Trip Report The Fall Spring Break (Liveish)

I joined these forums back at the beginning of the year (pre-covid) to gear up for our trip over our April spring break. As a pastor, it is very rare for me to be able to use Spring Break for vacation (they typically fall the week before Easter in our area and that is our busy time), but 2020 was to be the year it fell after Easter and we were set to head out. Like everyone with a spring trip however, that quickly changed and we re-scheduled for the last week of September into October. This pre-trip report is a way for me to get some feedback from you Disney Professionals (as we approach our 60 day ADR next week). Here is our plan so far.

Who are we? My family consists of myself, my beautiful bride and our two awesome kids of which my son is 9 and my little girl is 6. I did two big Disney trips growing up and my wife did one. We visited MK for a day on our honeymoon (we were in Siesta Key) 11 years ago and did a small weekend that consisted of Epcot and DHS when they did the free ticket on your birthday promotion. My son got to go with us (thanks grandma) when he was two and my daughter has only been to a character breakfast with Minnie on a pass through stop we did headed to Port Canaveral. On that trip we stayed one night at the All-Star Sports and just the pool and the mickey ice-cream had her saying, "this is my most favorite place ever." The best part, through all of this, the kids still have no clue we have this trip planned and honestly that has been very helpful in all the uncertainty.

All that to say, this trip is set to be our first BIG family Disney trip that we started planning in June of 2019. We opted to go the TA route and everything to make sure it all fell into place. We had every sit down as a character dining (only way to make DDP worth it), an appointment at BBB, and shirts that had arrived for every day of the week. Well.. then you all know what happened next and the only thing that remains from that planning span is the t-shirts! Add in to this that I did the whole pay with gift card thing and so refunds just mean I am rich with Mickey bucks at the moment.

We went back and forth on what to do and how to press forward. We live in SC, so it really is true that Disney at this point seems safer than my local grocery store. (Yes, I know. We HAVE to go to the grocery store, we do not HAVE to go to Disney, but that negativity is not welcome here). We are determined for this trip to happen and get more excited at the opportunity to take our kids to Disney. Yes, some things will look different than we planned (some call it a diminished experience), but we see it as a way to introduce our kids to the Disney of our youth. The less crowded Disney, where you can take your time and take it all in. The biggest let down for us really is the character meet and greet, but knowing my little princess, just seeing a princess in person will light up her life and as long as my little man gets to visit Star Wars Land and see a storm trooper, they will be ecstatic to be in Disney. Oh the things we can learn from children.

Here is the plan:

Monday - Saturday at POP. (currently waiting to see what it will be like to extend to Sunday because - Mickey Bucks that I have to use).

Drive in Monday - Pool time and Disney Springs
Tuesday: MK
Wednesday: DHS
Thursday: Epcot
Friday: AK
Pending Saturday: MK Repeat

Here is where I would like some feedback. Meal Planning. What are your suggestions? We are open to sticking to having a QS and a TS each day, outside of Epcot. The big win? I get to experience Food and Wine and even though it is scaled back, this foodie and lover of craft drinks is really excited for this! We also are open to only having a few TS to really maximize budget and experience.

Follow along with us as we take on Disney!
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Advertisement
I

I really have no idea what it will be like in the Fall, so I can only offer some general advice. Watch your kids and follow their lead. If they are getting tired, take a break, which can be as simple as sitting down to eat or finding a boring slow ride. Some people swear by going back to the hotel for afternoon naps or pool time, but we prefer in-park breaks to limit travel time. We tend not to do TS meals as they take longer (in addition to the cost) and force adherence to a schedule that may not align with when people are hungry. But most importantly, have fun.

Great Advice! We just finished a trip to Jackson Hole, WY in June and it was a great test to see how long the kids can push. We spent one day doing a lot of walking and they were awesome. Plus, if the shortened hours stay, it's not like we are looking at 14+ hour days. Yeah, I am torn with the TS as well. The only reason we had TS every day when we initially planned ADR was because of the DDP and it was all character dining. To us, we have to eat anyway so may as well use that time to meet characters. That is out for now, plus there is no way I am paying for those without DDP. Maybe one, but that is it.
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Here is where I would like some feedback. Meal Planning. What are your suggestions? We are open to sticking to having a QS and a TS each day, outside of Epcot. The big win? I get to experience Food and Wine and even though it is scaled back, this foodie and lover of craft drinks is really excited for this! We also are open to only having a few TS to really maximize budget and experience.

Excited for you and your kiddos! My husband and I actually stopped doing the dining plan a few years back, and started buying gift cards for around the same amount that we would have spent on the dining plan. That allows us to be a little more flexible with our meals. Since they're not doing dining plans right now, it seems like that will probably be your situation - still pre-paid so you don't feel *as much* sticker shock when the bill comes, but you won't be tied down to what's available using the dining plan credits. The parks are still *hot* in September/October, so it is nice to have a break in the A/C during table-service meals. With the park capacity as limited as it is right now, wait times are so low that you'll have plenty of time for a sit-down meal. Unfortunately the only character meals available right now (as far as I've seen) are Topolino's Terrace (breakfast only) and Garden Grill. Since you plan to partake in Food and Wine at Epcot, I would recommend Topolino's Terrace over Garden Grill. It's pricey, but all character meals are. Other non-character meals that would be fun for your kids (assuming they're open, I know some restaurants have yet to open) would be Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Hollywood Studios and T-Rex Cafe or Rainforest Cafe in Disney Springs. The food at all of those is *fine*, nothing awe-inspiring, but the atmosphere is really fun for kids. I would normally recommend Whispering Canyon Cafe for kids, but I believe they've toned down some of the shenanigans right now. As far as Food and Wine...it is scaled down, but 20 booths is still a lot of food! I've always found the usual 30+ booths at Food and Wine to be overwhelming, especially if you're only in Epcot for one day. No matter where you eat, I'm sure you will have a fantastic trip - can't wait to hear all about your kids' reactions!
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Excited for you and your kiddos! My husband and I actually stopped doing the dining plan a few years back, and started buying gift cards for around the same amount that we would have spent on the dining plan. That allows us to be a little more flexible with our meals. Since they're not doing dining plans right now, it seems like that will probably be your situation - still pre-paid so you don't feel *as much* sticker shock when the bill comes, but you won't be tied down to what's available using the dining plan credits. The parks are still *hot* in September/October, so it is nice to have a break in the A/C during table-service meals. With the park capacity as limited as it is right now, wait times are so low that you'll have plenty of time for a sit-down meal. Unfortunately the only character meals available right now (as far as I've seen) are Topolino's Terrace (breakfast only) and Garden Grill. Since you plan to partake in Food and Wine at Epcot, I would recommend Topolino's Terrace over Garden Grill. It's pricey, but all character meals are. Other non-character meals that would be fun for your kids (assuming they're open, I know some restaurants have yet to open) would be Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Hollywood Studios and T-Rex Cafe or Rainforest Cafe in Disney Springs. The food at all of those is *fine*, nothing awe-inspiring, but the atmosphere is really fun for kids. I would normally recommend Whispering Canyon Cafe for kids, but I believe they've toned down some of the shenanigans right now. As far as Food and Wine...it is scaled down, but 20 booths is still a lot of food! I've always found the usual 30+ booths at Food and Wine to be overwhelming, especially if you're only in Epcot for one day. No matter where you eat, I'm sure you will have a fantastic trip - can't wait to hear all about your kids' reactions!

Excellent feedback. Thank you! The Mrs. has a big scavenger hunt for them for while we drive down. They have been begging both for a cruise and Disney and the good thing is they have no clue that cruises are sailing right now. The scavenger hunt will lead them to this thinking first. Once we arrive on property, my little girl may actually explode with excitement. I have Sci-Fi on the list for sure! I just looked at Whispering Canyon and that looks really good. It would be fun to go to that possibly, just to be able to have the reason to see the lodge.
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Now that we are 45 days out and some things have ironed out, I am confident in posting our dining plans. We just knew Disney would throw a curve ball or two our way, which they did when they shortened park hours, but as I have stated, we are determined to make this trip happen. We get more excited everyday with the possibility of a relaxing Disney trip and not an over-planned and over-packed trip. Also add that my nine year old broke his arm on Sunday, so here is to memories and pictures of Disney 2020 that have masks and casts in them!

With the savings we got when we reschedule back in March (before they officially shut down) and with the money we got back from the dining plan being cancelled (we paid everything in gift cards, so the money has to be used) we decided to add an extra night to the trip. Instead of using the extra day to visit a park however, we decided to build in a resort day as this was always a desire when we first started talking about this trip. We have never spent a day on property to look around and take in what is to be offered outside of the parks. However, due to budget reasons when we first booked this in June 2019, that was just not going to be possible. We are glad it is now!

We have made the decision to drive straight into the Disney bubble, stay there, and then drive out. No stops at stores or other locations in Florida. Which means we will utilize the Amazon Grocery delivery service to get some snacks and breakfast items for the week.

Our hope is to arrive Sunday around lunch into POP and then hop over to DS to walk around and grab an easy lunch. We will then spend the afternoon and evening at the resort and by the pool with something from the QS at POP.

Our park plan is above but we have made Wednesday our resort day, so that bumps Epcot and AK to Thursday and Friday respectively. Here is our dining plan:

Sunday: Lunch at DS (Polite Pig possibly); Dinner at POP QS
Monday: QS Lunch in MK; Dinner, Rainforest Cafe at DS (this was a change due to Park Hours changing).
Tuesday: No ADRs right now. We may add in Hollywood and Vine or Prime Time 50s on a whim but plan is QS.
Wednesday (Resort Day): Breakfast at Whispering Canyon. Dinner at our Favorite Raglan Road.
Thursday: Food and Wine at Epcot, need I say more?
Friday: QS Lunch at AK with Yak and Yeti as Dinner.
Saturday: Chef Mickey's for breakfast before heading home.
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Not too much going on except, we FINALLY made it under 30 days. I think last time we got to 40 ish days and then the thing that shall not be named hit. With the news of fall decor, this trip keeps improving for us. The icing would be some of the shows coming back before we leave, but if not, we are good!

The Mrs. has done a great job in starting to get us ready. We have our t-shirts all ready for the parks as I told her that if there was ever a moment she wanted to do the matching theme thing as a family and me go along with it, this was the time. We also went ahead a ordered some masks from Disney to get ahead of the kids asking for them when we get there. Such a strange time. We also learned our son's cast comes off about 10 days before we leave, which is great news.

Now, we wait and get through September. This may be the most earned vacation we have ever taken.
 

Dave Ber

Well-Known Member
How much do you have in Disney Dollars, I would love to purchase those from you, rather than spend at WDW? Let me know

Have a great trip
 

MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
Following along and can't wait to hear of your adventures! You seem to have an amazingly positive attitude with all of the current crazy!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Not too much going on except, we FINALLY made it under 30 days. I think last time we got to 40 ish days and then the thing that shall not be named hit. With the news of fall decor, this trip keeps improving for us. The icing would be some of the shows coming back before we leave, but if not, we are good!

The Mrs. has done a great job in starting to get us ready. We have our t-shirts all ready for the parks as I told her that if there was ever a moment she wanted to do the matching theme thing as a family and me go along with it, this was the time. We also went ahead a ordered some masks from Disney to get ahead of the kids asking for them when we get there. Such a strange time. We also learned our son's cast comes off about 10 days before we leave, which is great news.

Now, we wait and get through September. This may be the most earned vacation we have ever taken.
Looks like it's all falling into place!
 

Zipitidoda

Well-Known Member
@TiggerDad said it best. Follow your kids lead when it comes to exhaustion. When my kids were the age of yours I made the mistake of staying at the parks to long to get everything done on the "list". We have many great memories through the years but the not so great ones I've come to realize were when we stayed to long in the parks or raced from here to there . There were many times they prefered to be at the pool. It drove me crazy at first, spending so much money to swim in a pool but it was how they unwound and relaxed.

Best advice is go slow, don't worry about trying to do everything. You'll get hooked like the rest of us and will be back many times.

1900 park fare was a huge hit for my girls. It is a Cinderella/Alice in Wonderland character meal in Grand Floridian. (not sure if it's open now) I know you have your choices made but wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

Have a great time! Can't wait to hear all about it.
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Following along and can't wait to hear of your adventures! You seem to have an amazingly positive attitude with all of the current crazy!

Yes it is! Now to see if we can take advantage of the offers that just came out for SC residents! Honestly, once we hit April we decided to start focusing on the good this pandemic was giving us and that has helped our overall demeanor tremendously.

Looks like it's all falling into place!

Yes sir! May not be a master at this Disney thing like you, but we are getting there. haha.

@TiggerDad said it best. Follow your kids lead when it comes to exhaustion. When my kids were the age of yours I made the mistake of staying at the parks to long to get everything done on the "list". We have many great memories through the years but the not so great ones I've come to realize were when we stayed to long in the parks or raced from here to there . There were many times they prefered to be at the pool. It drove me crazy at first, spending so much money to swim in a pool but it was how they unwound and relaxed.

Best advice is go slow, don't worry about trying to do everything. You'll get hooked like the rest of us and will be back many times.

1900 park fare was a huge hit for my girls. It is a Cinderella/Alice in Wonderland character meal in Grand Floridian. (not sure if it's open now) I know you have your choices made but wanted to throw in my 2 cents.

Have a great time! Can't wait to hear all about it.

Great advice. This is one plus side we see to the shortened hours. Plus we are really excited that we were able to add the break day in the middle to take it easy. My little girl will go as hard as she can and not tell us she is tired, however, my son will get grumpy really fast. We are slightly bummed about the character meals (well lack there of) but our budget and bank accounts are not!
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
We finally made it yesterday. It’s hard to believe it is actually here. We had a smooth ride down from SC as when you leave at 5 am, traffic seems non existent. We got to Disney Springs about noon and grabbed lunch at polite pig.

4A40B8ED-16E6-42F3-A958-CD0F2060C086.jpeg

Even though there were people everywhere at DS, the cast members were excellent and we were in within 5 minutes of getting into the temp check line.

we headed to the resort, got our room and enjoyed the pool for the afternoon. There seemed to be a little chaos with mobile dining orders and people waiting so we made the call to head to DS for Blaze pizza. We ended up with better food and coming out cheaper. We did have about a 20 minute wait for the bus, but I’ll take it with the space we get on the bus and not having people on top of us.

Today we are in MK and I’ll do my best to keep this updated.

66EA2B62-1B89-44D8-B1EB-90B847175B03.jpeg
3C78F4CB-6C1B-4002-8966-9DA00ECD9A2B.jpeg
5E623094-02B8-4565-ADE7-4BCD5A5E93F3.jpeg
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
This morning we headed to MK and I wish we would have gotten in the bus line a little earlier. I will say, the cast members are doing amazing! The system they have in place for busses is awesome. They had them lined up at the resort this morning and moved our line fast. We maybe waited 30 minutes but still arrived at MK right at 9.

700C2A4E-6FD2-4958-96D3-5A8CDFC88E78.jpeg

Within the first hour we knocked out Jungle Cruise, magic carpets and Pirates. We then were hit the Tiki Room abs grabbed an early lunch at Peco’s. My wife and I intermittent fast so we don’t eat our first meal of the day until 11.

The weather forecast isn’t the best for the afternoon so despite long waits posted we decided to hit Thunder Mountain and Splash. TM had a 45 minute posted wait and we were on in 20! Currently waiting now for Splash and it seems it will be closer to the posted 50 minutes.

I know it’s been posted 100 times on this but Disney really is doing great with all the protocols and can we all agree, some of this could stay?

1AA4D0C5-E35B-4182-B65F-0FD446D15707.jpeg

A3B91613-7E50-418E-B084-89EC43810350.jpeg
 

RauVan

New Member
Thanks for letting us follow along! I'm a disney with kids novice only having gone to disneyland once with my kids (at the time 2 and 4) and we are planning a trip for December. I assumed we would go straight to fantasyland first but it seems like most people do that. I really dig that you guys went with jungle cruise and pirates first and may do the same :)
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Thanks everyone for following along. We had a great day at MK. Some nasty weather moved in around 3:30 and that hampered things a little bit we got everything in we wanted to, except 7 dwarfs. That’s okay though. We decided to head back a little earlier and get cleaned up for dinner at Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs. The food was great and the service was fantastic!

Today we are at HS and were able to snag the coveted Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Looking forward to a great day!
C1145101-760B-44F3-96F7-518A55AA586B.jpeg
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Well as we can see, liveish was really just the first couple of days. I will find some time to really layout the rest of the trip, but here are some quick highlights:

- Cast members were FANTASTIC. Seriously, I made sure to go out of my way to tell them that.

- Mask compliance was 95% with the worst day being Animal Kingdom for some reason.

- Galaxy's Edge was amazing, and Rise of the Resistance worth every bit of sweat to earn a boarding pass. The ride actually broke down halfway through the first time, but we were given a fastpass and were back on within the hour.

- Pop Century is the perfect resort for families on a budget, especially with Skyliner.

- There was still a lot of magic. Yes, there was an element missing without meet and greets for my little girl, but the Cavalcades made up for that for the most part, well and a promise to return in a couple years. I think these can stay.

- Disney has never been this clean.

- If food and wine were not around, Epcot would have been a total bust for a full day. Food and Wine made up for that with us and we had a blast being in world showcase with small crowds.

- Animal Kingdom may be my favorite park.

I will come and do a more in-depth review of each park, including experiences with buses and wait times as I can find the time.
 

RevRemy

Active Member
Original Poster
Day 0: Arrival Day.

The goal of this trip was to be a complete surprise to my kids (6 and 10). Can we discuss really fast how hard it is to keep a surprise like this (with the planning conversations that need to happen) for 15 months? I am so glad my wife trusted me to make the plans and for the awesome work of our Disney Planner. Seriously, she was a God send navigating everything.

With this being a surprise, all packing had to happen after the kids went to bed Saturday night, including taking the dog to the dog sitter. Good thing they go to bed around 7:30 most nights, because there was a TON of work to do. We pulled it off though and was packed up and ready by 10 pm. Having planned family shirts for each park day helped some, but my wife is the true rockstar here. I just threw it all in the car.

With an alarm set for 4 am, I needed to try and get some sleep and try I did. We woke the kids up at 4:40 am with the caveat to get dressed and get in the car. My little girl asked Alexa what time it was and quickly shared her confusion with being up so early. "Family fun day. Get in the car." I exclaimed. I am a pastor, so doing this on a Sunday morning was equally confusing.

My wife planned out clues for each hour of the trip (6 hours for our drive from SC), to see if they could guess. The first clue was easy, once they get in the car they would see the luggage, which meant the surprise was a trip. My son was set that we were headed to the beach (we usually do a short beach trip with friends every summer, but he figured it was delayed due to, well this is a happy place and we won't mention that here.

We made great time and the kids never figured out where we were going. Clues ranged from sunglasses, to swim goggles, a picture of a roller coaster, and a picture of the sun). As they started to see the exit signs for Disney, we begin to really mess with them. "We are going to Disney Springs to eat lunch at a really cool place (which was true) and then on to our destination (they did not know this was Pop).

Once we pulled through the Disney World sign however, they started to figure it out and the surprise was revealed. Of course, my 10 year old did not believe us at first, so we had to show him the magic bands.

We headed to DS for lunch at Polite Pig and it was amazing. Our family of four was able to share the butcher board and it was outstanding and the Polite Pig beer flite was great as well. The wife had their PP Sangria that looked good too!

After a little walk around DS to stretch the legs, the kids were eager to get onto the resort. We did not have a room number quite yet but it was close to 2, so we headed there anyway to walk around and get acquainted. Had the room by 3 and was at the pool by 4.

We were planning to eat dinner at PoP but the menu was limited and did not look promising so we decided to go try Blaze Pizza in DS, since it was just a short bus ride. This was a great choice. We spent the same (if not less) as we would have and the pizza was really good. Better than resort Pizza for sure.

We had an early morning set for MK on Day 1, so to bed we headed to be ready for a fun filled day!

**If you are headed on a trip soon and have a particular question, feel free to ask. I will be glad to answer.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom