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Trip Report Our Best Trip Ever *completed*

Who: Me, my husband, and our 3 kids (6yo, 3yo, and 1yo)
Where: Art of Animation
When: Oct. 25-31

Background: my husband had a conference in Orlando Oct. 23-25, so we were throwing around the idea of me joining him for a few days before or after, to go to Universal. (We both love roller coasters and the last time I was there was before Hagrid’s Motorbike and Velocicoaster.) But we weren’t able to find anyone to watch our kids around that time frame, so we decided instead to surprise our kids with a trip to Disney!

We booked at the beginning of September, which is probably the shortest planning time I’ve ever given myself. But this was also the first time not having any extended family with us, so it really didn’t require as much planning. We planned one day at each park, with a break day thrown in. We planned to rope drop as much as we were able and to buy Genie+ only on our Magic Kingdom day. We made just one dining reservation, at City Works Eatery, for brunch on our break day.

We managed to keep the trip a secret and my husband left for his conference on Monday, after telling the kids he’d “see” them on Wednesday. He had packed in a roller bag carry-on and taken as much of our kids’ stuff as he could. I was flying out on Wednesday, with all 3 kids, 3 backpacks, 1 duffel bag, 1 baby carrier, and a double umbrella stroller (and a partridge in a pear tree 😂)

In the middle of Monday night, 3yo randomly threw up a little bit, making me very nervous about the coming trip. I let her stay home from daycare on Tuesday, just as a precaution, and thankfully she was fine all day.

On Wednesday, I took all 3 kids to school/daycare as usual, but told them I’d pick them up early so they could see Dad. I finished up the packing, got everything ready to leave the house for a week, and picked them all up before it was naptime at the daycare. I didn’t want to interrupt their naps, so we left earlier than necessary, rather than waiting until after. We stopped back at our house briefly for me to repack 6yo’s backpack. She was oddly unsuspicious about me putting in her favorite stuffie, blanket, etc.

We parked our car and took a shuttle to the airport. At this point, they believed we were picking up Dad from the airport, and it cracked me up that they didn’t ask why we were bringing so many bags with us to do that. While on the shuttle, 6yo even told me next time we go to Disney, she wanted to fly (we drove last April).

At the airport, I was wearing 1yo in the baby carrier and made the other 2 ride in the double stroller. I absolutely felt like a pack mule with all the things I was carrying, but security went surprisingly smooth.

Once through security, kids started asking where Dad was, so I suggested we call him to ask. He was at Disney Springs having lunch at D-Luxe Burgers.

But we had actually arranged for a video call so that he could record us telling them where we were actually going.

It was so fun seeing 6yo working through the fact that Dad wasn’t here at the airport, but that she was still going to see him. She was especially excited about Disney, 3yo was excited but also asking to go potty, and 1yo was oblivious 😂
We ended up with way too much time to kill, but 1yo did take a nap in the stroller.

Once boarded, my husband sent me the following text “Y’all have a great flight! You can do this!” I had been super nervous about flying with 3 young kids by myself, so I appreciated the encouragement. I was pleasantly surprised that the flight went as well as I could’ve hoped. I was slightly annoyed when the flight attendant informed me I had to remove 1yo from the baby carrier for take-off and landing. I know I’ve done it before and said as much to her. But I of course complied. But she still came back, after I had taken off the baby carrier, to show me the rule on her phone. Overkill as far as I was concerned.

Anyway, while we were at the airport, hubby had transferred from his conference hotel and checked into Art of Animation around 3:30pm. We had requested a pack & play for 1yo, so he made sure it was set up and picked up our Shipt order. Drinking the tap water in Orlando has given me tummy troubles in the past, so we got bottled water, as well as our kids’ standard snacks of applesauce, yogurt, fruit snacks, & goldfish, and some pop tarts for on-the-go breakfasts. Oh, and some bottled Frappuccinos for me & hubby!

View from our room:

We had been scheduled to land at 8:14pm, but our flight was delayed a bit. By 9pm we were off the plane, had all gone to the restroom, and were headed to our Mears bus. The bus waited quite a while for more people to board and we left the airport at 9:35. I was glad to hear that we were the first stop! I think within 10 minutes on the bus, all 3 kids had fallen asleep 😂. I had packed some uncrustables for my kids to eat on the plane, but I hadn’t had dinner yet. So hubby picked up a kids’ chicken strips meal for me, and met us as we got off the bus.
We had booked a Little Mermaid room, for cost efficiency, but not surprisingly that meant we were about as far from Animation Hall as possible. It didn’t end up being a problem, as the giant characters and props kept the kids entertained all week. They especially liked the elephant graveyard and wanted to go through the cave every time we passed!

We checked out our room and quickly got everyone settled into bed since it was way past everyone’s bedtimes. 6yo declared the room “too Ariel”, but by the end of the week was obsessed with all things Ariel.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thursday, Oct. 26 - Epcot

I kept my normal 6:45am alarm and booked a virtual queue for Guardians at 7.

After that success, I started getting myself ready for the day and it didn’t take long for all the kids to wake up. Our kids are young enough that they’re in that phase of waking earlier than us most days, so we figured we’d take advantage of that for Early Entry if we could. For Epcot this morning, that was 8:30am. We stepped out the door at 7:49am and snapped a few more pictures.


One thing that did annoy us about Art of Animation is that the line for the Skyliner forms on the Pop Century side. We felt like we walked almost as far past the station as we had already walked to it in the first place. But the line moved quickly and we were on our way.

We decided when getting to/from parks that I would wear 1yo in the carrier and the other 2 kids would ride in the double stroller. This worked out best for them to get in and out quickly since we had to fold the stroller on the Skyliner too.

Lines were not bad at all for security or scanning tickets. We found out later, when using a baby swap, that 3yo never successfully scanned her magic band - oops!

At 8:48, we were here:


Probably less than 10 min in, 3yo declared she needed the potty. Since I was wearing 1yo, my husband graciously took 3yo out of line to go. Thankfully we were still in the outdoor portion of the line when they got back, and they were able to rejoin us.


We enjoyed our adventure with Remy then headed counter-clockwise around World Showcase. We stopped for some donuts & cold brew and got in line for Frozen Ever After. My family was always a fan of Maelstrom, but I do enjoy this ride too!
Early entry was serving us pretty well, as it was just about a half hour between our 1st ride and our 3rd ride - Gran Fiesta Tour. We actually rode this one twice since the line was so short.


We made a stop at the baby care center to change 1yo’s diaper and everyone else used the restrooms near there.

We walked by Test Track, but decided to skip it given the wait time, and because we didn’t think our kids would really care about it. We headed to Spaceship Earth instead. While in line, we placed a mobile order for a couple of kids’ meals at Connections. Hubby and I had good intentions of eating at Food & Wine booths.

1yo fell asleep while on Spaceship Earth and unfortunately I hadn’t put her back in the carrier after the diaper change. It was tricky getting off the ride without waking her. But I was able to put her in the stroller and she slept right through lunch and well after. This was another concern I had had, but that turned out better than expected. I wasn’t sure if she’d have trouble sleeping in the stroller or while being held/carried. I imagined her getting overly tired and melting down, but she did great all week!


Well-Known Member
Flying with three littles by yourself?

You Rock GIF
Agree! Sometimes I struggle flying with two teens and a husband! 🤣.
My boys are about to board a flight home from Amsterdam right now and - by some miracle - they have been able to find their own headphones and acquire their own snacks. Hoping it stays that way when we all fly together next time. 😊

3 littles is amazing!! Way to go.

Also - if you find someone to watch the kids. Haggrids and Velocicoaster are unbelievable. Best I’ve ever ridden.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Agree! Sometimes I struggle flying with two teens and a husband! 🤣.
My boys are about to board a flight home from Amsterdam right now and - by some miracle - they have been able to find their own headphones and acquire their own snacks. Hoping it stays that way when we all fly together next time. 😊

3 littles is amazing!! Way to go.

Also - if you find someone to watch the kids. Haggrids and Velocicoaster are unbelievable. Best I’ve ever ridden.
Thanks! Definitely had lots of snacks packed to keep them busy (or to bribe!). I did have a problem getting our iPad to play a movie, but thankfully the plane had TV playing in the seat backs & they were able to watch Disney Jr instead.

Good to know about the 2 coasters. We will definitely be attempting that trip some other time without the kids. It’s just not worth it to us to take them there yet, with so many height requirements. Plus, we haven’t introduced them to most of the IPs there yet.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Epcot cont.

Our Guardians boarding group was getting close while we were in Connections, so we relaxed there until it was time. Hubby & 6yo went first and we set up a baby swap just in case it took longer than our hour time-frame. I took 3yo (who isn’t tall enough yet) and 1yo (still sleeping) over to the cute playground nearby until it was time to swap.


We all 3 loved Cosmic Rewind! Probably my new favorite at Disney World. In talking about the ride and its queue later, my husband realized he may have accidentally gone through the Lightning Lane too 😬

We intended to go to The Seas next, but my husband and I disagreed on the best way to get there. I assumed we could head toward the front of the park and go under Spaceship Earth. He insisted we should follow the signs on the construction walls, which said to go left for The Seas. Of course, following the signs actually led us to Imagination first, so we went there instead.

When we got off the ride, we were excited to see Figment’s meet & greet with only a handful of families in the queue. We jumped in line just as Figment went on a break and, across the way, Joy came out at the same time. So we met her first and then came back to Figment. There was a young couple ahead of us with their baby (probably just weeks old), all 3 completely dressed in Figment gear. It was adorable!

At this point, my husband and I were getting hungry since the food booths hadn’t been open when we were in World Showcase and now we’d been in the front half of the park for quite a while. I suggested we head into The Land for the rides there and we could get something at Sunshine Seasons. He kind of scoffed at the options there, but agreed to share a pepperoni pizza roll once we saw that on the menu. This probably doesn’t say much for Disney World’s quick service options, but the pizza roll was really good & possibly my favorite food item from the week.

Once fueled up again, we talked about plans for the rest of the day. I had intended for us to head back to the resort for a break around 2pm, and then come back for dinner at the Food & Wine booths. But now it was past that time & we only had 3 rides we still wanted to do. We were getting through the park so much faster than I had expected and the kids were behaving so well, that we decided to go ahead and push through and give up a bit on the idea of Food & Wine, as well as any hopes of seeing the park at nighttime.

We headed over to Soarin and measured 3yo for the first time this trip. It was kind of hard to get her to stand up straight instead of ducking under the measuring stick 😂. It took a few minutes and 2 cast members, but she was cleared as taller than 40”. We were excited to confirm that since it opened a lot of possible rides for her! We set up a baby swap & hubby and 6yo went on first. (We had decided for rides like this where 2 of the 3 kids could ride, that each adult would take 1 kid on the ride, saving any arguments about who could ride twice.) Myself, 3yo, and 1yo walked over to The Seas and rode that. It would have been a walk-on except for the 2 ECVs trying to navigate all those switchbacks in the queue. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this happen…seems like it would be way easier to have people come in via the exit, but what do I know? We explored the aquariums a bit. There was a diver cleaning the manatee tank, so we didn’t get to see them, but the diver did wave at us, so that was unique.

We walked back over to The Land to meet the other 2, but they weren’t quite done yet, so we watched Awesome Planet. We all walked on Living with the Land before using our baby swap. 3yo enjoyed Soarin just as much as 6yo; the most exciting part for them was seeing Tinker Bell 😊. Dad and 6yo took 1yo back over to The Seas for their turn on that ride.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Epcot, cont.

It was around 4:45 when we met up again outside The Seas. We had promised the kids ice cream at some point and we spotted a cart nearby. The kids had Mickey bars and my husband & I chose Mickey ice cream sandwiches. We went through SO many wipes cleaning everyone up after that lol.

Since we were right there, we decided our last activity would be the Journey of Water. It was slightly busy, so we didn’t feel like we could let the kids play too long at each spot. I definitely think we’d do it again, but maybe not every visit. I do need to do a better job of spotting characters next time - I basically only saw the 2 pictured









With that, we decided to make our way back to the resort and get the kids in bed at a normal time (for the older 2 anyway). As a compromise, we decided to stop at a couple of Food & Wine booths, but only ones we’d be passing on the way out. We got the soup in Canada, with a beer for hubby, and then the Guinness Bailey’s Coffee Shake in Ireland.



I got some videos on the Skyliner asking the kids what their favorite things were today. 6yo’s was Guardians and 3yo’s was Frozen. I don’t think 1yo had any strong preferences lol - she was very attentive on rides (when she was awake) but didn’t really react to anything. But I’ll take that over her getting scared!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Conclusion of Oct. 26

When we got back to AoA, it was about 6:20pm and bed time for the older girls is 8ish. So Dad took them to the room to get swimsuits on and I (with 1yo in the baby carrier still) stayed to order dinner for them. I ordered 2 kids’ mac & cheese meals and it took so long. Not because they were busy. But because it felt like the Zootopia DMV! For some reason, it took 3 different people to fill my order, and each one at some point completely stopped what they were doing to listen to and answer someone else’s questions. 🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️

After cajoling the kids to eat some dinner, we let them play on the playground and splash pad in the Finding Nemo area. I took 1yo back to the room for bed and when Dad brought the other 2 back, we ended up putting a move on for them to wind down a bit. My husband eventually went back to the food court for more food for the 2 of us. I think he had pizza. I had sesame chicken that was pretty good for food court food!


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Friday, Oct 27 at Animal Kingdom

The hours for Animal Kingdom had changed, at some point in the few weeks before our trip, to open an hour earlier. That meant Early Entry was 7:30. We decided to just go whenever we were ready, since we figured it would be less busy anyway with the earlier timing. I think we got into the park and were setting up a baby swap for Flight of Passage around 8:15.


I took 6yo on this first, as I had never been through the regular queue and was interested to actually see it this time. It took us about an hour for the wait and the ride itself.




I loved hearing 6yo, her first time riding, reacting to everything:


“It’s so beautiful.”


Meanwhile, my husband took the other 2 kids on Navi River Journey and they were on & off in 20 minutes or so. They got us all breakfast at Pongu Pongu while they waited for us and we enjoyed our cinnamon rolls and pineapple lumpia.


As my husband got ready to take 6yo back on FoP, he revealed that he’d told 3yo that I’d take her on Navi River Journey again. Unfortunately that actually took us longer to do than for them to go through the FoP lightning lane! We met back up around 10:15 and apparently 6yo had had a bit of a meltdown when Dad wanted to get some Photo Pass pictures together. I’m still unclear on why that upset her, but thankfully that turned out to be the only major incident all week!

We took the back way out of Pandora, along the water. We saw some characters float by, but I’ve already forgotten who!

We decided on a restroom break before trying to catch the 11:00 performance of Festival of the Lion King.

All 3 kids were enraptured during the show. 1yo even clapped along at points 😍. So good seeing the tumble monkeys back! I just showed my 6yo a video I took of them and she said that was favorite part.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Animal Kingdom, cont.

We checked the wait time for the safari next and it was a bit longer than we’d hoped. But we knew we could keep the stroller for much of the line, so we decided to get a snack and go for it. We went to Tamu Tamu for a Dole whip with rum for the adults. We saw they had a sundae with vanilla ice cream, so we figured we could ask for vanilla ice cream by itself for the kids (they picked that over pineapple). We took our treats into line, which worked out great for 6yo and 3yo to sit in the stroller and share. This was definitely one of our longest and hottest waits, but we survived without much complaining. Honestly, most of the complaints probably came from me carrying 1yo lol.

The safari itself was pretty average. We couldn’t see the lions at all, but one highlight was driving super close to a giraffe.




It was after 1pm by the time we exited, so definitely time for some lunch. We placed a mobile order while walking over to Flame Tree Barbecue. We got a couple of kids’ meals for the 3 to split and my husband and I both picked the mac & cheese with pulled pork. This was my other favorite from the week.

Up next was Everest. This was another one that 6yo is tall enough for, but 3yo isn’t. I walked over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek with the younger kids, while Dad took 6yo for her first time on Everest. She loved this one too!

When we swapped, Dad headed toward Dinoland and ran into Kevin.

They got in line for Triceratop Spin and were still waiting once 6yo & I were done on Everest. 6yo joined them in the line, but the ride went down just then. So we regrouped to discuss next plans.

I had assumed that Dinosaur would be too scary for 6yo and 3yo even though they’re both tall enough. But my husband suggested we leave it up to them. We told them, “this ride is really dark and you get chased by scary dinosaurs. Do you want to try it?” 6yo declared she likes dinosaurs and wanted to ride. Of course, 3yo wants to be like her big sister, so she wanted to go too. So we set up another baby swap and my husband took both of them on. I wished him luck lol.

While I waited, I took 1yo for a diaper change and thought I’d give her a chance to walk around in the area near the Dinosaur exit, since it’s not busy there and she’d been in the stroller & baby carrier so much for the last few days.


Well, it turned out my kids are much braver than I gave them credit for. They looked a little surprised in their ride picture, but not traumatized like I was afraid 😂 6yo decided she would ride again with me, and then we called it a day.

I don’t think we waited long for a bus and were approaching our room shortly after 4:30.

1yo spent some time unpacking our bottled water 🤷‍♀️


We got dinner via UberEats this night, from Chipotle. We got some quesadillas for kids and burrito bowls for us and ate at the playground. Our kids alternated taking bites of food and playing and I joked that they probably ate more this way than they usually do. After the playground, they went on the splash pad again, and everyone was in bed at normal times, in preparation for an early morning tomorrow!



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