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Trip Report "Someone please get me one of those tour group flags, please!" - Our Halloween/Anniversary Trip Report!

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It's been just a few days since we returned home from our favorite place and I'm a bit sad about it. To help me get over the post-Disney depression (with a sizeable dose of "oh my god lake effect snow already" sadness), I thought I would start this trip report.

Quick recap! This trip was originally booked the day we got home from our honeymoon in January (trip report here) as a way to celebrate our first anniversary. My parents had to delay their March trip so they decided to come with us. Then my youngest sister moved home from school and was able to get the time off work, so she decided to tag along as well. It was also supposed to be just a two or three day trip but we ultimately stretched it to five full days! It also grew to include our first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and runDisney event!

For all of that in much more detail, visit the pre-trip report!

Here's the family (at our wedding last year plus my other sister who didn't come). I'm Amanda, my husband is Daniel, my sister is Sarah, and we'll just stick with Mom and Dad for my parents. :)

Credit to the talented Mary Boike Photography as always! She's in Michigan and she's AMAZING!

I am so thankful for this trip. It was such a good time! My sister and I hadn't been to Disney together since 2009 and we had an absolute blast! It was too short, as always, but we really had such a good time! I'm really looking forward to sharing it all with you once again. I also did a bit better of a job documenting this one as I was sending lots of pictures to some family friends of ours who are going for the first time in April. Their boys are the closest thing I have to nephews and I am SO excited for them to see it!
 
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Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Monday, October 29th 2018:

It was finally the day! Too bad it required both Daniel and I working a full day before leaving for the airport. I ended up skipping my normal lunch period so I could leave at four instead of five which just made the day feel longer than it even was. It was nice to have that time though as I needed to wrap up a few things at work before we took off. I work in Academic Services for a local college and our trip fell right over the last day to drop classes! Not ideal timing but what can you do? Thankfully I was able to setup my co-workers to cover for me while I was gone.



Our local airport is tiny and expensive, so we usually drive from northern Michigan to either Detroit or Grand Rapids. Flights out of GR were quite expensive this time around so we opted for Detroit. It's about a five hour drive from our house but fortunately winter hasn't quite set in so the weather was great!



We get some pretty good views from the Mackinac Bridge though!

About two hours into our drive we stopped to get dinner at Panera Bread. We don't have one so we do love stopping when we are able to!



After dinner we drove for several more hours until we checked in at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Romulus, just a short shuttle ride from Detroit Metro. We've had really good luck with ParkSleepFly packages to cover our hotel and parking (since it's a bit pricey at Detroit). The hotel was just okay but we were only there for six hours, so it was just fine.

Our flight left at 6:30am the next morning and I had the hardest time falling asleep!
 

MinnieM123

Well-Known Member
It's been just a few days since we returned home from our favorite place and I'm a bit sad about it. To help me get over the post-Disney depression (with a sizeable dose of "oh my god lake effect snow already" sadness), I thought I would start this trip report.

Quick recap! This trip was originally booked the day we got home from our honeymoon in January (trip report here) as a way to celebrate our first anniversary. My parents had to delay their March trip so they decided to come with us. Then my youngest sister moved home from school and was able to get the time off work, so she decided to tag along as well. It was also supposed to be just a two or three day trip but we ultimately stretched it to five full days! It also grew to include our first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and runDisney event!

For all of that in much more detail, visit the pre-trip report!

Here's the family (at our wedding last year plus my other sister who didn't come). I'm Amanda, my husband is Daniel, my sister is Sarah, and we'll just stick with Mom and Dad for my parents. :)

Credit to the talented Mary Boike Photography as always! She's in Michigan and she's AMAZING!

I am so thankful for this trip. It was such a good time! My sister and I hadn't been to Disney together since 2009 and we had an absolute blast! It was too short, as always, but we really had such a good time! I'm really looking forward to sharing it all with you once again. I also did a bit better of a job documenting this one as I was sending lots of pictures to some family friends of ours who are going for the first time in April. Their boys are the closest thing I have to nephews and I am SO excited for them to see it!
Oh my, those are exquisite bouquets. Your dress is very pretty, too with the lace, cap sleeves effect. You husband also looked very nice in his suit as well.
 

Zipitidoda

Well-Known Member
I'm in!

We also fly out of Detroit, I never have any problems there. And, living in northern Indiana we've had that lake effect too. I can't believe there is snow on the ground already. :grumpy:
 

amjt660

Well-Known Member
I am excited to hear about this trip
I refreshed my memory by skimming through you honeymoon trip
I hope Daniel could stay healthy and that your feet held up
Daniel needs to let go and show some emotin
If he doesn’t liven up a bit I will probably have to stop reading this report

JK. of course - I think he and I would be quite a team if we did Disney together!!

Max
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm in!

We also fly out of Detroit, I never have any problems there. And, living in northern Indiana we've had that lake effect too. I can't believe there is snow on the ground already. :grumpy:
We have so much snow! It just kept coming down after I posted this. Honestly it's early for us to have as much as we do and it is showing no signs of another melt off before winter. :(

I am excited to hear about this trip
I refreshed my memory by skimming through you honeymoon trip
I hope Daniel could stay healthy and that your feet held up
Daniel needs to let go and show some emotin
If he doesn’t liven up a bit I will probably have to stop reading this report

JK. of course - I think he and I would be quite a team if we did Disney together!!

Max
The good news is that Daniel did stay healthy and I had zero issues this time! Well, I at least waited until I got home to get sick. ;)


Looking forward to your trip report! I'm in Michigan too, although the lower part. :)
Thank you! :)

Following along. From N. Minnesota. We have 4 to 5 inches of snow right now! brrrrr.
Can't wait for your trip report. We are 4 weeks from leaving for our WDW vacation.
So much already! It'll be good to escape that for Florida! :)
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Tuesday, October 30th 2018:

Our alarm went off at 4:15am and I thought getting up might be a struggle but I was absolutely ready! We woke up and packed the few things we had brought in with us before heading down to check out. The agent working the front desk asked if we were going to Disney (we certainly looked the part with the Disneyland backpack, Cinderella bag, and Epcot sweatshirt) and was super excited for us, so that was nice.

We then headed for Airlines Parking- just across the street from our hotel. It has been super convenient to use the hotel voucher when flying out of Detroit so we will definitely keep using it. It look just a few minutes to park and get our bags loaded before we were off to DTW! We got dropped off at the North Terminal which I don't think I've ever flown out of directly (usually just on layovers). Security was a bit backed up but we eventually made it through and to our gate with plenty of time.



Our gate was decorated for Halloween which was fun. We really have enjoyed flying Southwest when able! For this flight to Nashville, we even got a row to ourselves! It's been so long since that has happened on a flight and we were so stoked. Daniel was actually able to sleep a bit on the plane which never happens.

Once we landed in Nashville the mission was food- we were both super hungry! We opted for the breakfast options at Burger King. I got an egg and cheese croissant which was pretty good.



After our breakfast we had about an hour and a half before boarding. We mostly hung out at the gate and tried to nap a bit more (we were not very successful). Soon enough we were on the plane!



No extra room on this flight and no working wifi! But it still went by pretty quickly. We played the pass and play version of Tokaido on our phone (it's one of our favorite board games so it was fun to have a mobile version to pass the time). We ended up at our gate early which would have been great except that they weren't ready for us and I had to use the bathroom so, so badly. I can't remember wanting to be off a plane more desperately! But eventually we made it and were back in sweet MCO!





Always so exciting to see these signs!









We got a bit turned around trying to find where to go after I detoured us through the Ear-port but we eventually made it and had pretty much no wait before we boarded the bus. Our driver was great and let us know that we'd be the second of three stops- Art of Animation, then Pop Century, before Caribbean Beach. I was so psyched! There are few feelings as good as boarding the Magical Express!

And here we have my super wonderful picture of the main gate-



Shortly thereafter we completed a drop at AoA and were pulling into Pop! We both really enjoyed returning to the same resort- we felt like we were coming home in a way! Since our online check in didn't work last time and we hadn't gotten a text we decided to check in at the front desk before doing anything else. I'd made three requests- close to our family, staying in the same room (we had two reservations), and a king bed.



We were soon happy to discover that they were able to accommodate two of those three requests! And we were in the 50s section this time- we never even walked over there during our honeymoon so it was great to experience something new. I think we ultimately ended up preferring this room location.









And I actually remembered to take pictures of our room this time! We were in 1468 with my family in the connecting room, 1469. Being in a connecting room was super convenient but I felt like the doors let a lot of noise through even when both were closed. I'm not sure I would want them again.
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My family wasn't getting in until later that evening so we changed and headed for the food court for some lunch.



I got pizza with a side of macaroni and cheese. Daniel got the meatloaf. I live for Disney's mac and cheese- it's the perfect cheese, I swear. We also opted to try a rapid refill mug this time- just one as I usually drink water with those Propel drink packets. They're expensive but I think Daniel definitely got our money's worth! We couldn't find any of the Halloween ones though and the Christmas ones didn't show up until the last few days of our trip.

After lunch we went to see if we could track down our delivery from Walmart Grocery. Let me tell you, this was an ordeal and I would never use anyone bu Amazon Prime Now or Garden Grocer again. We got confirmation that our package was dropped off from Walmart but whoever dropped it never logged it with bell services and there was nothing with our name on it. Over the next day we tried to locate it but eventually we had to go to Walmart's corporate customer service line to just get a refund. It was frustrating but the staff at Pop worked so hard to help us! I was really impressed with how much they cared about sorting the situation out for us. Walmart on the other hand was less than ideal to work with but they gave us our money back so I can't complain too much.

After not finding our package we decided to head back to the room and take a little nap. We were hoping our bags would show up soon so we could head out and do something. Of course I also used this time to watch all the "Must Dos". Eventually we decided to head to Disney Springs without our bags (it's been over four hours at that point and we had a dinner reservation). Literally as we opened the door to head to the bus, they showed up to drop them off. It was perfect timing! We changed into the clothes we actually wanted and headed back out.

We had some time to kill before dinner so we headed for World of Disney. It looks really nice! It feels more open though I was a little overwhelmed not knowing where things are anymore. Anyway, I was on the lookout for a sweatshirt I wasn't able to find back in January. It was the one thing I knew I wanted this trip. Fortunately, it was super easy to find and was the first thing I bought!



Now for dinner!

Where did we go? Daniel's favorite of course!



We got seated about a half hour early which was nice. We both had ramen this time- mine was the vegetarian option with tofu! I don't remember what Daniel's was but he loved it.





While we enjoyed dinner my family was landing and arriving at Pop. The plan was for us all to meet up at Disney Springs. They showed up about ten minutes after we finished dinner, so that worked really well. We headed for Cooke's so my parents could get fish and chips. Sarah, my sister, ended up eating my leftover ramen from Morimoto so that worked well. After they ate we all headed for Sprinkles for dessert.



I got the red velvet. It was lovely!

We headed back for World of Disney for another spin through with my Mom and sister. My Mom was kind enough to get us each one of those ridiculously obnoxious Christmas spirit jerseys and we are super excited about wearing them constantly for the next couple of months!

After we browsed for a bit we headed back toward the bus stop.





Once we got back to Pop we all had a drink at the pool bar before turning in for the night. It was such a nice, relaxing start to our trip!

Next up? Breakfast at the Grand Floridian and some spooky fun!
 

NessNewt

Well-Known Member
We played the pass and play version of Tokaido on our phone (it's one of our favorite board games so it was fun to have a mobile version to pass the time).
Love Tokaido! I actually think I like the app version even more than the board version. It's a perfect way to spend time on a plane.

That sounds like an incredible first day. Can't wait to read more.
 

krisri18

Well-Known Member
Love Tokaido! I actually think I like the app version even more than the board version. It's a perfect way to spend time on a plane.

That sounds like an incredible first day. Can't wait to read more.
We need to play again, I didn't even know there was an app version!
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, October 31st 2018:

Happy Halloween!

Y'all I can't even tell you how long I've wanted to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and how absolutely excited I was that it was finally the day! We planned to take advantage of the early entry for the party and have a leisurely morning to start. First up was breakfast and upon waking I was so glad we decided to push our breakfast reservation back a bit. I'm so used to getting up early every morning at Disney and this trip wasn't really like that. I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed the slower pace.

Anyway- breakfast! Our reservation was at the Grand Floridian Cafe and we opted to use a Minnie van to get ourselves over there. Our driver was so nice and we really enjoyed the experience. That said, if it were a trip with just Daniel and I we would probably stick to regular Lyft. As nice as it was I don't think we could justify the extra cost. For this group the price compared to Lyft XL was pretty similar, so it worked out! I really did appreciate getting directions to our specific restaurant from the driver once we were dropped off. We've visited most resorts on property but don't always know our way around.


My lovely family. The mimosas were a hit!


I ordered the roasted red tomato quiche which was super yummy! I also really loved the watermelon- it all went quite well together.


Daniel, Sarah, and my Mom all ordered various versions of the eggs benedict. They raved over these! I tried what my sister ordered (hers was the vegetarian option) and it was quite good. I think I'd definitely get that next time!

We all really enjoyed Grand Floridian Cafe and will definitely be back!



We spent a little while wandering the resort. She's so pretty!




Next up was Disney Springs- Daniel had broken his sandals that morning and we needed to replace them. He was sad but honestly with how much he wore them we definitely got our money's worth! Sarah came with us and my parents decided to do the resort monorail loop.

I didn't take any pictures at Disney Springs except this one-



I remember liking this but we never went back for it! We did find Daniel new sandals at Sanuk and made a stop at Starbucks before heading back to Pop. We took a little break and watched the end of Hocus Pocus before we started getting ready.
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, October 31st 2018 Continued: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

It was finally time! We once again had really good luck with the buses at Pop- I can only think of one time we waited much longer than 10-15 minutes. Our room this time was also so close to the main building, I think I'm sold on the 50s as my favorite section!



The first view of the train station is always such an exciting moment!

We arrived about twenty minutes before we'd be allowed in and got in line. Fortunately, they started letting us in about fifteen minutes early. There was a big crowd but it moved quite quickly. Once inside we regrouped and headed to the right for the party entrance. It was definitely strange not heading straight down Main Street!



We decided to take the time now and stop at some of the Photopass locations.



It's pretty obvious but Daniel and I were Lilo and Stitch, my parents went as Mike and Sully, and Sarah was Maleficent. Our costumes were pretty basic but we wanted to be able to play and ride things without worrying too much. Plus I already had my dress so it made mine super easy! :)



I like this ornament-turned-pumpkin prop! We got our candy bags and first bit of candy too.





Finally that first view of the castle...





This area felt super crowded at first but as the night went on we never really felt it was that busy again.





Thankfully there was only a very short line for this castle picture, so we decided to take the time now!

Here's where my memory starts to diverge from my pictures. Our first fastpass was for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so I know we headed that way. But this is my next picture-



So I may have forgotten something. I should really start taking notes!



These Mickey Pumpkins though!
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Y'all my next trip is in 36 days I have got to finish this thing!

MNSSHP Continued:


Alright, so I left us on Main Street with a quickly approaching Seven Dwarfs Mine Train fastpass. After we finished with the picture we all headed for Fantasyland.



Mine Train remains a favorite for our whole group! It's so nice when everyone wants the same fastpass!

After our ride, we wanted to check for party merch at Big Top Souvenirs. They were sold out of everything but the Hocus Pocus spirit jerseys in small and medium- which was super frustrating! I really wanted the spirit jersey and one of the party pins...but alas. My sister was able to pick up her spirit jersey though, so hurrah.

Next we headed for Journey of the Little Mermaid since it was showing a 10 minute wait.





Once finished we decided to get a quick bit of dinner before our next fastpass and the the official party start. Everyone in our group likes Cosmic Ray's, so we opted for that. I got the mac n' cheese kid's meal because, as previously mentioned, Disney mac n' cheese is one of my favorite things. My sister got the veggie burger and everyone else did the regular burgers. Once we had some food it was decided that my Dad would wait at the restaurant for a bit while the rest of us headed back up Main Street to check the Emporium for party merch.



I didn't take any pictures but we were more successful! My sister got the party potion mug and I found a spirit jersey in the size I wanted. We never did find any pins though and that was disappointing! I'm actually still watching ebay to see if I can snag one eventually.

We sent the purchases back to the resort and called my Dad to have him meet us at Big Thunder Mountain.
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
MNSSHP Continued:

We all met up at Big Thunder and enjoyed the wildest ride in the wilderness! Once we were finished it was time for the actual party to start, so we decided to see if we could get in line for Space Mountain. Everyone but my Mom loves the ride and we were all looking forward to trying it in total darkness.



Honestly the darkness added so much more than I thought it would! I went in thinking that SM is already dark...but it certainly isn't that dark! I'm glad it's not like that all the time but it was a fun change for the party!





We also took the opportunity to wander through some treat trails. I think it only took two or three of them and every bag we had was full. Our focus wasn't so much on candy, so once they were full we didn't visit any others.

After Space Mountain we decided to visit the Mad Tea Party with it's spooky lighting and music! Unbelieveably, this was the first time I actually remember going on this ride! Being prone to motion sickness, I avoid spinning things. Thankfully I was able to ride with my Mom so we had zero extra spinning- I can't say the same for Sarah and Daniel!



We also took a snack break and got one of the Maleficent cones (it was quite warm so it started melting right away).



Then we made our way through Fantasyland to the Haunted Mansion! We enjoyed the live actors (thought I apparently took zero pictures) but the line moved so quickly we didn't watch them for long.



As seen in my last trip report, this picture is a Smith family tradition. We have an Uncle Fred and my Dad thinks it is the funniest thing (#dadjokes and all). After Haunted Mansion, we stumbled right into the first parade. We had an awful view but I was sucked in anyhow. This was the busiest few minutes of the night for us and really the only time we felt crowded. I know everyone says the Halloween night party is the busiest of the year but it really didn't seem that way.

We pulled over to let the crowds disperse and figure out what we wanted to do next. We went to Peco's Bills for a snack (Daniel and I grabbed a pretzel with cheese and met everyone else there) before heading to find a spot for Hallowishes.





We ended up with a great spot! We all enjoyed Hallowishes even with the minimal projections. Honestly, it was nice to not worry about getting there super early for the perfect spot.

Once the show was over we decided to split up. My parents went to wander around and visit a couple more treat trails. Daniel, Sarah, and I wanted to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and catch the second parade.



We had a good time and managed to confuse my sister about whether there had always been a live actor on the ride and how many there actually were. It was too funny and we're still teasing her about it. After the ride we headed for Frontierland to find a parade spot. We ended up next to a popcorn cart with no one else near us. It is the best location I have ever had for a parade! We got to see the headless horseman and characters came right up to us. We're also pretty sure Maleficent acknowledged my sister for her horns, so that was pretty cool. It was just the perfect parade viewing!





The more tired I get the less I take pictures- so this is all I've got!

After the parade we touched base with my parents. They already had a spot to sit for the last Villain Spelltacular. We decided to try our luck with one last ride on Big Thunder (we were so close after all). After our second ride we all decided Big Thunder really was one of the most fun rides in the whole of WDW as we always laugh our way through.

Once we were done we headed for the castle once again. We debated stopping for food but opted not to (we would regret this). We all loved the Villain Spelltacular and agreed that saving it for the end of the night was a great choice. Once it was done my parents headed straight back. The rest of us decided to stay and take some pictures- to varying degrees of success!
















It worked out well that we lingered so long- the line for Pop was quite long! My parents were actually still waiting in it. We didn't make it on the same bus as them but were able to squeeze onto the next one. It was only when we arrived back at Pop that we realized all the food options were closed. We were all quite hungry and got by on our Halloween candy (I wouldn't make this mistake twice though).

All in all, we LOVED MNSSHP! It was worth every penny and the crowds were so much better than we anticipated. We would absolutely do it again and recommend it.

Next up: The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo and other adventures!
 

DisSplash

Well-Known Member
Your costumes were all so cute cute --and your sister's Maleficent horns, in particular, were really killer! ;)
 

Mander

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm back? I realized I never actually finished this...and I've been back to the world twice since!

I'm going to try and wrap this up- probably briefly because my memory will be more than a little fuzzy!

Thursday, November 1st 2018:

First up was our breakfast at Olivia's at Old Key West Resort! We realized the night before our 8:30am reservation was too ambitious so we slid it to 10:10am. Good thing too because we barely made it in time to eat! My parents decided to spring for a Minnie Van since we were running so late and that was a great plan. We made it about 10 minutes before breakfast shut down and the wonderful CMs there still sat us and were absolutely wonderful!



I opted for the traditional Mickey waffles.



Daniel also enjoyed his breakfast.

Honestly, we ate quite fast because we didn’t want to hold things up for them. We also left a nice tip as we all hate showing up that late to things. I also just can’t say enough good things about the CMs who took care of us- we never felt rushed and the were just so welcoming!

After breakfast we wandered around the resort before catching a boat to Disney Springs.



Once there we stopped for some Starbucks and then caught a bus back to Pop Century for some naps and pool time.



Dad took a nap while the rest of us took a dip! It was nice to actually use the pool more than once this trip- we’re usually way to busy in the parks. After a while we realized we should probably get ourselves over to Wide World of Sports for the expo. Sarah wasn’t doing the race, so she opted to head for a solo shopping trip to the Zara at Disney Springs.





We were pretty efficient at the expo- got our race bibs and shirts quickly enough. We wandered around to make sure we saw all the offerings and then hopped in live for the bus to Disney Springs.



First we met back up with Sarah and found that she had been quite successful in her little shopping adventure! Then we debated what to do next as we had a decent amount of time before our dinner reservation at the newly opened Sebastian’s Bistro. Daniel decided he wanted to take Sarah and do some advance Christmas shopping for me and I believe my parents went for another Starbucks. I decided to wander through World of Disney again. After that I stopped into Goofy’s Candy Co. for a cake pop as I was pretty hungry by this point in the evening.



Soon after I found my parents on a bench near Uniqlo and we caught up with Sarah and Daniel shortly after that. With the whole group back together we headed to catch a bus to Caribbean Beach Resort. Our timing was pretty good- I think we waited less than 10 minutes for a bus.

I don’t have any pictures of the lobby but I was pretty impressed by the style of the resort! It was really lovely and based on the lobby I would definitely be interested in staying there someday.

We were still a bit early but we made our way over to Sebastian’s and checked in. We were able to wait just outside and they had some live music going- it was really nice!





Just a short wait later and we were seated. We all loved the feel of this place but I can’t say we were sold on the food outside of the pull apart rolls. Everyone loved the guava butter and I truly wish I’d just gotten my own as my meal! I had the Caribbean Vegetable Curry. It was likely well done just not to my taste. I still wish I could have tried their veggie bahn-mi but alas!







All that said, we did have a good time!



After dinner we made a very amateur runDisney mistake. It was late but Sarah desperately wanted to be ridiculous and go get dessert at T-REX (she has a love for the kitschy vibe of T-REX and Rainforest Cafe). We should have said no but since we were planning on switching busses at Disney Springs anyway, we went for it…








We had a good enough time but I like by the time we got back to our rooms it was after 11! Given that four of us needed to be up and on a bus by 4am...not the best plan!

Up next: Our first runDisney event and a very rainy evening at Magic Kingdom!
 
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