When Jack and I were looking into going somewhere for Spring Break (in January by the way – WAY too late to the game and everything was either booked or so expensive) I finally came to the conclusion that we needed to suck it up and take the boys to Disney. We never took them when they were younger because #1, we thought it was a waste of money and #2, I said I would only start traveling with my kids when they could actually remember things.
I never went anywhere for spring break until high school when we went to nasty houses in Cherry Grove. There weren’t these huge trips happening like there are these days. I tell the boys over and over they were LUCKY to go somewhere! And again, we had to cross this off the list.
I also decided that flying would not be an option. The prices were high and I had been hearing about flights being cancelled left and right and we didn’t want to deal. The drive down wasn’t bad at all! We got on the road at 7am and were there by 3:30. Their ages are great – we didn’t hear a peep from them because they have their own electronics. Win.
We met some friends there the first night and went to the Orlando Magic VS 76ers game and had a great time. I love basketball and it was fun to go to another venue.
First up was Animal Kingdom. We bought Genie + and Lightning Lane passes – this means you have to get on the Disney app at 7am and you can sign up for 2 rides. Once you ride that ride, you can sign up for another. Nothing was available. NOTHING. All we really wanted to do was Avatar. So, we headed out around 8:30 (some people are IN the park at 7am to get on this ride and that is not us) and went straight there.
We waited for 2.5 hours. We got in line and had NO CLUE how long the line actually was. Once you get inside you are like yay!! ummm NO, you still have forever to go. The ride itself was very cool and really something to see. I was proud of how patient everyone was….again, this was our first ride.
After that, the only thing we could get on was the safari and kids thought it was okay. A little like riding through a zoo. After that, lunch and then we headed to the next park. The other ride that we wanted to do at Animal Kingdom was over an hour and a half wait.
(PS – I bought a MICKEY shirt to embarrass my kids….ummmm I have never in my life seen so many people and families with MM shirts on. Never. We were some of the very very few without them on. We meaning I never wore mine again)
On to Epcot. We purchased park hopper passes to be able to go to 2 parks in a day – we were trying to knock out as much as we could and looking back, I wish we hadn’t done that. There is so much to see and do but we didn’t even look around much. We went to the rides and moved on. It all depends on your kids ages I think.
You can see how happy the kids are (eyeroll) Epcot was my favorite. We went straight to Mission Space (which I DID get on Lightning Lane for) and loved it! It was old school but the kids enjoyed it. We then moved on to Soarin which was super cool and waited in line a bit for Test Track which was a lot of fun.
We then walked around the world and the boys got swords from Japan, some gelato from Italy and I got Prosecco, and Jack beer from Germany. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to just stroll around. That was the highlight of my trip looking back. I was relaxed and we weren’t in lines, it was great.
Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The bIg ride to get in the morning on the app was the Star Wars Rise of the resistance. Do you think we got it? No. ZERO times available, which means we were going to have to wait if we wanted to see it. But MK first. We headed to MK around 8:15. Parked, waited in a long line because it doesn’t open until 9. One we got through, you had to take the monorail (needed a mask which we didn’t have) or the ferry to MK. We had no idea we had to do this. So, just to GET to MK took an hour from when we parked. No one was happy.
I had gotten on Splash Mountain for 1:00 (yes you have to wait) so, we decided to head to Space Mountain to just wait in line. Those were the only 2 rides we wanted to do at MK because let’s be honest, it is more for younger kids. So, we waited about and hour and a half for SM. It is nothing like I remember and was a really fun, exciting ride. Don’t let these faces fool you, we were all smiles once we actually GOT ON a ride 😉
We walked around for a bit, saw the show at the palace for about 10 minutes and moved on. We knew it would take us a while to get back with the ferry, etc.
Heading to HS we were already bummed looking at the app. We were never getting on the main rides that we wanted to do which was a Harry Potter one and the Star Wars one that everyone talked about. We were losing steam. We got in on “Star Tours” quickly which was a simulator ride and it was cool but made us all a little queasy. The kids made some light sabers right off of that ride and we sat down to eat lunch.
Everyone but me was ready to go back to the hotel….I wanted to look around the Star Wars area at least but these 3 weren’t having it. We wanted to do Rock and Roll Rollercaoster, Tower of Terror and SW, but the waits were over 200 minutes for all of them. We bagged it and headed home. Such a bummer. I did my best to stay positive, but I really wanted to get on those rides. I thought the Genie + and LL was a waste of money.
Here is how we felt after 4 parks in 2 days. Defeated but still had fun. I am bummed we went all that way and weren’t able to do the rides everyone tells you that you “have to do.” I think it is terrible that you have to pay $2k-6k for a guide for the day to skip the lines and actually GO on a ride. Everyone kept telling me to get a guide…..would it have been worth it? Probably yes. Should we have done that knowing it was a one and done? Yes. Still, send me to the Caribbean for that amount of money!!!
UNIVERSAL. All of us were looking forward to this day because we had fast passes that actually WORK!! There are 2 parks in Universal and we were planning to just got for it and do it all. The fast passes DO NOT work on a Jurassic Ride and one Harry Potter ride…..of course we didn’t get to do those because the lines were again, too damn long.
We started in the Islands of Adventure and the Marvel area which was a lot of fun. The Hulk ride was incredible (went back for seconds at the end of the day), the Dr. Doom ride was awful for Jack and myself but kids loved it, the Spiderman 3D ride was so cool – it is amazing what they can do these days! We really enjoyed it. We then went over to the Jurassic Part and kids had their first churros and we weren’t able to do much because the line for the big ride was so much. We then headed to the Harry Potter part…. CROWDED and just too much for us. My kids haven’t watched the movies, so it wasn’t as special for them as it is for a lot of people.
We then hit the other park where the kids went straight to the Simpsons World – who knew they would be popular again? They wanted to play games and could have played all day there all day if we let them!
We sat down for lunch and I had a mini break down at that point. Kids were tired and arguing and I was just trying to make everyone happy about where to go next and I was about to lose it when the sweet waitress brought me my drink and took me outside on the porch so I could be alone for a moment. There are true angels in this world and Gabby was mine that day! I needed a moment and she gave me one.
We continued and did a few things more and saw the Bourne Stunt show with was awesome and did the Rip Ride Rocket roller coaster on the way out and it was AWESOME. You get to pick your song and it is blasting in your ears. Lawton and I were in the very first car, which I have never been in and I had Sabotage by Beastie Boys and he played Stronger by Kanye – I swear, ALL roller coasters need that option! It made it so much more fun!
On the way out, we promised the kids we would play a round of mini golf (which took an hour and a half – omg) and then we were DUNZO. WIPED OUT. FINITO. ADIOS.
My take on Disney :
- Do one park a day (go in the morning, lounge by the hotel pool at lunch and go back in the late afternoon) – OR, spend the big $ and get a guide and do it all in 1.5 days.
- Take your kids at a good age where they can ride all of the rides. I was SHOOK by all the strollers and even saw 3 NEWBORNS. I cannot.
- Definitely do Universal if you have kids my age and especially boys. Maybe skip Magic Kingdom unless you really want to do Space and Splash Mountain – it is really geared toward younger kids.
- We didn’t have any lunch or dinner reservations – I honestly don’t know how people do? We felt like we were all over the place and didn’t know the parks well, so if we would have had lunch reservations across the park, everyone would have freaked out. It worked out well for us, but I am sure people also love to sit down to a “nice” meal midday.
- Genie + and LL was a waste of money. We got on 3 rides out of it. Three. Not enough for the extra money we paid. I was up at 6:45am ready on my phone trying to understand this app and sign up for things that never happened. You end up being on your phone a lot at the parks trying to find what ride is next and the wait times. It takes away from the Disney experience in my opinion.
- We stayed “off site” and that was nice for us. I know you get more perks by staying on campus, but we saved a ton of money this way.
- I looked at all of these things to pack and I did it all – which we didn’t need. We packed waters and snacks in our back pack. Did we eat any of them? No. We just ate meals there. We packed water but couldn’t find many fill up stations, so ended up buying waters anyway. We did use these portable chargers. I got 3. We also used these ponchos for the water rides. They kept us very dry! I had a few bandaids in case and sunscreen as well. That is really all you need.
- If you go to Universal, which I suggest, get these lanyards for your tickets. You have to show them going in and out of the 2 parks and for every ride – this was a lifesaver.
- NEVER. EVER. EVER go on Spring Break. Or a holiday. Or a weekend. Or right after a mask mandate has been lifted.
Looking back at these pictures, we did have a good time and there were a lot of smiles. I was just really disappointed that we couldn’t ride a lot of the “must do” rides because of the wait times. People were messaging me to go back at this certain time of year and there will not be another trip to Disney in store for us! We came, we saw, we conquered a lot and we done.
Disney, you crazy.