"Last Minute" Flower & Garden Festival Trip!

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Allie's picture
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"Last Minute" Flower & Garden Festival Trip!

Ok everyone I'm for real going to write this! Even though I'm going on 3 months late eek I didn't take any notes during this trip, we didn't have a super big plan in place for me to reference, and, like I said, this was 3 months ago, so I'm really only going to give an overview of each day along with some highs and lows as that's all I really remember. And of course lots of pictures and video! muchlove

For the Pre-Trip report, click here.

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Sunday, April 24th

Because we live about an hour and a half away from the airport, we had my sister drive us down to my grandma's who lives about 20 min away from the airport. On the way down we stopped for pizza at one of our favorite places in Minnesota, Punch Pizza. Other then Penny accidentally grabbing another woman from behind at the soda station because she thought it was me, it was pretty uneventful laugh

Monday, April 25th

Up bright and early for our 6:05am flight. The hope was that we'd get Penny dressed and put her in the dark car and she'd fall back asleep. I also brought our front carrier to put her in to walk through the airport in hopes she'd sleep in that and continue to sleep in that on the plane. No such luck. I came out of the bathroom to find my grandma feeding her breakfast which of course woke her up. Woops. She finally fell asleep for a little bit on the second leg of our flight after our transfer in St Louis, but she didn't get nearly as much sleep as I would have liked.

We landed in Orlando around 11:30am and booked it over to the Magical Express.

Penny was clearly overtired on the bus and was being super silly, making up songs about the bus and refusing to sit still.

.be

We checked in at Pop and while we didn't get our exact room request (a lake view in the 50's section so that we could see the fireworks), we got pretty close and were right around the corner from a lake view. We only had to walk a few steps to see the fireworks which we did do a couple of nights.

After dropping off our luggage we mad dashed over to Epcot as we were all starving by this point and wanted some Flower and Garden Festival goodies! We paused for some snapshots in front of "the big big ball" as Penny calls it, and we also detoured over to use our Seas with Nemo and Friends FastPass+. This is now becoming our tradition for our first ride in Disney with Penny as this was our first ride last trip, too. Penny knew who Nemo was this time around though so she loved it even more.

Jon got in line to get Penny some fish and chips at Yorkshire County Fish Shop while I stopped at the Cider House booth and ordered the House-made Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare, the Freshly Baked Scone with Cereme Fraiche and Mixed Berries, and a Keel & Curley Mad Man Blueberry Hard Cider. We popped a squat on the curb of the UK pavillion to eat. Both the food items we got from Cider House were ok, nothing super memorable, but that blueberry cider! Oh my gosh! Now my favorite cider I've ever had! We also stole some of Penny's fish and chips which were delicious.

After eating I'm pretty sure we put Penny down for her nap in her stroller while we ventured off to find more food. The Fleur de Lys booth was up next. We got the Tarte a l'onion Alsacienne, Cassoulet au Confit de Canard, the Macaron Chocolat Framboise, and the Ice Pop Grand Marnier Peach Cocktail push pop. We both liked the tart and the macaron and I liked the duck confit. The Ice Pop was good, it tasted like peach iced tea, but the plastic push pop was leaking something fierce so it made a huge mess.

We needed a bit of a break from eating by this point so we wandered around, looked at the topiaries, and caught some of the flag show in Italy.

We tried sitting down with a drink to watch Voices of Liberty but once they started singing the sound started to wake Penny so we kept moving. I was bummed because I always LOVE watching them.

Despite being full we still found room to stop at the Florida Fresh booth for the Shrimp and Stone-ground Grits with Andouille Sausage, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, and Cilantro and the Florida Larder Board. I'm pretty sure we liked the shrimp but the larder board was pretty meh (besides the ricotta which was delicious!).

We cut out of the World Showcase for a bit and went back into Future World. Jon decided to wait in line for the Baymax meet but just as Penny started to wake up Jon decided that it wasn't worth the wait and cut out of line. We decided to kill some time by riding Ellen's Energy Adventure instead. Penny was still half asleep and a little crabby but she did pretty well. She was a little scared of the dinosaurs at first until we talked about how nice and silly they were and then she warmed up to them. She reminded herself when we got off the ride what a good job she had done. laugh She liked playing with the flowers outside the ride more then the actual ride, though...not saying I blame her too much wink

We used up our Character Spot FastPass+ where Penny was SO excited to finally get to meet some characters. She had been waiting for this since the day we returned from our Florida trip in December.

After the characters we headed back to the World Showcase for some dinner, but not before stopping to look at topiaries and play in the water. Jon and Penny went into the butterfly enclosure too but I said a big NO THANKS to that.

Italy is where we had our sites on for dinner so the Primavera Kitchen was to be the first stop, but we got distracted by the Currywurst with Paprika Chips at Baurenmarkt on the way. I thought Jon would have been the one to like this one more but I actually ended up eating most of it since he was underwhelmed and I thought it was super yummy. Once in Italy we got the Mezze Lune Primavera and the Rossini, both of which were very good. We grabbed a spot on the stairs to eat where Penny showed off the Flower and Garden passport that the cast member had given her.

We finally moved onto the Smokehouse in the America pavilion to finish off the night. I don't know if it was because we were super full by this point or what but we didn't love this booth and I had expected it to be our favorite. We got one each of the Pulled Pig Slider, Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad, Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash (this one was my favorite from the booth), and the Warm Chocolate Cake (both of our least favorite....it was both cold and dry). We didn't finish any of them, though it didn't hurt we were almost crying from being so stuffed laugh I also ordered the Frozen Lemonade with Firefly Blackberry Moonshine that Jon and I shared on our way out of the park. We had Illuminations FastPasses to still use but we were all so beat that it was definitely time to call it a night!

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The big ball???? I STILL call it that! LOL One of my least favorite things about these festivals is also my favorite. ALL THE FOOD! I get what you are saying about almost crying you are so full! I just love the pics and videos of Penny!!! muchlove

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Penny is just soooo cute!!! she looked like she loves those characters!!

I have always been a Food & Wine girl but the booths at Flower and garden were awesome and i loved soooo much of the food!!

keep it coming before you forget! loving it so far!

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yay Love trip reports!

How cute is Penny! she seems to have grown so much since the last trip! Bless her Smile

All that food sounds so good!

Keep it coming really enjoying it Smile

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Thanks all! I think the two things that really helped Penny this time around was 1) She knew what to expect. She had been talking about going back and seeing all the characters literally since the day we got home from our December trip. She was still shy about talking to them but you can see her excitement leading up to go see them. 2) We really let her lead the itinerary several times throughout the trip. If she wanted to ride "Ariel's Seashells" (Journey of the Little Mermaid) again, we would ride it again and didn't worry about all of the other attractions we might be missing because of it. In fact, we ended up riding that 5 times this trip! laugh

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Penny is so adorable. And yes I agree about all the food. Am always amazed I can try something else when I just said am full. Lol great pictures

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Tuesday, April 26th

Ok here is where it is going to start to get more vague because we did more rides this day which means less photos to help me remember what all we did.

Today was Magic Kingdom day! Penny was sleeping HARD but she got up pretty quick when she heard where we were going. mickey

We started the day off with breakfast at The Wave which I've been meaning to try forever. Jon wasn't feeling very well and Penny was still pretty tired so neither of them ate much, so I made up for them laugh Everything was delicious! Even the Eggs Benedict (which I don't normally enjoy on buffets because they get super overcooked under the lights) was perfection. The sweet potato pancakes were super yummy! Totally worth the trip! I also got a mimosa with grapefruit juice that was very refreshing. Two thumbs way up! awesome awesome

After breakfast we walked over to the Magic Kingdom, Penny trailing Cinderella with her.

Penny waiting to see Cinderella's Castle as we came around the corner:

We stopped on Main Street to watch the Trolley Show for a couple of minutes and then got a couple of shots of the castle.

Can anyone tell me why the damn crane would be up in April?!

We had a Cinderella and Rapunzel FastPass expiring soon so we headed straight through the castle back to Princess Fairytale Hall.

Excitement after getting to see Cinderella and Rapunzel:

As you can hear at the end of that video, Penny wanted to go ride the carousel next so I'm pretty sure that's what we did. She loves riding this and likes waving hi to everyone that we pass.

We had a Peter Pan's Flight FastPass open around this time so we went and used that up and let Penny see Rapunzel's Tower. She loved Peter Pan's Flight even more this time around as she had recently really gotten into this movie.

We had planned on meeting Peter Pan next but for some reason his meet and greet had gotten delayed adn wasn't going to be starting until that afternoon so we decided to go meet Merida instead. On our way there we found the Fairy Godmother doing a meet and greet in a little cove on the side of the castle. We were super stoked as the Fairy Godmother was the one person that Penny had been asking consistently to meet over and over again since we had told her we were going back to Disney World, but I had read that she had recently stopped doing meets in Magic Kingdom. Such a great surprised and Penny was so excited! The Fairy Godmother kept calling Penny's Gus Gus toy Jaq, but Penny thankfully didn't seem to notice wink

As soon as we were done with the Fairy Godmother we got in a looooooooooong line to meet Merida. Just as we were about to get up to where they actually let you into the meet and greet area, with only one family ahead of us they cut off the line so Merida could go on a break. Darn it. While I continued to wait in line, Jon took Penny over to see if Peter Pan had opened up his meet yet. No such luck, but on the way back they saw Anastasia and Drizella doing a meet. Penny LOVES them and was super excited but Jon told her that she couldn't go see them now because 1) they had to get back in time for the Merida line to restart and 2) we had dinner with Cinderella's family at 1900s Park Fare in a couple of nights. Penny was NOT happy about this but cheered up quickly once we got in to see Merida. Jon and I have met Merida before in Epcot but never in this area. It was super cute! She got to meet Merida (who loved her curls) and then she got to shoot a bow and arrow. Super worth the wait.

Once we were done with Merida, Penny remembered Anastasia and Drizella and got upset all over again so we went and rode on "Ariel's seashells" to cheer her up. This was her FAVORITE ride of the trip and we ended up riding it 5 times over the course of the week. As soon as we got off though, the tears started up again so we decided to take a break in Pinnochio's Village Haus and get Penny some food. I got in the ridiculously long line and poor Jon had to deal with a massive Penny tantrum while trying to forge through the crowds to find a table that was about to open up. Once we finally got Penny her chicken strips she was instantly in a better mood. That actually happened a lot during this trip. Penny would get hangry. Her hunger combined with the heat and the tiredness would cause meltdowns but food would instantly perk her back up and she'd be in a great mood again. So that's another great tip for mommies and daddies: make sure you have plenty of snacks ready to go! Here you can see Penny, now back to her sweet little self, singing an a capella version of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" in the middle of the crowded restaurant while Jon fed her.

After lunch we let Penny stay up late from her nap so she could watch the Festival of Fantasy parade. I took her in to see Country Bear Jamboree (which she enjoyed but was almost falling asleep to) while Jon staked us out a spot to view the parade from. She of course LOVED the parade like I knew she would. A ton of different performers came up to her and gave her high fives, waved to her, etc. and I cried like a baby watching my baby so excited.

At some point we did put her down for her nap and Jon and I went back to Pinnochio Village Haus to split a caprese flat bread. I watched sleeping Penny in the stroller while he ordered and then he came back with a COLD pizza. They were good about getting him a fresh one but kind of annoying to have to stand in line twice. The pizza was yummy though and took the edge off nicely.

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. I think we also hit Monster's Inc Laugh Floor and Winnie the Pooh this day. Haunted Mansion and Pirates, too. Penny loves Haunted Mansion (she calls it "The Spooky Eyes" because of the wallpaper) and this was her first time on Pirates since she hadn't ridden it when we were there in December. I was surprised at how well she did with the drop in the dark. We just made sure to warn her about it ahead of time and then told her when it was coming and she did great! We also did Mickey's Philharmagic at some point (not sure if it was this day or our other Magic Kingdom day). We had done this one last time and she had liked it, but this time she actually kept her 3D glasses on so she was even more blown away!

I also can tell you that now that you can book your 4th rolling FastPass+ on the app instead of at the kiosk, we utilized this more then ever! Especially on our Magic Kingdom days! As soon as we'd scan our bands to get on a ride, I'd already be in the app while we were in line, booking another FastPass+. A tip on this is that the app seems to want to give you FastPass availability later in the day when you go in to book additional FastPasses, but just keep closing back out of the app and then going back in. Most times it would only show us availability much later on for the first few times we'd go in, but after like the 4th or 5th time of logging back in I could normally find availability for attractions for 5 minutes later.

We finished up at Magic Kingdom with a ride on Jungle Cruise (which we had FastPassed) and a second ride on Little Mermaid (also FastPassed while we were in line at the Jungle Cruise).

After a busy day of rides, we monorailed over to the Poly for dinner because I just HAD to try Captain Cook's. Penny got chicken tenders again and Jon and I split the pulled pork nachos and the fish tacos. Oh my gosh were they amazing! muchlove Definitely a must do for us now! While we were eating Penny developed a fear of spiders (there were no spiders around nor did we see any spiders that day that I was aware of, but she started going on and on about "Guys, aren't you scared of spiders?! Big scary spiders!") and she told us her favorite thing she had done all day was riding the monorail to the Poly. It was a great dinner that was just super relaxing where we could just enjoy each other and not feel like we were rushing around. Perfection.

We were all beat by this point so we decided to catch an Uber home. If I don't mention this later in the trip, Uber was a godsend with a tired toddler and we utilized this a LOT this trip. For less then $10 we could pretty much get anywhere on property which was 100% worth it rather then waiting for a bus when Penny was exhausted and crabby. Can't recommend this enough. On our Uber drive "home" this night we had Illuminations shooting off just outside our window too which was an extra special treat!

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Penny is adorable. Can't wait to meet her (and you and Jon too) next year.

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Great TR Allie! Disney really ought to make the crane a permanent fixture (it pretty much is already) and just give it a name and make it part of the story somehow.

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JoAnn C wrote:
Penny is adorable. Can't wait to meet her (and you and Jon too) next year.

muchlove Can't get here soon enough! yay

KenJ wrote:
Great TR Allie! Disney really ought to make the crane a permanent fixture (it pretty much is already) and just give it a name and make it part of the story somehow.

Right?! I was SO shocked to see it there at the end of April! One of my friends (who was jealous we were going) jokingly told us "I HOPE THE CRANE IS THERE!" as we left. He cursed us! laugh

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Great trip report! Love to see all the pictures of Penny!

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Wednesday, April 27

Animal Kingdom was on the agenda today. We slept in a little bit so Penny started the day in a better mood.

We headed straight back to the Pocahontas meet and greet where we had almost no wait. Penny was upset at first because she had convinced herself she wanted to meet Mulan and Mulan only today, but once she actually saw Pocahontas she cheered right up.

You can hear her at the end of this video asking for Mulan again laugh

After Pocahontas we hightailed it back to our Festival of the Lion King FastPass+. I stopped and ordered an African Bloody Mary at the Dawa Bar that I figured I would drink while we waited in line outside. However, we had only been in line for a few minutes when they started letting us into the theater so I downed it pretty darn fast which left a pretty good burning sensation in my mouth Smile We had a great seat in the elephant section so we've now sat in each of the four sections. Penny loved the show and sat much better this time around (last time she kept wanting to sit on the bleacher floors and ended up getting gum in her Cinderella dress).

As soon as Festival of the Lion King was over our Kilimanjaro FastPass+ had opened so we went and quickly got on. Just like last time we didn't have a lot of animal activity so Penny wasn't super impressed. We did have some giraffes pretty close though so she enjoyed that.

After our safari we were getting pretty hungry so we stopped by the Harambe Market to try it out. We got in line at the Kitamu Grill section which didn't have a super long line but it went suuuuuuuuuuuper slow. By the time we got our food we only had a few minutes to get over to our Finding Nemo the Musical FastPass+. We ate as we walked, Penny in her stroller and Jon and I balancing our food on top of the stroller. Jon and Penny split the chicken skewer which they both liked and I got the curried corn dog which I also let Jon eat a big portion of because it was HUGE!

We scanned our magic bands the minute before they expired and got in there just in time. Jon and I always love this show but Penny had a hard time sitting still and watching after having just sat in both Festival of the Lion King AND on the safari, but luckily she at least stayed quiet and wasn't bothering those around us so we were able to still stay and watch the show.

It was almost Penny's naptime but we decided to head over to Dinoland to try and fit in a quick meet with Pluto and Goofy. The line was long and Penny was getting tired so she started getting really goofy and a little crazy in line. The photographer working the area was the same photographer we had had at Pocahontas earlier and he remembered Penny.

Even though we could tell she was getting really tired by this point, Penny spotted Triceratop Spin and begged to go on the "rhino ride". The line was super short so we told her she could as long as she promised to go down for her nap without a fight afterwards. She loved the ride and was true to her word and afterward laid down silently in the stroller and was asleep almost immediately.

Jon and I hopped on the My Disney Experience app and made ourselves Expedition Everest FastPasses for a little later so we went and explored the Oasis and Discovery Island to kill some time. We took the longest route there possible as we wanted to stop in Africa again to get a chocolate waffle with chocolate mousse at Tamu Tamu which was totally worth the detour. I also got a sangria to enjoy as we explored the trails. We've never taken the time to stop at the Oasis and Discovery Trails before and while it was nice to take the time to slow down and take in the details, I don't think it is something I'd need to do every trip.

Once our EE FastPasses were open we headed back to Asia. For some reason we made the call that we thought the single rider line would be quicker so we did that instead. We both were able to ride pretty fast though so I guess it worked. Penny woke up as Jon was getting off so we decided to catch the Wildlife Express Train back to Rafiki's Planet Watch. We knew it would be closing soon and the schedule for the day said Chip and Dale's meets were already done, but we wanted to try and catch Rafiki if we could. We parked the stroller and were about to get on the train when Jon realized he had forgotten the autograph book back in the stroller. Penny and I hopped on the train so we could go get in line at least while Jon ran back. Luckily you only have to wait about 10 minutes between trains so he came soon after us.

Penny loved the Rafiki signs along the path...she kept saying "Look! Rafiki says hi!" As we came around the corner we saw Chip and Dale still doing their meet and greet so we quickly hopped in line just before the cut it off. Score! yay Jon showed up with the autograph book as we were only a few people away from the front of the line, but he also forgot the pen we use back in the stroller so we had to steal one from the cast members. waiting

Jon's empty train that he rode out:

Chip claimed Penny for his own and wasn't willing to share.

Rafiki's meet was due to be ending any second so we ran inside to make sure we caught him before he left. Rafiki was very high maintenance but Penny loved him! laugh He was pretty upset that he didn't have his own page in our autograph book. I had asked him to sign on Mufasa's page but he really wanted to sign on Simba's page for some reason.

As we were leaving the Conservation Station area, the petting zoo area announced they would be putting the goats away in a couple of minutes if anyone wanted to come see them, so we quickly stopped in there. Penny petted a few of them and then we watched the goats get put away which was kind of cool as they all ran off to their assigned "houses".

We had dinner reservations at Yak & Yeti coming up so we rode the train back. I don't remember for sure if we had time to do the Maharajah Jungle Trek, but I do remember that Penny played in the water fountains in Asia for a bit before dinner. She was pretty crabby that we made her leave so she sat and played on one of our phones for most of dinner while Jon and I enjoyed the quiet wink Penny got the PB&J with a side of brown rice and veggies while Jon and I split the Ahi Tuna Nachos and the Kobe Beef Burger. Soooooo goooooood! I had to have a Yak Attack too, of course! awesome

After dinner the park was already closed so we were some of the last people walking out which was pretty cool. I've never been in an empty Animal Kingdom before. We took the opportunity to snap a few pictures in front of the Tree of Life, though of course the only four people we encountered on the way out had the same idea at the same time. waiting

Since we got back to Pop early in the evening that night we decided to take a short swim in the 50's pool. Penny had a blast and again I think this was one of her favorite things from the entire trip. She was VERY upset when we left the pool and I think this was the night she had a meltdown of epic proportions at bedtime and could not calm herself down to get to sleep. I finally had to hold her and walk around the outside of the building for a bit to get her to chill out but it was a very late night for us! yuck

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Penny's character pictures are just fantastic! And thanks for the food and drink descriptions. I'm trying a bloody Mary in January.

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Really enjoying this report Allie! Penny is growing up soooo fast.

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Oh my gosh, look at those curly curly piggy tails! So cute.

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Thanks all! Jtown, the bloodies are fantastic. On our December trip I took one in with me to the Flights of Wonder show and people around us were climbing over each other to come ask me where I got it! laugh

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Thursday, April 28th

Another Magic Kingdom day which means another super vague trip report because I didn't take very many pictures to help me keep track of what we did. I do know that we slept in this morning since Penny had had a rough night the night before, so we got a later start to the day today.

Our first FastPass for the day was at Enchanted Tales with Belle so, since I can't remember for sure, we'll start there laugh Penny got to be a salt shaker again (2 for 2) and she marched around the room by herself this time.

We had an Ariel Meet FastPass+ next which we used. I'm also sure we did Under the Sea with the Little Mermaid somewhere around here as I know we did it three times this day.

Around this time I went and got in line (with only one person ahead of me) to meet Peter Pan while Jon and Penny went off to get a strawberry sundae at Storybook Treats that they were nice enough to come share with me. Once Peter got there we got through super quickly. Penny had been really excited to meet him but of course was ridiculously shy once he started chatting so much laugh

We hopped over to Tomorrowland to take a ride on the PeopleMover and use up our Buzz Lightyear FastPass+. Penny and I shared the gun on Buzz and, as you can imagine, we did not do very well. Penny thought the PeopleMover was pretty wild laugh

It was getting to be lunch time so we went over to Pecos Bill's to try out the new menu. We all LOVED it and will definitely be eating here again. We did the fajita platter and the nachos, but the fajita platter is definitely the way to go. It was packed in the restaurant, however, so it took forever to get our food and eat, and by the time we were finishing we were already way past the time we were supposed to be meeting Amy, Robyn, and Sy over at Gaston's Tavern. Robyn sent us a message saying she wasn't feeling well so they were going to leave the park, and we still had to get Penny's diaper changed and get her down for a nap so we begrudgingly called off the meet. Amy and Robyn found each other later in their trip but we totally missed them. sad Bummer.

After getting Penny cleaned up we told her she could go on one more ride before nap time since that had worked so well the day before. After a spin on Aladdin's Magic Carpets (which I was really hoping to get sprayed on because dang it was hot!) we came off just as dry as we were when we got on and Penny went to sleep in her stroller.

While she was napping we did some shopping on Main Street and got our friends back home some souvineers, a clip on Mickey Mouse fan for Penny's stroller, and myself a new hat. I don't remember what else we did to kill time while she was sleeping, but when she woke up we went and met Gaston. He was great with her and they did some classic Gaston poses together.

We took her on her first rollercoaster ever next: Goofy's Barnstormer. We had gotten our 4th rolling FastPass for this ride so we got through the queue quickly despite the line. She looks horrified in the video but as soon as we got off she was squeeling about how fun it was and she's been talking non-stop since we got home about how she wants to go back on. rolling

Next up was Penny's first ride on Dumbo (I know, I know, how did we manage to not get to this on her first trip?!) which of course was a huge hit. Penny's favorite part was playing on the playground area inside the tent before getting on. We somehow all managed to squeeze into one elephant, a pink one that Penny had picked out.

We had setup another FastPass+ for Under the Sea so Penny and I went over and waited at the beginning of the queue while Jon went to grab our stroller. He called me in a panic saying our stroller had been stolen eek eek eek so I sat there freaking out until he finally came over the hill, stroller in tow. Apparently a cast member had moved it to a super secret stroller area that was far away and out of sight from the place we had originally parked the stroller. No worries, we found it so it was all good. The line for Under the Sea was short so we jumped in the standby queue and then got right back on in the FastPass+ line once we got off. Jon filmed it the last time so that Penny could watch it at home since this was so clearly her favorite ride of the trip.

We stopped by Pete's Silly Sideshow to get some character photos before we had to head over to 1900s Park Fare for our reservation, but with the long lines we only had time to do one side so we went with Daisy and Minnie. This was apparently not the best choice as the line took longer then anticipated and Penny was asking for Goofy and Donald as we left. Whoops!

The plan had been to ride the train back up to the front of the park but we were starting to push it on time so we raced up and out Main Street and got in line for the boat to Grand Floridian. We waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And no boat. So we gave up and went and got in line for the monorail. Of course the monorail we got on was having all kinds of issues so we had to keep stopping for mechanical fixes. We FINALLY got over to the Grand Floridian where Jon raced inside to go get us checked in. They told us it wasn't a problem that we were running late as they were behind schedule anyways and it would probably be another 20 minutes. We relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful lobby and listened to the piano player for close to an hour before we were finally called.

Penny was ecstatic to meet all of the characters! She was so excited that she barely ate any dinner. Anastasia and Drizella are her favorites and Anastasia especially was just spot on and did so well with her. Prince Charming, while very sweet, was pretty socially awkward so not really sure how he got that job. wink The only disappointment was I had really been looking forward to the sushi on the buffet and there was none to be found. I looked up the menu and it was still listed on there so I'm not sure if this is a permanent change or if they just didn't have any that night sad

We were all pretty tired after dinner so I'm betting we took an Uber back but I don't really remember. Either way we did get back in one piece!

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This is great Allie! I'm so pleased you managed a more relaxed trip this time. Great tips for travelling with a little person too - snacks and Uber, must remember snacks and Uber. We're hoping to stay at Pop with our little one either next year or the year after, so it's good to see your report. Great photos and videos too - Penny is adorable! xx

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wow just catching up on your days they are all fantastic!! Penny is most certainly a Disney girl through and through!

gutted we didn't get the chance to meet but that must mean that we just have to do more trips to make sure we meet up in the future right?!

can't wait for more updates! yay

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amy1989 wrote:
wow just catching up on your days they are all fantastic!! Penny is most certainly a Disney girl through and through!

gutted we didn't get the chance to meet but that must mean that we just have to do more trips to make sure we meet up in the future right?!

can't wait for more updates! yay

That she is! We really lucked out as I'm not sure what we would have done had she been scared or hated the whole thing. eek

Exactly! We'll be there in February and November next year. Think you can fit one of those in? biggrin

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Allie wrote:
amy1989 wrote:
wow just catching up on your days they are all fantastic!! Penny is most certainly a Disney girl through and through!

gutted we didn't get the chance to meet but that must mean that we just have to do more trips to make sure we meet up in the future right?!

can't wait for more updates! yay

That she is! We really lucked out as I'm not sure what we would have done had she been scared or hated the whole thing. eek

Exactly! We'll be there in February and November next year. Think you can fit one of those in? biggrin

you really did when I was a kid i was terrified of the hunchback of Notre Dame I wouldn't go anywhere near him so fair to say we have some awkward pictures of my mother getting the autograph for me because I just refused!!!

darn it we are planning April and October!!! personally I think penny needs 3 trips next year just to make sure she is a Disney girl! laugh

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amy1989 wrote:
Allie wrote:
amy1989 wrote:
wow just catching up on your days they are all fantastic!! Penny is most certainly a Disney girl through and through!

gutted we didn't get the chance to meet but that must mean that we just have to do more trips to make sure we meet up in the future right?!

can't wait for more updates! yay

That she is! We really lucked out as I'm not sure what we would have done had she been scared or hated the whole thing. eek

Exactly! We'll be there in February and November next year. Think you can fit one of those in? biggrin

you really did when I was a kid i was terrified of the hunchback of Notre Dame I wouldn't go anywhere near him so fair to say we have some awkward pictures of my mother getting the autograph for me because I just refused!!!

darn it we are planning April and October!!! personally I think penny needs 3 trips next year just to make sure she is a Disney girl! laugh

I'll give you my husband's contact info laugh

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Alright, I vowed I would wrap this up before our February trip so here we go. We're nine months out from this trip now and I have nothing to go off but our pictures so I apologize for the lack of details.

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Friday, April 29th

This was our Hollywood Studios day. We planned to be at the park for rope drop and were running a bit behind, so once we saw the lines for the buses we grabbed our phone and pulled up our old friend Uber. biggrin I told you we used it a lot this trip! Penny played on the cart while we waited for our car to come.

We arrived at Hollywood Studios with time to spare. We scanned in at the touch point and then were let most of the way down Hollywood Boulevard where cast members were blocking off entrance to the rest of the park until opening. Standing right outside of Starbucks was a huge temptation to run in and grab a coffee, but I knew as soon as I did the line would be released. Sure enough, only a couple of minutes later and we were allowed to venture off. People started running towards the Jedi Academy sign up area and Toy Story mania, but we headed straight back to meet Buzz and Woody and ended up being the first meet of the day! Woody was standing outside the meet and greet area when we arrived and he took Penny by the hand, led her through the queue, and stopped to play with her at some of the photo spots. It was so magical and Penny talked about it the rest of the day. I wish you all could have seen her face as she came around the corner and saw Buzz. She was so excited!








Now our plan had been to do Disney Jr Live right after this with our FastPass, but when we got to the gate they told us that they had been having technical difficulties and didn't think the first show of the day would run. We were given an additional FastPass to use as a replacement (I honestly don't remember what we ended up using this on) and were told to come back and try a later show. This threw quite the wrench in our plans as we had the day scheduled out really precisely to fit in all the shows we wanted to see around Penny's naptime. We switched some of our plans up and instead headed over to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid. When that was done we tried the next performance of Disney Jr Live. While I waited in line to see if they were going to run it (they still weren't sure at this point) Penny and Jon went and took some pictures with Minnie.


They thankfully opened up the Disney Jr show, but Penny was kind of a crab through most of it because she was upset that we hadn't had time to let her finish the Disney Jr character meet and greets out front first. It was a cute show but we probably don't need to do it again. Clearly Penny likes meeting the characters more than she likes watching them. whoopdedoo



We had a Frozen Sing-along FastPass next that we were really pushing on time now because of the change in plans. We got there just inside our window and Penny really enjoyed it, more than she had on our December 2015 trip and much more then she had enjoyed the Disney Jr show.

Next we got some lunch over at Rosie's All-American Cafe before our Beauty and the Beast FastPass window opened. I had the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich which was divine, Penny had the kids power pack lunch (love these by the way!), and I think Jon had chicken nuggets or a burger. I vaguely remember a small disaster happening at lunch. I think maybe Penny spilled Jon's soda everywhere or something? I remember having to clean up a mess, that's for sure.

We finished our lunch in plenty of time for our FastPass window. I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend using your tier one FastPass for this, but we didn't feel like trying TSMM with Penny when she was that little and she wasn't tall enough for Rock'n'Rollercoaster obviously, so B&tB it was. It was really nice to be able to get decent seating, though. I've never sat anywhere in this theater besides the super far back and I think we were in maybe the 4th row center? It kept Penny much more engaged and she really liked the show.






It was time for Penny's nap and Jon and I decided to go spend it over at Disney Springs. We walked to what was labeled as Disney Springs buses from Hollywood Studios and sat there for a good 15 to 20 min before we found out that Hollywood Studios doesn't have a direct bus to Disney Springs (or at least they didn't at that time). Why do they have an area labeled for Disney Springs buses then? I don't get it. At least we made friends with these ducks in the meantime...

We debated calling an Uber but decided to save the money and walk over to the Boardwalk to catch a bus from there. It was a much longer walk then I remembered and it was HOT out, but we finally reached the bus stop. We waited another half an hour for a Disney Springs bus that never came so we finally resigned ourselves to calling the dang Uber we should have called in the first place! One was there within a couple of minutes and in no time at all we were getting dropped off at the West Side of Disney Springs and Penny finally got put down for her nap much, much later then she should have.

We wandered around for a bit, went into a couple of shops, and then sat down for a rest outside Portobello's. We quickly realized then Penny had already woken up from her extremely short nap and was not going to go back to sleep, so we caught a bus back to Hollywood Studios. Penny did the meet and greets with the rest of the Disney Jr crew and I know at some point on this day we did Great Movie Ride so maybe that was around this time, too.




.be



We had dinner reservations that night at Sanaa so we hopped on a bus over to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We checked in at the restaurant and were told we would be texted shortly when our table was ready. Probably within around 5 to 10 minutes they told us. We were starving but went off to look at the animals on the savannah, explore the gift shop, and even went to play drums with a cast member in a small lounge area.

Horrible picture quality, sorry...

At this point it had been well over half an hour since we had checked in and we were very much past our ADR time. We went to ask how much longer they thought it would be and they told us they had already texted us, we hadn't come back, so they had given our table away. We were told they would find us another table so we waited right by the hostess stand.

Now, I don't know if it was an issue with their system, an issue with my phone, or what. Honestly, it doesn't really matter. I didn't get the text. However, there was never an apology issued nor did they even make any attempt to quickly find us another table. It was another 20 min before we went and asked again what was going on and we were again told "Well, we texted you the first time and you didn't come." Right, but we are now going on an hour after we checked in, I've got a super hungry two year old, and I would really like to eat dinner soon. Please and thanks.

Luckily once we finally got a table our food was amazing and more than made up for the earlier snafu. Our server was excellent, too. We got the bread service with all the dips...oh my gosh, soooooooo good. Everything and more than I had been hoping for. Jon and I split the meal where you could pick two entrees to sample. I'm pretty sure we got the butter chicken and the braised beef. I also had a margarita of some kind. Everything was absolutely delicious and we will definitely be dining here again, if only for that bread service.

We headed back to Hollywood Studios to catch Fantasmic. This was a must do on our list since we had missed it last trip due to Penny getting sick on our Hollywood Studios day, and Fantasmic is my favorite show. As we entered the park about 30 minutes prior to the show, however, we heard them announcing that Fantasmic for the night was already standing room only. We made the call that this was a no go with Penny, so we grabbed a caramel apple and a cookie at Sweet Spells and headed back "home" to Pop. This February trip we did the Fantasmic Dinner Package so that we are sure to fit it in this time!

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I love Penny's meets with the characters and that one with Buzz and Woody looked super special!

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amy1989 wrote:
I love Penny's meets with the characters and that one with Buzz and Woody looked super special!

It was really cool. We were the only people in there the entire time. No rushing through, nothing like that. Just Disney magic.

I will note for people who haven't done this meet before that Buzz doesn't sign your autograph book, he has a stamp. Totally not a big deal, but because we did it in a glossy paged book we did have to hold it open for awhile to let it dry and even then it did rub off a bit on the opposite page.

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Great report Allie. Penny is soooo cute. I love to see Disney in the eyes of a little one. How old is Penny now?

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PirateGirl wrote:
Great report Allie. Penny is soooo cute. I love to see Disney in the eyes of a little one. How old is Penny now?

Thanks so much! She turned 3 in August and will be going back to her third trip to Disney in 16 days. She's off the wall excited! And we're pumped to see how different the trip is this time around with her almost a year older then our April trip and with her knowing more of what to expect.

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You'll have to forgive me but I really have little to no recollection of our last day at Epcot so I'm going almost entirely off our photos. Before we caught a bus to Epcot we packed up all of our stuff and completed our airline check in at the resort, checking our luggage and receiving our boarding passes.

I know we had FastPasses for Spaceship Earth and Journey into Imagination so we must have done those, and I'm almost positive we played some of the games at the end of Spaceship Earth and let Penny have her customary dance party in the section after Imagination where you can jump on the mats to make music. We had had a Living with the Land FastPass too but we skipped that for time's sake. It also looks like we explored the World Showcase a bit and took pictures of more topiaries.







Penny got to meet with Jasmine (Aladdin had recently stopped meeting in Morocco). Everyone in line laughed and smiled at her excitement while we were waiting. They had a really cute thing at the end where you could rub the magic lamp and it would show your fortune on the side. Maybe they've always had this, but I don't think we've ever done the meet in Morocco before.




We of course checked out more of the food booths then. I know for a fact we did the Frushi, Chicken Edamame Bun, and Beef Teriyaki Udon at the Hanami booth, and I remember we weren't a super big fan of any of these.



Penny also met with Mulan. We had a really hard time finding where her meet was going to take place as there were no signs or labels anywhere. We asked someone over at Nine Dragons and the description she gave was very vague. We were one of the first people, but by the time Mulan came out there were several groups that had gathered and we all were asking each other if anyone knew where to line up. Well, we were in kind of the wrong spot but, after fending off a couple of groups that tried to budge, we reformed our line in the correct spot and all was well.


After that we did more topiaries and more food booths. I remember eating the Watermelon Salad and Vegetable and White Bean Naanwhich at Urban Farm Eats (and maybe possibly the Urban Mary? That sounds like me...), the Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and maybe the Pineapple Hard Cider (yup, again that sounds right) at Pineapple Fresh, the Tempura Shrimp Taco and Rose Margarita (hmm, maybe that's why I can't remember this day...) at Jardin de Fiestas. We maybe possibly also did the Harissa Chicken Kebab but it clearly wasn't very memorable if we did. We tried out the Beijing-style Candied Strawberries from Lotus House while relaxing in the air conditioning of the Mexico pavilion, and then we took our last course of Jerk-Spice Grouper with Mango Salsa and Jamaican-braised Beef into Innoventions West. We were very stuffed by this point (I wonder why) so I remember we barely ate any of this last one and every bite we did take was painful.




Penny had been napping through the snacking so we had decided to take an Uber back to the resort instead of the bus so that we could let her sleep as long as possible before heading back to catch the Magical Express. As we got up to the front gates I called for one, but we had a really hard time finding where our driver was picking us up. We finally got ahold of him by phone and found him driving around in the parking lot out past the bus stops.

Our driver clearly did not know the area well because he took us way the eff off of property to get from Epcot to Pop. I was nervously watching the time the entire drive and we finally pulled up to Pop's front doors as the Magical Express was sitting there, all boarded up with passengers and ready to leave. We grabbed our stuff out of the van as quickly as possible and I got Penny on the bus as Jon ran over to claim our carry on from the baggage area at the resort. We safely made it on the bus in the nick of time and all was well...or so we thought.

A few minutes into the bus ride I realized my phone was missing. I stressed the entire ride to the airport, crossing my fingers that we would find my phone in the stroller we had stored below the bus. No such luck. We logged into my Uber account on Jon's phone and found a way to call our driver. We got in touch with him but he said he was currently driving someone and hadn't heard the phone ringing when we called it but would look for it when he could. Sure enough, we got a call a bit later that he had found my phone in the van. Jon asked him what we could do to get it from him, thinking the driver would say he would ship it for us or something if we reimbursed him for postage. Being an amazingly nice person, he said he would drive it out to the airport for us but he wasn't sure how long it would take with traffic. How wonderful of a human being. He never even asked for any sort of payment or anything. We of course wanted to give him something for his trouble so Jon went to find an ATM to get cash out while Penny and I ate dinner in the food court. Of course we didn't have any of our regular debit cards on us since we had left them at home and Jon couldn't remember the PIN for the card he did have on him. I don't remember what we ended up having to do but we were eventually able to get cash out.

We killed time in the Disney Store, but Penny was feeding off our nervous energy and that, combined with being overtired, sent her into a full on meltdown. Here she is when she was still in a decent mood.

Jon kept calling to check in on our driver's progress as we were getting dangerously close to our check in time and the line for TSA was insane. Jon finally got a call that our driver was pulling up, so Penny and I went to grab a place in line while Jon ran to grab the phone. I slowly moved us forward, holding all the carry-ons and a screaming, squirmong toddler. All the while I was getting really nervous that Jon wouldn't get back before we got to where we scan our tickets and I didn't have a phone to get hold of him. Thank goodness he joined up with us just as we got to the first TSA agent. We might actually make through it on time for our flight! Famous last words.

The agent scanned our tickets and said they weren't valid and my heart dropped to the floor. Apparently the tickets that Disney printed for us at the resort were not enough to get us through. We were supposed to have gone to a ticket counter when we got in or something. No one had told us that, but either way someone was going to have to go back to the Southwest counter and print new tickets. Jon sprinted off and I begged the TSA agent to let us stand off to the side and wait up front rather than making us go through the whole line again. She reluctantly agreed after some hemming and hawing. After what felt like an eternity, Jon came back into sight, we scanned our tickets, and then we sloooooooowly inched our way through the never ending security line. We got through with no problem but we were literally down to minutes now before we needed to check in for our flight.

We ran and jumped onto the tram to the other side of the airport just as the doors shut, and the second they opened again we ran like our life depended on it to our gate. We got there just in the nick of time and I got in line to board while Jon went off to gate check the stroller. Penny and I boarded, found us seats, and waited. And waited. And waited. No Jon. I started panicking that something had happened and they weren't going to let him board, and then what was I going to do? He still had my phone so I didn't even have a way to get a hold of anyone, not even my sister who we were supposed to call as we landed so she could come pick us up. Seconds before takeoff my husband showed up on the plane. Apparently what had happened is they kept sending him all over the place to check the stroller and it became a super long process and he too was worried he'd miss the flight.

After all the absolute craziness of the day, we had a super turbulent flight home that totally freaked me out and I convinced myself we were going to crash and that all the day's events had been warnings to us that we shouldn't have gotten on the plane. Of course I was completely overreacting, but man was I exhausted and it all seemed to make perfect sense to me at the time. Once the weather settled down, we all crashed hard until landing. What a way to end a Disney trip but at least we had a reason to be grateful to be home!! laugh

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OMG what a last day!!! I'm glad you made it home safe after all that!