Seasoned Walt Disney World travelers, Meggan, her husband, their 8-year-old daughter, and their 4-year-old son, spent the week of Thanksgiving in a split stay between the cabins at Fort Wilderness and a Lion King suite at Art of Animation. She shares with Shannon how they balanced park time with resort activities and navigated using the DAS system during a busy holiday week. Listen for tips Meggan gave for accommodations at Rise of the Resistance and where to find additional seating in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot.
Post trip begins: 24 minutes
Meggan and her family are driving from their home in New Orleans to spend Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World. They visit regularly and aren’t scared of going during the holidays.
Her son qualifies for Disability Access and they will not be purchasing Genie+. They will drive in on November 17th to a cabin at Fort Wilderness. Meggan rented a golf cart for their stay at Fort Wilderness.
On November 20th they will move to a Lion King Family Suite at Art of Animation where they will stay until November 24th.
Arrival (November 17)
It typically takes 9 ½ hours to get from New Orleans to Orlando, but it took them 12 ½ hours. There was traffic from Tallahassee to Orlando.
They planned to drive straight to Universal’s CityWalk. Meggan hasn’t been there since her honeymoon 12 years ago. They have a reservation at Toothsome for dinner. However, Meggan called Universal several times to move their reservation and they were very accommodating.
She eventually just called and canceled it because they wouldn’t be there in time. They were disappointed about this. By the time they arrived to Fort Wilderness, it was too late for dinner. They picked up their golf cart and on their way to their cabin, it broke down!
They got another golf cart, unloaded in their cabin, and ordered a whole pizza for $22 at Trail’s End. They were the last ones left at Trail’s End. By the time they got back to their cabin it was midnight.
They really liked the cabin but the sleeping room was a little tight. Their children are smaller, so it was okay but if they were any bigger it would be difficult.
Animal Kingdom (November 18)
Meggan got a text at 6 a.m. from the Orlando Stroller Rental letting them know that their stroller was ready. It was dropped off right at their cabin at 7 a.m. which was so convenient.
They had breakfast in their cabin before driving to Animal Kingdom. The weather was really lovely all week, but especially at Animal Kingdom.
They arrived at 9:30 a.m. and went right to it’s Tough to be a Bug. Meggan’s son got upset before it even started. Her husband took him out while she stayed in with her daughter.
After lunch, they went to Flight of Passage. Her son went with her husband because he’s not tall enough to ride. She and her daughter were on the ride vehicles for about 5 minutes and nothing happened. The ride wasn’t starting or anything.
This is one of Meggan’s favorites. There was a long line and while they waited Meggan got a beer and the kids played on the playground. Once the line got lower, they went right in to their table.
Meggan had category 1 for this dinner and were right by the stage. They had a great waiter that was incredibly attentive. Meggan highly recommends the fried chicken.
That was the end of their day.
Christmas Party (November 19)
Everyone was able to sleep in until about 8 a.m. this morning, which was lovely. Meggan did some laundry as well.
They really wanted to ride horses, but because Meggan’s daughter is only 8, she was only able to ride the pony. The barn for the ponies is beautiful. Meggan said this was a really nice experience.
They went to Trail’s End for lunch and got another large pizza again. After lunch, they went back to the cabin. The children played outside the cabin for a bit, which was nice.
When it was time, they drove the golf cart to the boat dock to get on the boat to the Magic Kingdom. They arrived around 3:30 p.m. and the line was already so long.
They were meeting up with Meggan’s brother in law and sister in law. As they are getting in line, they randomly ran into them – they were coming from Hollywood Studios.
As they entered, they were ushered to the bypass and the energy was great. They got some photos taken and had a blast.
Their first stop was Pirates of the Caribbean together and then they went to their Skipper Canteen’s reservation at 5 p.m. This was a great experience. Meggan got the Kungaloosh Spiced Excursion Ale and loves it.
Meggan’s son got in line for Stitch and had an accident. Meggan got out of line and needed to get a change of clothes. This is why DAS is so important for them. This was a learning process and they needed to ask him before getting in line to make sure he doesn’t need to use the restroom.
After meeting Stitch, Meggan’s family went on Jingle Cruise. They then met back up again and sat together for the Christmas parade. They went to Main Street to watch the parade and it was lovely.
After the parade, the dads went on Tron while the moms took the kids on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and a few other rides. They were all really tired so they left after 11 p.m. The boat to Fort Wilderness took at least 30 minutes, which was very long.
It was rainy and cold when they got back to Fort Wilderness, so the trip back on the golf cart was miserable. They did eventually get back to the cabin and went to sleep.
Rest Day (November 20)
After the busy day yesterday, they slept in until 8 a.m. They packed up and returned their golf cart before going to Disney Springs.
Meggan had Lego Store reservations to make mini-figs. Thankfully, they were able to skip the line to get into the store. The kids had a really great experience.
After Disney Springs, they went to their Storybook Dining reservations that evening for dinner. It was a really great experience!
They went to Art of Animation to go to their room. Meggan had done mobile check-in and was put in a second floor room. She went to the desk and requested a first floor room and they were able to accommodate that.
They loved the Lion King Family Suite. The kids really loved the theming. The layout feels larger and you definitely have more storage in the Family Suite.
Then took the skyliner to Epcot. Their first stop was to use their DAS return time for Soarin’. After that, Meggan and her son did the World Showcase while her husband and daughter rode on Test Track.
They stayed at Epcot through the fireworks and then went back to their room. As soon as they went back to the room and Meggan did more laundry.
Hollywood Studios (November 21)
After waking up, they got breakfast at the food court area and it was very crowded. They got to Hollywood Studios around 10 a.m. Their first stop was Disney Junior Dance Party.
They went to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and then stopped for lunch at PizzeRizzo. They weren’t able to mobile order so they had to wait in line, which took a while. Meggan recommends the Italian salad.
Meggan’s husband and daughter went on Tower of Terror. She and her son were able to walk around a do some shopping. They met up again and rode Rise of the Resistance. Meggan doesn’t like the simulator section and asked a cast member if she could skip that section.
She was taken around that section and went to the Stormer Trooper room to wait for her family. They love this attraction and had so much fun.
Their next stop was Alien Swirling Saucers before they took a break for dinner. They had a dinner reservation at Sci-Fi Dine-in. This is not a Fantasmic package, but Meggan would really like to have that.
Meggan wasn’t able to get the dinner package online but asked her server at the restaurant and was able to get the Fantasmic tickets! They went on Slinky Dog Dash and the Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy before heading to Fantasmic.
After Fantasmic, they got on the Skyliner for Art of Animation.
Epcot (November 22)
Just like yesterday, they got up and had breakfast at the Food Court again. They got on the skyliner and got to Epcot for their DAS return time for Living with the Land.
After that, they got a DAS return time for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. They wandered around the World Showcase. They went to Frozen Ever After and while they were in line it shut down. They got an anytime pass because of that.
Meggan’s husband needed some Starbucks so they walked to the front of the park for that. While he waited for the coffee, Meggan and her kids watched through the glass as they made popcorn treats.
They had a Teppan Edo dinner reservation at 4:50 p.m. The restaurant was very crowded and it took a minute before they were seated. They really love this restaurant and the kids loved it.
After dinner, they did the Pick a Pearl experience. Meggan’s daughter LOVED it. There were a lot of people who were watching but there wasn’t a line at all. This was a quick and really nice experience.
They found a spot to watch the fireworks, got a snack, and watched the fireworks. Meggan said the show was different than before and didn’t like it as much.
After the fireworks they took the Skyliner back to their resort.
Magic Kingdom (November 23)
They got to the bus stop and arrived at Magic Kingdom at 10:30 a.m. It took a while to get through security.
Once they were in the park, they went to Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. This is her son’s favorite and he was chosen to speak, which was really neat.
They had an early lunch at Tony’s Town Square. They sat outside and were able to watch some of the parade. Their server was really great. The kids got ice cream with sprinkles for free. They all split the shrimp scampi and caprese salad. The kids had the pizza, which isn’t on the menu.
The food isn’t Meggan’s favorite, but the experience was great. While they were there, a photopass photographer took some photos of their family. This was great and unusual!
Meggan wanted to do some shopping because this was their last day. They started at the front of the park and shopped along Main Street. They had a lot of bags so they got a locker at the front of the park.
Then they went to their 4:35 p.m. dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern. It was very crowded and they waited about 30 minutes for their reservation.
While they waited, they went to the Christmas Shoppe and wrote letters to Santa. Their dinner was delicious. They left dinner to go to their dessert party reservation. They weren’t hungry at all for this.
They checked in for their dessert party and got a few drinks. They weren’t hungry so they asked if they could leave that area and come back later. They were able to do that and rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before coming back.
They went back to their table to watch the fireworks and had some desserts then. They had great seats and were able to see Tinker Bell perfectly.
After the dessert party they went to Pirates of the Caribbean and then left for the day. They took the bus back to their resort and went straight to bed.
Departure (November 24)
They woke up the next morning, packed up, and left for home. Thankfully the drive back was much less eventful than their drive to Orlando.
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- Complete Guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Disney World 101: The Ultimate First Timer’s Guide
- Complete Guide to Disney World Dining
- Disney World Touring Strategies
- 6 Step Disney World Planning Process
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