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Liz’s October extended family trip – PREP291

Liz’s October extended family trip – PREP291

Liz, her wife, sister, brother in law, 7 year old niece, and parents flew to Disney World, stayed in three rooms at Pop Century, and enjoyed a wonderful intergenerational trip that included a final night for just Liz and her wife staying Club Level at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Here’s how it went…

The Basics

Liz and her wife flew in from Chicago while the rest of her family flew from Oklahoma all on October 11. They had three rooms at Pop Century.

Prior to the trip they opted to do mostly outdoor dining options due to the fact that Liz’s 7 year old niece was not yet vaccinated. Liz was the planner for the trip and shared the information, ideas, and schedule with the rest of the group prior to their arrival.

The whole group stayed at Pop Century until October 17. Liz and her wife then moved over to a Club Level room at Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Arrival Day (October 11)

Liz and her wife were supposed to fly out at 10:30 a.m. from Chicago Midway. They’d planned to take a train and not have to wake up super early. 

However, Southwest had other plans and Liz happened to see her phone at 12:45 a.m. that their flight was canceled and moved to that evening at 9:30 p.m. She was given the option to change it to another flight departing at 6:15 a.m. – just a few hours away!  

Thankfully, they made that change, took an Uber to the airport, and got out early. 

They made it to Orlando around 10 a.m. and were at Pop Century at 11:10 a.m. Their room was not ready yet so they dropped their bags, changed their clothes, and hopped on the bus to Disney Springs. 

They were hungry so they split a pizza at Blaze while they waited to be called for the virtual queue for Gideon’s Bakehouse

They love Gideon’s and it didn’t disappoint. They got the seasonal cookies: Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein plus Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Crunch. They got the maximum number of cookies and loved them.

After getting their cookies, their room was ready and they went over to the bus stop to head back to the hotel. They got their luggage, got their Publix order, and went to their room.

Liz and her wife got to the room, unpacked, and were napping 3:30 p.m. and napped for a few hours. Her sister, brother in law, and niece arrived around 7 p.m. and they greeted them off of Magical Express

Their room was right around the corner, which was so convenient! They grabbed dinner from the food court and went to bed. Liz’s parents arrived to the hotel around 1 a.m. because of some flight delays.

Unfortunately her parents were in a completely separate part of the hotel. Liz had linked them when the registration was made, but her parents were very far from Liz, her sister, and their family. 

October 12 – Magic Kingdom

Originally, Liz said that if anyone wanted to rope drop with her, she’d welcome that, but that she would definitely be rope dropping their first day. Her wife joined her but everyone else opted to sleep in. 

Liz and her wife were in line at 6:30 a.m. and the bus time kept getting pushed back. The bus finally arrived at 7:05 a.m. and they were at the Magic Kingdom by 7:20 a.m. only to wait a bit on the bus for about 10 minutes.

They were the 4th people through their tapstiles at 7:47 a.m. and went immediately to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It was down so they opted to wait for it to come back up. They waited about 20 minutes because they didn’t have another plan.

After Seven Dwarfs Mine Train they walked across to Winnie the Pooh and then got coffee and a snack at Joffrey’s

Just before 10 a.m. Liz’s sister texted that she and her family were at the front of the park. Liz and her wife made their way to meet them. 

They saw the 50th Anniversary Cavalcade and Tinker Bell, shopped some on Main Street, and waited 6 minutes for the Mad Tea Party

Liz’s parents arrived and they all went to Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid with a 10 minute wait and Barnstormer with a 6 minute wait. Liz discovered that her niece loves rollercoasters! 

Liz insisted that everyone go on Carousel of Progress. Everyone walked on that and it broke down during the last scene, which was entertaining. 

They went to Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for lunch. Mobile ordering was a challenge for Liz’s parents. After lunch, the group split up and the grandparents took Liz’s niece to ride Tomorrowland Speedway with a 20 minute wait. The other adults rested and had Mickey bars.

It was very hot so they all headed back to the hotel and rest. On their way out they saw the Princess cavalcade. 

Back at the hotel, they got some rest, cooled off in the pool, and headed to Epcot around 6 p.m. via the skyliner.

They went straight to Soarin’ because it is Liz’s mom’s favorite. There was a posted wait of 20 minutes and they waited 15 minutes. 

They headed to Mexico for half the group to go on Gran Fiesta Tour while Liz and her sister got margaritas. 

From here, everyone snacked around the food booths. The group split into family groups to eat the snacks they enjoyed. 

After snacks, Liz’s sister, brother in law, and niece went back to the hotel to sleep. The rest of the group got some photos taken and then went back to the hotel to rest up before a big day!

October 13 – Hollywood Studios

They arrived at the Skyliner as a group a few minutes before 7 a.m. to head to Hollywood Studios. They got to Hollywood Studios and were in line for Rise of the Resistance by 7:45 a.m. and on the ride by 8:30 a.m.

It was getting close to their Droid Depot appointment so they hung around in Galaxy’s Edge while her niece and brother in law made their droid. They then got to see Rey! 

After meeting Rey, they got in line for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The posted wait time was 40 minutes and that’s how long they waited. 

They enjoyed the ride. Liz’s niece was overwhelmed by the ride, but she enjoyed it.

Liz’s sister and brother in law had a reservation at Oga’s Cantina so while they were there, everyone else went over to Toy Story Land. The posted wait time for Toy Story Mania was 55 minutes and the line was very long so they opted to have half the group wait in the line and Liz would go get the snack bar and grab her niece something to eat. 

The line moved very quickly and by the time Liz got to the line she was holding a snack, coffee, and drink. She opted to wait on them to ride outside and greet them with their food. 

Around noon everyone was ready to go back to their room. Liz’s niece and brother in law had an appointment at Savi’s Workshop and everyone else went back to their room.

There was some thunderstorms in the afternoon so rather than swim, Liz’s niece came to play in Liz’s room to play with her droid. They had a great time playing.

Around 6 p.m. they went back to Hollywood Studios and watched Muppet*Vision 3D. They then opted to get some snacks for Liz’s niece for dinner because no one could decide what to do about dinner.

They rode Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway with a 30 minute wait. Liz’s dad was later than the group so he missed out on riding Rise of the Resistance that morning. Liz and her dad rode Rise with about a 30 minute wait while others rode Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Liz’s niece and wife really wanted to ride Tower of Terror so they waited over an hour to ride.

After some rides, they went back to Pop Century, got dinner from the food court, and went back to their rooms.

October 14 – Epcot

Liz and her wife woke up early and went to the coffee shop at the Riviera. They took the skyliner to get some breakfast. It was nice to be alone together! 

The group met at the International Gateway. At this point, her niece was very tired. The Frozen Ever After line was already very long and her niece was not interested in riding. 

After taking a break to regroup, they kept going to Test Track. They waited about 30 minutes and her niece loved it. Her dad really enjoyed the part where you can design their car. 

They went to Club Cool next and loved the new setup to have one family per fountain area. This felt much more orderly and was better for their family to experience together.

From Club Cool they walked over to The Seas with Nemo and Friends and while the posted wait time was 30 minutes, they only waited 8 minutes. After the ride, they enjoyed Turtle Talk with Crush. They enjoyed walked around the aquarium area after Turtle Talk with Crush.

They went to Sunshine Seasons for lunch and everyone enjoyed that, especially because it was so hot outside. They had opted to not do indoor dining but missed the time to rest and cool off.

After lunch they went to Soarin’ and waited 7 minutes even though the posted wait time was 30 minutes and Living with the Land as a walk on. 

They walked over to Journey into Imagination and then enjoyed the interactive elements in that area. 

Around 2:30 p.m. and their Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure boarding group was called. They waited 28 minutes in line to ride. They all liked it a lot. 

After that, they split up. Liz and her dad went to watch The Mariachi Cobre. Everyone else wandered around the world showcase. 

They all then walked around the world showcase, grabbed some snacks, and discovered that Frozen was down. They were pleasantly surprised to see the entertainment was back.

Liz and her wife walked into Italy to explore back there and decided to eat at Tutto Italia because it was empty and were able to eat outside. 

Everyone separately went back to the hotel and went to bed.

October 15 – Magic Kingdom

Everyone met at the bus stop a little bit before 7 a.m. to head to the Magic Kingdom. They were 4th in line. The first bus arrived at 7:25 a.m., they were at the Magic Kingdom by 7:40 a.m. and were let in at 7:52 a.m.

They went straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and while the line was very long, they only waited 25 minutes to ride. Liz recognized that everyone was cranky. She tried to prepare everyone that a plan was very important but experiencing the crowds and heat are different than talking about them. 

Liz decided at this point that she was going to follow her plan and if others wanted to join her, that’s fine. 

Liz’s niece wanted to ride Space Mountain so those who wanted to ride went on Space Mountain and others went to rent a stroller. They then went on PeopleMover before meeting over in Liberty Square. 

The posted wait for Haunted Mansion was 45 minutes but it was actually a 17 minute wait. It was getting close to noon so Liz and her wife decided to head back to the hotel. They stopped for a Dole Whip on their way out. 

They missed a Pop Century bus so they hopped on an Art of Animation bus and walked 8 minutes to their room in the 50s section.

After resting and enjoying time in their room, they wanted to go back to the coffee shop at Riviera. They enjoyed their afternoon coffee! 

For a change of pace, they decided to eat at the Caribbean Beach food court. Mobile order and the skyliner makes that so easy! The ratio of cast members to guests was very high.

That night, Liz’s parents took her niece back to their room for a sleepover and Liz, her wife, sister, and brother in law went back to Epcot.  

They grabbed some snacks but didn’t stay long because it was a Friday evening at Epcot and it was very busy. 

Before heading to bed, they had a conversation about the following day. They opted to do a later start and not rope drop.

October 16 – Animal Kingdom

Liz and her wife got up and enjoyed coffee at the Riviera coffee shop again. Everyone slept in and they went to Animal Kingdom around 12:30 p.m.

They enjoyed lunch at Satu’li Canteen before going to Na’vi River Journey. The posted wait time was 40 minutes and they waited 37. 

After that they walked over to Expedition Everest. The posted wait time was 40 minutes but they waited 22 minutes. Her niece loved it.

They then saw Kite Tails and Liz absolutely loved it. The bleachers were very hot but the show was delightful.

After Kite Tails, they wandered back to the Festival of the Lion King and watched some entertainment. They all enjoyed that show but noticed the pizzazz missing. 

They rested a bit and got a snack before waiting 37 minutes for Kilimanjaro Safaris. There were quite a few very close giraffe encounters. Everyone really enjoyed that. 

Liz then had the plan to get in line for Flight of Passage but most of the group was too tired, so they all decided to go back to the hotel. Liz and her wife went to Yacht Club for some dinner at Ale and Compass

They’d planned on getting an Uber but the wait time was 28 minutes. They ate their food on a bench outside of Yacht Club while waiting for their Uber

The whole group met at the pool for some fun playing Marco Polo at 8 p.m.

October 17 (Departure Day for some)

They had a 7:40 a.m. breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace. They met at the skyliner at 7:15 a.m. and had no problem getting over to the Riviera. 

The food was excellent and the server was very attentive. The characters were so good and Liz’s niece loved them. 

They all went out on the terrace and said goodbye. 

Liz and her wife got more coffee at the coffee shop before heading back to their hotel. They had their bags sent over to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

They got to Animal Kingdom Lodge by taking a bus to the Animal Kingdom and then hopping on a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

They arrived around 10:40 a.m. and their room wasn’t ready. They enjoyed the snacks at the Club Lounge and wandering around the hotel for a bit. 

Around 1 p.m. they got a text that their room was ready so they went there to take a nap. After their nap they went to the pool to read and swim.

They’d originally planned to have dinner at Sanaa but they canceled it in order to eat the snacks from the Club Lounge on their balcony. 

There was a fire pit and smores that evening and Liz and her wife enjoyed those very much.

They took a romantic walk around the resort before heading back to the lounge for dessert. There were delicious desserts and Mickey Bars! 

Their flight the next day was at 3 p.m. so before going to bed they talked about what the next day would be. Magical Express was scheduled to arrive at noon.

October 18 – Departure Day 

Liz and her wife woke up and enjoyed breakfast in the club lounge. Sadly there was some renovations happening outside so there weren’t very many animals out. 

At 11 a.m. they dropped their bags with bell services and wandered around to say goodbye to the resort. They went back up to the club lounge to take snacks with them. The cast members in the club lounge were so wonderful and loaded them down with snacks for the trip home.

They got on the Magical Express at noon and went to the airport to fly home! 


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Monday 8th of November 2021

Hi, I'm new - and what a great episode to start on! I empathised with so many aspects of Liz's trip report - the "oh but I don't want to follow a plan" conversations, taking Kenya residents around Harambe and marvelling at the authenticity... I'm planning a big family trip next year and it was so useful to hear all the considerations.