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Laura’s big April group trip – PREP305

Laura’s big April group trip – PREP305

Laura’s April trip was just before Easter 2022 and included a large travel party, several adult-only dining reservations, and renting points to stay at the Grand Floridian Villas.

Post-trip timestamp: 44:40

The Basics

Laura’s large travel party includes:

  • Laura, husband, 7 year old and 3 year old sons
  • Laura’s sister, husband, 7 year old and 4 year old
  • Laura’s sister best friend and her husband
  • Laura’s dad and his wife
  • Laura’s mother in law

They are all staying at the Grand Floridian but their schedules are slightly different. Laura’s family will arrive on April 9 and depart on April 17.

Laura’s family rented points from David’s DVC Point Rental to stay at villas at Grand Floridian Villas. Originally this trip was scheduled for May of 2020 and she booked that trip using these points and was able to reschedule the trip. This trip was originally for her sister’s 40th birthday.

The dynamics of a large group worked really well for them. They did some things together but also split up as needed. Reserving dining was a bit of a challenge but they did get all of the dining reservations they wanted and they were able to all sit together for their reservations.

The adults on the trip did have a few adults-only date nights utilizing babysitters for the children. It was a great balance between family time, adult time, and all together group time.


Arrival Day (April 9)

Laura and her family arrived from another part of Florida around 3:30 p.m., picked up their grocery order from Garden Grocer, and checked out the hotel.

They were in the DVC section of the hotel in the villas

After seeing the Easter Eggs in the lobby and enjoying the hotel, they hopped on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and then took a boat to Wilderness Lodge for their reservation at Storybook Dining at Artist Point. Their reservation was for 5:35 p.m. for 8 people – Laura, her sister, and their families. 


It was a lovely meal, but a few of the youngest kids got very scared of the Evil Queen. She came out first and they were so worried she would come out again. 

They took the boat back to the Magic Kingdom and then the boat to the Grand Floridian. They were able to catch the Electrical Water Pageant on their way back! 

Laura got a lake view room and were able to watch the fireworks from their balcony. It was definitely worth the money! 

Hollywood Studios (April 10)

Laura woke up and checked the app to see when the first bus would be. There was a bus at 6:15 a.m. and while they didn’t make that one, they did make it on the 6:30 a.m. bus to Hollywood Studios. 

Laura met the rest of the party at the bus and they made it to Hollywood Studios at 6:45 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. early entry.

They did the 7 a.m. Lightning Lanes and were let in at 7:05 a.m. They got a Lightning Lane for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run for 8:30 a.m. and an Individual Lightning Lane for Rise of the Resistance for 3:50 p.m.

The two youngest kids didn’t want to do Galaxy’s Edge so Laura and her husband took them to Toy Story Land while everyone else went to Galaxy’s Edge.


They went straight to Slinky Dog Dash and walked right on. They were off of it before 8 a.m. After that they did Toy Story Mania! and Alien Swirling Saucers all in a row. It was very successful! 

The other group did Rise of the Resistance, Smuggler’s Run, and Star Tours. When it was time for their 8:30 a.m. lightning lane for Millennium Falcon, Laura and her husband were ready but the rest of the group was nauseous from the rides and were not ready to scan in. 

Once Laura tapped in at Millennium Falcon she got a lighting lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway for 2 p.m. Laura rode this with her niece because her husband and son didn’t want to ride. Her husband did get a rider switch pass and that can be used anytime throughout the day. 

At 8:50 a.m. they stopped at Ronto Roasters for some coffee and a break. The whole group gathered together here and they wandered around Galaxy’s Edge together. 

They got in line at 10:25 a.m. for a 10:45 a.m. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. They had a great view and the kids loved it. While they watched the show, Laura was able to pull another lightning lane for Star Tours for anyone who didn’t do it previously. 

They had an Oga’s Cantina reservation for 11:30 a.m. and they were split up when they got into the restaurant. It was a little difficult because Laura’s sister was placed at a high table which was problematic for her small children.

It was a cool experience and everyone enjoyed it. Laura also pulled a lightning lane for Mickey and Minnie Red Carpet Dreams for 1:30 p.m.. They also had appointments at Droid Depot and Savi’s Workshop at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Laura said she felt a lot of pressure every two hours to get a lightning lane even if they weren’t able to use it. 

Laura’s sister mobile ordered for her family lunch at Docking Bay 7. Laura’s family went to Baseline Tap House and they had some snacks and drinks there. It worked out well. 

At this point Laura’s 3 year old was very tired. He made it to the Droid Depot appointment and then her husband took him back to nap.

The kids LOVED their Droid Depot experience and racing their droids around the pad outside. The big kids did Savi’s Workshop at 2 p.m. and the dads took the little ones back to the hotel to nap.

They waited a little bit for their Savi’s experience. The adults loved it. Laura does think it was a bit expensive for the experience. The kids all loved it.

The needed a break so they got some snacks at Backlot Express. While they ate their snacks they watched the Toy Story Cavalcade

They had a Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Lightning Lane that they used at 3:07 p.m. Their Rise of the Resistance Lightning Lane wasn’t for a little bit and some of the party didn’t want to ride so they went back.

Laura got a Lightning Lane to meet Olaf but the only people left were 4 adults, so they did that together and then went over to Rise of the Resistance. They got right into the ride, but there was a long wait after the first preshow. 


They took a bus back to The Grand Floridian and got there just in time to freshen up and get to their Narcoossee’s reservation. Her sister ordered a cake from the Grand Floridian Bakery for her son’s birthday. 

It was really nice. The kids were very well behaved and everyone was able to sit all together. 

After that, they started walking back to their room and saw Just Dance being played. The kids loved that! 

They got back to the hotel room at 8:15 p.m. and were ready to go to bed right away. Unfortunately, the fireworks went off at 9 p.m. and it kept them up for a bit longer. It was a very successful day! 

Animal Kingdom (April 11)

This morning Laura and her family planned to sleep in a bit. Early Entry began at 7 a.m. and Laura planned to get some Lightning Lanes and do Animal Kingdom later in the day. 

However, she had trouble sleeping, worried she’d miss the 7 a.m. Lightning Lane time. She woke up early and got coffee. She and her sister got Lightning Lanes for Kilimanjaro Safaris at 8:15 a.m. and Flight of Passage for 2:40 p.m.

Laura also tried to get an individual Lightning Lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure because they were going to Epcot for a dining reservation. She chose 6 p.m. for the time but by the time it was confirmed, the time jumped to 7 p.m. which was frustrating.

The family did end up sleeping in a bit but they were still at the bus stop at 8 a.m. Everyone ended up riding the bus together. 

One of their biggest goals today was to get Satu’li Canteen, so they placed a mobile order for lunch at noon while they were on the bus. 

They were in Animal Kingdom by 8:20 a.m. and went straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris for their Lightning Lane. As soon as she scanned in, Laura got a Lightning Lane for DINOSAUR.

After the Safari, they went to DINOSAUR. She was then able to get a Lightning Lane for Na’vi River Journey for 2:40 p.m. which worked out well because it was at the same time as her Flight of Passage Lightning Lane.

The two little ones didn’t want to go on DINOSAUR so they switched off while the kids played at the Boneyard. 

To continue crisscrossing the park, they decided to do Festival of the Lion King next. It was a wonderful show. After the show they had some time to kill before their mobile order would be ready at Satu’li Canteen. They decided to do the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

They took the long walk over to Satu’li Canteen and the food was good. After lunch Laura’s husband took her youngest back to the hotel and Laura and her sister went to KiteTails. Everyone else went to Winged Encounters.

After that they still had some time before their Lightning Lanes in Pandora. They opted to use the time to grab a Lightning Lane for It’s Tough to be a Bug. They waited for the next show but got right in. 

Laura hadn’t seen It’s Tough to be a Bug in many years and she said it was the most terrifying attraction in all of Disney World. Her son was crying. It was not a win. 

They started to walk over to Pandora and scanned into Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage. The waits for both of them were well over an hour so they were grateful that they had the lightning lanes

Laura’s son wants everyone to know that Flight of Passage was a great ride. He wanted to ride again but the line was 105 minutes long so they couldn’t do it again. 

They were able to do Kali River Rapids before they left. They got SOAKED and the water was very cold.

Laura and her son went to the bus stop and sprinted to a bus leaving for Epcot. They got there around 4:40 p.m. Their first stop was Club Cool while they waited for Laura’s husband and younger son.

Laura and her family had a reservation at San Angel Inn. They had seats right by the water and Laura really loved the atmosphere. Unfortunately, her younger one could only see the volcano and lightning so he refused to ride. 

They had their lightning lane for 7 p.m. so they had some time to kill before that after dinner. Laura got a lightning lane for Spaceship Earth while they waited. The line was a bit long because the ride had been down previously.

Then they walked over and did Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Everyone liked it and it improved their mood.

They took the monorail back to the Grand Floridian. Because there’s a transfer at the Ticket and Transportation Center it took a while. When they got back Laura’s sister and child came to their room and they all watched the Fireworks from the balcony.

Magic Kingdom (April 12)

Laura’s dad and stepmom joined everyone for the day. Laura was able to get an Individual Lightning Lane for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for 9:40 a.m. for the whole group. 

The plan for the group was to get a Lightning Lane for Jungle Cruise and rope drop Peter Pan’s Flight. However, they couldn’t get Jungle Cruise until later in the day. So Laura was able to grab a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Lightning Lane. 

They group took the monorail but Laura and her family walked. They scanned in around 8:15 a.m. and there was already a big crowd. The standby for Peter Pan’s Flight was already about 40 minutes. 

Laura’s youngest was a bit scared about Peter Pan’s Flight, so Laura’s husband stayed back with him while Laura and her son rode. They got off just before 9 a.m. 


They walked over to it’s a small world! and only waited 10 minutes. There was no wait for Dumbo the Flying Elephant so they went over there and let the kids do the play area while they waited. 

After Dumbo and playing in the play area, the kids wanted to play in the splash pad area outside Dumbo. Chip and Dale also came out so everyone had a lot of fun.

It was time for their Lightning Lanes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and they did some switching while the younger kids played at the Splash area.

At 11:15 a.m. they ordered Casey’s Corner and sat on the curb waiting for the parade at noon. It was nice to have a larger group because people could leave to go to the restroom, grab something to eat, etc. while someone held the spots.

After the parade, they all went over to Journey of the Little Mermaid because there wasn’t much of a wait. The line was getting longer while they waited, though. 

Then it was time for their Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Lightning Lanes. These were their last rides before heading out. They did catch the stage show on their way out of the park, which was a nice treat! 

They got on the boat headed to their resort by 2:45 p.m. They went to the pool and relaxed. Laura’s mother in law met them there. They really enjoyed their time at the pool and splash pad at the hotel. Laura’s mother in law watched the kids tonight so they could have an adult-only night out. 

Laura and her husband got to Epcot at 6:45 p.m. and the rest of the adults-only group was drinking around the world. Laura and her husband enjoyed some of the food and drinks at the festival before heading to Teppan Edo for their 8:10 p.m. reservation. 

They had so much fun! They had their own table, the food was great, and the cast members were great. They missed Harmonious but that was okay. They decided to hop over to Magic Kingdom because Epcot was already closed.

Laura got lightning lanes for Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. Laura was excited to do Space Mountain because she knew her kids wouldn’t do it. 

They walked to Beach Club and grabbed a Lyft to the TTC. They got to the Magic Kingdom at 10:20 p.m. and they went right to their rides. Laura was off Space Mountain at 10:45 p.m. and she hopped on the PeopleMover

While she was doing that, the rest of the group did Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before leaving for the night. 

Rest Day (April 13)

They slept in a bit and Laura’s family went over to Chef Mickey’s. They were in a private room and had a wonderful experience.

The kids played in the arcade at the Contemporary and then they went back to the Grand Floridian. Laura has a massage at the Grand Floridian. She loved it and sat in the steam room for a while before meeting everyone else at the pool. 

Laura’s mother in law to watch the kids again while they had an adult’s only dinner at Flying Fish and Extended Evening Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios. 

Everyone met at Hollywood Studios around 9 p.m. Laura was primarily focused on doing Twlight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. When they went over to Tower of Terror the standby line was still 95 minutes long at 9 p.m.

While they waited for the lines to decrease, they did Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. By the time they went back, the line for Tower of Terror was much lower. 

The lines were disappointing because it made it difficult to do too much in their 2 hours. They were able to do Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster before 10:45 p.m. 

Epcot (April 14)

Today the travel party was all 13 people. Laura was trying to get Lightning Lanes and had some trouble because she wanted to remove a few people and add others but had technical difficulties. They left the room at 7:15 a.m. for Epcot and the Early Entry opened at 8 a.m.

Laura got a lightning lane for Frozen Ever After and went right to Test Track when they arrived. They walked right on Test Track. Then they want to Guest Services to handle some of the Lightning Lane issues. 

The kids played in the Test Track play area and then they all did Mission: SPACE before going over to Frozen Ever After. On their way, they stopped at the bakery in Norway

They scanned into Frozen Ever After at 10:20 a.m. and she grabbed a Lightning Lane for Soarin’ for Laura and her older son. After Frozen Ever After they walked over to the Seas with Nemo and Friends but the standby wait was very long. 

However, Laura’s brother in law was able to get a lightning lane for Seas with Nemo and Friends. A few of them did that and then they did Turtle Talk with Crush.

For lunch they had a Garden Grill Reservation for 11 people. They all sat together and it was lovely.


After lunch they got a lightning lane for Living with the Land. Laura’s husband took her younger son back to the hotel and everyone else went over to Space 220. They had to have several reservations but they were able to all sit together.

The waitress was wonderful and stayed in character the whole time. It was a great experience. The kids really enjoyed the trading cards.

They left Space 220 and had some time before the Soarin’ lightning lane, so they went over to Japan for Laura’s son to look around in the shop. 

They went back to Soarin’ via a Friendship boat. Laura and her son loved Soarin’ and then took an Uber back to their hotel for their Citricos reservation. They were running a little bit late, but Laura’s family and her mother in law had dinner together.

Everyone loved Citricos. After that, Laura’s mother in law left and Laura’s family hung out in the lobby. The rest of their traveling party went to the dessert party at the Magic Kingdom. They said they had a wonderful time and rode some rides afterwards.

Laura had a wonderful night too watching the fireworks from her balcony. It was the end to a great night! 

Hollywood Studios (April 15)

Everyone was tired, so they took it slow that morning. It was rainy and they considered waiting to go to Hollywood Studios. They ended up getting stircrazy in their room so they got on the bus at 8:20 a.m.

Laura got a lightning lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway for her husband and son. She originally thought it would be for 3 p.m. but it switched to 11 a.m.

They did Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy and it scared her younger son. The smoke and lasers were too much for him. He wasn’t keen on doing Muppet*Vision 3D either so while the rest of her family did that, they got coffee.

Their next stop was Disney Junior Dance Party and the kids loved this! They did Walt Disney Presents and then Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Some of them met characters while they rode. Unfortunately, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway broke down and they got a recovery pass. 

They wanted to do Frozen Sing-Along but missed it so they did Vacation Shorts. It was lunch time and they stopped at ABC Commissary. Laura then took her younger son back to the hotel. She stacked lightning lanes for her son and husband while they rested. 


After doing the lightning lanes that Laura stacked, her husband and son went to the Epcot. At that time, Laura and her younger son got some food from Gasparilla Island Grill. She had a great time with her younger son and her husband and older son had a great time too!  

Magic Kingdom (April 16)

Laura’s neighbors were going to be at Magic Kingdom today too so she got a Lightning Lane for Splash Mountain at 10 a.m. They left the room at 7:25 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. park opening. 

They caught the monorail and got into Magic Kingdom at 7:35 a.m. and scanned in at 7:50 a.m Unfortunately, they got in a line that only had scanners on one side, so it took a very long time.

They went right to Tomorrowland Speedway and met their neighbors there. They then went to Jungle Cruise and at 9 a.m. there was a 45 minute posted wait time. They ended up just walking through the queue before riding. 

They wanted to ride Pirates of the Caribbean next but it was down. Instead they grabbed some coffee and went to Splash Mountain. Laura’s younger son played in the play area while others rode Splash Mountain

They were then able to do Barnstormer with a Lightning Lane and saw Chip and Dale. Laura’s younger son loves Chip and Dale! 


It was time for a break with Dole Whips and relaxed for a bit. Then they did Pirates of the Caribbean with a Lightning Lane and got a Lightning Lane for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh for 12:30 p.m.

They split up a bit – Laura’s older son rode Splash Mountain and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. At the same time her younger son played in the play area by Splash Mountain and rode the carousel.

They stopped for a quick lunch at Pinocchio Village Haus. Laura still had two more lightning lanes but it was very hot and everyone was tired. 

They left at 2 p.m. and went to the pool. They had a babysitter that night through Kids Nite Out. She was great and took the kids to a fire pit at the resort. 

The adults went to California Grill and did a monorail crawl! After their dinner they had some drinks at Trader Sam’s and Enchanted Rose Lounge. It was a wonderful night. 

Departure (April 17)

Laura and her family spent the morning cleaning up their room and packing. They got to the airport and flew home! 

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