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Rachel’s June Friend Trip – PREP280

Rachel’s June Friend Trip – PREP280

After rescheduling their trip multiple times, Rachel and her friend Elizabeth finally took their Walt Disney World trip June 17-22. They traveled without their families and enjoyed an adults-only trip. They had some additions to their trip like Sangria University, Flower and Garden Festival, and dining reservations.

The Basics

This was Rachel’s longest trip without her children and she was so excited to have some adult time. She flew in from New Hampshire and her friend Elizabeth met her there from Kentucky. Both women are big Disney World fans.

Their trip was originally planned for Memorial Day 2020, they moved it to the end of July 2020 but didn’t want to travel at that time. They pushed it to January 2021 and still weren’t comfortable. Then they changed it to June in Disneyland. Finally they settled on June at Walt Disney World.

They are staying in 3 resorts out of necessity. They booked a passholder rate for June 18-21 at Caribbean Beach. Their plans changed and they added June 17. They were able to get a value studio at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) using Rachel’s DVC points. Finally they added June 21 at a Bay Lake Tower studio also using DVC points.

Rachel and Elizabeth planned a dinner at Sanaa, some time at Disney Springs, food booths at Flower and Garden Festival, and California Grill.

Rachel - PREP280

Arrival Day (June 17)

Rachel and Elizabeth flew in from different cities but met at MCO. Their flights were right on time. Rachel arrived first and waited for Elizabeth at Magical Express. The airport was very quiet. They got in line for Magical Express at 4:19 p.m. and they went to their bus.

They didn’t get to Animal Kingdom Lodge for another hour because it was the last of 4 stops. They were assigned seats on the bus but there was no distancing, so it was a little confusing. 

Their room was available right away and it was very quiet. The resort is still only open for DVC members. Rachel booked their pool-view room using her DVC points

They got to their 7 p.m. reservation at Sanaa a little early and asked for a window seat. They were told they would need to wait a long time for a window, but they only waited a little but.

They got the bread service and delicious food. It was a wonderful meal. They did not order dessert because they went to The Mara and had zebra domes and a peanut butter and chocolate brownie. They ate their desserts in the room and they were delicious. 

Hollywood Studios (June 18)

Rachel and Elizabeth woke up early and got boarding group 19 for Rise of the Resistance. They took their luggage to bell services luggage to transfer to Caribbean Beach before heading to Hollywood Studios.

They’d hoped to get to Hollywood Studios quickly and opted to take a bus. They arrived to the bus stop at 7:38 a.m. and hopped right on the bus. 

They got to Hollywood Studios at 7:50 a.m. and were held at the tapstiles and then in the center of the park until 8:25 a.m. This was the first day that none of the cast members weren’t required to wear masks. 

They were at the front of the pack to get to Slinky Dog Dash. Unfortunately, when they got to Slinky Dog Dash it wasn’t running. They waited a little bit but then bailed on the line. Rachel spoke with the cast member with an iPad in the line to get a return pass. 

Toy Story Mania had a very long line so they went over to Galaxy’s Edge. There was a long line for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, so they went through the Single Rider line. They waited about 8 minutes and were paired with a family of 4 and got to ride together! 

Rachel was hungry and got a vegetarian Ronto wrap at Ronto Roasters. Sadly there wasn’t iced coffee that could be mobile ordered. 

Their boarding group was called after that and they loved Rise of the Resistance. They got stuck for about 5 minutes on the ride. Elizabeth hadn’t ridden before and she really enjoyed it.

After that, they went back to Slinky Dog Dash and rode that with their anytime pass. There was an 80 minute posted wait time but they scanned right in. Unfortunately as soon as they got to the front, the ride broke down again. They got another pass to come back later.

They stopped at Joffrey’s for iced coffee before waiting in line for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The posted wait time at 11 a.m. was about 45 minutes, but they didn’t wait quite that long. 

This was their first time and they loved it! They were able to see the pre-show and were glad it was back. 

Rachel - PREP280

They stopped for lunch at Baseline Taphouse. They weren’t able to sit inside and it was difficult to find a table even outside. 

They went to Muppet*Vision 3D next to enjoy the air conditioning. The audio was broken, which was strange. They stopped the show about halfway through and got an anytime pass on their way out.

They wanted to ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway again, so they rode it again! After that, Slinky Dog Dash was back up so they rode that with their pass. They used their other pass to ride Toy Story Mania next. 

It was about 3:30 p.m. and they took the Skyliner to their hotel. They didn’t get texts with their room number, so they stopped by the front desk to get their room information. 

They had requested Aruba and that’s what they got. Rachel thinks Aruba is the best location because the walk to the bus station at Riviera is quick and it’s very easy to get to the Skyliner station. 

They took a bus from the Aruba station to Disney Springs. They went to Gideon’s Bakehouse first and got on the waiting list. They were told it would be 4 hours. They did some shopping and went to Wine Bar George for dinner.

Elizabeth took her birthday button and took it to Disney’s Days of Christmas. She paid $3 for them to write her name on it. It was about 9:30 p.m. and they went back to Gideon’s to find out how long it will be until they are called. They were told 30-45 minutes. 

They were so tired but decided they’d wait. But they didn’t have to wait! They were told they could go right in. Elizabeth got 4 cookies and a t-shirt, Rachel got 6 cookies, and they both got cookie bites. They brought individual bags to put the cookies in to take home.

They waited about 15 minutes for a bus and they went straight to bed. 

Epcot (June 19)

It was Elizabeth’s birthday today! They didn’t set an alarm and took an Uber from Caribbean Beach for their brunch reservation Homecomin’.  They sat on the patio and it was lovely. Everything was delicious. 

They planned to go to Epcot next so they took a bus to the Beach Club Resort and walked over to Epcot. They arrived around 11:45 a.m. and stopped to take some photos. 

They went right to Soarin’ and waited about 25 minutes. They walked over to Living with the Land and enjoyed the flower arrangements for Flower and Garden Festival.

Spaceship Earth had a posted wait time for 35 minutes but it was a walk-on. Both Elizabeth and Rachel have been to Epcot a bunch of times but they got lost in the maze of walls. They finally got over to the Mexico pavilion

They rode Gran Fiesta Tour and then started their Flower and Garden food crawl. They had some delicious food. Rachel enjoys plant-based options and enjoyed many of them.

They headed back toward Norway, saw Ana in the Sommerhus, and saw the Princess Cavalcade. They waited in line for Frozen Ever After for about 45 minutes. Unfortunately there were some teenagers on the boat with them that were loud. 

They walked over and got some caramel popcorn and watched Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty. Because they had been outside for a while, they were very hot and decided to go over to France for the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along to cool off.

This was an interesting experience. The theater was packed and some of the other guests were loudly celebrating. It was a very rowdy singalong.

They walked over to the Festival Showplace near the UK pavilion. This was wonderful because it was air conditioned and had bathrooms! They listened to the piano player and were social distanced in this area. They got some food, drinks, and sat down for a bit.

After that, they went over to Test Track and rode that with about a 45 minute wait. They were able to make their own cars before riding. This was Elizabeth’s first time riding! 

They went to Spice Road Table and had a few small plates for dinner. They’d hoped to get some pastries in France before heading to the skyliner, but the line was very long. They waited about 15 minutes to get on the skyliner and were seated with another party. 

Animal Kingdom (June 20)

They left Caribbean Beach at 6:30 a.m. and walked to Riviera to catch a bus from there. The bus left around 6:55 a.m. and they arrived at Animal Kingdom at 7:07 a.m. They went immediately to Flight of Passage without being stopped.

They rode Flight of Passage and were off by 7:45 a.m. They did Na’vi River Journey as a walk-on after that and it was Elizabeth’s first time. They got both rides in Pandora done by 8 a.m.

It was time for their Tusker House reservation at 8:15 a.m. It was their very first day open and they had one of the first reservations. There was a lot of celebration and tears. 

The characters were distanced and did the normal parade just without the kids joining in. The food was family style rather than buffet. It was delicious. 

They’d hoped to go to the train next but it was down and not running. So they went to Kilimanjaro Safaris and waited about 20 minutes. The train was running after that and they got right on. 

They got to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and missed the Animation Experience. They couldn’t wait for the next one and weren’t allowed to stand in the back to watch. They got back on the train without a wait. 

It was 11:15 a.m. and they walked right into the 11:30 a.m. Festival of the Lion King. It was different but still wonderful. 

They walked over to DINOSAUR and Rachel did it for the first time. It was very scary! 

Sangria University photo at Coronado Springs Resort

They went to Satu’li Canteen and had to wait outside in the heat until their food was ready. They enjoyed their meal and the air conditioning! They both ordered off the kid’s menu because they didn’t want to be too full for Sangria University

They left Animal Kingdom at 1:30 p.m. to take a bus to Coronado Springs. They checked in at Three Bridges at 2:15 p.m. for Sangria University. They already had their seats already set aside for them when they arrived. 

They were given all the supplies they needed to make sangria. They also had chips and guacamole as a small bite. 

They had some trivia and history of sangria at Walt Disney World. They were then given four full glasses of sangria. Rachel says they were all delicious! 

In addition to those four, you made your own! Rachel and Elizabeth didn’t finish their sangria because they planned to go back to the parks. They were there until just after 4 p.m. Rachel was really glad she did it, especially without her children.

They took a bus back to Animal Kingdom and went to Flight of Passage to ride again. Then it was time for Nomad Lounge! They ordered drinks and the bread service. Rachel says it was like a mini-best of bread service option. Unfortunately the flotillas were not going that late in the evening. 

They went back to their hotel and went to the pool bar to get the coconut bread pudding. It was delicious! 

Magic Kingdom (June 21)

Rachel and Elizabeth brought their luggage with them on an Uber at 6:30 a.m. to Bay Lake Tower. They dropped their bags at Bell Services and walked over to Magic Kingdom. They were behind the people who took the buses because their security line wasn’t open as quickly.

They tapped in at 7:15 a.m. and walked right over to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. They got right on and then enjoyed coffee with nutella waffles. It was delicious! 

They got some photopass pictures taken in front of the castle and walked over to Splash Mountain. They waited about 20 minutes.

They went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the posted wait time was 45 minutes. Rachel couldn’t see anyone in the queue so they went over and walked right on! 

Haunted Mansion was about a 20 minute wait and the stretching room was back! Everything seemed normal to Rachel. PhilHarMagic was next before heading to Tony’s Town Square and they did a Jim! They were seated outside on the patio and watched the street entertainment while they enjoyed lunch. 

Rachel - PREP280

They were right in front of the doors so they got the breeze of the air conditioning but were on the patio alone! The food wasn’t amazing but it was fine. They enjoyed their experience. 

They waited about 45 minutes for Peter Pan’s Flight and 20 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean. They got Cheeseburger Spring rolls and enjoyed those with Coconut Dole Whips. Rachel had to wait a bit for her order and saw people walking up get their orders before her mobile order was ready. 

The wait for Journey of the Little Mermaid was about 20 minutes and they rode that before heading to Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. They’d hoped that while they rode Buzz Lightyear the PeopleMover would open – it had been down all day. Unfortunately it didn’t.

After that, they hoped to get some coffee, but the line was so long. They bailed and walked over the Bay Lake Tower because their room was ready. But it’s a good thing, they arrived to Bay Lake Tower just in time to miss the skies opening up and pouring rain! 

Their evening was spent at California Grill. They had some drinks and delicious food. They loved the chocolate espresso dessert and sitting by the windows to watch the sunset and the Electrical Water Pageant

Departure Day (June 22)

They went to The Wave (now Steakhouse 71) for breakfast. Rachel ordered the bacon and eggs, which is not on the menu for breakfast, but it was delicious! 

They finished their breakfast, backed up their things, and got an Uber to the airport. The line for TSA was an hour! Thankfully, Rachel has pre-check. She went right through security and had some time before her flight, so she bought a day pass to the Admirals Club for $59! 

She used the club there at MCO and on her layover as well. She had coffee and a drink at MCO and had lunch on her layover. It was a good purchase! 

Key Takeaways

  • If you will be spending any time at the airport or have a layover (or both!) look into getting a day pass for your airline’s club. Rachel really enjoyed Admirals Club and was able to get her money’s worth by enjoying snacks, drinks, and lunch.
  • Add Sangria University to a break day! It’s the perfect addition to an adults-only time.

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Lynda Thomakos

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Great episode. I never would have known about Sangria University without this. Even when I knew it existed, it was hard to find on the Disney World website.