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John’s First Timer Trip Report – PREP317

John’s First Timer Trip Report – PREP317

John joins us today to recap his family’s very first Walt Disney World trip. He was joined by his wife and two daughters.

There is much more info included in the audio, so be sure to listen to the episode for a better explanation.

Post-trip timestamp: 18:00

The Basics

John and his wife planned a wonderful first trip as a family. Their daughters are great ages for their first trip at 5 and 8 years old. They utilized Genie+, took advantage of their resort, and had a really wonderful first trip!

John’s family flew from San Antonio on July 23, stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter, and flew home on July 30. Although Genie+ had just come out when they booked their trip, they learned all they could and really utilized it effectively.

Their trip was originally scheduled to end on July 29 but because they utilized a travel agent, they were notified of a promotion that allowed them to add on a day at no additional charge.

Arrival Day (July 23)

John and his family left San Antonio very early in the morning, got on the plane, and had a good flight. They arrived around 10 a.m. at Orlando. 

They navigated the airport, waited about 5 minutes for the Sunshine Flyer, and arrived at Port Orleans French Quarter. They went to the front desk and their room wasn’t ready but they were told one could be ready soon.

They received a text around 11:20 a.m. that their room was ready. John said that the customer service they experienced was incredible. 

They mobile ordered their lunch from Sassagoula Floatworks and after eating went to their room to unpack. John’s girls were ready to go to the pool so they went straight there after the room.

John and his family really loved Port Orleans French Quarter. The decor was beautiful and theming was perfect. John said it was even more beautiful than the photos. The room was also in really great shape.

It started to rain so they went back to the room. They picked up their stroller rental and Amazon Fresh order of bottled water and snacks at 3:30 p.m. John used Kingwood Strollers to rent their stroller and it was great.

John also picked up some Mickey Beignets. They were delicious and everyone loved it! 

They took a bus over to Disney Springs and went straight to Gideon’s Bakehouse for cookies. They waited about 20 minutes to get in. John had to carry the cookies around but they were so grateful that they could get them.

They did some shopping and around 7:45 p.m. they got a boat back to French Quarter. They got dinner at Sassagoula Floatworks before going back to their room.  

Animal Kingdom (July 24)

John and his family were up and out of their room by 6:45 a.m. The bus came shortly after and they were on their way to Animal Kingdom. 

On the bus, John and his wife purchased an Individual Lightning Lane for Flight of Passage and a Lightning Lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris for 9:15 a.m.

They arrived at Animal Kingdom at 7:15 a.m. and went to the Tree of Life for photos. After that they were able to walk right on Na’vi River Journey. After that, they were right on time for their Tusker House breakfast at 8:30 a.m.

They had a wonderful meal and great character interaction. Their next stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris and they waited about 10 minutes. It was a wonderful trip! 

As soon as they tapped in for the safaris, they got a lightning lane for Festival of the Lion King. They went there at 10:30 a.m. for an 11 a.m. show. The adults loved it even more than the kids! 

John got a lightning lane for Kali River Rapids. The posted wait time was 55 minutes at 11:55 a.m. They enjoyed that. They were able to get a lightning lane for DINOSAUR and rode that next. 

They walked over to Flight of Passage for their Individual Lightning Lane. They all loved this ride! Their next stop was lunch at Satu’li Canteen. They had about an hour until their lunch would be ready, so they wandered around a bit until it was ready. 

They picked up their lunch at 1:45 p.m. They got cheeseburger pods and lunch was good. They had a lightning lane to meet Mickey and Minnie at 4 p.m. Because of that, they couldn’t book anything until 3:15 p.m.

At 3:15 p.m. John booked a lightning lane for Expedition Everest. This was a bit intense for the girls! 

It was then time for their lightning lane to meet Mickey and Minnie at 4 p.m. It was a 50 minute posted wait but they only waited about 10 minutes. They loved seeing them in their safari outfits. The outfits were slightly different than at Tusker House that morning.

They did some shopping, got Dole Whips, and took advantage of the earlier day. They went back to the resort around 5 p.m. They grabbed dinner again at Sassagoula Floatworks. They relaxed and went to bed to prepare for their Magic Kingdom day! 

John says he is glad he had Genie+ this day, if for no other reason than it gave them an opportunity to test it out. If he were to do it again, he might not buy the Genie+ again, but would purchase the Individual Lightning Lane. 

Magic Kingdom (July 25)

They weren’t as rushed this morning. At 7 a.m. they purchased an Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for 9 a.m.  and a lightning lane for Jungle Cruise for 2 p.m. 

They got to the bus stop around 7:30 a.m. and got to the park around 8 a.m. They stopped to get some photos on Main Street before the park officially opens. They loved seeing the castle and took everything in.

They went to Fantasy Land and got in line for Peter Pan’s Flight at 8:35 a.m. They only waited about 20 minutes. It was a nice way to start the day. They went to it’s a small world next and didn’t have any wait. 

They went to their Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 9:30 a.m. The girls were nervous because of Expedition Everest, but everyone loved it! 

They got a cinnamon roll and LeFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern for breakfast. It was a nice break. 

They waited about 5 minutes for the Mad Tea Party and then waited about 15 minutes for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The girls weren’t as interested in playing in the play area because they just wanted to ride rides! 

Their next stop was Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. This was John’s daughter’s request! The wait was about 15 minutes. At 11 a.m. John got a lightning lane for Haunted Mansion for 1:20 p.m. 

It was time for their lunch reservation at Tony’s Town Square. It was pretty good! 

When they got out of lunch, they had timed it perfectly to sit the girls down for the Festival of Fantasy parade. It started about 10 minutes later. It was awesome! 

The magic really hit them during the parade. It was such a magical moment. Haunted Mansion had a 65 minute wait time when they got there for their lightning lane. As soon as they tapped in, John got a lightning lane for Magic Carpets of Aladdin for 1:30 p.m. 

After Magic Carpets of Aladdin John booked a lightning lane for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin at 3:20 p.m. Before that, they used their 2 p.m. Lightning Lane for Jungle Cruise. The posted wait time was 75 minutes. 

After Jungle Cruise they grabbed some Dole Whip and it was very refreshing. They walked over to Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor next and waited about 15 minutes. 

Then it was time for their Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin lightning lane. The posted wait time at 3:25 p.m. was 55 minutes. As soon as they tapped in at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, John got a lightning lane for Pirates of the Caribbean

John and his family walked over for the castle show, “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Show” and because of the impending storm, the show didn’t happen. The characters did come out and rain. 

To try and stay out of the rain, they went to Hall of Presidents and saw that show. They hopped over to Mickey’s PhilharMagic next. They were also able to get a lightning lane at 5:30 p.m. for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for 7 p.m. 

It was time for their dinner at Be our Guest. They were SO excited for this dinner and loved being in the beast’s castle. They didn’t feel that the food was worth what they paid. 

From dinner, they walked over to Pirates of the Caribbean. They were about 10 minutes late for their lightning lane. They asked when they arrived, and it was no problem to be late. The posted wait time was 25 minutes. 

They booked a lightning lane for Space Mountain at 8:30 p.m. Before heading over there, they used their lightning lane for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 7:50 p.m. and the wait time was 35 minutes. The girls really loved it! 

Before Space Mountain they stopped in at Carousel of Progress and the girls got a kick out of that. When it was time for Space Mountain, John took his older daughter on Space Mountain while his wife took their younger daughter to find a spot for fireworks. 

While John was waiting to get on Space Mountain, he continued refreshing to get a lightning lane for Space Mountain for 9:05 p.m.

After Space Mountain, John and his older daughter found his wife and younger daughter and watched the fireworks. They all loved it. 

The girls wanted to ride the cars at Tomorrowland Speedway after the fireworks. They really liked that. 

They went to Splash Mountain next at 10:15 p.m. and used their lightning lane. It was a wonderful way to end the day. The girls used ponchos and didn’t get wet. John and his wife got a bit wet. 

They mobile ordered the nutella waffle from Sleepy Hollow before doing some shopping on their way out. John’s 5 year old fell asleep in the stroller on their way out. They were at the bus stop at midnight! 

They were back to the room and got ready for bed! It was a very long day. They really took advantage of the late night, Genie+, and planning to get a lot done in just one day. John is really glad that he got the stroller. 

Rest Day (July 26)

Everyone slept in after a long day the day before. They had breakfast at the resort and then went to the pool. They stayed at the pool until around 2 p.m. 

After the pool they walked over to Riverside and wandered around the hotel. There was a thunderstorm in the forecast so they went back to their room to get ready for dinner.

They left at 4:25 p.m. for the Polynesian for dinner. They took the bus for Epcot and got on the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center and then hopped on the monorail for the Polynesian. It took over an hour, but it was nice! 

They didn’t have to wait long when they got to Ohana. The food was really good and they all really enjoyed the meal. 

They returned to their resort and picked up some beignets on their way back to their room.

Hollywood Studios (July 27)

They were at the bus stop by 6:45 a.m. and John was panicked because the bus was scheduled to arrive at 7:02 a.m.

Thankfully, the bus arrived slightly early and they were able to get on the bus and get their lightning lanes. They got a lightning lane for Slinky Dog Dash at 10 a.m. and and individual lightning lane for  Rise of the Resistance for 10:30 a.m.

They got to Hollywood Studios at 7:30 a.m. and went straight to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. They’d been in line for about 10 minutes when they heard an announcement that the ride wasn’t going to open. 

They decided not to waste any time and went to Tower of Terror. They arrived at 7:36 a.m. and waited about 15 minutes. They enjoyed Tower of Terror. The girls even enjoyed it! 

Their next stop was to grab coffee and donut at the cart outside Tower of Terror. They couldn’t make another lightning lane, so they decided to see the Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

At 9:15 a.m. they went to Star Tours and really enjoyed it. After that they went into Galaxy’s Edge and got a breakfast Ronto Wrap and drink. They enjoyed it. 

After breakfast, they walked around Galaxy’s Edge. John is a Star Wars fan and really enjoyed the theming. 

They walked through Galaxy’s Edge to Toy Story Land. The posted wait time for Slinky Dog Dash was 80 minutes so they were glad to have a lightning lane. They really enjoyed it. 

They walked over to Rise of the Resistance for their Individual Lightning Lane. The posted wait time was 125 minutes. This was one of their favorite rides of the whole trip. 

John took his older daughter to Savi’s Workshop while his wife took their younger daughter to Alien Swirling Saucers and Disney Junior Dance Party. John and his older daughter also got some green milk before Savi’s Workshop.

John’s daughter really loved the whole experience. John enjoyed it especially as a Star Wars fan. They had a cast member helping her put it together so it was just fine with her being younger. 

After carrying it around for about an hour, John went to the Droid Depot and had them ship the light saber home for about $17. It was definitely worth it! It only took about 3 days to arrive.

Their next stop was Muppet*Vision 3D. The heat was really starting to get to them so they were trying to do indoor things during the middle of the day. They did the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage next and while there, John was able to get a lightning lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It was 1 p.m. and their return time was 7 p.m.

To cool off, they got a frozen lemonade and watched the Frozen Sing-Along. This was a great way to cool off and they enjoyed it. The girls loved it.

Their next stop was Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. It was 3 p.m. and the show started at 3:15 p.m. The cast member ushered them to the 2nd row after seeing the girls and their first visit buttons. They were excited! 

John booked a lightning lane for his wife and older daughter for Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. He had done Space Mountain with his older daughter, so it was his wife’s turn to ride something with her.

They took a photo with Darth Vader with a 25 minute wait and then Chewbacca with a 10 minute way in Star Wars Launch Bay. John still had the light saber for these photos, so that made for great interactions and photos.

After that, they used a lightning lane for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. They enjoyed it! John booked a lightning lane for 8:25 p.m. for Toy Story Mania.

They had dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-in and their meal was great. The burgers were great and the girls really enjoyed the milkshakes. They liked the ambiance. 

Their next stop was to use their lightning lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Thankfully it was up and running. The posted wait time was 55 minutes but they walked right on. When they got off, it was pouring rain! 

They waited for a bit and it wasn’t letting up. They put their ponchos on and headed toward a store. The girls huddled under the stroller to stay dry. They did some shopping to wait until the storm passed.

After that it was time for John’s wife and daughter to ride Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster. They then watched the Chinese Theater. They liked the songs and experience. 

They did some shopping on their way out and were back to their room by around 10 p.m.

Epcot (July 28)

At 7 a.m. John and his wife were able to get an Lightning Lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at 9:50 a.m. and an Individual Lightning Lane for Cosmic Rewind at 10 a.m.

They arrived at Epcot around 7:30 a.m. and went immediately to Test Track. They really liked making their cars and this experience.

Next they walked over to Mission: SPACE. There was a 10 minute wait for the orange side and it was very intense. 

They walked over to France for some pastries before their Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure return time. As soon as they tapped in at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, John was able to get a lightning lane for Frozen Ever After. 

At 10:45 a.m. they rode Cosmic Rewind. This was their favorite ride of the entire trip. They wish they’d tried to ride it again.

There was a 25 minute posted wait time for Journey Into Imagination and they rode that with a minimal wait. John booked another lightning lane for 12:15 p.m. for The Seas with Nemo and Friends

After tapping in, John was able to get a Soarin’ lightning lane for 2:25 p.m. John liked that he was able to get return times quickly. 

After The Seas with Nemo and Friends, they stopped at some booths for snacks. They wandered around the World Showcase, sampling the booths. 

At 2:55 p.m. Soarin’ had an 85 minute but they walked right on with their lightning lane. Their next stop was Frozen Ever After which had an 80 minute posted wait. 

As they got out of Frozen Ever After, they waited 10 minutes to meet Anna and Elsa! They continued walking around the World Showcase and stopped at Mexico for Gran Fiesta Tour and shopping

At 5:10 p.m they had a reservation for Space 220 for dinner. The ambiance was great but the food was just okay. 

They went to Spaceship Earth after that. When they got off Spaceship Earth it was around 7:50 p.m. and they found a spot for Harmonious. John and his older daughter got some snacks from France and Canada while his wife and younger daughter kept their spot.

They all enjoyed Harmonious very much. They shopped their way out to the bus stop. They walked a lot today, 27,000 steps! They were very tired and got back to the room at 10:45 p.m.

They were tired, but sad that their park days were over! 

Rest Day (July 29)

John and his family had a reservation at 9:15 a.m. for Chef Mickey’s for breakfast. They ordered a Minnie Van at 8:15 a.m. and it arrived at 8:50 a.m. 

They got to the Contemporary for breakfast and enjoyed their meal at Chef Mickey’s. After breakfast they wandered around the Contemporary

John was very impressed with the Contemporary and wants to stay there in the future. They took a bus from the Contemporary to Disney Springs for some shopping. 

They took the boat around 1:30 p.m. to their resort. They went to the pool and had some snacks in the afternoon.

After swimming, they went to the room to freshen up and begin packing. They took the bus to Epcot and monorails over to the Contemporary for their reservation at California Grill for dinner.

They arrived at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks were scheduled at 9:20 p.m. The fireworks started between their appetizer and their main course. Their server let them know that they could go outside and watch the fireworks and they would hold their main course.

They really enjoyed the view and watching the fireworks from there. There was a bit of a wait for their main course but they really enjoyed the food. The price was definitely worth it because the food was incredible. 

It was about 10:45 p.m. when they were leaving from dinner. They opted to walk to the Magic Kingdom to hop on a bus. It was a longer walk to get to the bus, but it worked. 

They were back to their room at 11:30 p.m. to pack a bit and get some rest! 

Departure Day (July 30)

John and his family had a later flight. They got up, packed, and got out of their room at 11 a.m. and took their bags to Bell Services.

They were being picked up at 6 p.m. so they were spending time until then. They had a 12 p.m. reservation for Brunch at Homecomin’. It was a good meal.

At 1:30 p.m. they were done at Disney Springs. John’s youngest daughter really loves Ariel so they decided to take a bus to Art of Animation to take photos of the buildings with Ariel.

They did that and then hopped on the Skyliner to Epcot. From there, they took the Friendship Boats to Hollywood Studios. At that point, they were done and tired. They went back to the resort and just hung out for about 2 hours for their transportation to the airport.

The Sunshine Flyer arrived at 6:15 p.m. and made a few stops before getting to the airport. 


  • First time buttons were hard to find but John was able to get them in the gift shop at the Polynesian. 
  • If you are having trouble getting a lightning lane, keep refreshing!

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