Parent Getaway 2023 (complete 7/8)

Disney102015

Mickey with Minis
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Intro and Travel Day


Hi again all! I’m usually here writing about our trips with our 3 littles in tow, but here I am with another adults-only trip report! This is going to be a quick one but it was super special and so different from the trips we usually take so I wanted to document it!



Husband and I are big Disney fans and DVC members - we take our kids (5, 3, and 1.5) about once a year but hadn’t been without children since 2017, before our oldest was born. My in laws agreed to watch the kids for a few nights this summer while Husband and I snuck away!! Sold!!



We debated where to go for a hot minute and ultimately settled on Disney World! I had done a quick adults-only trip with my sister earlier in the year (trip report here) and it convinced me that the occasional grown ups only trips to Disney are absolutely amazing! We felt *slightly* guilty going without the kids (especially after I had snuck to Disney earlier in the year with their auntie, too!), but like I said, they go at least annually so we didn’t feel too too badly. Plus the kids LOVE visiting my in laws so I’m not sure they even noticed we were gone!



We had 3 nights to work with and somehow were able to snag a last minute DVC booking for the resort studios at Grand Floridian - perfect for an adults-only trip (although by the end of the trip Husband was saying this would be a perfect location with kids, too - just SO convenient to Magic Kingdom!)



We initially planned to make the most of our 3 days by flying at the crack of dawn but this didn’t end up working out. The rest of the house had a stomach bug about 1.5 weeks before the trip and lo and behold, it struck me just before the trip! I was still feeling a little yucky the day before we flew so we ended up bumping to a late morning flight to give me a bit of extra time to recover. This turned out fine and gave us a more relaxing travel morning. Husband and I walked into the Pittsburgh airport with our TSA precheck and were literally walking to our gate 2 minutes later - it was amazing! Why did it take us so long to get precheck?!



Because we switched flights at the last minute, we were at the very very end of the boarding order for Southwest. I’m a really anxious flier (flyer?) so we paid the extra $80 total for upgraded boarding - ouch! It was worth it though, as we easily got seats together once we boarded. The flight was uneventful (if a little boring - no TVs on Southwest is a bummer) and we landed 15 minutes early.

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We usually fly from Boston but flew from Pittsburgh this time since we had to bring my kids to the in laws - I can’t believe how much quicker the flight was from PA!!



Since we had no car seats to worry about, we were able to just Uber to the GF. It was $49 plus tip. We were checking in at the Grand by 12:40. It took a while to re-link our Magic Bands - our last trip was to Disneyland and we were told the bands had to be unlinked then relinked?

Our room wasn’t ready so we headed to lunch at the Beaches Pool Bar.
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We had had a reservation for Grand Floridian Cafe that I had to cancel when we rebooked our flight, and we weren’t able to reschedule it but we were fine with pool food. I got the chicken strips and Husband got the shrimp sliders - both were good!

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We grabbed chairs by the pool and settled in for an afternoon of relaxation. It was so different settling in to read a book rather than applying sunscreen to 3 little kids, wrangling life jackets, and heading straight for the pool slide! We were definitely enjoying the relaxed vibe. We hopped in and out of the pool a few times and even saw a duck swimming by at one point! We also had a round of strawberry margaritas.



I was still feeling a little “off” from the stomach bug. We had booked Cali Grill for that night but I didn’t think I was going to be up for a 3 course (fancy!) meal. Luckily we were able to snag Narcoosee’s for 5:00 instead and hoped to reschedule Cali Grill for another night (spoiler alert: we were able to!) Our room wasn’t ready until 4:30 so were cutting it a little close but changed quickly and made it by 5:00! It was good we didn’t have too far to go.

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We always like eating at Narcoosee’s but I was glad we had skipped the 3 course meal because I only ate about half my dinner. Husband enjoyed an old fashioned with his meal. All in all this was a lovely time!

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Next up…Moonlight Magic!
 

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I had done a quick adults-only trip with my sister earlier in the year (trip report here) and it convinced me that the occasional grown ups only trips to Disney are absolutely amazing!
Super fun! Just did my own leaving kids behind, and loved it! Looking forward to reading.
The flight was uneventful (if a little boring - no TVs on Southwest is a bummer) and we landed 15 minutes early.
FYI - even though they have no TVs, Southwest free wifi options are pretty amazing. You'll probably want a battery pack or something, but if you log onto southwestwifi.com with a phone or tablet, they have an array of shows, movies, and live tv to watch. Somehow their media wifi is super fast, and you can easily be entertained. Don't ever get their regular wifi service - it's terrible!
 
Super fun! Just did my own leaving kids behind, and loved it! Looking forward to reading.
Thanks for following! Aren’t adult only trips the best? So different from trips with kids! Hopping over to your TR now!
 
Moonlight Magic

Next we were off to Animal Kingdom for Moonlight Magic! We were supposed to attend an AK Moonlight Magic event back in 2022 which got canceled due to Hurricane Ian so we were psyched that another one fell during our trip and we were able to get tickets. We ordered an Uber and headed to the lobby area for pickup. We were waiting off to the side when we saw our Uber pulling up…and another family jumping into it! We were running over to wave the driver down when he started pulling away but then stopped - luckily he had asked the family to confirm where they were headed and realized he had the wrong party! Everyone had a good laugh about the mixup. The family was dressed quite fancy and was headed to a wedding - definitely not headed to AK!



The weather was not looking too promising and it started absolutely POURING as we drove to AK. We considered turning around but I convinced Husband to power through…only to get out of the Uber and realized I had forgotten the ponchos 🫣 Gah! We were literally wading through ankle deep water on our walk to the park entrance and were soaked to the skin within seconds. THEN, my flip flop broke! We were not off to a good start! We stopped at the store at the front of the park to see if they had any footwear but no dice - plus the shop was absolutely packed from people trying to stay out of the rain. I hobbled into the park and we decided to make our way to Island Mercantile to see if we could find me footwear and salvage the night.

Again, ankle deep water, one bare foot. Not great!


LUCKILY Island Mercantile came through and I was soon the proud owner of these babies:


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Yes, those are Haunted Mansion crocs. Eighty dollar Haunted Mansion crocs, to be more specific. Did I like them? No. Did they save the evening? Yes. Were they shockingly comfortable? Also yes. 🤷‍♀️



Footwear sorted, we headed to Dinosaur which was a walk-on despite a posted 10 minute wait. It was FREEZING in the building plus we were still soaked even though it has stopped raining!! I haven’t ridden this ride in years so it was fun to do again. By now it was almost 7:45 and Everest was down - the CM out front said they weren’t sure if it’d be back up that night. AK Moonlight Magic doesn’t have a ton of rides available to begin with so that was a bummer. We grabbed a drink at Thirsty River Bar and I got my favorite, the Himalayan Ghost. We stayed in the area having our drink hoping Everest would come back up but eventually moved on.

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Our next stop was Pandora. The lines for food were HUGE and it was at that point we realized we hadn’t gotten our food coupons at the entrance 🫣 This night was a bit of a comedy of errors but oh well, we were in Disney and we were together. There was also a lengthy wait for Flight of Passage so I grabbed a DAS. (For the MM event they were handing out paper DAS passes with a return time.) Navi River was unfortunately also down so we had some time to kill - we walked over to Flame Tree to grab a drink and a snack since we didn’t really know what else to do. It sounds like we weren’t doing a whole lot but we were just enjoying relaxing without the kids. Plus AK is SUCH a gorgeous park at night (or all the time, really) so it was just fun to walk around and soak up the atmosphere.

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After our drink and snack, Navi had just reopened. The posted wait was 10 minutes but we ended up waiting 40! I like Navi River, but not 40 minutes worth. Oh well. By the time we got off it was time for my Flight of Passage DAS (Husband doesn’t do heights so he skips FOP.) I really, really love this ride but wish the preshow was shorter! It’s so long I always wonder if the ride is broken down while we are in the preshow rooms! Husband was wondering where I was because it took me so long to ride. By the time I got off the ride it was about 9:30. FOP had a 15 minute wait posted and Everest was back up but we were zonked and ready to head out. We slowly made our way out of the park and were on a bus back to GF almost immediately. It was a lovely first day of our trip!!
 
Navi River was unfortunately also down so we had some time to kill - we walked over to Flame Tree to grab a drink and a snack since we didn’t really know what else to do. It sounds like we weren’t doing a whole lot but we were just enjoying relaxing without the kids. Plus AK is SUCH a gorgeous park at night (or all the time, really) so it was just fun to walk around and soak up the atmosphere.
It's a bummer when multiple rides are down during a special event, but it sounds like you made the most of it! I agree, AK is such a beautiful park, just being there is so relaxing. I'm glad you got to ride FOP! And agree, they could really shorten the pre-show.
 
Day 2

We had a nice leisurely sleep in on our first vacation without kids in years. Just kidding! I was up at 7am to get an individual lightning lane for Guardians for that evening 🤣 We were both wide awake anyway - I think it’s physically impossible to sleep in when you’re a parent of 3 kids under age 5. It’s basically the law.



We didn’t rush right out the door, though - we had some coffee and watched Tv and were generally lazy til about 8:40 when we left the room to head to breakfast. We were on the monorail pretty much immediately and were at Steakhouse 71 less than 20 minutes later! We really like this restaurant - always a solid meal. We were done with breakfast by 9:45 and hopped on the monorail back to GF.



Then we napped!! If you had told me I’d spend time on a Disney vacation without kids napping and watching TV I would’ve said you were crazy but it was exactly what we wanted to do after our delicious breakfast. We were sooo lazy, it was lovely. We had thought about going to the spa for massages but decided to skip it this trip and I’m glad we did! It was plenty relaxing just hanging in the room and then hitting the pool, which we did by about 1:00. In the meantime I got a dining alert with an opening for California Grill for the following night so that worked out perfectly. I was thrilled! I would’ve been bummed to miss it due to not feeling great the night before.



At the pool, N was feeling a bit snacky to he had the Greek salad, which he said was delicious. He also had a sunshine margarita while I stuck with the frozen strawberry margarita.

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We had a lovely 2 hours at the pool before heading for the room to freshen up. We were leaving the room by 3:30 but it was POURING rain. Neither of us had any desire to start the night off soaked with a repeat of the night before, so we retreated to our balcony to drink a glass of wine while watching the rain. It didn’t last too long and we made a mad dash to Enchanted Rose during a break in the rain. N had the French 75 and I had the French Rose. We love this bar!

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While we were sitting, we saw a guy in a Red Sox shirt and wound up talking to him for a little bit - fellow Bostonian!



Next up we had a Topolino’s reservation so we got an Uber to the Riviera. We got there about 20 minutes early but got a table right away. This meal was AMAZING!! I think this miiiight be my favorite restaurant on Disney property right now. N started with the Marseille spritz and I had the Pomegranate paradiso. Both cocktails were excellent!

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We split the ricotta app which was incredible and N also tried the grilled octopus (which I was not touching, haha).



For my meal, I still wasn’t feeling super hungry so I got an app as my main. The burrata was amazing and at the time came with grilled peaches which went perfectly with it (looking at the menu I think it’s served differently now?)

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N got the sole meunière which he said was one of the best things he ever ate.

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We both skipped dessert thinking we’d save some room for Food & Wine booths but this really turned out to be unnecessary - we were both too full already plus it was so hot out we didn’t have much appetite to eat at the park. We did stop outside on the patio for some photos before we left. So gorgeous!!

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N is very very afraid of heights and was trying to psych himself up to take the Skyliner for the first time since we were headed to Epcot. We walked down to the station but turned around - he just couldn’t stomach it! Oh well, it gave me the chance to grab some pics of the mosaics which I always love to see:

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Since we were headed to the World Showcase we decided to take a Minnie Van so we could get dropped at the Beach Club and walk over to that side of the park. It was about a 20 minute wait and $30 which seemed like kind of a lot for such a short ride but the Minnie Vans are always pricey!



We were in line for Epcot After Hours at 7:00 on the dot!



Next up…our evening in Epcot!
 
Your Topolino’s dinner looks lovely! You’re making me want to do an adults-only meal there. We took our DD4 there for breakfast on our trip in February and the characters were fun, but I could definitely go for an adult meal there sometime.
 
Epcot After Hours

When we left off, we had just hopped in line for Epcot After Hours. The line looked long but we were in the park within ten minutes! I ran into an issue with my DAS - technically our first park day that wasn’t a regular park ticket since the night before had been Moonlight Magic (and AK had just used paper passes for DAS, not the app). So I had to go to a blue tent to get that squared away. Remy’s had a 45 minute wait so we grabbed a DAS for that while we got the Parisian Cosmo Slush in France. Next we hit Belgium, where we each had a waffle for dessert. This booth is so simple and yet I love it every year!

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We rode Remy’s which was super cute - I feel like I didn’t appreciate it the first time I rode it because my son was really scared so I was focused on him. So it was fun to get to really experience it this time!

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It was hot, hot, hot. Husband tried getting the raclete from the Alps booth and it was just too heavy! We gave up on booths after that. We were full from our delicious Topolino’s dinner anyway!

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We split up after that - I had a Guardians LL and Husband didn’t ride that (at the time! Spoiler alert for future trip reports?!) so he went to get a margarita while I rode. I was tapping in by 8:45 and walked straight to the preshow, and was boarding the ride by 9:05. I have to say though, that bottleneck between the last preshow and boarding is ROUGH. We were smashed in like sardines and my palms were sweating! I was very, very glad to get out of there. If you have DAS for any anxiety or sensory issues, this is definitely a spot to be aware of.



Next I met back up with Husband and we walked right into the design room for Test Track with no wait! We were off by 9:44. We went to grab water which we thought were free for After Hours but I guess they were only free at certain places so we ended up paying. Oh well.


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I have to say, the atmosphere was REALLY fun. There was a DJ blasting Whitney Houston and EVERYONE we passed was singing along. And there were cool lights happening on the Epcot ball. Just a super happy, lighthearted atmosphere.



Next up I wanted to ride Living with the Land. Husband had never ridden it and he’s gotten super into gardening lately so I thought he’d enjoy it, and he did! After that we grabbed some free popcorn and then…we decided to be done! We hopped on the monorail which was luckily still running and were back at the room by 11:15.



It might seem like we didn’t make most of an After Hours ticket but it replaced a park ticket day for us, and I did 4 rides so felt it was worth it for us in this particular circumstance. We had a really fun night but we were exhausted and had to get some sleep for our big park day the next day!!
 
Magical MK Day

It was time for our biggest park day of the trip! I was of course up at 7am and immediately got an ILL for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for 10:55. I also bought an ILL for Tron since I had never ridden it before! We also got Genie+ on this day and got BTMRR for 11:55. We had a nice little morning lined up!



N had to take a work call so I placed a mobile order at Gasparilla Grill and walked down to grab our food. All…I placed this order at 9:47, tapped “I’m here!” at 9:50, and got the food at 10:20! This place was hopping! N had finished his call and joined me before the food was even ready. It was a little crazy. But I enjoyed my Mickey waffles and soon we were off on the monorail to MK!

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We were walking into the park by 10:50 and I got a Peter Pan DAS for 11:55. We headed straight to SDMT - there was a 105 minute posted wait and the CM said to expect about 20 minutes for the ILL lane, which turned out to be just about accurate. We usually have to split up to ride this with the kids so it was really fun to get to ride together! We were in the back row which felt SO much more wild than the front!



We went to Small World next - always a must do even when we don’t have the kids with us! The posted wait was 25 minutes but we only waited about 5 and were off by 11:47.



It was hot hot hot once again, so we headed to Pinocchios for a quick cold drink. Refreshed, we headed to a Peter Pan for our DAS, and once we tapped in we got another DAS for later for SDMT. Next up was our Genie+ for BTMRR which had a 45 minute posted wait - we waited about 10. We LOVED this ride and again, it was so fun to get to ride together instead of doing rider swap! (And hold hands 🥰)



We were ready for our midday break and were at the monorail by 1:00. We took a quick power nap for about an hour then it was pool time! N grabbed a mojito and I had a strawberry margarita. We were at the “quiet pool” (I guess that’s what it’s called? the one without the slide) and we were able to have drinks in the pool which was so nice!! I don’t remember ever being allowed to have a drink in the pool at a Disney hotel. But it was lovely especially on an adults trip, to get to just float around with a cocktail! The waitresses even came to the poolside to take orders. It felt fancy!



We swam for a few hours then went back to the room to freshen up for our fancy dinner: California Grill at 5:00! This. Was. AMAZING!! I was a little skeptical because of the fixed price menu - I really loved the old menu! But I was SO glad we went. We had an amazing table with an incredible view of MK.


The fixed price menu was $89 per person and I did the wine pairing for $39. N started off with an old fashioned which of course I had to try and it was amazing.

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For an app, I had the Sonoma goat cheese ravioli which they were able to do without the mushroom (I don’t do mushrooms 🍄). For my main I got the Oak fired filet of beef and N got the Fire roasted venison. Everything was incredible - super high quality and cooked perfectly. For dessert, N had the Meyer lemon chiffon cake and I had the Chef’s selection of cheese. I didn’t write down what the wine pairings were but I know they all paired perfectly with each course and I loved them all.

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We walked to the park after dinner around 6:30 - it will never cease to amaze me how quick that walk is!! What a perk for the Contemporary!


We had gotten Pirates and Buzz Genie+ selections throughout the day, and I still had my Tron ILL from earlier, so we had a nice night planned. I tapped into Tron around 6:57 and was boarding by 7:15. I didn’t fit in the standard seats! I have absolutely enormous calves (years of leg sports will do that) so I wasn’t super surprised, just mildly embarrassed as I waited off to the side for an accessible vehicle. I liked the ride but wasn’t overly wowed - maybe it’s better in the standard seat? But it struck me as super short and not that exciting other than the outdoor arch.



Pirates was down so our Genie+ converted to an anytime pass. We were at Buzz around 7:30 and all….I CRUSHED this game!! Did I Google some tricks while in line? Yes. Is studying up “cheating”? I’d say no! I got 999999 while N got 127100. He swears I cheated 😇



We were at SDMT at 7:57 and walked almost the whole way thru the line. We weren’t in the back row this time but it was just as exciting because it was getting dark and the ride is always a little more exciting in the dark! We were off by 8:06 and found a bench to FaceTime the kids at home. Like I said before, they LOVE visiting the grandparents and I don’t think they minded at all that we were at Disney without them.



We thought about another ride after this but a major priority for the night was seeing Happily Ever After so we decided to go stake out our spot. We had the after dessert party booked so we got our wrist bands and got to the garden area by about 8:30. The wait was actually not bad at all - the music playing was violins playing Disney classics which was just so gorgeous and we just sat enjoying ourselves and talking about our day. I started crying around the time the first message came on that HEA would be starting shortly - I had only seen it on YouTube and I was SO excited to see it live!!



It was everything I had dreamed of and more. I ugly cried the entire time and N was horrified, haha. I cannot say enough good things about this show and can’t believe it took me so long to see it! Spoiler alert: I booked the HEA dessert party for my next 2 trips. I just cannot stomach the crush of the crowds, and I love the show SO much, it’s a totally worthwhile splurge to me.



By 9:40 we were in line for the dessert party which moved very quickly.
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We liked the desserts fine but for us the real perk of the dessert party is the fireworks seating. We each had a couple desserts and a couple glasses of champagne and then we were headed out of the park around 10:45.



I had visions of getting some cool photos in a nearly empty park as we exited - I was shocked how crowded the park still was 45 minutes after closing!! Of course all the stores were still open so I’m sure that contributes but needless to say we didn’t get our empty castle photos! We were in line for the boat by 10:55 and back at the hotel by 11:20, and promptly passed out!



Up next: our last day and heading home!
 

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Following! Glad to hear you liked California Grill - I've been hesitant on going back because of the menu, but maybe we'll give it a go again!
 
The Last Day

We slept in a little bit the next day since we weren’t waking up at 7am for Genie+. We made some coffee in the room and enjoyed it out on our balcony for a bit before getting our bags packed up.

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We left the room around 9:30 and dropped our bags with bell services, then headed outside to wait for our Minnie Van to Disney Springs. Our driver was really nice - he was also a DVC member so we enjoyed talking to him about that. On the ride I ended up paying for upgraded boarding on Southwest - I am a relative newbie to Southwest and completely forgot to check in on time 😩 Since I’m such a nervous flier, I really wanted to sit with my husband so the extra cost was worth it to me.



Soon we were arriving at Homecomin’! I had been here for brunch with my sister a few months prior and was so excited to take Husband there - I knew he was going to love it. He got a Bloody Mary and I had Briton’s peach ice tea. Delish!!

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We started with the donuts which were incredible and then for our entrees we both had the Hallelujah biscuit. Everything was amazing and I was so glad Husband enjoyed it as much as I expected.

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We were at the bus stop around 11:40 and back at the resort by 12:30 - we had a long wait on the bus while they changed drivers. Our first stop back at GF was the store - I found a really nice Christmas ornament that I wanted to commemorate our trip. Husband was disappointed they didn’t have any mugs with the resort logo on it, as that’s usually his go-to souvenir.



We hit the pool by 1:00 but it was closed for lightning around 2:15. I was really surprised how people handled this news! Some people were outright refusing to leave the pool area and acting like the lifeguards were ruining their day. It was really bizarre! Since the pool was closed we decided to just head to the airport a little early, and were waiting for our Uber by 2:45. The security line was only posting a 15 minute wait but we breezed right through with TSA precheck.



Our flight back was pretty smooth and pretty soon we were home with our babies!! They missed us but did great with grandma and papa.



It was SO amazing to get away for a few nights with just my husband! We had some great meals and a lot of laughs and most importantly a whole lot of relaxation time, which we sorely needed. And Grand Floridian was a perfect resort to stay at for our adults only trip (or any trip, really!). I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks for following along!!



New trip report coming up next…I somehow manage to sneak in another adult’s only Disney vacation! 🤣
 
















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