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Trip Report 30th Birthday Celebration! March 22-25

Hey everyone! It's been a few days since my husband and I returned from our short trip to WDW to celebrate my 30th and I'm excited to share our trip! We returned to WDW this past September after a 4 year hiatus to celebrate my husband's 30th birthday, so it only seemed fair to celebrate mine in the same way as well :) We initially planned to do a roadtrip in CA and visit Disneyland, but that obviously didn't pan out. We had such a great trip, and I'm already ready to go back!
 

Ebropez

Active Member
Original Poster
Starting up with arrival day (Mon 3/22)! We left Charleston early after dropping off our pup for boarding (we like to call it vacation for her as well). We loved Sanaa at AKL so much on our last trip, that we made a resy for lunch here for our first stop. Our lunch reservation was for 2 PM and we were promptly seated maybe 2 minutes after checking in on my phone. I was curious to see if the 'updated mask policy' for dining since our last trip in Sept was really all that different, and to be honest, I didn't notice much of a difference. My husband and I made an effort to leave our masks on until our food arrived, but this didn't seem to be strictly enforced based on the tables around us. The bread service was delicious and the salad was great as well! (Tried to start light with the food as I knew we'd be indulging quite a bit over the next few days) I just love the details of this restaurant! Highly recommend giving Sanaa a try if you haven't already!

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We were staying at Pop and I had checked in on my phone, but the room was still not ready (it was about 3 PM now after we walked around at AKL for a little bit). We drove over to Pop and I went to the front desk where I was given a room and also moved to a preferred building, woo! After lugging our stuff to the room we rested for a bit before heading to Disney Springs. My sister lives in the Orlando area, so we were meeting her for dinner at Wine Bar George, which I was super excited about as we had not been here before! On our last trip we tried to head to Disney Springs for reservations at Raglan Road and it was a complete failure. It was a Saturday night and it was PACKED, Disney Springs was at capacity with every parking garage full and we were in the worst traffic jam, never making our reservation. Being that it was earlier in the day and a Monday, I was a little more hopeful we'd have a better time getting over there. Luckily, we made it in just a few minutes from Pop and easily found parking at about 4:30 PM. I was eager to get on the virtual cue for Gideon's so we headed there first and were given a "3 hour waiting window", which worked perfectly with our dinner reservation. We headed over to World of Disney and were met with our first line of the trip, but it was quickly moving, as we waited maybe 15 minutes. Overall, Disney Springs was crowded but manageable. They had lots of live music playing too, which was great!

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After some shopping, we made our way to Wine Bar George and were seated upstairs and outside- the view was great and the weather was perfect! It was about 70 degrees out so they had the heaters going and it was perfect with the breeze. The food could not have been more delicious. My husband and I love eating tapas and small plate style so we were happy to try a little bit of everything here. If you're a sauvignon blanc drinker like me, I hiiiighly recommend a glass of the cloudy bay- it was so so delicious.

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The food was so so good- the mac and cheese bites and meatballs were probably my favorite. Right as we were finishing up paying the bill, we got a text that it was our turn in line for Gideon's, about 30 minutes early but perfect timing! We headed right over (I think it was pretty much right around the corner) and were on line for maybe no more than 10 minutes. What a cool, little shop! We got the triple chocolate, chocolate chip and cookies and cream cookies and they were sooooo delicious. It's a week later and we only just finished them today as they're so huge! Definitely recommend making a stop here if you can!
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After we said our goodbyes we headed back to Pop and went on a quick little ride on the skyliner (I just love riding it, especially at night, it's so peaceful!) We unpacked our things and watched some 'Disney TV' because what else do you watch when you're at WDW? We crashed for the night as we planned on getting up super early to catch a spot in line for the skyliner and to (hopefully) get a boarding group! We had a great first day!!!

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Ebropez

Active Member
Original Poster
Day Two! (Tues 3/23)

Today was our Hollywood Studios day and we were up briiiight and early to get a spot on the Skyliner from Pop, and to hopefully secure a boarding group. Our alarms went off at 5:45 and by 6:30 we were out the door walking towards the Skyliner. (We like to be one of the first groups in line at the park gate, if we can!). 7 AM rolled around.... and my husband secured boarding group #3! We only practiced about 5000 times 🤪 In September he got boarding group #2, so I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t slightly disappointed he didn’t beat that number this time around. :rolleyes:

We waited about 20 mins on line for the Skyliner (were about 4th in line!) when a cast member said work was being done on the HS line and they were likely going to have to send buses to Pop. We didn’t get up super early to miss out on prime pre-opening park time, so we booked an Uber and headed to Boardwalk to walk over. We placed a mobile order for the Boardwalk Bakery to ensure we’d get in with no problem, and it was a success! We picked up our coffee and were on our way. Once we got to the gates at HS it was about 8 AM and we were among the first groups to get in the park. Gates opened at about 8:10 and we were headed straight for Slinky dog! It was a walk on so we went on twice in a row. At this point, our boarding group was already called (despite it being around 8:50) and even though Millennium falcon only had a 10 min wait, my husband insisted on heading over to Rise, so we did. Such a great ride!! It was about maybe 9:30 now and wait times quickly shot up- we headed to Rock 'n' Roller coaster as that had about a 40 min wait. I do notttt do “intense” rollercoasters, which my husband knows. I didn’t do Seven Dwarfs until a few years ago if that tells you anything 🤣Despite knowing this, he tried his best to convince me throughout the entire wait on line to go on, which I of course did not give in to. So, I instead got a treat at Rosie’s while he enjoyed it :) I enjoyed my cookie (the snacking sandwich cookie with marshmallow, tasty but very messy!) and started heading towards Runaway railway as the wait dropped from 60 to 40 mins. As I got on line the wait shot up to 90 mins! We weren’t going to wait that long so we headed towards Galaxy's edge for an early 'lunch' at Ronto roasters (so so good!).

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Those cast members watch those tables in there like hawks because 2 people asked my husband where his food was while he sat at the table (for at most 2 minutes), while I went to get our mobile order. Thankfully we were able to keep the table as it was definitely busy in there! After a delicious early lunch, the wait times were still looking kind of long (nothing really below 60 mins) and we had been wanting to try out Baseline, so we headed there right before their opening at 11. What a bargain by Disney standards and so delicious! If we hadn't planned such a busy day, I think we would have spent a good bit of time there!

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I believe this was the Golden Road Hefeweizen, which was delicious! The blood orange apple cider was great too!

Afterwards, we took a stroll through One man’s dream (love it in there) and then headed towards Midway mania, which even though the line was only posted at 40 mins, went through the “backstage” area- so crazy! I will say, compared to our trip in Sept, the wait times appeared to be closer to the actual posted time (I may have timed them all to see haha). We then headed to Star tours which was maybe a 30 min wait. My husband and I were both surprised to see that Star tours appeared to be different and updated, which we somehow did not realize back in September (apparently it was updated over a year ago? 🤷🏻‍♀️). After that, we made our way to Runaway railway which was about a 40 min wait (and a killer wait in the sun if I might add, although fast moving!) and then Alien saucers (15 min wait).

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We then had about 30 mins to kill before our resy at Oga's at 3, which we were looking forward to! We really wanted to ride Tower of terror and were watching the wait times all day, but it just did not get below 80 mins (was 120 mins at the highest). We were planning to park hop to Epcot after Oga’s, so it just didn’t happen sadly. After taking in the sights of Galaxy's edge and a much needed rest break for our feet, we made our way towards Oga's Cantina and were promptly seated. Such a cool place! I was also thankful we got a spot seated at the bar because my feet needed it haha. My husband got the Slug slinger and I got the Outer rim, and then we split the Yub nub. The atmosphere can’t be beat and the drinks were tasty, but I think this is a one and done for us, as our bill was close to 100 bucks! :jawdrop: When in Disney though, right? Afterwards we considered getting in one more ride (if only tower of terror wasn’t such a wait), but were anxious to get to Epcot, so off we went!

Some pics from Oga's!

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Ebropez

Active Member
Original Poster
Day Two cont! (Tues 3/23)

After Oga's we made our way out of HS and towards the Skyliner to head to Epcot! (It was about 4 PM now) One more note about Oga's- my husband and I each had a drink and a half and commented that the drinks didn't taste like they had much of anything in them. Well, once we got up and started walking out of Galaxy's Edge we both looked at each other and just bursted out laughing, because we definitely felt something! haha Guess those pre-made drinks do have a little something in them after all!

Off to Epcot we went, where we headed straight towards the food booths because we were hungry! In hindsight, I wish I had taken more pictures but I was trying to 'be more in the moment,' so minimal pics it is. After getting off of the skyliner, we made a left and hit up World Showplace first, where we got the beef brisket burnt ends and smoked pork belly slider, and fried green tomatoes from the festival favorites booth, both great! The slider was definitely the winner though and a nice size! We made our way out and headed towards Honey Bee-Stro where we got the tupelo honey and sweet corn spoon bread, which was SO good! Our feet were already hurting (not a good sign) so we took a little break at the garden, which was right beside the booth and it was so cute! After some rest for our feet, we continued onwards towards the Sunshine Griddle booth and got the avocado toast which was also so great! Pretty big portion and nice to share. I was tempted to try the fruit loops shake but wanted to save room for more food! Next, we hit up the Trowel and Trellis booth and got the impossible Korean 'short rib'. This one was okay- the flavor was nice but the texture wasn't great, even for being a meat substitute. We continued towards Mexico where we had wanted to stop at La Cava, but the line to get in just seemed too long. We continued to make our way around World Showcase stopping at the Lotus booth in China and got the papa cakes- just okay. Passing Germany we got some caramel popcorn at Karamell-Küche (because of course). At this point we were losing steam, so we stopped at the America gardens pavilion and enjoyed the Mariachi Cobre for about 30 minutes- they were wonderful and it was a nice break from the crowds. After the show, I had wanted to stop and try the lemon cheesecake funnel cake, but we were surprisingly stuffed. We then made our way alllll the way around the rest of the world showcase, really not stopping for much as we were pretty full at this point. In hindsight, I do wish we had slowed down just a bit, as I always feel like there are so many details that I miss when jumping around from one place to the next. But, I guess that's what happens when you try to do 4 parks in 2 days!

Some of the only pics that I took, while on the way towards spaceship earth!
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We hit up Spaceship earth which was about a 15 minute wait, then Soarin' about a 20 minute wait. We were seated on row 1 and concourse B, which we were happy about because we had a pretty slanted view our last trip. We had wanted to do both Test Track and Frozen after Soarin (it was now around 8) but we were EXHAUSTED so we decided to just do Frozen. We made our way back towards Norway and got in line in the China pavilion! So crazy, but it was posted as only a 30 minute wait, which was accurate. Those dividers on the ride really are a buzzkill. I will say, I typically wear my Birkenstocks for these long days, but man my feet were absolutely killing me, so sneakers it was for tomorrow. We had thought we would stay till close (which I believe was 10 or 11 PM), but after being up since 5:30 AM and going non-stop since 8 AM in HS, we were beat, so we made our way back allll the way towards the skyliner where we were met with our last line of the day. After the most relaxing ride of the day, we were back at pop and ready for bed! I'm really not sure how we do week long trips, I guess turning 30 really aged me 🤣

Comparing this trip to our trip in Sept, there was definitely a noticeable difference. While the crowd level didn't seem allll that much higher, the wait times were a little higher, mask compliance was definitely down and people got waaaay too close on lines, much to my annoyance. It was still a great day and trip overall, just felt a little less 'magical' overall. Disney really is trying to do their best given the circumstances and I'm hopeful that with each passing day, things will get closer to normal!

No wonder my feet were killing me!
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Ebropez

Active Member
Original Poster
Day Three at AK! (Weds 3/24)

After a loooong day at HS and Epcot we were beat, but up bright and early to start off our day at AK! We were up around 6, in line for the bus at Pop at 6:45 and at AK around 7, super efficient start to the day! We headed straight to Pandora and waited on line to get in and head towards FOP. We were second on line 😬 Being that it was still early morning, Pandora was still all lit up and so beautiful and peaceful! I was glad we were able to see it like this since we wouldn't be in AK at night.

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We headed straight to FOP, which I was a little nervous about since I can be prone to motion sickness, but it was great! I will say the 3D seemed a little off and the glasses just would not stay on, but other than that, it was such a cool experience! We were off the ride before the park even officially opened, shortly before 8. 😎 By the time we got off, the line was already at 90 minutes, crazy! We headed straight to Na'vi River which was a walk on; it's a beautiful ride but I don't think I would have spent any great amount of time waiting for it.

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We spent a little bit of time walking around and then headed straight to Everest! This side of the park was EMPTY- I mean just no one around, it was kind of amazing! We did Everest twice in a row, both a walk on! We could have done it again a third time, but wanted to head towards Safari as there was already a little bit of a wait.

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I just love AK, the theming is amazing and you really feel fully immersed to a different place. I wish we had spent more time just walking around and taking it all in, but we had plans to head to MK, so fast moving we went!

At around 8:45ish now, we waited on line for Safari, which was about a 30 min wait. I think it would have been shorter had some of the animals not been blocking the path for the vehicles, causing a bit of a delay. It was a great safari! The animals were out and active and the weather was perfect. Those partitions are quite annoying though!

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Ebropez

Active Member
Original Poster
Day Three at AK! (Weds 3/24) cont

After Safari, we walked through the Gorilla trails before starting to feel a little bit hungry. so we headed back towards Pandora to try out Satu'li Canteen. It was about 10:30/45- we were just flying through everything! We took some pictures on the way!

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Pandora was definitely feeling a bit more crowded and hot at this point, so we were happy to escape to the AC and big open space. The food was delicious!

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Afterwards, we walked around for a bit before heading to Pongu Pongu where we were met with a surprisingly short line. (Around 11:30 now). We got the Rum Blossom and Pongu Lumpia and ohhhh my goodness was that drink delicious.

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While enjoying our drinks, we found a nice shaded spot to sit and had the unfortunate pleasure of watching the poor CMs try to manage the FOP line over a walkway. They must have had about 3 dozen people just plow into them not paying attention despite holding their hands up to indicate to wait as they let the line cross over the walkway. It was such chaos.

Feeling refreshed and full, we headed towards Dinosaur, which was surprisingly the longest wait of the day at about 30-40ish minutes. I forgot just how bumpy that ride is! We then hit up the train because I wanted to try out the 'Animation Experience' at the Conservation Station. What a cool and secluded little treat that was! The cool air felt so nice and we were definitely pretty full, that I might have caught my husband dozing off once or twice, we were pretty tired 🤣

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We headed back on the train at around 1ish and were feeling ready to park hop to MK! I'm always surprised when people say that there's not enough to do in AK- we had still missed a couple of rides and trails, and I definitely could have spent some time just walking around. We had definitely crammed a lot in (getting in prior to park opening just helps so much!), so we felt ready to go. Waiting for the bus to MK took foreverrrrr, like about 40 minutes. But it was okay, we got to MK right at around 2;30 and were ready to get going!
 

MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
I wanted to try out the 'Animation Experience' at the Conservation Station. What a cool and secluded little treat that was! The cool air felt so nice and we were definitely pretty full, that I might have caught my husband dozing off once or twice, we were pretty tired 🤣

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We really miss the Animation Academy they used to have at Hollywood Studios. It was fabulous with desk tops to draw on. My kids used to go through multiple times trying to get the character they wanted to draw! We still have all of those drawings they would bring home.
 

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