Strategizing for our upcoming mini trip

Now that we’ve gotten the feel for Disney in a covid world, we are ready and raring to go for this next little mini trip next week. I originally was supposed to go for a quick trip in March with my mom and my son, which was moved to July, then I was supposed to go for two nights in June with my non-fiancé because things had been going semi well and we were trying to have some alone time to salvage our relationship, but alas coronavirus laughed at my near happiness and that trip was postponed to August. Since we are now (yet again) not doing so great, plus he is much more nervous about travel right now than I am, I’m going with my kiddo again! Woot woot! It’s actually my birthday week also, and I’m sure my 3 year old will make me feel extra special, so it’ll be great. Super hot and humid, but great lol.

We are doing 3 nights at the Boardwalk Villas (home sweet home) and are arriving pretty dang early on day 1 and leaving relatively late on day 4, so we should get a solid 4 park days, which is where the strategizing comes in. It is so tricky now with being limited to one park per day. If given the choice, with how my son is right now, I’d spend each morning in one park, then nap in the afternoon, walk through Epcot to the monorail, and ride the monorail to MK or an MK resort for dinner each evening. He is so monorail obsessed that that would 100% be how we would spend every single evening, I’m sure of it. That isn’t an option right now for several reasons. Most notably, the Epcot monorail isn’t running, but also because we can’t go to one park in the morning and then walk through Epcot in the afternoon and also potentially go over to MK in the evening. So my poor little monorail lover will have to get his fix on specific monorail days LOL.

This is my tentative plan:

Day 1: land in Orlando around 11, take the Magical Express, drop off our stuff at the Boardwalk. Park reservation at Epcot for the day (for a couple reasons: we aren’t around for the morning so it’s a good day to do the park that opens latest and also we will be tired of transportation so it will be nice to walk to Epcot from BWV). Late lunch at Garden Grill to see our first characters of the trip and get some air conditioning and relax a little after a long travel day. Then hopefully we can do Frozen, Spaceship Earth, Nemo, Imagination, or see a character cavalcade before heading back over to the hotel for a late nap at like 3:30 at this point probably. If he naps for a couple hours we should still be able to get back over to Epcot and do quite a few fun rides and have a late evening there since the park closes late (it is sad that 9pm is “late” these days…although with a toddler it was always late). That’ll be great since he will be all wound up and excited to be in Disney that night, so a late evening will be fun. We also will probably ride the Skyliner because he was bummed it wasn’t running when we went in July. He likes the “gondola gondola” almost as much as the monorail.

So I feel pretty good about day 1. Doesn’t feel like too much. Feels pretty flexible and yet well planned so we can get food and rest when we need it. Whew. Don’t need to worry about that day.

Day 2: Park reservation for Hollywood Studios. Disclaimer: I grabbed a couple HS days for this trip because non-fiancé loves Star Wars and I was really hoping he would come on this trip and we could go ROTR for the first time, but it’s not in the cards this time. I hung on to the HS reservations because we did MK and AK last month and my son has spent the past year becoming OBSESSED with everything Pixar. Rumor has it there are character cavalcades that include the Incredibles and Monsters Inc right now, so he will be elated with that, on top of Toy Story Land. We also had planned our initial March trip around the opening of Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway, so we are exciting to get on that finally. So I guess we will get breakfast at the bakery on the Boardwalk when he inevitably wakes up at 6am eager to go to the parks on ride the monorail, neither of which will be a possibility for hours. If he is up super early I may stall by having us go to the pool for a bit. Otherwise we will eat in the room and watch some Mickey on the TV before getting on the Skyliner and heading to HS from the back entrance of Epcot (I know we can walk, but again, he loves the Skyliner…plus alone in the Skyliner will be a great break from masks). We will hopefully do the Mickey Railway ride at park opening, see some characters, then take the Skyliner to Topolinos for a late late breakfast reservation (basically lunch). We love love loved Topolinos last time. I had to take whatever time was available for this impromptu trip. Lunch is actually my preferred character dining time. You get the breakfast pricing, but when my son is actually hungry at mid day. It’s perfect. After that we will probably go back to HS for awhile, then back to the hotel for a nap. I guess in the evening we will go back to HS again, or there is a significant chance that my son will have reached the point where he is like “dude we’ve been in Disney 24+ hours with no mention of the monorail… what the hell lady” and I’ll have to improvise an evening on the monorail. That would be pretty simple. From the Boardwalk we would take a bus to MK and then ride the monorail resort loop. We’d probably get quick service dinner at the Contemporary so we could watch the monorails ride through the resort while we ate. Two birds, one stone. Then we could take a bus from there to HS and walk back to the Boardwalk, or take the monorail back to MK and a bus back to the Boardwalk. Lots of options!

Day 3: Park reservation for Magic Kingdom. This is my birthday and it feels right to spend your birthday in the actual Magic Kingdom, right? Feels right to me. Plus, two Disney days with no MK is a lot with a toddler. MK is the place to be when you are in Disney with a little one. So day 3 will be an MK day. We will take the bus over in the morning, for lack of a more exciting option I guess. I have a feeling we will end up riding the monorail before we enter the park, but maybe that’s because my son’s toy monorail has been saying “please stand clear of the doors” on repeat 24/7 for weeks now and I’ve lost my mind. Nothing specific planned for this day. No dining or anything. Park in the morning, bus back for afternoon nap, then we will see what he feels like doing in the evening. We can do the pool or see if they have a movie out on the grass. Maybe we can go sit on the beach over by Yacht/Beach Club. We could go get dinner in the Swan/Dolphin. They have a pretty good quick service type place in there. I am naming all of these options, and I know that there is a 97% chance we will do the monorail loop again and quick service at GF or Contemporary for dinner. The kid likes what he likes and he sticks with it….

Day 4: This is the day I’m a bit nervous about. I’m going to call and ask about late check out, which I’m sure will be futile. DVC is notorious for never ever allowing late check outs. They actually try to get you out before check out at 11 usually. I’m hoping with all the availability lately maybe they will be more flexible. I’m also hoping if I communicate that I’m nervous about being without a room all day and having a late flight and I say the magic “nervous about coronavirus” phrase, they might be accommodating. I’m just worried that we will be out in the heat all day and our only options for AC and mask-free time will be in public places. When you add that on top of a travel day with the airport and airplane, it is just a bit of a nerve-wracking day, pandemic-wise. Lots of “exposure” as they say. So I will mention this to member services and see if they can be a little flexible with letting us keep the room until the early afternoon maybe (this is unheard of, but worth a try). Regardless, park reservation is tentatively for HS. Logic is that it’s nearby BWV and he probably will want to see all of his Pixar buddies again. We will play it by ear and see which park he wants to go to though and we can change the reservation the morning of. I figured HS is the hardest to get, and the others won’t be a problem to switch to in the morning if he wants. MK could make sense since it opens earlier than HS. He may also notice that we skipped AK and ask to go there. I’m flexible about which park we do on the last day. I’m mostly nervous about our lack of nap time in the afternoon. I’ve never flown later in the evening with him (our only options were 11am or 6:45pm), and I know how cranky and miserable he can get on no sleep. The last think I want is a tired and hangry toddler on a flight home. We had trouble getting food at MCO last time since Wendy’s was the only place open and it was packed. No social distancing. Super long line. Hoping maybe in the evening the airport will be a little emptier. Fingers crossed. Maybe I will get lucky and he will sleep on the Magical Express and then he will be in a good mood for the flight.

Other things on my mind while planning the trip:

-Making sure we have a fan/mister for us to carry around to cool off – going to go pick a cheap one up from Target today (the Disney ones are nice….but Disney priced)

-Getting a clip fan for the stroller potentially – I wish Amazon had normal two day shipping times…

-Which stroller should we bring on this trip? Typically we bring the small umbrella stroller to Disney, but we’ve also brought our normal Chicco one before, and it might make more sense since it has a good canopy to offer shade and some privacy if he takes his mask off. The downside is that it is pretty heavy to push around for 10 miles per day in the heat (woof). I am probably going to go with the bigger one because the shade is worth it for him. I’ll get a workout and feel less guilt about all my bakery visits 🙂

-Should we do a mini grocery order? We order groceries for our big trips each year and have them delivered to the resort with no problem. This always makes sense when in a one bedroom or bigger at DVC since there is a full kitchen and we can cook breakfast/lunch. We are staying in a studio though this time (just a mini fridge basically). I would just really order milk/juice probably. Not sure if Amazon has reasonable grocery delivery times these days…. My son wakes up and instantly asks for a drink in the morning. If we are buying juice all day it really adds up $ wise. Airport security won’t let juice through, although we did get quite a few Gerber pouches through in July in our carryons.

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