Ashley joins us today to recap her Walt Disney World to Disney Cruise Line and then *back* to Walt Disney World trip. She was joined by her husband and young children, as well as family friends and their children. Hear how it went…
There is much more info included in the audio, so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.
Post-trip timestamp: 37:18
Ashley, her husband, their 3 year old daughter and 9 year old son are traveling from the west coast to Florida for a vacation in 4 parts. The first portion of their trip is in Tampa visiting friends.
They will then meet up with friends and their 6 and 9 year old boys to stay in a two bedroom villa at Beach Club from July 13-16. On July 16 the families will board a 5-day Disney Cruise with adjoining rooms.
On July 16 they will check in to a two bedroom villa at Riviera Resort until they depart on July 19. Their trip details traveling with friends, cruising with children (some for the first time!), and coordinating a land-sea-land trip.
Tampa (July 11-12)
Ashley and her family flew to Florida and went to Tampa. They rented a car from Thrifty and it was just fine.
The night before they left, Ashley opted to leave the stroller at home and booked one as they were leaving. She didn’t have any issues booking this last minute and was grateful to not bring theirs from home.
Arrival Day (July 13)
Ashley and her family drove about 1.5 hours from Tampa straight to the resort.
Originally Ashley thought that they would need to stop to get her daughter a PCR covid test, but she found out that she could get a letter from her doctor noting that her daughter had a positive test within 90 days. That waived their required PCR test for her daughter.
Ashley and her family met their friends at the pool. It was very busy but they were able to change into their swim clothes and hang out. They finally got a notification that their room was ready at 3:30 p.m.
They had a two bedroom villa. The two families combined their points to book this room. It had two entrances and overlooked the DVC pool.
They freshened up and got ready for their dinner reservation at 6:35 p.m. at Ale and Compass. Their dinner was lovely. Everyone had a great meal.
They had a delivery from Walmart after dinner and then they went to their room to sleep. It had been a long day for everyone!
Resort Day (July 14)
This morning they received some cute water bottles for their trip and picked up their strollers from Orlando Strollers at 10 a.m. It went very smoothly.
In the room, they did their covid tests. It took about 20 minutes per person to have those tests done and uploaded.
They spent most of the afternoon at Stormalong Bay. It was wonderful! The kids really loved it. The older kids were very independent and the 3 year old played near where they were at the sand bottom pool.
After the pool, they freshened up and went to Disney Springs. They waited about 25 minutes for a bus and it was very crowded once they got on a bus.
When they arrived to Disney Springs, the rain and wind were coming! They went straight to Raglan Road for their dinner reservation.
They loved the entertainment. Sadly, they were sat to the side, but they were excited to see the little show near their table. The kids were entertained, which was nice.
The rain was over by the time they left dinner and it was cooler, which was nice. They stopped by the front desk at the resort to confirm their cruise transportation. Unfortunately they found out that they only confirmed their daughter’s transportation.
Sadly, they needed to call Costco because they’d booked their cruise transportation there and it was closed. They would need to fix the transportation issues in the morning.
Animal Kingdom (July 15)
Today was Ashley’s son’s 9th birthday! They had one day park hopper tickets and park passes at Animal Kingdom, which had 7:30 a.m. early theme park entry.
They decorated the room a bit and presents from grandparents. Ashley woke up at 5 a.m. to purchase Genie+ and at 7 a.m. booked an Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind with a 2:30 p.m. return time and a Lightning Lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris for 8:15 a.m.
They left the room at 6:25 a.m. and the next bus to Animal Kingdom arrived right away. They arrived, went through security, and were through the tapstiles by 7:15 a.m.
Ashley realized at the tapstiles that you have to download your tickets to your Apple Wallet. It was chaotic because their friends hadn’t done that yet.
This took the first hour in the park and after the rides they were hot and tired. They opted to take a break at Harambe Market.
During this break Ashley got a lightning lane for Kali River Rapids and her husband began to fix their transportation issue.
The dads took the bigger kids on Kali River Rapids and the moms took their younger daughter to Winged Encounters. Ashley’s husband wasn’t able to ride because he was still on hold but he did wait in line.
They got a lightning lane for Expedition Everest next and got in line at 11:45 a.m. KiteTails had just started so they watched some of that as well. Ashley’s 3 year old really enjoyed it eating a snack in the shade.
It was VERY hot at Animal Kingdom, even with umbrellas and fans. It slowed them down quite a bit. Everyone was ready to switch parks.
Buses don’t start until 1:30 p.m. and they got there at 1 p.m. so they had a bit of a wait until they were able to get to Epcot. They got to Epcot at 2 p.m. and got a lightning lane for Soarin’ at 2:15 p.m. Ashley and her youngest got a snack at Sunshine Seasons while everyone else went on Soarin’.
At 2:55 p.m. they went right to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. This was what Ashley’s younger daughter really wanted to do.
Ashley’s husband took their younger daughter to nap in the stroller and they used rider switch. While he rode with their son while everyone else went to check in for their dinner reservation at 4:30 p.m. at Teppan Edo.
Unfortunately the ride broke down right before her husband was able to ride, so they took a bit longer than they expected. Teppan Edo was very accommodating to them being a bit late for their reservation.
The restaurant wasn’t very busy yet and Ashley’s daughter was still asleep in her stroller, so she was able to bring it up to the restaurant with them.
They really enjoyed the experience and their meal. They did ask several times if they were celebrating anything and they said it was her son’s birthday, but they didn’t end up doing anything.
They loved the convenience of being able to get back to their room so quickly. They had instructions for their port transportation under their door when they arrived back at the room, which was a relief!
They did some laundry in their room and went to bed – cruise begins tomorrow!
Embark (July 16)
In order for their luggage to be picked up for the cruise, they had to have it outside their door by 7 a.m. However they discovered it wasn’t picked up until closer to 8 a.m.
They ate breakfast in their room and then went to their transportation meeting location at 8:30 a.m. They dropped off their stroller with Bell Services and a suitcase. While they were on the cruise, they had their luggage and stroller transported to their new hotel.
Everyone arrived and they left the resort at 9 a.m. They were picked up by a third party bus and it wasn’t quite as nice as Disney buses.
The buses were all backed up at the port so it took about 30 minutes in order to get off the bus. They were off by 11:15 a.m. and they began the process to embark. They had time to go to the restroom before they were called to get on the cruise!
They took photos and were greeted on the cruise. It was important to get the app downloaded so that you know exactly what is happening during your cruise.
The Kid’s Club tour started at 12:30 p.m. They really enjoyed seeing all of the rooms and theming.
After their tour, they went to Cabanas for lunch. It was very busy but they were able to get a table and have some food.
The moms were in the pool with the kids and the dads went off for a bit. They came back and let the moms know that they had booked spa appointments for them for the next day!
After the pool the kids wanted to go to the kid’s club. They dropped them off at 5 p.m. and went to their room. Their luggage arrived, so they got unpacked.
Their room was on deck 10 and they had adjoining rooms.
They went to the adult’s only area and popped in on the show. They got the kids before dinner. The kids were very hungry and dinner was slow. It was about 9 p.m. and the kids still didn’t have their dinner.
The kids got their food and they ended up having a good experience. They met some characters and had fun. Everyone was back to the room to shower and go to bed by 10:30 p.m.
Day at Sea (July 17)
There was a time change overnight and Ashley had hoped to have breakfast delivered but the kids woke up earlier than she expected. They ended up eating at the buffet.
Ashley and her husband both checked out the gym. Ashley originally had the Royal Gathering scheduled for her daughter, but she didn’t want to do it so Ashley canceled it and they went swimming instead.
They went back to the room around 11 a.m. for her daughter to rest. Ashley ordered lunch to the room and it took about an hour.
After a rest, they met back up with the rest of the group. The kids went to the kid’s club and Ashley and her husband relaxed.
At 2 p.m. Ashley and her friend had their massage appointments. Ashley’s room overlooked the front of the ship and it was beautiful! They really enjoyed it.
The dads picked up the kids from the kid’s club and they tried the AquaDuck. Then the kids and dads all got ready.
At 6 p.m. they went to the show: Aladdin Musical Spectacular. This was their favorite show of the whole trip!
After the show, they went to the room to freshen up and take some photos. They went to the D Lounge for a Chip and Dale meet and greet.
Their dinner that evening was at Royal Court. This was a more upscale meal and her 3 year old was melting. Ashley ate quickly and they went back to the room.
She went right to sleep and that was the end of their day.
Cozumel (July 18)
While the kids were waking up, the adults went upstairs, picked up breakfast from Cabanas and everyone ate on the veranda that connected their rooms.
Ashley had previously booked a catamaran through a private company for a 5 hour sail and snorkel. They have the whole boat to themselves and lunch was included.
They were off the ship by 8:30 a.m. They got a van taxi and it was about $15 to get to the Marina. They booked their excursion with Windseekers.
As soon as they arrived at the marina, they were met with a wheelbarrow to carry all of their beach things to the catamaran. They got on the catamaran and there was a fruit plate ready for them.
They had three rooms, two bathrooms, and both an outdoor and indoor seating areas. There was an overwater lounge area as well.
After they got ready, they went over to the coral reef and got ready to snorkel. The crew was very helpful in keeping everyone safe. Ashley’s youngest daughter was initially in the water but it was a little rough for her so she got back on the catamaran with the crew.
Everyone got back in the water when they went to another sight and it was beautiful! They had a snack and then went to a sandbar. It was lovely!
The crew would bring drinks and snacks out to them on the sandbar, which was so luxurious. They were especially good with the children.
When they got back on the ship, they had lunch. The kids had quesadillas and everyone enjoyed Mexican cuisine. It was wonderful. They ate lunch and hung out on their way back to the marina.
They were back to the marina at 2 p.m. They did some shopping at the port and they walked around a bit. They were back on the ship by 4:15 p.m.
When they got back to their rooms the children were told they all had to nap. And they did!
It was pirate night this evening and because the kids napped, they ended up missing some things.
They got dinner at Royal Court again. While they finished dinner the kids wanted to go to the Kid’s Club. They took them for about 45 minutes while they finished dinner and dessert before getting them again for the pool deck for the pirate show and fireworks!
They got there right as it was starting, so they didn’t get a good seat. But they really enjoyed the show and fireworks.
As they were going back toward their room, they walked through Cabanas and picked up some tacos from the buffet.
They had to reset their clocks again and lost an hour this night. This was the end of a great day!
Day at Sea (July 19)
Ashley got up early and went to the gym. She got breakfast for the kids and they ate together. Then they got up and went to the pool. The kids really wanted to swim!
Ashley’s friend and their family did some crafts on the cruise while Ashley’s family went swimming. Everyone was able to do what they wanted to do.
Ashley’s husband stayed with their daughter and Ashley was able to go on the AquaDuck with her son!
They got lunch on the pool deck and then the kids wanted to go to the Kid’s Club again. This gave the adults some couple time.
Ashley and her husband got a drink and made a scrapbook page! Ashley said it was really fun. They had a drink on their veranda. They got the kids from the Kid’s Club and got ready for the show.
The Frozen show tonight wasn’t as much of a hit with the kids, but it was very well done. Their dinner this evening was at Animator’s Palete. The screens kept the kids entertained during dinner.
After dinner they went back to their rooms and went to bed.
Castaway Cay (July 20)
This morning they all woke up with a view of Castaway Cay! They got breakfast and ate on their veranda with a beautiful view.
They were all off the ship around 8:30 a.m. and got their photos taken as they got off the ship.
On their way off, they hit the Kid’s Club immediately. They dropped the kids off and went to the adult’s only area. The adults took about an hour to just enjoy adult time.
As they were leaving the adult area and it was raining very hard. They were already wet but the rain was so hard.
They rushed back and got the kids but the kids were already soaked. It stopped raining fairly quickly, thankfully.
They found beach chairs and relaxed on the family beach. The kids were able to play on a kids-only ropes course and really enjoyed that.
They really enjoyed the beach, sand, and swimming. The kids also really enjoyed the splash pad later in the afternoon. By the time they decided to leave around 4 p.m. they were completely soaked.
Their towels were so wet because you cannot get towels on the island. They picked up towels as they exited the ship.
Ashley knew nothing would dry before they disembarked the next day, so she did laundry.
They took showers and got ready for the show. It was Disney’s Believe. They really liked it. Ashley’s daughter fell asleep during the show and wasn’t going to wake up. Ashley took her back to bed and ordered room service.
Everyone else went to Enchanted Garden for dinner and had a wonderful time. Ashley was sad to miss it.
They knew they’d want to cruise again, so the dads went to put down a deposit for another cruise! All of the bags that they were checking needed to be outside the door at 10:15 p.m.
Disembark (July 21)
They got up, finished packing, and all went to Enchanted Garden for an 8:30 a.m. breakfast. While they were at breakfast, Ashley read that Disney transportation to the resorts were over at 8:15 a.m. They panicked!
There weren’t any other breakfast options, so they had to eat breakfast. They knew there was no way they would make it back by 9 a.m.
After breakfast, they went back to guest services and were told to just disembark. They got to the bus stop at 10 a.m. and there were other people there.
They did get on a bus to head back to their resort. It was very stressful and there was minimal communication about the Disney Transportation.
They were the 6th stop, so they didn’t get to the Riviera until almost noon. They went straight to the pool because their room was not ready yet.
The pool wasn’t as exciting as Stormalong Bay but it was nice and quiet. They got lunch from Primo Piatto.
The room was ready at 2:30 p.m. and as soon as they walked in they were blown away! The room was HUGE. It was set up like an apartment with a huge dining table and galley kitchen. There was plenty of room for their two double strollers and for the kids to run around.
They got dressed and took a 10 minute walk over to Sebastian’s Bistro for dinner. They waited in the heat for a bit until a table was ready. They really enjoyed the dinner!
After dinner, they got back to their room and began unpacking. They realized that they could see fireworks from their balcony! It was so magical.
Magic Kingdom (July 22)
Everyone was up and at the bus stop at 7:55 a.m. and on a bus by 8:05 a.m. The park opened at 8:30 a.m. for Early Theme Park Entry.
Most of the party went to Space Mountain and were off by 10:15 a.m. While they were doing that, Ashley took her daughter on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and PeopleMover. They all did Astro Orbiter together.
After that, it was time for their Space Mountain lightning lane. After they scanned in, Ashley was able to get a lightning lane for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin because no one else had been on it yet.
They were off Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin by 11:25 a.m. and they were deciding what they wanted to do next. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad only had a 25 minute wait, so they went over there and did that.
Around 1 p.m. they decided they wanted to go back and take a break. They got back to the bus stop and got on a bus. They were back to the resort for naps at 1:45 p.m.
Everyone napped except the youngest. Eventually Ashley was able to get her to nap in the stroller on a walk around the resort.
They didn’t enjoy their meal. There was no jokes or energy from their server, so they were disappointed. The food wasn’t that good and it was very expensive.
After dinner, Ashley’s husband and son were ready to go back and take a break. Everyone else stayed and did a lightning lane for Pirates of the Caribbean and then it’s a small world.
At 9 p.m. Ashley’s youngest got to ride the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and it was a highlight. Then they did Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid with a lightning lane before watching the fireworks.
They waited out the crowds and went to the bus. They were back to the resort for bed.
Hollywood Studios (July 23)
This morning they decided to play it by ear because everyone needed some rest. They slept in a bit and they all left together.
Ashley purchased Genie+ and they took the skyliner to Hollywood Studios. They really enjoyed it! They were frustrated to break down their double stroller for the skyliner, but it was still great.
They entered around 10 a.m. and everything had a very long wait. The standby for Star Tours was only about 30 minutes, so they did that. While they did that, Ashley took her daughter to meet some characters and watch cavalcades.
After that the boys were able to build a small plastic light saber in the gift shop outside Star Tours. It was a great option for the kids because they loved making them and playing with them. They were $30 for one or $45 for two.
They were starting to get hungry and they ate their lunches that they brought in while waiting for the 12 p.m. Indiana Jones.
They went over to Toy Story Land for their Slinky Dog Dash lightning lane and it was so hot. Ashley’s daughter was melting so they tried to stay out of the heat while waiting.
Unfortunately they waited a very long time for their table. It was very hot and everyone was getting cranky. Ashley’s family had been to Oga’s Cantina before, but their friends had not.
They had a fairly negative experience with a cast member. It wasn’t the most positive experience. They only stayed about 15 minutes before leaving. They grabbed some blue milk from the milk stand afterward.
It started to rain a bit and they went over to their 3:50 p.m. lightning lane for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. While they did that, Ashley and her daughter tried to do Muppet*Vision 3D but she got scared.
They left the park at 8:30 p.m., hopped on the skyliner, and were back to the resort.
Departure (July 24)
They slept in, packed up, and left the room at 11 a.m. They went to the pool and hung out. They showered down by the pool to get ready for their flight.
Their pickup time was 4:30 p.m. Sunshine Flyer arrived at 4:40 p.m. and it was very nice. They were the last stop so they went straight to the airport. They were dropped off where the buses go in terminal B. They had a good experience with Sunshine Flyer.
Ashley said that she really enjoyed having the parks to look forward to after their cruise. However, she thinks that they might have had too many parks planned and would plan less parks in the future.
- If you are not planning to use a magic band, be sure to download your ticket to your Apple Wallet if you plan to use your iphone.
- If you are staying at a Disney hotel before and after your cruise, Disney will take bags or stroller, etc. and transport them from your first hotel to your second hotel.
Links for this episode
- Small World Vacations
- Disney Cruise Line Information
- Designer Park Co. – Use code “WDWPrep” to save 10%
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