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Thread: Birthday Trip Report

  1. #1

    Birthday Trip Report

    3/9/2022 3/16/2022

    Travelers:
    Myself, DW, DD - Latest visit Dec. 2020
    Friend 1, Friend 2 Last visit 2008

    Resort:
    Star Island Resort - Kissimmee

    Plan:
    3/9: Work / fly out
    3/10: Groceries / EPCOT
    3/11: Relax / Disney Springs
    3/12: EPCOT
    3/13: Clearwater beach / Tampa
    3/14: Magic Kingdom
    3/15: Relax / Disney Springs
    3/16: Return

    Planning:
    This year was a significant birthday year and she decided that she wanted to celebrate at Walt Disney World. We started looking at dates and started looking into flights and where to stay. As we started planning, DD said that she would like to come with us, and we had to plan within the dates of her spring break. Our youngest daughter decide she wanted to stay home. We had mentioned our plans to our friends for them to possibly come with us.
    We use my parents Wyndham timeshare for our hotel and really enjoyed the resort that we had stayed at in 2020. Unfortunately, there was no availability for that resort and decided to make a reservation at Star Island. For our flights, we used Frontier. I was able to use miles for the flight and we paid the extra to have a checked bag, carry on, and select our seats. Our tickets were purchased through Undercover Tourist in December, and we made our park reservations right away. Once we had made al of reservations, we let our friends know the details and did not hear anything from them.

    About two weeks before we were set to leave, our friends informed us that they were going to join us. They live in Georgia, so would drive down and were staying at the same resort. They had questions about getting tickets and Genie+. They went ahead and purchased their tickets, but when they went to make their park reservation for the Magic Kingdom day, there were no reservations available. After making some adjustments to our schedule and tickets, we were able to get everything set.

    Adjusted Plan:
    3/9: Work / fly out
    3/10: Groceries / Disney Springs / Jellyrolls
    3/11: EPCOT
    3/12: Clearwater beach / Tampa
    3/13: EPCOT
    3/14: Relax / Disney Springs
    3/15: Magic Kingdom
    3/16: Return

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


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  3. #2

    3/9
    The weeks prior to our trip had been crazy at work, since we were making a change to our computer systems for production. I had put in many hours at work to get it all in place and then when we went live, things did not go as planned. Things had stabilized, but I was stressed that I would not be able to leave on time. Around 1pm, we received an email that our flight was delayed an hour. I was able to leave on time and when I got home, we looked up our flight and it was showing as on time. We verified on the web site, and I called and was told that it was on time. Since my youngest daughter has dance class, we eat dinner around 5, so I was able to make dinner before we left for our flight.
    A friend of ours offered to take us to the airport and pick us up when we returned. Our ride came right on time and had an uneventful ride. We had to check our luggage, so got in line and there were just a few people ahead of us. While we were waiting, I overheard the agent saying that the flight was delayed by two hours and sure enough when we got there, that is what we were told. There was no line at security and made our way quickly through. After finding our gate, we settled down for our wait. I watched Shang-Chi on my phone and my wife was reading her book.
    Our flight was finally called, and we made our way on to the plane. The flight was full, and we were delayed by someone that was traveling with his teenage daughter. They had not paid to get assigned seats and were separated. A young man gave up his seat so they could sit together, and we were finally off about an hour and a half after we were scheduled. I watched Hamilton during the flight and my wife was able to get some sleep. Shortly before we were going to land, they turned on all the lights and made a pitch for the Frontier credit card, waking everyone up. My wife asked me if she had been asleep when they came by for drinks, so she could get a cup of water. I let her know that they came by selling drinks, but that was all. There was some turbulence, but we made a safe landing around 1am.
    My daughter was coming in from Montgomery where she attends college and arrived about an hour before us. When we got off the plane and took the monorail over, we called her to meet my wife at baggage claim. While my wife was getting our bags, I headed over to pick up our rental car. There was a long line at the car rental and only one person working behind the counter. Eventually they brought over more people to work, and the line moved quickly. I had just finished getting the car and my wife showed up with our luggage. We got the car and made our way to the resort. It was about a 45-minute drive, since I did not take the toll way. It was about 2:30 am when we got to the resort and quickly checked in. After getting to our room, we unpacked a bit then went to bed.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  4. #3

    3/10

    I woke up around 9am and could hear people yelling in excitement. It turns out that there was a tennis court just outside of our room. My wife had packed some food so that we could have some breakfast before we went grocery shopping. After breakfast, we headed to Aldi to get some groceries then we stopped at Krispy Kreme for a free dozen doughnuts. When we got back, I had to go up front to get a parking pass. On the way to the lobby, we saw that there were quite a few tennis courts and there was a tournament going on. After telling the person giving us our parking pass that we were not going to sit through the sales pitch she got mad and kind of threw the pass into the folder.

    The weather was nice, and we got changed to head over to the pool for a bit. We let our friends know we were going to the pool, and they met us there. We spent about an hour in the pool and then decided to head over to Disney springs. We got to Disney Springs around 3pm and had some discussion about spending just a few hours there and going to Jellyroll later or hold off and go the next day after EPCOT. It was decided to go ahead and not go after EPCOT and we headed to Jock Lindseys for some food. We ordered some wings and the fully loaded pretzel. There was not much time left and we went to the World of Disney and Coop. At the world of Disney, my wife found the home mug that she had wanted.

    Once we left Disney Springs, we headed back to the resort to drop off my daughter, since she was not old enough to join us at Jellyrolls, and to change into some nicer clothes. Since we would be drinking, we took an Uber to the Boardwalk and had no issues getting through the gate. My wife wanted to get there about 6:30, since we had heard that it can get crowded. At 7, they opened the doors, and we found a table in the second row. Our server came by and took our drink orders. I ordered a brandy old fashioned, but they did not have brandy. My wife explained that we are from Wisconsin and that is how many people here ordered it. The server said that he was from Minnesota and his accent came out. Then he tried to deny it when mentioned.

    None of us had been there before and it was explained to us that the stack of napkins and pen were to make requests for the players and left on the stage. We all enjoyed hanging out before the show and I wrote down a request for Africa by Toto. When the show started, they let us know that it was going to be an all-request night. The first two piano players played for about an hour, then they brought out the next two players. For the transition, they performed my request. As the night went along, the place became packed. We had a lot of fun joining in singing with them and had a very enjoyable night. It was about midnight when we left, and we were all a little hoarse the next day.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  5. #4

    3/11

    Since our plan for the day was to explore World Showcase and eat at some of the food booths, we decided to leave a little latter in the morning. We made breakfast and then met up with our friends to head over around 9am. We ordered an Uber and headed over to the Boardwalk to then walk over to the International Gate. When we got to the guard shack, they would not let us in since we did not have a reservation, so we had the driver drop us off at the Dolphin. It was an easy walk from there to the entrance.

    Once we got in, everyone needed to use the restroom, so we headed to the United Kingdom. We roamed around the shops and then headed to France. When we got to the France pavilion, our friends let us know they wanted to get something to eat. There was nothing at the booth that they wanted, so we went to the bakery. The line was out the door and moved slowly. I purchased a Fraises, which I shared with my wife, and they purchased full meals. After eating we continued around exploring Morocco and Japan. When we got to the American Adventure a show was about to begin and we went in to watch the Voices of Liberty and the American Experience.

    After the show, we continued around World Showcase. There was nothing in Italy that we wanted to see so we skipped that. In Germany we stopped at the Karamell-Kuche to purchase some treats. My wife picked up some caramel corn and they bought a gingerbread sandwich cookie. We enjoyed our treats sitting by the fountain. My wife wanted to try some of the food at the booth in Germany. She purchased the potato pancake with onion and ham along with the toasted pretzel bun with ham and gruyere cheese. We split them and really enjoyed them. After eating we made our way to China and stopped to watch the movie. I stopped in the store to find chocolate at the store and talking to the cast members there I found out that China does not have good chocolate, so they import it.

    From China, we moved on to Norway to explore the shops. We stopped to look at the museum in the stave Kirke and it was really crowded. Our friends stopped to get adult beverages from Norway before moving on to Mexico. My wife wanted to get a drink from the tequila bar inside and we decided to ride Grand Fiesta Tour first. When we finished the ride, there was a short line to get a table at the bar. After a short wait, we were able to get a standing table. We ordered original lime margaritas, our friends ordered specialty drinks, and we also ordered the chip trio. Once we finished our drinks and chips, we were off to watch Canada Far and Wide.

    Having completed our trip around the world, we moved on to the rest of the park. We headed to Spaceship Earth and on our way, we stopped to see the seagulls from Finding Nemo. Our friends asked about the ride and there was minimal wait, so we decided to ride. When we got off the ride our friend apologized for wasting the 10 minutes, but we enjoyed the ride. There was a short line to get onto Spaceship Earth, but it moved quickly. While on the ride, we stopped for about 5 minutes next to the Greek talking about mathematics. After that it was a smooth ride with a few slowdowns. There was a short wait for Soarin’, so we headed over to the Land. My wife waited for us, since she gets motion sickness. We met up with my wife after our flight and we were all getting hungry.

    Wanting something more substantial to eat, we placed a mobile order for some fish and chips from the UK pavilion. As we were walking over to get our food, I noticed that people were starting to get spots for Harmonious. After some discussion, the wives stayed to reserve spots for the show and the husbands went to go get the food. There was a short wait for the food to be prepared and then we met back up with our wives. The fish and chips were decent, but we get better tasting here at home for fish fry Fridays. As the time for the show got closer, the area started filling in and we were not able to see as well as when we first arrived. Our spot was to the right of the Port of Entry shop, and we were not able to see what was displayed on the center ring. Once the show was over, we made our way to the International Gate to get an Uber for the ride back to our resort. We had discussed possibly taking the Skyliner over to one of the resorts, but the line to get on was insane. Instead, we walked over to the Boardwalk and easily got a ride back.

    Steps: 20,974 Miles: 9.58

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  6. #5

    3/12

    The plan for the day was to drive to Clearwater beach and spend some time on the beach and then go to Tampa to pick up a limited release beer from one of my favorite breweries in Tampa. There was a large storm that was moving in and after some discussion, we decided to head out after the storm moved through around noon. Our daughter did not have a warmer jacket for the cooler weather that was predicted, so we headed to the Columbia outlet. She was able to find something at the store and we then headed to the Disney outlet. The storm moved through, and we met up with our friends.

    None of us had eaten lunch and we stopped at Subway to pick up some sandwiches. When we got to Clearwater the sun was out, but it was extremely windy. Because of the storm the waves were high, and the red flags were out, so we were unable to walk the beach. We did walk out onto the pier to enjoy the view and take some pictures. After a short time, we left and headed to Tampa to pick up my beer. The process was quick, and we headed back to the resort. On the way back, we decided to stop at a store to get groceries to make tacos. When we got back to the room my daughter prepared dinner and we turned in early, since we would be getting up early and change our clocks forward an hour.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  7. #6

    3/13
    One of the things that my daughter really wanted to do was ride Remy, since we had not been on it before. We got up at 6:30 and had some breakfast, then got an Uber around 7:30. Not wanting to have the same experience being turned away at the Boardwalk, we were dropped off at the Swan. It was a quick walk to the International Gateway, and we were held at the end of the bridge. There was only one other person waiting with us. They let us in a few minutes early and we turned the corner to head into the France pavilion to get in line for Remy. There was a short line to get on and we enjoyed the details in the queue. My daughter and I both enjoyed the ride, but my wife had to close her eyes through about half of it because of the motion.

    We continued through the World Showcase, and it was empty, so we took advantage of the Photopass photographers to get some family pictures. After getting pictures take in Morocco, we explored the pavilion and then spent about 10 – 15 minutes talking with Stuart, the photographer. Jasmine was out greeting guests, so my daughter got a picture with her. We spent some time looking at the gardens and topiaries as We made our way through the park. Snow White was out, so we stopped there and then decided to ride Frozen. There was about a 45-minute wait for the ride and the queue was entertaining. Our next stop was at the Kringla Bakeri, where we split an Eplekake. There was short wait to meet Anna and Elsa, so that was our next stop.

    Since we had eaten something sweet, we wanted something savory to eat next. One of the items that I had wanted was the seafood boil. We back tracked and stopped at the booth in America. I purchased my food and was not wowed by it. It had kick to it, but no other real flavor. My daughter wanted to get an ice cream sandwich and we headed back to France. As we were walking, our friends texted us that they had just arrived. I got in line with my daughter at the ice cream shop, where she purchased a salted caramel sandwich on a brioche bun with chocolate sauce. Sitting on a wall, we both thoroughly enjoyed it. My wife had continued to get a BLT scone from the UK booth.

    After meeting up with our friends, we explore the shops in the Canada pavilion and saw that Alberta Bound was going to perform in about 45 minutes. My wife and I found a bench at the stage, while dd went to go get some poutine, and our friends went to ride Frozen. Alberta Bound was entertaining, but I enjoyed a band that we had seen there on another trip more. Next, we headed to the butterfly garden and spent some time enjoying watching them and looking at the gardens. We met back with our friends and took another flight on Soarin’, since dd was not with us on our first day at EPCOT. My wife headed over to Creations and then met us to ride Living with the Land.

    It had already been a long day, so my wife and dd found a bench to sit and rest while the rest of us headed to Creations. I was not impressed with the new store and the generic merchandise that was there. It was only a short while before my wife and dd met back up with us and we went on Spaceship Earth. This time we did not stop or slow down at all. The lines for Test Track and Mission: Space Orange were over 45 minutes, so we decided to do the green side of Mission: Space, which was a walk on. DD wanted to see the Toy Story topiary and we headed that way. Once DD had taken some pictures, we decided to place a mobile order at Regal Eagle.

    The ladies wanted to go see the seagulls and the guys headed to the restaurant to pick up our food. We were still waiting for our food when the ladies arrived, so they went and found a table. My daughter and I split the BBQ burger and enjoyed it. There was nothing else that I wanted to see, and it was about 7:45, so I decided to find a spot to watch Harmonious. DW and DD went back to Karmell Kuche to pick up some more Caramel Corn and other treats. Our friends decided to get in line for Remy. I found a spot just to the right of the American Gardens that had a great view. While waiting for Harmonious, CeCe Winans performed as part of the Rock the Garden concert series. This turned out to be a great spot to watch the show since we were able to see everything, it was not crowded in the area, and we were able to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks off in the distance. When the show ended, we made our way to the Boardwalk and caught an Uber back to our resort.

    Steps: 27,571 Miles: 12.62

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  8. #7

    3/14

    We did not have plans for today and had a relaxing morning. Around 11, we decided to head to Disney Springs and do some shopping. We quickly found a parking spot and it was very busy. DD was looking for a Winnie the Pooh shirt that she had seen in the Uniqlo store, but they were out of stock. She ended up purchasing a Bambi shirt instead. We then went to the World of Disney store, and she found another Winnie the Pooh shirt that she liked and purchased that. I found a puzzle that I liked at the Coop. We went to a few other stores to look around but did not buy much. We did but some chocolates at the Ganacery and then headed back to the resort.

    The resort we were staying at had a small miniature golf course and when we got back, we decided to play. We messaged our friends to see if they would like to join us and they said they would meet us there. After getting our equipment we started our round and were trying to play slowly, so that our friends could join us. As we got going, it got busy, and we had to speed up our play. We finished our round before our friends arrived. Once our friends arrived, we played another round and had fun. There were still leftover taco fixings, so we had that for dinner and then played some games before getting most of our stuff packed.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  9. #8

    3/15

    I had set my alarm for 6 to get up and purchase Genie+ for the whole group, but for some reason I woke up around 2. So, I went ahead and purchased Genie+ for us. When I tried to purchase it for my friend’s wife, I received the message that she had an invalid admission. There was nothing that I could do then, so I tried to get back to sleep. I woke up again around 6 and contacted our friends to verify everything and was unable to get it resolved. When 7 rolled around, I saw a reservation for Jungle Cruise at 10:30, but by the time it processed, it was for 12:55. We left the resort around 8 and took an Uber to the Ticket and Transportation Center.

    The first indication that the park was going to be busy was here. There were cast members directing guests were to go in order to keep things moving and we quickly got on a ferry just before it left. I made sure that our friends were able to enter the park after the panic of the message when I tried to purchase Genie+. Once we got in, I went with our friends to City Hall to try and get everything straightened out, while DW and DD headed down Main Street. The cast member at city hall was able to quickly resolve the issue and we were on our way.

    I used Touring Plans to come up with a guide for the day and our first stop was Buzz Lightyear. The wait time was showing 45 minutes and we got in line. After moving a little bit, the line came to a complete stop for about 5 minutes. I started panicking after our last experience in this line that moved extremely slow and suggested getting out of line and moving on. Everyone said they wanted to stay and then the line started moving and turned out not being too bad. After defeating Zurg, we raced around the track of the Tomorrowland Speedway and then took a spin on the teacups. Our friends waited for us at Cheshire Caf while we rode the teacups and we joined them for a Cheshire Cat tail.

    The next attraction that was on our plan was Little Mermaid, but after seeing that the wait time was about 45 minutes, we decided to head over to Big Thunder. As we were making our way over, we were fighting through the crowds waiting for the parade. DW suggested that we go through the castle and do the attractions there. So, we rode the carousel and then saw Mickey’s Philharmagic. While waiting for the show, DW suggested that we get some food after we did Jungle Cruise and started thinking about what we wanted. After the show we stopped and placed a mobile order for Pecos Bill’s. It was time for our ride on the Jungle Cruise and even with Genie + there was a little bit of a wait. We had a great skipper, and all enjoyed our trip through the jungle.

    There was a bit of a wait for our mobile order to be ready, so the ladies went to find a table and the guys waited for the food. Our next Genie+ time was over an hour away and we decided to wait for Big Thunder Mountain. DW did not join us, she visited the Tiki Room instead. The line for Big Thunder was the longest that we waited in all day but was just over an hour. We met up with my wife after our train ride and headed over to the Haunted Mansion. The line moved quickly even with a little backup before getting in our doom buggy. Another treat that we had wanted was a cinnamon roll from Gaston’s and since we had not made it up there, that was next on our list.

    After splitting a cinnamon roll, we got in line for Ariel. The line wound through areas that I had never seen because of the crowds. We continued to Winnie the Pooh after riding Ariel and once again, there was a long line. It was time for our next Genie+ time for Pirates and we set sail on the seven seas. DW wanted to get pictures in front of the castle when we got off. The clouds were moving in, and we were hoping that it would not start raining. The rain held off and we were able to get the pictures that we wanted. My family went to ride Dumbo, while our friends went shopping on Main Street.

    We met up for our Genie+ ride on It’s a Small World and even with the return time, there was a short wait. DD wanted to get pictures with Repunzel, so I made a Genie+ reservation for her and my wife. I went to go find a place to watch the fireworks, and our friends went to ride Peter Pan. I arrived at the location I wanted to watch the fireworks from and was told that they clear the area. I found another spot on Main Street that was not too packed and placed a mobile order for the chicken and waffles at Sleepy Hollow. Once my wife found me, I headed over to get our food and received notification that it was ready before I got to the location.

    On my way back, I felt some drops of rain, and put on my rain jacket once I got back to our spot. My wife and I split the Chicken and waffle, while DD ordered a hot dog and fries from Casey’s. The rain started to get heavier, but with the direction that it was coming, it was hard to notice. After seeing some lightning and hearing thunder, we started wondering if they would cancel the fireworks. They started the fireworks about 10 minutes early. Despite the crowds, we had one of the best spots that we have ever had for the fireworks, and we had plenty of space.

    To keep from getting swept up in the crowds after the fireworks, we headed over by Casey’s to wait it out. Once the crowds had died down, we headed down Main Street to do some shopping. Earlier in the day, my wife had said that she wanted to go see Mickey. When we got to the theater at the end of Main Street, there was no wait and we quickly got pictures with him. To avoid the crowds, we walked over to the Contemporary to order a ride and by the time we got there, we were soaked by the rain. We stopped at the store in the hotel before ordering our ride. Rideshare prices soared and we ended up waiting about 30 minutes for the prices to stabilize before getting our ride.

    Before we had left the resort in the morning, I called the front desk to request some toilet paper and when we got back, I saw that it had not been delivered. I attempted to call the front desk and there was no answer, so I walked through the rain to the front desk. I was informed that they do not leave anything if no one is in the room and there is none up at the front desk. They did put in an urgent request. When I got back, we finished packing and before going to sleep, our toilet paper was delivered.

    Steps: 23,287 Miles: 10.76

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  10. #9

    3/16

    Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7am, so we got up at 3:30 in order to leave by 4. On the way to the airport, I stopped to get fuel and had no issues dropping off the rental. We said goodbye to DD, and we got in the long line to check our luggage. When I got to the security line and saw how long it was, I was dreading how long it would take me to get through. My wife has Pre check, and I told her that I would meet her at the gate. Despite how long the line was, I was through within about 15 minutes. When I got off the monorail to head to the gate, I saw my wife just ahead of me. There was a short delay for our flight, and we were soon home.

    Final Thoughts
    - It was hard to pack for this trip, since the weather was all over the place.
    - It was fun to be able to celebrate so many birthdays at Walt Disney World.
    - We loved Jellyrolls and would do it again in a heartbeat
    - It is worth taking the time and doing at least a little bit of planning, especially when deciding what to eat at the festival booths.
    - Entering through the International Gate is a huge advantage.
    - Spending time in World Showcase in the morning is the way to go.
    - Take time to talk to the cast members. We had some enjoyable discussions and were able to learn more about the countries they were from.
    - Even though the parks were crowded, we were able to do just about everything that we wanted to.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  11. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Drexel Hill, PA

    Great report. Thanks for sharing it with us


  12. #11

    Great trip report. Thanks for sharing.


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