So just got back from an amazing trip to WDW. June 29th to July 16th (though the 29th and 16th were travel days). It was myself, DW, DS13, DD9, DS9. We had a fantastic time and can’t wait to go back. We purchased APs, so we’re already on the countdown for the next trip!! I’ll just try to hit the key points instead of writing a really long diary.

First, we vacation very differently than most, so I apologize if much of our experiences don’t apply. We stay offsite and wouldn’t have it any other way. We rented a single family home about 10 miles from WDW, right off Rt. 192. Very nice place. Worked exactly as needed.

Since we stay offsite, we drive to the parks. I took a tip I read here on the forum to help making finding our car easier. I took one of those flags that are meant to go on the window of a car and attached a 4′ long pool noodle to it. I placed it on the car when we parked in the 4 parks. It made finding our car SO incredibly easy, I can’t recommend it enough. Takes literally 5 seconds to put up and 5 seconds to take down.

With the exception of the water parks, the number of “rope drops” we did = zero. It’s just not our thing. We had many days where we showed up between 9am and 9:30am, but never once showed up before the park actually opened and waited outside. We only “closed” the parks two or three times…once at MK, once on Epcot and once at HS so that we could see night shows at each park.

Since we stay offsite, we can only make FP+ 30 days in advance (didn’t do a throwaway room), plus we could only have 7 days worth of FP+ at any one time. Therefore, we went down there with just days 1-7 planned. We had to make FP+ plans for day 8 after we completed day 1, day 9 after completing day 2, etc…

Even with that FP+ limitation, we still rode each and every “e-ticket” ride in the parks. We rode Na’vi River Journey twice, FOP once, 7DMT many times, FEA many times, etc… How did I manage it? Well, while it wasn’t my favorite thing to do, I became really good at hitting “refresh” on MDE. I would do it as we were walking through a FP+ queue or waiting the 5-10 minutes to get on the ride, or relaxing at home. Over and over and over. Doing that netted me pretty much any ride the kids wanted to get on, even the same day. Getting FOP was very lucky, took tons of tries. Only got it once. But 7DMT was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I even got it 10 minutes in advance…more than once. FEA is easy to get on before 11am since it’s all standby. A few days ago, we waited literally 4 minutes to ride it at 10:00am. Had a great time on all the rides. My favorites are RnR, TSMM, Splash, FOP, Soarin’, just to name a few.

We made 5 or 6 visits to the water parks. Love them, had a great time. Got to help test FP+ at BB, which was cool.

The kids are old enough now to explore on their own, so we sent them off a few times. At the water parks, and in MK. Also had a few babysitter nights, which our kids love. She’s a CM, so she takes them through the parks. DW and I rented a surrey bike on the boardwalk and had a wonderful time.

Weather was typical Florida. Hot, with sporadic pop up t-storms. We utilized the free ice water that WDW offers…a lot.

We didn’t eat in the restaurants on property…not once. We bring our own food in and are very happy to do so, and very thankful that we’re allowed to. Getting through security with all of our stuff was a breeze, as it always is. We bought the kids some desserts and ate offsite a few times, but never had a meal onsite.

As always, I think the CMs are phenomenal. In our 16 days in the parks, including the water parks, the number of CMs I encountered that I would consider “poor” totaled one. Just one. A handful of others were what I’d call respectful and professional but not fantastic. However, the vast majority were somewhere between good and outstanding. They really make the difference, IMO. They make the trip special, and just add that little bit of pixiedust:.

That brings me to the one and only negative I would say about our trip, and it has nothing to do with WDW. It was the guests. It astonishes me how ignorant, rude and obnoxious some of them can be. Just a few examples…one lady in the row in front of us on Na’vi was taking flash pictures. I asked her politely to turn off the flash. We get off the ride and her husband starts barking at me. Huh?? Yeah, that didn’t go over well with me. A few polite gestures were exchanged and he walked off. Another lady literally pushed her way through my kids, as she was in a hurry to get somewhere. I have no problem if someone accidentally bumps us…it happens, it’s crowded. I accidentally bumped into people. This lady barged through like she had some sense of entitlement and we had audacity to get in her way. Again, I had a few not so polite words for her, she turned to say something but saw DW glaring at her and she took off. That was just a few examples of many things I saw (not always effecting me directly). I’m always amazed at how CMs keep their disposition dealing with so many morons. I can’t tell you how many people we saw at FP+ lines that had no FP+ and were just arguing.

So now I sit here in my office trying to bring myself back into reality and paying the price for taking 8 days off of work…but it was worth every last second and I can’t wait to do it again!!

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