Heather, her husband, their 8 year old daughter, and 5 year old son went to Disney World May 12-19. They drove from North Carolina, stayed at Pop Century, and spent some time working while they were there.
Post-trip timestamp: 50:34
Heather and her husband had this trip planned multiple times before they were finally able to go in May of 2022. This trip was a surprise for their children and they didn’t find out the destination until they arrived at Pop Century after sleeping through their drive.
Heather pre-purchased Genie+ for the entirety of their trip and utilized it to ride things multiple times. They also had a handful of dining reservations including Oga’s Cantina, Via Napoli, Garden Grill, Tusker House, and Beaches & Cream.
Arrival Day/Magic Kingdom (May 12)
Heather and her family arrived at 6 a.m. after an overnight drive from North Carolina. The kids were well rested when they arrived and woke up right in front of Pop Century.
They got through security around 7:50 a.m. They were through the tapstiles by 8:05 a.m. They did sunscreen and things like that while they waited to get in. The timing was perfect!
Around 8:25 a.m. they were let in the park. They decided to go straight to Peter Pan’s Flight. They went to the right and then cut through to Peter Pan’s Flight at 8:30 a.m. and it was a walk-on. They were on and off in 15 minutes.
After Peter Pan’s Flight they walked over to it’s a small world and it was a walk-on as well! Heather and her kids love that ride. They went over to Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and it had been down but was back up so it was a walk-on too!
This was their first rollercoaster and they got in line at 9:40 a.m. Heather’s son LOVED it but her daughter wasn’t as thrilled.
When they got off they wanted to do Dumbo the Flying Elephant again and there wasn’t much of a wait, so they did it. Heather liked that they had the option to do things multiple times in a row in the morning.
At this point, Heather wanted to start stacking Lightning Lanes for Epcot that evening. If you are at one park and want to switch to another park later in the day, you can start making lightning lanes for that second park as early as you want. Just keep checking!
They also got a notification that their room was ready. Thankfully it was right where they were told it would be and their car was in the perfect location.
At this point they opted to leave the park to get back to their room to unload. They wanted to get to their room, unpack, and get a little rest. They watched the 50th parade and saw Dapper Dans on their way out.
They got to the bus at 1:30 p.m. On the bus Heather got a message that the popcorn buckets that she’d ordered from Vacation Grocery were delivered.
Their room was in the 50s section and building 1. It was a great location!
They got unpacked and rested in the room. Heather was thrilled to know that the air conditioning worked great in their room!
They left their room for dinner and got on the skyliner to head to Epcot. The skyliner was very convenient especially with a stroller.
It worked great to have a lightning lane for Soarin’ at 6 p.m. They checked in a few minutes early and then went up to their 6:15 p.m. Garden Grill reservation. Heather’s daughter wasn’t quite ready to ride, so Heather and her daughter went up to the restaurant while her son and husband rode.
They were still feeling really good so they decided to get a spot for Harmonious! They LOVED it. The music and the projections were so great.
After the show, they got in line for the Skyliner at 9:30 p.m. and were back to Pop Century in 45 minutes. The line wasn’t terrible, so it wasn’t bad at all.
Epcot (May 13)
They got up and got ready. Heather missed the 7 a.m. option to get their lightning lanes. She learned to set an alarm! She was able to get a 4:10 p.m. lightning lane for Frozen Ever After at 7:20 a.m. She ended up dropping that one later in the day.
They left the room at 7:30 a.m. and went right to the skyliner station. The line was fairly long and they got there later than Heather wanted to, but it ended up being okay.
They got hung up a bit on the tapstiles because the finger recognition didn’t work for Heather’s son. They switched it and they made it Heather’s finger to let him in.
They walked as quickly as they could and went to Frozen Ever After. Everyone else went to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and the line was already very long! On their way to Frozen Ever After, Heather dropped the Lightning Lane she’d gotten for 4:10 p.m. for Frozen Ever After and got a 10 a.m. Soarin’ lightning lane.
Frozen Ever After was a walk-on and it was super cute! They really enjoyed it and Heather decided to hop back on as soon as they got off!
They also did some pin trading and got some popcorn after that. They started walking toward Spaceship Earth but it was down. However, while they were over there, the kids were able to get some pins at the pin shop right there.
Then they started to walk over to Soarin’ and they tapped in at 10:30 a.m. As soon as they did, they got a lightning lane at 11 a.m. for Spaceship Earth.
They got over to Spaceship Earth at 11:20 a.m. and got right on. They then got a Turtle Talk with Crush for 11:30 a.m. They spent some time in the area outside Spaceship Earth before heading to Turtle Talk with Crush.
After Turtle Talk with Crush they got some snacks and walked through the butterfly garden. There were so many butterflies!
It was time for a break so they walked back to the skyliner to head back for a rest. On their way out they got some snacks and met Alice in Wonderland.
Heather was also able to get a Smuggler’s Run lightning lane for earlier in the day.
The break in the middle of the day was wonderful and really helped Heather and her family. It was so nice to take a break from the heat and humidity.
They were back at the room for about 2 hours. On the way back to the room Heather was able to mobile order some chicken fingers to pick up on their way to the room. She also got another lightning lane for Muppet*Vision3D for 4:30 p.m.
They got through security at Hollywood Studios and went right to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They got to see the pre-show but the ride went down after that. They left with an anytime pass and went to Muppet*Vision3D.
They hoped to go to PizzeRizzo for dinner but it was only open until 5 p.m. They walked from there over to Galaxy’s Edge. They got some green milk and popcorn. It was incredible!
They checked in at Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run at 7:15 p.m. and they had their ship to themselves! It was a lot of fun. Heather LOVED this ride.
It was then time for Heather’s husband’s light saber appointment. He and her son did that while Heather and her daughter played with the droids. The weather was very stormy but it held off until after his Savi’s Workshop appointment. They took some great photos
It started pouring and they used their anytime pass at Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Everything in their stroller was completely soaked!
Heather’s husband was able to go into the Den of Antiquities to get accessories for his light saber. He was able to get in right at the park close.
They had a 9 p.m. reservation at Oga’s Cantina and got in very quickly. The kids were very tired and they were at the bar but they made it work. They had a really great time.
They took lots of photos walking out with a mostly empty park. They arrived to the skyliner around 9:45 p.m. but the skyliner was down because of lightning.
Heather’s youngest was asleep in the stroller so they decided to wait about 20 minutes to see if it would come back up. It didn’t so they walked over to the buses and took a bus back to their resort.
Animal Kingdom (May 14)
Early entry was at 7 a.m. and they weren’t there quite as early as Heather wanted, but they did arrive right at 7:15 a.m.
They got to the tapstiles at 7:15 a.m. and walked right in! They grabbed a bubble wand for the kids before going to the Tree of Life.
They were able to get photos in front of the Tree of Light with no people. Then they walked over to Na’vi River Journey without any wait at all. They split up after that and her son and husband went to It’s Tough to be a Bug. Heather and her daughter did some pin trading.
Heather was still trying to get the Up Close with Rhinos tour so they went to the tour area to see if there had been any cancellations. Her daughter got her face painted while her son and husband did DINOSAUR.
They got to the Safaris at 9:10 a.m. and as soon as she tapped in, Heather was able to get a 10 a.m. lightning lane for Festival of the Lion King. They had a really great cast member driving the safari. It was wonderful.
After that they walked around for a while before tapping into the Festival of the Lion King at 9:50 a.m. for a 10 a.m. show. It was great.
They checked in for their 10:45 a.m. Tusker House breakfast. It was wonderful. It took just about an hour and they were the last breakfast seating of the day. The character interaction was really great. Heather also appreciated that it is still family style.
After breakfast they got on the train, got an Animation Experience lightning lane, and went right there! The kids had a great time. They even got the animator’s original drawing!
They did the petting zoo and got a 1:55 p.m. for Kali River Rapids. (Heather was able to change this from 12:45 p.m. when it looked like they would be a bit later.)
Heather went to guest relations because her husband had left his credit card at Oga’s Cantina the night before. They were able to help her while her husband and the kids got some ice cream.
They got in line for TriceraTop Spin at 2 p.m. and then went over to Kali River Rapids. Heather’s daughter was nervous about this ride because she didn’t want to get wet. Thankfully it was so hot that they dried very quickly.
They decided to start heading to the bus. They did some pin trading on their way to the front and got to the bus around 3:15 p.m.
While they waited for the bus, Heather’s children were able to trade pins with another couple waiting for the bus. This was very special.
They got back to their room at 3:45 p.m. and didn’t have much of a plan. They rested for a bit and then got on a bus for Disney Springs at 6 p.m. They needed to go there to get Heather’s husband’s credit card.
They went to the lost and found when they got there. It was very easy to get his card back.
They hoped to do the mini-figure at the LEGO store. They waited a bit to get into the store, but the wait for the mini-figures was 3-4 hours. Heather had tried to get a reservation prior to their trip but they were not able to do that.
Heather also tried to get Gideon’s Bakehouse but the wait was 4 hours and they weren’t adding anyone to the virtual queue.
They were hungry and decided to head toward the bus station. They decided to get on the bus to Caribbean Beach to eat at their quick service. They did that and then got on the skyliner back to Pop Century.
Heather’s son had been coughing a lot today due to his asthma. She’d called their pediatrician and it was recommended that he be seen. They took him to urgent care around 10 p.m. that night.
After being turned away from two urgent care facilities, her son was asleep and his breathing was better. They opted to go back to the resort and go to bed. That was around midnight.
Magic Kingdom (May 15)
Heather was up early to get a 12:30 p.m. lightning lane for Jungle Cruise. It was a frustrating experience because the times changed on her while she was confirming the lightning lane.
They left the room and got to the bus stop at 7:30 a.m. There were some delays with the bus which made the timing perfect. They arrived to Magic Kingdom at 7:55 a.m. and they were right into the park.
From Peter Pan’s Flight they went to it’s a small world and it was a walk-on. Haunted Mansion was their next stop and it had a very low wait time. Heather was concerned about how her children would do on Haunted Mansion. They ended up doing great because Heather told them it was just science!
There was no line for the Prince Charming Regal Carousel so they did that and then got some photos with the Sword and the Stone in that area. Crowds were still pretty low.
At 10:25 a.m. the Mad Tea Party only had a 5 minute wait. Heather’s kids love this ride and love spinning as quickly as possible.
They went over to Journey of the Little Mermaid and there was a posted wait time of 15 minutes. They got on right around 11:30 a.m. Crowds were relatively low because the Magic Kingdom has an early close time.
They started to walk over to their Pirates of the Caribbean Lightning Lane. On their way they stopped in Liberty Square to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade. They tapped in at Pirates of the Caribbean and immediately got a Lightning Lane for the parade later in the day, but ended up canceling that later.
They used their the Magic Carpets of Aladdin Lightning Lane and got a 1:40 p.m. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin lightning lane. The next stop was for the Tiki Room to get out of the heat. While they waited, they mobile ordered some food from Sunshine Tree Terrace.
After enjoying their food, they started walking toward Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. On their way through the hub it was relatively empty. They decided to take some photos in front of the castle and got a spot for the parade!
They didn’t have evening plans but Heather decided to get a lightning lane for Soarin’ for later in the day. They did Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and then Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor. The kids loved it!
After this, they left the park. It was around 4:30 p.m. and there was no wait for the bus to Pop Century. It was very easy to get back to their resort. It was a wonderful Magic Kingdom day!
They got dinner and snacks at the food court at Pop Century and ended up just staying in the room until their 7:45 p.m. Beaches & Cream reservation.
They left the room and went to the skyliner to head to the boardwalk for their reservation. Unfortunately as they got to the skyliner station it was starting to storm and the skyliner shut down. They opted to drive to their reservation.
They waited about 20 minutes before they were seated. Everything was a bit crowded and cast members were overwhelmed.
The food was really good – Heather really loved the grilled cheese and tomato soup. They also got some shakes and enjoyed them.
They wandered around the resort before heading back to their resort.
Epcot (May 16)
Heather got up early to get the Remy’s Individual Lightning Lane. She was able to get a 9:45 a.m. time but when she confirmed, there was a problem with her payment. She went out and got back in and was able to get an 11:40 a.m. Individual Lightning Lane. This was very frustrating.
Heather also got a 10 a.m. Lightning Lane for Soarin’. They left the room around 8:30 a.m. and got to the Skyliner to find out that the Epcot line was down. They were ushered to the buses.
They left Pop Century around 9 a.m. and got to Epcot. They stopped in a shaded spot to do sunscreen and Heather responded to some work phone calls. Their first stop was Soarin’ with their lightning lane.
Their whole family did Soarin’ and Heather’s daughter really enjoyed it! They got in line for the Seas with Nemo and Friends with a 10 minute wait. They looked around the Seas area and did the scavenger hunt. They really enjoyed it.
They headed to the World Showcase and got some ice cream in the France Pavilion. Everything was very good. Their next stop was their Remy’s Individual Lightning Lane. The posted wait time was 90 minutes.
They didn’t wait long to get on the ride – about 15 minutes. They all loved it!
They did the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along next. It had a 15 minutes posted wait but the air conditioning was lovely. The kids really loved it.
They decided to head back to the hotel after lunch to try to swim. The kids really wanted to swim! They rested for a bit and then got to the pool around 6 p.m. The pool wasn’t very crowded.
Heather opted to go to Epcot alone tonight! She took the skyliner to Epcot and was at the World Showcase by 7:50 p.m. She didn’t have much time but she took advantage of the time!
She watched Canada Far and Wide. She tried to do some snacking but the lines were very long! She was able to get a snack in Norway and wandered around in the China pavilion. It was nice to walk around and read everything!
Around 9:10 p.m. Heather got on the skyliner to skip the large crowds. She was able to watch the fireworks from the skyliner. Heather was really glad that she was able to go alone!
Hollywood Studios (May 17)
Heather got up early ready to get a Lightning Lane for Slinky Dog Dash. She was able to get 3:30 p.m. She then went to get a Individual Lightning Lane for Rise for the Resistance. The time changed on her again from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. before she was able to confirm.
They left the room around 7:15 a.m. and were through the tapstiles around 7:40 a.m. They went straight to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They did some pin trading on their way because the kids really wanted to do that.
They got to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at 7:50 a.m. The line looked very long and there was a slight delay to the opening. Around 8:20 a.m. the ride went down and it would be a while before it came back up. They got out of line to go somewhere else.
They headed toward Toy Story Mania and waited in line. They got on the ride at 8:45 a.m. and while they waited in line Heather placed a mobile order for Woody’s Lunch Box. After Toy Story Mania they went over to Alien Swirling Saucers.
At this point, Heather was noticing that her son was being very clingy and they decided it was time to split up. Heather took her son back to the resort to rest and her husband and daughter stayed in the park.
Heather went back toward the front of the park to leave. Unfortunately Heather’s husband wasn’t set up to make lightning lanes for the kids but they were able to do everything via standby without issue.
Heather left the park at 10:40 a.m. and was at the food court at Pop Century by 10:55 a.m. Heather got some food for her son and was back toward the room by 11:40 a.m.
While her son was resting, Heather was able to get a 1:55 p.m. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Her husband and daughter were able to do whatever she wanted back at Hollywood Studios! They saw some shows, got some snacks, and met characters.
Heather’s son was doing much better after some rest. They left the room at 1:17 p.m. and got to Rise of the Resistance by 1:40 p.m.! She was amazed that she was able to get there so quickly.
They loved Rise of the Resistance! Her daughter was nervous but Heather told her that it was all just pretend.
They tapped into their Lightning Lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and as soon as they did they got a 3:30 p.m. Lightning Lane for Frozen Sing-along. They loved Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway!
They got some snacks and did some pin trading before heading to Frozen Sing-along. They were excited about the air conditioning and loved the historians. Their next stop was Slinky Dog Dash. Heather didn’t want to ride but she did wait in the line with her family.
Heather’s husband was able to ride twice – once with each kid – so that he could ride next to each kid. Heather’s daughter was a little too scared to sit alone or just with her brother. Heather doesn’t like the drops of Slinky Dog Dash.
At this point they had done everything they wanted to do and decided to shop their way back to the skyliner.
Magic Kingdom (May 18)
Heather got up early to make her lightning lane reservations. She was trying to also get an Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. When she was about to confirm, there was another problem with her payment. However she was finally able to get one at 10:45 a.m. for the whole family.
She also got a Jungle Cruise for 2 p.m. as well. They left the room at 7:35 a.m. and the line for the bus was very long!
They got on the bus quickly and were through the tapstiles by 8:20 a.m. The goal was to do whatever anyone wanted and do things multiple times if they wanted. The key was flexibility.
They got to Peter Pan’s Flight by 8:40 a.m. They were able to ride twice in a row with very little wait.
They went to Mickey’s PhilharMagic next and then took some photos. They did some shopping after that and went over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They were on in 5 minutes with a posted wait time of 80 minutes.
They LOVED Mine Train! They got a Haunted Mansion lightning lane for later that afternoon. They got some ice cream and walked on Mad Tea Party. Around 12 p.m. they wanted to do Monsters Inc, Laugh Floor. Before that they did Tomorrowland Speedway because the kids hadn’t done it yet.
They got to their Liberty Tree Tavern at 1:10 p.m. for their lunch reservation. They hadn’t been there before but she hoped that it was a win for everyone. It was a good choice and worked well.
They went to Jungle Cruise at 2:30 p.m. The wait time was 60 minutes but they walked right on. Then they walked on to the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. While they were on, they had to get off because someone stood up on the ride while it was on.
From there they went through the Swiss Family Treehouse and then went to their 3:30 p.m. Haunted Mansion. There was a 45 minute posted wait, but they only waited about 5 minutes. They got some magic shots on their way out.
They took an air conditioning break and did Hall of Presidents. The kids were even interested in that! They went to the Ye Ole Christmas Shoppe next to get a personalized ornament and get their buttons personalized.
They went to Country Bears Jamboree. Her husband and son got waters and didn’t get back in time so they watched a cavalcade while Heather and her daughter did Country Bears Jamboree. Heather and her daughter were also able to catch the cavalcade.
Their next stop was to see the princesses. Heather also got a lightning lane for Journey of the Little Mermaid. It started raining when they got out. They did Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor next, both with lightning lanes.
They finally rode the PeopleMover next right at 6:50 p.m. as a walk-on twice in a row! While on PeopleMover Heather mobile ordered Pinnoccio’s Village Haus for dinner. Heather got the food while her husband and kids got a spot for fireworks.
The fireworks were very crowded. This was the first time that Heather felt uncomfortable with the number of people crowded in on them. She wishes she had gotten reservations for the dessert party in order to give them some more space.
They got some lantern photos and then got back to the bus and were back to the resort quickly!
Departure (May 19)
They woke up and packed the room. They lost track of time and got on the skyliner a little bit late, but they did arrive at Topolino’s Terrace at 9:25 a.m. for their 9:15 a.m. reservation.
They had a great breakfast and really enjoyed it. After breakfast they went back to their room to finish packing before heading out.
They went to Disney Springs around 12 p.m. and went right to the Lego store. They got on line to design their own mini figures. While they waited about 45 minutes for that, they were able to get cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse.
They did some shopping and got silhouettes of the kids very quickly before heading out. They made great time getting back home and were home in 10 hours or so.
- For rides that you’d like to ride multiple times, save your one LL/day for when the waits are longer, and choose standby while waits are low
- Can get alerts for tours (and other things) from MouseWatcher
- Epcot and Animal Kingdom G+ not as important as ILLs
- PizzeRizzo closes at 5 p.m most days
- Heather pre-made Droid bags that she ordered on Amazon and put LED lights in so her children’s Droids would glow in Galaxy’s Edge at night
- Heather and her husband worked while they were on their trip. While they are away, they have it set to ring their cell phones when someone calls. They would take calls during breaks, on lines, etc.
- If your phone dies in the park, pick up a fuel rod to charge it!
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