Now, excuse my terrible photography during this trip. The rooms were so nice, definitely the nicest of any resort we have stayed at. They look kinda drab in these pictures but they were very clean (especially the bathroom) and they look/feel brand new. It was a very spacious room and the TV was huge and you can cast from apps on your phone.


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    We loved the huge desk area to put all of our stuff. Surprisingly no pen and paper even though this is the conference resort.

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    Queen beds with pillow top mattresses. My mom has a bad back and said she has never slept as well on vacation as she did on this trip. Plenty of outlets and USB ports.

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    The actual worst photo I took on this trip, my apologies.

    The bathroom was very spacious and had so many cabinets and space to put your things. The shower/tub had a rainfall head which I will definitely require in my first home. :worship:

    I’d say my only complaint is the bathroom fan seemed to use a motion sensor and it was really loud. So at night I would immediately hit the button to turn it off. Not a big deal, but it was kind of annoying. We both use white noise machines at home and brought one with, and we did not have a single issue with neighbors during our four-night stay. :thumbsup2

    We organized a bit and then headed off to Disney Springs for dinner. We had decided to try the Polite Pig since I heard it was the best QS in DS.

    We went to the Ranchos bus stop, which is #3. There are four stops at CSR and the park buses go the opposite direction as the Disney Springs buses. The tower is the last stop on the way to the parks, and I believe it is the first stop on the way to Disney Springs.


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    This was our only bus issue at CSR of the trip. We waited about 45 minutes for the bus unfortunately. The app did say it wasn’t coming for a while though so at least we knew we were in it for the long haul. :confused3

    When the bus finally arrived, a couple people were complaining to the driver. Not sure what they can do at that point but whatever, we were in WDW and we were happy about that! :banana: It took a while to loop around the resort so that is the downfall of a resort with multiple bus stops. We were sitting though so no biggie.

    (Side note: the CSR buses say “Bienvenidos” and my mom was like “what does that mean?” :sad2:)

    The bus took forever to get to Disney Springs, which is when I realized it was Black Friday and prime late night shopping/dinner time. We didn’t get there until a little after 8PM due to the traffic, which is probably why it took so long to get a DS bus. They have a dedicated bus lane but it was still a total zoo.

    I needed to activate my annual pass so we went to guest services, and they directed me to the ticket center close by. It took maybe 15 minutes of waiting and the activation was very smooth since I already had a magicband. The CM gave me my AP discount card and we were off to dinner!

    Polite Pig was packed even at 8:30, a good sign. Mom found a table while I stood in line. It took about 20 minutes to order and 10 minutes to get our food (they give you a buzzer). It is QS but they have CMs that bring you your food/drinks and they deserve the tip they will ask you to add at the register. We shared a pint of my favorite Yuengling beer, which is harder to get in MN. :drinking1

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    We shared the appetizer chicken wings with Polite dry rub, these were fantastic and had a lot of meat and very little fat. There were six wings and they have a little kick but nothing that my very Minnesotan mom couldn’t handle. They came with these very crunchy (pickled?) carrots that were weird but we ate them.

    We also shared the 3 for $15 apps, and had the brussel sprouts, BBQ cauliflower, and sweet potato tots. I don’t have much to say other than RUN, don’t walk to Polite Pig. It totally lived up to the hype. :woohoo: The whiskey caramel brussel sprouts were basically dessert and were the crispiest I’ve ever tasted. Mom was like “I can’t believe I’m eating brussel sprouts!”

    This was more than enough food for us but we managed to be members of the clean plate club anyways. I hear there are really good sauces available, but we didn’t need any because the food was that good.

    After we rolled out of Polite Pig, we popped into Uniqlo and quickly popped out because DS was such a madhouse. We figured we’d be back on our rest day and it would be a lot less busy later in the week. In hindsight, we probably should have avoided DS entirely, but Polite Pig was so good that we were glad we made the trip.

    The bus came immediately (redemption after our first bus) and took about 24 minutes to get back to the tower at CSR. Not sure why, but I got some mint chip and dulce de lece gelato at Cafe Rix because my dessert stomach is separate. :rolleyes1 We got a bit lost finding our way back to our room since it was pretty dark and we took the wrong bridge. Oops!

    Our bags were still not in our room (10:50) so we called bell services and they said they were at the resort delivering them. Our bags arrived 15 minutes later, but I’m sure this was only because we called and asked for them.

    We couldn’t get Netflix to cast on the TV, but YouTube TV worked just fine so we watched a few episodes of Schitt’s Creek before turning in for the night.

    Overall a very pleasant first night in WDW! The wait for the bus was probably the worst part of the day, but we didn’t have tired legs yet so it wasn’t so bad. At least there is plenty of seating at the CSR stops.

    Day One Steps: 12k

    Thank you for reading!

    Continued in Day Two - Part One: Spaceship Earth and Breakfast in France
     
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    DLo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2006
    Following along. Looking forward to reading more. Great start . I stayed one night at GDT on my last trip ( it was a Universal trip but I wanted to sneak in a MVMCP). Beautiful resort. Wish I had stayed longer . Polite Pig still on my to do list at DS .
     
  • Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Following along. Looking forward to reading more. Great start . I stayed one night at GDT on my last trip ( it was a Universal trip but I wanted to sneak in a MVMCP). Beautiful resort. Wish I had stayed longer . Polite Pig still on my to do list at DS .
    Thanks for following along! I have a standard room booked for my next trip and am hoping I can switch to GDT in the days before my trip, I bet the views from the higher rooms are spectacular. Polite Pig was definitely worth the long journey it took us to get there :laughing:.
     
  • Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    We love Polite Pig! Can't wait to read the rest of your journey:)
    I’m afraid I won’t try anything new in DS now because I’ll keep going back there! :laughing: I’m organizing photos and I took so many, I’m so excited to share them!
     

    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Day Two - Part One: Spaceship Earth and Breakfast in France

    Woohoo, onto the parks! We did Epcot for our first day last year (same time, the Saturday after Thanksgiving) and found the crowds very pleasant, so we decided to do that again this year.

    We are slow risers and did not leave our room until around 9AM :confused3 . We took a leisurely walk to El Centro, soaking in the beautiful scenery of Coronado Springs. There isn’t very much lighting at night so it felt like we were at a different resort in the daylight!

    The plan was to get breakfast in France for the first time, we typically eat quick service kids meals at the resort. We took the bus from El Centro (main building next to the tower) and were on around 9:20AM. We were at Epcot in under 10 minutes! A much better experience than the night before.

    The security was a lot better than the year prior, I remember there being only a few long lines for bag check last time.


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    So happy to be out of cold MN and in sunny FL!
    Most of the weather was going to be cool this trip, so we soaked it in while we could.


    Pluto was meeting near the entrance and the line wasn’t too long, so we decided to get our first picture with Pluto! It was a really pretty backdrop, one of my favorite pictures from the trip for sure.

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    And of course, we had to do a quick picture in front of Spaceship Earth. Or as we loving call it, the Epcot golf ball!

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    There are a ton of walls up around Epcot right now, but this spot is pretty good for photos. We were done with our photos by 10AM and had our first FP of the trip, Spaceship Earth of course. We try to minimize our walking back and forth so we almost always do SE first. :thumbsup2

    Even at 10AM, standby was only 15 minutes and it was a walk on with our FP. Sometimes we have had to wait 10-15 even with FPs, so we took that as a good sign.

    I let my mom pick our answers this time and we visited the Great Wall of China.


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    My favorite part of the ride is going backwards in the dark room with all the lights. It’s such a relaxing ride, I’m hopeful that the refurb will enhance the ride. I’m okay with change and I do believe rides should be updated with new technology, I just hope it doesn’t take too long since there are only so many rides my mom can handle!

    We made our way to France next, very hungry at this point. On the way, we stopped to pick up my AP Chip and Dale magnets outside of Mouse Gear. It was very quick, they had half a dozen CMs ready to scan magicbands and distribute magnets.


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    We finally arrived at Les Halles around 11, mom was so hangry at this point. :bitelip:

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    One day I’ll try one of those raspberry macarons...

    There was plenty of seating available (another rare sight we thought) and we got a ham and cheese croissant and strawberry tart to share for $10.

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    The croissant was so fresh and flaky, and the gruyere cheese was so deliciously salty and a nice size for the price. The tart is one of our favorites, the whipped cream is fresh and the whole thing just melts in your mouth. I want to try more things but we always get this tart because it’s that good!

    We wandered a bit around World Showcase and ended up at Mitsukoshi in the Japan pavillion. I love this shop so much, it’s great for gifts or souvenirs.


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    What even is this??? :rotfl2:

    I love watching people do the pick a pearl, it’s so fun to watch.

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    We had a Living with the Land FP next, and decided to try the Friendship boat for the first time to save our legs.

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    This was such a great choice, we waited on the boat about five minutes and were off to the other side of the lagoon. It only took a few minutes and sure beats walking back and forth since Epcot is so huge!

    Continued in Part Two: Living with the Land
     
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    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Day Two - Part Two: Living with the Land

    Living with the Land was basically walk-on (with a FP) around noon, standby said 35 minutes.

    We love this ride, so relaxing and mom loves gardening so we find the greenhouse very interesting (and different every trip). I’ll have to try riding it at night some time, I imagine it’s a completely different ride, especially with all of the Christmas lights.

    I was thinking about Behind the Seeds for this trip but decided against it since we tend to prefer flying by the seat of our pants rather than planning ever minute.

    Anyways, here's a bunch of LwtL photos for anyone who is interested:

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    I believe they redid this video sequence? It looked very nice!

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    Ah, sand-men. And we thought we were escaping winter!

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    LwtL is a great way to see some unique produce. I was going to say this looks more like squash to me, and then I realized that pumpkins are squash...I think?

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    Hidden Mickey! And I believe that is the Behind the Seeds tour that we would have been on, so maybe next time!

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    We obviously have a lot of court in the Midwest, and seeing it grown like this is so strange.

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    Pomegranates are my favorite fruit! If only I could reach out of the boat and pick one...

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    Cinderella pumpkins! Looks like a Mickey pumpkin was created as well, I think they had a plastic shell displayed that they grow produce in to give it custom shapes (like our favorite mouse).

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    These lights were pretty, but I imagine it's even better at night. Thrown on some Christmas music and I could float around on this ride all day long! :cool1:

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    Sunshine Seasons was as busy as ever, we didn't make any time to stop and eat here this trip but it's one of my favorite QS locations. I recommend the kid's salmon plate if they still have it as a light lunch.

    Continued in Part Three: Via Napoli Lunch and Frozen Ever After
     
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    Disneyhanna

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2017
    Day Two - Part Three: Via Napoli Lunch and Frozen Ever After

    There was a bit of a line for the Friendship boat back to the other side of World Showcase, and we had an ADR for Via Napoli at 12:45.

    Luckily, the boat didn’t take too long and we got to Via Napoli around 12:50. Seriously, these boats are my new favorite part of Epcot! We used to go around World Showcase at least five times in a day due to poor planning. We saw there was another boat launch, do they only run that on busier days?

    There was plenty of open seating at Via Napoli and they were taking walk-ins. I’d still get an ADR to get seated faster though. :thumbsup2

    Our server was a young woman, very friendly even if she was a bit rehearsed. I’m so impressed with all of the international CMs and their English, and I don’t fault her one bit for having her spiel memorized! I certainly couldn’t do her job in a foreign country. They do try to up-sell the garlic bread that isn't free, so be prepared to say no if you are not interested!

    I had already decided we were going to split a large pizza with half pepperoni and half margherita. I majored in math in college, and I can tell you that a 20” pizza is 4x the size of a 10” pizza, and less than twice the cost. :eek: (Finally, my degree having some real life application!)


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    Such a huge pizza! It only took 15-20 minutes, but if it’s busier I imagine it would take longer since they have a limited number of ovens. The pizza took up 80% of our tiny two person table. Barely enough room for us to eat, but we managed!

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    The size of the plates they give are kind of laughable. This gives you a good idea of how cheesy the pizza is. The crust is thin but not paper thin, and has a good chew. Lots of nice flavor throughout.

    We have a lot of Neapolitan pizza restaurants where I’m from and I would say Via Napoli was very good, but not something I’d go out of my way for. I’ve definitely had better, but if you haven’t had Neapolitan pizza before definitely give it a try!

    We managed to finish all but 1.5 slices, and were so stuffed. The margherita side was a tad overcooked, but I think that’s the downside of doing a half and half pizza. The pepperoni side was better and a lot more filling. You could split this between three average eaters and have room for dessert (or more snacking around World Showcase :bitelip:).

    There was a separate CM dedicated to refilling water glasses, which we loved. Overall one thumbs up for Via Napoli from us! It definitely hits the spot for a pizza craving.

    We walked around after lunch to keep the food coma away. We always stop and admire the train in Germany.


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    The shops in Germany are great, we love the cuckoo clocks and there are so many details if you look up!

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    Lots of cute stuff at the crystal shop, I wonder how often people actually purchase some of these bigger ticket items though. Though, I hear someone recently bought one of those $35k crystal Cinderella castles!

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    We couldn’t decide if these ornament trees were cute or just funny, but they were only $25 for the entire tree (we think).

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    Our Frozen Ever After FP was around 2PM and we only waited about five minutes. Standby was 85 minutes and winding outside at this point, I just cannot fathom ever waiting over 30 minutes for any ride unless it is brand new. I get so antsy in line, especially if the line isn't moving! If you don't have a FP, if you are there at park open the line is usually very manageable.

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    I love this ride, I think it’s more intense than pirates and little kids who ride it are pretty brave in my opinion! Every time we ride, adults definitely outnumber the kids though. :rotfl:

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    Oh no, the guy in front of me blocked my picture! At least he was having a good time too.

    We passed Donald on our way back to Future World and had to stop for a photo. We waited maybe 10 minutes (in the shade) and got some really fun pictures!

    Donald did not appreciate that my mom was wearing a Mickey shirt. :earboy2:


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    This was probably our best character interaction of the trip, he was very engaging and not just posing for a quick picture like some characters do with adults. We are a bit shy with characters so we appreciated the antics! :blush: Go Donald!

    Continued in Part Four: More Epcot Dark Rides
     
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    disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    Joining in! I’m glad I found your report. Andi and I are thinking of doing a Thanksgiving trip this year for her 21st birthday!
    I really like the CSR rooms, very roomy with lots of storage. We stayed last March.
    Polite Pig is so good. I am glad you both enjoyed it
    Your day at Epcot looks like a fun one so far. We have never tried the boats between WS and FW, good idea! We walk around and back and forth so much some days!
    Via Napoli is one of our go to places, we have been many times now and have always had a good pizza.
    Donald is such a fun meet. I like how he is blocking your mom’s shirt! :rotfl:
     

    GoldenAfternoon

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 28, 2002
    Some of my favorite Disney memories are from mother/daughter trips my mom and I have taken 💗 I am enjoying reading along on your WDW adventures with your mom
     

    sheri18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2011
    Joining in..we leave in 6 days. I am definitely going to try the polite pig. Especially after the Brussels sprouts pic...
     




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