Cast of Characters: DW Georgia 39, DH Jamie 37, DS Zachary 5
Dates of Trip: October 10th – 18th
Travel Method: Drive/Park at Boston’s Logan Airport; Delta to MCO; Rental Car to the World
Package: Disney’s All Star Sports Resort; DDP; Park Hopper Tickets
Experience: Me – 7 trips; DH – 3 trips; DS – 2 trips
I started planning this trip over a year in advance. I knew that I wanted to celebrate DS’s 5th birthday at the world. As DH has less vacation time than I do, and he has Columbus Day off, I picked what I feel is the worst week in October to travel – Columbus Week. (More on this later) Originally we were booked to stay at the Port Orleans French Quarter. When the fall specials came out we were able to save $820 by switching to the AS Sports.
Day 0 – Friday, October 10th
Plan: Travel to Orlando, stop for water/soda/snacks; check in at AS Sports; unpack/settle in
We left for BOS right on time at 11:30am. We are always late so this was a very big deal to actually leave on time. We were all excited to finally be on vacation and on our way, so this probably aided in our success. We had to stop for gas and at the bank to get some cash, and then off to Logan Airport we went. We had good parking karma and were able to get a spot on the 4th floor of central parking near the door (for those of you who have ever attempted to park at Logan Airport I’m sure you will understand how happy DH and I were)
Check in at the Delta counter went very smoothly – I was a bit nervous as they had changed our flights 7 times before we left. But all was well and we were in the seat assignments that I had chosen. Our flight left the gate right on time at 3:10pm. I get extremely air sick – nothing I take works to stop it. The flight to MCO was pretty bad with a lot of bouncing and climbing and descending. We landed at 6:00 pm and boy was I ever happy to get off that plane! Now our adventure could really start! DH went to baggage claim to fetch our 1 checked bag and DS and I headed to the National Car rental counter. There were only 2 people there and they were both being waited on at the counter, so we only had to wait a couple of minutes for our turn. I am an Emerald Club member so we actually didn’t need to check in at the counter so we went to find DH and select our car.
Once we were all loaded into our Black Chevy Cobalt off to Goodings grocery store we went. We had no trouble finding our way and were in and out and off to the World in no time.
The check in process at All Star Sports went very smoothly. There were several people in line ahead of us and I think we waited maybe 5 minutes to get to the counter. Our check in person was Stacy and she was very nice. I had requested the Touchdown section and also had a note that it was DS’s 5th birthday. We were able to get a Touchdown room overlooking the football court yard on the 3rd floor corner. Stacy also asked for DS’s favorite character (Goofy at that time) and set up delivery of a photo/birthday card surprise for him. We also got a birthday pin for him.
Once in our room we easily settled in for the night, got everyone unpacked and organized and turned in at 10 pm. Everyone was excited for the start of the parks the next morning.
Day 1 – Saturday, October 11th
Plan: Tour Epcot, enjoy Food/Wine Festival, Coral Reef for dinner
Miles Walked: 8.9 miles
Crowd Level: Very High
We were up bright and early, off to Epcot and in line at the turn stiles at 8:30 am. We saw huge crowds of people but figured this was just the early crowd arriving all at once. Boy, were we wrong!
At rope drop we trotted over to Test Track and were able to get right on in about 5 minutes. After TT DH really wanted to try Mission Space so we went there next. Poor DS was about an inch too short. We had warned him that he might not be tall enough and he took it in good stride. We went inside through the gift shop and found the play area where DS met another young man who was too short and the 2 of them had a ball playing while we parents waited for the rest of our party to come out. Next we cut across Epcot and grabbed FP’s for Soarin’. We thought about riding Living with the Land but the wait was 35 minutes. DH and I both agree that we will not wait longer than 20 minutes to ride any attraction. It’s just too much for DS and we all wind up miserable. We decided to go over to the Living Seas next and check out the new Nemo ride. It was basically a walk on. It was cute and DS liked it, but DH and I felt it wasn’t something we needed to ride again this trip. After Nemo we wanted to see Turtle Talk with Crush. We were able to walk right in. DS got a front row seat and was able to ask Crush a question. He actually just told Crush it was his birthday and he was 5 and this was his present. Crush had us all sing happy birthday to him so it really made his day. After Crush, we walked around the exhibits and checked out the shark area and took some pictures. It was now 11 am and we were getting hungry so we decided to go to the Electric Umbrella for our first counter service of the trip. I felt the ordering process was very easy; however the food wasn’t great here. Service was extremely slow and I don’t know if this is a result of the early hour (we arrived right at opening) or if they are always this slow??? After lunch we went over to the Imagination Pavillion to get our Figment fix and see Honey I shrunk the Audience. DS loved both as well as the play lab that they have in there (I can’t remember the name…) After Imagination, we went back to the Land to ride Soarin’. This is one of my favorite rides at the World. There is just nothing like it. Next we went to Spaceship Earth to take in the changes. DS absolutely loves this ride and remembers it from his prior trip at age 3. He wasn’t disappointed and was in the picture at the end. We sent our postcard at the end to ourselves and to Nana then we were off to World Showcase.
World Showcase was the busiest that I have ever seen it. Literally I could not push my stroller through the crowds there. It was kind of scary, as I wondered what would happen in the event of a fire or emergency. We decided to pass on the food booths as the lines were 30 deep at each one. Instead we decided to take in the live entertainment – we knew we would be back to Epcot during the week when it would be a lot less busy and knew we could shop and see the Canada/China movies then and eat at the booths. First we stopped at Canada and saw Off Kilter. They are really good. We hadn’t had a chance to fully enjoy them before so this was great. Next we went to UK to see the British Invasion. DS LOVES the Beatles as does DH. DS really thought that they were the real Beatles and argued with us over it. After their show we weren’t quick enough in line so that DS could meet them and get his picture with them. He was really bummed about this. We next headed over to Japan so we could see the candy lady. She was awesome. DS was right up front and she picked him to make an animal for. He chose a purple giraffe with black spots. What a talent this is – she did some amazing stuff with candy and is certainly worth seeing. After the candy lady we continued around the showcase to Morocco. Mo Rockin’ was already into their show and we listened a little but were in the direct sun and were too hot to stay. DS decided that he wanted to get his face painted, so we stopped in at the Outpost. DS picked the red Flash (superhero) face. He looked awesome and was very pleased with the results. Next we moved on towards China. At this point a thunderstorm moved in so we took shelter in the Maelstrom ride line in Norway – this was our longest wait of the trip at 22 minutes (everyone had the same idea to get out of the rain). By the time we came out the rain had stopped, so we headed over to Mexico to take in the boat ride there. I have to say that DH and I were not overly impressed with the addition of Donald Duck. IMHO, I think this ride was better before. At this point it was getting near our ADR time of 6:40pm so we headed back into FW to get to Living Seas.
I have to say that I was very disappointed with Coral Reef. I had the salmon and it was very salty. In defense of CR, living in Boston, I am extremely picky about my seafood and probably have higher standards than a lot of folks. DH and I both started with Ceasar salads (these were not on our DP but we were starving!) and DH had the NY strip steak. He said his steak was quite good and was pleased with the meal. DS had the cheese pizza, apples and sundae for dessert. He gave his kids meal high marks as well.
After dinner we hopped on Spaceship Earth for one more ride and then had a blast playing in the post-ride area. We did the race car game, the mental skills game and then sent our postcard home again. It was now 8:45 pm and we were all feeling very tired. We decided to scoot out without seeing Illuminations and try to get ahead of the large crowds that would be leaving.
Back to the hotel and in bed by 9:30pm.
Day 2 – Sunday, October 12th
Plan: Tour AK, swim at hotel, Boma for dinner
Miles walked: 6.2 miles
Crowd Level: Very High
Once again we were all up bright and early and at the gates of AK at 8:30 am. Once we were inside the park we grabbed a stroller and were waiting at rope drop to run straight to Triceratop Spin. We got there with no line and were able to ride twice in a row. DS really loved this. Next we sprinted off for Dinosaur. DH rode this on our honeymoon trip and I opted not to due to my motion sickness. Now that DS is tall enough to ride it, DH assured me that it would be fine. Well, I didn’t get sick but man does this ride throw you around. I didn’t care for it as I felt like I was getting tossed about in the dark the entire 4 minutes. It’s a shame – Disney could do so much with this attraction. DS also did not care for it. Next we walked over to see Flights of Wonder. We have never seen this show and were really looking forward to it – it did not disappoint. The birds are all just so beautiful and the eagle is so majestic. What a great show. At this point it was just after 11 am and with huge crowds again, we decided to lunch early at the Flame Tree BBQ. We had the ribs and they were really good. Next we walked the Maharaja Trail which we all enjoyed. We decided to grab FP’s for Kilimanjaro Safari and then see the Nemo show. Nemo was really enjoyable, even for DH who hates musicals. After Nemo we had a terrible time just walking over to find our stroller – the crowds on this Sunday were larger than any I had ever seen at Disney, again the result of the Columbus Day weekend. Finally we got through and went to the Safari. DS loved it and we saw more animals on this trip than any other. DH was very pleased. After the safari we stopped to see the tree of life and ITTBAB show. DS really enjoyed this as well.
At this point we were all melting and getting a bit cranky (it was 89 degrees), so we decided to leave and go for a swim at the hotel. After a couple of hours in the pool we all felt much revived and got ready to head over to Boma for our 7:30 pm ADR. I cannot say enough good things about the Boma buffet. It was tremendously good. DH thought it was okay but he is an extremely picky eater as is DS. However both found plenty of goodies to enjoy. AKL is beautiful - we went a bit early so we could explore the resort – I would love to be able to stay here at some point. Dare to dream and hope to hit the lottery!
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and it was lights out at 10pm.
Day 3 – Sunday, October 12th
Plan: Tour Hollywood Studios; dinner at Hollywood & Vine; Fantasmic
Miles Walked: 8.3 miles
Crowd Level: Very High
Today was the day we would ride TSM! Again, we arrived before the park was open and were in line at the turn stiles at 8:30 am. When we were allowed into the park we headed straight for stroller rental and then got in line to run for TSM. We were able to ride TSM with only a 10 minute wait. We all loved it and I loved that I beat the pants off DH! 94K to 143K! As soon as we were off I got right in line to get FP’s so we could ride again. With TSM under our belts we felt we could relax a bit and headed for Star Tours. This turned out to be DS’s favorite ride, which we rode 8 times. After ST’s we headed for the Muppets which is a family favorite. There was no line to meet the Cars so we got some great pictures with DS there. We walked back past ST’s and rode again and also got FP’s. As our FP window was up for TSM, we went back and rode. Again, I kicked DH’s butt – 103K to 140K. We had a noon ADR for the Sci-Fi drive in so we headed there. We had great burgers and DS had a hot dog. We felt the food was quite good and are not sure why so many people give this restaurant a bad review??? You also can’t beat the atmosphere and we really enjoy the corny movie clips. After lunch we headed over to Pixar Place to meet Buzz (DS’s favorite) and Woody. The queue for this character greet is really cute with many photo opportunities within the queuing area as well as photos with the characters themselves. After our meeting, we headed to Animation so we could meet the Incredibles – DW’s favorites The line wasn’t too bad, I think we waited about 15 minutes. After Animation we went over and did the Backlot Tour. DH and I both really enjoy the prop room. DS loved Catastrophy Canyon. Anything with fire and explosions is a big hit.
It was getting near our 5:30 pm ADR time at Hollywood & Vine so we ran over there next. Good thing we did as the skies opened up and a torrential rain storm started. Our timing was great because we watched the thunderstorm while we had a terrific buffet dinner and when we were finished the rain had pretty much stopped. DH really enjoyed this meal as they featured all you can eat soft serve ice cream for dessert. DS and I also give dinner high marks. This buffet has such a variety that no matter how picky your eaters, there are certainly lots of choices for everyone.
After dinner, we were finally able to get in to see Indiana Jones. DH and I had not seen this show since our honeymoon and were really looking forward to it. Due to the rain, they could not perform the entire show (the plane seen was cut out). It was still a good time and DS very much enjoyed all the action. After the show, we had a lot of fun in the gift store. After shopping we went over to ride the Great Movie Ride. This was our longest wait of the day at 15 minutes. After the GMR, we went back and rode ST’s once again. By now it was about 8:30pm and we were all pretty tired. We decided to find the car and head back to AS Sports.
Lights out at 10pm.
Day 4 – Monday, October 13th
Plan: Breakfast at Crystal Palace; Tour MK; Counter Service dinner
Miles Walked: 7.9 miles
Crowd Level: Moderate
Day 4 had us all up early yet again – as a family we did fantastic with getting up early and staying on the unofficial guide’s touring plans. (more on this at the end of the report) We arrived at the MK quite early and were actually the 5th car in the parking lot! When we walked up to the monorail there were only 2 other people waiting for it. I quickly asked the cast member if we could ride up front with the driver as it was DS’s birthday. The cast member assured us we could and once the monorail arrived there we went into the front car. DS was so excited and actually so was DH. I didn’t tell them that you could do this so it was a surprise for both of them. Upon arriving at the MK stop, we all received co-pilot cards from the driver.
We arrived at the turn stiles at 7:40 am for our 8:05 ADR at the Crystal Palace. We were admitted into the park about 7:45 am and were off to rent our stroller and then walk to CP. We had a great breakfast with the characters and got a lot of terrific photos. DS just loves the Pooh characters and we had tons of fun here. Promptly at 9 am we ran out the door and headed for Dumbo and what would be our longest wait of the day at 19 minutes. I must say that the 3 of us in one Dumbo was a very tight fit – and we are not really large people. This will be the last trip that we will be able to ride Dumbo as a family. After Dumbo we walked right onto Peter Pan and then onto Pooh. Breakfast had settled enough for us to try the tea cups, where I of course came off a little motion sick. Next we went over to Tomorrowland and rode the Tomorrowland Speedway, Buzz Lightyear, Stitch and saw the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. After this we needed a bit of a rest so we rode the TTA twice in a row. At this point it was around 11 am and I couldn’t believe all of the things we had done so quickly.
We decided to leave Tomorrowland and head over to Frontierland/Adventureland and check out that side of the park. Our next attraction was the Haunted Mansion. All 3 of us equally LOVE HM. DH and I were “dying” to check out the new changes as we hadn’t seen them yet. We were not disappointed and made sure to ride HM 4 times on this trip, each time picking up more detail on the changes. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, but what a great job they did. We were very pleased with the changes. After our HM fix, we headed over to see Captain Jack Sparrow and the pirates of the Caribbean. DS saw Aladdin’s Magic Carpets and wanted a ride. I was lucky enough to get spit on by the camel when we went by!
After the carpets we FINALLY got to mom’s absolute favorite in MK, the pineapple float! I actually dream about these things and could not wait to have one. DS thought he wouldn’t like it as he’s not overly fond of pineapple, but after one taste he too got addicted! After finishing up our snacks, we headed back into Fantasyland, mainly to avoid the afternoon parade. We hit Snow White, IASW and then used FP’s to ride PP again. After we went by the Hall of Presidents in Frontierland and saw that show. DH had never seen it and thought it was okay. DS and I took a nap and enjoyed that as well. After HOP’s we were feeling a bit hungry and decided to try Pecos Bill’s for our dinner counter service. I got a bacon cheeseburger which was standard fast food fare; DH got the pulled pork sandwich and was quite pleased with it.
After dinner we went back and used FP’s for the Jungle Cruise (which was a 65 minute wait!) and then went back for another ride on the HM. We went back through Fantasyland and saw Philharmagic and then took a walk through ToonTown. Quite surprisingly, DS is very aware of what time in lines mean. This being said he opted not to wait 50 minutes to see Mickey, et all. He really loved going through Mickey’s House, Minnie’s House and Donald’s Boat instead.
We still had FP’s left for Buzz so we walked over and rode Buzz as the last ride of the night – it was now 8 pm and we were all pretty tired.
Back to the hotel we went, with lights out about 10 pm.
Day 5 – Wednesday, October 14th
Plan: Sleep in; Tour Epcot; Mom & Dad Date Night at DTD
Miles Walked: 6.1 miles
Crowd Level: Light
We finally reached the day where we would get to sleep in. Unfortunately, DS and I are both morning people and when I rolled over the clock said 7 am and DS was up and waving at me asking “mommy, are you awake too?” At this point we had not yet eaten in the AS Sports food court so we decided to try it for breakfast. The food court is not bad but if you get there after about 8:15 am, the lines are quite crazy. Luckily we arrived just about 8 am and were through the lines quite quickly and happily munching away when the masses arrived.
After breakfast we headed for Epcot so that we could sample some of the Food & Wine Festival booths. The crowds this day were so much better than the Saturday crowds. We arrived quite late for us – at 9:10 am and went right through the turn stiles and straight to Soarin’ for FP’s. The LWTL boat ride had no wait at this time, so we hopped right on. Much to my surprise, DS really enjoyed this and wanted to go again. We told him we would ride again later, if there was time. I forgot to mention, the first day at Epcot (Saturday) we were talking in Crush right before the show started, about how we wanted to run back to TT and get more FP’s so DS could ride again. There was a lady sitting behind us that gave us 4 FP’s that expired on 10/31. While this wasn’t an official dream, it was a dream to us. We didn’t have time to use them on Saturday, but were able to go back and use them today. After our TT fix we headed back over to Soarin’ and rode again. After Soarin we headed to the Imagination pavilion and got our Figment fix for the day.
After Figment it was about 11:30 am so finally we headed to WS to give DH his fix. WS in Epcot is DH’s absolute favorite part of the World and he was terribly disappointed that the crowds were so bad the previous Saturday.
We headed into Canada, first stopping to sample the pierogies and kielbasa from the Poland stand. We were extremely disappointed, as the pierogies were Mrs. T’s and not authentic Polish pierogies. Live and learn, right? Next we headed into Canada and thoroughly explored and then saw the O’ Canada film. DS was terribly bored, so I took him to Kidscot to start his mask while DH got to shop at his leisure. Next we headed over to UK. There was a street show starting so DH occupied DS there while I headed in to do some shopping at the Tea Caddy. Again, we took DS to work on his Kidscot mask and got to meet Pooh and Eeyore while there. DH stopped for beers a couple of times at the food stalls, but I can’t remember which ones we had. They were all good though! We enjoyed browsing through France and DH and DS particularly enjoyed shopping in Japan. Both are Japanimation addicts and there are so many toys in the Japan store! By this time we were all starting to get hungry so we found some more food booths to enjoy. The food was good, but we were a bit disappointed in the whole Festival. We have never attended before and just thought there would be “more” something… I don’t know… It was about 3 pm at this point so we headed out of Epcot so we could get ready for our evening out.
Tonight was DS’s first time at the Polynesian’s Neverland Kids Club. He was beside himself with excitement and could hardly get rid of us fast enough when we dropped him off. DH and I headed over to DTD so we could do some shopping for DS for Christmas and also enjoy a grown up only dinner out. We chose Raglan Road and certainly were not disappointed. DH had the Sheppard’s Pie and I had Fish & Chips. Both were very tasty. DH had the triple chocolate sampler and I had the apple crumble for dessert. Again, both were fantastic. After dinner we waddled on to do more shopping. We went and picked up DS about 9 pm and then went back to the hotel for an early night.
Lights out by 10pm.
Day 6 – Thursday, October 15th
Plan: B/F at Ohana’s; DTD shopping; Nap; MNSSHP at MK
Miles Walked: 5.3 miles
Crowd Level: Moderate
I am quite unhappy to report that we slept through our Ohana’s reservation. :eek: I completely forgot to set a wake up call and we all slept until 8 am. This is probably a good thing, as we had MNSSHP tonight and planned to be out quite late. Next trip we will definitely schedule another meal at Ohana’s.
As we over slept, we just did a counter service breakfast at the food court again. After we decided to go back to DTD as I had forgotten my AAA 10% off coupon and wanted to get a bunch of stuff at World of Disney. While I shopped DH and DS also wandered about and then headed over to the Lego Store. DS had a blast in the Lego store. As it was new and both of my boys love dinosaurs, we decided to break from the DDP and have lunch at T-Rex Restaurant. We had no problem getting in about 11:30 am. However, we really weren’t all that hungry as we had just had breakfast at 8:30am. DH and I decided to split an order of onion rings and a burger and DS had the corn dog bites. The food was a disappointment – it was really very mediocre, which we expected as we know that T-Rex is owned by the company that owns Rainforest Café. The atmosphere cannot be beat however and is worth the money.
After lunch we headed back to AS Sports but as it was only 12:30 pm (a bit too early for a nap yet), we decided to detour to the Winterland mini golf course. We had a lot fun golfing here – however, it is a bit pricey even for us New Englanders ($35 for 3 of us). After as we were leaving I had a minor heart attack – a black snake slithered right out in front of us and crossed the sidewalk. I don’t really care much for snakes and freaked out a bit! DS thought it was a cool side adventure…
We headed back to the hotel for a nap and actually managed to sleep for about 2 hours. We got up and got the bag packed with our costumes – DH didn’t want to arrive at the MK dressed as bumble bees. We arrived at MK at 4:30pm, got our wrist bands, candy bags and stroller and set off for some rides. We headed over and rode Buzz and then decided we were hungry so we stopped for some counter service at Cosmic Rays. I really like Cosmic Rays – basic fast food with Ray for entertainment!
After dinner we changed into our costumes. I wanted something with a theme and actually made bumble bee costumes for all of us. DH was a good sport and wore his too! We headed to Fantasyland and rode Pooh, let DS play in Pooh’s Thoughtful Spot for a while and then rode Dumbo. After that, the candy stops were open so we did some trick or treating. Next we went to ride, of course, the HM! It was very cool with the fog and the story teller outside. Right after we came out of HM we saw the crowds building for the 8:15pm parade so we got a spot in Frontierland. We were right at the rope so DS got to see everything. The Headless Horseman was quite cool and the rest of the parade was really well done. After the parade we headed over and rode Pirates and then trick or treated for a bit. It was nearing time for the fireworks so we went and got a great spot right on the bridge between Tomorrowland and the hub. After the fireworks, we found the Mad Hatter trail and finished up hitting all of the candy stops. By this time it was 10:30 pm and we were all feeling a bit tired. Not wanted to get stuck in the mad rush after the 10:30 parade, we worked our way out of the park.
As we exited we were told that there was no monorail – just the ferry boat. DH was a bit miffed by this, feeling that they should have monorail service to accommodate the 30,000 odd people at the party. I agreed.
The ferry came pretty quickly (within 10 minutes) and we were on our way.
We arrived back at the hotel around 11:30 pm and it was lights out!
Day 7 – Friday, October 17th
Plan: Sleep in; Tour Epcot; Mom & Dad Date Night at Epcot
Miles Walked: 8.4 miles
Crowd Level: Light during day; Heavy at night
Once again we slept in and arrived late at Epcot – at about 10 am. We decided to have counter service at the Sunshine Seasons in the Land pavilion and of course got FP’s for Soarin’ first. After breakfast, DS once again wanted to go on the LWTL boat ride. After we headed over for Figment and then saw HISTA once more. DS actually really likes this movie but you could hear the screaming children and see many fleeing parents. After this we headed over to get TT FP’s for later and then headed into WS to Mexico. We rode the boat ride, shopped and worked on DS’s mask some more. Next we headed to Norway to ride Maelstrom, shop and work on the mask. We really enjoyed seeing the updated China movie and then shopping in China. By this time, DS was starting to get pretty bored. We decided to have a snack and give him a bit of a break. This was DS’s worst day, which I think was due to him knowing that he got to go to the Poly to Neverland Club again. All day, he kept asking if it was time yet. After Germany we all were hot and cranky and decided to take refuge in the American Adventure. DH had never seen it and I had (so I knew it would be a great nap spot!). DS and I rested while DH enjoyed the show. After we all felt much revived. It also helped that we were working our way back to Soarin’ so DS could ride a ride again. After Soarin’ we decided to take the monorail over to the Poly rather than have to move the car and re-park. It took us about an hour to make the round trip there to drop off DS who was even more excited to get off on his own adventure!
DH and I got back to Epcot about 6 pm and decided to ride Spaceship Earth. After that I went with him and rode the green side of Mission Space. I really liked it but don’t think I would attempt the orange side – I just get too motion sick.
After MS we shopped our way around the WS, starting with Mexico, until it was time for our 8:15pm ADR at Teppan Edo in Japan. I was really looking forward to this dinner – I had attempted to eat in Japan on all of my previous 7 trips and had never made it. This time I knew I was going to be successful! This dinner did not disappoint. DH had the steak and chicken combo and I had the filet mignon. Both were really good. We both also had the ginger chocolate cake for dessert – DH had a hidden mickey stamped in his frosting! This really was a terrific meal and again we waddled out of a restaurant and on our way.
We sadly said our farewells to Epcot (DH and my favorite park) and headed over to the Poly to pick up DS from the kids club.
We arrived back at the AS Sports at 11:37 pm. Too late to start packing, so it was lights out for all.
Day 8 – Saturday, October 18th
Plan: Pack up/Check out; Mayan Grill for B/F; Hollywood Studios; Depart for Home
Miles Walked: 5.2 miles
Crowd Level: Very Heavy
I woke up about 7 am and had everyone up, showered and packed by 8:30am. We sadly dragged all of our bags out to the car and said farewell to our home of the last 8 days. We really did enjoy the AS Sports resort.
Off we went to Coronado Springs for our last table service of the trip. This was a great save of our table service credits by DH – since we missed the Ohana breakfast. It wasn’t quite the same I’m sure, but we still had a lovely and quite filling breakfast buffet here.
Next we headed over to Hollywood Studios, really hoping that we could get FP’s for TSM for one more ride. By the time we arrived at 10:30 am, FP’s were for 4:45 pm that afternoon – too late for us as we had to leave for the airport by 3:30 pm.
Once again the park was jam packed and was elbow to elbow people. We went and rode Star Tours again (with a 23 minute wait) and then got more FP’s once we were off. Next we saw the Muppets again and then headed over to Playhouse Disney. I was a bit disappointed in this show. I think DS was too as he wasn’t really into it at all. After PHD, we circled back past TSM – the wait was 130 minutes! Holy cow! I can’t believe people will wait for this long for a ride that lasts 4 minutes. We decided to see the power rangers as DS really enjoys them. We managed to see Blue, Red and yellow with relatively little wait times. Next we went back to Star Tours for one last ride.
We wanted to try to get a counter service meal, but it was 2:50pm and lines were terribly long. As a result, we used up our last snack credits and had ice cream instead of lunch. By this time it was about 3:05pm and we decided to head out.
Off to the airport we went. Traffic was really light and we had returned the rental car by 3:45 pm. Next we went to the Delta counter to check in. As expected there was an issue with our return flight. These are the flights that changed repeatedly. First I couldn’t check in with my e-reservation. Then the customer service rep couldn’t find our reservation, then she found it, then she couldn’t seat us all together on both flights. Eventually it got resolved, with the help of 3 other agents.
Once our bags were checked, we grabbed some lunch/dinner and then waited at the gate. Surprisingly our flights were on time again. We left Orlando right at 6:10pm and arrived 15 minutes early in Atlanta. We then had to sit on the plane for 10 minutes because there was still a plane at our gate. Once we arrived in, we found our connecting gate and got a snack. Again, our plane loaded on time and we took off on time – 7:47pm. Both flights were very smooth and uneventful. Because we had such large planes for both flights (747 and 757) we had in flight trivia to keep us busy. We were also able to watch the Red Soxs play off game. Everyone kept cheering and clapping for them which was very cool. We arrived a few minutes early at 11:45 pm. Baggage claim went smoothly and we even remembered where we parked the car.
We arrived home at 1:30 am, much to the dog’s delight.
Planning and Touring: DH thought I was a bit silly and went over board in the planning of our trip. I was on the Unofficial Guide’s touring plans website for months in advance planning, I was on Mouseplanet daily as well. I also pulled all of the touring plans for each of the 4 parks out of my Unofficial Guide book and brought them with us. Once I saw what the crowds looked like our first day there, I immediately pulled out the plan for each park and that is what we followed as a guide. I have to say that I cannot believe how much we saw at all 4 parks in 4 days. Our longest waits were for Dumbo (17 minutes) and Maelstrom (22 minutes). I highly recommend having at least some type of touring plan if you are going when the parks could be busy.
Traveling with little ones: My kid is completely awesome. I can’t put this any other way. He had just turned 5 and we did 13 hour days for the first 4 days of the trip and he never had a melt down, temper tantrum, nothing. I would not recommend this for everyone. We did see many children just completely lose it by about 6 pm in the evening. What really saved us was that we didn’t have to wait in huge lines (due to touring plans) and we had the stroller. His little legs really held up well because we didn’t have him walking all day. We walked a total of 56.3 miles in 8 days (I brought my pedometer expressly to measure it). There is no way he could keep this pace without a stroller. We also asked him mid day if he was tired and wanted a rest – he would often ask for an ice cream or snack and said he didn’t want to break to swim or rest. We frequently stopped for drinks and breaks out of the sun.
Dining Plan: We came out quite well on the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). We paid about $681 for 8 nights for the 3 of us. DS missed 2 table services and, as a family, we missed 2 counter services for a total of 8 missed meals. We still spent $790 on food, coming out $109 ahead even with the meals we didn’t get to have. We think this is a great value and will certainly use it for our next trip. We liked most of the places we ate and I noted where we thought food could use improvement in my daily notes above.
All Star Sports Resort: When we originally booked our trip, we booked Port Orleans French Quarter due to the swimming pool. When the fall specials came out the only resort we could get for our stay was AS Sports. We had a really terrible experience at the AS Movies a couple of years ago and I had great reservations about staying again at an All Star. My fears were unfounded. Our room in the Touchdown building 7 was completely remodeled with new furnishings. The only complaint we had was over looking the courtyard. It was noisy until about midnight. This kept me up (as I am a light sleeper) the first night we were there. After that I was so tired an explosion in the room itself probably wouldn’t have awakened me! If you are a light sleeper and want the Touchdown section, ask for a room overlooking the playground or parking lot.
Time of Year: I have repeatedly heard that October is the BEST time of year to go. This likely applies outside of the Columbus Weekend time frame. We had crowds that I have never seen the likes of in my previous 7 trips there. People were elbow to elbow from Saturday – Monday. Tuesday – Friday crowds were quite light and then it picked up again on the Saturday that we were leaving.
All in all we had a wonderful trip. DH takes WDW in small doses over long time periods so we will likely plan our next trip for 2010 with my brother and his family.
Thanks for taking the time to read my trip report. Hopefully there are helpful tips in here.