Trip Report The Magic is Back! It's Just More Expensive. May 2023

Hi! It's been a minute.

WHO: Me K, husband R and daughter (4) LP
WHEN: May 15-20
WHERE: Coronado Springs, Gran Destino Tower

I went back and forth about doing a trip report. I haven't done one for my past couple of trips, and honestly it was freeing not worrying about keeping up with all of our activities, but I kind of missed documenting it. I didn't keep notes or anything, so I'm sure I'll miss some of the action, but hopefully it'll still be fun to read!

Another thing that I've debated is whether to share pictures of my daughter. I typically don't share images of her in public places, I only do on my private personal instagram and private FB. I'm going to go ahead and share some here though since I feel like this forum is pretty niche. If I feel weird about it later, I'll just take them out.

Ok with all that out of the way, let's get started!

Arrival Day: May 15, 2023

I forgot to upload any photos from our travels, but it all went smoothly. We flew out of Memphis and got to use the new part of the airport, which is super nice. We got our rental car when we arrived at MCO at about 5:30pm. First up was a Publix run. LP fell asleep in the car, so she and R stayed outside while I loaded up on snacks and a case of water (and subs!)

We dropped our stuff off at Gran Destino Tower, scarfed down our subs and headed to....


Now you may be wondering WHY would we go to Epcot at 8pm on our first day. Surely that's not a good use of a ticket?! You'd be right. But we had other plans.

The sensible thing to do would be for just R and I to get annual passes, but since LP was with us, we justified getting her one by planning to take her for her 5th birthday, which would make the purchase worth it. Me and R will be going for Wine & Dine, but we're not taking LP because it'll be such a quick trip with me waking up VERY early to run a race. But now our plans for these passes are May '23 (this trip), Nov '23 (R & K only), Jan '24, May '24. Then we'll probably go another year before we go back.

This was an expensive night :greedy:

LP was adamant she wanted to ride a dark ride...R must have been trying to explain dark rides to her and why they weren't scary? I don't even know. I was trying to figure out our passes and how to get refunded for the memory maker we'd purchased since we added photo pass to one of the APs. That'll come up again tomorrow.

I got LP to a dark ride pronto. Meanwhile R hit up the Mexico booth for a margarita (not sure if he got any food?)

She loved it. So much so that she insisted we do it again with R when he met us at the exit with his marg. I helped him finish it :happy:

We talked her into moving on after this. I was surprised she was still so spry for how late it was! She did have that little car nap, so I'm sure that helped. We stick to a pretty steady schedule at home, but so far I was pleased she was not breaking down at a shift in things. Perks of getting a little older!

We wanted a little snack on the way out, so we went to the Honey Beestro and got the chicken and waffle

Chicken and Waffles: Crispy honey-brined chicken and honey sweet cornbread waffle with whipped honey butter and spicy honey. I give it a 6/10. It had some good flavors, but the chicken was not the best quality.

B. Nektar New Wave Lemonade Mead (very good!) and Florida Orange Groves Winery Orange Blossom Honey Wine (decent)

LP gets my best angles

Saw the fireworks as we were heading out. Fireworks were not on our agenda for this trip because of how late they are, then the long journey to get back to the room after. Maybe next year.

Step count for the day (which is skewed because I push the stroller most of the time): 8571

Let me quickly address the sleeping arrangement. This is the first time all three of us have slept in the same room since she was a newborn. This first night was TOUGH. She did not want to settle down and sleep while we were reading/playing Zelda. So eventually we put away our Kindle and Switch and just settled in for sleep. Thankfully it was just this first night that she wouldn't settle. She still needed the sound machine and darkness to fall asleep though, so there was no staying up watching tv after she was asleep. But we mostly stayed out until later so it was fine!

Also, my allergies have been horrible this year, and the few days leading up to this trip were especially bad. I hoped being in a new environment would help, but I was at my worst this night. I couldn't breathe all night, and I apparently don't possess logic when I'm half asleep, so I didn't get up to use my inhaler until morning. Once I did that and took a zyrtec, I was fine.

Next: Day 1


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fun i win GIF by The Original Donut Shop Coffee

Here first!!


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Original Poster
Day 1 - May 16, HS

Since I didn't sleep, I bought Genie+ around 1:30am and at 7am booked our first LL for Slinky Dog Dash around 10am. My goal was to get it around 10, and 9:55 happened to be what I got! Score! We caved and used the service this trip because it's been a year since our last trip, and I wanted to make sure we got to ride the things we wanted to. LP is now tall enough for Slinky, so that was our main objective today!

She woke around 7:15 and we drove over to HS around 8, I think. Early hours were 8-8:30am and they were over by the time we were walking in. There were quite a few people stacked up after the security check.

Once we were in, it wasn't terribly crowded. I saw a photographer with no line, so we stopped for our first use of our photo pass! The CM from the night before told me I needed to activate my memory maker, then go to Guest Relations for the refund. I truly do not understand their system and why all of this was necessary, but whatever. We took these shots, then we activated the service.

We walked straight to Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. LP seemed to like it last year, except it was a bit loud for her. There wasn't much of a wait, maybe 10 minutes?

It was definitely too loud for her. I don't remember it being SO loud before, but it was super loud through the whole thing and she kept her hands over her ears. Oh well. Me and R still enjoyed it.

Next she asked to meet Minnie Mouse, so we headed over to the meet and greet. I think the wait time was 25 minutes or something thereabouts. It may have been a little less, but the time passed quickly. LP was adamant that she wanted to meet them by herself. She didn't even want us going in the room with her! Which obviously isn't possible, but she settled for us just not going up to the characters with her. Silly kid.

She was excited to show Minnie her bracelet, which had little Minnies on it.

The CM kept telling her not to lean on Minnie, oops. I didn't even realize what she was saying until after we left.

Little shadowy in that room, but glad they still have actual photographers in there instead of the box, which is what we mostly got :facepalm:

It was now close enough to our LL for Slinky that I didn't want to get in line for anything else, so we walked through Galaxy's Edge into Toy Story Land.

We took a pee break while we had some spare time, then off we went to Slinky. I wanted to get Genie+ just for this because I absolutely hate that freakin queue.

She wanted to ride everything with R :cry: but whatever. Also we didn't get our ride photo. I did put in a request with photo pass, but I have 0 hope for that. Oh well. After the ride, she acted like she didn't like it, but then eventually said she did enjoy it. I think it was a little more thrilling than she'd imagined! That was the thing she was most excited about leading up to the trip, so I think she'll warm to the bigger rides as she gets older!

Up next: More HS


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Original Poster
fun i win GIF by The Original Donut Shop Coffee

Here first!!
hahaha who's surprised?!
Dang it, I read too slow!

second place kanye GIF

I’m so glad you decided to do a TR! Also, LP is your twin!!
That's so funny, I've always thought she looks just like R! Mostly around the nose, plus her blonde hair and blue eyes. But she's looking more like me these days.

Happy you're doing a report!

LP is the cutest.

Thank you!
LP is so cute! We do our AP Disney trips the same way. Ours expired in February and we aren’t planning another trip until late 2024. It’s a hard slog with no trips, but then we try to plan a few to make the passes worth it.
It was definitely annoying to wait a whole year, but I mean at least we're still blessed to go that often! It was a good year to do it because I quit my job at the beginning of 2022, so financially, we needed the break.
Oh my gosh, LP is so grown up already! I'm really glad you decided to write a report. Your photos (the first one of Spaceship Earth is AMAZING!!) and writing always make a great one, so I'm definitely here for this!
Camping Lisa Simpson GIF by The Simpsons
Thanks for joining!

LP is adorable! Thanks for writing a TR. I love watching kids grow up on this forum. Great pics, as always!
:inlove: It's definitely fun seeing all the different families grow and change.


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Original Poster
Day 1 continued: HS

After Slinky, I made us a LL for Alien Swirling Saucers that was starting right then, so we hopped on that. I think the wait was only like 20 minutes, but still nice to bypass that.

Hands on the ears again. She did eventually take them off, but she was always hesitant about rides being loud.

After this I made a LL for Toy Story Mania, but it was still about a half hour away. We hopped in line for Woody and Jessie, but I had absolutely no faith we'd make it through that line before the LL came up, and I was right. We barely moved. Why is that line always so slow and soooo long?! We basically used it as an excuse to stand around and mobile order our lunch.

Once the time for TSM was up, LP agreed to do that instead of meet Woody. It helped that they were on a break, so she couldn't physically seem them anymore.

She rode with me this time :inlove:

Pretty sad :hilarious: I tried to help her aim her blaster thing down more, but she kept letting go of it, so it was basically pointed at the very top. But I managed to get her a few points at the beginning of each game, before I let her just do whatever. I think she enjoyed it even though we didn't do that well! She doesn't really get the score thing yet. BTW this line was over an hour, so glad we had Genie+ for this day and it was working for us!

After this, we headed back to Galaxy's Edge for lunch at Docking Bay 7. I'd really wanted the buffalo chicken grilled cheese, but R didn't see much on the ABC Commissary menu he wanted, so I was nice and said we should go somewhere else :cry: But Docking Bay 7 ended up being really good, so it was fine.

Pirjanad Hot Chicken Tip Yip for both me and R. LP had basically the same thing off the kids menu, except not spicy. She ate some of our rice too and we took her broccoli (she's one of those kids that eats nothing nutritious, and I don't understand how her body functions?!) I was just glad she was eating, because she notoriously eats barely anything when we're away from home.

When I finished my dish, I mobile ordered a Cold Brew Black Caf from Kat Saka's Kettle.

Not worth the hype IMO, but it was fine. The coffee was not good (and I usually like plain coffee). Once the sweet cream topping mixed in, it had more of a dessert vibe, and it was fine, but I wish the base cold brew was a bit better. I love a good cold brew, and I feel like the stuff at Disney is never smooth like it should be. Iced coffee is always bitter, but cold brew is usually less so.

After lunch we split up. R took LP over to the Frozen show. There was a good half hour or more before it started, so I hoped to join them. I headed to Guest Relations to see about getting a refund for memory maker. This poor girl that helped me had to call IT then call my resort. It was not the easy thing the girl from the night before thought it would be. I was in there for a while, so I missed the Frozen show, but I finally walked out with $170 on a giftcard, so that was nice!

I got to hear plenty of people coming in to complain about Rise being down. It seemed like it was down most of that day.

I told R I'd get us a beer since he was doing the show alone with LP. He took no pictures, but he said she loved the fake snow at the end.

I walked around looking for beer.

We have that Fantasia poster in our bedroom. I love it!

I didn't get a beer on Sunset Blvd. but I sure did get a lot of pictures. ha

I stopped taking pictures, but ended up at Baseline Tap House. I got one of the seasonal Sierra Nevadas. Summerfest maybe? It was refreshing. Nothing wildly amazing, but good for a hot day. I sipped on it until R and LP got out of the show, and we shared it on the way out of the park. We were ready for a little rest, I think it was about 1:30 at this point.

Up next: park hopping


Premium Member
LP is adorable, and growing up fast! (I think the previous photo I saw of her was from a few years ago.) Happy that you're doing a TR, as your photos are always excellent -- much better than the photographers they hire in the parks to take pictures.


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Original Poster
Thank U GIF by The Drew Barrymore Show

Thank you so much for doing a trip report for us!! I always enjoy your reports! I cannot believe your baby is 4 already 😯
I knowwww it's gone by way too fast!!

good mythical morning time GIF by Rhett and Link

It is time to sit back and enjoy a Sheriff trip !!!


Thank you for taking the time to share your trip! Your photos and report are terrific!

Happy Snow White GIF by Disney
Thank you! I feel like I don't get as many good photos now that I have a little one to keep up with, but glad you still enjoy them :inlove:

I swear my 6 year old eats nothing but plain bagels, pasta with butter, chicken with nothing but salt, and toast. How do they live?
Seriously! I still give her baby food pouches so she'll at least get some vitamins, good grief. She basically lives on uncrustables, chicken nuggets and mac n cheese. She ate a full bowl of our dinner last night and I was in complete shock. It was just a cajun chicken, beans and rice, but still!!

So pleased you are doing a report and LP is so sweet. I would love to try and do a report on our trip in September but as I’ve never done one I don’t think it would be half as good as all of the ones on here.
You totally could! They're time consuming, but not too tough to put together. Just gotta pretend you're telling a friend about your trip and it flows out pretty easy :happy:

LP is adorable, and growing up fast! (I think the previous photo I saw of her was from a few years ago.) Happy that you're doing a TR, as your photos are always excellent -- much better than the photographers they hire in the parks to take pictures.
Aww thanks! I sometimes wish I was a photo pass photographer there, but i'm sure i'd get very bored doing the same thing over and over. And not having any creative freedom :hilarious:

Like many other, I’m glad you decided to do a report! I’ve always enjoyed yours!


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Original Poster
Day 1 continued: Park hopping

Having the car was already proving to be really nice. We easily drove back to the resort for a rest. LP didn't nap, but she lazed around and I think it gave her some energy to make it a few more hours. I made us a LL for Epcot, so after about 1.5hr of rest, we headed that way.

She really wanted to ride Spaceship Earth for some reason, but we talked her into going on back to World Showcase with the promise of princesses.

Sometimes I miss focus when I'm trying to walk and photograph at the same time :hilarious: This shot would be cool, but it's focused on the flowers. Oh well.

Pretty, pretty planters!

LP thinks Goofy looks mad. Can't say I disagree :hilarious:

R headed off in search of festival food (he got the crawfish pie in America since he knew I wouldn't be interested in that), while LP and I got in line for Anna and Elsa. I believe the wait was about 15-20 minutes.

This is one of the better box-photographer meet and greets they have. The settings on the cameras were ok at least. And the princesses seem to be able to time their interactions well so that the box catches the hug, smile, etc. It's still obnoxious smiling at a cabinet with a camera inside instead of a person though. And you inevitably get pictures like the one of my rear end crossing over to stand with them...I didn't include that one, you're welcome :joyfull:

I don't remember what they talked about, but LP was thrilled to see them. She is pretty quiet when she goes up to characters, but then she chatters away about it afterwards.

We waited outside Frozen Ever After for R to meet back up with us and use our LL.

She wanted a picture with the topiaries, but it was too bright for her to smile for the camera (a common theme since she rarely wears her sunglasses) so we did this instead.

We shared a boat with a wild group of 4 women who claimed they were not drunk, but i'd have guessed otherwise. One of them was particularly loud...we all know those people :hilarious: Of course we got that ride photo, we always get the crappy ones and never the ones I actually want (like slinky). It's not even worth including.

LP picked out a little Elsa doll that you'll see in photos from here on out. That was her main souvenir for the trip.

We stopped by Lotus House when we left Norway.

Spicy Mala Chicken Skewer with creamy peanut sauce (decent! Way too saucy for our taste) and Pan-fried Vegetable Dumplings (I really enjoyed these, I'd totally get them again)

We made friends with a duck that was missing the top of its bill. So it's tongue was just resting there out in the open, it was wild! We ended up seeing it again a couple days later.

Up next: More Epcot

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