Oh, what to get the kids for xmas...? AKL-Kidani March 2020 (Feedback please!!)

seamama71

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 14, 2010
I'm starting a pre-trip report to spare my DH from my planning obsession! This is the third time since my almost-9 y/o DD was born that I've planned another trip, and the FIRST time that we're actually booked and GOING!
I'm (selfishly) desperate for feedback on the itinerary for our trip, and also happy to help anyone's planning as best i can!

This trip has morphed into a 3-generation journey.
First, my DH and I (in our early 40's) were taking our 3 kiddos. They are winter babies, all about to turn 14 (DS1), 12 (DS2), and 9 (DD).

Then, we learned that DH's parents - who are in their 60's and live about 10 minutes away from us - were also desperate to figure out what to get these kids for xmas and birthdays... SO we asked if they'd like to go in on the trip with us! We will also be including my sister-in-law, who is in her late 30's and has some disabilities. She and my mother-in-law will be somewhat limited on the attractions they can ride.

Our history with Disney is rather limited compared to many here, but I'm certainly experienced with research and resources!
I've been once at age 12 (remember MGM Studios and the Backlot Tour with the Golden Girls house!!??); another couple times for work conferences (the last time just this October); and in September 2010 with this same crew (DD in my tummy).

By combining our parent/grandparent forces, we are lucky enough to be staying in a 2-bedroom villa at AKL Kidani.
Last trip, we stayed in a 2-br villa at Beach Club. So, as amazing as AKL is, from what i have read, i'm already missing the easy walk into Epcot from BC...
We are flying in from Maryland on Friday Feb 28. Staying that one night at Coronado Spring. Saturday Feb 29, we move to AKL. That's also the day our DDP starts. We have park hopper tickets Sat Feb 29 - Thursday March 5, when we fly home.

When i can figure out how to do it, i'll link my spreadsheet for review and feedback, which i would SO appreciate!!

More to come!
 
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seamama71

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 14, 2010
Happy Thanksgiving!
Following! Sounds like a fun trip!
And Welcome! Thanks for following :)

I'm attempting to link to my spreadsheet that i just saved into Google Drive. Hope it works!
never mind the document name - I called it “More Bills” On our home computer to keep the kids uninterested in it :rolleyes1
Odds are, this will change quite a bit as I think through timeframes better.
The kids are finding out about the trip on Christmas Day, so i hope they'll want to get in on some planning too.


Next updates i'll walk through my plans day by day. And.... dig up some pictures from our past trips (we're talking late 80's Jamms shorts, guys!) :oops:
 
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  • seamama71

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2010
    These plans keep changing! I'm very glad to have moved my spreadsheet over to Google Drive - easier to adjust from anywhere.

    I've also looked over my PTR from 2011 (link in my signature) - what a crazy time! Started the planning with two little boys ("We're done at two, thankyouverymuch") and ended up with a fun gender reveal for our surprise #3 during the trip. :love:

    And now on to this upcoming trip:
    Our first full day will be Saturday Feb 29.
    There's a couple things coming into play on this day, neither too major. First is moving from our one night at Coronado Springs over to AKL-Kidani (Savannah view). Second is meeting up with my father in law (Pop) as he finishes a work conference at the Orlando convention center and joins us around mid day.

    The plan for now is this:
    Wake up relatively early and pack up our rooms. [My mother in law may not want to get moving very early, so with any of these plans she may hang back and take it easier.]

    Parks are really loose right now. We have tickets every day, with park hopper.
    Touring Plans just updated the crowd tracking predictions, so all the parks look fairly crowded. AK has EMH, then goes up to an 8. HS looks really crowded, steady all day, so i'm leaning away from that one now. Same with MK. Epcot looks ok later in the day, at a 7 overall with heaviest around noon, but dinner could get in the way there. And that makes for potentially a lot of Epcot time (not a bad thing for me since it's my favorite).
    So, for now:
    We may try for getting to AK for the EMHs; and we'd only stay for an hour or two.
    We could leave parks by mid day to meet up with Pop, maybe at AKL. Odds are, our room won't be ready that early, but my in-laws would love wandering the resort. Some of us could venture back out to a park (Epcot? Try for some HS Fast passes?) until dinner.
    Right now, dinner is around 5:30 at Sanaa. I have to call to adjust the number of people, so i'm going to see if we can scoot it to closer to 6:00.
    Nothing else after dinner except seeing if we can get night vision goggles or do campfire or even swim (will it be too cold for that, and/or will the pools close early?)

    I posted the link to my google spreadsheet in an earlier post and I'm updating that as i think these things through. i'd LOVE any feedback or questions!
     

    lvcourtneyy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2012
    I probably wouldn't try to get for AK for EMH. I only say that from experience with trying to get to a park early on a day we're switching resorts- it always takes longer than I think it will to get everything packed and get everyone out of the room and gets really stressful.

    I wonder if any of the parks will do anything special for it being leap day? It prob won't be announced until it gets closer but that would be fun to enjoy if it happens.
     

    seamama71

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2010
    I probably wouldn't try to get for AK for EMH. I only say that from experience with trying to get to a park early on a day we're switching resorts- it always takes longer than I think it will to get everything packed and get everyone out of the room and gets really stressful.

    I wonder if any of the parks will do anything special for it being leap day? It prob won't be announced until it gets closer but that would be fun to enjoy if it happens.
    Trying to do such an early morning is just soooo tempting.... but I agree it’s not very realistic. And not so fun for everyone to have me yelling “Go Go Go!” on the first morning of vacation :scared:

    We can spend the morning packing up and exploring CSR.

    my FIL will be meeting us at AKL by 2:00, hopefully earlier. So for now, I’m thinking about going into AK just for a fast pass, maybe for Festival of Lion King which the whole family can enjoy, and *fingers crossed* a Caring for the Giants tour at about 3:30 or 4. And push dinner to closer to 6 at Sana’a.
    I feel like this is kind of our “extra” bonus day, and next I’ll give an overview of the rest of the week to see what thoughts.
     
  • Wosmama6

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 9, 2015
    Following, we are going around the same time and I'm kind of surprised by the crowds! This is our son's christmas gift, surprising him with helium mickey balloons wrapped in a box with the magic bands!
     

    sheri18

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 18, 2011
    Following. We are going the beginning of February...I’m the grandmother tagging along with DH and the kid. They all have winter birthdays so everyone got Disney gift cards.
    pour plans have changed many times and so haven’t hotels. Have a great time
     
  • seamama71

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2010
    Ok! Updating from the passenger seat of the minivan, as we drive home from our annual post-Xmas trip to the Smokies. Just love it! We meet up with my family (my mom, sister and her family) there and all stay together in a cabin. Mostly hiking, with a little kitschy Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge thrown in, like mini golf and mountain coaster.

    Now on to the next big family trip: WDW!!

    I set my alarm while we were on this trip for FASTPASSES. Got up before everyone, made coffee, and .... immediately ran into a problem with the FP+ party. Everyone had duplicates somehow listed, which prevented me from assigning them to my party and getting FPs. I made a quick call to Disney and they fixed it all in just a few minutes.
    By this time it was 7:15 :scared1: And I was certain the whole trip was doomed!!
    not quite ;) but I wasn’t thrilled. I’ve also been a bit surprised by the predicted crowd levels for our trip dates, so I figured it may be tough to get some times we wanted, regardless of a 7am start time.

    I’d made a list ahead of time, mostly in the order of most difficult FP to get while also starting on/near the last day of the trip (booking farthest-out first may up your chances of getting FP).

    so I got all the passes I wanted, just not the times I was necessarily going for. The FP for SDD, for example, is at 5 pm on our DHS day and I would have preferred earlier. But at least I snagged it!

    I also got some passes for our first full day, which has turned into an AK day in addition to moving over to AKL-Kidani.
    I will detail Day 1in next update!
     

    lvcourtneyy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2012
    Oo we went to Gatlinburg and the Smokies over the summer and fell in love. I can't wait to go back.

    Glad you were able to get your FPs sorted out!
     

    seamama71

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2010
    Here’s a rundown of the trip as it stands right now. I don’t think I’ll change any ADRs, barring some fabulous suggestion on these boards. Refresher if needed on our party: me and my DH, our 3 kids ages 14, 12, and 9. Plus, my MIL, FIL, and SIL.

    Friday Feb 28 - arrive in evening. Take Magical Express, but get our luggage from baggage claim ourselves since it will be 8 pm or so already. Spend that one night at CSR.

    Saturday - leave CSR and ask resort to help move our luggage over to AKL Kidani. Planning to take it easy this morning, arrange for the move, and possibly just take the bus on over to AK since we can get a bus to AKL easily from there. sometime around mid day, we (or at least some of us) will go to the resort to meet my FIL when he arrives. Get his luggage stored, and then everyone will end up in AK by 2. We will FP Kilimanjaro Safari, then stay nearby to check in for our Caring for Giants tour. Finally we will FP Festival of Lion King 5:00 show, then leave to see our room! We have 7:45 dinner at Sana’a. Two reservations for 4 people each, so I hope they can seat us together or near each other.

    Sunday - Get to MK prior to 9 am opening. I have a touring plan that seems to work for us and has some flexibility. We have 10:05 breakfast at BoG. Then on to more attractions with late lunch/snacks as needed. The plan estimates that we will finish up around 4:30... so let’s say 5 or so. If this really happens, we may go back to AKL to freshen up before dinner, or monorail resort hop. Our dinner is at 8:30 at Citricos’s. I’d like to arrive before 8 and watch the MK fireworks from Gasparilla Grill. We will NOT be inside MK for fireworks since some of us adults didnt have a great time with the exiting crowds years ago.

    Monday - heading to HS! This is a couple days before their new attraction opens where the Great Movie Ride was, so no one will be there.
    Oh, wait - they have that Star Wars stuff... 😅
    We will see what the strategy du jour is for getting a boarding group for ROTR. That will somewhat dictate how early we go. We have 10:25 Oga’s Cantina; I have a feeling I’ll need a drink by then.
    We will lunch at a QS in between attractions, preferably using mobile ordering.
    We did score SDD FP at 5 pm!
    the nice thing is that we don’t have any dining reservations that day, and no other parks planned. We can see where the evening takes us 😊

    To be continued!
     

    seamama71

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 14, 2010
    Tuesday 3/3 - We go back to AK for the day after breakfast at Boma (yay!). We have FP for FoP!

    *Also, through all these days, there’s a chance for any of us who can’t or don’t want to be riding attractions to explore more calm attractions or shows.*

    continuing Tuesday, we will probably finish up around 5 and take a break at the resort. Then we will go to Epcot for 8:30 dinner at La Hacienda. Hoping for a nice fireworks view at 9:00! Epcot has EMH that night, so anyone who wants to stay after dinner can do so.

    Wednesday - last full day 😖. And first day of Flower and Garden! So, back to Epcot for the day. My MIL has a natural green thumb and is super artistic, so I’m excited that she’ll get to see this. We will use our touring plan for attractions and the World Showcase. Food will be snacking around the world and festival kitchens! We will probably break at the resort, at least some of us, and then head to MK for their EMH and wrap up anything we didn’t get to, or really want to do again.

    Thursday - our flight is around 3:30 so magical express will pick us up at 12:30. I imagine we will spend the morning at the resort and use up any QS or snack dining credits we have left. We do have park tickets available this day, but I can’t imagine squeezing anything in.

    so that’s that! I’m already working out how to talk everyone into a bounce back. Also preparing for the post-Disney-planning crash that will inevitably hit me...
     



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