Trip Report: September

Home. Sweet. Home. I was gone so long, I thought I’d never see my house or cats again! Kidding, but seriously - I was there for 7 nights, which I almost NEVER stay that long, and it started to feel a liiiittle too long for me. Disclaimer, though: I go very often and a 7 night, 8 day trip is a long time for someone who has done all the things numerous times. My personal sweet spot is 3 full days.

ANYWAY. On to the report! I’ll preface this by saying we did basically none of what I planned for.

Dates: September 7 - 14
Crowd Levels: they were pretty low. I would say the average wait time was 15 - 30 minutes for any given ride. Epcot was about as busy as I expected for a Monday night, and Hollywood Studios (and Galaxy’s Edge specifically) weren’t any busier than a normal day.
Weather: it was SUFFOCATINGLY hot. It only rained on us once, though, on Thursday during Halloween Horror Nights, otherwise, it was dry and hot like a desert.
New for this trip: Universal, Halloween Horror Nights & being chill & not doing anything, ha!

Saturday: our flight landed at MCO just after 5, we grabbed our bags, waited for Magical Express. By the time we finally got to our resort, it was 7:45 and we were tired & hungry. Usually, on a good day, Magical Express takes about 90 minutes from wheels down to resort, and on a really, really good day, about 60 minutes! 2 hours & 45 minutes though…. was really testing our patience. We dropped our stuff in our room & walked over to the main building of the resort to grab some dinner & drinks. I’ll have more notes on the resorts we stayed at a little later.

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Sunday: We were up bright and early and at Magic Kingdom around 8:15 am, barely making it to our 8:20 reservation for Be Our Guest. We had ordered our food in advance but still waited a solid 20 minutes for the food to arrive at our table (waiting was the name of the game this trip….). However, I still recommend ordering in advance because the line to order at the kiosks were INSANE. Always. Pre. Order.
After breakfast, we hit the follow attractions, all using FastPasses: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (9:20 am), Peter Pan’s Flight (9:35 am), Splash Mountain (10 am), Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (10:25 am)…. YEP. We used FOUR FastPasses in just over an hour time span.
After we did those attractions, it was starting to get way hot, so we left and hit the pool. It was Sunday, which means Football Day, and was also the season opener for the Kansas City Chiefs, so we hit the pool bar at our resort for a few hours to watch the game. Not my normal Disney activity, but honestly, it was one of the best times we had all week!
Sunday night, we went over to Disney Springs and Casey had ramen at Morimoto Street Food (*not the restaurant, Morimoto Asia*) and he wants you to know it was mediocre.

Monday: We started our day in Animal Kingdom, where all we did was ride Flight of Passage. Yup. That’s it. We walked around the gift shop in Pandora, rode Flight of Passage, then had lunch at Satuli Canteen and went back to the resort for pool/naps.
That evening, we got our act together and went to Epcot, where we tried a couple of things from Food & Wine (I had charcuterie in a cone and warm Indian bread, Casey had a sushi roll and something else from India that I can’t remember). We also spent a good chunk of time in Rose & Crown people watching - namely a girl who was VERY interested in one of the British cast members working the bar. I hope she got his number. Walking around World Showcase, we happened to hit the tail end of Lauren Daigle’s set at Eat to the Beat. I think Casey really enjoyed this!

Tuesday: This was the day we hit Hollywood Studios & Galaxy’s Edge! We arrive around 7:30-ish, and immediately went straight for Smugglers Run & got in the Single Rider line. I’d *heard* from various outlets (cough, WDW Prep, cough), that when the posted waits are low for Smugglers Run, that the Single Rider line is basically walk on. Since Casey and I didn’t feel the overwhelming need to ride together, we hit this line….. and even though the posted wait was only 45 minutes, we still hit a 30-35 minute wait. It was…….the worst. I’m being dramatic, but really, I hated waiting that long for it in a line that is NOT supposed to take that long. It didn’t feel so much like it was because waits were longer than what they were, but because they weren’t actually utilizing the Single Rider line like they are supposed to. But whatever, I digress.
Tuesday night, we did another first for me, which was order in-room dining and had pizza delivered to our room! It was pricey, and not that great, but it was good for a night in.

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Wednesday: This was our big resort day. We moved over to the Polynesian, got checked into Club Level, and lounged at the pool until our room was ready. The main pool was so fun, and very kid friendly. I also * love * zero entry pools, so it was a winner for me. After we got the text that our room was ready, we went and got settled in, I took a ton of photos of the room, then we went to the other Poly pool, which is the “quiet” pool - which I found to get crowded (and loud) super fast. BUT we made friends with the couple next to us, so that made it pretty fun.
After lounging in the sun for a while, we went back to our room, got ready and took the monorail over to Magic Kingdom for a short bit. Casey finally ate a Casey’s Corner hot dog, rode Haunted Mansion and did the last little bit of souvenir shopping.

After getting back to the Poly, we got drinks at Trader Sams, then settled into our room for fireworks from our room because we had a CASTLE VIEW ROOM. Omg, it was amazing, I swear, life doesn’t get any better than watching Happily Ever After while sitting on your hotel bed! We opened up our balcony door so we could hear the music they pipe in for those watching from the beach. It was magic. (Though, I did experience my first full on panic sesh of this trip and I cried through the majority of the fireworks, and not because I was happy. ugh.)

Thursday: We slept in a little, took our time getting ready and then headed out for Universal! I will write a blog on Universal itself later this week because it 100% deserves its own blog, but I’ll touch on it here. We didn’t do a whole lot in Universal Studios this day, just because I was still feeling a little anxious and getting acclimated to a brand new park - this was my very first time to Universal, so I had that “uh, what am I doing, where do I go, I’m going to get lost” feeling. Full disclosure: we walked RIGHT past Diagon Alley the first time when looking for it - they do an amazing job of making it so discreet and out of the way! Walking in the first time was utter magic!

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Thursday evening, we headed back over to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights. Without a doubt, this was the BEST part of our trip. I’ll touch on this more in the Universal specific blog later, but we purchased the event ticket + Express Pass and it was probably the best $350 I could’ve ever spent on this trip. SO worth it. If you are at all a fan of Halloween, horror & other such things - this is the event for you! We did 3 or 4 houses with my pal Casey (who makes really amazing buttons for Disney/Universal trips), and though she highly recommended the Stranger Things house, we ended up skipping it. But we did the other two she recommended - Jordan Peele’s Us & Ghostbusters! All in all, really good night!

Friday: This was our last day, and we spent it at Islands of Adventure. We did a lot more here & covered more ground. I was telling my boss today that I think islands of Adventure is BY FAR the superior Universal park, but, I found Diagon Alley (in Unviersal) to be better and more immersive than Hogsmeade (in Islands of Adventure). One thing I will note, by the time we’d done King Kong, Spider Man & Forbidden Journey….. I was DONE with the screen/virtual rides. It was starting to give me a headache in a major way. However, the rides are honestly really great & perfect for older kids/teens/adults. Overall, i find Universal to be VERY teenager (and especially teen boy) friendly. This is the PERFECT destination for families with teens.
Friday night, we went back over to City Walk (this is Universal’s shopping/entertainment/dining district), and had dinner and drinks with my friends Ali & Amy. I absolutely LOVE hanging with pals when I’m on trips like this. Anyway - had dinner at CowFish, which is a crazy sushi/burger fusion joint and I would 1000% go back. Though, next time I go, my sights are set on the Chocolate Emporium (!!!).

Saturday: We left *super* early (6:30 am!) for our 9 am flight. We were picked up by Southern Elegance Limousine (thank you, Kelly!), and it was the perfect way to end our big vacation. Jackie, our driver, was so kind and showed up early (!! I love punctuality, ha). Highly, highly recommend Miguel & Jackie at Southern Elegance!

Okay - moving on!

Resorts
We stayed at Saratoga Springs, Club Level at Polynesian Village & Cabana Bay Beach. Loved all three. Here’s pro’s and con’s for all —
Saratoga Springs: Pro’s - on the scale of deluxe resorts, its on the less expensive end, so you get a nicer stay for a decent value. It’s also located literally right next to Disney Springs and even has its own boat AND walkway to Disney Springs. Though, we were extra and took the $20 Minnie Van for the 5 minute ride…. #blameitontheanxiety. Con’s - it’s a HUGE resort, so there’s a handful of internal bus stops, meaning, you might have a bus stop next to your building, but depending on where it is on the route, it might take 10-15 minutes to get OUT of the resort and on your way to the parks, making a quick & simple commute, a 30 minute commute - that was frustrating. The rooms are, while nice, getting a little outdated and showing their age. This wasn’t a total negative, and it was still clean & comfortable, just a little old feeling! But, so it goes with DVC resorts, these are usually bottom of the list on getting remodels & updates.

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Polynesian Village, specifically Club Level: we were gifted a one night stay in a club level, theme park view (!!) room at Polynesian Village by my boss, and friend, Kelly at Travel with the Magic. This experience was nothing short of amazing. I would say Club Level is a great amenity if a) you are planning on spend a good chunk of your time at the resort and b) if you are NOT on the dining plan, since the lounge is fully equipped with food of some sort throughout the day. This resort is also on the monorail, so it’s just a short ride away from Magic Kingdom, making it INCREDIBLY convenient for those with little ones who will spend the bulk of their time at Magic Kingdom. Cons… none really, other than the pool seemed to get crowded rather quickly.

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Cabana Bay Beach: this is considered more on the “value” level at Universal, though it feels more on par with Disney’s moderate resorts. The theming was so retro cute - I was SUPER into it. One thing I loved especially was that all of the rooms open into a hallway, and not outdoors, unlike the Disney moderates/values, which are more motel-style and open into outdoor/open air corridors. Being in a building like this (which after a certain time of evening, required the room key card to open gates/doors), felt WAY more secure. I also loved how the Universal area is so compact, that the bus ride from the hotel to the parks was literally 5 minutes, give or take. Cons - the only one I can think of is that they placed us in one of the two towers of the hotel, which is just about as far away from the lobby as you can get. However, I still loved the room, hotel and everything about it. Just the walk was a little daunting at some points. ;)

Dining
We didn’t do a bunch of dining, aside from Be Our Guest, Trader Sams and CowFish. Other than that, we decided to wing it with snacks/quick service. I really enjoyed the quick service options at Universal, both in the hotel & at the parks!

And that just about covers it all! Our plans basically changed completely, we didn’t use hardly any of the Fastpasses we originally had scheduled, and we spent a grand total of about 10 hours, give or take, in the Disney parks out of the 4 days we were there. That’s the least amount of time I’ve *ever* spent in the parks on a trip, but man…. looking back, it was so necessary and so appreciated. I really needed the downtime, the space to relax and just kind of…chill, for once.

Next on the agenda….telling you everything about being a first timer at Universal Studios! (Because I’ve already got plans to go back next year….twice!)

See you real soon!

Big Disney News!

I watched a two hour panel on Disney’s Parks & Resorts today. TWO HOURS. Some of it was like “okay, yeah, whatever” and some of it was “holy crap, I’m crying because I’m so excited”. You guys, SO MUCH IS HAPPENING. And I’m gonna detail all of that here along with my thoughts, but spoiler, they’re basically all super positive thoughts… so.

Disney Cruise Line

Two big things were sort of announced - both things we already knew, but expanded on at D23:

  • Disney’s new private island, Lighthouse Point, is joining the ranks of Castaway Cay as a port destination on Disney Cruise Line’s Bahamian & Caribbean itineraries. But, we already knew that. What we didn’t really know is that Disney’s legendary imagineer, Joe Rohde (famous for bringing together Animal Kingdom!), is at the helm of this project! He is a MASTER at creating culture-specific experiences and staying true to that culture. I’m so excited to see what he will do with Lighthouse Point - he said that they are dedicated to preserving the nature & working with its natural state. I am beyond excited for this new cruise stop!

  • Secondly, they announced a while back that Disney was acquiring 3 new ships to add to its existing fleet of 4 ships, for a total of 7! During the panel, they announced that the fifth ship will be named Disney Wish (omg) and the feature character on the stern of the ship will be Rapunzel (OMG). The ship will be delivered in late 2021 and will officially set sail in January 2022… so I will keep you updated when the new ship is ready to book! Here’s a video look at the new ship.

Disneyland

Marvel Land, in Disney California Adventure, officially has a name: Avengers Campus. It will open in two phases, the first phase will open next year (2020), but the second phase does not have a specific date yet. My best guess will be mid to late 2021, but take that with a grain of salt! Incuded in Avengers Campus will be A LOT of experiences including -

  • a neighborhood called Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB, for short!), which will house the Spiderman attraction, as well as PYM Test Kitchen, a dining location.

  • Characters available to meet in the area will be Ant Man, The Wasp, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Widow, Star Lord, Gamora, Groot, Thor, Loki, and Black Panther. (I assume Captain America, Spiderman and Captain Marvel will also be included since these are characters that currently meet in the parks, but who knows.)

  • In the second phase of Avengers Campus, we will get a bran new E-Ticket attraction, which means it’s gonna be a hella big attraction to do, based on Black Panther and Wakanda. This, to me, is the biggest news for Disneyland. Like, huge.

Also coming to Disneyland — a new parade! “Magic Happens” will be debuting at Disneyland Park in Spring 2020, with floats featuring classic and new animation including new favorites like Coco & Moana. The concept art for these floats are GORGEOUS. I’m so happy to see both movies getting a bigger presence in the Disney parks. It’s well deserved.

Coco themed float for Magic Happens parade at Disneyland. Concept art via Disney Parks Blog.

Coco themed float for Magic Happens parade at Disneyland. Concept art via Disney Parks Blog.

Disney World


First things first - the “little bits” of Disney World news:

  • A new Cirque du Soleil show is coming to Disney Springs in April 2020. This marks the first time Disney & Cirque has partnered to create a show together. So, it’ll feature Disney music, as well as animated characters that will “interact” with the performers. I’ll be honest - I’ve never been too into Cirque du Soleil, and I never saw La Nouba when it was at Disney Springs… but I think I’ll be seeing this on a future trip. It sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun and very nostalgic of Disney animation history.

  • Disney Genie is a brand new app coming in late 2020 for Disney World guests. It sounds very much like it’s going to be a paid service, in my ~*professional opinion. I don’t think it’ll completely replace My Disney Experience….? But rather, give you an intuitive planning experience. Though, in an email sent to travel agents, it says some features of Disney Genie will be able to be accessed through our Disney Travel Agent website, so… WHO KNOWS. Guess we’ll find out about a year from now… ha.

  • Reflections: a Lakeside Lodge is the newest proposed DVC resort coming to WDW, and will be situated near Fort Wilderness. It will feature A Frame Houses & Treehouse Suites. It will also feature a new table service restaurant inspired by Princess and the Frog. Honest opinion? I am excited about a Tiana presence outside of her meet and greet in Magic Kingdom, BUT I think a retheme of Boatwrights (the table service restaurant at Port Orleans Riverside) would’ve been more… appropriate.

  • The 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom will be celebrated across the four parks, not just at Magic Kingdom.

Bigger news: the Star Wars hotel. A long awaited topic. Here’s what we know:

  • the hotel will be called “Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser” and the name of the fictional starcruiser is the Halcyon.

  • All guests will check in and out together, much like a cruise, for a 2 day, 2 night itinerary.

  • Price is essentially all-inclusive similar to a cruise, and will include your “onboard” activities, dining and accommodations. I’m not sure if this will include a park ticket for your day in Galaxy’s Edge, but I assume yes.

  • Your “port day” will be at Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios, and I’m assuming that things like Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot, etc will be treated like excursions and cost extra.

  • One onboard activity will include lightsaber training. It sounds REAL dang cool and the concept art makes it look like a batting cage, haha.

  • Immersive and interactive, where your choices onboard direct your overall experiences.

  • No prices as of now, but speculated price comes in at a sky high $3000-ish for one person, or in multi-person “cabins”, around $1000 per person. Cabins will sleep up to 5 people. In my opinion, $500-600 per person, per night is not totally unreasonable.

  • No opening date set either, but they said it will be “booking soon” and it’s speculated that it’ll be open in time for the 2021 celebrations.

Alright, main event - Epcot. I have two pages of notes on the changes coming to Epcot, and this is already a lengthy post as is.
I’M SORRY BUT I’M ALSO NOT.

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Okay, in the past, Epcot was branded as “EPCOT”, all caps, and “EPCOT Center”… it seems that is a thing of the past and it is strictly “Epcot” with the new tagline “The Magic of Possibility”. Personally, I really like this! The all caps EPCOT was abrasive, and the new tagline really integrates the ideals of Epcot + the “magic” aspect of Disney as a whole. All in all, big fan of this “rebrand” of Epcot.

Future World, as we know it, is dead. (If we are being honest, it’s been dead for a really long time, but it is officially dead and it ain’t ever coming back.) The area we know as Future World will now be categorized into 3 different neighborhoods: World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, and culminating in World Showcase in the rear of Epcot. Okay, to break down these neighborhoods!

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World Celebration will begin at the entry gates to Epcot, lead to Spaceship Earth and back toward World Showcase. What’s new & different for this area:

  • This will include a brand new entry to Epcot, which they’ve already started on - if you’ve been to Epcot anytime in the last few years, you’ll remember the big Leave a Legacy monoliths that you saw first thing when you entered the park - those are gone.

  • Spaceship Earth will get an update with a focus on storytelling, featuring updated technology, new scenes (but still keeping some old scenes, too - crossing fingers we get to keep Rome burning!), and a new narrator known at the “story light”, which will be central to the attraction’s story. I think this is going to be a very cool update to a classic ride.

  • A new exit for Spaceship Earth will lead to what they are calling “Dreamer’s Point” which will feature a brand new statue of Walt Disney, looking toward World Showcase. This gives me MAJOR FEELS, you guys.

  • There will also be gardens, a wishing tree, story fountain and a 3-level pavilion that will serve as the home base to Epcot’s (many) festivals, as well as on that third level, a fantastic viewing location for the lagoon fireworks show.

World Discovery will be the area that currently houses Mission Space & Test Track. New for this area:

  • The Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, which officially has a name: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which will feature Disney’s first reverse launch. Choosing to leave my feelings of how GOTG does not belong in Epcot in the past, I’m now SUPER stoked on this one.

  • The Mission Space pavilion will have an elevator that transports you into space to dine at the new space themed table service restaurant, Space 220. This is opening Winter 2019, which in Disney speak, is late December, and not a moment before then.

  • The Play Pavilion will also be coming to this area in 2021. This will feature…. a lot of things. Ranging from Edna Mode to DuckTales. There’s just a lot going on that I don’t really understand but I think it’ll be cool? If anything, it’ll be a great AC break.

World Nature will be where the Land and Sea pavilions currently are. As far as we know, the actual Land and Sea pavilions will remain relatively untouched, if anything, they’ll get a slight remodel to fit the new feel of the area. What’s new for this area:

  • In the Land pavilion, there will be a new film called “Awesome Planet” debuting in January 2020.

  • Journey of Water will be a Moana-inspired water attraction, which will be a display of the importance of the natural water cycle. I don’t think this will be very character-centric, but rather a small bit of tie-in to grab the interest of little ones, in a teachable moment.

And finally, World Showcase, where a ton is happening! The area itself is not changing (ugh, although, I was really hyping myself on the potential of a new country being added to the showcase!), but a lot is being added, changed, etc.

“Cherry Tree Lane” addition to Epcot’s United Kingdom. Concept art via Disney Parks Blog.

“Cherry Tree Lane” addition to Epcot’s United Kingdom. Concept art via Disney Parks Blog.

  • China is getting a new 360 Circle Vision film titled “Wondrous China” - sometime in 2020, I’m sure, though no date was revealed for this one.

  • Canada is getting a new 360 Circle Vision film titled “Canada Far & Wide” - January 2020

  • France will be getting a double feature: a Beauty and the Beast Sing Along will be paired with Impressions de France, beginning in January 2020

  • Also in France, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will debut in Summer 2020 - FINALLY

  • Also, also in France will receive a new quick service/table service restaurant called La Crêperie de Paris, in Summer 2020. I think this will be very similar to Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom - quick service at lunch, table service at dinner. Reservations likely to be required for both?

  • Mary Poppins is coming to the United Kingdom, y’all!!!!! I am STOKED ABOUT THIS. A new street is being added to the United Kingdom pavilion (likely where the small hedge maze is, and where British Revolution currently performs. This street will essentially be Cherry Tree Lane, including Admiral Boom’s house (yessss!!!!), and you will enter #17 Cherry Tree Lane (where the Banks family lives, of course). The actual attraction inside the house is yet to be known, but my best guess is more of a walk through attraction with rooms in the house….? I don’t know. Don’t care. I just love Mary and I’m happy to have her here!!

Elsewhere in Epcot….
Epcot Forever will be replacing the current nighttime show Illuminations beginning October 1, 2019. There’s no timeframe as to how long Epcot Forever will run, but that it is most definitely a temporary show, and it’s official replacement will be called “HarmoniUS” and will be debuting sometime in 2020. It’ll also be the biggest nighttime spectacular in Disney parks history… which is saying something because, uh, Disney nighttime fireworks are freaking huge displays. So… I’m pretty excited to see it when it debuts next year!

There’s no official time table on when the expansion of Epcot will be completely finished, other than it is a “multi-year expansion”. The bulk of the new attractions are slated to be done in time for the 50th anniversary in 2021. Disney isn’t always totally respectful of their own timelines, so we will see if some of the bigger things actually are completed in the said timeframe, but… I’m hopeful!

Okay. If you made it to the end of this, boy do I commend you. This was a TON of info but it’s all EXCITING info! Anything in particular you love? Hate? Don’t even slightly care? Let me know! Either way…so much is happening and 2020/2021 are going to be AMAZING years to visit the Disney Parks!

*pre* trip report!

I’m doing something fun that I’ve never done before and I’m going to walk you through my vacation plans before I travel and then compare how it actually went when I get back from that trip!

For the pre Trip Report, I will follow my same formula that I use for my regular reports to break down what I plan to do… here we go!

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Vacation Dates: September 7 - 14. We are doing Disney World from the 7th-12th, and then Universal from the 12th - 14th!
Crowd Levels: They are predicted to be low-mid level crowds. With going 10 days after Galaxy’s Edge opening, as well as Food & Wine at Epcot… I feel like they’ll lean more on the heavier side, but I’m hoping for the best!
Weather: It’s gonna be hotter than hell’s gates, my friends. And it’s gonna rain. #hurricaneseason
New for this trip: UNIVERSAL! Neither of us have been to Universal AT ALL! We are also staying at 3 totally new to us hotels over the trip, as well as Halloween Horror Nights at Universal, and 2 restaurants that I’ve never eaten at before!

Saturday: We are flying out of Kansas City, and don’t arrive until close to 5 pm, so we don’t have much of anything planned for this day, aside from grabbing dinner at Disney Springs and maybe doing the new NBA Experience. We will be checking into Saratoga Springs for the first 4 nights of our stay. We are toying with the idea of buying into DVC sometime in the near future (I think Casey has come to understand that he has MANY more Disney vacations in his future….), and Saratoga Springs or Animal Kingdom Lodge will likely be one of the resorts we will be considering… so it’s a test run by staying there! We are most excited about being walking distance to Disney Springs!

Sunday: We are hitting the ground running, with breakfast at Be Our Guest at 8 am! We plan to spend the majority of the day at Magic Kingdom, since it’s a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party day, and crowds tend to be super light on party days! We have FastPasses stacked from 9:30 - 11:30 am for Peter Pan’s Flight, Splash Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We don’t have a huge agenda for what we do this day, mainly because we did it all on our last visit when we went to After Hours. After we are done at Magic Kingdom, we are going to head back to our resort, clean up a bit for dinner, and head over to Disney Springs for our reservation at Morimoto Asia. This was Casey’s #1 request for this trip, we are both very excited to eat here!

Monday: Zero plans, nada, nothing at all. Well, until our dinner reservation at Akershus in Epcot. Casey had requested we do one character meal, so of course, I booked the princess meal, ha! I’m not sure what we are going to do, but since we have a park hopper plus ticket (which allows water park entries), I’m thiiiiiinking…? we might go to Typhoon Lagoon for a few hours, if we feel like it. I don’t know if Casey will be huge on visiting a water park, but I’ve only ever been to Blizzard Beach and it was like 6 years ago, so it’s high time I do a water park again.

Tuesday: Animal Kingdom day! We have FastPasses stacked from 9:45 - 11:45 for Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and Flight of Passage. SO excited, because I’ve never been on Kali River Rapids and Casey’s never been on Flight of Passage! We don’t have any set plans for the evening - kind of keeping it open and basing it on wait times around the other parks, and potentially going back to Epcot for some Food & Wine sampling!

Wednesday: The exciting part — we are checking out of Saratoga Springs and into the POLYNESIAN! We are so blessed to have been gifted this for this trip and we plan to make the most of it! We are booked for a Club Level room with a Magic Kingdom view - so obviously, we have zero plans for that evening except to hang around the resort and watch fireworks from our balcony! However… before all that, we plan to be at Hollywood Studios at 6 am for Extra Extra Magic Hours. We hope to do as much as we can in Hollywood Studios, including use our FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash and eat an early lunch at Sci-Fi, but as soon as we have hit everything we want to do, we are OUT of there so we can go enjoy our stay at the Polynesian! I’m thinking, pool time in the afternoon, Trader Sam’s in the evening… it’s going to be an amazing day!

Thursday: We’ll be checking out of The Polynesian and heading over to Universal to stay 2 nights there! Since we are doing just 2 quick nights, and planning to be in the parks a ton, we decided to save money and stay at the Cabana Bay Beach Hotel. I’m excited because it’s got a great view of Volcano Bay! This day, we plan to just head over to the parks whenever we feel like it, take it slow and stay for Halloween Horror Nights. It’s going to be a late night, so we aren’t too stressed about getting there early in the day.

Friday: This is our day we will do the parks a little harder and try to accomplish more! We mainly just want to see and do allllll the Harry Potter! The parks close a little early (because of Halloween Horror Nights), but we aren’t planning to do HHN a second night, so I’m thinking we might do dinner at CowFish? I’ve heard great things about it, so we’ll see! I kinda just want to keep the whole Universal portion of the trip as relaxed and go with the flow as we can.

Saturday: We’ll leave bright and early for a 9 am flight!

I think I’ll be sad when leaving this time, because I know we’ll never have a trip like this again - a) I never stay for a full week and b) Casey doesn’t usually join on my trips. I am hoping to savor every single second of this trip! It’s definitely going to be a special one!

OKAY! THAT’S ALL! It’s a packed full week but it’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait to update you all on how things actually went! Should be interesting because when you make plans….you almost never actually keep them, ha!

Until next time!

Haley