Following the success of last year’s trip to Walt Disney World for Memorial Day Weekend, we decided on a repeat. Despite all of the amazing trips we take, nothing seems to excite the kids like a trip to Disney World, even though they are now teens and tweens. They had a countdown going for months.
We left on Thursday evening from DCA on a Southwest flight, using points and our Companion Passes, arriving in Orlando around 9:00pm. A quick stop for our Hertz rental car (booked for free using Hertz points) and we were on our way to the All Star Music resort. We stayed at the All Star Music many years ago, before we had any kids. Since then we have tried Deluxe, Moderate, and Value resorts, and while I like a nice hotel as much as the next person, depending on our agenda, it just doesn’t always make sense to pay a lot of money to stay at Disney. On this trip, knowing we would be in the room very little with no plans to use the pools or resort restaurants, we just wanted a clean and convenient place to stay. The All Star Music fit this perfectly. We had 2 adjoining rooms in the Broadway building. For us, this was a very convenient location as we were able to park our rental car very close. Had we planned to use the buses or the food court, this wouldn’t have been as convenient. Although we paid for the rooms at the All Star Music, we booked using Rocketmiles, and earned 10,000 United miles for the stay!
For some reason, I totally forgot that when they text you your room numbers ahead of time, the room keys are loaded onto your Magic Bands and you don’t have to stop in the lobby and check in. So my family waited in the car while I ran in to check in. I waited, and waited, and waited. There was only one person working the “online check in” area and the person she was helping was clearly there for concierge services as the planning went on and on. Finally I asked if someone else could help me. When I got an abrupt “no” I asked to speak with a manager. I explained to him that I just wanted to check in, and he reminded me that I didn’t need to. Duh! But this ended up being one of the best things that happened to us. He was very nice, and offered to load some bonus Fastpasses into our account. The Fastpasses were good the next day (our full day in Magic Kingdom) and were in addition to the 3 Fastpasses everyone gets. This put me in a great mood to start our weekend!
Unlike last year when the Magic Kingdom opened at 6:00 am, it was a standard Early Entry morning and we were at the gates for the 8:00 am opening. We were delayed a little due to the crazy long lines for bag check (which caused me not to bring a bag for the rest of our trip), but were entering the park just after 8:00 am. We headed straight to Space Mountain, and did it twice in a row. We hit Autopia, Buzz, Teacups, and a few other nearby attractions before our 11:30 lunch at Be Our Guest. We had done the online ordering the night before, so were able to skip the kiosks. I really like the food at this restaurant and it is a happy medium between quick service and table service. I surprised the kids by ordering cupcakes for everyone.
We used a few of our pre-scheduled Fastpasses after lunch to ride BTM and Haunted Mansion, before heading out to rest. It was a hot day, and K had reached his theme park limit for the day.
We dropped K back at the All Star Music and the kids and I headed to Blizzard Beach. K is not a water park fan. The location of the All Stars is perfect for visiting this water park, you can practically walk. To our surprise, Blizzard Beach was not crowded and we got parking right by the entrance. We stayed for a few hours, hitting the main slides, before heading back to get K for our dinner reservation back at Magic Kingdom. Although we love having a car at Disney, it is a real drag when going to the MK as you have to park at the Ticket and Transportation Center then Monorail or Ferry over to the MK. This turns each trip into an hour-long odyssey. But we made it to Tony’s Town Square for our 6:00 reservation and had a nice dinner. After, we hit Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Peter Pan, BTM, Splash Mountain, Pirates, and a few other favorites. Those bonus Fastpasses really helped! Although we hadn’t planned to stay for the fireworks, we ended up seeing them from Fantasyland before heading back.
On Saturday morning, we headed to Hollywood Studios. We had Fastpasses for Toy Story and Tower of Terror, so we headed back to try to walk on to Rock N Roller Coaster before the line got too long. After we used our FP for Tower of Terror then headed to Toy Story. We had lunch reservations at Sci Fi Dine In Theater, then headed back for a break. We tried a repeat of our Blizzard Beach afternoon, but wow what a difference in crowds from a Friday to a Saturday. The parking lot was packed. We got in, but ended up mostly riding in the lazy river as the lines were very long for the slides. We picked K back up at the hotel and headed over to Epcot. We had dinner reservations for Le Cellier and FPs for Test Track, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth. Epcot is our least favorite park, and an evening here is usually plenty. It does have the best restaurants, though. Although we loved Le Cellier, we did decide that it is outrageously expensive and will probably try something different next time. We did stop by Innovations and used our Disney Visa to get the free photo with the Disney characters!
Sunday morning we headed back to MK and hit some favorites. We had lunch at the Plaza – a restaurant we had never tried before. It was really good. We then headed back over to Hollywood Studios and our dinner at Mama Melrose. The plan for the evening was to see Fantasmic, but it started storming and was cancelled. We did get one last ride on Tower of Terror, however, which was actually cool in a storm.
On Monday morning, we packed up the car, checked out, and drove over to Animal Kingdom. We headed right to Expedition Everest and the kids rode it twice. K and I cannot ride this ride – the backwards part makes us nauseous. We hit all of the highlights here, and ended up trying something new for lunch – Yak & Yeti. Amazingly, we were able to walk in and only had about a 15 minute wait. We left the park around 3:00 and drove to MCO for our evening flight back to DC.
I know the kids would love to go back next Memorial Day, but I think we will plan our next Disney
trip for a fall date. The heat is pretty intense in May, and even though we are very skilled with Fastpasses, it would be nice to go at a less crowded time.