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Trip Report COMPLETE -- Long Time Lurker, First Time Reporter...March 2021 Trip

After reading many, many trip reports on here over the years, I have finally decided to come out of the shadows and make my debut as a bona fide trip reporter.

Pop Tv Hello GIF by Schitt's Creek


My name is Bryan. I am 36 and from outside of Philadelphia. I have had an AP for several years now but I came to Disney later in life. My first trip to Disney was not until 1999 when I was 14 as a present for graduating middle school. I believe we went in August and the biggest thing that stood out to me was how hot it was. Our family would not go to Disney again until 2003 as a high school graduation present. After that there were a few trips with friends during cooler months when my love for Disney really started to grow. It wasn't until 6-7 years ago that I went on a trip during the F&W Festival that I really became hooked. The following year I decided to purchase my first AP and have had one ever since.

Now that my brief introduction is done, here are the details for this trip:

When: March 4th-9th
Who: Me (Bryan), my mom (D), and my friend (A)
Where: Doubletree Suites by Disney Springs


This is a picture of the three of us from a few years ago. I am on the right and A is on the left. A is actually the person who is responsible for my Disney addiction. He was the one who got me into the joys of Disney as an adult and encouraged my AP purchase. After hearing stories from our trips, my mom decided to tag along and eventually purchased an AP of her own.

That brings me to the why of this trip (Not that there needs to be one...). My mom and my APs are scheduled to expire in the beginning of April after the COVID extension. My mom is on the fence about renewing her pass for various reasons but wanted to get one more trip in before our expiration date. Thankfully, we were lucky enough to not have any cancelled trips in the disaster that was 2020. My mom and I were in WDW the week before the world shut down and our planned October trip with A still happened.

Now that all of that is out of the way, I invite you to follow along...

Lets Go Comedy GIF by CBC
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 1 -- MARCH 4TH

Traditionally, we will take the earliest flight out of PHL, get our rental car, hit the parks, and finally check in to where we are staying after the parks close. For this trip, A needed to limit the amount of vacation days he used so we were taking a late afternoon flight (3:50pm) so he could work in the morning. My dad dropper us off at the airport and we got checked in and through security without any issues. A met us there shortly after. We had enough time to grab a beer and some apps at Chickie's and Pete's right by our gate before boarding.

We arrived at MCO earlier than expected despite an announcement mid-flight that if all passengers did not comply with mask mandates that they would land the plane to remove the non-compliant passengers. I know that the masks are not comfortable and I know that no one wants to wear one, but no one is forcing anyone to be on that plane. If you don't want to wear a mask, don't travel.

We hopped on the fonorail, grabbed our bags, and then schlepped them all the way across the airport because MCO is only renting cars out of the A terminal and of course we flew into the B terminal. In years past, A arranged for the rental car and the contract is usually just waiting at the Budget kiosk for us to grab and go. This was not the case. We ended up having to wait around 15 minutes because the credit card on file was no longer valid. Once that was sorted out, we loaded up our Kia and hit the road to the hotel.

You might be wondering why would a group of such big Disney fans would not be staying at a Disney resort. Well, for our long trip that we take every October, A's parents have multiple timeshares that we are able to take advantage of and greatly reduces the cost which allows us to spend our money on the important stuff like food and booze!

However, COVID threw a bit of a wrench in our normal plans. With the introduction of the park reservations, we are only able to book 3 days of park passes if we are not staying on property. For our October 2020 trip, we had to get creative if we wanted to secure park passes for our whole trip. We ended up booking a room at a good rate at the Doubletree Suites by Disney Springs which allowed us to book park passes for our entire stay because they are a Good Neighbor hotel and have most of the same perks of a Disney resort minus the cost. We actually never set foot in our room on that trip because we simply booked it and split the cost to get park passes while still staying at the timeshare.

For this trip, we decided to book a room at the Doubletree again, but actually stay there this time. If you are like us and are really only in the room to sleep and shower, staying at one of these hotels can save you a good amount of money. Additionally, we booked it through the Disney Springs Hotels site and got a discounted rate that waived the resort fee and parking fee which saved us almost $50 a day.

I never did take pictures of the room but it was pretty nice. There was a living room area with a pull out Queen sofa bed, a little "kitchen" area (microwave, fridge, coffee maker) and then a bedroom with two Queen beds. My mom and I shared the bedroom and A claimed the living room. The only downside was one bathroom for three people. It wasn't too big of a deal but it did lead to some delays in the mornings. My one complaint about the bathroom is that the toilet sat lower than any other toilet I have ever used in my life. Seriously, the seat on this thing came up to mid calf at best. It was quite a stretch (literally) to use it.

We relaxed for a bit and made our way over to Disney Springs for our late dinner reservation at Boathouse which was a first for all of us. When we got there, there was a fairly long line to check in. We eventually made our way to the front to check in and headed back out to wait for the text that our table was ready. It took about 10 minutes and we were taken to our table which was by the window looking out on the water. We scanned the QR code to bring up the menu and shortly after our waitress came over to take our orders and brought delicious fresh baked rolls and butter. My mom went with a coconut mojito to start and the lobster roll. A ordered a beer (I forget which one) and the shrimp boil. I ordered a Beach Hippie IPA from Persimmon Hollow Brewing, the lobster bisque, and the shrimp and andouille sausage mac and cheese. The beer was very good and I always enjoy getting local beers when travelling. I am definitely a craft beer snob and this one was a keeper. I tried to make a point to take more pictures on this trip but I only got a picture of my meal.

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Everyone was really enjoying their meals until one of the unforgivable restaurant sins happened. My mom pulled a hair out of her mouth that was in her french fries. Needless to say, that put an end to her meal. The waitress and the manager were very apologetic when my mom told them what happened and they removed the lobster roll from the bill and offered to bring her out something else which she declined. As good as the food tasted and as nice as the staff was, I don't see a return trip to Boathouse in our future any time soon.

We went back to the car and drove back to the hotel and set an early alarm to attempt to get our boarding group for ROTR. Were we successful...?
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 2 -- MARCH 5TH

The most stressful part of any Disney trip nowadays is obtaining a boarding group for ROTR. We all set alarms for 6:45am so all three of us could be ready to tap that button right at 7am. I do have to say that I am a big fan of not needed to be in the park to secure a boarding group. I remember A and my first trip after the attraction opened where we were in HS before the sun was up attempting (successfully) to ride the ride. The clock struck 7am and I was met with the dreaded "something went wrong" message. For a moment I was very disheartened but my mom was the big winner and secured BG 33 for us! With that massive weight off our shoulders, we were able to catch a few more Zs before getting up for the day.

We arrived at HS a little after 9am. One of the best things to come out of the COVID changes was the update to the bag check. The new scanners make the entry process so much smoother.

We made our way back to Galaxy's Edge to grab one of my favorite quick breakfast meals in WDW, the Ronto Morning Wrap (not my picture).

Ronto-Morning-Wrap-Ronto-Roasters-2.jpg


I love the great snap that the sausage has and the sauce is very tasty. I try to make a point to get one of these every trip. A also got a wrap and my mom went with the overnight oats because she does not like sausage.

After fueling up, we went over to get in line for Smuggler's Run. I don't remember the posted wait time but I know that we did not wait anywhere close to that despite the fact that the line was diverted into a backstage area. During our wait, we saw Kylo Ren harassing the poor visitors to Batuu with his Stormtrooper cronies. My mom does not do well with simulators so she left the line once we got to the point of no return. I recently finished watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels on Disney+ and now have a new appreciation for just how involved Hondo was in the events of the going on before the Empire and during the rebellion. Since our October trip, they have started loading full cockpits for the ride with the addition of the ever present Plexiglass. A and I were paired up with a group of 4 as Engineers. Our pilots were less than successful which made for a bumpy ride, but it did give us Engineers plenty of buttons to push to repair the ship.

Once we secured our cargo and made it back to Batuu, our boarding group had been called and we were ready to join up with the Resistance. The line moved quickly and soon we were greeted with one of the most stunning visuals.

IMG_0721.JPEG


The First Order CM that was in charge of our group was very much in character and very entertaining. He was mocking the other prisoners in our group because they were having trouble remembering their colors.

I love this attraction. I spot new details each time that I ride and I am blown away with how immersive the experience is.

At this point, it was time to come back to Earth because it was beer o'clock and we had been looking forward to hitting up one of our favorite spots in WDW, Baseline Taphouse. The line wasn't too long and in a few minutes we had secured some beer flights and a giant pretzel.

IMG_0722.JPEG


My flight consisted of the Golden Road Cerveza, Sierra Nevada Wanderland Nectarine Ale, Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing, and Stone Delicious IPA. The Golden Road and Wanderland were new to me. The Golden Road was OK. It tasted like a slightly better Corona. I really enjoyed the Wanderland and it was my favorite of the bunch. And as always, the pretzel did not disappoint. I do miss the days when Baseline was relatively unknown and it was easy to get a table and relax while people watching. Now the secret is out and it is much more difficult to snag a good spot.

NEXT UP: The rest of our day in Hollywood and Park Hopping for the first time in a year...
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 2 CONTINUED -- MARCH 5TH

After refueling at Baseline, we wandered across the street to visit our Muppet friends in 3-D.

muppets GIF


This is always a fun show but it could really use an update. They really wouldn't need to have the attraction down for long to update things. All of the movie scenes would be shot off site. They would really only need to have the attraction down long enough to update the theater and the physical effects. Which now that I think of it, I don't recall any of the physical effects like the water spray and bubbles working. I wonder if they were broken or if they were a casualty of COVID.

Next up, we trekked across the park to Toy Story Land. It was getting closer to 2pm and we were planning on park hopping over to Epcot so we had to make a decision as to which line that extended out of TSL that we wanted to join. We decided to take a spin on Toy Story Mania since all three of us will ride that. My mom has been having more and more issues with motion sickness and hasn't wanted to test it by riding Slinky. We actually had FastPasses for it last March but she backed out last minute. Luckily for me, I took her MagicBand and got to ride it twice back to back by myself. Anyway...the line for TSM stretched all the way back into Incredibles Alley. It has been a long time since I waited in line for TSM in that area of the park, but I do remember spending hours of time in line in that section of the park when TSM was the "it" ride in HS. As has been the trend in COVID Disney, the wait time was much higher than the actual wait. Luckily, we were on the ride and had finished the last game when a cleaning cycle began. I did see something I had never seen before on the ride. While we were stopped, the cars next to us still had their targets on the screen and active guns but every target was valued at 0. I guess they figured out how to stop people from running up the score like you can on Buzz when it stops. I scored just under 200,000 which beat my mom but A was the big winner in the group and high in the vehicle.

We made our way towards the front of the park but decided to hop in line for MMRR. The wait time was only posted at 40 minutes and was significantly shorter than when we waited an hour back in October in the blazing sun/random downpour. The line went really quickly and nothing could stop us now (see what I did there?). I really enjoy this ride but I am not a fan at all of the new animation style for Mickey and the gang. That is the only thing that takes away from the ride for me.

It was now after 2pm and we decided to leave HS and park hop over to Epcot to enjoy the F&G Festival.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 2 CONTINUED -- MARCH 5TH

Can I just say how refreshing it is to walk into Epcot and not be welcomed immediately with walls upon walls?

IMG_0723.JPEG


The new entrance area looks great and I love the new fountain.

The line for Spaceship Earth was short so we took a journey through time to thank the Phoenicians and visit the coolest yellow tights wearing scientist around.

After our time vehicle returned to Earth, we went to the right. This path has much less walls than the other side of Future World and makes for a much easier entry/exit from the park.

Nemo was listed as a 5 minute wait which was a bit misleading because I feel like it takes more than 5 minutes to walk through the endless queue to get to the ride. I will say that this queue does have some of the best air conditioning on full blast for those hot and humid Florida days. The AC was not really needed today because the weather was just about perfect. Sunny and mid 70s. Certainly beats the cold and snowy winter we have had in PA.

My mom is a huge animal lover and her all time favorite is the dolphin. She could literally spend hours watching them swim around if given the chance. We did a lap around the tank, watched the dolphins for a little bit, and caught manatee feeding time before inching closer to World Showcase.

Before we could make it there, we took a detour to The Land. Living With The Land was literally walk on and as an added bonus we got the front row of our boat so we avoided the plastic barrier. This is one of all of our favorite rides. I just find all of the growing methods fascinating. A few years ago, we did the Behind the Seeds tours which was a great value and a highly recommended experience especially if you love this ride like we do.

We decided to glide on over to Soarin' before leaving The Land. We made out great as far as the wait time. Everyone in front of us was being directed to the right and when we got to the entrance the CM directed us to the left. We did not stop walking until halfway down the hall before they separate into the the three concourses.

Nice Work Pal!

We were seated in C1 but in the three seats closest to the center so we lucked out with minimal distortion. I wonder if there will be an update to the final scene of the ride where you fly over Epcot since almost everything in the movie is no longer there.

I have to get ready to go to work now, so I will pick up where I left off tonight when I get home with our first lap around WS, an ADR at one of our favorites, and poor quality food pics!
 

ppete1975

Well-Known Member
only critique.... dont name someone in your group A.... since A is used as A word so often that it can get A bit confusing..... Any other letter would work though
 

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