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Trip Report The Good, The Bad, and The Ian

My next trip is officially on the calendar!

WHO: The usual trio of me, my mom, and my friend A
WHEN: 9/30-10/7
WHERE: Timeshare TBD

Our flights are booked and it was a surprisingly easy process for us compared to other trips. A found a great deal with Frontier and we jumped on it. We are flying down on 9/30 out of Trenton, NJ at 7:35am and flying back to PHL on 10/7 at 11pm. This will be the first time we are leaving from Trenton so that should be an experience. Trenton is such a tiny airport that we are hoping the check in process is much smoother than PHL. It is just about the same drive time to Trenton as PHL so it isn't inconvenient at all.

Right now, here are our park reservations:

9/30: AK
10/1: Epcot for it's 40th Anniversary!
10/2: HS
10/3: MK
10/4: AK

Since we are not staying in the parks, we are only allowed to book 5 days of park reservations at a time. We have to decide if we want to book a cheap(er) Disney Springs hotel for two nights to get the last three days of park reservations that we need or if we want to risk it and try booking the last days after we tap into the park on the first three days.

We are hoping that there will be some kind of special event or something for Epcot's 40th. I know that it will be super crowded that day since it is a Saturday but if we are going to be there for the 40th we would be foolish not to go to Epcot.

We are also hoping that Fantasmic will be back for our trip. A and I are also hoping to get super lucky and they will have AP previews for Tron while we are there. We were there when they did GOTG previews but weren't able to snag one. Maybe luck will be on our side this time

A promises that this will be a more laid back and relaxing trip. I hope that is the case.

I will update this more as we make ADRs and other plans.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So A has gone on an ADR booking binge the past few days for the beginning of the trip. Obviously we can't go to all of these but here is what we have booked so far. Any recommendations (or places to avoid) are welcome and encouraged. I starred the ones that we have never eaten at before.

Friday 9/30
Rix Sports Bar 2:15pm**
Maya Grill 5:45pm**
50s Prime Time 8:00pm**
Edison 8:15pm**

Saturday 10/1
Via Napoli 1:10pm
Homecomin' 1:50pm
Grand Floridian Café 6:40pm
Plaza Restaurant 7:20pm
Steakhouse 71 8:45pm

There will be more to come as more dates for our trip open up.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Updated plans just over one month out:

Friday 9/30 (AK Park Pass)
Rix Sports Bar 2:15pm**
Maya Grill 5:45pm**
50s Prime Time 8:00pm**
Edison 8:15pm**

Saturday 10/1 (Epcot Park Pass)
Via Napoli 1:10pm
Homecomin' 1:50pm
Grand Floridian Café 6:40pm
Plaza Restaurant 7:20pm
Steakhouse 71 8:45pm

Sunday 10/2 (HS Park Pass)
Boathouse 10:00am
50s Prime Time 1:40pm**
Ale and Compass 5:00pm
Oga's Cantina 8:35pm

Monday 10/3 (MK Park Pass)
Steakhouse 71 1:05pm
Grand Floridian Cafe 1:45pm
Frontera Cocina 10:00pm
Beaches and Cream 10:35pm

Tuesday 10/4 (Epcot Park Pass)
Coral Reef 12:10pm**

Wednesday 10/5 (AK Park Pass)
Coral Reef 12:05pm**
Chefs de France 8:40pm

Thursday 10/6 (MK Park Pass)
Whispering Canyon 9:05am
Skipper Canteen 12:05pm
Crystal Palace 1:10pm
Boma 5:20pm

Friday 10/7 (Epcot Park Pass)
No ADRs booked yet -- typically we spend this day hitting all of the F&W booths that we missed or want seconds from

I marked the places that we haven't eaten at with **.

I am leaning towards dropping Rix because the menu just sounds like a basic sports bar menu and nothing really sounds like it is worth going out of our way for.

I am also not attached to Coral Reef. I haven't heard too many good reviews from there in the past.

I am pushing for us to book Hoop De Doo one night now that it is back. I think everyone is on board. I know if we do it that A wants to do it on a night without MNSSHP so we can go back to MK after the show.

I'm always open for recommendations of some of your favorites too!

And maybe this trip will include my first Magician meetup after missing out last trip.
 

StantonZ

Member
Updated plans just over one month out:

Saturday 10/1 (Epcot Park Pass)
Via Napoli 1:10pm
Homecomin' 1:50pm
Grand Floridian Café 6:40pm
Plaza Restaurant 7:20pm
Steakhouse 71 8:45pm
I'm confused: why are you eating at so many non-EPCOT restaurants on a day you spend at EPCOT? Forgetting the fact it's the anniversary (you are correct in that it should be crowded), it takes time to get to/from the park (even via monorail). FWIW, we will be at EPCOT October 1 as well (attending a private party after the park closes)...and taking advantage of F&W!
A couple of comments:
  • we are eating at Rix and Boathouse also (a day before)
  • Coral Reef is a good experience
  • remember that it takes a lot of time to transit to/from Hoop-De-Doo...and the food isn't all that great
Good luck and have fun.
 

fractal

Premium Member
Hoop de-Doo is about the experience. It won't win any culinary awards and is a pain to get to but it's also a lot of fun! If you book it, I recommend before 50's prime time especially if you're a fried chicken fan. My family complained that one day they had fried chicken at 50's PT and then the next we went to Hoop-dee-doo and had fried chicken again. At least if you do 50's PT after HDDR you can pick from a menu.

We had a good meals at Spice Road (again) and Yak n Yeti.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm confused: why are you eating at so many non-EPCOT restaurants on a day you spend at EPCOT?

That is a whole lot of food! :hilarious: I'm curious how you're going to be able to walk after all that.
My friend A is in charge of booking ADRs and he just books a bunch of things so we have options. We will be dropping most of these as the trip gets closer. We have also found that it can be easier to modify an existing reservation to a better time than finding a new reservation, especially at the more popular spots.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hoop de-Doo is about the experience. It won't win any culinary awards and is a pain to get to but it's also a lot of fun! If you book it, I recommend before 50's prime time especially if you're a fried chicken fan. My family complained that one day they had fried chicken at 50's PT and then the next we went to Hoop-dee-doo and had fried chicken again. At least if you do 50's PT after HDDR you can pick from a menu.

We had a good meals at Spice Road (again) and Yak n Yeti.
We have done Hoop De Doo several years ago and I agree that it is much more about the show than the food. We are trying to do a slightly more relaxed trip rather than a GO GO GO all day kind of trip so the thought of sitting for an hour or two and getting a meal and a show fits the bill.

My mom and I both would like to try Spice Road but A is a little less adventurous than us.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
No Way Wtf GIF by Renee Hribar


You Shall Not Pass Lord Of The Rings GIF


D@#$ You Ian!!!

Not the Pre-Trip update that I was hoping to make, but here it goes.

I just got an email tonight from Frontier saying that our flight on Friday morning has been cancelled due to Hurricane Ian. There was no option to reschedule with them, only the option to cancel and get either travel credit or a refund. The group frantically exchanged text messages and we ended up booking a 4:35pm flight with Southwest on Saturday. We haven't pulled the trigger yet on a refund with the unrealistic hope that something earlier might pop up with Frontier once the situation becomes clearer down there. As of right now, MCO is closing at 10:30am Wednesday with no set time for reopening.

Thankfully, the timeshare rental is Friday to Friday so we just need to notify them that we will be checking in later.

The part that is super disappointing (other than losing basically 2 whole days of our trip) is that we were really looking forward to being in Epcot on 10/1 for the 40th Anniversary which looks like a very slim chance at this point. By the time our new flight gets there, we get our baggage and car and get to WDW it is highly unlikely we will be able to make it to a park before the 9pm closing.

With any luck, this is the last major change we have to contend with for this trip. And who knows, maybe we will get super lucky and crowds will be non existent once we finally make it there.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, if Mother Nature didn't get in the way. I would be in WDW right now, but instead I am laying in bed.

The good news is that MCO will be reopening at noon today and everything looks to be on for our 4:35pm flight tomorrow. My only concern is that the remnants from Ian could be hitting our area by then but it should only be rain and nothing too intense.

Not sure what our plans will be once we arrive. We could try to do MK since they are open until 11 or we might just grab something to eat at DS or near the timeshare and make it an early night.

We have had to alter our ADRs a bunch too.

We were lucky enough to grab a Space 220 lunch for Saturday that we thought was lost but we were able to change it to a dinner on Sunday.

We cancelled our brunch at Boathouse because we want to rope drop the parks since we lost two days.

We also booked a Spice Road Fireworks Dinner for Tuesday night. I am looking forward to eating there and I think that the fireworks view will actually be better there than at Rose and Crown. Plus, unlimited drinks...

It's not the trip we originally planned but I am still off from work for 10 days and get to go to my happy place. Also, coming home won't be quite as sad because I bought a ticket for King of Prussia Beerfest for next Saturday so I have something to look forward to at home at the end of the trip.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 1 -- OCTOBER 1ST

I updated the title of this report to reflect how this trip played out.

Obviously, Hurricane Ian had a huge impact on our trip pushing back our flight from early Friday to late Saturday afternoon. We made it to PHL with plenty of time to spare and checked in and made it through security with no issues.

Our flight was also uneventful which is a good thing.

Arriving later in the day at MCO was a different experience. It was much more crowded and took even longer to get our bags than usual. Luckily, one of our bags was literally the first one onto the belt when the luggage from our flight finally made it baggage claim. The other two bags followed close behind and we were on our way.

We hit a small snag when picking up our rental car. A has the Budget Fast Break thing where the keys and everything is supposed to be ready and waiting to just grab it and go. But for some reason it wasn't there so he had to wait in line to get our car and of course there was a complaining Karen holding things up because she didn't like the car she was given.

Minor delay behind us, we made our way to the timeshare. Apparently, due to Ian, Florida has suspended tolls on the highway so that was an unexpected bonus. We got to the timeshare in good time with no issues on the roads or residual flooding. A went inside to check in and they had some issues finding our reservation. It turns out that their system is dumb. The timeshare is under A's dad's name. His dad is a third and A is a fourth so in their system it was not under their last name but under "III". Eventually it got resolved and we got our room. We were all starving at this point so instead of unloading the car we headed over to Disney Springs to get some dinner and a slight Disney fix on our park-less day one.

IMG_1609.JPEG


I think this was the first time I remember going under the arch at night so I had to snap a blurry pic to commemorate the event.

We decided on Polite Pig for dinner which was a great call.

IMG_1610.JPEG


I had the brisket sandwich which had pimento cheese and jalapenos on it. It was delicious. My mom got the chicken salad wrap which was 90% greens and 10% chicken but she did say that the chicken was very good. I believe A got the pulled pork platter.

After eating we wandered around DS for a bit. We hit up World of Disney and the Co-Op but didn't buy anything. I did grab a pin at the pin store for a coworker. I was also looking for a Maleficent pin for another coworker. I only saw one version there so I held off looking for a more interesting option. Spoiler alert, there is only one style of Maleficent pin available in all of WDW. I was shocked by this since she is a popular character and Halloween is coming up.

I was determined to get ice cream from Salt and Straw so that was our next destination. I got a scoop of The Great Candycopia -- Homemade Kit Kats, Reeses, Snickers, Heath bars folded into a diabolically delicious salted butterscotch ice cream and a scoop of The Salty Donut Guava and Cheese.

Both flavors were great but the guava was a stand out. One of my biggest pet peeves about something being called "salted" is that you can almost never taste the salt. The salt was perfect in both of these flavors but the guava was a showstopper.

We called it a night after this and went back to unload the car and unpack before our first park day starting off at Hollywood Studios.
 

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