Fran and her 7 year old son took a mother and son trip to Disney World to celebrate his birthday. It was a short 3 night/4 day trip where they stayed at Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge using their Disney Vacation Club points.
Fran and her son flew from St. Louis on Southwest to Orlando in August of 2021. They stayed for three nights at Boulder Ridge and rented a car at the airport. This was a celebration trip for her son’s 7th birthday.
Fran allowed her son to choose what parks they would visit and he picked Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. They are DVC members and already have another trip to Disney World planned, so seeing and doing everything wasn’t the goal.
Fran planned to take a slower pace, not rent a stroller, and enjoy the time with her son.
Arrival Day (August 18)
Fran booked a rental car with Alamo and it was a very smooth process! She was off the plane and into her rental car in about 20 minutes!
She rented a car because of Covid concerns, but it was such a convenient experience that she might do it again in the future!
They went straight to Wilderness Lodge and arrived around 4 p.m. Their room was ready when they arrived and they went to the room. They’d planned to go swimming but there was a thunder storm. They got a birthday button for her son, wandered around the resort, and when it was safe to swim, they did that.
Soon it was time to head to the Contemporary Resort for their dining reservation at Chef Mickey’s – her son’s favorite! The boat to the Contemporary wasn’t running so they took the boat to the Magic Kingdom and walked over to the Contemporary.
They didn’t have to wait long to get their table. Fran didn’t enjoy family style in the past, especially when her kids were little. The food was delicious but there was so much food! Fran was very sad that so much food went to waste.
Overall, she thought the character interaction was good. It was difficult to be far away from the characters because it’s different, but it was still a good experience.
After dinner they took a Lyft back to their resort. They went to bed because they had an early start the next day!
Magic Kingdom (August 19)
Fran knew that this trip was going to be a slower pace but it was difficult to turn off the fast-pace of her brain.
They left their room at 7:45 a.m. and went to the boat dock. Magic Kingdom opened at 9 a.m. and they were the second people in line for the boat. Even that early in the morning, it was very hot!
They arrived at Magic Kingdom and were excited that there wasn’t much of a line at all. They were in line for the tapstiles at 8:15 a.m. and into the park at 8:25 a.m. They went straight to Fantasy Land and got on Peter Pan’s Flight before riding it’s a small world twice in a row!
They were also able to do The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Mad Tea Party within the first hour. After that, they went toward Tomorrowland. The park was very empty, wonderfully and surprisingly empty.
The first thing they did at Tomorrowland was Tomorrowland Speedway. The posted wait time was 10 minutes and they waited 15 minutes. They then went to Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.
They walked over and did Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Barnstormer. They were even able to do Barnstormer twice!
It was time for their lunch at Tony’s Town Square. Fran’s goal was to sit outside. When she checked in she asked if they could sit outside and she was asked if it was a medical reason. She started to say no, but they asked if it was covid related and she said yes. They got a table ready.
While they enjoyed their lunch, they saw characters on the train station and several cavalcades.
The food was decent and they had a good experience. After lunch Fran gave her son the option of going to ride more rides or go back to the hotel and swim. He opted to swim.
He had a blast at the pool and the water slide. They didn’t pay attention to the time and swam for about 3 hours!
They changed and went back to the Magic Kingdom around 6 p.m. They went over to Adventureland.
They started with Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Pirates of the Caribbean, and then walked back to it’s a small world. They also did Mickey’s PhilharMagic. It was about 8 p.m. and they hadn’t had dinner yet. Fran wanted to eat at the Friar’s Nook but it was closed. Pinocchio Village Haus was closed as well so they ended up at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
Everyone was lining up for fireworks so after they ate, they went to Barnstormer and rode 7 times in a row without getting off. There wasn’t a line at all and Fran wanted to avoid the fireworks crowd. They were able to watch the fireworks from the ride.
Fran’s son had some shoes at a gift shop on Main Street earlier in the day and they’d planned to buy them on their way out. It was very crowded in the shops, but they were able to get the shoes before leaving.
They caught a boat back to Wilderness Lodge and went to bed.
Epcot (August 20)
Fran and her son picked up breakfast at Roaring Fork to eat in their room and left around 9:50 a.m. to drive to Epcot. They were in line at 10:10 a.m. for the tapstiles. They began letting people through at 10:17 a.m.
They went straight toward Soarin’ and were held until 10:30 a.m. As they got off their first ride, they realized that no one was in line, so they got on again!
They went over to Living with the Land before picking up Remy’s scavenger hunt in the World Showcase. It was getting closer to noon and Fran’s son was getting hot. They took their time through the World Showcase.
They rode Gran Fiesta Tour and then Frozen Ever After, only waiting 7 minutes! Fran thought the queue was so cute for Frozen as well.
They kept working their way around the World Showcase, snacking and doing the Remy’s scavenger hunt. They stopped for lunch at Katsura Grill for lunch. The outside area there is really beautiful and they enjoyed their light meal on a hot day.
They’d hoped to go to the department store in Japan but it didn’t open until later in the day. They noticed this in other areas as well due to the staffing shortage.
They walked over to France and got a Macaron ice cream sandwich and Grand Marnier slush at L’Artisan des Glaces. Fran says the Grand Marnier slush wasn’t as good as she’d hoped, but a frozen drink on a hot day is wonderful.
They finished up the World Showcase and she explained Test Track to her son. He was interested in riding this and they both discovered that he’s not really scared anymore!
After Test Track, they went to Spaceship Earth and then left because they were hungry and hot. They drove back to their hotel and a thunderstorm was coming. They decided to have an early dinner at Geyser Point. It began to rain so they pulled down the shades on the sides of the restaurant.
The rain cooled everything off and they had a wonderful dinner together. After dinner they went for an evening swim and around 7 p.m. they went back to their room.
Hollywood Studios (August 21)
Fran woke up and got a Rise of the Resistance boarding group! She was able to get boarding group 41, unsure if this would be called before they needed to head back to the airport.
They packed up their car and left the resort around 8 a.m. to drive to Hollywood Studios. They went right to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They left people into the queue at 8:30 a.m. They absolutely loved this ride.
Now that Fran knew that her son could handle the bigger rides, she decided to see if he wanted to try Slinky Dog Dash. The posted wait time before 9 a.m. was 30 minutes and they waited about 20 minutes. He really loved it.
After Slinky Dog Dash they finished up Toy Story Land with Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania. Then they headed to Galaxy’s Edge.
They wandered around Galaxy’s Edge, got some blue milk, and just looked around. This was all before 10am!
They went to Star Tours – it makes Fran nauseous but she did it because her son loves it. After Star Tours, they went to the Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie.
They tried Disney Junior Dance Party and while it was nice to get out of the heat, it was a little too young for Fran’s son. After the dance party, they went to Star Wars Launch Bay. The air conditioning was cool and it was neat to see that area.
Fran was checking for their Rise of the Resistance boarding group and it was getting closer to their 41 boarding group. They didn’t want to get too far so they had lunch at Docking Bay 7. They mobile ordered their lunch and ate in the shade outside.
They were called at 12:15 p.m. for their boarding group and they walked over. They waited about 20 minutes. Fran isn’t a big Star Wars fan and she thought it was so cool. Her son thought it was amazing.
After Rise, they went to ABC Commissary to get the Wookie Cookie. They shared the cookie and then went back to Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie.
They had about an hour left and Fran asked him if he wanted to ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. He said yes!
Fran was thinking about the ride itself, but wasn’t thinking about the creepy theming. Her son was fine with the ride but the theming was scary.
Thankfully they had just enough time to do Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway before leaving the park for the airport!
- They didn’t do a stroller and it was fine. Fran is used to a much quicker pace but without a stroller they slowed down a bit. Her son didn’t need the stroller but she did need to go at his pace.
- Fran was a bit worried about the restrooms but there was always a companion bathroom when they needed one.
- Fran didn’t get memory maker for this trip. She thought they could buy 10 photos for the price of Memory Maker. There ended up only being 6 that she wanted and she purchased the digital downloads. You can still use the PhotoPass photographers even if you don’t have Memory Maker!
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