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Disney World birthday trip with Savannah and her mom – PREP 384

Disney World birthday trip with Savannah and her mom – PREP 384

Savannah and her mom traveled from Nashville to Orlando to celebrate her mom’s birthday in the most magical place on Earth. Building on the success of a similar trip two years ago, Savannah and her mom stayed at Pop Century. They visited all of the Disney parks, shopped, made impromptu dining reservations, and enjoyed Pina Coladas poolside. A frequent traveler to Disney World, Savannah loves traveling with different parties and truly enjoys “showing someone a piece of what I love and seeing it through other people’s eyes.”

Post trip begins: 23 minutes

The Basics

Savannah and her mom had a wonderful birthday trip for her mom’s birthday. They stayed at Pop Century from October 29 though November 3.

Savannah’s mom grew up in Central Florida and loves the nostalgia. Savannah has an annual pass. Her mom bought a 4 day park hopper pass. 

Savannah’s mom bought her park ticket and paid for the hotel. They booked a room with an Annual Pass discount and it was around $950 for the 5 nights. 

They are staying at Pop Century. They chose it because of the proximity to Epcot – they will spend time at Food and Wine.

Arrival (October 29)

Savannah and her mom got up early on her mom’s birthday at 4:30 a.m. and got to the airport. They didn’t have any security line at all, which was nice. 

Their flight left a bit early and was not full at all. They arrived on time in MCO and got the text that their room was ready in building 3 in the 50s section on the first floor. 

They were not in a preferred room but were right next to the preferred section and very close to the main building. It was a great location. 

While they were on their way to Pop Century, Savannah changed their BOATHOUSE reservation from 3:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. They were very hungry and ready to go! 

When they arrived to their room they couldn’t use the app or Magic Band to unlock the door. They were in their room at 11:20 a.m., just an hour after they landed.

They went immediately to Disney Springs and did some shopping before heading to BOATHOUSE at 1 p.m. They were seated right away and were asked what they were celebrating. 

They had a delicious lunch for about an hour and a half. They were right on the water and her mom asked about the boat to French Quarter, so they did that next. 

They got beignets and coffee, which was lovely. They used to live in New Orleans so it was a nice time.

After their snack they took the bus to Hollywood Studios and then hopped on the skyliner for Pop Century. They arrived back around 5 p.m. and took a nap.

They went to the shop at Pop Century for a few things before heading back to their room and going to bed early. 

Animal Kingdom (October 30)

Savannah set her alarm for 6:45 a.m. to get Genie+ and get ready. She purchased the Park Hopper Genie+ for $27.  

She was able to get lightning lanes for Kilimanjaro Safaris for 8:30 a.m. and Flight of Passage for 10:20 a.m. 

They hopped on a bus by 8:20 a.m. and were at Animal Kingdom by 8:40 a.m. They had a quick breakfast before Kilimanjaro Safaris. They had almost no wait and the standby line was 50 minutes long. 

Her mom had seen Expedition Everest and wanted to give it a try. Savannah loved riding it with her mom because she had no idea what to expect. It was great. 

They got cocktails after Expedition Everest and started walking to the Tree of Life. It was very important that they watched the 10:15 a.m. bird show, Winged Encounters. Savannah’s mom loved it.

Winged Encounters at Animal Kingdom

Flight of Passage had a 115 minute standby wait time when they went to their lightning lane. They waited about 15 minutes. After Flight of Passage they went to Satuli Canteen for lunch. They shared the cheeseburger pods and the beef bowl. 

After a wonderful lunch, they used their lightning lane for Na’vi River Journey. After that, they left Animal Kingdom around noon and went to Pop Century. 

They opted to go to the quiet pool rather than taking a nap. They got drinks from the pool bar and had a blast.

Savannah and her mom at the pool at Pop Century

Around 2:30 p.m. they made their way to Hollywood Studios. After doing some shopping, they went to Toy Story Mania with a lightning lane. 

Their next stop was Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway before using a lightning lane for Slinky Dog Dash. Their next stop is the Frozen Sing-Along. Savannah’s mom hadn’t seen that before and they had fun.

Savannah and her mom in line for Slinky Dog Dash.

They had a 5:30 p.m. reservation at 50s Prime Time and loved it. This was for their Fantasmic Dinner Package because Savannah loves Fantasmic so much and wants the reserved seating. 

After dinner, they did some shopping and got in line for Fantasmic. Savannah was really surprised at how long the line was even 30 minutes prior to the show. 

They were finally seated at 7:40 p.m. and Fantasmic started about 15 minutes late. It was wonderful and Savannah was grateful to be able to see it.

At 9 p.m. they got right on the skyliner without a wait at all. 

Epcot (October 31) 

After the busy day yesterday, they opted for a slower morning. They got on the skyliner around 9 a.m. 

Savannah got lightning lanes for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Cosmic Rewind. They got on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at 10 a.m. and immediately got a return time for Soarin’

They rode Living with the Land, which was a first for Savannah’s mom. Then they went on Soarin’ at 11 a.m. The standby wait was only 15 minutes. 

Savannah really liked doing Soarin’ over California! Their next stop was the Seas with Nemo and Friends and walked around the Seas. They walked around for quite a while and her mom really loved it.

Savannah enjoying a mimosa flight

They went to the Flavors from Fire on their way to Cosmic Rewind. They tapped in at 12:15 a.m. for their Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind and got the song “I Ran.” 

Savannah’s mom liked it a lot and said it was like Space Mountain. They got a mimosa flight at Sparkling Sips. Then they got a filet in Canada and shared it. Her mom enjoyed seeing the birds while they ate in Canada. 

They got the pudding cake and honey wine next in UK. The pudding cake was lovely, but the honey wine wasn’t great. They did some shopping in UK before leaving around 1:45 p.m. 

Savannah and her mom in the UK pavilion

They took a break at the pool and enjoyed a drink at the pool bar. They got back to Epcot around 5:20 p.m. 

The weather was a little cooler tonight so they had a very pleasant time walking around the World Showcase. They started in France and walked all the way around to Mexico. They got margaritas at La Cava

While they were on their way, they went to Frozen Ever After. Her mom hadn’t been on that before and she really liked it. They left around 7:45 p.m. and found people trick or treating on the boardwalk! 

Savannah was surprised to see so many people trick or treating and wearing full costumes. It was really cute. They loved walking around the Boardwalk area. 

They took the skyliner at 8:30 p.m. and were in their room by 8:45 p.m. 

Magic Kingdom (November 1)

Savannah’s mom was really looking forward to going to the Magic Kingdom! Savannah got a lightning lane for Jungle Cruise for 8:30 a.m. and a virtual queue for Tron at 7:03 a.m.

They got on the bus at 8:10 a.m. and were walking into the Magic Kingdom at 8:30 a.m. It was chilly that morning and the Magic Kingdom was noticeably empty. 

Their first stop was the Main Street Bakery for breakfast. When there was no line at all, Savannah knew that they would have a good day. They wouldn’t be needing Genie+. 

At 9 a.m. the Tron Virtual Queue was still open – that’s how slow it was! It was a great day to choose to be at Magic Kingdom.

They had a half full boat on Jungle Cruise, then went to Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Each of these only had a 5 minute standby wait time but Savannah opted to use Genie+ to avoid walking through the empty queues.

They went to Haunted Mansion at 9:55 a.m. and then went to Peter Pan’s Flight, it’s a small world, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train only had a 45 minute wait time at that point, but that was still a little too long to wait. They were the only ones on Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid after that, which was so wild. 

They got a cream cheese pretzel on their way out. They saw the Dapper Dans as well. They walked to the Contemporary and caught a bus to Disney Springs to meet Savannah’s aunt, who lives a few hours away.. 

While they waited for their Homecomin’ reservation, the three of them wandered around shopping. They waited 45 minutes for a bus at Disney Springs before 4 p.m. to get back to Pop Century. It was very frustrating to wait. 

They arrived at Pop Century and went immediately to Epcot, arriving after 5 p.m. Savannah got a lightning lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Savannah’s mom loves this ride.

Epcot was much busier than Magic Kingdom. Even the lightning lane wait for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure was out the door. Right next to the lightning lane line at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Savannah noticed a sign for a single rider line that she hadn’t seen before.

They got food at the France booth and it wasn’t fabulous. They opted to go to the skyliner at 7:30 p.m. to go back to Pop Century. 

It was a really great day. Savannah and her mom loved Magic Kingdom being so empty and spending time with her aunt. 

Magic Kingdom (November 2)

Savannah was hoping for some Christmas decor at Magic Kingdom. They arrived around 9:20 a.m. and Christmas decor was up! The tree wasn’t up yet, but everything else was, which was wonderful.

Savannah and her mom at the castle

Their first stop was to meet Mickey with a lightning lane at Town Square before taking photos in front of the castle. Gaston’s Tavern was crowded and Savannah ended up in a slow line but they got some food and were able to snag a table inside – a first for Savannah. 

They did PhilharMagic at 10:30 a.m. and loved it. Savannah loves it and her mom hadn’t seen it before but enjoyed it. Their next stop was the Liberty Belle right at 11 a.m. Savannah hadn’t done it before and it was a lot longer than she expected. 

When they got off the boat, they did some shopping. Savannah was looking for some special Christmas ornaments. As they walked by Liberty Tree Tavern, Savannah’s mom said she’d like to try it. They were able to find a reservation for 6 people at 6:15 p.m. It was strange she was able to get a reservation for 6 but not 2! 

At 11:40 a.m. they went to Country Bears Jamboree. Savannah said she likes it but also finds it cringy and is excited for the refurb. They went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 12 p.m. and then got some mickey bars – Savannah’s mom got hers for free for her birthday! 

After their Mickey Bars they took the train to Fantasyland to ride the PeopleMover. They went under TRON and Savannah’s mom said, “Absolutely not.”

They waited 15 minutes for the PeopleMover and then went to Carousel of Progress. When they got out they got a pretzel and drinks at the Lunching Pad. They had a lighting lane for Pirates of the Caribbean but it went down as they were going to tap in so it was converted to a multiple experience pass. 

They waited a bit for the Hall of Presidents. Savannah doesn’t usually go because people act like fools in there. But this time there was silence, which Savannah was very proud of. 

Savannah was able to get another lightning lane for Pirates of the Caribbean again, so now she has two multiple experiences. They watched the parade at 3 p.m. from the shade. Savannah said it was very short and was missing a float or two. 

The parade was wonderful, albeit short. Savannah’s mom loved seeing Maleficent. They followed the parade out and took the monorail to the Polynesian.

Savannah's mom at Tambu lounge

Rather than taking a midday break, they opted to have downtime at Tambu Lounge for cocktails. Before they went there, Savannah checked out Trader Sam’s but the wait was more than 4 hours. 

During this time, Savannah got another multiple experience pass. She ended up having 6 multiple experience passes. It’s a game for Savannah and while she was relaxing, she just grabbed lightning lanes for attractions that were already down. 

After their time at Tambu Lounge they hopped on the monorail and went to the Grand Floridian to see the progress of the Gingerbread House. It was almost done at 4:45 p.m. It was really fun for them to see the progress. 

They got back on the monorail at 5:30 p.m. and were just in time to see a cavalcade. That was really fun and Savannah was able to see a lot of characters. 

At 6 p.m. they were sat at a table for 2 people at Liberty Tree Tavern. It was a delicious meal and their first real meal of the day. It was chilly outside and really nice to have a warm meal. 

Savannah’s mom was starting to get tired after dinner but Savannah told her they would power through for the fireworks. They got a spot for the fireworks and Savannah said it was eye-opening to see how people behave – talking through the fireworks and putting children on their shoulders blocking the view. 

They left after the fireworks to get back to Pop Century. Right after the fireworks you know you will get a bus because they bring 20 buses. 

This was a great park day – the last one of their trip! It was so nice to really enjoy this day because they’d gotten so much done the day before. 

Departure (November 3)

Savannah and her mom took it easy in the morning. They packed up and went to Disney Springs. Their first stop at 10:30 a.m. was Gideon’s and the line was so long without a virtual queue! 

Savannah loves Gideon’s but cannot wait in a line that long. It would have been their longest wait all week. 

They went to the Polite Pig for lunch and it was SO good. They had a really good experience as well with great service and food.

Their next stop was the Christmas shop. They weren’t able to find the Baby’s First Christmas ornament for her friends like she wanted. Savannah and her mom both got Christmas ornaments before going to World of Disney. 

They walked around enjoying Disney Springs for a while. They went to Ghirardelli’s for a milkshake. This was Savannah’s mom’s request and it was amazing, but expensive.

Savannah went back to the Christmas store to get a mug and then they took an Uber at 2:30 p.m. back to Pop Century. They had a really nice uber driver, which was lovely. They went to their resort and he waited for them to take them straight to the airport. 

TSA was a very long line. Savannah has TSA Pre-check but she stayed with her mom and the wait was almost an hour just to get through security. 

Key Takeaways

  • Savannah bought $1,000 in gift cards at Sam’s Club for food. They will use these to purchase their meals – that is $100/person per day. She’s done this for her family and they’ve always had money left over and can use that on their souvenirs. 


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