Trip Report Kylo Ren is Scary, and so is every other character


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If we needed proof that Magic Kingdom was super crowded, we needed look no further than all the people who were lining up to watch the nighttime shows at the castle. I made the decision that I would stop for some popcorn as we made our way to the front, and by the time I got it, I could barely reach Sara and the kids. I went left right, and under to make my way over to them and the stroller. We were set up towards the right side of the main circle area in front of the castle. Pretty good view overall. We had the stroller turned sideways with both kids in it, then Sara and I were standing behind.

Just as I arrived, the Projection show was beginning. We were all packed pretty tight, but thankfully Luke and Makayla still had a good view. Unfortunately, more and more people kept trying to crowd around us, even though there was clearly no room. I honestly have no clue how they were getting to our area given the acrobatics I had to do to get there. But sure enough, people kept wanting to come in and park themselves right in front of Luke and Makayla. On two occasions I had to ask people to please keep moving. I'm certainly not a confrontational guy, but I was definitely getting upset with people trying to wedge themselves in front of us when there clearly wasn't room to do that. Ok, enough ranting...😡.

We made it through the Projection show in one piece, and I guess most people thought that was it, because a LOT of people started heading towards the exits. Sara and I were talking with another mom and her daughter who were beside us and gameplanning how we would try to keep the view clear for our kids once the main show started. Thankfully...the giant crowds who were there for the projection show never returned, and we were able to watch Happily Ever After in peace.

This was the first time Sara and I were able to watch Happily Ever After with the projections, since we mistakenly grabbed a spot behind a tree on our last trip. I thought it was really good, and it certainly made me want to go back and watch some of these great movies over again.

Here's a few of our better photos that Sara took.







This scene below was probably my favorite.




Once the show was over, it was clearly time for us all to head to bed. We waited a bit for the large part of the crowd to leave, then made our way to the bus stop and back to our hotel.


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Tuesday was our fourth day in the parks, and our plan was to spend the morning at Hollywood Studios. We were pretty excited as this was going to be one of the nicer weather days of our trip. We were out the door at a good time, and the bus line for HS was even short. Today was looking good.

We got to the bus stops under construction with the whole entrance renovation going on. Not complaining, but it was a pretty far walk from the bus stop to get to the entrance. But the plus side is it looks like the new entrance area is going to be really nice.

We started our day with some Fastpass photos. No bunny ears from Luke :)




It was then already time for the March of the First Order. Our kids have never gotten into Star Wars, so it took some convincing to have them line up and watch the procession. Luke wears a Storm Trooper jacket, but still doesn't really like it. Makayla was a little scared throughout.




Once the First Order had left us, it was time for our Frozen Sing Along fastpass. Truth be told, we do this attraction for Makayla...and Sara. Luke has clearly moved beyond Frozen. His days of singing loudly to "Let it Go" when he was two are long gone. The win on this day was that we got to sit under the snow for the finale. On our last trip we had sat near the end of the aisle and the snow didn't reach us. The horror of that. At least we had snow this time.

Makayla didn't want to wear her Pluto hat very long.


Snow Fun




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Once the snow had ended, we made our way out of the theater and over to our next fastpass at Star Tours. Makayla still remembered the march of the first order from earlier in the day, so she didn't want to go on. Even Luke was a little anxious. In the end, we convinced both of them to give it a try. It was memorable because Makayla was the Spy. It was weird to look up and see little Makayla with the big glasses on up on the screen. Sara and I each turned to Makayla to tell her, and she was a bit oblivious.

Luke really enjoyed it though. It ended up being one of his favorite rides. Sara and I were a little too mature to give him an "I told you so" however. ;)

Our original plan had been to eat lunch at Pizzerizzo, but shortly before our trip they had changed the hours of that to be only open on Saturdays. Sara and I decided that instead we would check out the new Woody's Lunchbox in Toy Story Land. So once our time in the Star Tours gift shop ended, we made our way over to the brand new Toy Story Land.


It was pretty crowded overall and we did our best to stay together. Besides the obvious draw of the giant characters from the movie, I was taken in by how much action there was in the land. When we looked one direction there was Buzz out greeting. When we looked the other way the green army men were out marching around. During all of this, Slinky Dog was whirring past on the roller coaster track.

We made our way to Woody's toy box and quickly surveyed the menu. We all ended up getting grilled cheese. The kids and I got tomato soup with ours. Sara decided to go with the potato barrels.


When we were in line, Luke saw the $16 collectible cup and decided he must have it. He was upset when we explained that wasn't happening. And like all good parents, we take photos when that happens :)


Sara found a table while Luke and I got the food.



We ended up letting the kids each get a coke float. Luke was pretty happy about that.


Sara HATES my random eating pics


So granted we only tried one thing on the menu here. I thought the food was ok, not great. I'd probably eat here again just for the atmosphere. The grilled cheese certainly had a lot of cheese on it. For a counter service meal, it was what you would expect, and the fact that it was happening in the middle of toy story land made it much more memorable.


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When we finished our lunch it was time for our ride on Slinky Dog. Both kids were super excited to do this. Even though we were in the fastpass line, there was plenty to see.






The ride was great. It was perfect for both kids. It will never be confused with a thrill coaster, but it was a lot of fun. When we had finished, Makayla once again declared it was the "best ride ever."

A couple photos at the end of the ride.






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The wait for swirling saucers was about 40 minutes. We had some debate as to whether or not to wait this long. In the end, since we hadn't done the ride before we decided to give it a go.


As you might imagine with a 4 and 7 year old, the 40 minute wait had it's ups and downs. There were times when Luke and Makayla were happy to be together...


There were also some unpleasant times where they could not resist aggravating each other. Each one had a hand to play. After a bit, we made it onto the ride.


So this one did not scare a "best ride ever." I'm glad that I'm able to say I've done it, but definitely don't think this ride is worth a 40 minute wait

Since it had become such a nice day, we decided to cut our day at HS short and spend the rest of of the day at our resort. For me, this meant some time in the laundry room, but mostly, it meant POOL time!!!





Luke has become a pretty strong swimmer. We still had him wearing a vest since they were available, but he was able to swim on his own. Makayla still needed a bit of help, but I was happy to jump in and help her. While it was a nice day compared to our first few days, it was still only in the 60's, so the heated pool felt pretty nice to swim around in. Sara decided that she would rather be our expert photographer.



Some days, you need a little popcorn snack after a long afternoon of swimming.


The pool wasn't super crowded, probably due to the weather, so it was nice to have room to splash around. Eventually, Makayla grew tired and Sara took her back to the room. Luke and I stayed and swam for a bit, Luke much more than me. Luke was then a trooper while I took him with me to gather our clean laundry and take it back to the room.


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When we made it back to the room, Sara and Makayla were each laying in bed. Makayla popped her head up as we walked in. Sara was asleep. Luke and I got into some dry clothes and then we eventually went to spend some time around the resort while Sara got some time to rest.



Makayla really wanted to go back to Daisy Duck to say hi again. Anyone spot Luke in this photo?


Once we had wandered around the resort a bit, we made our way over to the arcade. This is what Luke was most excited for. Both kids needed my help to scan the arcade card to get a game started, but Luke was pretty independent with playing the games. Makayla needed much more help. It was a bit of a challenge to find a game she could play and have fun with. We eventually spent some time at a fishing game that she enjoyed. Only one photo of our time in the arcade (proof that Sara wasn't with us :)).


We had dinner at the hotel food court. Sara and Makayla each had cheese pizza. Luke had mac and cheese and I had a vegetarian baked ziti. Sara got edible cookie dough as her dessert, which was the only photo we ended up taking at the food court.


As we exited, the hotel was showing Tarzan in a small pavilion out by the pool. We sat down and caught about the last 30 minutes of the movie. As we returned to our room, Luke and I were both feeling exhausted from our day of swimming. We brushed our teeth and all went to bed without a fuss.


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Wednesday had arrived. Usually Wednesday is a relax day for us. Spend some time at the resort, go to the pool, maybe hit up Disney Springs. We changed it a bit this year due to the weather. Tuesday got warm enough that we were comfortable going in the pool (well, all of us but Sara ;)), but today the forecast called for more cold weather.

One thing we did have planned was a breakfast at Chef Mickey's. Sara really likes meeting the big 5 in one place, and also really likes their Tofu Scramble (yes, vegetarians are weird). We've done Chef Mickey's each time in our recent trips.

We had learned our lesson last year to not take the bus to MK, but instead just drive over. Last year the bus line to get to MK may as well have stretched to the next resort. This year, just a short walk to the car. We parked and quickly made our way inside and up to the main concourse.

In the past we have easily waited 45-60 minutes to get a table here, but to our surprise our table was ready just about as soon as we arrived.

First some prop photos.



Our hostess led us to the table and suggested the children sit on the side facing the main aisle. But...we knew Makayla's history, and she was happy to sit on the inside part of the table, with a giant pillar and table protecting her from the friendly characters walking around :).

Our plans at buffets is usually to have Sara go up first with Luke. Luke will get his own plate, and Sara will get a plate for her and Makayla. I usually stay at the table with Makayla, then when Sara returns I make a run to get my food. Sometimes character buffets throw a wrench into that plan as the characters will tend to show up when someone is not around. This year Pluto arrived first, just as Sara and Luke were returning with their first plate of food.


Makayla did not want to pose with Luke for a photo.


Mickey was next to arrive, shortly after Pluto. I'm not sure if I'm trying to get away from his giant chef's hat here or what. You'll notice Makayla holding onto me.


Luke lined up for his photo with Mickey.


Mickey kept waving for Makayla to come over and join them. After a few seconds, she agreed she would let me hold her to get a photo with Mickey.


Sara was able to join in for a Mickey picture as well.


Donald arrived shortly after. I still hadn't had my first plate of food yet. At this point I was getting a little hangry ;).




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Goofy wandered over just as Donald was leaving...still no food for me 😟.



Goofy insisted that Sara get a photo with him as well.


And why not??? Minnie came over right away once Goofy had left.


Makayla was starting to loosen up a little around the characters, but still didn't want to leave my side. Minnie liked her dress.


With that, we had met all the characters in a span of 10 minutes. And finally I was free to grab a plate of food. I actually grabbed two to make up for lost time 😀 (j/k).

Soon, Luke's favorite part of the meal began, the time where it's ok to swing your napkin over your head.



He couldn't understand why we didn't want him swinging his napkin around during any part of the meal. Eventually, our bellies were full and our time at Chef Mickey's came to an end. We spent a little bit of time inside the Contemporary resort before making our way back to the car. Next would come a first for us, leaving the WDW property to go to...the Disney outlet store 😜.


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Characters all showing up at the beginning tends to be a catch 22 for me. As long as the kids are there, I tend to like it because it takes off the pressure of trying to take pictures with food in your mouth and greasy hands, and making sure kids' faces are clean. But like you said, I get hungry waiting!


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Characters all showing up at the beginning tends to be a catch 22 for me. As long as the kids are there, I tend to like it because it takes off the pressure of trying to take pictures with food in your mouth and greasy hands, and making sure kids' faces are clean. But like you said, I get hungry waiting!
I had never seen them all come at once in the beginning before. But,it was nice once they all went by, we were able to relax and enjoy breakfast afterwards. Thanks for following!


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Sara was super excited to get to go to the Disney outlet store. She had heard tales of magical stores off of Disney property which sold items for a fraction of what they cost at WDW!!!

The reality was a bit less exciting. We drove a ways off property and parked in a regular outlet store. We walked through a food court to eventually arrive at the outlet store. From memory, I believe it was called the Character Warehouse, but I can't remember for sure now and didn't write it down. It was a typical store. They had loads of princess items, and lots of Star Wars items too. I will say we were able to find some princess dresses for Makayla at about half of what we would have paid in the store. Luke was excited to get a light saber and remote control bb8 as well.

We were probably in the outlets for about 30 minutes total before we were back in the car and headed back to WDW and Disney Springs. We found a parking space in the Orange Garage (don't fix what isn't broken), and started at the west side.





I was excited to walk through the Marvel store, but was pretty underwhelmed at what they had. Didn't end up buying anything, but we got to see what Luke would look like as Rocket Raccoon (who is also an Eagles fan).


We walked over to the Marketplace area. Sara was excited to get a photo of the finished Edison.


When we made it over to the Marketplace, Makayla was very upset that we wouldn't agree to go inside and eat at T Rex again. Nevermind that we had just finished our breakfast about an hour before.

We made it to our destination of World of Disney. I won't write up a room by room report of our time there, but safe to say we spent more time in the store than I would have wanted.

As we were leaving, Luke and Makayla had a lot of fun at this little interactive fountain.



You turn the wheel, and if you do it fast and long enough, you can get water to come out the top. We spent a good bit of time here, before we finally made it back to our car. Epcot would be the next destination.


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We parked our car and got out, and instantly felt a chill in the air. The nice weather of yesterday was gone, and we were back to having temps in the low 50's. They would start to drop even lower as the sun went down. My winter coat was in the back of the car, and I offered it to Sara. You know, since I'm such a gentleman. In reality, my coat just happened to be in the back of the car, and wasn't fully dried out from wearing it on our rainy Animal Kingdom day. She decided it would do.

As we entered Epcot, there was actually a lot of traffic around the leave a legacy monuments. Both Luke and Makayla were upset that I wouldn't let them run around. Luke was very excited to try Test Track. He had wanted to do it on our first day, but we ran out of time. Sara checked the app and found that it was only about a 40 minute wait. When we got in line, it didn't seem like it took nearly that long before we were whisked into the room to create our cars.

Luke created a green machine that apparently doubles as a police car ;)


Makayla thought purple was more to her liking.


Both of them really liked this part, probably a little more than the ride itself. They kept looking to add little gadgets onto their cars until finally the timers ran out. As we exited this room, Makayla began to get nervous. She had seen and heard the cars whirring around on the outside of the building and probably would have been happier if we had skipped this one. She was a trooper though.


The result...Luke thought it was a lot of fun, but Makayla didn't like it. She was definitely ready to head to the exit. She did enjoy exploring some different cars in the showroom while Luke played one of the racing games.



She was eventually joined by Luke. Not ready to see this in real life anytime soon 😜


We made our way over to the Mission Space pavilion. I offered to ride the lower energy version with Luke, but he wasn't quite ready to take that step. We ended up at the indoor playground. Luke remembered the spaceship mission game that's across from the playground inside, and wanted to do this instead of actually playing at the playground. Makayla was more than happy to explore the playground by herself, and Luke and I spent some time playing the game. There weren't may people playing with us, but we still had fun. At one point one of the cast members jumped in as our opponent, and safe to say Luke and I were no match! :).

When we left, Sara had to make a quick turn to get a picture of Ellen's energy adventure. it will always hold a special place in her heart.


We grabbed some popcorn as a snack then made our way to Club Cool. Our kids had never had the fun experience of trying Beverly. Sara made sure to have them try all the other flavors first. Makayla innocently tried Beverly, but Luke was slightly more on to her little game.



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Near the fountain, on the walkway back towards World Showcase, they had living statues as part of the Festival of the Arts. To our surprise, Makayla wanted to get a picture with them, but only if I would go with her.

She had seen them reach out and touch other guests, so she was a bit nervous as she posed for a photo. Nothing to worry about here.







Having posed for the photos, it was amazing how the artists would be able to change position without you noticing. Especially true for the last guy. Makayla and I posed, then turned, around, and he had walked up beside us without our knowledge.

Nemo was our next stop. Makayla wanted to take a photo in front of the fish outside.


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Once we had done the Nemo ride, we did a bit of exploring. Bruce the Shark is always a draw for a photo.


Makayla at this point decided she wanted to do the ride again. This was fine since there was no line, but Luke was much more interested in exploring the rest of the pavilion. We made the decision to split up, with Sara taking Makayla back on the ride, and Luke and me exploring the aquarium. This made for a small adventure when Sara and Makayla had finished and tried to call us, but I was in the observation level below water with no cell reception. We eventually found each other.


In looking for sting rays and skarks, we quickly realized there were divers in the water. These quickly became our focus.




Once Sara and Makayla found us, both kids wanted to watch the fish. We stayed here for another few minutes. Honestly, they would have been happy if we had spent the rest of the night here. Eventually, Sara and I had to pull them away since we had a fastpass for Living with the Land.




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Time to give my ignored trip report a little love :)

When we had finished re-learning the efforts being made towards sustainable farming, we were off towards World Showcase. For dinner, our plan was to try Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in France (and yes I looked the name up before typing this 😜. We had always gotten desserts and pastries from the bakery here, but Sara was excited to try it for a meal. At least, so we thought. As we were planning out trip in the weeks leading up to this, Sara discovered that the Festival of the Arts stand had a soup breadbowl item that she NEEDED to try. So our plan became to split up. Sara would tackle the Festival stand to get her meal, and I would take 2 kids with me to get the rest of our food. Wait...that doesn't seem fair!!! 😝

While Sara got her meal uneventfully and found us an outdoor table, I was in a rather large line with Luke and Makayla. They were being really good, so I can't complain, but when it came time to pick dessert, they must have changed their minds at least 3 times. There are sooooo many good options.

Eventually, we came away with two vegetarian options, as well as a cheese tray as a side. The plan was to find Sara and then sample the different plates between us all.

The breaking of the entrees 😉


Sara took her picture before the rest of us had sat down. A bit less busy of a picture.


I mentioned that Sara had gotten an outside table. The tables inside the building had been full. It was a full evening. There were a couple open tables outside. Unfortunately, it was another one of those rare frigid Florida nights. So this meal will forever be remembered as the freezing cold outdoor meal 🥶. By the end, my hands were shivering so much that it was hard to eat, and both Luke and Makayla were rightfully distressed by how cold it was. To make things even colder, there was a strong gusty breeze that would blow by every couple of minutes, bringing a new batch of frigid air to our table.

Despite the coldest time of our trip, we enjoyed the meal. Cheese was the name of the game for this one, as each item was packed full of it. We all ate what we wanted, with Makayla proving to be a bit of a nibbler. In the end it was too much food for us to finish, but the taste was excellent.

We of course did save room for dessert, lots and lots of chocolate.

Sara got this one from the Festival stand...


And the rest were from the inside bakery. They all looked so good, it was hard to settle on just 3 🙂. Seriously, one of my favorite places.




Luke and Makayla were thrilled when we shared it was time to leave out table, but, it's not like we were going inside. At least the brisk walk helped burn some calories we had just consumed, and worked some warmth into our bodies.

Our destination was Norway, as we had FP for Frozen. I had chosen the Frozen FP's to make up for our first night of not being able to ride. No problems with ride breakdowns today.

We were seated all the way in the back, so it's a bit hard to see us


I remember my first time riding this being blown away at the level of reality in the animatronics. Either I've become accustomed to it by now, or some of the glow and shimmer has worn off. Still an enjoyable ride, but it seems to be lacking that wow factor.


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We made our way over to Mexico, and it was GREAT to get in out of the cold.


Luke and Makayla were both excited to ride the "Donald Duck Boat Ride." It's funny how this ride has become a must do for us. Definitely not one of the A list attractions, but it always produces its share of giggles, and we can always count on a "can we ride again?" once it finishes.

Once we had our fill of Donald Duck, we went back into the main lobby, and we found this little game hanging on the wall just before the entrance to the main village.


It was based off the movie Coco and both of our kids wanted to play it over and over. There weren't a lot of people around on this evening, so they got their chance to create several characters. Their enjoyment over putting the different mustaches and eyelashes on the skeletons remains one of my lasting memories of this trip. Some of their creations...




Upon leaving Mexico, we decided it was time to head back to our hotel. Sadly, we were all getting pretty exhausted, and bed was calling to us. Sara noticed the the photopass photographers were standing around on our way out, so we stopped for a quick pic.


and with a magical special effect.


Once we made it to the resort, we still had all of our bags from our earlier shopping to bring inside. Makayla made sure her new stuffed friend was given a proper ride.


With that, our 5th day had come to a close. We were now closer to the end of our trip than the beginning 😢. Weren't going to let that get us down though...we still had plenty of fun to come.


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Incredibly late to the party but all caught up. Loving it. Nice to at least read about and see pictures of some nice cool weather!


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Incredibly late to the party but all caught up. Loving it. Nice to at least read about and see pictures of some nice cool weather!
We'll call it fashionably late. Thanks for following along. I know in Pennsylvania we've had quite a hot summer, so it's fun to go back and remember when it was so cold.
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