Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report

by Shannon Albert · 35 comments · Like the Facebook page

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.comMy daughter and I just returned from a week-long and first annual mom/daughter celebrate-the-end-of-a-college-year trip. We visited the northeastern part of Puerto Rico and then spent a couple of days at Disney World.

We had SO much fun together. Here’s how it went.


Puerto Rico

Many people following along on the Facebook Page liked hearing about our time in Puerto Rico (especially the Puerto Rican readers – I had no idea there were so many!) and we just had SUCH an amazing time.

I often wish that I had an outlet for non-Disney travel info because I go to as many other places as I do Disney World. If you’re interested in some suggestions for Puerto Rico, expand the area below by clicking the “show” button to read more.

Puerto Rico travel infoShow

48 hours in Disney World

While visiting Puerto Rico was my daughter’s request, I decided to tack on 48 hours at Disney World to try a few new things before we came home.

First up was checking into our resort, Port Orleans French Quarter.

We’ve visited Port Orleans French Quarter before but hadn’t stayed until this trip. It’s so beautiful, so small and so convenient. We were in building 4 and felt like we got to everything so quickly.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Some pics…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

I think this is definitely my new favorite Moderate Resort. The downsides are that this resort is often excluded from promotions and it has fewer amenities than its sister resort, Port Orleans Riverside. We took the bus and walkway to get between French Quarter and Riverside which wasn’t bad at all, and allowed us access to more things.

In fact, it was a beautiful walk back after dinner and watching Yehaa Bob at Riverside…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios

The first thing we did after arriving to our hotel was drop our things off in our hotel room and head to Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Jedi Mickey Character Dining Meal at Hollywood and Vine.

These reservations sold out quickly after being announced a couple of months ago so I knew everybody there was a big fan (and not a group with all grey MagicBands in sight!).

After checking in, we were told to get in line to wait our turn taking a pic with Chip and Dale (sadly, there was a family in this line thinking they were going to eat inside but they didn’t have a reservation so they were waiting for no reason)…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Then we were told to wait outside in a sitting area until our table was ready. My daughter said she felt like she was at a ComiCon because people were SO dressed up for Star Wars Weekends. Here’s a family that was waiting while we were…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

After about 10-15 minutes, we were called to our table where the characters made their way around…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

And we ate at the buffet between characters, including these cute little desserts…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

And kids were driving their parents crazy with the paper light sabers that were at the tables. The servers give you pieces of tape to put it together…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

The verdict? The food is just OK which is typical for Hollywood and Vine, and most of the food offered is just the normal offerings that the restaurant always has (but the food has been given new Star Wars-themed names). The experience was fun and since I’ve done so many things at Disney World, I really look forward to the chance to experience new things.

I think Star Wars fans will like this experience, though at the price of $55.99 for adults and $33.99 for kids 3-9 (or 2 Table Service credits on the Disney Dining Plan), you’ll have to decide if the price is worth it. This is currently only offered through mid-June but since it’s proven to be so popular, maybe they’ll extend it and start offering it year round.

After dinner, we decided to sneak in a couple of rides before it was time to watch the fireworks. We had a FastPass+ for Rock n Roller Coaster and we were surprised to see that the standby line wasn’t too long. We then headed to Star Tours where the standby was just 10 minutes (and a bonus – we got to do my favorite version of this ride which makes me laugh hysterically).

At this point, it was time to find a spot to watch the Symphony in the Stars fireworks which are only being shown during Star Wars Weekends. There’s a pre-show before the fireworks start and if you are positioned close enough to watch the pre-show, you won’t be able to see the fireworks as easily. We stood further back which gave us a better view of the fireworks which is a huge priority for me – I LOVE Disney fireworks.

Here’s a video taken by somebody who was positioned a little bit closer than we were…

Afterward, we headed to the second showing of Fantasmic as there are always two shows scheduled during Star Wars Weekends – the first one is at 9 p.m. and the second one is at 10:30 p.m. Whenever two shows are offered, the second one will always be less crowded.

We ended up close enough to get some great pics…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

At that point, it was time to head back to our hotel and try to get some sleep.

Magic Kingdom day

When I booked this trip, I had assumed we’d get to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while we were there which is 1 of the reasons I wanted to be there at this time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open at all (except for Cast Members who were riding it) so we’ll have to save that for next time.

I don’t normally recommend Magic Kingdom on Saturdays because it’s a popular day for people to be there, but I was prepared to arrive early and fit in as many rides as possible before the crowds arrived.

We stopped by the Port Orleans French Quarter food court to order some beignets (if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, an order of 3 beignets is a snack credit; an order of 6 beignets is a Quick Service credit) and took them on the bus with us to eat at Magic Kingdom.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Just make sure you have some wet wipes because these are MESSY.

We arrived at Magic Kingdom a few minutes after 8:00 and crowds stayed light until about 8:20 when they started to grow…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

We were sitting on the seats surrounding the tree near the entrance to Magic Kingdom so we were able to stay comfortable while eating breakfast as we waited.

I took this video of the opening show from where we were sitting.

 
At that point, it was time to go in and I was a little bit stressed about this because the opening process has changed due to people running to see Anna and Elsa. Cast Members now hold everybody back to make sure the walk is slow and steady. Although it was weird to be packed in so tightly, I didn’t find it to be too difficult.

Once you get to the point where the various lands split off, you can go whichever direction you need to. We were going to do Fantasyland first so we followed the crowds through the castle and then split off to our own area.

When I posted a video on the Facebook Page of the crowds going in, people seemed really freaked out by it and many said they’d be showing up later to avoid it. I don’t recommend doing that.

I do recommend showing up early to be toward the front of the group. The walk is slow and steady and you can still enjoy rides with low waits as soon as you get down Main Street.

We went right to Peter Pan’s Flight but it was closed due to some ride issues so we ended up doing Journey of the Little Mermaid, Winnie the Pooh and Haunted Mansion in the first hour.

In the second hour, we did Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain.

In our third hour, we used a FastPass+ reservation to ride Big Thunder Mountain and then it was time to dine at Be Our Guest for lunch.

I had reserved a FastPass+ for lunch at Be Our Guest. The line to check in had several people in it but the line to get into the restaurant is realllllly long so this is a big time saver.

Although I had pre-ordered all of our food online, the order didn’t make it through to the restaurant so we had to order again. My daughter was happy about this because she didn’t like what I had picked beforehand. She ended up ordering a kid’s meal which was just the right size for her.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

After lunch, we went to Tomorrowland to ride the PeopleMover, see Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and use a FastPass+ reservation to ride Space Mountain.

At that point, it was about an hour before the Festival of Fantasy parade was set to begin so we headed toward the front of the park to find a spot at the train station which has tables and chairs and is shaded.

Due to the scale of this parade and the fact that it takes place in the afternoon, I really like this spot so you can be up higher to see more of the floats while being shaded from the mid-day sun.

Even though we were there an hour beforehand, all of the table and chairs had been taken. We sat on the ground and still had a great view. Many people were holding spots here (lots of grandparents seated while their younger relatives were out doing things in the nearby shops) so that’s a good option you might consider.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

This parade is absolutely great and I’ve never felt that about an afternoon parade at Disney World. For people wanting to take mid-day breaks, this could make planning difficult. If you have little ones who can rest in strollers, it might be a good chance to have them rest in the stroller on this day instead of back in your hotel room.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

After the parade, a huge crowd of people will follow the parade (this happens at EVERY parade) so your best bets are to either exit the park before they get to the front or hop on the train (you’re already at the train station so it’s just a few steps away) and head to another part of the park.

We got on the train and rode it over to Fantasyland where we walked the path to Tomorrowland to use a FastPass+ to ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

At that point, we had used all of our FastPass+ reservations and wanted to see what it was like to get a bonus FastPass+ at the kiosks. There are kiosks positioned everywhere. Just look for the FastPass+ signs and Cast Members wearing turquoise shirts.

We only waited a few minutes before somebody was able to help us. We told him we wanted a FastPass+ for Space Mountain (we had already ridden it but bonus FastPass+ reservations can be for any ride you want, including those you’re already used a FastPass+ to ride). At 4 p.m., the soonest we could ride was going to be 9 p.m. We were actually planning to leave at this point but just wanted to see what we could get.

Tips on getting bonus FastPass+ reservations:

  • I don’t think they’re really useful at any park except for Magic Kingdom, unless you really want to re-ride something at the other parks
  • Availability is limited and likely to be either not available or for hours away
  • If you’re planning to leave for an afternoon break, it makes a lot of sense to use the first 2 hours to tour without FastPass+, then use your 3 FastPass+ reservations for late morning and early afternoon, stop to get a bonus FastPass+ for later on, leave for a break, return in the evening and use your bonus FastPass+

We ended up leaving to rest in our hotel room, hopped a bus to Port Orleans Riverside (we walked to the bus stop, asked the first bus that arrived if it was going to Riverside and rode there) to get dinner at the create-your-own-pasta station in the food court there, watch Yehaa Bob and then walk back to Port Orleans French Quarter.

Epcot day

Our final day was a bit hectic because we had to wake up at 6 a.m. to get our room packed up, take our bags to the airline check-in desk, take 1 carry-on to luggage services and then be at the bus stop for our early breakfast reservation.

Our breakfast was scheduled at 8:20 a.m. at Akershus and we were at the bus stop around 7:15 and arrived at Epcot by 7:40 a.m. or so.

Every park has a special area for people with reservations to go…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

As long as you have a reservation, you can get into the park early. However, once you arrive at the restaurant, they will likely be calling names according to the time of your reservation so people with 8:05 reservations were called before we were.

Once checked in and hearing our name called, we were taken to have our pic taken with Belle. This printed photo is included with the breakfast reservation.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

You then wait a moment to be taken to your table where a server takes drink orders. You can go to the buffet to get uncooked food items like yogurt, bagels, fruit, etc.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

And then the server brings a plate of hot food for the table…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

And then princesses start to appear…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

And then children are invited to join in the princess processional. Notice that many of the kids dressed in the costumes of one of the princesses are walking in the processional with that princess…

 
My thoughts: this restaurant is the best value on the Disney Dining Plan (only 1 Table Service credit) and much less rushed and hurried than the princess meal at Magic Kingdom. Of course, it doesn’t take place in the castle which is a big draw there, but I’d highly suggest Akershus as a great princess option (breakfast is a better bet than other meals since many people don’t enjoy the food served at lunch and dinner). We enjoyed the experience, liked our food and had fun watching all of the little ones meet princesses.

Afterward, we headed to Test Track, Sum of All Thrills and Living with the Land. Then we used a FastPass+ for Soarin’, saw Captain EO, rode Figment, saw the butterflies (only there during the Flower and Garden Festival) and then headed for the World Showcase.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

We started on the Mexico side of the World Showcase and made our way over to Canada. I had just been at Epcot for the Flower and Garden Festival in March with my son and last year with my mom but visiting with my daughter was a totally different experience.

She LOVED all of the special kiosks and displays that are set up for the festival. She asked lots of questions about some of the all-natural beauty products (and we purchased a few), the bonsai trees, the decorative items, etc. It’s so funny how different an experience can be based on who is there. She made me look at this event a little differently. It wasn’t just pretty flowers for her; it was a whole experience full of lots of interesting things that she loved.

Some pics of our time in the World Showcase…

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

And I decided on this trip that the Canada pavilion is probably my favorite. It’s just beautiful. The gardens out front are modeled after Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia (which I visited a few years ago), there’s a waterfall, it has my favorite of all of the movies shown in the World Showcase and I love eating at Le Cellier.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

At this point, we wanted to sit down and take a break so we went to Refreshment Port which is located between the Canada pavilion and Future World because they sell cronuts there (they actually call them “croissant doughnuts”) because I’d been wanting to try one.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

I thought it was delicious and a great snack option. It costs $4.49 or 1 snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

After that, we visited a couple of shops, rode Ellen’s Energy Adventure and Spaceship Earth and then headed for the bus stop to get back to our resort before Magical Express picked us up.

While we waited for our Magical Express bus at Port Orleans French Quarter, a janitor drew this on the sidewalk near us.

Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com

Post-trip thoughts

Although I’ve been to Disney World a million times, I always come away with some new lessons or affirmations of things I already believed.

Don’t make your arrival or departure days too hectic
Since we only had 48 hours to spend at Disney World, I purposely crammed as much in as possible but it did make for a stressful start and end to our trip.

On our arrival day, our flight was delayed and we ended up missing a couple of FastPass+ reservations and I thought we might also miss our dinner reservation. I wouldn’t suggest planning things so soon after arrival.

On our departure day, we had to wake up early to pack and get out to our breakfast reservation. On a previous trip, we scheduled a late breakfast at our hotel which gave us plenty of time to pack and we didn’t have to rush to get on a bus. That pace was much better.

Split meals!
My daughter and I can’t eat a lot at one sitting and really should have shared more entrees. You can split entrees at most restaurants if you’re paying out-of-pocket (except buffets and restaurants that require pre-payment) and you can split Quick Service meals if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.

The pasta we ordered at Port Orleans Riverside is 1 Quick Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan and each portion could’ve fed 2-3 people.

We did split the beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter which cost 1 Quick Service credit for an order of 6.

If you’re willing to split meals, it’s pretty easy to stretch your credits to eat 3 meals a day on the Disney Dining Plan (or save a lot of money if you’re paying out-of-pocket).

Bad stuff can happen on trips
We had many unfortunate (but relatively minor) things happen on this trip – I lost my prescription sunglasses in the ocean (I ignored the sunglass strap suggestion on my own packing list!), my daughter shattered the glass on her phone, we spilled a drink, a bird flew into my neck while we were walking to breakfast at Epcot, etc.

When I was a kid, my mom would’ve screamed at me for doing a lot of these things but most people aren’t sociopaths and already feel guilty about making mistakes. It’s important to just take a deep breath and not let it color the rest of your day. This was something I kept having to remind myself because we had so many things happen so close together.

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So – did you learn anything new from my report? Or suddenly have a desire to visit Puerto Rico? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.



Disney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.comDisney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.comDisney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.comDisney World and Puerto Rico May 2014 trip report from WDWPrepSchool.com
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{ 35 comments (add yours) }

SavingEveryDollar May 26, 2014 at 7:57 am

I have an 8am ADR at Akershus June 22 with my 3 little girls. We need to get to Test Track early since we do not have a fastpass for it that day. Do you think we will make it before lines are too long? I have been trying to change ADR to 11am so we can finish morning touring before breakfast and not be so rushed, but no luck yet. Thanks!

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Pang May 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I just returned from Disney using your tips and everything went so smoothly. My son had the best 5th birthday and I’m like a hero in his eyes.

I also caught the same airport tram with you on 5/16 and my brain knew you from somewhere but didn’t link until the tram stopped and you and your daughter took off. If only I had remembered sooner I would have thanked you in person. So I’m thanking you now. Can’t wait to see what future posts you will have for us all.

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Lisa Oliver May 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

I loved this play by play post! and the pictures to go along with it! I particularly loved the video of the opening ceremonies – makes me want to be there!

Your advise toward the end is priceless! especially the “not everyone is a sociopath” comment, it is so true! I love that you chose to note the “oops moments” and let us all think about how we should react when these types of things happen.

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Lisa May 22, 2014 at 7:18 am

I love your website and podcasts! They’ve been an incredibly useful resource in planning our first trip to WDW in August. We’re staying at the BC for 7 days/6 nights. Husband and 9 year old twin daughters. The trip is an early 10th bday present for my daughters! Like you, we’ve scheduled a pre-rd breakfast on our departure day. It’s an 8:25 adr for CP. I’m kind of nervous about it because it’s departure day and I’m worried my daughters will be worn out by the end of the trip and have a hard time getting up early on our last day. We have a pre-RD breakfast the day before at Tusker House, but plan to leave mid afternoon and relax by the pool he rest of the afternoon. I’ve heard that going into MK before opening is a magical experience and the photos will be amazing. That’s why I grabbed it. It’s will be our second meal at CP. We’re going for our arrival dinner (my daughters love Pooh and will be in acting in a Winnie the Pooh play his June. So, it’s a must do and they wanted to go twice.). For the final breakfast, I don’t think we will need to be as concerned about seeing all the characters since they will have seen them the first night of our trip. Our departure flight is that night so we have a full day to spend at MK – or at least a good 1/2 day with a break at the pool before ME picks us up at 6. Should I be worried about this early ADR on departure day? It fits into our schedule and was the only pre-rd MK breakfast I could book. I’m prepared to cancel it if I sense my daughters seem tired a day or two before. I should also add the night before we do not have any late night plans, just dinner and shopping in DTD. Will try to pack up and go to bed early the night before. Any advice appreciated!

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Alana Indelicato May 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Hard to tell who is Mom and who is Daughter. Both lovely! I have reservations for my adult daughter and her 7 and 8 year old sons for late September. We are staying at The Wilderness Lodge and just received free dining passes today. Yea!! So excited. Any tips or suggestions I might have missed? We are staying six nights and I am striving for a non-stressful event. Is that naive of me? Hoping to do take a break in the afternoons for pool/nap time (grandma will need it and hopefully, we will have happier kiddos). Planning to do MK, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, one Water Park and either re-visit favorite parks that we did not finish or follow suggestions from you for what to do on those two extra days. I did not purchase a park hopper pass. Just did not see the necessity of it. Am I wrong? I have not been to Disney World for over 12 years, my daughter has not been since she was age 3 (39 years ago) and the boys have never been. This trip was my “bribe” to get them potty trained. It is waaaay overdue! Thanks for all of your good help and suggestions. Alana

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Kim Castilo May 26, 2014 at 6:26 pm

The Wilderness Lodge has a scavenger hunt that is pretty difficult, but very cool. Cast Members around the hotel keep an eye out and if they see you struggling to find things on the hunt, they will stop and offer you clues if you want them. My son got a pin when he finished the hunt.

Only got Park Hopper passes once, and didn’t use.

If you eat breakfast at the lodge, be advised that the counter service bfast area is really small. Not alot of places to sit. There are places with tables and chairs up on the floors overlooking the lobby. Nice quiet place to eat or play cards/games.
I remember paying for the upgraded room overlooking the woods, I think, but that didn’t guarantee that we were in a room in the main part of the Lodge overlooking the lobby. When we arrived we were told that our room was ready yet, and I was very pleasant and said that was no problem, I just couldn’t be any happier to be at Disney. Next thing I know I she’s checking to see if a room is going to come available overlooking the lobby, oh yes one is, and did I mind waiting for that? Heck’s no! So a little bit of sugar goes a long way. Wasn’t even sucking up on purpose…I was thrilled just to be at Disney! Have fun!

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Amy May 21, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Reading your trip report totally makes me want to plan a trip to Puerto Rico! (I was in the airport once on a layover from Mi to Antigua.) I plan to look into it right now!
The opening the day park line stresses me out just reading about it. I really hope that is not the case in December!
I hope to find those “seats” for the afternoon parade. It looks like you had a great view of it!

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Tracy May 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Hi Shannon! Great advice! We were at Epcot on Sunday too. The FP for Soarin and Mission Space worked out well. I agree totally how your experience can vary greatly with who you are traveling with. Epcot with a 5 year old is so different than traveling with adults. I didn’t make it to many shopping areas, tried to only do fun things for my daughter. We went to MK yesterday (Tues.) just missed soft openings of mine train! I agree about bonus FP, it was hard to get good times, also I didn’t feel like walking back and forth between lands to use some of the available ones (with a preschooler). A tip for Be Our Guest lunch is to go a bit later, maybe 1:45 or 2, if u can hold out. It was much shorter wait.

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Gloria May 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

We are planning a family trip in October with 6 adults and 3 children (ages 4, 2 and infant). Should we consider a meal plan or just pay as we go? Reservations have already been made for 2 character breakfasts, dinners at Whispering Canyon (where we are staying) and Coral Reef, Hoop-dee-do revue and lunch at Prime Time Cafe.

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Kim Castilo May 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Personally would not do Disney without doing the Dining, besides it’s free right now! The food is soooo expensive that when you pay piece meal, it can be overwhelming. Plus the food is so fabulous if you know where to go, that you don’t want to have to pick places to eat based on what is less expensive. If you are at the MK take the monorail to the Grand Floridian. The Grand sandwich, and the Chef’s Special Burger, with crab, asparagus and hollandaise are 2 of the best foods I’ve ever eaten. The Contemporary counter service, outside of Chef Mickey’s, has amazing flatbreads and a Mahi Mahi sandwich that is fab too. The key to the Dining plan is to know what is consists of a counter or quick service so that you use it wisely. We always go with the one quick service and one table service. The meal we pay for is typically breakfast, except for the day that we to to Chef Mickeys for bfast. My 14 yr old son has to have Minnie’s bfast Pizza. And the buffet has so much food on it that it really is bfast and lunch for us. Happy Dining!

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Marc Schreiber May 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm

About the new rope drop/entry procedure Sounds about like those folks in corral J at a runDisney event.

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Kimberly May 21, 2014 at 4:32 pm

When my family went to WDW in May 2012, we added a last-minute reservation for lunch at Akershus. My dad, a notorious picky eater who could happily live off of chips and ham sandwiches, absolutely loved the food. (We all did–even my picky eaters!) I thought it was the best food we ate over the whole trip.
That being said, we didn’t take full advantage of the cold bar. Cold fish isn’t our thing! However, everything else was fabulous and the experience was excellent.

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Jenny May 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

The last paragraph is my favorite piece of advice! It is so hard to remember this in the moment- but I work really hard at it. You mentioned that Frech Quarter is left out of promotions… Which ones? My sister is wanting to stay here on our next trip- but this may not be our plan promotions are not offered.

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Lise May 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

When we order Fastpass, should we

gave an exact hour to be there?? or we used it anythime on the site?

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Maria B May 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

You can choose from whatever times are still available. The earlier you select your FP reservations, the more times they will have available. They will give you an hour window to use the FP. For example, if you select 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm on May 23rd, you need to show up during that time frame or else lose the FP.

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Sondra @ Savers4Life May 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

What a great trip report. We are getting ready to start booking our dining options for our upcoming trip, so the advice will surely help!

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melissa May 21, 2014 at 2:20 pm

LOL on your sociopath comment. Too funny. I sent you an email last week I know you will be getting to them as you catch up but I am wondering if I have an advantage on the early entry 8:05 CP ADR to avoid the WALK down main street and to be positioned well for Seven Dwarfs…

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Krystal May 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Great report! Like you, I’ve been to Disney each year in June for the past 18 years and each time I learn something new. This year will be a HUGE transition for us though. Where there is usually 4 of us (My sister, parents, & myself) there will be 7! To include my husband, 9 year old stepson & 9 month old daughter! HELP!!! LOL Your tips have definitely helped me get a “grip” and plan accordingly. Hoping I can make it to the opening show at Magic Kingdom this year.

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Kelly S May 21, 2014 at 1:59 pm

What are the Grey bands? :)
I love your blog and think you are really funny btw!
My mom was the same when I was a kid so I strive to not sweat the small (and sometimes big) stuff with and in front of my kiddo. It’s a good reminder for gearing up for WDW! A trip like this is a dream but it’s good to remember that it will be different from my day dreams of it and that is ok. :)

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Shannon Albert May 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Grey MagicBands are what everybody in your group is given when they check into their resort if they haven’t taken the time to pick colors ahead of time. Although grey is a color you can pick for your band, a whole group of them is usually a sign that people haven’t planned ahead.

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Stephanie May 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Loved your Disney trip wrap-up! French Quarter is our favourite Disney resort, and I’m glad to see you enjoyed your stay! We loved the food court and especially the beignets!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about them!!!!

I hope Disney will continue some of the Star Wars functions throughout the year, I would love to go to Hollywood & Vine to see the characters dressed up. It looked like a really good time!! My kids would love it! They did the Jedi Training on the last trip, but other than that, there isn’t really any characters you can meet. We’re you able to get autographs at the H&V meal as well?

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Shannon Albert May 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

We could have but I forgot our autograph book. Not all characters are willing to sign as their Star Wars character (like “Jedi Mickey” vs. “Mickey Mouse) but some will.

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Maria B May 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

My husband and I are thinking of spending three or four days in WDW for our 10th Anniversary next year (April 2015, after the Easter rush). Now that I have seen the pictures and heard from several of you about it, I think we might stay at the Port Orleans! It seems like the “moderate” answer to the Grand Floridian.

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Jenn May 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Great article!! How was the grilled cheese and tomato soup at BOG? Me and my daughter plan on getting this at Dinner because we have a early reservation and want to keep costs down. But have not heard any reviews!

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Shannon Albert May 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm

My daughter loved it! I like their potato leek soup and croque-monsieur.

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Pang May 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm

We ate lunch at BOG yesterday and my 5 yr old loved the grilled cheese. I ordered the French onion soup and it was really watered down, that was disappointing. We dined in the grand ballroom but did venture to take photos at the other dining rooms as well.

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Adrienne May 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I disagree about the fast pass system. We used our first 3 Magic Kingdom fast passes and then we added about 4 more afterwards one at a time. This was INCREDIBLY helpful with my 2 year old. They started the extra FP system on the 28th of April and we arrived on the 29th. Thanks to the system, we were able to do a lot more with him with just 5-7 minute waits. He was happy to ride and not wait, we were happy he was happy. We had plenty of available rides to pick from and some even right at that moment (or in 5 minutes!) We had one issue with the Little Mermaid ride… the time wasn’t working for us so we just did it the next day. But otherwise we were very happy and thought the fact you could add as many as you feasibly could (just 1 at a time) was wonderful. So I absolutely think it is worth it! Especially if you are flexible.

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Maria B May 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

You went during a less crowded time (and I am guessing selected rides that your small children could ride?). I wonder what the difference would be during the summer or another more crowded time? And, with the headliner rides, such as Space Mountain or Rockin’ Roller Coaster?

I am still disappointed that you have to go to the kiosks to make the extra FP+ reservations. This is tough for park hoppers. For example, if we want to use our first three in the MK and then hop to HS or EPCOT in the evening, we’d have to wait until we get there to add evening FPs. They may be all gone by then (which is likely with the more popular rides) or just later than we planned to stay.

I am hoping this changes by the middle/end of August (which is when we plan to go). Being able to use the app to do this would be amazing!

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Shannon May 21, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I love these quick tips. After a week long visit in April (a magical time) we can’t wait to get back. But we also know it wont’ be another week long visit as that just won’t be affordable for some time! I love the tips for navigating things quickly. I did a pretty good job at planning and organizing our time. Port Orleans Riverside was wonderful! :)
love your blog, Shannon

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Lori May 21, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Thank you so much for all your valuable advice! One question – can you split table service entrees when you are on the DDP? You talk about splitting when paying OOP, but I thought you could share entrees on the dining plan too. Of course, I know this wouldn’t apply at buffets, character meals, or shows, but can you share at typical order off the menu TS places if you are using the DDP?

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Shannon Albert May 21, 2014 at 1:19 pm

No, I checked and was told that you can’t split Table Service meals when you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.

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Jamie May 21, 2014 at 7:06 pm

You can however have a child under 3 years old eat from your plate when on the dining plan.

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Casey May 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Great report. “Most people aren’t sociopaths” = awesome.

Love your princess poses!

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Regina May 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm

thank you so much! i feel much better about dealing with the crowds at magic kingdom next monday. i always love reading your tips and have been jotting down little notes and reminders in my disney planner (that i thought was done) for the past few days!
by the way, tell your daughter i love the green top she wore during your last day there. very sweet and elegant!

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Shannon Albert May 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

I will let her know. One of our unfortunate events that I didn’t mention was that we were in 1 of the shops in France and we asked how the spray bronzer worked and the man who worked there sprayed it on her pretty shirt. What the heck?!

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