An extended family trip to Disney World to celebrate the winter holidays while pregnant, with a toddler, a split stay, lots of character meals, and navigating Genie+ for the first time all in one trip? That was Jackie’s adventure. She highlights the difference cast members make and shares many firsts for their toddler son, including true magical moments.
Post trip begins: 37 minutes
Jackie, her husband, their almost 2 year old son, and their extended family traveled to Disney World December 2-7. Jackie’s husband’s family are long-time Disney World travelers. This trip included her mother in law, father in law, sisters in law, and niece.
Jackie and her family rented DVC points and had a split stay. The first few days of her trip were at the Polynesian and the last few days were at the Boardwalk. Jackie’s son has some food allergies and she is 14 weeks pregnant, so they had some things to accommodate.
Jackie’s in-laws stayed at Pop Century in two rooms. They were also celebrating her mother in law’s 60th birthday. They are all Disney World planners and had meetings to plan their trip. The family balanced doing things together and separating to do their own things.
Arrival (December 2)
Jackie and her family had a very early flight and left their house at 4:30 a.m. They tried to have her son sleep in the car but he was too excited.
They picked up Jackie’s in-laws on the way to the airport. Their flight was uneventful and Jackie mobile ordered Starbucks as soon as they got off the plane. There wasn’t a long line for Starbucks which was nice.
Quicksilver texted them before they landed and waited for them at baggage claim. Her in-laws took Mears to their resort. While they were going to baggage claim, Jackie’s son fell asleep in the stroller and continued sleeping in the car on the way to the resort.
They got a suburban and didn’t pay for that vehicle but weren’t charged an up-charge. It was $290 for Quicksilver for their family, which is more expensive than other options but it was worth it for them.
They got to the Polynesian at 11:50 a.m. At that time, her in-laws were still waiting to get in their Mears, which was a very long wait! Especially with a child, this was a wonderful way to get to their resort.
This was their first time staying at the Polynesian and it was wonderful. They had a room that viewed the castle, which was really nice and magical. Their room was ready immediately and they were able to check in at the front desk.
Their plan was to go to Epcot but they made a mistake of getting on the Monorail at the Polynesian rather than walking to the TTC, which would have been faster.
They got to Epcot and ordered pizza at Connections Eatery. Jackie notes that when you order pizza, you get two slices so they had some extra pizza.
Their next stop was Finding Nemo and Friends and the Aquarium. It was really special and her son loved it. After that, they went to the Land Pavilion and met with the rest of the family to do Living with the Land.
Their next stop was Journey of Water. Jackie’s son and niece had the very best time. Her son got completely soaked and loved it.
They ended up all leaving Epcot together and they went back to their room. They placed a mobile Captain Cook’s food order and an instant cart order at the same time. Her husband was able to pick everything up in the lobby together.
They watched the fireworks from the balcony in their room. Her son wasn’t super interested in the fireworks. After the Electrical Water Pageant, they all went to bed.
Jackie’s son slept in a pack ‘n play with a Sleeping Pod and white noise machine.
Animal Kingdom (December 3)
After Kilimanjaro Safaris, Jackie used Standby Skipper to book Festival of the Lion King. They went to DinoLand next before the show. Jackie said that it wasn’t necessarily worth it to use a lightning lane because they were just with the standby line.
By Festival of the Lion King show at 10 a.m. Jackie’s son isn’t feeling well. Jackie wanted to get a virtual pediatrician appointment for her son to see how he was doing. Thankfully she was able to do that. She and her son got back to the resort at 11:30 a.m.
Her son wasn’t doing well and she just wanted to get back to the room. Thankfully her son didn’t have a fever. They got back to the room just in time to speak with the doctor. He was a different kid as soon as they got to the room.
The doctor thought it was allergies so he called in allergy medicine for him. Jackie was really worried about him and was thankful it was just allergies. After his nap and medicine, they went to Magic Kingdom.
Their next stop was Magic Carpets of Aladdin. They went to the front of the park to go to the Contemporary for their dinner reservation. It was a Christmas party night so leaving the park was very chaotic.
They have a reservation at Steakhouse 71. They got a Cinderella birthday cake from the Contemporary bakery to be delivered for dinner.
They walked to the Contemporary and made it with plenty of time for their 5:35 p.m. reservation. Her sister in law had made the reservation and made it for 7 people and an infant. However, you need to include the children in the count.
They were seated at two separate tables, which was very upsetting for Jackie’s sisters in law. They didn’t get seated until 6 p.m. and then they didn’t receive their drinks until 6:25 p.m. The food was just okay for Jackie.
Their server was really wonderful. At 7:53 p.m. the server asked if they were going to order dessert. Jackie’s sister in law was surprised because they had a cake ordered. 20 minutes later, they had lost the special cake. Their solution was to just get another cake, which wasn’t going to work.
They didn’t come back for a while. At this point, Jackie is ready to leave without having cake. Jackie went to the hostess stand to ask about it and make sure it was resolved quickly because of the two toddlers. They found the cake but it took them another 20 minutes to receive it at the table.
They were invited to stay until 10 p.m. to see the fireworks on the roof. Everyone else had plans so they said no. Jackie’s father in law planned to pay for the meal, but her sister in law asked for the check for the cake. The server was told, “Don’t worry about it.” which made her think it was going to be complimentary.
However, the server just put the cake bill on the tab for her father in law. This was very disappointing. The cast member that was the manager that evening, had very poor communication was start to finish.
It wasn’t until after 8:30 p.m. that Jackie said she needed to leave with their son. Her husband left as well but he spoke with his mom at 9:15 p.m. and they had just left. It took them a long time to receive the check.
Their server was really wonderful but they will not be back because of this experience.
Magic Kingdom (December 4)
Jackie got Genie+ for $27 around 6 p.m. and went for a jog. She did a little workout on the beach which was lovely.
They plan to rope drop Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at 8:50 a.m. Jackie’s son absolutely loved the queue. At 9 a.m. Jackie got a lightning lane for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. As soon as they scanned in, she got a lightning lane for Tomorrowland Speedway.
They did Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and then her husband and son did Tomorrowland Speedway. Even with the lightning lane, they waited 20 minutes. While they rode, Jackie got herself a strawberry smoothie.
Their next stop was Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. He loved this as well! Jackie had a lightning lane for Dumbo so they did that next. The line for meeting Donald and Goofy was only 10 minutes.
Jackie wasn’t sure how this would go, but he loved it and it was so magical. He was so into Goofy and was a little hesitant with Donald. He played in the splash pad before walking out of the park to the Monorail to the TTC.
They got Kona Cafe for lunch. They also had the idea to get Easy Mac for her son in the room, which was much less expensive than any other option for him.
While he took a nap, Jackie got herself ready for photos. They arrived for Jackie’s son’s first hair cut appointment with Colleen at 4 p.m. Harmony Barber Shop was absolutely delightful. She had bubbles and stickers to occupy him.
Jackie notes that you are able to tip at Harmony Barber Shop. After his haircut, they got a blue balloon for their photoshoot. They went to Town Square to check in for their Capture the Moment photoshoot at 4:45 p.m.
They were told when they checked in that they need to go to Sir Mickey’s to check in. However, they called over to have they ready when they arrived.
The photographer was absolutely wonderful. She took great photos at really great spots in Fantasyland.
At 5:35 p.m. they had a lightning lane for Haunted Mansion but they opted to get dinner at Columbia Harbour House. Jackie highly recommends the holiday salmon. They caught the end of the Frozen Stage Show on their way to the dessert party.
Then they have a 6:30 p.m. dessert party reservation. Because of their son, they got the pre-fireworks dessert party. The whole family went together.
Jackie was a little disappointed that there weren’t very many savory options and only two cheese options. She said if she could drink, it might have been better.
They didn’t rush to get a spot for fireworks and were at the back near the railing, which ended up being perfect. Jackie’s son had headphones which worked perfectly. It was absolutely magical and memorable for Jackie.
Jackie and her family left the park and were able to hop on the ferry and get right to their room. Her in-laws opted to wait because they didn’t want to have to deal with the wait for the buses.
Rest Day (December 5)
The whole family had a breakfast reservation at 8:30 a.m. at Ohana. About 45 minutes prior, Jackie realized she couldn’t find her engagement ring. She knew it was in the ring so she opted to skip breakfast to search the room.
She went to the front desk, nearly in tears, to ask about a metal wand to see if she could find it. The cast member wasn’t busy doing anything else, but wasn’t very helpful. She just told her to fill out a form for lost and found.
She went to security to ask them. They were so sympathetic and kind. They didn’t have one that they could give her, so they sent her to the security office to see if she could get one. They even walked her to the office so she would find it.
Unfortunately they didn’t have one there for her. The security cast member was so sad that there wasn’t anything they could do. Jackie went back to the room and searched everything again and finally found it.
Jackie’s husband brought food back for her and they left their room around 10 a.m. to play at the splash pad. They left their bags at bell services and stayed at the splash pad until 12 p.m. or so.
They opted to take an Uber XL because it was significantly cheaper than a Minnie Van. Jackie ended up taking her son on the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom and then a bus to the Boardwalk while her husband took an Uber with their bags.
Her son fell asleep in the stroller again and they got lunch at the Boardwalk Deli. It was a beautiful day and was just lovely on the boardwalk. They waited for their room to be ready.
Jackie thought she would be sad to leave the Polynesian but ended up really loving the Boardwalk. Her husband went to Magic Kingdom and she took the Skyliner to Sebastian’s Bistro. Her son did not love the Skyliner, but their meal was wonderful.
The meal was plant-based and pregnancy-friendly. When they got back to the resort, they played with the lawn games and he ran around for a bit.
Jackie put Cars on her phone to help him on the Skyliner back to their resort. Jackie also notes that the pillows at the Boardwalk were much more fluffy and she liked that.
Jackie’s husband got back around 12:15 a.m. after the Christmas Party with his family. He was able to ride Tron with his dad, which was so fun. Jackie’s sisters in law left with her niece around 10 p.m. because she was melting down. Jackie was glad that she didn’t end up going with their son.
Jackie’s husband had some treats and was able to ride on the rides he couldn’t have earlier. The hot cocoa was just wonderful.
Epcot (December 6)
Jackie’s son woke up at 5 a.m. which was especially difficult for her husband who was up late the night before. At 8:10 a.m. they mobile ordered breakfast from the Boardwalk Deli. It took a little while before it was ready, but they finally got it.
At 8:45 a.m. they got to Epcot and met her in-laws. They waited about 45 minutes at park opening for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It was a long wait, but her son loved it.
At 10 a.m. they rode Spaceship Earth and then went to Journey into Imagination. Her son loved it. He also got to meet Figment and Joy. The line for Figment was very long but they were able to walk right up for Joy. Her son didn’t have any issues with either character.
At 11:22 a.m. they got a lightning lane for Soarin’. Her in-laws watched her son while she and her husband rode Soarin’. Jackie did have some confusion because she thought she had a lightning lane for Frozen Ever After later but it was her sisters in law.
She got to the queue and was told she didn’t have a lightning lane, but her in-laws did. Her son was so sad about it because his cousin was able to ride. Jackie opted to just leave the park and walked out. She was back to her room in 7 minutes.
Her son napped and she started making their Christmas cards. Her husband stayed at the park riding rides. He got salmon for Jackie on his way out. They ate lunch on the balcony while her son napped.
They took the boat to Hollywood Studios which took a long time. They went to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway first with a lightning lane and her son loved it. They went to Toy Story Mania next and he seemed over-stimulated.
They went to meet Buzz Lightyear next. The line wasn’t long and her son loves Buzz. As her son was leaving he said, “To Infinity and Beyond” which was just adorable!
After meeting Buzz, they had a Roundup Rodeo reservation. Jackie thought the food was good. The theming was also really fun. They also had a really great server with wonderful energy.
They left their meal at 6:55 p.m. and wanted to do Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy but it ended at 7 p.m. They took the boat to meet the rest of their family. They didn’t end up getting off the boat until 7:45 p.m. After a diaper situation and wardrobe change, they opted to continue to stay out.
They met the family at the international gateway. Some of the family had Cosmic Rewind queues. Jackie offered to take the toddlers to Gran Fiesta Tour. Unfortunately they had to wait for the concert to parade through. They didn’t get to Gran Fiesta Tour until 8:25 p.m. and her niece was already asleep.
Jackie’s husband wanted to stay for the fireworks but they weren’t until 9:30 p.m. so Jackie opted to take her son back to the room. Jackie’s son was very disappointed to be leaving the rest of the family.
However, Jackie was able to see the opening of the Candlelight Processional with Neil Patrick Harris, which was just wonderful. Her husband stayed in the park until about 9:30 p.m. Her husband walked to the room and her in-laws were still waiting on a skyliner.
Hollywood Studios (December 7)
Jackie woke up at 6 a.m. and did laundry. She also was able to work out in the gym, which was so nice. Jackie went to Carousel Coffee on the Boardwalk. It was small but really nice. They also had allergy friendly food.
They walked to Hollywood Studios and they were in the park within 15 minutes! This was very quick. They went right to Toy Story Mania. They took photos on Sunset Boulevard before going to the Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
The rest of the family arrived around 10 a.m. and they went right to meet Buzz. At 10:40 a.m. they met Jessie and Woody. The line was long and very slow. It took about 1 hour to get through the line.
Some of the group had Slinky Dog Dash lightning lanes and while they did that, Jackie and her son did Alien Swirling Saucers. Jackie’s niece rode Slinky Dog Dash earlier in the week but the cast member made her take her hair down. Her niece was very upset being measured as well so they decided not to ride.
Her husband and his family did all of Galaxy’s Edge. They were able to ride Rise of the Resistance. Her son slept and then they went back to the park at 3 p.m.
They walked and were back at Hollywood Studios at 3:15 p.m. Jackie decided to go to Olaf first but ended up waiting about 30 minutes to meet him. It wasn’t the very best interaction.
At 4:30 p.m. everyone had a lightning lane for Toy Story Mania. They arrived a few minutes early but they were graciously allowed to enter together. Jackie’s in-laws left after that and her family went to their 4:50 p.m. Hollywood Brown Derby Fantasmic package.
After dinner they tried to meet some characters, but the characters stopped meeting at 5 p.m. and they didn’t get out of dinner until after 6 p.m. They were able to see Santa, though! There was no wait at all.
Her son was good with Fantasmic but did get a little scared during the villain portion because it was so long. He was concerned about where Mickey was.
Her in-laws were also at Fantasmic at the same time but they were all the way to the side and it took them a very long time to get out of the theater and then get to the skyliner.
Jackie and her family were in the middle of the theater so they were able to get out quickly. They went out by Tower of Terror and walked right back to their resort.
Magic Kingdom (December 8)
Jackie woke up and went to the gym at the resort. She got coffee from the Boardwalk Deli before getting on the skyliner to head to the Riviera.
This morning they had plans for everyone to have breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace. They arrived at 8:20 a.m. which gave their son plenty of time to play in the grass again.
Their reservation was at 8:45 a.m. and it was amazing. The food was absolutely delicious. Jackie had a mocktail which was really fun as well.
After breakfast they took a bus at 10:43 a.m. to the Magic Kingdom. Everyone was wearing a matching shirt and Jackie’s mother in law wanted to get a photo in front of the castle.
The Magic Kingdom was very crowded. Everyone who wanted to ride TRON had a boarding group for later. While they did that, Jackie, her sister in law, mother in law, niece and son went to Mickey’s Philharmagic. The little ones really loved it.
After that they had some photos taken in front of the carousel. Jackie’s son has never liked a carousel before but he asked to ride it. Unfortunately it was down so while they waited, they got photos with the Sword in the Stone.
Jackie and her son rode on the carousel. He did not like it at all and screamed. At that point, her husband was done with TRON and they met to get a photo of the three of them together.
Jackie’s husband went to the Polynesian to get an ornament while Jackie took a bus with her son back to the Boardwalk. The bus was very crowded and her son was over it. It was a very difficult bus ride.
When they got back to the resort they went to the pool for a bit. Jackie’s mother and father in law came to the Boardwalk to watch Jackie’s son.
She and her husband got ready and went back to Topolino’s for dinner. It was a great day! Jackie said that dinner was really wonderful and totally different from breakfast.
Jackie had a piece of sole fish and it was a very large portion. Everything was so delicious. They split the ricotta appetizer and the opera cake for dessert.
They took the skyliner back to their resort to put their son to bed.
Magic Kingdom (December 9)
Jackie packed the day before while her son napped, so they were all packed up. Jackie’s son woke up at 5:30 a.m. and she pushed their 12:30 p.m. lunch reservation to 11 a.m. knowing that her son wasn’t going to make it until 12:30 p.m.
Jackie purchased Genie+ and got a Haunted Mansion lightning lane. That morning, Jackie’s in-laws switched their plans to take Quicksilver with Jackie’s family. So that morning they arrived to the Boardwalk with their luggage and went to Magic Kingdom together.
They got on a bus at 7:50 a.m. and arrived at Magic Kingdom at 8:20 a.m. They went right to Haunted Mansion. Her son was completely fine on the ride but when they got off he said he didn’t like it. Jackie thinks it was the drop that he didn’t like.
Jackie was able to really churn lightning lanes because they weren’t using them on the most popular rides. This was a great time-saver and they didn’t have to wait in lines.
By 11:10 a.m. they had done so many rides and went to their breakfast reservations at Crystal Palace. Jackie really enjoyed her meal and her son ate really well.
They had some good character interactions, thanks to their server. They initially missed Pooh so the server was able to make that happen.
After their meal, they wanted to do some shopping. Jackie was disappointed that there were so few customizable Christmas ornaments. They were able to get several to remind them of their trip.
Jackie’s son fell asleep in the stroller and her husband wanted to go to Carousel of Progress while her son napped, but he did have to come out of the stroller for that. Her husband loves Carousel of Progress so he did that while she waited with their son in the stroller.
Jackie’s mother in law wanted to ride on the trail so she walked back to Storybook Circus to take the train to get their customized ornaments. Her husband was stuck in a scene at Carousel of Progress so they saw Goofy again.
They finally got to the train, but it took a while. It was 4 p.m. when they finally got their ornaments. They got the second bus to the Boardwalk and got their luggage. When they did, they couldn’t find their travel bag. The cast members were so helpful.
They took Quicksilver back to MCO and they were able to go through the handicapped line with the stroller. Their flight wasn’t until 7:30 p.m. and it was very smooth. They didn’t have any delays and were able to get right home.
- Jackie watched fireworks videos and ride videos with her son to prepare. She thinks this really helped with his experience.
- When you are doing a split-stay, be sure to plan your parks based on where you are staying. This was so convenient for Jackie and her family.
- You can get Grapefruit beer in other places outside of Epcot. Jackie’s husband got some during Fantasmic.
- Guide to traveling to Disney World with a toddler
- Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar
- Quicksilver Tours and Transportation
- Disney World Touring Strategies
- 6 Step Disney World Planning Process
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