Trip Report It's been 6 years and a global pandemic, but we are back!

Our last trip to WDW was during the summer of 2014. We have since visited six European countries and traveled across the USA (more than once), but we are ready to return to Disneyworld! We began planning over a year ago, fresh on the heels or our latest European adventure. We asked our kids where they wanted to go next summer (2020), Europe or Disney, and they chose Disney (thankfully as we would not be allowed to travel to Europe this summer). I have to say, as much as I enjoyed our visits to Europe, I'm very excited to return to Walt Disney World. So many of our early family adventures were to Disney and I'm excited to be there again now that our kids are older. So much to share since our last visit, and so much to say about our upcoming trip. So much has changed since our original reservation, including a global pandemic. Updates soon!
 

coachwnh

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Advertisement
Back to the reviews.

Our next park was Hollywood Studios. In the past when we visited Disney, Hollywood Studios was not a park we would go to as much as the others, and we would never plan an entire day there. Well that will definitely change! I can't say enough about the additions of Galaxy's Edge and Toy Story Land. Both very well done. Prior to this trip, I would have said Carsland at Disney's California Adventure was the best themed Disney park in the US. Not anymore. Galaxy's Edge just blew me away, and I am far from what would be called a Star Wars geek. The entire area was just amazing. I don't even know where to start when describing Rise of the Resistance. Crystal and I not ones to look online and see things before experiencing them in person. We had no idea what to expect when we got in the queue. I said this in my trip report live and and ill say it again, hands down the best 30 minute experience for any ride attraction in Disney. From the time the CMs scanned our magic bands until we got off the ride vehicle my head was spinning. This isn't just a ride. Its an experience. It really is an amazing addition to Disney World. I have no idea how it was done, but the feeling like you are on a moving spaceship after you are taken aboard to be interrogated just adds to the authenticity of the entire thing. The CMs are in total character. It must feel so cool to be nasty to guests while working on the attraction and know that the guests are totally into it! Just amazing. Just wish we could ride this more than once a day. Someday maybe.

Smuggler's Run was also a very fun ride. I had no idea we would be in control of the ship and playing while we rode. We did better the more we played. With the smaller crowds the wait was short and we had the opportunity to ride a few times each day.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway was fantastic. I was expecting a ride to follow the path of the Great Movie Ride at the same pace. Boy was I wrong. So well done and what a fun ride. Glad we had the chance to ride multiple times each day. Can't see this being possible under normal Disney conditions.

Toy Story Land has such a neat look to it. I love all of the building toys that were used to make the fences, lights, etc. Im a big fan of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in MK, but Slinky Dog is a much better ride. It might not have a cool mine with a catchy song, but it has more coaster fun to it.

Remember when Midway Mania was routinely a 2 hour wait? How about not having to get off and riding again. This may never happen for us again.

The old favorites like RnR and ToT did not disappoint. They are even better when they are walk on rides.

We even enjoyed the updated to Star Tours. We rode several times and saw new stories each ride. Our final time we finished in Galaxy's Edge. That was cool.

It was also our first time using the Skyliner to get to a park and it could not have been easier.

I will update all of our dining after I review Epcot and Animal Kingdom. I will say, however, the beer selections and snacks at Baseline Taphouse makes it an ideal midday stop.
 

coachwnh

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hotel review too, please. :happy:
Posted this a few pages back, but here you go with a few new points added at the end:

My review of the Riviera Resort

Our initial resort was Coronado, but we were upgraded (and big time to a one bedroom suite) to the Riviera. In general, there is nothing bad I can say about the resort. So here I go:

I had read some reviews where people complained about the small lobby. It is small, but it never felt crowded. However, I also understand that the resort was far from capacity. If this were a typical Disney summer vacation, then yes the lobby would have been too small. But during our stay, we had no issues and there was always someone to assist us.

The lobby store, La Boutique, is also very small. It was busy during our stay even with limited capacity.

The staff was fantastic. Everyone from check in, to the shops, to the QS restaurants, bars, and Topolino's Terrace were all Disney class!

The main pool area was small, too. We only went as a family once. Even with limited capacity at the resort, the pool was crowded. We did love the slide!

Brayden was the only one who went to the workout room. He went almost daily. He liked it.

The biggest perk was the Skyliner to HS and Epcot. So easy. Lines of course were short with Caribbean Beach closed for most of our stay, and each car was limited to just one party. I may have a different opinion had both resort been normal capacity and we had to share gondolas.

Bus rides were all very short. The resort is located in a prime location in relation to all parks and Disney Springs.

I guess the biggest thing I can say is it really is a beautiful resort.

I will update our overall experience and dining later. Hope you are all having a great day.

EDIT: A few updates and additional thoughts about the Riviera - We had a one bedroom villa which was great for our family of 4 including a 17 and 15 year old. Crystal and I had our own bed in a separate bedroom, while Brayden had the pulldown queen and Maddy the pullout twin. Our bed was very comfortable. The villa was very spacious and gave us plenty of room so we were not on top of each other. I loved the fact that we were able to do laundry in our room, had a full kitchen, and two bathroom areas to get ready each day (although only one toilet and shower). I used the balcony to relax pretty much every day. I wish we were on a higher floor (we were 4) for viewing. We had a view of Epcot and Spaceship Earth, but it would have been a nicer view had we been higher up. However, I'm glad we were only on 4 since we used the stairs daily rather than the elevators since the main lobby was only 2 floors down, and the exit to the skyliner was only 3 down. The resort landscaping is beautiful. I loved the mosaics and fountains we passed as we made the walk to the skyliner each day. The artwork throughout the resort was a very nice touch.
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Posted this a few pages back, but here you go with a few new points added at the end:

My review of the Riviera Resort

Our initial resort was Coronado, but we were upgraded (and big time to a one bedroom suite) to the Riviera. In general, there is nothing bad I can say about the resort. So here I go:

I had read some reviews where people complained about the small lobby. It is small, but it never felt crowded. However, I also understand that the resort was far from capacity. If this were a typical Disney summer vacation, then yes the lobby would have been too small. But during our stay, we had no issues and there was always someone to assist us.

The lobby store, La Boutique, is also very small. It was busy during our stay even with limited capacity.

The staff was fantastic. Everyone from check in, to the shops, to the QS restaurants, bars, and Topolino's Terrace were all Disney class!

The main pool area was small, too. We only went as a family once. Even with limited capacity at the resort, the pool was crowded. We did love the slide!

Brayden was the only one who went to the workout room. He went almost daily. He liked it.

The biggest perk was the Skyliner to HS and Epcot. So easy. Lines of course were short with Caribbean Beach closed for most of our stay, and each car was limited to just one party. I may have a different opinion had both resort been normal capacity and we had to share gondolas.

Bus rides were all very short. The resort is located in a prime location in relation to all parks and Disney Springs.

I guess the biggest thing I can say is it really is a beautiful resort.

I will update our overall experience and dining later. Hope you are all having a great day.

EDIT: A few updates and additional thoughts about the Riviera - We had a one bedroom villa which was great for our family of 4 including a 17 and 15 year old. Crystal and I had our own bed in a separate bedroom, while Brayden had the pulldown queen and Maddy the pullout twin. Our bed was very comfortable. The villa was very spacious and gave us plenty of room so we were not on top of each other. I loved the fact that we were able to do laundry in our room, had a full kitchen, and two bathroom areas to get ready each day (although only one toilet and shower). I used the balcony to relax pretty much every day. I wish we were on a higher floor (we were 4) for viewing. We had a view of Epcot and Spaceship Earth, but it would have been a nicer view had we been higher up. However, I'm glad we were only on 4 since we used the stairs daily rather than the elevators since the main lobby was only 2 floors down, and the exit to the skyliner was only 3 down. The resort landscaping is beautiful. I loved the mosaics and fountains we passed as we made the walk to the skyliner each day. The artwork throughout the resort was a very nice touch.
The edit was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
 

coachwnh

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I am finally caught on your trip report...better late than never, right! It looks like you & your family had a wonderful time and glad to see that y'all will be back sooner than later. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for taking the time to read.

We would love to go again in February for Maddy’s sweet 16, but PA and NJ will need to lift the travel restrictions for that to happen. The real plan is July 2021, but you never know.
 

fractal

Premium Member
Posted this a few pages back, but here you go with a few new points added at the end:

My review of the Riviera Resort

Our initial resort was Coronado, but we were upgraded (and big time to a one bedroom suite) to the Riviera. In general, there is nothing bad I can say about the resort. So here I go:

I had read some reviews where people complained about the small lobby. It is small, but it never felt crowded. However, I also understand that the resort was far from capacity. If this were a typical Disney summer vacation, then yes the lobby would have been too small. But during our stay, we had no issues and there was always someone to assist us.

The lobby store, La Boutique, is also very small. It was busy during our stay even with limited capacity.

The staff was fantastic. Everyone from check in, to the shops, to the QS restaurants, bars, and Topolino's Terrace were all Disney class!

The main pool area was small, too. We only went as a family once. Even with limited capacity at the resort, the pool was crowded. We did love the slide!

Brayden was the only one who went to the workout room. He went almost daily. He liked it.

The biggest perk was the Skyliner to HS and Epcot. So easy. Lines of course were short with Caribbean Beach closed for most of our stay, and each car was limited to just one party. I may have a different opinion had both resort been normal capacity and we had to share gondolas.

Bus rides were all very short. The resort is located in a prime location in relation to all parks and Disney Springs.

I guess the biggest thing I can say is it really is a beautiful resort.

I will update our overall experience and dining later. Hope you are all having a great day.

EDIT: A few updates and additional thoughts about the Riviera - We had a one bedroom villa which was great for our family of 4 including a 17 and 15 year old. Crystal and I had our own bed in a separate bedroom, while Brayden had the pulldown queen and Maddy the pullout twin. Our bed was very comfortable. The villa was very spacious and gave us plenty of room so we were not on top of each other. I loved the fact that we were able to do laundry in our room, had a full kitchen, and two bathroom areas to get ready each day (although only one toilet and shower). I used the balcony to relax pretty much every day. I wish we were on a higher floor (we were 4) for viewing. We had a view of Epcot and Spaceship Earth, but it would have been a nicer view had we been higher up. However, I'm glad we were only on 4 since we used the stairs daily rather than the elevators since the main lobby was only 2 floors down, and the exit to the skyliner was only 3 down. The resort landscaping is beautiful. I loved the mosaics and fountains we passed as we made the walk to the skyliner each day. The artwork throughout the resort was a very nice touch.


great review!
 

coachwnh

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Sorry for the delay in the park reviews. (This is why I need to do my trip reports live).

Our next park was Animal Kingdom. This would be our first time experiencing Pandora and we were really looking forward to seeing it. I had heard Flight of Passage described as "Soarin' on steroids," so I was very excited. I had no idea what to expect from Na'vi River, but expectations were low based on what I had read. All I can say is that both attractions far exceeded our expectations.

As we entered the park with no crowd to speak of, we made our way across the bridge and toward the Tree of Life. We were greeted by CMs along both sides of the walkway vigorously cheering and waving and welcoming the "crowd" back. It was a very cool experience and a nice touch by Disney. Although there were CMs along the entrances to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studious, neither of them could come close to the enthusiasm we felt from those cheering CMs at Animal Kingdom.

We made our way left and headed straight for Flight of Passage. The entire area was so well done. I couldn't take enough pictures as we walked through the queue. I was able to stop numerous times to snap pictures without holding up other guests because there pretty much weren't other gets to hold up! The park was scheduled to open at 8, but we were already getting briefed on the ride well before then. It took us a total of 7 minutes (Madelyn timed it) from the time we entered the queue until we were getting seated for the ride. The queue is so visually pleasing, and the ride itself was just awesome. I loved the smells, the water effects, and the overall experience. Easily one of the best rides I've been on at Disneyland or in Disney World.

We then made our way through an empty queue and right onto our boat for a journey along the Na'vi River. I had heard it described as a cheap splatter of neon paint. Not sure how anyone can ride this and think that. Definitely not a thrill ride, but a nice attraction (especially after the intensity of FOP). My favorite effect features the lizards/frogs?? hoping from leaf to leaf. A pretty cool predator-prey relationship in a quirky Disney kind of way. Even the sound of tiny feet on the leaf was spot on. But the real winner for Na'vi River is the hypnotic anthem and large moving animatronic in the last scene. I remember thinking as you enter that room to that song and watched the Na'vi in the background parading with their animals that this ride was a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom.

The other attractions were not new to us, but we looked forward to all of them as well. We enjoyed the safari, although we were not fans of the plastic dividers between the rows. Unless you were in the front row, the hot air and humidity really made it an uncomfortable ride at times. After our first ride, we decided we would split up in pairs to give ourselves more room in a row and this made the later safari rides more comfortable.

Everest was pretty much a walk on each time. Unless we were in the queue at cleaning time, we never waited as long as 10 minutes.

Dinosaur was even shorter. In fact, there were times we rode a second time without even leaving our seats!

Kali River Rapids was also a pleasant surprise. This was something we would do sparingly in the past and always as we left because you would get drenched. Not anymore! Its actually a fun ride knowing your day won't be spent swimming in your cloths after you rode. We also had the chance to ride this multiple times without leaving our seats.

The only real bummer was not getting to see the Lion King and the now ended nighttime show. We always loved visiting Animal Kingdom at Thanksgiving and Christmas because that was the only time we could be in the park at night. We never stayed at AK the entire day due to its very low crowds and ease in which we rode everything multiple times.

Im still planning on doing a separate dining review, but I do want to mention that Nomads Lounge is amazing! Possibly the best meal of the trip. Definitely the best according to Crystal.

Hope you are all off to a great week!
 

Nunu

Wanderluster
Premium Member
Sorry for the delay in the park reviews. (This is why I need to do my trip reports live).

Our next park was Animal Kingdom. This would be our first time experiencing Pandora and we were really looking forward to seeing it. I had heard Flight of Passage described as "Soarin' on steroids," so I was very excited. I had no idea what to expect from Na'vi River, but expectations were low based on what I had read. All I can say is that both attractions far exceeded our expectations.

As we entered the park with no crowd to speak of, we made our way across the bridge and toward the Tree of Life. We were greeted by CMs along both sides of the walkway vigorously cheering and waving and welcoming the "crowd" back. It was a very cool experience and a nice touch by Disney. Although there were CMs along the entrances to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studious, neither of them could come close to the enthusiasm we felt from those cheering CMs at Animal Kingdom.

We made our way left and headed straight for Flight of Passage. The entire area was so well done. I couldn't take enough pictures as we walked through the queue. I was able to stop numerous times to snap pictures without holding up other guests because there pretty much weren't other gets to hold up! The park was scheduled to open at 8, but we were already getting briefed on the ride well before then. It took us a total of 7 minutes (Madelyn timed it) from the time we entered the queue until we were getting seated for the ride. The queue is so visually pleasing, and the ride itself was just awesome. I loved the smells, the water effects, and the overall experience. Easily one of the best rides I've been on at Disneyland or in Disney World.

We then made our way through an empty queue and right onto our boat for a journey along the Na'vi River. I had heard it described as a cheap splatter of neon paint. Not sure how anyone can ride this and think that. Definitely not a thrill ride, but a nice attraction (especially after the intensity of FOP). My favorite effect features the lizards/frogs?? hoping from leaf to leaf. A pretty cool predator-prey relationship in a quirky Disney kind of way. Even the sound of tiny feet on the leaf was spot on. But the real winner for Na'vi River is the hypnotic anthem and large moving animatronic in the last scene. I remember thinking as you enter that room to that song and watched the Na'vi in the background parading with their animals that this ride was a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom.

The other attractions were not new to us, but we looked forward to all of them as well. We enjoyed the safari, although we were not fans of the plastic dividers between the rows. Unless you were in the front row, the hot air and humidity really made it an uncomfortable ride at times. After our first ride, we decided we would split up in pairs to give ourselves more room in a row and this made the later safari rides more comfortable.

Everest was pretty much a walk on each time. Unless we were in the queue at cleaning time, we never waited as long as 10 minutes.

Dinosaur was even shorter. In fact, there were times we rode a second time without even leaving our seats!

Kali River Rapids was also a pleasant surprise. This was something we would do sparingly in the past and always as we left because you would get drenched. Not anymore! Its actually a fun ride knowing your day won't be spent swimming in your cloths after you rode. We also had the chance to ride this multiple times without leaving our seats.

The only real bummer was not getting to see the Lion King and the now ended nighttime show. We always loved visiting Animal Kingdom at Thanksgiving and Christmas because that was the only time we could be in the park at night. We never stayed at AK the entire day due to its very low crowds and ease in which we rode everything multiple times.

Im still planning on doing a separate dining review, but I do want to mention that Nomads Lounge is amazing! Possibly the best meal of the trip. Definitely the best according to Crystal.

Hope you are all off to a great week!
Your comment about Kali River Rapids caught my attention. We've avoided it for the last few years because every time we've ridden, we've ended up drenched, I don't particularly enjoy that! 😅
Maybe changes were made to Kali that I wasn't aware of?

Lots of fun and useful info in your TR! Looking forward to your dining review. 🙂
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
I enjoyed hearing your final thoughts on the AK attractions especially since it was your first time on FOP and Navi River Journey! I hope we experience the same crowd levels when we go the end of October!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Sorry for the delay in the park reviews. (This is why I need to do my trip reports live).

Our next park was Animal Kingdom. This would be our first time experiencing Pandora and we were really looking forward to seeing it. I had heard Flight of Passage described as "Soarin' on steroids," so I was very excited. I had no idea what to expect from Na'vi River, but expectations were low based on what I had read. All I can say is that both attractions far exceeded our expectations.

As we entered the park with no crowd to speak of, we made our way across the bridge and toward the Tree of Life. We were greeted by CMs along both sides of the walkway vigorously cheering and waving and welcoming the "crowd" back. It was a very cool experience and a nice touch by Disney. Although there were CMs along the entrances to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studious, neither of them could come close to the enthusiasm we felt from those cheering CMs at Animal Kingdom.

We made our way left and headed straight for Flight of Passage. The entire area was so well done. I couldn't take enough pictures as we walked through the queue. I was able to stop numerous times to snap pictures without holding up other guests because there pretty much weren't other gets to hold up! The park was scheduled to open at 8, but we were already getting briefed on the ride well before then. It took us a total of 7 minutes (Madelyn timed it) from the time we entered the queue until we were getting seated for the ride. The queue is so visually pleasing, and the ride itself was just awesome. I loved the smells, the water effects, and the overall experience. Easily one of the best rides I've been on at Disneyland or in Disney World.

We then made our way through an empty queue and right onto our boat for a journey along the Na'vi River. I had heard it described as a cheap splatter of neon paint. Not sure how anyone can ride this and think that. Definitely not a thrill ride, but a nice attraction (especially after the intensity of FOP). My favorite effect features the lizards/frogs?? hoping from leaf to leaf. A pretty cool predator-prey relationship in a quirky Disney kind of way. Even the sound of tiny feet on the leaf was spot on. But the real winner for Na'vi River is the hypnotic anthem and large moving animatronic in the last scene. I remember thinking as you enter that room to that song and watched the Na'vi in the background parading with their animals that this ride was a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom.

The other attractions were not new to us, but we looked forward to all of them as well. We enjoyed the safari, although we were not fans of the plastic dividers between the rows. Unless you were in the front row, the hot air and humidity really made it an uncomfortable ride at times. After our first ride, we decided we would split up in pairs to give ourselves more room in a row and this made the later safari rides more comfortable.

Everest was pretty much a walk on each time. Unless we were in the queue at cleaning time, we never waited as long as 10 minutes.

Dinosaur was even shorter. In fact, there were times we rode a second time without even leaving our seats!

Kali River Rapids was also a pleasant surprise. This was something we would do sparingly in the past and always as we left because you would get drenched. Not anymore! Its actually a fun ride knowing your day won't be spent swimming in your cloths after you rode. We also had the chance to ride this multiple times without leaving our seats.

The only real bummer was not getting to see the Lion King and the now ended nighttime show. We always loved visiting Animal Kingdom at Thanksgiving and Christmas because that was the only time we could be in the park at night. We never stayed at AK the entire day due to its very low crowds and ease in which we rode everything multiple times.

Im still planning on doing a separate dining review, but I do want to mention that Nomads Lounge is amazing! Possibly the best meal of the trip. Definitely the best according to Crystal.

Hope you are all off to a great week!

We never got to Kali River. It always fun but just don't want to get soaked. Are you saying that you don't get as wet now?

Agree with missing Festival of Lion King. AK is so great at night.

Wish we would have tried Normads!

Agree on the plastic dividers on Safari - also made photography more difficult.
 

Register on WDWMAGIC. This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.

Top Bottom