*NEW 10/13* Welcome to Disney, Where Wait Times are Made Up and the Crowds Don't Matter! - July 2021

Newsies

Headlines don't sell papes.
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Hey! Welcome back to Walt Disney World Resort! The theme park resort where all of the wait times are made up and the crowds don't matter. That's right, the crowds don't matter, just like the amount of sunblock you put on before heading to Epcot for the day.



We just got back from another fabulous week at our happy place and I can't wait to share our thoughts and experiences with you all! It has been a hot minute since I was able to share a report like this. I hashed out a more condensed version of a TR for our March trip this past year, but the Parks were at a different phase of reopening back then, so we were taking it easy. While not everything is open yet, the Parks felt more "normal" this trip than our March trip, leading to another epic summer vacation for us. There were highs and lows, great meals and disappointments, and some wonderful memories made-- even some of our mistakes ended up being hilarious along the way. Just like "Whose Line is it, Anyway?," we had to improv in the face of these crowds and this ungodly HEAT... BUT, we made it work and laughed a lot!

So who are "we?" Sadly, we are not Colin, Ryan, Wayne, and Drew, but when we're at Disney together, we can be just as goofy! Come meet the Newsies family:



We are a family of four adults from the great state of New Jersey! We have been visiting the Parks since 2010 and have stuck with WDW through ups and downs, changes good and bad. We made our love for Disney a lifetime commitment back in 2017 when we joined the Disney Vacation Club and became owners at the Polynesian Village Resort. We're Annual Passholders for another month and hope to re-enlist as soon as APs go back on sale. Typically, we visit WDW annually, but we did a cash stay and a points stay this year and hope to continue going twice a year now that Grace is out of high school and I'm a whole adult. We LOVE the Poly, 7DMT, Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, and Teppan Edo.

Here are the brains of the operation, Mom/Susie and Dad/Tom:



Our two amazing, hard-working parents who LOVE DISNEY! They are just a few short years away from retirement and our eventual move to Florida, but until that happens, mom is a successful manager in her company's real estate division, and dad is a zoning officer. Grace and I are proud of both of them, but we are particularly proud of dad this year-- he just lost almost 100 pounds through a weight loss surgery and a series of incremental lifestyle changes, AND he recently was able to find a new job working for a township that he absolutely loves. He had been working to find a new job for a few years, so this has been a big year for him and we are so happy for all that he has accomplished!

They both watch their favorite Vloggers, specifically ResortTV1, TheTimTracker, and Paging Mr. Morrow, like the morning news. They love Magic Kingdom, and they loooooove visiting the resort pool on a hot afternoon! Dad is a huge fan of all things Grumpy and the Country Bears, whereas mom is a fan of Winnie the Pooh and the Haunted Mansion. Dad will normally do whatever mom is doing at the current moment, and mom loves sleeping in late, hitting the pool in the afternoon, and spending the evening at a Park.

Standing here with me is my younger sister, Grace:



Grace is a college student who turned 20 YEARS OLD (!!!!!) on the first day of our vacation. We celebrate her birthday with a Disney vacation more often than not, and I am somehow always surprised when she turns a year older every year. She turned thirteen during my first TR for the boards back in 2014 and today she is TWENTY. Insane.

Grace is studying to become a teacher. She is involved in too many on campus activities to name here, but she works very hard in her academics, on campus job, and extra curricular activities. During the summer, she is a camp counselor and an assistant for a YMCA after-care program. She loves Kitchen Nightmares, chicken tenders, her Squishable strawberry milkshake, and of course: all things Disney! Her Disney favorites include Toy Story Land, the PeopleMover, and Gideon's Bakehouse.

Last but not least, I'm your host, Kaitlyn!



I am 24 years old and graduated with my BA in Communication Studies in 2019. Today, I am a full-time customer service rep for a company I love. My interests include Squishmallow hunting, baking, writing (specifically about Disney), and of course: the Walt Disney World Resort. I've been writing trip reports for DISboards since 2014 and completed two Disney College Programs during Fall 2016 and the short-lived Spring 2020, where I was an Attractions hostess at Peter Pan's Flight/its a small world and a Character Attendant in Magic Kingdom, respectively. Disney is, was, and always will be my home! I love shopping on Main Street, grabbing a Joffrey's Coffee, and my favorite attractions are Rock'N'Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Slinky Dog Dash. I also love meeting Characters and I am IMPATIENTLY waiting for more entertainment to return to the Parks!!!

Now that we've got our introductions all settled, I want to go over some quick details of our trip so that you all have some context and a better idea of what's happening:

We spent a week, July 11-17 2021, on a DVC points stay at the Polynesian Village Resort - Deluxe Studio, Standard View. With our Annual Passes, we booked park reservations for every day, and visited every park, including the first day of Food & Wine at Epcot. We also visited Disney Springs for dinner one evening. We had a LOT of dining and ate some really great food! I took more photos this time than I did last time, and they were all captured on my iPhone 12 or via PhotoPass. We drive from NJ to Florida and back-- it is an 18 hour journey, but we don't mind!

I can take a pretty long time to update my TRs, so I just want to drop some fast suggestions/tips from our week at the Parks for anyone visiting in the immediate future:
  • Invest in a high-quality water bottle, bring a bottle of Benadryl cooling gel or a similar hydrocortisone topical gel. I know that this sounds like a given for Florida in July, but we've been visiting the parks every summer for a decade and I lived through some of the hottest months of the year in Orlando and I've never experienced heat like this. I got Disney rash for the first time in my entire life this week, so even if you've been immune to it in the past, be sure to bring some type of gel or be prepared to visit first aid for some Calagel during your trip. Please stay hydrated and enjoy some air conditioning as often as possible!
  • Cancel your 'Ohana reservation until the menu changes again. We'll talk more about it later. All you need to know right now is that it's not worth your money and the new dishes are downright bad. We heard fabulous things about Kona Cafe dinner and enjoyed breakfast there as usual.
  • The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor is OPEN and worth the wait!
  • Upcoming Poly reservations: be prepared to wait for a bus to and from each park, don't hold your breath for the monorail station, join the walk-up list for Kona Cafe in the morning for a quiet, delightful breakfast. Captain Cooks was good, one of the better QS options at the resorts. And yes: the Cast is just as friendly and incredible as they were before the Parks closed :)

ANYWAY... I think I'm done talking now, I know that my intros are always a lot :blush: If you're ready to read about the summer crowds, a little bit about the Food & Wine festival, and a lot about some terrific snacks and meals, come on and join in! Away we go!

Click HERE to Start!
 
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EvilVillainess

"I'm 99% sure I'm a Disney Villain"
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Your dad looks amazing!!! I'm so glad you got to see Disney a little more normalized this trip. Can't wait to read more about it.
 

Hubie

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 3, 2016
Joining in! Glad to hear that Kona Cafe is so good for B & D. We were also thinking of GF Cafe for b or L. We'll be visiting SSR in late November, right after Turkey Day. We're hoping the crowds will be a little smaller and the weather will be cooler of course.

By the way, I remember seeing you at Peter Pan when we visited in 1/20. Congratulations to your dad on losing all of that weight.
 

Newsies

Headlines don't sell papes.
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Your dad looks amazing!!! I'm so glad you got to see Disney a little more normalized this trip. Can't wait to read more about it.
Thank you so very much!! I can't wait to update-- thanks for following along!!

Joining in! Glad to hear that Kona Cafe is so good for B & D. We were also thinking of GF Cafe for b or L. We'll be visiting SSR in late November, right after Turkey Day. We're hoping the crowds will be a little smaller and the weather will be cooler of course.

By the way, I remember seeing you at Peter Pan when we visited in 1/20. Congratulations to your dad on losing all of that weight.
Thank you so much for joining in!! I had GF cafe breakfast with my friend this week-- we LOVED it, it was so good! You are going to have an amazing time this November, the weather is much more reasonable.

I am so happy to have you here and can't wait to update soon!
 

sheri18

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 18, 2011
Joining in. Thanks for the gel tip...we have never been in the summer, so need all the tips I can get.
 

shh

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 10, 2013
wow...been on the boards a while...how did I miss all your TRs? No matter...looking fwd to this one! Love all the happy smiles: you guys seem fun and very "go with the flow" kind of people. It's a breath of fresh air...the DIS boards have been a bit - hmmm - let's just say INTENSE - lately. ;)

I've lived in FL for decades and agree - feels hotter the past few years and is definitely bad this year. The only time I'm outside June-Sept is if I"m near a body of water. lol

Looking fwd to the TR :dogdance:
 
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  • Newsies

    Headlines don't sell papes.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2013
    Joining in. Thanks for the gel tip...we have never been in the summer, so need all the tips I can get.
    So happy to have you here! You are going to have a blast in spite of the heat. I hope you get a chance to visit the Food & Wine Festival! Definitely bring a bottle of anti-itch cream for sunburns/skin irritations, those seem to work best for disney rash!

    wow...been on the boards a while...how did I miss all your TRs? No matter...looking fwd to this one! Love all the happy smiles: you guys seem fun and very "go with the flow" kind of people. It's a breath of fresh air...the DIS boards have been a bit - hmmm - let's just say INTENSE - lately. ;)

    I've lived in FL for decades and agree - feels hotter the past few years and is definitely bad this year. The only time I'm outside June-Sept is if I"m near a body of water. lol

    Looking fwd to the TR :dogdance:
    Hello and thank you for joining, I am so happy to have you here! We try to be as go with the flow as possible :hippie:

    I am so glad to hear I'm not crazy!! It is definitely hotter this year than it has been in past years. We spent a LOT of time at the pool.

    Can't wait to update you soon!!

    Oh my gosh, loving your TR title! :rotfl2:Also so happy for your dad :rockband:

    Can't wait to read more!


    I am so glad you're joining in and that you loved my WLIIA reference!!! Thank you very much for the kind remarks towards dad :)

    I can't wait to update!!

    Joining! Really enjoy your TR's - happy to follow along!
    So happy to have you back, can't wait to update soon!!
     

    disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    I’m here Kaitlyn. I love your reports!
    Thanks for the Ohana info, I think we will be canceling. I have heard so. Any bad reviews!
     
  • suse66

    When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2008
    Here for all the fun! We are leaving in 17 days so appreciate all the tips you have to share! :)
     

    Newsies

    Headlines don't sell papes.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2013
    I’m here Kaitlyn. I love your reports!
    Thanks for the Ohana info, I think we will be canceling. I have heard so. Any bad reviews!
    SO excited to see you here!!! Thank you for joining in!!

    We were so let down by 'Ohana this trip! We enjoyed some really great meals, particularly at Teppan Edo, Topolino's Terrace, Kona Cafe, and even Cap'n Cooks, but we're holding out on the hopes that 'Ohana will listen to our feedback and return to its previous menu!

    Just added benedryl cooling gel to my vaca supplies list thanks!
    You got it-- thanks for checking in!!

    Here for all the fun! We are leaving in 17 days so appreciate all the tips you have to share! :)
    So glad you are here!! Thank you for checking in-- have an amazing trip!!

    Thank you for checking in, so happy to have you here!!
     

    jen7233

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 1, 2005
    I love your writing and trip report! I didn't know Benadryl had a cooling gel! My youngest is prone to the heat and sun rashes, had one last trip, allergies were rough, will have to look for that!
     

    Newsies

    Headlines don't sell papes.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2013
    Looking forward to it! :flower3:
    Thank you so much for joining along, can't wait to update!!

    I love your writing and trip report! I didn't know Benadryl had a cooling gel! My youngest is prone to the heat and sun rashes, had one last trip, allergies were rough, will have to look for that!
    Thank you for the kind words and for following along!! I definitely recommend the Benadryl gel-- you can find it near the band-aids in most grocery stores!!
     

    Newsies

    Headlines don't sell papes.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2013
    Pre-Travel/Travel Day: July 09/10
    This is a Game Called: "Wake up, Grace!"

    The day before we leave is always a flurry of chaos and emotion, as I'm sure you all can relate!

    I actually woke up feeling pretty crummy this time. I get very bad pre-trip anxiety, no matter whether I'm off to Disney for a week or down the shore for the weekend, so I didn't get a great night of sleep the night before. I ended up crawling out of bed and getting ready for my day close to 6 AM, where I went with my dad to get bagels and coffee for breakfast this morning. Mom was off from work, but Dad, Grace, and I all had work to at least some capacity. Dad was out early at noon, I was out early at 1:00, and Grace was out regular time at 6:00.

    My "office" is still remote, so I was in the computer room "at work" for the morning! It's always the shifts that end early that feel the longest!! It was a pretty quiet day at work and soon enough, it was time for me to clock-out for the week. Dad had just gotten home at that point, so it was time for us to go board our dog, Roxie, for the week. Here's a pic of our ferocious little red chow at snacktime:




    After we got Roxie all settled in for her boarding, we went home and had some quick lunch before mom and I head off to run some errands and get our nails done for the trip. I went with white gel nails this time-- all of my friends have been doing white gel recently and I really loved it!


    The rest of the evening went by super slowly-- we grabbed take-out dinner from a local diner, we finished loading up the truck, and I ATTEMPTED to get some sleep... to which I failed, woke up at 8 PM, and watched some television downstairs for a few hours. I watched the usual episodes -- Full House Meets the Mouse parts I and II, Disney Unwrapped, etc.

    Closer to 10:30, dad woke up to get ready. I changed out of my pajamas into my travel outfit and was told to wake up Grace.

    I knocked on the door, no response.

    I opened the door, no response.

    I walk in and say "Hey, we're leaving, get up!" Grace responds with a half-asleep "I'm up, can you get out?"



    I tell her okay and go downstairs, where mom, dad and I are packing up the rest of the car and making sure everything is secure in the trunk. 20 minutes later, Grace is still not up, so mom calls back up to her again.

    ... 10 minutes after THAT, Grace finally arrives downstairs looking all disheveled and says, "Sorry, I fell back asleep." :faint: You can't take her anywhere!

    So with ALL of that being said, we finally left the house at 11:27 PM and headed southbound! In true Jersey fashion, we stopped at a Wawa for a quick cup of coffee before getting on I-95 for our 18 hour drive to Disney.

    Other than a few rogue rest stops in NJ and Maryland, we made really good time and didn't stop until we decided it was breakfast time. We went to Cracker Barrel, I am 99% confident it was the one on Exit 152-- we normally stop somewhere around Dumfries, 152 is generally our go-to for breakfast and refilling the tank. I had blueberry pancakes that were pretty good and we got back on the road!

    It was a pretty normal day of driving. We listened to an epic 8-hour long Disney playlist that I curated, we had some trail mix, we read off every South of the Border billboard, and above all: I slept for the bulk of the drive down. We stopped at a Cook-Out for lunch after I begged to try Cook-Out for the first time. I really liked it! I had a decent cheeseburger and I loved my mint oreo shake.

    We ran into traffic once, while we were halfway through South Carolina, other than that, it was a pretty smooth drive down! It always ends up being a good drive when we start at 10/11 PM.

    I took two photos on the drive down. I watched a TikTok the night before that told me to watch out for "Turtles," within the next 24 hours, as they would be a "sign" that I would "soon embark on a fulfilling journey," so I made sure to keep my eye out for them on the drive down. Here are my turtles!!!





    Anyway, we arrived at our final stop for the evening at 6:30 in the evening. We stop overnight in Kingsland, GA, which is one of the last exits in GA. The Kingsland exit has some pretty decent hotels if you need a break-- we have stayed at Fairfield Inn & Suites and Microtel in the past, and both are clean and safe. We stayed at Microtel this time. The room was fine and we really just needed a place to sleep for the night, so it did the job 10/10.

    We checked in, dropped our overnight bags, and went to the Denny's at the same exit for dinner. It was pretty gross, so please don't stop there if you find yourself in Kingsland anytime soon.

    We got back to the hotel room, I took a shower, and we fell asleep watching a HARRY POTTER marathon on one of the stations. Can you think of any more perfect movie marathon to fall asleep watching on the night before you arrive in Orlando???

    Thus concluding a pretty standard travel day! I give it a solid 8/10 :thumbsup2

    Coming up next: we arrive at the Poly!


    Click here to continue!
     
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