High heat, low crowds, good eats!


Our trip actually began a little early, but officially, we were at Pop Century from 9/9 - 9/15.

It was the usual Timkel clan. Mom, Dad, DS-15, and DD-12. As we are full-time RVers, we have several camping memberships (similar to a time share) where we pay an annual fee and then we can camp for free at any of their campgrounds for free or a small fee.

One of our memberships had a location in Clermont, FL which is 7 miles from WDW. We camp here as often as we can and it often results in short visits to the world.

We arrived at our campground on Sept. 1, a week before our actual vacation. We did a few 1/2 days, some DtD shopping, and Aquatica before our official vacation.


We noticed as soon as we arrived that temps were high (not unexpected) and the humidity was really high too. We were looking at high 80’s to 90’s everyday with 70%-80% humidity (or higher). We also had rain in the forecast for most of the days.

We checked into Pop Century on 9/8 around 11:00 a.m. We requested a ground floor and they had it ready for us in the 80’s building, but facing the 90’s parking lot. This was perfect for is as we would be driving our car this trip and we had no problem finding a place to park that was close to our room.

We unpacked the car and then got to the room and quickly unpacked the bags. I was a little disappointed to find nothing fun waiting for me, but I know not to expect anything.

Our plan for the day was lunch and a few hours at MK, then we would spend the evening at FW as we had some friends who had been there for the holiday weekend and this was their last night.


The first big positive of this trip was not having to deal with Disney buses. I can’t tell you how great it was to be able to get around the property when we wanted without waiting in a line, no crabby kids (or parents), no sweaty folks at the end of a hot day, no wheel chairs or scooters to wait for.

Free parking at all parks was great and we managed pretty decent parking the whole week.

So off to FW to park, as that is where we would dine an spend our evening hours. FW has a very large overflow parking lot that accommodates RV’s, trailers, and any other vehicles that guests can not fit on their sites. Also you may park here if you are using the FW property for any reason, dining, camp fire, rentals, etc.

We hopped on a bus to the Settlement Depot, then on to the bus to MK.

All of this, and we were in Cosmic Ray’s by 12:30 for lunch.

We all wanted something different, I had a cheese steak sandwich (yummy), DH had 1/2 chicken and rib combo meal, DD had a turkey bacon wrap, and DS had a cheeseburger. All the food was pretty good and plentiful, the dining plan really provides you with a lot of food. DS kept saying the whole week that he was full, often the kids could not finish their desserts.


I honestly don’t remember the order in which we did things, but there was honestly, very little or no wait at all. We didn’t need FP,s and we walked right on most rides. BTMR and SM were both 10 mins., although, honestly, it was less than that. PoC, no wait, HM, no wait. It went like that for the whole week for most of the rides.

So we got a lot accomplished in one afternoon, all of our favorites, with time to spare until our 6:00 ADR for Trail’s End at FW.

We arrived at FW with time to look around the gift shop.


Pics from Day 1.


A few more.


We swam until around 9:00 p.m. and then we said good-bye to our friends and made our way back to Pop. We wanted to get an early start tomorrow for DHS, Toy Story Mania, and the Up Characters.


Day 2 began early. We like to eat breakfast in our room, so we brought Pop Tarts, breakfast bars, granola and such. I know, not the breakfast of champions, but it holds us over until lunch time.

So we arrived at DHS 5 mins. before rope drop. We have seen this morning show several time now, but it was still fun.

We made our way to TSM, got FP’s and then got in the stand-by line, it only had a 15 min. wait. We would not beat our high scores, but we all practiced strategy and some new tips we learned.

As we finished our first ride, we we greeted by Luxo Jr. He was so cute dancing to the music and such.


Now, at 9:30 a.m. is was already very humid and in the mid 80’s, so we were looking for a little A/C until our next FP time. We decided to hang out in the Animation Studio and see about meeting the Up characters and do our annual pic with Sorcerer Mickey. We were able to accomplish both with short lines. We attempted to draw and were told that the studio was closed until Sun. as they were replacing carpet.

So here are the pics.


The rest of our day was spent doing the things we love at a leisurely pace. We rode TSM 3 more times, did RnRC, ToT, Indiana Jones show, watched Block Party Bash, The Great Movie Ride, watched LMA, and the Back Lot tour.

If you have a Hannah Montana fan, on the Back Lot tour they have the chicken house from the Hannah Montana Movie. We were not able to stop and take a pic on this day because they were moving the crowd through and the house is in between where you see all the water effects and where you actually get on the tram. (We were able to go back on another day just to take the pic, I will post that later.)

It was a nice day, we took plenty of breaks, had lots of stuff to drink (our favorite, the frozen Coke stand), took time out to browse the shops, and we enjoyed the street performers (which we often pass right by on our way to something).

A great day ended with dinner at Mama Melrose’s. I know there are mixed reviews about this place, but we really enjoy it and always find something for everyone (thankfully my kids are not picky eaters).

I had the spaghetti Fra Diavolo, DH had chicken parmesan, kids both had flatbread (pizza to them). With their dinner, on the dining plan, the kids were able to order smoothies and they really enjoyed them. We all had yummy desserts and were very full.

Here are the desserts (forgot to take pics of the food, we were hungry :blush:).


I totally forgot about lunch at DHS (that is easy to do as the food at DHS isn’t usually that memorable). DD and I decided to try something new. We got sandwiches from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner (it’s the boat by the AI Experience).

I got Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions in a hoagie roll, and DD got a Chicken Ceaser Salad sandwich on a hoagie roll. Both were actually pretty tasty. They come on a roll that is actually closed on one end and open on the other and the ingredients are inside. DH and DS had burgers (blech) from the Backlot Express.


After dinner, the park was closed. So, we went back to the hotel, changed and enjoyed the pool for a bit. We were near the computer pool, we enjoyed it. After a swim and showers, we would turn in for another early day. Tomorrow, AK - DHS.




Very jealous of those low wait times, but loving the TR.:happy:


Thank you.


Thanks for checking it out. The wait times were so great!


Forgot to post a pic of the HM we found while waiting at Mama Melrose’s.

Can you see it?


The next day was a long one, but we got to do some of our favorites (Fantasmic). We began the day early at AK, did not make it for opening, but shortly after. The trend of short lines and low wait times would continue, so would the heat wave. It was really tough to stay cool.

On our way in we stopped and signed up for Picnic in the Park, meal for three. We ordered the roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and desserts. They gave us a receipt with the time we requested to pick it up.

Next it was on to EE for an FP, only we did not need one, wait time was 10 mins. So the kids went the first time by themselves, we found a shady spot to wait and people watch. They came off and the wait was only up to 15 mins., so we went with them this time and it was amazing, as always, although, the Yeti was not working properly and we only got the blinking light (it is quite annoying).

After EE, we went over to see about Kilimanjaro Safari, wait time…10 mins. So we go through stand-by, not actually 10 mins., just however long it takes you to walk to the ride. We saw jeeps not full because the people were just not there.

I always enjoy the safari but, in the heat there were several animals that were no shows. We did get some good views of the animals that were there, though.

I took plenty more, but seriously, how many times have we all seen the same animals on the safari. These were my favorites.


We chose to eat a little early, and this is the day we decided to have 2 counter service meals. It turned out to be a good choice (although DH was a little disappointed).

We picked up our picnic (which was kind of difficult to locate). They tell you to go to the bakery near Tusker House. I had no idea where that was. It is tucked in a little corner and the CM’s in the area were not very helpful.

This is what it looks like.

DH really enjoys the chicken parmigiana sandwich from Pizzafari, he went on ahead to get his lunch and we were to meet him there with our picnic (too hot to eat outside) we get there an DH is very upset that they no longer have that sandwich. So, he doesn’t order anything and tries to decide what he might like to have instead (maybe Yak and Yeti). It turns out that a picnic for 3 is plenty for 4. He shared our chicken and sides and we all shared desserts and there was more than enough food for all.

The good thing about Picnic in the Park food is that the desserts were very yummy since they came from the bakery where we picked up the food. They were huge portion too. We got a huge brownie, a huge rice cereal treat, and DS got an orange (i love that they had healthy options).

Our only disappointment with the meal was the drink. There is no choice, you can only get bottled water, and they were tiny 12 oz. sized bottles. We managed with a large cup of ice water from Pizzafari.

Some pics of our food:


We enjoyed another relaxing day doing all our favorite attractions. We enjoyed Finding Nemo the Musical, Primeval Whirl, Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids, (kids only, I always get soaked, so I don’t do it anymore. DH and I enjoyed a frozen lemonade instead) and The Festival of the Lion King. We did everything at a leisurely pace and took our time. It was too hot to rush.

Here are some of our pics from the day.

Low crowds means great character interaction. This Goofy was amazing. He played with all of us and made us feel like we had all the time in the world. He had us all laughing and being silly. It was a great moment.