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Joanna and Kacey’s Offsite Birthday Trip – PREP 355

Joanna and Kacey’s Offsite Birthday Trip – PREP 355

Joanna and Kacey chat with Shannon about their 30th birthday trip to Walt Disney World in an off-site AirBnB they shared with several friends. They share strategies for traveling with a variety of adults which included coordinating various groups during park days, key dining reservations, a rest day celebrating Kacey’s birthday, and ending the vacation with a comprehensive challenge. 

The Basics

Joanna and Kacey are good friends traveling to Disney World for Kacey’s 30th birthday. They are staying offsite because they have other friends joining them for different portions of their trip. Staying offsite also gives them the opportunity to all have their own rooms. 

Joanna and Kacey are staying April 14-20 and have 4 day park hoppers. They have traveled together to Disney several times but have others joining them with less Disney experience. 

They are not planning on renting a car and will use rideshare because of varying schedules. Kacey has a friend that lives in the Orlando area and will be picking them up from the airport. She has also offered to drive them at other times. 

This was the first time that they purchased Memory Maker for their trip. They did this because it was a special trip and they had so many people rotating in and out of their group. Kacey and Joanna both said that they were really glad that they had it.

Arrival (April 14)

Kacey and Joanna had planned to work and then fly out of LaGuardia around 5 p.m., but their flight was continually delayed.

They flew Jet Blue and there were major delays, which was stressful. Their flight was delayed several times, but they did get on their flight and made it to MCO. 

Thankfully, their friend who was picking them up from the airport was gracious and picked up their mobile Target order before getting them from the airport. 

Kacey’s sister was also flying in that evening. Because their flight was so delayed, her sister’s flight arrived at the same time. 

They arrived at the condo and decorated for Kacey’s birthday before going to bed. Their friend had the decorations with her as well that Joanna had shipped to her prior to the trip. 

They did purchase Genie+ at midnight for the next day and set up Standby Skipper. They also scheduled a car to pick them up for 7 a.m. 

The condo had 4 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms, which was perfect for them and their friends.

Animal Kingdom (April 15)

Originally they’d planned to go to Epcot this morning in order to get a virtual queue spot for Cosmic Rewind. However, they realized that they could potentially get an individual lightning lane without issue. 

They were up around 6:30 a.m. and were picked up a little bit early. They arrived at Animal Kingdom at 7:20 a.m. and Standby Skipper had booked a lightning lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris

They were at the very front of the line to get into Animal Kingdom and they went to the right because they were not part of the Early Theme Park Entry. They waited about 30 minutes to get in at 8 a.m.

Their first stop was Flight of Passage and the queue wasn’t that bad at all at 8 a.m. The posted wait time was 45 minutes. They hoped that they wouldn’t be on the ride right at 9 a.m. because they wanted to get Individual Lightning Lanes for Tron and Cosmic Rewind

Joanna was able to book both of the Individual Lightning Lanes while waiting for the preshow. It was very exciting and successful. 

They also switched the Lightning Lane for the Safari to Na’vi River Journey to ride immediately after Flight of Passage. They were then able to get another lightning lane for the Safari for later in the day.

After exploring Pandora, they went to Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast. They were also stacking lightning lanes for Epcot for later in the day. They were using Standby Skipper to get lightning lanes, but they often moved the times for those.

Their next stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris and then they got right in for the 11 a.m. Festival of the Lion King. They were very quick because they didn’t want to have to wait another hour. 

They left Festival of the Lion King and got some water and a pretzel in Asia. They wanted to be sure that they were drinking lots of water. 

They went to Expedition Everest and did the single rider line. The cast member was wonderful and said, “You are the line.” They got right on and were even in the same ride vehicle. 

After Expedition Everest they got some drinks and relaxed a bit before going to Finding Nemo: The Musical. They LOVE this show and they were excited to see the new version. Then they went to ride DINOSAUR

They left Animal Kingdom and were on a bus at 2 p.m. to go to Epcot. They were hungry and went to Connections Eatery for some lunch as soon as they arrived. They ordered off of the kids menu which was really wonderful. 

They had their Cosmic Rewind lightning lane for that afternoon and got in line next. Standby Skipper was able to book them a Test Track Lightning Lane while they waited. 

They LOVED Cosmic Rewind. They went to Spaceship Earth and rode standby. They used their Test Track lightning lane next and it didn’t go well.

They got on the ride and the ride broke down at the seat belt check. They broke down at every single test. The lights came on each time. They spent almost an hour just on Test Track. Thankfully they were given a multiple experience pass for later.

Their hope was to do Soarin’ next but they didn’t have time before their Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure lightning lane. They were getting tired and let go of a Frozen Ever After lightning lane to slowly walk around the World Showcase. 

By 7:20 p.m. they started toward the monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom. The weather was starting to turn at this point as well. They booked a lightning lane for Space Mountain on their way. 

After Space Mountain, they got a spot in the hub to watch Happily Ever After. The weather was pretty terrible and a storm was rolling in. At 9 p.m. they started with announcements that it would be delayed.

They waited it out and the show started at 9:45 p.m. The show was amazing even though Tinker Bell didn’t fly. 

After the show they had a lightning lane for Tron. They loved riding at night but did feel it was very short. After Tron they took the monorail to the Contemporary to get a Lyft. They originally requested an Uber and it was canceled several times. 

They got on the Monorail at 10:40 p.m. and they were picked up at 11:12 p.m. It was quiet and easy to get their ride back to the condo. 

They were back to the condo at 11:45 p.m. and they purchased Genie+ at midnight for the next day. A new friend joined the group tonight, so there would be 4 people in their party for tomorrow. 

Magic Kingdom (April 16)

They were up at 7 a.m. to book lightning lanes. They got a Tron virtual queue and ended up with boarding group 24. Standby Skipper also booked a lightning lane for them for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Their car picked them up at 7:45 a.m. to go to the Ticket and Transportation Center. They took the ferry to the Magic Kingdom at 8:15 a.m. 

They entered the park and were able to get Starbucks and watch the castle show while waiting to get into the park. They planned to wait by Tron because at park opening they opened queues 1-18. 

They were called for their boarding group at 9:42 a.m. It was fun! Then they rode some rides in Tomorrowland. They switched their Standby Skipper also booked a lightning lane for them for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to Space Mountain lightning lane. They did some Tomorrowland rides before getting a cinnamon roll at Gaston’s Tavern.  

After their snack, they did Kacey’s favorite – Haunted Mansion! They had a lightning lane for this and Joanna was churning through lightning lanes. 

Their next stop was Pirates of the Caribbean before getting a spot at Pecos Bills to watch the Festival of Fantasy parade at 12:30 p.m. 

It was very hot so they got Dole Whips for lunch. Kacey got Pecos Bills for lunch. 

They went to Standby Skipper also booked a lightning lane for them for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and used a lightning lane. Then they got some amazing photos in front of the castle. 

They took time to shop around Main Street before 2 p.m. when it was time to park hop. They were on their way to Hollywood Studios at 1:50 p.m.

The weather was turning again and the sky was dark. They got on Tower of Terror when they first arrived using a lightning lane. When they got off, the sky opened up and it was raining. They took cover in one of the restaurants right outside Tower of Terror.

Joanna got a snack of a plant-based lobster roll and she didn’t love it. While they are waiting for the rain to stop, a friend met them as well. 

Their main goal was to get to Galaxy’s Edge. They wandered their way stopping during the rain and by the time they got to Galaxy’s Edge it had stopped raining. 

They had an Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance. They’d previously made sure that everyone in their group was already connected in My Disney Experience. They never had any trouble with that. 

Everyone loved Rise of the Resistance and the immersive experience. The posted wait was only 25 minutes in the standby line so Kacey and her sister got in line again to ride. They only waited about 10 minutes! 

They had a slightly different experience and loved it. After they got off, they met their group and did Smuggler’s Run together. They loved this experience because it was just them! 

Toy Story Mania was their next stop and they enjoyed it. A few of them did Tower of Terror because their was no wait at all. They did some shopping while they waited. 

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway had been down previously. After Tower of Terror they came back together and used their pass. They all loved it.

Then they got dinner at Backlot Express, which was a great option for everyone. A few then went to Star Tours before they all went to get seats for Fantasmic

They got their seats about 30 minutes before the show began. The show started at 8:30 p.m. They had a great time. 

After Fantasmic they had a reservation for Oga’s Cantina. Getting out of Fantasmic was a chore and they were fairly tired with sore feet walking over to Oga’s Cantina. They enjoyed this but weren’t thrilled to have a standing table.

They split up to leave the park because some of them needed a bit more time to get to the front of the park. They really enjoyed walking through Galaxy’s Edge and Hollywood Studios at night and empty! 

On the way home, they discussed the idea of not going back to Hollywood Studios. They’d done all of the rides they wanted to do so they switched their park reservation for the 18th from Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom. 

Kacey’s Birthday (April 17)

Another friend joined them so they had the largest group for this day. They woke up to a huge thunderstorm and they were very glad they weren’t rope dropping a park. 

They had a leisurely breakfast and watched a Disney movie. They had nowhere to be and they went to the community pool for about an hour. 

Kacey’s friends arranged a photoshoot at the condo and they had such a great time. They had scheduled a car to pick them up around 5 p.m. to go to Disney Springs. 

When they arrived at Disney Springs they did some shopping. They were able to make Mini Figs without a reservation. 

They had dinner reservations for Wine Bar George at 7:30 p.m. They went over to Gideon’s just before dinner and the wait was about 45 minutes so they opted to come back after dinner.

There were 6 of them for dinner and they sat downstairs. It was a lovely dinner. Everyone got drinks and some of them got food. Everything they got was delicious

After dinner they went back to Gideon’s and the wait was only 20 minutes. They split up and did a few different things. 

On the way back to Disney Springs, they had a scary Uber ride that was very fast and unsafe. Thankfully, they got back safely and purchased Genie+ for the next day. 

Animal Kingdom (April 18)

That morning they got a virtual queue for Cosmic Rewind for their friend who had just arrived. He would be spending his whole day at Epcot. They got group 10 for him so he went off to Epcot right when it opened.

They also purchased an Individual Lightning Lane for themselves for Cosmic Rewind as well. Their car picked them up at 7:05 a.m. to go to Animal Kingdom. 

Their day was mostly the same as their previous day at Animal Kingdom. Their first stop was Flight of Passage again, but this time it didn’t break down so they were on and off quickly. 

They did Kilimanjaro Safaris before the 10 a.m. Festival of the Lion King. They got some coffee before taking the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. They were able to do the Animation Experience and thought it was so cool.

Expedition Everest was down so they decided to get lunch at Satu’li Canteen. They loved their lunch and there were great options. 

It was after 1 p.m. and Expedition Everest was still down. Because of that, the line for DINOSAUR was very long. They didn’t want to wait for them, so they decided to park hop to Epcot.

They had stacked lightning lanes for Epcot and went straight to Soarin’ to use their lightning lane. They met with their other friend and he was having a great time at Epcot. They had great seats. 

Living with the Land was their next stop and it was especially beautiful thanks to Flower and Garden Festival. They did Journey into Imagination next all together and it broke down. 

Then they split up before their individual lightning lane for Cosmic Rewind. A few of them did Turtle Talk with Crush and a few did the orange side of Mission: SPACE

They met up again and took more photos before entering their lightning lane for Cosmic Rewind. They scanned in and the line was already so long. 

They waited at the preshow for a very long time and half of the loading area weren’t moving. They were able to ride and it was fun. 

Their next stop was Frozen Ever After before wandering around the World Showcase. They split up to get different snacks and drinks. 

They all got the food that they wanted and went to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. It went down for a bit so they walked around waiting for it to come back up. 

One friend wanted to see Happily Ever After so she went to the monorail and went to the Magic Kingdom. The rest of the group went to the Boardwalk for pizza and went to AbracadaBar for drinks. 

While they are walking around they made plans for the next day. Until then, their plans had been up in the air. It was just Kacey, Joanna, and one friend. They decided to go to Magic Kingdom, stay their all day, and ride all of the rides.

Magic Kingdom Challenge (April 19)

They really like the days at each park to be even. They really like the opportunity to park hop because it means that you aren’t always saying goodbye when you leave because there’s a chance to go back! 

But they decided to do something out of character and stay at Magic Kingdom all day! They purchased Genie+ in the morning and they got group 12 for Tron that morning. 

Their morning looked the same as it did on their last day at Magic Kingdom – they booked an Uber, arrived at the TTC, took the ferry to the Magic Kingdom, got coffee, and watched the stage show.

But then their boarding group was called for Tron much earlier. Their group was called and they rode Tron – everything was very smooth. After that they went to AstroOrbiter because there wasn’t a lightning lane and they knew the line could be long. 

Then they did Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland Speedway, PeopleMover, and Mad Teaparty. They were just about done with Tomorrowland and they stopped for lunch at Columbia Harbour House.

After a nice lunch they rode on it’s a small world and then Voyage of the Little Mermaid. They were able to ride things that they’d never ridden before because of their challenge to ride each ride.

Thanks to Genie+ they were able to ride things without any wait. They did Dumbo and Barnstormer before switching from churning lightning lanes to stacking them for later in the day.

They got a Jungle Cruise lightning lane for after Happily Ever After before doing Carousel of Progress because that didn’t require a lightning lane. 

They got some coffee and planned to watch the parade from Pecos Bills again. However, as they were shopping, they found a table right outside of the Christmas Shoppe and decided to stop and wait for the parade from there. 

They enjoyed watching the parade and then decided to wait in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. They waited about 25 minutes for this before going to the train back to Fantasyland. 

They stacked a Peter Pan’s Flight for later in the evening and went to Enchanted Tales with Belle. This was one of their top experiences of the trip. Their friend was chosen to be in the show as a Knight and it was perfect. 

They modified their lightning lane for Peter Pan’s Flight and were able to go straight there. After Peter Pan’s Flight they took photos in front of the castle and watched a cavalcade. They loved seeing the characters in the cavalcade

Their next rides were the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with a lightning lane and Prince Charming Regal Carrousel as standby. They also used a lightning lane for Haunted Mansion that they’d modified from later in the evening.

With just Adventureland left, they got a spot for the fireworks on Main Street. They were able to see the projections on the Main Street buildings which was really good. But their view was obstructed toward the castle.

They went to Jungle Cruise next and had the very best skipper. Their next stop was the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Pirates of the Caribbean had been down all day but luckily it came back up and they were able to ride next. 

They got some Dole Whips on their way to Tomorrowland and took victory photos in front of the castle. 

The only other attraction that they really wanted to do was Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. They were really tired but they caught the very last show of the night. It was a very good show and really funny. 

They did it! They walked to the Contemporary and got a ride back to their condo. They were very sad to be leaving, but it was such a great trip.

When they got back to their condo, they cleaned up the condo and began packing.

Departure Day (April 20)

In the morning, Kacey and Joanna took a ride to the airport together. They were in different terminals so they were stopped off at their own terminals to fly back. 

Joanna worked at the airport all day before flying home and Kacey went to New Orleans to have a tattoo completed before flying home from there. 


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