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Mary Lanier’s Spring Break WDW trip – PREP 404

Mary Lanier’s Spring Break WDW trip – PREP 404

Mary Lanier drove from South Carolina to Central Florida with her husband, 14-year-old son, 11-year-old son, and 8-year-old daughter to spend Spring Break at Walt Disney World. During their split stay at Caribbean Beach and Polynesian Resort Villas, they were pleasantly surprised with good weather and lower than expected crowds. 

Post trip begins: 36 minutes

The Basics

Mary Lanier and her family as a surprisingly easy Spring Break trip, with lighter crowds than expected. Her family included her husband and their three kids – two sons ages 11 and 14 and their daughter, age 8.

They had a split stay thanks to getting a really good deal on a Polynesian Deluxe Villa. Their first two nights were at Caribbean Beach and the final four nights at Polynesian in a deluxe studio room.

Mary Lanier’s husband cannot ride most of the rides and qualifies for Disability Access Service. They purchased Genie+ several days of their trip and used DAS for the rides that he would ride.

Arrival (March 18)

They’d planned to drive down on Sunday but because of their son’s sports schedule, they ended up leaving early Monday morning. 

They left around 5:30 a.m. and didn’t hit traffic until Orlando. They got to Caribbean Beach around 3 p.m. They got the text that their room was ready as they were pulling into the resort. Their room was on the first floor in the Jamaica section. 

Originally they had a 7:55 p.m. reservation for dessert at Beaches and Cream. However, Mary Lanier moved it to 3:35 p.m. They unloaded the car quickly and found a puddle in their room. 

A sweet cast member helped clean it up and they took the skyliner to the Boardwalk. After checking in, they waited about 15 minutes for their reservation. 

They had a great experience at Beaches and Cream. Their cast member was Alisa and she was great. They ordered the kitchen sink and did a decent job eating a good bit of it! 

This is a surprise for her kids. They really love the skyliner, so they hopped on the skyliner after their snack. It was too hot to walk around the boardwalk, so they went back to the pool at Caribbean Beach

When they got back to their room there was a puddle in their room again. They were offered a new room but because they would be switching resorts, they opted to just keep a towel down. 

The kids went swimming and Mary Lanier’s husband got everyone Chick-Fil-a for dinner. They went to bed early because they had a big day the next day. 

Hollywood Studios (March 19)

Alarms went off at 5:45 a.m. Mary Lanier asked her 14 year old to help her in booking. Mary Lanier bought individual lightning lanes for Rise of the Resistance and Cosmic Rewind. Her son was going to book a lightning lane for Slinky Dog.

However, it said they weren’t eligible. That’s because Standby Skipper had already booked a lightning lane for them.

It wasn’t a big deal, they just got a lightning lane for Toy Story Mania and booked a DAS return time for Slinky Dog Dash. Genie+ was $27 today for multiple parks. 

They arrived at Hollywood Studios and were some of the first people in the parks. They went immediately to Tower of Terror. However, it was down. It came back up and they only waited a little bit. Mary Lanier’s husband waited for them and it was only about a 25 minute wait.

Mary Lanier’s family at Hollywood Studios

They went immediately to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and booked a DAS return time. Slinky Dog Dash was down at this point and crowds were heavy because of that. 

They got off of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and went to Toy Story Land to ride Alien Swirling Saucers without a wait at all. They stopped at Woody’s Lunchbox for some snacks. 

After their snack it was time for their Toy Story Mania lightning lane. They weren’t sure what they wanted to do next so they headed toward the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along. The kids didn’t want to do that so Mary Lanier gave them the option of that or Frozen Sing-Along

There was a split in votes but they opted to do Frozen Sing-Along. Everyone enjoyed it. When they got out, Slinky Dog Dash was up so they got a DAS return time. While they waited for their return time, they went to Rise of the Resistance

About halfway through the ride, it went down. They were stuck for about 20 minutes. They were escorted out backstage. They were given an anytime experience for Hollywood Studios for that day. 

Their next stop was Smuggler’s Run to use a lightning lane. This was their first time on the ride and it was a little bit stressful for their kids who were assigned pilots. 

When they got off, they got some photopass photos taken before going to Slinky Dog Dash. When they got off Slinky Dog Dash they hopped to Epcot. 

They got on the skyliner to go to their room quickly before taking the skyliner to Epcot. They were all hungry so they stopped at Connections Eatery to get some food. 

Their first stop was to go to Frozen Ever After. They used a DAS return time that they got as soon as they entered the park. They were going to meet Anna and Elsa afterward, but the wait was a little too long.

They went to Mexico next and went on Gran Fiesta Tour. The temperature was incredible today! They went to Cosmic Rewind next to use their Individual Lightning Lanes. 

Mary Lanier’s husband got himself a snack while he waited for them to ride. Even with the Individual Lightning Lane they waited 55 minutes. 

They got “One Way or Another” and everyone loved it. Mary Lanier was a little bit worried about her daughter falling out, but her daughter loved it! 

When they got off Cosmic Rewind, they took the Skyliner back to Hollywood Studios. They were back at 7:30 p.m. They were going to see Fantasmic but the kids really just wanted to ride the rides. 

When they got to Hollywood Studios they went on Tower of Terror with their anytime experience pass, Slinky Dog Dash with DAS return time, Toy Story Mania without a wait, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway with a DAS return time. 

They did a bunch of rides very quickly. They finished up just before Fantasmic was ending, so they went quickly to the skyliner and beat the crowds. They were back to their room by 9:30 p.m. 

When they got back to their room they called the front desk to see if they could get a late checkout. They were able to check out at 12:30 p.m. 

Epcot (March 20)

Having the late checkout was really nice because it meant that they didn’t need to pack the car before leaving for Epcot. 

They arrived at Epcot via the Skyliner and planned to rope drop Soarin’. They weren’t able to start moving toward the rides until right at 8:30 a.m.  They went right to Soarin’ and it was a bit delayed. 

They had a lightning lane for Test Track and they bought Individual Lightning Lanes for Cosmic Rewind. They were on Soarin’ by 9 a.m. When they got off the crowds of people had started coming in.

Mary Lanier’s at Epcot

Their next stop was going to Living with the Land. They really like this ride. Then they went to The Seas. Turtle Talk wasn’t open yet, so they went to Journey of Water. She took the kids into the attraction while her husband waited in line for Moana. 

They got out of Journey of Water and got in line for Moana. They all really loved it. It’s so beautiful. After meeting Moana, the kids insisted that their dad go through Journey of Water with them. 

Mary Lanier’s family at Journey of Water

Their next stop was to go back to The Seas with Nemo and Friends. They did The Seas. Turtle Talk and Mary Lanier’s youngest sat right in front. 

After that it was time for their individual lightning lane for Cosmic Rewind. The kids just loved it and wanted to ride it again. The wait was much shorter today – they were in and out in 20 minutes.

When they got off the ride, they didn’t get their ride photos. This has been happening a lot and Mary Lanier requested their missing photos. 

They did take some photos with Groot topiary before going to their lightning lane for Test Track. Mary Lanier wanted a break from rides so she sent her three kids alone. It was lovely to just sit with her husband and take a break. 

Mary Lanier and her husband met them in the back of the ride where they exited. When the kids got off the ride, they all went to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to use their DAS return time. Mary Lanier was a little worried about her husband, but he closed his eyes through the whole ride and was fine.

They immediately left to go back to the room via the skyliner. They were back to their room at 12:30 p.m. Mary Lanier hit the checkout as soon as they started loading the car. The room was packed up in about 15 minutes and they went to the Polynesian

They arrived at the Polynesian and fell in love with it. Their room wasn’t ready when they arrived at 1 p.m. so they unloaded their things and left it with Bell Services. 

They were checked in by Sonya at the Polynesian and she was so sweet. While her husband parked the car, Mary Lanier took the kids to Captain Cook’s. They really loved this option. 

While they were waiting for the food, they got a call from Sonya that they should come back to the lobby. There were some characters that arrived and a photopass photographer. Sonya was there while she watched the kids get their photos taken and was tearing up because it was so neat.

They ate their lunch and wandered around the resort until their room was ready. At 2:45 p.m. they got their text that the room was ready. 

Mary Lanier notes that the villas section was a great location and the room had a great layout. She loves that there were two showers. They were on the third floor and had a balcony. 

They got their bags to the room and then Mary Lanier and her daughter went to Magic Kingdom. They were so excited to stay at the Polynesian; it was a bucket list experience for them. 

Mary Lanier and her daughter got to the Magic Kingdom and heard the Dapper Dans as they entered the park. It was wonderful. They arrived at their Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservation around 4 p.m. 

There were about 5 families waiting as well, so everything was taking a little bit longer than she expected. Mary Lanier was nervous that they would make their Cinderella’s Royal Table reservation for dinner. 

Their first Fairy Godmother in Training was absolutely amazing and so fun. Mary Lanier’s daughter loved her so much because she did the hair and makeup for her American Girl Doll. It was so precious and Mary Lanier submitted a cast compliment about her. 

They went to Sir Mickey’s to get photos before their dinner reservation. After photos, they went to Cinderella’s Royal Table. There was no wait so they got to get in line with Cinderella and only waited about 10 minutes. 

Mary Lanier’s daughter with Cinderella

Mary Lanier’s daughter had a great interaction with Cinderella. They also waited for another while for their table. Their reservation was for 5:20 p.m. and while they waited, they already were receiving warnings about the fireworks. 

They were seated right by the window, which was wonderful. However, because they were seated at a two person table, they waited a very long time for the princesses to come to their table. 

While the girls were finishing up, the boys came to the park and went on it’s a small world. They all met up together and got some photos together. At that point, Mary Lanier’s daughter was ready to change out of her dress. 

Mary Lanier’s family in front of the castle

It was then time for their TRON individual lightning lane. It was so cool to do it at night. They all loved it so much.

They walked across the park to use a lighting lane for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Then they walked on to Pirates of the Caribbean twice in a row without a wait at all. Everyone loves this ride! 

They went to Fantasyland and did Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Haunted Mansion with lightning lanes. After a bathroom break, they did have a DAS return time for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  

When they got off, it was Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. The park closed at 10 p.m. and extended evening hours were until midnight. It was still crowded because everyone who was in line at 10 p.m. could stay. 

The park did eventually empty around 11 p.m. They went to Barnstormer without a wait. The kids ended up riding twice in a row. They did Dumbo, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and Tomorrowland Speedway

Space Mountain had a posted wait time of 30 minutes. They didn’t wait quite that long, but they did wait. When they got off, it was about 11:45 p.m. and they were ready to go. It was chilly and it had already been a very long day. 

They got on the monorail and Mary Lanier’s husband fell asleep. When they arrived to their room, they went to bed. They opted to change their plans the next day and decided not to go to Animal Kingdom because of the late night. 

Resort Day (March 21)

They opted to sleep in, put in a load of laundry, and keep their Ohana reservation at 10:20 a.m. for breakfast. They had some great character interactions. 

Mary Lanier did their laundry, placed a grocery order, and stayed in the room with their oldest while her husband took the younger two to the pool. Their order came very quickly and Mary Lanier joined her family at the pool. 

The pool was crowded but they ended up staying for 3-4 hours. Their oldest joined them at the pool. The kids all really loved the slide. Around 6 p.m. they went to their room and freshened up. They thought about doing a monorail crawl for dinner to check out other quick service options, but decided to do Captain Cook’s.

They got on the monorail and went to Magic Kingdom. They walked from there to the Contemporary, which was a lovely walk. They wandered around the Contemporary and did some shopping. They liked the vibe better at the Polynesian, but they liked the Contemporary. 

They went back to the Polynesian to watch the fireworks on the beach. This was a highlight of their trip. They really loved this experience. 

They got a spot between the bungalows and tree island about 30 minutes before the fireworks started. They sat on some pool towels. The kids played while they waited.

They loved watching the fireworks and had a great time. 

Animal Kingdom (March 22)

The weather looked like it there would be some showers. They set their alarms to check on the weather to see what they wanted their plan to be. They woke up at 6:15 a.m. and it was pouring rain. 

They opted to buy an individual lightning lane for Flight of Passage, but not Genie+. Mary Lanier also got a virtual queue for TRON for that afternoon.

They left for the bus station and it was still pouring. They all wore old shoes and ponchos and made the best of the experience. 

Mary Lanier’s family in ponchos at the bus stop

The crowds were very minimal and expected that if they’d arrived earlier they could have gotten on Flight of Passage without a wait several times in a row! 

They went to Asia in hopes to get on Expedition Everest as soon as it opened. However, it seemed like it wasn’t going to open so they got some stuffed pancakes and got some photos. 

It was 9:15 a.m. at this point and all they have done is stand in the rain. Kilimanjaro Safaris opened and there was a 5 minute wait. They enjoyed this a lot as the animals were very active. 

They went straight from there to Kali River Rapids. While they were on Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest opened. 

They ran over there and rode it as a standby wait. It was about 20 minutes. This was the point in their trip where they started to see bad guest behavior including cutting in lines, holding spots in line for whole families, and more. 

The frustration was large groups of teenagers not acting appropriately. Mary Lanier notes that cast members were not placed frequently enough to police this behavior. 

They all loved Expedition Everest, especially their daughter because this was her first time on this ride. After that they had a lightning lane for Flight of Passage. While they were there, Mary Lanier made a DAS return time for Na’vi River Journey.

After riding Na’vi River Journey they walked around Pandora before going to Festival of the Lion King with a DAS return time. This is Mary Lanier’s husband’s favorite attraction. 

The kids wanted to do Expedition Everest after that. They decided to do Single Rider. Mary Lanier rode it once with them and then they rode it again immediately. 

They grabbed Mickey Bars. The kids have a tradition of taking turns buying everyone ice cream. It’s wonderful.

This was the end of their time at Animal Kingdom and they got to the bus station. They saw a whole group of teens try to jump the line and were stopped by a dad in line. They weren’t able to get on the bus. 

They went to Magic Kingdom and went to their 72 boarding group for TRON. They loved it just as much as the other day! 

Mary Lanier’s family in front of the castle

Their next stop was using a DAS return time for Peter Pan’s Flight. Then They saw Captain Jack Sparrow before riding Pirates of the Caribbean again. 

They were done being in wet shoes and it was around 4 p.m. so they left the park and went to their room to change. They booked a Minnie Van for their Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue reservation for dinner at 6:15 p.m. 

Her husband fell in love with Minnie Vans. They were dropped just steps from Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue. They had a great experience. 

They booked another Minnie Van and in 7 minutes they were back at their resort. The kids went swimming for a bit before going to bed.

Magic Kingdom (March 23)

They woke up, got ready, and scheduled Genie+. It was $39/person today. Because of this, Mary Lanier was expecting wall to wall crowds, but it wasn’t that bad.

Mary Lanier booked a virtual queue for TRON and a lightning lane for Space Mountain. They took their time a little bit and just wanted to enjoy themselves. 

Mary Lanier’s family on TRON

They went right to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad but it was down and they didn’t get to ride it until just after 9 a.m. There wasn’t a wait at all and the kids were able to ride twice in a row.

They met the Country Bears in Frontierland on their way to Gaston’s Tavern for cinnamon rolls. After that they went to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train with a DAS return time, Space Mountain with a Lightning Lane, People Mover, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor

They were waiting for their return time for TRON. However, it went down and they pivoted and went to meet Captain Jack Sparrow. 

Initially they had a lunch scheduled at Tony’s Town Square at 2:25 p.m. Mary Lanier canceled it and instead grabbed spring rolls, met Captain Jack, and waited to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade at noon. 

They enjoyed the parade, went to Jungle Cruise and rode Pirates of the Caribbean again. 

Then took the train in Frontierland. They planned to take it to Fantasyland to get on TRON. She sent the kids off in Fantasyland while she and her husband continued riding around. The kids scanned in and it went down. 

The kids wanted to swim so they all went back to the resort. They went swimming, got Dole Whips, and get back to the Magic Kingdom at 5:30 p.m. 

They did Enchanted Tales with Belle. Her daughter was the Beast and her younger son was the horse. Mary Lanier’s oldest son wanted to get a good spot for the fireworks. At 7 p.m. they were near the hub grass. Mary Lanier got churros and funnel cakes. They mobile ordered Casey’s Corner and enjoyed their dinner. 

They loved the fireworks show. Everyone enjoyed it. When it was over, they went to Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world, Peter Pan’s Flight, and then Seven Dwarfs Mine Train one last time. 

They wanted to end their trip with their favorite ride: Pirates of the Caribbean. It was a walk-on at this point in the evening. It was starting to rain on their way out. They bought some souvenirs on their way out and were on their way to the resort at 11:05 p.m. 

Departure (March 24)

They woke up, packed up the car, and did some shopping. They had Captain Cook’s for breakfast before hitting the road back home.

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