Trip Report You Are Braver Than You Believe, Stronger Than You Seem, And Smarter Than ... Nope. Piglet Goes Dopey

Hi everyone, welcome to my trip report. I’ve been reading lots of other reports and have really enjoyed them so thought I’d join in the fun. We’ve been back home for a week now, photos are sorted and it’s about time I got round to doing this.

I did write a pre-trip report (A Dopey Dream) but I’m a bit technically challenged and don’t know how to link it, so I’ll go over a few details.



Me, Sharon aka Piglet. About to celebrate a scary big birthday (50) next month. This was one of the reasons for the trip. Husband, Darren, older than me 😂. Alice, turned 13 while we were there, and Lexi, 10. We live in Milton Keynes, UK and are DVC members. One day I will find a photo of all of us together that isn’t completely hideous.

Where and When:

Saratoga Springs Resort January 1st to January 13th
Cruising on the Disney Dream January 13th to January

Extras bits:

While we were there I just happened to run a couple of little races. 5k, 10k, half marathon, first ever full marathon. Just the sort of thing that normal people do while they’re on holiday.


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The Riverside Mill has changed so much & it's definitely not for the better. I always loved both the create your own pasta & salads there. Both gone. The flatbreads were great & they're gone too. R got the pizza recently & didn't care for it. At this point I much prefer FQ's food court over Riverside's.
I think for this reason Riverside is off the list next time we have a non DVC trip. Because our usual stay is 2-3 weeks we have quite a lot of resort time, so we need either a kitchen or decent food options in the resort. So we’re thinking either FQ or Caribbean Beach.


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Day 3: Saturday 4th January

This was another running morning for me, the last longish run (6 miles) before marathon weekend. Because we’d had quite a late night we decided to let the girls sleep in and I went out on my own. Rain was predicted starting late morning but at 7.30 it was dry, if a bit overcast and definitely warm enough to run in shorts. I’d planned to run through Disney Springs which I’ve done before, so headed out along the side of the golf course. But after I ran through the parking lot there was a sign saying CMs only before 8am, I guess it must have been later in the morning last time I ran through. So I turned around and just ran some loops of the resort.


By the time the girls were up and ready it was 10.30, a bit later than we’d planned. Although rain was predicted for most of the rest of the rest of the day, it was still quite warm and we were in shorts and tshirts with rain coats in our bags. We were headed to Animal Kingdom and our first FP started at 10.50, luckily a bus was pulling up just as we got to the bus stop.

As it was later in the morning there was hardly any wait to go through bag check. We headed over towards Africa with a stop on the way to see the otters

Cuddle party


Then over to Kilimanjaro Safaris for our FP.

Just after we boarded our jeep the predicted rain started. And it absolutely poured, coming in the side of the jeep so we scrambled to put our raincoats on before we were soaked. I did try to take a photo but it didn’t show the extent of the rain


What you can see is the lack of animals on the savannah. I think they were all sheltering as much as possible. We could just about see the African Wild Dogs in their cave shelter so Alice was pleased as they are her absolute favourite animal. What she was not pleased with was the woman behind us saying “ooh look hyenas” after the guide had pointed them out. Some people really don’t listen.

Our guide did her best to make our safari enjoyable, but she didn’t have much to work with. The male elephants were having fun in the rain though


I think there’s supposed to be a cheetah in this photo of a tree 😂

We could just about spot a lioness on the top of the rocks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any lions up that high before



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Day 3 cont.

By the time our safari was over it was well into our next FP for Na’vi River Journey. We had originally planned to walk around the trail in the hope of seeing Grace, the baby gorilla, and I would have sacrificed the FP for this. But it was still pouring down and none of us felt like this would be fun. So we headed from Africa down what we call the secret path to Pandora.

With all the rain the temperature seemed to have fallen quite a lot. We were all in shorts and tshirts and although our raincoats were doing a reasonable job of keeping us dry, they were quite thin running jackets and were not very good at keeping us warm. Once we got to Pandora we stopped for a bathroom break and as soon as we went inside we were shivering. The AC was cranked up to freezing and it was not pleasant at all. It was the same once we got on the ride. I usually find Na’vi a nice gentle, relaxing ride but we were so cold. I was feeling quite cross with myself for not being prepared for the weather, it’s not like me as I’m usually over prepared and take too much out with us.

After the ride it was almost time for our lunch at Tiffins. We decided if we had any chance of enjoying our meal then we needed to be warmer. So we stopped in the closest shop to Tiffins and bought some hoodies for myself and the girls. Changing into these it gave us a chance to take off our damp raincoats and let them dry off a bit.

We checked into Tiffins and only had to wait a few minutes before we were taken to our table. This is one of our favourite in park restaurants and we were really looking forward to our lunch here.

Darren decided that he needed some warming pumpkin soup, and I shared the bread and dips with the girls. Forgot to take photos but everything was very yummy, not quite Sana’a bread but still really good. Then it was kids shrimp, grouper, short ribs and I had the surf and turf which is all I managed to get a photo of.


We also had a side of the roasted Brussels sprouts to share. Yum. We all agreed that our food was delicious and completely cleaned our plates. There was still room for dessert though. The girls had chocolate ganache and the Lion King caramel mousse (again I really need to be better with photos). I had something called the Halo-Halo:


It was a raspberry ginger beer sorbet and two flavours of ice cream, sweet potato and condensed milk. Really good, but the standout was the green wiggly worm type thing in the middle. It was lime jello. I love lime but do not like lime jello. I find it overly sweet and artificial tasting. But this was amazing, properly limey tasting, I could have eaten a whole bowl of just that.

We left Tiffins very happy and with very full tummies. Lunch had been absolutely excellent.

Unfortunately it was still raining. Our last FP was for Expedition Everest and we really didn’t feel like riding in the rain. So we cancelled it and decided to go back for a post lunch nap.

One more photo on the way out.



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Day 3 evening

After our naps, the girls wanted to follow our original plan of an evening in Epcot to watch fireworks. Darren wasn’t feeling 100% so we were off for a girls only night out.

It was just before 7 when we arrived, and bag check was pretty empty. A young security guard took my bag to check, saying “how you doin’?”. I looked at his name badge, and yes it was Joey 😂. I did wonder if maybe he played to this a little bit.

I told the girls that we probably had time for one ride before getting a snack and watching fireworks. They chose Living with the Land so we headed over in that direction. Unfortunately when we got there the ride had already closed for the day. Soarin had a 40 minute wait so we decided to join the queue for it. I think we waited closer to 30 minutes, which was good but did end up on the far right of the glider so had to deal with the distortion. We enjoyed our flight though and Lexi was pleased that she spotted a hidden Mickey in Fiji that she’d never seen before.

After this we wandered over to World Showcase for something to eat. I got some poutine which was just ok. The cheese was fridge cold and I ended up mostly eating fries and gravy. The girls still weren’t very hungry after their huge lunch and decided they just wanted chocolate crepes, so we headed over to France. I was allowed a small taste and they were delicious.

I usually like to enjoy a nice frozen adult drink while watching fireworks, like a Grand Marnier or Grey Goose slushie, but it was a bit cold and I wanted something warmer. So I looked for an adult coffee instead, but the only one I saw sounded a bit too sweet. So I settled for some wine. But they serve such small measures of wine, I didn’t think it would last through the show so I might have bought 🍷🍷

With our drinks and snacks we went to our usual fireworks watching spot in Germany to wait for the show to begin. This was our first time watching it and I was underwhelmed. The girls loved it particularly the colourful kites. I think for me that although there was nothing technically wrong it just wasn’t Illuminations. I had such an emotional attachment to that show, so many happy memories watching it with all four daughters as they grew up, that it’s going to take a lot to replace it. Hopefully when Harmonious starts I’ll like it better. It took a while for Happily Ever After to grow on me as well because I loved Wishes.

After Epcot Forever we wandered out of Epcot. I was singing “We Go On” from Illuminations to myself, because that’s tradition, and I might have had a little 😢

A short wait for the bus and then straight to bed as we had another busy day at the Magic Kingdom planned for tomorrow.


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Day 4: Sunday 5th January

This was another Magic Kingdom day but with quite a relaxed start. Breakfast at The Wave at 9 o’clock. We were on our way to the bus stop just before 8 when we saw a bus for Magic Kingdom just arriving. We ran for it and luckily just made it. Not so luckily, when we arrived at the park, bag check was crazy. Even though we weren’t going straight into the park we had to go through this to get onto the walkway to the Contemporary Resort. We finally checked in for breakfast just a few minutes late.

This was only the second time we’ve had breakfast here, first time was last year, even though we’ve had dinner quite a lot. And breakfast is really good. Their buffet is less expensive than many others and a nice relaxing start to the day. And yummy. Sweet potato pancakes with nut butter, delicious.

After breakfast I found a quiet spot at the back of the resort because I had to make a phone call back to the UK. When we checked in to Saratoga I had tried to use my credit card for charging and it hadn’t gone through so we’d used Darren’s instead. Being tired when we’d checked in I’d kind of forgotten about it, then tried to use it at AK the day before and it was declined. Knowing that there shouldn’t be any reason for this i thought it was probably just because I was trying to use it in the US and just needed to let the card company know it was ok. So I called the main number only to be put on hold and then put through to a more specialist area. Yep, my card had been hacked. They went through some of the suspected fraudulent charges with me which had started just before Christmas. I was a bit puzzled about the timing of the charges. This is a card that is not used for everyday charges. I was trying to keep all the holiday expenses in one place and the last time it was used was for park tickets and to pay for the cruise a few months previously. So it seemed strange that the fraudulent charges happened so long after this. It was only later that I realised that I’d used it when I did the online check in for the cruise a couple of days before Christmas. It also later clicked that the charges that had tried to go through were for Stena (a European ferry company) and they mentioned Norwegian which I’m assuming is the cruise line. We did mention this at guest relations on the cruise but they were adamant that it couldn’t be their systems.

Anyway, luckily no unauthorised payments had gone through. But the only thing my credit card company could do was cancel the card and issue a new one. So no good until we got home. Really good that we’ve got more than one card we can use. Unfortunately because I’d phoned back to the UK on my mobile, I found out when I got home that the phone call to sort it all out cost me £23.

While I was busy, the girls were playing



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Day 4: Sunday 5th January (cont.)

One thing I forgot to mention was that despite the beautiful sunshine, it was very cold this morning. We were all in multiple layers of clothing but it was definitely preferable to the rain from the day before.

A nice stroll over to Magic Kingdom, I do like being able to go through the bag check on the walkway rather than the main one at MK. By the time we’d entered the park and walked over to Fantasyland it was time for our first FP, Seven Dwarfs.

Darren didn’t want to ride, he’s not that keen on coasters, and this time they didn’t fill up the empty spaces by putting odd numbered groups with others. So Alice was pleased she didn’t have a random person sitting next to her.


I feel a bit excluded, I was not informed about the poses before the ride.

Our original plans for today had included a lunch reservation which I’d changed to dinner after we decided to go to The Wave for breakfast. I’d been unable to reschedule our FPs so we now had some time to kill. The wait times for almost everything were already crazy. The least crazy seemed to be the Speedway at 40 minutes so we headed over there. I passed the time while we waited making a garden grocer order. Usually we have so much fun on this ride. I always seem to be paired with Lexi, I’ll use the pedal while she steers. And she is the worst driver in the world, we’re always both laughing so much on the way round. But today, not so much fun. It looked like the father in the car in front of us was letting his very short child steer and use the pedal. It was SO SLOW. I’m pretty sure I could have crawled around the track faster. A bit of a disappointing ride after such a long wait.

The girls decided they needed a treat to cheer themselves up. And what better on a cold day... ice cream.



With cold tummies as well as cold bodies, we thought we’d try another ride. We hadn’t been on the peoplemover yet, and it was close by, so that seemed like a good idea. We joined the back of the queue, which was all the way by Astro Orbiters. And we stood, and we stood. We got frustrated with waiting and decided to try Carousel of Progress instead. As we were entering we noticed that everyone in the queue for the peoplemover was leaving so I guess the ride had gone down for a while.

Usually I love the Carousel of Progress, always have a little singalong. But I must have been a bit tired today because the only thing I remember is the girls waking me up at the end.


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Day 4: Sunday 5th January (cont)

It was finally time for our next FP, Peter Pan, so we wandered over in that direction. I was feeling the need for a little snack, so first we walked past the ride into Liberty Square thinking we would share a pretzel and some fruit from the market area. This was when I realised quite how busy MK was that day, the queue for food was huge. We decided it wasn’t worth missing our FP for.

So we backtracked to Peter Pan, a short wait in the FP queue, and we were on the ride. The CM didn’t sprinkle us with pixie dust so we sprinkled our own and took off safely.

Our next FP was for Buzz and we had a short wait until it started so I finally got my pretzel from the Lunching Pad. Even there we had to wait quite a while.

Happy now we’d snacked, we headed over to Buzz for our FP. The crazy waiting theme continued, about 20 minutes in the FP queue. The ride paused for a while in the room with the volcano, and as this is the only big score I ever remember I just kept shooting. We started moving again so I didn’t quite get to the max score, but I was definitely the winner in our family. Apparently Darren and Alice were invisible on the ride.

After Buzz it was time for our early dinner reservation at one of our favourites, Skippers Canteen. Excellent food, fun skipper and all the family were happy.

A couple of photos, the pork, kids shrimp and the coconut bar. We also had the seafood stew and not piranha, followed by vegan panna cotta which was delicious.


After dinner we headed back to the resort for an early night, knowing we had a very early start and busy day at Hollywood Studios tomorrow. Park opening was due to be at 7 and I wanted to check what time the buses started so I stopped at the front desk when we got back. In the past I’d always been told that buses started an hour before park opening, but I wondered whether they would be doing anything different to deal with the Rise of the Resistance boarding group scenario. I was disappointed to be told that buses now started at 45 minutes before park opening, so 6.15. I was a bit anxious at the thought of getting on a bus at 6.15, travelling around all the Saratoga bus stops, and then going through bag check at HS. I was not convinced we’d make it into the park by 7 o’clock. We thought about getting a Minnie Van but they can’t be prebooked. So, because I like everything planned in advance, I decided not to take any risks with transport and prebooked a Mears car online for the morning.


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Day 5: Monday 6th January

While planning this trip, it was today that I was most concerned about. I’m one of those crazy people that likes ADRs and FP+, not because I like every minute of my day planned, but because it gives me a framework for the day and I can add or remove bits as things change. But the whole Rise of the Resistance boarding group thing made me a bit anxious about how the day would go. Alice is a huge Star Wars fan and with it only being a few days until her birthday it was really important to me that she get to ride both of the new rides.

We’d arranged for our Mears car to pick us up at bell services at 5.30. We were a few minutes early and our driver was already waiting for us. This was the first time we’d prebooked with Mears and we were very pleased with the service. Our driver was very courteous and professional and transported us to Hollywood Studios with no issues. I would definitely recommend them. I think the price was similar to a Minnie Van.

We arrived at HS at about 5.40 and went straight through bag check. Even this early there were already a lot of people waiting. We were just forward of the ticket windows.


At this point the rest of my family confessed that they hadn’t quite believed how busy it was going to be. They’d only agreed to being out so early to keep me happy.


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Day 5: Monday 6th January (cont)

At about 6.20 people were starting to be let into the park. As we were so close to the front it was only a couple of minutes after that and we were in. It was another pretty cold morning, and although we were all layered up, we were feeling pretty cold after the wait to get in. So we decided that as nothing was open yet we would get ourselves some hot drinks from Starbucks. We thought that most other people would be off to position themselves to get on other rides as soon as they opened. Unfortunately even though lots of people did do this, there seemed to be about 20 bazillion left over to queue for Starbucks.

From what I’d read beforehand, using Disney WiFi was not the best for getting a boarding group. So I paid for a mobile data package for the day. I switched off WiFi on my phone and did a Facebook checkin to check that the data worked (I’d never used it in the US before, had always just used Disney WiFi).

So far everything was going well. In the park on time, phone working ok.

The queue for Starbucks was moving very slowly. So at about 6.55 I decided that I would leave my family in the queue and go outside to wait until until 7.

7 o’clock arrives and everyone goes quiet. I have the app open, try to join a boarding group. Nothing. Try closing and opening the app a few times. Nothing. A bit anxious now, I try to phone Darren while looking for a CM to help me. I tell him quickly what’s going on. I’m directed to a roped off area with a few CMs with tablets and join a short queue. What felt like an hour, but was in reality only a minute or so, and a CM is available to help. The grumpiest CM ever. Now, I get that it was very early and they’re probably fed up with all the crazy guests stressing over a ride, but I was very polite and don’t think I deserved his very dismissive attitude. I explained what was happening, he scanned my Magic band, told me he’d assigned a boarding group to me. I asked what about my other party members. No, they all needed to scan their bands and there was nothing he could do. All of this while acting like I was wasting his time. I was feeling a bit dejected at this point, there was no way I was going to ride without the rest of my family.

In the meantime Darren had stayed in the queue at Starbucks, bought our drinks, opened the app, booked a boarding group for himself and the girls (couldn’t add me because grumpy CM had already assigned me a group), completely calmly and using Disney WiFi. When we met up he thought it was quite funny about how stressed I was. I was not finding it funny, but I was glad we would all get to ride.

Even though we now all had boarding groups, theirs was 2 later than mine. I’m sure there would have been an overlap, but Darren suggested going back to the CMs to see if we could all be together. Dreaded it would be the same CM, but luckily this time we had a lovely, very helpful one. He actually seemed pleased to be able to help us. So Darren and the girls jumped forward to my amazing boarding group, 120!


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Day 5: Monday 6th January (cont)

So with such a high boarding group, we realised that it was going to be a pretty long day at Hollywood Studios. With my races only a few days away, I knew that I needed to take it a little bit easy. So we decided that we would just go on one ride and then take a break outside the park.

Even though it felt like a lot had happened, it was still only just past 7 o’clock. But the wait time for Smugglers Run was already close to two hours, and the other big rides weren’t much better. We thought the best idea would be to ride Toy Story which was estimated at a 40 minute wait. It ended up being closer to 30 minutes so not too bad.

The girls passed the time looking through the latest Hidden Mickey book.


We really enjoyed the ride although Alice beat me for the first time ever ☹️

By now we were feeling pretty hungry so we decided to use our break from the park to get some breakfast. We hadn’t been on the Skyliner yet, and had never visited Caribbean Beach so that’s where we headed.

The Skyliner going out of the park was completely empty and we had a cabin to ourselves. I was a bit apprehensive at the thought of being in a box suspended so high up, but I was very pleasantly surprised at quite how relaxing it was. It was still quite a chilly morning and there was a bit of a breeze from somewhere, possibly a vent was open - we hadn’t figured them out yet. We all loved it, a stay at a Skyliner resort is definitely in our future now.


It was strange being at a completely new resort after over 20 years of visiting Disney, there’s not many places we haven’t been to by now. After getting off the Skyliner we had to use the resort maps to figure out how to get to the main building.

Caribbean Beach was another very pleasant surprise. The grounds are lovely, and the food court was excellent. It was a huge improvement over our experience at Riverside a few days earlier. Although it was about 9 o’clock by now, so peak resort breakfast time, we had no trouble finding a table and received our food promptly.

Veggie omelettes for me and Darren, pancakes with gold shimmery chocolate chips for the girls. Everything was delicious.


After breakfast we wandered around the resort for a while and then chilled out on the beach. There may have been naps involved 😂. It was just what we all needed after the early start to the day.



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Day 5: Monday 6th January (cont)

Feeling very relaxed after our morning break, we headed back to HS on the Skyliner. There was a bit of a breeze on the way back and I could feel the cabin swaying, just enough to make me feel slightly queasy. So what better to do when you already feel a bit queasy? Ride a rollercoaster, Slinky Dog Dash.

Our FP window was just about to start, and it was probably the only time we would get to ride this trip so I really didn’t want to miss it. Luckily I was fine riding. It’s quite weird, I get motion sick on pretty much any form of transport but am absolutely fine on rollercoasters. The only things I can’t ride are the teacups and strangely the carousel.

This was Darren’s first time riding Slinky and he was just ok with it, not really being a rollercoaster person. Me and the girls love it.


After Slinky we had about 45 minutes until our lunch ADR. There was no chance of riding anything, wait times were all crazy. So we took our first visit to Galaxy’s Edge.

Wow. We’d seen lots of photos online but in person the theming is just amazing. Alice was close to tears, she was just so happy to see it all.

The only disappointment was that we stopped at the photopass location on the way in, thinking it was a magic shot. I’m sure I’d seen someone else’s online. But our account just had a regular photo, and it wasn’t a very good one.

Anyway, we spent some time exploring and checking out where the rides were for later in the day.


Even the janitor in the photo below was themed




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Back in the real world, I ran my first post Dopey race yesterday here in the UK. 10 miles really close (about 2 miles) from where I live. About half way I notice a lady in front of me wearing a long sleeve shirt with very familiar looking symbols on the sleeve. I asked her about it and she’d run a number of Disney marathons, 2 Goofys and a Dopey. It was really lovely to see another runDisney person so close to home. (And I was very pleased with how well my race went)


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Back in the real world, I ran my first post Dopey race yesterday here in the UK. 10 miles really close (about 2 miles) from where I live. About half way I notice a lady in front of me wearing a long sleeve shirt with very familiar looking symbols on the sleeve. I asked her about it and she’d run a number of Disney marathons, 2 Goofys and a Dopey. It was really lovely to see another runDisney person so close to home. (And I was very pleased with how well my race went)
That’s so neat!! Congratulations on your race!!

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