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Old 01-11-2019, 05:32 PM   #1
chunter
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Default After New Year's January Trip

Characters: 2 adults and 3 kids (13, 11 boys, 8 girl).
Setting: Drove from Houston (broke the car ride into 2 days). First night in Orlando was at Holiday Inn, the rest of the nights were at the Boardwalk.

We arrived at Disney (Holiday Inn Celebration) January 3 by car. We decided to go-to Disney Springs that first evening. The weather was beautiful and Disney Springs was crowded. The last time I had been here, it was called Downtown Disney. We ate at Wolfgang Puck express. The spaghetti and meatballs wasn't as good as I remember, but it was still a great meal, and probably the best I would have during the trip.

Day 1
We got up early, left the holiday inn and checked in to the boardwalk. Or I should say, left our luggage with the bell hop and our car in the parking lot and walked to Epcot (Jan 4). The crowds were super high. Soarin was amazing, as was Spaceship Earth. I had touring plans printed out for each day, but by day 3 or 4 we pretty much didn't use them. I found that the touring plans were not that accurate on their wait times thus not very useful. We had lunch reservation at Chef's De France, which up until this point had been my favorite restaurant.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:43 PM   #2
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I don't know if they discontinued Ratatouille there, but we didn't see him. No more sandwiches on the menu, and the portions were tiny. I got the shrimp, haddock, cod thing. Super tiny...and not good. Keep in mind, I'm not a big eater. Chef's De France went from being my favorite restaurant to I'm probably not going back there again.
It ended up raining that evening around 6pm. That was the last day of rain for the trip, every day after was absolutely gorgeous. I've never experienced essentially a rain free Disney trip; it was fantastic.

Day 2 (Jan 5) Magic kingdom. Crowds were insane.
Day 3 Animal Kingdom. Crowds were close to insane.
I was blessed to get FOP fast passes. Fantastic ride. One of the best attractions I've ever been on. Its basically everything Soarin should be. Every ride that uses screens should be as bright as the screen on FOP. Change those bulbs Disney! Is it that easy?

The Boardwalk was beautiful, and the location is definitely fantastic. Once Galaxy gets built, I would imagine all these Epcot resorts will be even more in demand since they have walking access to Hollywood as well as Epcot.
Although, after this trip, I'm not sure if Disney resorts are worth it anymore. We got up at around 6:45am each day and were out the door around 8:30-8:40ish. I can only speak for myself, but I'm not sure my kids could get up early enough to take advantage of EMH. For the a little cheaper than a studio, I think you can get a 1-2 bedroom at a resort very close to Disney and just drive. I guess the 60 day out for fastpasses would be the other big advantage.

Last edited by chunter; 01-11-2019 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:29 PM   #3
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Yep, Remy has been gone from Chefs for a while. Perhaps he’ll come back once his ride opens, at least to the France pavilion if not the restaurant itself.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:29 PM   #4
mustinjourney
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Quote:
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I had touring plans printed out for each day, but by day 3 or 4 we pretty much didn't use them. I found that the touring plans were not that accurate on their wait times thus not very useful. We had lunch reservation at Chef's De France, which up until this point had been my favorite restaurant.
The Touring Plans are useful if everything goes perfectly...but of course, that is a rarity. All it takes is for a ride to go down for a bit and that will throw off all of the expected wait times. Also -- I think their walking speed might be more aggressive for most people.

If you're going to use touringplans -- you really have to build in at least 20 minutes of slop time every 2 hours...as well as have a ride or two (or three) that you are willing to skip to get things back on track.

Moving around the parks with 5 people can be tough -- especially when everyone doesn't take restroom breaks at the same time.

I experienced that frustration when we brought the grand parents one trip...we were stopping at a restroom after every ride...but seemingly only for one person at a time. By day 3, I finally broke down and told everyone they better go while they had the chance.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunter View Post
For the a little cheaper than a studio, I think you can get a 1-2 bedroom at a resort very close to Disney and just drive. I guess the 60 day out for fastpasses would be the other big advantage.
BINGO! In 2020, if you don't stay onsite -- you can forget about getting FPs for Toy Story, Star Wars, and Pandora.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:16 PM   #6
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Day 4: Universal/IOA (Jan. 7) It was very warm and crowds were pretty high.

It was my kids first time to experience these parks and all of our first time experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The parking is pretty far...its quite a walk. We were planning on doing Gringotts first thing. We got blitzkrieged by the lockers. When we got to the line, two of the younger ones got talked out of it, so their mom walked off with the paper tickets. My oldest and I didn't know you needed them to get the lockers, so that ate up a good 20 minutes waiting for them to come back and then get a locker (I had my camera). Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are incredible! It was breathtaking walking in both places. Hogwarts castle is alot bigger in person than it appears in the videos and pictures. The train going back and forth is genius! I've never been to Disneyland, but it seems like it would be similar to that. Lots of rides in a smaller space.
Forbidden Journey was the greatest ride I've ever been on! It felt like Peter Pan on steroids! Gringotts is really good, but it doesn't feel as magical bc it doesn't feature the main characters and the main places (Hogwarts). The HP restaurants and shops are fantastic. Overall, I think Universal/IOA was fantastic, but the lockers cause total unnecessary chaos. I ride rockin roller coaster holding a backpack and DSLR, no problem. Disney definitely feels more flexible.
I was surprised by transformers. My middle loved it and so did I.
Is it just me or is the main food in Disney/Universal chicken and ribs? They seem to serve that everywhere. $15.99 for chick/ribs combo.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:34 PM   #7
Jedimom3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chunter View Post
Day 4: Universal/IOA (Jan. 7) It was very warm and crowds were pretty high.

It was my kids first time to experience these parks and all of our first time experiencing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The parking is pretty far...its quite a walk. We were planning on doing Gringotts first thing. We got blitzkrieged by the lockers. When we got to the line, two of the younger ones got talked out of it, so their mom walked off with the paper tickets. My oldest and I didn't know you needed them to get the lockers, so that ate up a good 20 minutes waiting for them to come back and then get a locker (I had my camera). Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are incredible! It was breathtaking walking in both places. Hogwarts castle is alot bigger in person than it appears in the videos and pictures. The train going back and forth is genius! I've never been to Disneyland, but it seems like it would be similar to that. Lots of rides in a smaller space.
Forbidden Journey was the greatest ride I've ever been on! It felt like Peter Pan on steroids! Gringotts is really good, but it doesn't feel as magical bc it doesn't feature the main characters and the main places (Hogwarts). The HP restaurants and shops are fantastic. Overall, I think Universal/IOA was fantastic, but the lockers cause total unnecessary chaos. I ride rockin roller coaster holding a backpack and DSLR, no problem. Disney definitely feels more flexible.
I was surprised by transformers. My middle loved it and so did I.
Is it just me or is the main food in Disney/Universal chicken and ribs? They seem to serve that everywhere. $15.99 for chick/ribs combo.
Enjoying the TR. Sounds like great fun. We just did a US/IOA trip back in November. First time both kids tall enough for everything!
I actually agree that FJ is awesome, one of the best rides in Orlando. FoP is so awesome too, and they somehow figured out how to give the experience w/o all the nausea I get on FJ. After many trips, this was the first time I had my eyes open during the middle scenes. Was cool. I love it. and Diagon Alley is just the most immersive place.
Lockers are a pain, but I understand the need. Esp on Hulk, MiB, FJ, etc. but those HP lockers are a cluster.
QS food in US/IoA sucks
Thanks for the TR and looking forward to more or whatever you'll share. Great fun!

Last edited by Jedimom3; 01-12-2019 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:45 PM   #8
chunter
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I forgot to mention, I lost my magic band on the first day when we went into epcot. We were walking in the countries and I noticed it wasn't on my wrist. Total panic kicked in. Especially, too, because I setup a memory maker share and I'm the leader of the group. But we walked to the gate at international gateway and the guy gave me a temporary card. And then later that evening, when we went back to our resort at the boardwalk, they gave me a new one. The only thing is, some of my photos that i used the new band for aren't showing up on my dummy account that I'm linked to. I'm gonna try calling disney to get that fixed. I'm guessing it fell off at some point from picking up my little girl and holding/carrying her throughout the day. One great thing I noticed for little kids in lines....the heads up app! Its basically like the game headbands but on your phone. My kids liked playing it in line. Its free and highly recommended!

Update: I just relinked myself (my name from my family's account to the dummy account i setup). All my photos are now showing on the dummy account (the one with the memory maker). : )
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