Keeping a promise- An April/May 2020 Pre-trip report


DIS Veteran
Oct 23, 2016
We started this countdown at 1499 days.

Welcome to day #279.

Meet us.

I am "B", a 30-something single working Mom. I first went to Disney when I was 9 and have been a number of times in the 25+ years since. I have had numerous medical issues as a small child that have lasted into adulthood. Issue number 1 is I have an autoimmune disorder that has wrecked havoc on my immune system. Two years before my first Disney trip I was also diagnosed with juvenile-onset idiopathic kyphoscoliosis. My back is a hot mess that is slowly affecting mobility as I get older despite surgical correction. I have moderate hearing loss and vision issues. Throw in a smattering of other issues and that is the challenges I face daily. My hobbies are camping and Disney. Retirement goals are to have a tiny house and spend an entire month from Thanksgiving to Christmas at Fort Wilderness. My favorite Disney ride is Splash Mountain. I loved River Country as a kid and miss it the most of anything Disney has retired.

My eldest is "J". She will be 8 on this trip. I adopted J when she was 2 from Eastern Europe. J has several challenges as well. She has a neurological disorder and is missing a portion of her brain. J has significant vision issues and hearing loss. She has pain when she walks long distances. When I first met J she has a Minnie Mouse toy that she would not let go of. We bonded over Minnie.

My youngest is "G". G is J's biological cousin. She comes from the same Eastern European country and I adopted her at 2 as well. G will be 7 on this trip however functions closer to the level of a 3-year old. G was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and has suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has a genetic disorder with associated microcephaly. She is the one who most loves anything Disney and can sing almost any Disney song.

G had Mickey and Donald painted on the walls of her orphanage. This was among the first pictures I got of her.

Less than 3 months as a complete family G & J saw an advertisement for WDW on their grandparent's Disney Channel. And never stopped talking about it. Both remembered Disney/Mickey/Minnie from their early years. And during my birthday celebration in 2016 I promised and we set a date based upon a guess of Public School calendar vacations and a brief google search of low crowds and nice weather.

Target date April 18, 2020. For 2 weeks. 1,499 days away.

Next up: Where will we stay? The agony of indecision.


DIS Veteran
Oct 23, 2016
Where do we stay?

Back in 2016 I was just done co-sleeping G and getting her used to life in a house. It became apparent to me that 1. I don't sleep well sharing a bed with my kids and 2. My kids can't share a bed either. We discovered that second part on our first summer vacation. You live. You learn.

G is small and I thought at the time she would likely still be in a crib or pack-n-play at age 7 (we are close, she has a twin sized sensory bed). So we were looking at places that would accommodate a full-size crib well or someplace with 3 sleeping spots. Sharing is not caring.

The kid's only request or care seemed to be some obvious element of Disney theme in our room.

We bounced between our favorite for 2+ years. Every week or two it would change. Allow me to walk through this process in hindsight in some order.

DVC Villas: (Renting points)
Sarasota Springs: Briefly, when this was going to involve extended family of 5-6 more we looked at Treehouse. Lives change. People lost interest. We liked the zero entry pool for the kids. But this was usually a pass.
Grand Floridian: I love this location and the studio looks wonderful. I especially loved the bathroom. But $. We do have a budget for this vacation and this is not in it.
Polynesian: My favorite studio. Lilo and Stitch for the win. Bathrooms are Auh-MAZ-ing. But budget again.
Old Key West: The studios were a hard pass. We looked strongly at the 1 bedroom here. I loved everything about the inside. But kids HATED the look. $ again. And as soon as we discovered mobility accessible rooms were challenging it fell down the list and eventually off the list.
Bay Lake Tower: Fantastic location. Theme again was a turn off. So tiny. No room for G. Ugh. 1 bedroom was out of budget.
Boardwalk: Do-able. Disney theme was good. 3rd sleeping space. We were on track until the clown pool was spotted. G actually screamed when she saw it on Youtube.
The contenders:
Wilderness Lodge (Boulder Ridge): Everything is awesome. Except: something is causing distress with the bathroom tiles with one of the girls when they see the photos. Not sure why and it is pretty consistent. Considering just bathing her in the dark.
Wilderness Lodge (Copper Creek). I am IN LOVE! This came later in our planning stages. Kids hate it. They like the resort/hate the room. Also only 2 sleeping spots so we are on our own for G's arrangement.
Animal Kingdom: My dream. But sleeping spots again.
Beach Club: World of yes. Donald Duck makes the grade. We are planned here the most of any DVC.

Boardwalk, Polynesian, Contemporary. Looked once and nobody was into it.
Meh: Yacht, Beach, Grand Floridian.
Animal Kingdom: The bunk bed rooms were on-point. But $ especially for Savannah view.
Wilderness Lodge: Bunk beds again and location was better. $ again is tricky.

Port Orleans French Quarter: Was a no until the renovation. Post renovation I like. Theme loses again.
Port Orleans Riverside: Royal Rooms were lovely. But space again. Where would G go? The Alligator Bayou is okay and after reno gets a total thumbs up BUT...cost is same of DVC rental at Beach. The reports of the bus kinda a turn off.
Caribbean Beach: 5th sleeper rooms OK. Pirate rooms were terrifying. Pools were a win. It's on the list. But as 5th sleeper becomes a bookable option DVC at Beach is only a little more. B has stayed here for 2 nights in college and remembers everything a super far.
Coronado. Post renovation is a hot yes. Location is a turn off. Arcade gone? J doesn't want to risk it. Arcade is a must do.
Fort Wilderness: Cabins great. Boulder ridge less $. Camping with a Rental camper. On the list. Definitely on the list when we find someone that will theme it out. So close to old river country location. WE LOVE CAMPING. So much space for activities.

All star Sports: No. Stayed before. Hated it. Carpet smells.
Pop: Before reno No. After: SUPER NICE. And coffee!!!. Tricky for G with beds, but probably do-able.
All Star Music: Maybe for suites? Not bad. Not great either.
All star Movies: First place that came to mind when agreed. So much nicer after renovation. Same space concerns as Pop.
Art of Animation: Love it ALL. Suites are essentially out of budget. But makes the list.

Pared list:
DVC Rental Beach Club
Caribbean Beach 5th Sleeper
Fort Wilderness Camper Rental
All Star Movies
Art of Animation.

Then my need to plan kicks in and DVC rental off the list. Probably fine but I would have borderline diarrhea until check-in if something went amiss.

CBR has no elevators. yeah, not risking that either.

The fab 4 in order:
1. AOA Little Mermaid
2. Movies Standard Room
3. Pop Standard Room
4. Camper Rental.

499 Days from check out=Christmas Eve? Too busy.

Day 498: Christmas Day=busy

Day 497: Boxing Day. We have stuff to do

Days 496 & 495: Work. Ugh. No time.

Day 494. I call. My first ever call to Disney. I cannot understand or hear anything. Okay. Figure a landline will improve this.

Day 493. Try calling again. Different cast member same issue. My hearing is terrible.

Day 492. Tried calling with relay. Which I hate using. Nightmare. Relay wasn't typing things out correctly and after 30 minutes in which I was told there was availability at the All Star Movies Lion King Suite I gave up.

Day 491. Tried calling with G & J assist. Worse than relay. Never made it to a live person. Cuz snacks were needed.

Day 490. My mom. And speakerphone. No accessible rooms available at AOA little mermaid:sad: . No accessible rooms at All Star Movies. :charac2:. We grab an accessible standard at Pop. :hippie:


Children officially announce that Art of Animation was their favorite. J informs that that her best friend V stayed in Little Mermaid. Please, Mom? No availability when I e-mail nearly weekly.

Day 337: Sudden availability. I call and change. Can't do it over e-mail. Still don't understand most of what is being said in call, but CM sends an e-mail with outline. And follows up with letter in the mail.

ART OF ANIMATION LITTLE MERMAID. I get one bed. J gets 2nd. G's specialty bed can travel and will either go between beds or at the foot of mine. Thank you disboards for proving that a twin blow-up can fit there for size reference.

Next up: The naysayers and the logistical planning of actually going.


Dec 16, 2018
So awesome your planning a trip for your family. You all sound very excited and you should be ! Sounds like you are a planner for sure and that will serve you well when it comes to your FPS and any dining you want to do. Great idea booking off season and not during the summer heat. We just got back and it was 100 one day very hard to tolerate. i hope your trip is magical in every way !


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