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Anniversary & First Trip to WDW – PREP 330

Anniversary & First Trip to WDW – PREP 330

Rachel and her husband are Disneyland veterans, but this was their first adult trip to Walt Disney World. They chose to go to Disney World in October to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. Their trip included Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party, Universal Studios, Halloween Horror Nights, and lots of park hopping.

The Basics

Rachel and her husband took a red-eye from Los Angeles to Orlando arriving early in the morning on October 27. They had a room reserved at the Swan for the night prior through their departure early in the morning on November 3.

They used Mears Connect to get to and from the airport because they arrived very early and departed early as well.

Because Rachel and her husband are Disneyland veterans, they are most excited about the elements at Walt Disney World that they have not experienced before. Rachel is also very excited about Muppet*Vision 3D because this was one of her favorites.

Arrival Day (October 27)

Rachel and her husband arrived about 40 minutes early on their flight – landing at MCO at 6:24 a.m. Their flight was uneventful and they got their luggage and found their way to Mears pickup.

Be sure to follow the standing signs, not the permanent signs to get to Mears. They got checked in and there were only two other passengers. They arrived to the Swan at 7:52 a.m. 

They checked in and because Rachel had booked the room for the previous night, they were able to go right there. They also placed a grocery order on their way to the resort to have some staples in their room. She ordered from Publix and used Insta-cart to have it delivered. 

Their grocery order arrived at 8:05 a.m. and that was perfect. Rachel liked their room at the Swan very much. They had a king-sized bed and a balcony. 

They took a rest for a bit and then it was time to head over to Disney Springs. They’d planned to leave early but they didn’t leave until 10:25 a.m. They walked over to the Yacht and Beach Club buses. The bus came early and the bus didn’t say where it was going, so they missed it. 

The next bus wasn’t scheduled for another 30 minutes, so they didn’t get on a bus until 11:03 a.m. They had to pay close attention to the buses. 

They got to Disney Springs and went right to Gideon’s Bakehouse at 11:30 a.m. They thought the wait was about 25 minutes so they decided to risk it with their lunch reservation at noon. 

Unfortunately the line took a bit longer than they expected, so Rachel’s husband went to T-Rex Cafe to check in while Rachel stayed in line at Gideon’s Bakehouse

At 12:05 p.m. Rachel got six cookies and some t-shirts before running over to T-Rex Cafe. Her husband was already sitting and he’d been seated next to the T-Rex, which was very exciting for Rachel! 

They got the appetizer sampler and shared that. It was good and a perfect way to start their trip. They munched on the cookies for the rest of their trip – the pistachio cookies were so good! 

After lunch they did some shopping and Rachel got a new autograph book. Then they walked back to the west side bus stop. They waited for about 15 minutes but it was very hot and there wasn’t any shade. 

They ended up calling a Lyft and got back to their room at 2:37 p.m. to get ready for the Halloween party! They had cute Halloween shirts to wear. 

They went to the Boardwalk bus stop at 3:50 p.m. and the next bus came quickly. They were through security by 4:15 p.m. 

Rachel’s main priority was to meet Elvis Stitch so they went straight to Tomorrowland to line up. She’d left her notes back at the room and finally realized that they were way too early.

They went to Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor and at 5:50 p.m. she got in line for Elvis Stitch. It was well worth the wait! 

After that, they got in line at 7 p.m. for Space Mountain. Rachel really liked the Halloween version – it was scarier than normal! 

After Space Mountain, Rachel’s husband realized he’d lost his Magic Band+. They eventually got him a new one. It wasn’t worth it to them to track down the old one.

They went to the castle and saw the 7:40 p.m. show of Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. Rachel thought this show was awesome and it really exceeded her expectations. 

After the show, they checked in for the Dessert party at 8:10 p.m. They were let in at 8:15 p.m. Rachel said the desserts were so good! 

They enjoyed just sitting and relaxing. They met another couple and discussed their plans and had fun. 

At 9:12 p.m. they left the dessert party and went to the lawn area. They saw the pre-show for the parade. Rachel and her husband really liked Goofy. 

The parade was really great and they were glad to have a nice spot without getting either early. Rachel’s husband isn’t really into staying for the evening entertainment so the dessert party was a great option for them. 

They watched the fireworks and enjoyed that. Rachel wanted to see the Cadaver Dans. They caught their last performance. They were very tired and at 10:45 p.m. they decided to call it a night. 

They took the ferry to the Ticket and Transportation Center to take the bus straight to the Swan. They only waited about 5 minutes to get on the bus but then waited another 10 minutes or so before they left. They got back to their room at 11:30 p.m.

Universal Studios (October 28)

Rachel and her husband took a Lyft at 7:22 a.m. to Universal Studios for an 8 a.m. opening. She’d hoped to leave earlier. 

The beginning of their day was a bit rough because they had trouble getting dropped off. Rachel requested to get dropped off at Hard Rock Cafe to avoid the long lines. They ended up being dropped off at the Hard Rock hotel and found their way to the water taxi.

They went through security without a wait and they were in the park by 8:07 a.m. They originally picked up paper passes for their Express Pass and then went to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. They got there by 8:27 a.m.

They used their Express Pass and were up to the ride when it went down. It wasn’t down for long and they were on the ride and off by 8:50 a.m. Rachel really liked the queue! 

They got to Hogwarts Express and there was a 10 minute wait right at 9 a.m. so they didn’t use their Express Pass. At this point Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure already had a 280 minute wait. Originally Rachel planned to go straight to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure but they went to Jurassic World VelociCoaster instead. 

They were on and off Jurassic World VelociCoaster in about 30 minutes and Rachel LOVED that ride. It was so thrilling! After that they went to Jurassic Park River Adventure. Thankfully they didn’t get super wet! 

Their next stop was Skull Island: Reign of King Kong. They used their express pass and only waited 9 minutes. They went to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man next and waited 11 minutes. They appreciated their Express Passes for these rides! 

The Incredible Hulk Coaster had a 20 minute posted wait time but with their express passes they were on and off in just 15 minutes. Rachel liked this one but got banged around a bit at the beginning. 

They walked through Seuss Landing and met the Grinch and Lorax. They did some shopping as well. They’d done just about everything they wanted to do at Islands of Adventure by 11:30 a.m. They took the Hogwarts Express back to Universal. 

They’d planned to do Revenge of the Mummy and it had a 45 minute wait but they said that they weren’t taking express passes so they decided against it. Race through New York with Jimmy Fallon had a 25 minute wait but they were on and off in 15 minutes. Rachel really liked this ride.

After that, they started heading to their lunch reservations at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium at 1 p.m. It started raining on their walk, so they took cover while they walked.

They got there around 12:30 p.m. and checked in. They were able to be seated quickly. They got Tachos and chocolate bread for appetizers and salmon and tuna melt for lunch. It was the perfect break from the rain. 

They enjoyed a long lunch and left at 2:15 p.m. The rain was light and they did some shopping on their way back to Universal Studios. They did The Bourne Stuntacular at 2:30 p.m. for the 2:45 p.m. show. Rachel said it was very innovative and awesome. 

It started raining and they went over to E.T. Adventure and they ended up waiting about 20 minutes even with the Express Pass. They walked through the Simpsons area but didn’t stop because they’d done it in Hollywood. 

They went to MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack and there was a 25 minute wait. With the Express Pass they were on and off in just 15 minutes

They changed into their Halloween Horror Nights t-shirts and got some photos together. It was about 4:50 p.m. and the parks closed at 5 p.m. for Halloween Horror Nights. 

Rachel noticed that the wait time for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure was 100 minutes. This was the lowest time she’d seen all day. They decided to walk all the way back to Islands of Adventure to wait for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Rachel says it was completely worth it! 

They got in line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at 5:12 p.m. They made some friends in line, which helped pass the time. Around 40 minutes into the line, they split off to go to the single rider line. They continued waiting 56 minutes from that point. 

They both ended up riding the motorcycle, which was so fun. They both loved it and said it was their favorite ride of the day. 

They got off just before 7 p.m. and went back to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights. It started at 6:30 p.m. so they didn’t miss much. 

They did 7 out of the 10 mazes. Rachel said it was okay and not as scary as she expected. The themes weren’t as good as she hoped. The express passes that they had made it easier to get through the mazes that they did. 

They finished their last maze around 9:30 p.m. They didn’t want to stay out until 2 a.m. so they were glad they got through them quickly. 

They had a really great, and very expensive day! They left the park at 10 p.m. and took the boat back to the Hard Rock Hotel and got back to their resort by 10:40 p.m. 

Magic Kingdom (October 29)

They woke up early, made Genie+ selections for Peter Pan’s Flight, and bought Individual Lightning Lanes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for 12:40 p.m. 

Rachel had some trouble with her resort being linked to her account. It had previously been linked, but it came unlinked. She finally got it linked again and it worked out. 

They took their time getting ready and left their room at 8:40 a.m. They took a Boardwalk bus and got right on. While on the bus her Peter Pan’s Flight pass turned into an anytime pass. 

When they arrived, they took some photos in front of the castle and then opted to use the anytime pass to ride Haunted Mansion. While in line, Rachel got a lightning lane to meet Minnie and Mickey in Town Square between 1-2 p.m. 

They both really liked Haunted Mansion and might even like it better than the Disneyland version! It felt very familiar but some things were different. 

Their next stop was Hall of Presidents. They liked it a lot – but noticed a whole lot of old white men. While they were in the Hall of Presidents, Rachel’s husband got a 1 p.m. reservation for Skipper Canteen for drinks.

They did some shopping, got hot dogs at Casey’s Corner, and saw Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire in front of the castle around 11:30 a.m. Rachel made a lightning lane selection for Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid for 11:35 a.m. On their walk over, they got an alert that the ride was down but by the time they got over there, it was back up.

They waited about 5 minutes for the PeopleMover. They enjoyed that little break. 

Then it was time for their Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They were on and off in 17 minutes. The Individual Lightning Lane was really useful! 

They got to their 1 p.m. reservation for Skipper Canteen about 10 minutes early. They were seated and got the cheese bread, fries, and drinks. They enjoyed a break. 

They left around 1:50 p.m. and went to Town Hall to meet Minnie and Mickey. They got in and only had Mickey greeting guests at that time. Rachel was a bit sad that Minnie wasn’t there, but it was neat to meet Mickey there. 

Meeting Mickey was an emotional experience for Rachel. It was a very sweet experience. They did some shopping after that, but then it was time to leave for their Hoop-Dee-Doo reservation. 

They left at 2:15 p.m. to allow for plenty of time to arrive and get there early. They got some drinks and did some shopping by Pioneer Hall. It was very hot so they opted to not walk around much. 

They checked in at Hoop-Dee-Doo at 3:30 p.m. While they were checking in, Rachel found a lightning lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure for 4:05 p.m. 

It had been completely booked earlier in the way. When she tried to book it, it changed to 5:05 p.m. She knew they wouldn’t make it, but she booked it anyway! 

They had tier 2 reservations. They really enjoyed the show and the food. It was fun and a nice break. Rachel was really glad they had the chance to see it. 

After Hoop-Dee-Doo they got on the internal bus at 6:06 p.m. They got to the outpost bus stop at 6:24 p.m. They’d hoped to catch a bus to Epcot but a bus didn’t come until 7:10 p.m.

They arrived at Epcot at 7:30 p.m. and it was just magical. Beacons of Light was occurring on Spaceship Earth. It was beautiful! 

They watched Beacons of Light before going to World Showcase. They went straight to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It’s now 8 p.m. and they decided to try and use the lightning lane. Everything worked and they went right in! 

They both really liked the ride and were thankful that they had Genie+. It was cute, but they wouldn’t have waited 60 minutes. After that, they left the park and got to the hotel. They got a drink and fries from the bar. They got back to their room at 9:30 p.m.

Epcot (October 30)

Today was Rachel and her husband’s wedding anniversary. Her husband woke up and got boarding group 29 for Cosmic Rewind. At the same time, Rachel was able to get an Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind with a return time of 10 a.m.

Rachel was also able to book a 9:30 a.m. Lightning Lane for Frozen Ever After. They left their room at 8:50 a.m. and arrived at Epcot at 9 a.m. 

As soon as they entered the park, they saw Daisy! Rachel got her photo taken and got Daisy to sign her autograph book. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

They began walking toward Canada and the UK Pavilion. They saw Alice from Alice in Wonderland, which was awesome! They went straight to Cosmic Rewind, seeing the JAMMitors on their way.

They tapped in at Cosmic Rewind at 9:25 a.m. for their virtual queue. It took 12 minutes to get to the pre-show and 15 minutes to get on the ride from there. They got Conga and it was a wonderful experience. 

Rachel was glad that they got to see the queue first. They loved it. As soon as they got off it was time for their Individual Lightning Lane so they got right back on! 

Their second time on the ride, they got Disco Inferno as their song. Rachel describes the ride as blissful. It was probably their favorite ride of the whole trip! 

While they were in line, Rachel kept checking to see if she could get a Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure lightning lane, but they were gone. She was able to book a 10:45 a.m. lightning lane for Mission: SPACE

Rachel said this ride was a mistake. It made her sick. She thought she would be okay because she was fine on Cosmic Rewind, but it was rough. They decided to take a break.

They got fries and sat down in Connections. They had some chicken tenders and took some time to recover. It took about an hour and a half for Rachel to start to feel better.

They went back to the World Showcase and got Margaritas from the food and wine cart in Mexico. They went on Gran Fiesta Tour with a 10 minute wait. It was a funny ride. 

They used their lightning lane for Frozen Ever After at 12:50 p.m. There was an 85 minute wait but they were able to use their lightning lane even though they were several hours late. They did have some trouble getting on, but they were eventually able to ride. 

After that they walked around the World Showcase. They got some drinks and did some shopping. They had a lightning lane at 3 p.m. for Journey into Imagination with Figment. Rachel loved this ride! 

As soon as they got off, Rachel got in line to meet Joy! It was lovely. They rode Living with the Land with a 5 minute wait. 

They went to the Seas with Nemo and Friends. They used a lightning lane and it took 5 minutes. Next they walked over to Spaceship Earth and took some photos. 

At this point it was time to leave for their 5:45 p.m. reservation at Sebastian’s Bistro. They took the skyliner and arrived at 5:15 p.m. This was their first time on the skyliner and they loved it! 

They were seated fairly quickly and really enjoyed their meal. It was so nice to get away from the crowds and relax for a while. 

At dinner Rachel was able to make a return time for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They left dinner and took a sunset skyliner ride over to Hollywood Studios. 

They went straight to Muppet*Vision 3D. This was Rachel’s favorite and she loved seeing it again. It was great to see it on their anniversary. 

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway had a posted 35 minute wait but with their lightning lane they were on and off in about 15 minutes. Rachel said it was a really cute ride and they liked it a lot. 

They left Hollywood Studios and took the Friendship boat back to their hotel. They were back by 8:10 p.m. 

Halloween/Rest Day (October 31)

Rachel and her husband had a couples massage scheduled for that morning but they were so tired that they ended up canceling it and staying in bed. 

They finally left the room at 11:40 a.m. and got lunch at the Dolphin. It was fine. They went and played mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens. This was fun and Rachel really liked the theming. 

They went back to the room to rest again before their 5:30 p.m. reservation at Storybook Dining. To get to Wilderness Lodge, they took the water taxi to Hollywood Studios. They arrived at Hollywood Studios at 4:35 p.m. and the bus for Wilderness Lodge was pulling up.

This is where Rachel realized she forgot her autograph book! They didn’t want to go back, so she purchased one as soon as they got to Wilderness Lodge.

They checked in a bit early and were seated almost right away. Dopey was the first character to come around. It was very fun to meet him.

Snow White came around just before their meals arrived. They ordered the chicken and prime rib. They both liked their meals and the ambiance of the restaurant. 

Grumpy came around during dessert. They were presented with a special dessert for their anniversary and met the Evil Queen before they left. 

They took a bus back to Hollywood Studios and then took a boat back to the Swan. They were back to their room by 7:30 p.m. It was a wonderfully restful day. 

Animal Kingdom (November 1)

Rachel woke up early and got Individual Lightning Lanes for 6 p.m. for Cosmic Rewind. This worked out because of their Space 220 Lounge reservation at 6:40 p.m. She also booked a lightning lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris. 

They originally had a 8:40 a.m. reservation at Tusker House  that Rachel canceled the day before. They grabbed breakfast at the hotel and walked over to catch the bus at the Boardwalk. 

They arrived at Animal Kingdom at 8:39 a.m. and took photos in front of the Tree of Life. Then they walked over to Africa. 

It was too early for their lightning lane for the Safari, so they did Gorilla Falls Trail before using their lightning lane at 9:25 a.m. 

The posted wait time was only 15 minutes and Rachel says Genie+ probably wasn’t necessary today. While they waited for the safari, she got a lightning lane for Na’vi River Journey for 12:25 p.m.

They had a great safari – the animals were very active. After the safari they did the Maharajah Jungle Trek before waiting 25 minutes for Expedition Everest. They loved this.

Next they watched Finding Nemo and loved this. Their next stop was DINOSAUR and the posted wait time was 15 minutes but they didn’t wait that long. 

Rachel got a lightning lane for the 2 p.m. Festival of the Lion King show at 12:30 p.m. They walked over to Pandora for their Flight of Passage Individual Lightning Lane. The posted wait time was 115 minutes but they were on and off in 30 minutes. 

They really liked Flight of Passage! The preshow was very long but they enjoyed it. Their next ride was Na’vi River Journey. The posted wait time was 55 minutes but they were on and off in 12 minutes thanks to the lightning lane. They were very thankful to have a lightning lane.

They arrived at Festival of the Lion King at 1:40 p.m. and it was already very crowded. Rachel enjoyed this a lot. 

They were pretty tired and wanted to take a break before their dinner reservations, so they left and got back to the hotel just before 3:30 p.m. to take a rest.

They left their hotel just after 5 p.m. and took the boat to Epcot. It is quicker to walk but the boat was nice. 

They had some time before their dinner reservation so they rode Journey into Imagination. After that, they got in line to meet Vanellope. Then they went over for their Cosmic Rewind lightning lane. 

They didn’t have much wait at all and got One Way or Another, which was wonderful. Rachel loves that they got a different song each time. 

They checked in for their Space 220 Lounge reservation just before 6:40 p.m. They were seated at the bar. They shared some appetizers and got some drinks. It was really nice. 

After dinner they went back to their resort and were back around 9 p.m.

Hollywood Studios (November 2)

Rachel got up and purchased another Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind. Her husband was very tired and wasn’t sure if he was going to be up for a full day. 

They ended up purchasing Genie+ later in the day and were still able to get a Slinky Dog Dash lightning lane for 2:15 p.m. 

They arrived at Hollywood Studios and the park was fairly crowded. They arrived at 9 a.m. 

Their first stop was Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and the wait was less than 15 minutes. Tower of Terror was next and the wait was posted at 30 minutes. While they waited they met Goofy! The wait wasn’t as long as it was posted.

They wandered over to Galaxy’s Edge and walked around. They decided not to ride any of the rides because they are so similar to the rides in Disneyland.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular was next on their list and they saw the 10:45 a.m. show. It was a nice break from the heat and Rachel really liked the show. 

They did Muppet*Vision 3D again and it was very crowded. Rachel loved watching everyone else enjoying the show. They decided to take a break after that. They had a lunch reservation, but decided to get lunch at PizzeRizzo.  

After lunch they kept their 12:55 p.m. Sci-Fi Dine-in reservation and got dessert. They split a hot fudge sundae and really enjoyed the restaurant. 

They had a lightning lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The posted wait time was 45 minutes but they only waited 20 minutes. While they were in line, Rachel got a 2:10 p.m. lightning lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

At 2:18 p.m. Slinky Dog Dash had a 65 minute wait time but they used their lightning lane and were able to get on and off in 10 minutes. It was fun and the lightning lane was very useful! 

They took the skyliner to Epcot and they went straight to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The posted wait time was 70 minutes, but thanks to their lightning lane, they only waited 10 minutes. 

They went back to the hotel to rest and get packed up. Then they went to Epcot at 6:30 p.m. It was starting to rain but they took the boat and arrived at 6:50 p.m.

They had a lightning lane for Cosmic Rewind for 7 p.m. so they went right there. This time their song was I Ran and it was awesome. 

Rachel needed to cancel their Space 220 reservation and because she did it in person, they weren’t charged a cancellation fee. 

They took some photos, did some shopping, and went to Club Cool. Rachel’s husband was ready to go back to the resort, so he went back and she continued shopping. 

On her way back to the resort she was able to see some of Harmonious. She wasn’t ready to leave so she wandered around and hung out at Spaceship Earth just watching the lights.

It was starting to rain again around 10 p.m. as Rachel was walking back. She tried to wait it out but ended up just getting really wet. She was back to the hotel room at 10:20 p.m. 

They had a 3:35 a.m. pickup for their 7 a.m. flight the next day. 

Key Takeaways

  • Bring enough cash for tipping. 
  • Rachel was able to add a day, memory maker, and park hoppers when she realized that their package was more expensive than booking individually. She was originally able to book Genie+ when she booked the package, but when she rebooked, it was not available.

Quick Tip

If you are traveling during the holiday season, don’t forget to pack your holiday attire! Even if your trip is in the middle of November, you will want to show off your holiday shirts and accessories.

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