so this trip was actually a work trip, a weekend entrepreneur conference I go to each year held at the Wyndam right next to Disney Springs.
I flew down on friday late and the the family (wife 2 kids and my parents) flew down saturday, getting in pretty much as we broke sessions for the 1st day. Cool thing was that the kids had no idea, we were able to surprise them which never happens. I took all the luggage down with me. Also, my parents are not really Disney people—We went a few times kids and they went a few years ago with similarly aged relatives, but they don't ever "do disney' like we do. But this was a great way for them to spend some time with my kids and make some memories.
I got in and went directly to Sanaa after getting settled in. Just me, a mojito and bread service. After that I walked the savanna a bit and then hopped a bus back to Dis Springs for some shopping. Also stopped at guest relations and bought the Tables in Wonderland card being we were not on the dining plan this trip. Figured we would see how that worked out, eps with the large party.
Saturday was sessions as the family made their way down. Ashley Eckstein was our keynote speaker (voice of Ahsoka Tano, and creator of Her Universe clothing line) and I got a chance to meet her and she signed a copy of her book for my daughter.
We rented a car this time b/c i didn't want to rely on the hotel shuttles and even though we were basically at Dis Springs, it was still a good walk from the hotel to the bus stop. Turns out it was pretty great, we are AP holders, so we get free parking which saved a bunch and had good freedom to come and go as we please.
After everyone got in, we went to Epcot and it was crazy crowded...but duh, Saturday night at F&W, should have seen that coming. Only had time for SSE and Soaring (both FP) and some snacking before Illuminations.
Sunday I had the 2nd day of the conference, so they all went to MK. Again, pretty crowded, got a bunch of staple rides in, mostly on the Adventureland/Frontierland side. Lunch at the Plaza, some rain kept delaying the afternoon parade, and that ran into lunch. They came back and met me at the hotel, cleaned up and went back to MK. All we really could do was a FP for Mine train, but really it was to see Happily Ever After, my kids love that show and my parents left (rightfully) amazed at it. Quick trip to Space Ranger spin—or so we thought, it stalled at least 10 times before shutting down completely and rebooting, hence wiping out the score where my daughter was beating me. Then ice cream for the family, and a mashed potato foot long dog (mashed, shredded cheese, chives on a dog)
Monday was Animal Kingdom and also my 44th Birthday. We could not get FoP FP's but, after talking it over, my folks were all in on it, so we got there super early (was a early entry for resort guests and the Wyndam is a Good Neighbor Hotel, so we got in as well) and waited just around 2 hours for it. Normally I would never do that, but everyone was into it, so we did it. My dad said it was well worth the wait. Later on the Safari, Everest, Dino Lion King and then a late Birthday lunch at Rain Forrest. We left, relaxed back at the hotel and then wandered Disney Springs for a change up.
Tuesday we did an inexpensive character buffet at the hotel with Goofy and Pluto. It was about $25/pp with a full buffet, much better then the $60 for a true on-site one given we were not on the DDP. Then we did a brief touch down in Studios to do TSMania, star tours, RnR coaster and Muppets. Also did indy jones show and as it would turn out, I got picked to be one of the 'Extras' (added to my Disney bucket list—"That Guy" at monsters, check....contestant on Millionaire, check....Extra at Indy, check!) But not only did I get to be an extra, I got singled out to do the 'blow dart death scene" which was fun. (I'll post the video when I get it from my wife).
After that it was back to the hotel for rest, let the rain pass, and costume up for the Halloween party. We checked in to the party at about 6ish...later than I wanted, but also keeping in mind the rain, getting into the MK from the parking lot and just resting beforehand b/c my folks are older and not use to doing disney sun up > sun down.
Our Crew Thats the wife as Cruella de Vil, My daughter and son as Addison and Zed from the Disney movie Zombies, my parents as "Tacky Tourists" and then me as 'Disco Yeti' (let me know if you dont get the reference)
It was way oversold and very crowded. Very hard to move around at first. But overall the lines seemed to run fast. Candy was plentiful and my kids made off with 2 big bagfuls of it...so much os that my 8 year old couldn't physically carry it any more. We did some trick or treating, Haunted mansion and a bunch of special magic shots. The group was hungry so we went to Pecos Bills, I got the Hades Nachos which were awesome. By then the 1st parade was lining up but it was backed up 3 deep to the line. so we bounced and went to fantasyland where my wife found the real Cruella for some photos. Rode Under the Sea, Space Man (with all the lights off) and more ToT'ing. Walked back to Adventureland during fireworks and found Jafar then got some dole whips and snagged a great spot for the 2nd parade (much lighter crowd). Parade was great, lots of rare characters and dancers. Finished the night with a spin on pirates and Peter Pan.
On our last day, we took our time getting up and checking out. Made it to Epcot around 11 and the crowd was lighter but far from dead. Did Test Track, Mission Space and toured the festival center. Then did Pixar theater, Imagination and a break at the DVC lounge for drinks. Hopped to the land for our 4th FP on Living with.... and then lunch at Sunshine Seasons (My daughter has a fav dish there). After that we walked the showcase, sampled some F&W, got caught in the rain and then finished off sampling until we hit the front of the park and said "Adios"
side note: the conference I attended is put on by one of the top WDW podcasters Lou Mongello (I know I've mentioned him before). However, it is a business and entrepreneur focus that is geared toward people who have a solo business or want to start one. A lot of content geared toward content creators—bloggers, podcasters, or business that have a skill to sell like coaching or other things who want to operate behind paywalls or email drip marketing. Its limited to only 50 people, so it is very intimate and you get to know everyone. Plus he runs more intense mastermind sessions of only 10 people each on Monday and Tuesday right after. But overall it is great time, with disney fan business owners and held right at a resort next to Disney Springs, so we all hop there or to a park at night. If you might be interested, check it out. Scheduled for late September 2019