Trip Report **COMPLETED** December 2021 - "I'll Be Home For Christmas"

I just came back today from a short 3 night WDW vacation. It's going to take me a couple of days edit the pictures and get my thoughts together so that I can start writing this report. It was a really fun trip although it wasn't long enough!!! There were some highs and definitely some lows. But, averaged together, it was a pretty good trip. Despite the heat that I wasn't prepared for LOL.

When: December 12-15, 2021
Why: 19th Anniversary Trip, 50th Celebration, Christmas focus, and just to get away from the house kind of trip
Where: Port Orleans French Quarter
Who: Me and the husband (R)

In some ways, I was pleasantly surprised by this trip. But also really disappointed in some of Disney's recent decisions. I don't think R noticed it as much as I did. He has a horrible memory so each trip is almost like his first one 😂
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit
Premium Member
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LeighM

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm actually looking forward to my trip report because I think it's going to be hilarious how much stuff on my must-do list didn't get done 😂 I even made flash cards for each park so that I wouldn't forget to do any of them. And then forgot that I had notes with me LOL. I'm not even joking! They were even color coded for each park. As I was trying to get to sleep last night, I remembered that I even forgot to have a Dole Whip. It will be a while before we go anywhere again because of my aging dog so I tried to do as much as I could to make the most of it. This is my furbaby, Pippy. He's my doggie soulmate and has had a lot of health issues lately. He had to go to the vet for blood work before we left for vacation because he was losing more weight despite an increased appetite. But everything came back surprisingly good for a 15 year old dog with Cushings and a history of pancreatitis. I've lost both of my cats this year, one 17 and the other 18, and with Pip's age and health, I just don't feel comfortable being gone for too long. I don't think he did well being apart from us so I'm thankful it was only 3 nights. He'll be 16 in September and until recently still acted like a puppy.

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LeighM

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Yay!! The French Quarter is open! Can't wait to hear about it all.

It felt so strange staying at FQ when we usually go to Riverside. We didn't get up to Riverside until our last full day and we were both like "okay now THIS is home." I love the size of FQ, the one bus stop, and the beignets! But Riverside just has our heart. When we walked into the lobby, I legit got tears. We've now stayed at every moderate resort, with the exception of Fort Wilderness Cabins, so I'm glad we checked FQ off the list. But I definitely prefer Riverside for the resort and atmosphere. But I love the rooms at Coronado Springs more than either of the PO resorts. My husband wants to stay at POR again next time we go.
 

LeighM

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Pippy is adorable! 😍

He's the sweetest dog ever. It's heartbreaking to see them age! I feel very blessed to still have him with me. I came so close to losing him several years go because he had a reaction to a vaccine that caused meningoencephelitis. Now to see the affects of aging on top of a very bad year for him with multiple episodes of pancreatitis, a skin infection, a snake bite, and now Cushings. He'll probably be my last ever dog.
 

LeighM

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I wasn't really sure if this trip would actually happen! I was supposed to go back in April 2020 but that was obviously cancelled. Then we moved it to August 2020 but I couldn't wear a face mask in the FL heat so we moved it to November 2020. But then covid cases started spiking again and we weren't yet vaccinated so we decided to wait. Then we rebooked to March or April 2021. However, we had to change that date because R started a new job. Then our pets started to get sick and I wasn't going to leave my dying cats. So we booked for the week after Thanksgiving and hoped for the best. But then my usual pet sitter was no longer staying overnight, it was exam week so none of the college kids could do it, and everyone else was either busy or couldn't give him the attention his new health issues requires. A friend of mine who I trusted took pity on me and sent me a list of dates she was available so I went with Dec 12-15th. Because she was working remotely, I didn't want to interfere with her schedule that much and I knew she was traveling often to see her aging mother out of state so I went with those dates to have less impact on her schedule. So the fact I even got to go in December at all was mini miracle 😂 I can't remember what all I wrote in my pre-trip report so I'm not going into much detail over the planning. Now on to the trip!
 

LeighM

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 1, Sunday Dec 12th - Travel Day and Magic Kingdom's Very Merriest After Hours event

First I have to admit, this was done last minute. I NEVER plan a park day the same day as a travel day. Ever! But we were only planning on doing Epcot for the Festival of the Holidays and Hollywood Studios for Galaxy's Edge and Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. But then I saw the After Hours party was going to be when we were there and I wasn't happy about not going to MK. So I decided to not do the Park Hopper option and put that money towards the cost of the event. Last trip, I made the statement that I would not do MK again during the day. It would either be extra magic hours at night or an after hours event. Since Disney did away with the evening hours unless you stay Deluxe, I had to go with the Christmas event.

We had to wake up at 5AM in order to drive to the airport in Richmond for our 8AM. It's the nearest airport with direct flights to MCO and I always want to fly JB. I had travel bank points remaining from the cancelled 2020 trip that were expiring soon, which was another reason to hurry and take this trip. I still have some left bc I was able to take advantage of a great flash sale. We'll need to purchase another plane ticket so we don't lose those funds and just keep moving the date of the ticket without penalty. We stopped at a McD's close to the airport. The Richmond airport is always a very smooth process - I just have a fear of flying bc of claustrophobia and being grounded since 2019 hasn't done anything to alleviate it! We parked the car in a great parking spot a little after 6AM. Our plane started boarding around 7:30AM so we had some time to wait. The flight was fully booked, as well, but surprisingly there weren't that many families.

There's the plane just waiting for us :) Daybreak had just arrived and it looked so relaxing. Except for inside my head and stomach, which was a bundle of nerved and anxiety. I almost broke my poor husband's hand during take off.

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There was a lot of turbulence during the first half of the flight bc of the storm that had gone thru earlier during the night. Someone asked the flight attendant why it was so bumpy and she said that it was much worse on Saturday. So I'm very thankful that I wasn't flying then!!!

We had a perfect landing at MCO, which was very different than in 2019! We were able to quickly get off the plane. We saw my husband's fav character on the MCO monorail.

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We didn't have checked luggage this trip because it was so short. We made our way to MDE and were met by the longest line I had ever seen at the airport. I tried taking a picture but none did it justice. It was past the 3 elevator waaaaaaay down the other side of the terminal. Seeing the demand for it confuses me even more on Disney's decision to end it and let it go to Mears without even charging for it themselves. Looked like a gold mine to me. It moved quickly, maybe 30 minutes. We got checked in and got into line for POFQ. We only had to wait about 10 minutes before we were able to board. And we got a legit MDE bus this time - not Mears, not DCL, but MDE. It was bittersweet. Once, I started flying to Disney instead of driving, it became my fav way to enter the Disney bubble.

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This is such a great way to start your Disney trip!

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We had to stop off at Old Key West, Saratoga Springs before it got to French Quarter. I can't remember if Riverside was last. I was just too excited to finally be back :)
 

LeighM

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This was my first time being at Disney during the holidays and I was all types of excited despite watching tons of Disney vloggers on YouTube. I loved the decorations at FQ - it was just so pretty! I got a better picture of the lobby later in the trip. There were just too many people in the lobby at the moment for me to get a clear shot.

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We went to the registration desk so that we could get the 50th celebration room key. I didn't need it bc I still had the magic bands from our cancelled 2020 trip but I still wanted the key lol. We were helped immediately by a fantastic cast member. She made sure our bands were connected and we were off to our room in Building 7. It was the furthest away from the lobby but it was still a short walk to the bus stop. We had a standard room. Originally, we were river view but I didn't want to spend that much since there were no room/package discounts for this trip. I kept checking and was finally able to snag a standard. This was our view.

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The rooms aren't as nice as the remodeled ones at Coronado Springs but it would do fine for sleeping. It was one of the biggest TVs I had seen in a hotel room too :)

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The pillows were much more comfortable than what Riverside had the last time we stayed in 2016. Those pillows were so bad they were memorable.

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I had to take a quick shower bc I didn't get a chance that morning and it was going to be a very late night. Afterwards, we changed our plans and had lunch at the food court. We were too hungry to wait until DS. At this point it was around 1pm. I think our plane landed around 10AM and we got to the resort around 12PM. The snacks on the plane just didn't do it.

We walked to the lobby and saw this street sign. That's my favorite kind of walk ;)

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Our first meal at Disney was jambalaya (for me) and a boring chicken sandwich for R (I gave him a hard time bc that's mostly what he eats at home) and we had to have welcome beignets with strawberry sauce.

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My jambalaya was fine but nothing special. I ate it all with no complaints. The strawberry dipping sauce for the beignets was really good and the beignets were better than I remembered. The last time we ate there they weren't Mickey shaped. After eating, we hopped on a boat to DS. How I have missed riding these boats to DS!!!! One of the things my husband was most looking forward to was Bibo from the Coca Cola Store so off we went.

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Up next - continuation of Day 1- Disney Springs, Ohana Dinner, Grand Floridian visit, and Very Merriest After Hours
 

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