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Nicole’s group offsite trip to Disney World – PREP 401

Nicole’s group offsite trip to Disney World – PREP 401

Nicole traveled with 15 people in her family to Walt Disney World – that includes nine children ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years old! They stayed for a week in an offsite home they rented so they could all stay together. Their park time was often with their nuclear family, which gave Nicole and her husband plenty of time to navigate the parks with their 6-month-old daughter. She shares about their trip and her new perspectives as a parent.

Post trip begins: 38 minutes

The Basics

Nicole and her family have been to Disney World before, but this time with their 6 month old baby. They stayed off-site with their extended family.

Their whole party included Nicole, her husband, and their daughter, her husband’s brother and sister and their families. This included children ages 6 months to 12 years.

This group has traveled together to Disney World before but it was in 2018 and that was with fewer children. Nicole’s husband is one of 6 kids and they all traveled together.

This time only two of his siblings and their families could make it. They have been planning this trip for about 2 years.

Nicole and her family are traveling from New Jersey on February 26th. They will have a rental car and will check into their offsite rental and check out on March 5th.

Arrival (February 26)

Nicole and her family arrived to the airport with plenty of time to get some food before boarding. Their flight was slightly delayed, but they made it. 

Nicole and her daughter on the plane.

Nicole’s daughter was remarkable on the plane, even though this was her first flight. Nicole purchased noise-canceling headphones but she didn’t seem to need them. 

After landing, they had a long walk with all of their bags to get to their rental car. They were upgraded from their sedan to a larger vehicle, which was nice. 

It took almost an hour to get to their home. After they arrived, Nicole’s daughter was cranky and tired. Her sister in law and family arrived as well. Their family includes 4 boys and the boys had just found out that they were going to Disney and they were so excited.

Nicole’s husband picked up a few things at the store before going to bed. 

Animal Kingdom (February 27)

Nicole and her family plus her sister in law and her family planned to leave the house at 7:15 a.m. the next morning. They ended up packing up and leaving at 7:30 a.m. or so.

Nicole’s family did get preferred parking and probably didn’t need it. When they arrived, Nicole’s daughter needed an outfit change as soon as they arrived to Animal Kingdom. They had a breakfast reservation at Tusker House at 8:15 a.m. and were only slightly late due to the outfit change. 

They weren’t seated until everyone had arrived, which was fine. Nicole was only able to get a table for 8 and planned to just add a high chair for her daughter. The cast member was slightly annoyed because they do not have tables for more than 8 people. 

They ended up being seated at a very large table near the entrance. It was difficult because the adults seemed to always be standing, both because of all of the children and because it is a buffet. 

Their server was really wonderful as well and helped them know when to get food to not miss the characters. The adults also all got coffee to go at the end of their breakfast. 

The character interactions were really great and Nicole was impressed with how the characters interacted with her daughter. Her nephew was a little bit apprehensive, but also did well. Her older nephews were so excited and loved it.

Nicole had purchased Genie+ for her family but her sister in law did not purchase it for their family. Nicole thinks it was worth it for this day.

After breakfast, Nicole started booking lightning lanes. She was able to get Expedition Everest immediately at 9:15 a.m. for 9:35 a.m. They all left breakfast together but split up to go their separate ways.

Nicole and her family took some photos and got to Expedition Everest. The Standby Wait time was only 15 minutes, but they still opted to use their lightning lane. Nicole and her husband were talking about who would be riding first and a sweet woman offered to watch their baby so that they could ride together.

It was really nice, but they did not opt to do that. She rode first and was only gone about 15 minutes. He went after her and also was only gone about 15 minutes. They didn’t have to use Rider Switch because they both had lightning lanes. 

It was about time to feed her daughter, so they went to the baby care center. They’d learned where it was as soon as they scanned in. It ended up being their favorite baby care center because they could bring the stroller in. 

The baby care center wasn’t crowded at all. There were at least 6 changing tables. Nicole fed her in the nursing room in a comfortable chair. It was lovely.

They filled their water bottles and the cast member took really good care of them. The baby care center was stocked with clothes to purchase just in case that’s needed.

At 11 a.m. they went to Pandora and got some snacks and drinks from Pongu Pongu. Then they went to their lightning lane at Kilimanjaro Safaris. They only waited about 10 minutes at 11:25 a.m. 

As soon as she checked in at the Kilimanjaro Safaris, Nicole made a reservation for DINOSAUR. There wasn’t a wait and they went right to DINOSAUR after a bathroom break. Nicole went on first and then her husband rode. 

Nicole’s inlaws were also on DINOSAUR with them. After that, the inlaws went to Finding Nemo the Musical before heading back to the house.

Nicole and her family went to Pandora again. She wanted to get some cheeseburger pods at Satu’li Canteen while feeding her daughter. They mobile ordered, which was so easy and there was no wait.

Nicole made individual lightning lanes for Flight of Passage. This is one of their favorite rides and is very special. Nicole checked in on the ride and ended up waiting at the ramp for nearly 15 minutes and the whole wait and ride was nearly 30 minutes. 

While Nicole’s husband went on Flight of Passage, she took their daughter to the baby care center. Then they started to head out to go to Wilderness Lodge for their dinner reservation. They her her daughter sleep for a little bit in the stroller before going to dinner. 

They went to their Storybook Dining reservation at Wilderness Lodge for dinner, just Nicole and her family. Her daughter didn’t love the high chair, but thankfully they were able to bring her stroller into the restaurant.

They had incredible food and everything was great. However, they were seated right next to the kitchen. Her husband felt like he was in the way because the servers had to walk past them. They also were the last to see the characters each time as well. 

Nicole’s daughter loved the face characters, especially Snow White. They also had a great time meeting the queen after their dessert. 

After eating, Nicole went back to the house. Her brother in law and his family arrived as well. They put their daughter to bed, but Nicole and her husband stayed up to visit with the rest of their family. 

Magic Kingdom (February 28)

Nicole and her family got preferred parking and thought it was worth it this morning. They were in the first row in the first lot. Their whole family also purchased Genie+ for today. 

This morning, Nicole’s brother in law realized that the MagicBand+ they brought did not come charged. They didn’t bring the chargers, so they had to have them shipped from home. 

They were a little bit later leaving the house because they had some stroller issues. They arrived for thier 8:30 a.m. Crystal Palace breakfast reservation a little bit late. They had 3 reservations was made for 6, 6, and 3. 

Nicole's husband and daughter with Tigger

The families weren’t all seated together. Nicole liked this a lot because you could get mimosas. Nicole and her husband took turns holding their daughter because she was not interested in her high chair.

They had great character interactions. Nicole’s daughter loved Piglet. Their meal was really good even though they were late and anxious. 

At breakfast they remembered to get Individual Lightning Lanes for her and her husband for TRON for 11:55 a.m. Her in-laws were not able to get Individual Lightning Lanes. She was also able to get a lightning lane for Space Mountain for 10:35 a.m.

The families left breakfast and split up a bit. Nicole and her husband took their baby to the baby care center. It is very beautiful but you cannot bring your stroller in there. 

There is a nice nursing room in the baby care center that is for women only. They used the restrooms in the baby care center and they had the place to themselves.

Their next stop was their lightning lane for Space Mountain. Nicole’s daughter napped while they switched off riding Space Mountain. When they got off, they hung around near TRON

When it was time for their Individual Lightning Lane, Nicole’s husband went first and then Nicole went. She notes that there are lockers for bags and things but if you have just a phone or something, you can put that in the pouch on the ride.

Nicole’s husband told her to wait for a front row because he was in the 4th row. Nicole notes that it is very short. Nicole’s husband also lost his Magic Band. He just used his phone for the day and found it later.

Nicole's daughter on it's a small world.

After TRON they went back to the baby care center again. It was very crowded. Then they went to it’s a small world. They parked the stroller right outside the Tangled bathroom area. 

There were a lot of strollers in that area but there was a sign saying not to park strollers there. When they got off it’s a small world it took Nicole 10 minutes to find their stroller. Thankfully, Nicole had marked their stroller and she was able to find it. 

Nicole's daughter sleeping in her stroller

Just before 3 p.m. they went to the circus area in New Fantasy Land before their Be Our Guest early dinner reservation at 3:30 p.m. They sat and relaxed in that area. Nicole’s daughter was asleep and they made their way to Be Our Guest.

When they checked in the cast members asked if their daughter was asleep in the stroller. They were able to bring the stroller in because she was asleep, which was lovely. They were seated almost immediately. 

They all got seated in the ballroom, which was really neat. Nicole’s daughter did wake up and cousins came to visit during their meal. 

After eating, Nicole and her husband took their daughter on the train. They parked their stroller in New Fantasyland but notes that strollers need to be closed on the train. 

Nicole and her husband with their daughter

When they got off the train it was 5:30 p.m. and Nicole’s daughter was cranky. They decided it was time to go home. Nicole’s daughter fell asleep as they were walking down Main Street. They took some photos, stopped by lost and found for her husband’s Magic Band.

They were able to roll the stroller straight on the monorail, which was really convenient. 

Break Day (February 29)

Today was their day to do absolutely nothing. This was a request by Nicole’s husband. They just rested and took it easy in preparation for their busy day the next day. 

The whole large group took the day off together. They went swimming and took a walk around the neighborhood. 

Epcot (March 1) 

Everyone got Genie+ today and Nicole had her niece with her so she made her reservations as well. 

When they arrived at Epcot they considered getting preferred parking but it wasn’t being offered. They were parked up on the grass right by the entrance. 

They had three separate Garden Grill breakfast reservations at 8:45 a.m. Nicole split the reservation to 6, 5, and 4. This is one of Nicole’s favorites and she is so excited.

Checking in was a bit confusing because two of the three reservations were under the same last name. Nicole’s sister in law accidentally checked in under Nicole’s reservation. However, they were able to fix everything with a cast member when she checked in.

Nicole's daughter and Chip at Garden Grill

As soon as they were seated, Mickey was at their table, which was so exciting. They had incredible character interactions, especially with Chip and Dale. Nicole’s daughter wasn’t interested in the high chair but the characters came down to her level and that was wonderful. 

After breakfast Nicole’s husband and niece went on Soarin’ and she took her daughter on Living with the Land. It was wonderful and they all took about the same length of time.

They weren’t able to schedule their Genie+ lightning lanes all together because their parties were so large. Nicole booked a 5:20 p.m. lightning lane for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. They couldn’t make another lightning lane selection so they went to Journey into Imagination

Nicole's niece with Remy

At this point, the park was so busy. Nicole and her niece went on Finding Nemo while her husband fed their daughter. The wait for Finding Nemo was long, which means the park was really busy! 

They next went to Spaceship Earth. Nicole rode with her niece and her husband held their daughter. When they got off they went to World Showcase. 

They started in Canada and got some drinks and snacks. The lines were so long, but they made their way around getting drinks and snacks. 

The lines were so long so they just walked quickly through the World Showcase, which made Nicole sad. They wanted to get photopass photos taken, so they opted to find one without a line. 

When they were in Norway they were able to get a 4:20 p.m. individual lightning lane for Cosmic Rewind. They decided to check out the Epcot Baby Care Center because they had some time before their Individual Lightning Lane. 

The baby care center is very plain and very busy. They just wanted to see it, which is good because it was so busy. Their next stop was Club Cool to get her niece a Beverly. They all tried them and had a lot of fun. 

Their next stop was to get a lightning lane for Mission: SPACE. Nicole and her niece went to do the Orange side. They were in a vehicle just the two of them. Nicole said it was a one and done for her. She didn’t like it but her niece thought it was awesome. 

Nicole’s husband rode it when they got off and he didn’t like it either. At this point it was time for their Cosmic Rewind individual lightning lane. Nicole and her husband had been on it before, but it was her niece’s first time. 

Nicole and her niece rode together while her husband stayed with the baby. They loved it and had such a great time. They did note that it was very intense and is a rollercoaster. When they got off, they got some photopass photos taken.

It was then time for their Remy’s lightning lane. It was around 6 p.m. and everyone made it on time. The lightning lane was so long. They had to wait a while because of that. 

They did have the baby on the ride with them. Nicole was nervous about this because of the jerks and the lap bar. They all liked it and it went well. 

This was a long day and when they got off, Nicole and her family left. Her inlaws ended up staying in the park. At that point in the evening, everything was very crowded.

Break Day (March 2) 

They relaxed most of the day but at 2 p.m. they went to Disney Springs. It was so crowded. There were lines everywhere. They’d hoped to do Gideon’s, but the line was so long. 

They opted to leave Disney Springs and go straight to Fort Wilderness. They drove to Fort Wilderness and then got on a bus to get to their Hoop-Di-Doo Revue reservation at 4 p.m. 

Nicole notes that it was very difficult to get to Hoop-Di-Doo Revue. It took them about 30 minutes to get there. They have never been to Hoop-Di-Doo Revue and Nicole was very excited. 

However, it was too noisy for her daughter. They ended up taking her out a lot because she couldn’t handle the noise. Because they were a party of 3 for dinner, they were seated near the kitchen.

Nicole really liked the theme and how cute it was, but it wasn’t the best for them. She did say that the food was really good. 

They had to go back via the bus again and it was difficult, but they made it back to their car. It was a reminder that they really like having a car. 

Hollywood Studios (March 3) 

Nicole initially had an Ohana reservation for 8:05 a.m. and ended up canceling it. The rest of their family had an 8:30 a.m. reservation. Nicole made a Hollywood and Vine reservation for 9:35 a.m. 

Nicole's daughter with Fancy Nancy

Nicole says this was the best buffet food she had the entire trip. There were great character interactions as well. Nicole’s daughter loved it! 

After breakfast, they went to the baby care center. This was the most disappointing baby care center. It was dirty and didn’t have a companion bathroom and the only bathroom there is for toddlers. It is at the very front of the park in an inconvenient space. 

Nicole had purchased Genie+ for today and they made a lightning lane for Tower of Terror. They took turns riding. The partner not riding would wait at the exit in the shade with the baby. 

After that they made a lightning lane for Star Tours. Nicole was on and off within 20 minutes while her husband and baby waited at Backlot Express

Nicole and her daughter at Oga's

They had a reservation for Oga’s Cantina and were able to check in early just before 1 p.m. They were at the bar and had a special tall high chair. The bartender, Natalie, was delightful. 

Nicole got the Skyhopper and Nicole loved it. She also got the Fuzzy Tauntaun and liked it as well. Her husband got the Bad Motivator beer and the Jet Juice. They had a really great time. 

Nicole mobile ordered a Ronto Wrap and jumped a long line to get it within 3 minutes. They sat in Docking Bay 7 to eat and feed the baby. 

At 2:45 p.m. they got some popcorn and waited for the next Frozen Sing Along show. It started raining while they waited. They really liked the show, but Nicole notes that the end was very loud. 

They had a lightning lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway so they went there next. When they got off, it was time to feed the baby. They stopped at the bench at the end of the ride. 

It was raining and Nicole’s daughter fell asleep. Nicole made a lightning lane for Toy Story Mania and she rode that while her husband waited with her daughter. She also mobile ordered from Woody’s Lunchbox before going to Galaxy’s Edge.

They also had individual lightning lanes for Rise of the Resistance. Nicole’s husband went first while she waited with their daughter. Then she rode and it was lovely.

They left the park after that. Two of the families left, but one of the families stayed for Fantasmic. 

Magic Kingdom (March 4)

Nicole initially made reservations for Chef Mickey’s but everyone ended up canceling. Nicole’s family went to the park later and took the ferry to the Magic Kingdom around 9:30 a.m. They really loved taking the ferry. 

While they were on the ferry, Nicole mobile ordered Friar’s Nook and Sleepy Hollow for breakfast. She got a spot at Sleepy Hollow in the shade. They fed the baby and ate their breakfast. 

Nicole's whole family at the hub grass

Nicole had a lightning lane for Many Adventures for Winnie the Pooh. They liked riding that with their daughter. They originally had a reservation for Tony’s Town Square but she ended up canceling it. 

Nicole and her daughter at the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

After Many Adventures for Winnie the Pooh the whole group wanted to meet to get photos taken. They met at the hub grass and there was no line in front of the castle, so they all got photos there. 

Nicole's whole family in front of the castle

Nicole and her husband had a lightning lane for Haunted Mansion. They were going to bring their daughter on it, but she needed to eat. Nicole’s husband rode first while she fed their daughter. 

Nicole went on Haunted Mansion next and it ended up stopping a few times. When they got off the ride, they got silhouettes made of their whole family. There was a 45 minute wait, but they opted to wait. 

Nicole's silhouettes of her daughter and dog.

After that, they had a 3:50 p.m. lightning lane for Pirates of the Caribbean. There is a small drop and Nicole held tight to her daughter. It was a good ride. 

Nicole's daughter on the hub grass

When they got off Pirates of the Caribbean they fed their daughter at Pecos Bill before getting ready to leave. Nicole mobile ordered corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner. They took some photos and strolled down Main Street.

They took the monorail to their car and said goodbye! When they got back to the house, they packed up and got ready to leave. 

Departure (March 5)

Nicole and her family left for the airport, returned their rental car, and waited for their flight. It was delayed, but they were back home by 5 p.m. 

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