Three Cheers for Minnie Ears: A March 2019 Trip Report *Updated 6/8*

Spacecow

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
:welcome:

This time last week I was resting up in our room at Pop Century, getting ready to attend Disney After Hours at Hollywood Studios and cap off our 7 days of Disney fun. Fast forward a week and here I am, trying to ignore my still not completely unpacked suitcase as I patiently wait for MDE to download all of my photopass photos as I begin my trip report :)

Before we get to all the fun and festivities, let me give you a clifnotes version of the who, what, when, where and why of how this trip came to be!

Who
This trip was a sister's trip. So, the cast of characters consists of me (23) and my sister (19). Here's a pic from our last trip in May/June 2017 to get you acquainted- I'm the one on the left!



My sister is a sophomore at ASU- I work in marketing. We both hail from the sunny state of AZ:sunny: and grew up going to Disneyland. But after our last trip to WDW, we were both bit by the east coast Disney bug and couldn't wait to go back! Which brings me to....

What
Planning for this trip began as so many others do.... With a trip to Disney's website to price out a "what if?" scenario. I knew I wanted 7 park days, and after some deliberation, narrowed down the dates to coincide with my sister's spring break. I was also weighing a November trip around my birthday (the 21st) or a Christmas time trip- we went to Disneyland around Christmas a few times and they're some of my favorite memories. But, at the end of the day I decided it was more important to get one more trip in before the Galaxy's Edge crowds descended!

A few clicks later, and there we were:

Note that I ended up cancelling the booking through Disney and booking through a TA instead a few days later.... But, seeing that fun Mickey screen pop up still made me very excited!
When

This trip was a 7-park day extravaganza from 3/2-3/10. We arrived at about 4 pm on the 2nd and left early on the 10th. Thankfully I had the foresight to book the 11th off of work, because I definitely needed a day to decompress before rejoining the "real world" :)


Where

The hotel: Pop Century, 90's section

Other resorts visited: Sarasota Springs (took a bus there from the parks to walk to Disney Springs) and Wilderness Lodge (visited for Storybook Dining).

The parks: All 4! No water parks this time around though. And a few trips to Disney Springs!

The transportation: Mainly relied on Disney buses with a few Ubers thrown in for good measure. And of course, DME to and from the airport- 4 and a half hours each way from PHX to MCO!
Why

After our trip in 2017, we didn't have any concrete plans for a return. I was just starting my job and my sister was just starting college, so real life got in the way and Disney was left on the backburner. Plus, 2018 was a year of major, major challenges, so Disney was the furthest thing on my mind for a while.

After losing most of the sight in my right eye, I was diagnosed with MS in February of 2018. It was earth-shattering, and completely changed the course of my life- thankfully though, my vision came back after about 3 weeks. With my future mobility and health in question, I wasn't really thinking about Disney. After months of navigating yellow tape and headache-inducing back and forth with my insurance company, I started on one of the best drugs on the market and kept up diligently with regular MRIs and visits with my neurologist. One year later, I'm still on my feet, and still (generally) functioning just like everybody else. Coming from how hopeless I felt then, it's amazing how things have turned out.

By August 2018 I was feeling less doom and gloom and slowly feeling more comfortable with making plans for the future and doing the things I loved. It was then that I decided that I wanted to go back to Disney. So, the wheels in my head started turning and I concocted a plan for my sister and I to make the journey. :) I'm more of a planner, and she's more "roll with the punches", so it worked out that I'd handle figuring everything out and she'd just show up to have a great time.


It ended up being an amazing trip- as you'll see from this report! So, if I haven't bored you yet, stay tuned for more as I attempt to starve off my post Disney-depression by sharing my trip with my DIS fam!

Next up: More fun pre-trip data and our arrival day!
 

Spacecow

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
The Fun Stuff: ADRs, Fastpasses, and a whole lot of 3's
The number 3 came up time and time again throughout this trip, hence the title of this report (and who doesn't love a good rhyme?). And the more I think about it, it really was our magic number!​
  • Our third trip to WDW
  • In the third month of the year
  • With our first park day on 3/3
  • Attended all three Disney After Hours events
  • And, we got put in row 3 of rides a lot!
With that being said, here was our plan:

Arrival Day: Arrive around 4, drop off bags, wander around Disney Springs, then a late dinner ADR at Beaches and Cream.

Day 1, 3/3: Magic Kingdom! Kicking off bright and early with EMM, meeting pooh and friends for lunch at Crystal Palace, and ending the day with a fireworks dessert party. FPs: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Day 2, 3/4: Hollywood Studios in the morning, and Epcot in the evening for our Garden Grill dinner ADR and Illuminations. FPs: Rock n Roller Coaster, Midway Mania, Star Tours.

Day 3, 3/5: Animal Kingdom all the way! including attending DAH after a afternoon break at the hotel. FPs: Safari, Flight of Passage, Everest.

Day 4, 3/6: A much needed "nothing" day. SLEEPING IN and then heading to Magic Kingdom for a Liberty Tree Tavern lunch. FPs: Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain.

Day 5, 3/7: Rope dropping Epcot to ride test track, experiencing Flower and Garden for the first time, and then resting at the hotel before DAH at Magic Kingdom! FPs: Frozen, Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land.

Day 6, 3/8: Returning to Hollywood Studios to FINALLY ride slinky dog, and then heading to Magic Kingdom again, because of course! FPs: Rock n Rollercoaster, Slinky Dog, Star Tours.

Day 7, 3/9: Animal Kingdom in the morning, and then a break and dinner at Storybook Dining before completing the DAH trinity at Hollywood Studios!

Departure Day: Boarding the tragical express at 6:45 am to head back home :(

Like any Disney trip, things didn't quite go according to plan. But, that's part of the fun!

Next up: Arrival Day, or how my poor reading comprehension almost got us screwed over by Disney buses!
 
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  • TheOneWithTheTriplets

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2018
    Joining in from the March trip thread. What a difficult diagnosis! So good to hear that the meds are working well for you.

    We had some overlap in our trip dates (I was 2/25-3/6) so I can't wait to hear all about your time.
     

    Newsies

    Headlines don't sell papes.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2013
    Following along! I'm so sorry to hear about your stressful year-- you guys definitely deserved a magical vacation! Can't wait to read more!
     

    Spacecow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2017
    Following along! What a stressful year for you, you definitely deserve a Disney vacation!
    Yay, glad to have you along! :)

    Joining in from the March trip thread. What a difficult diagnosis! So good to hear that the meds are working well for you.

    We had some overlap in our trip dates (I was 2/25-3/6) so I can't wait to hear all about your time.
    I just started following your report too! It'll be interesting to see how our trips were similar/different in the same time frame! :)

    Following along! I'm so sorry to hear about your stressful year-- you guys definitely deserved a magical vacation! Can't wait to read more!
    Thanks! Welcome! :)
     
  • PAsFab5

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 12, 2017
    Following along!! Your positive attitude is so amazing and I am wishing you the best with your health! You deserve a great vacation. !
     

    Spacecow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2017
    Arrival Day (Yay!)

    Our flight arrived around 4, after a flight time of about 4 and a half hours. We elected not to use DME’s luggage transport, because just a few days prior to our trip I read a horror story about someone who waited 36 HOURS to get their bags delivered at Pop. Extreme example for sure, but I wasn’t taking that chance. So, after landing our first step was to collect our bags. As we soon found out, this was quite inconvenient. Southwest’s baggage claim is in terminal A, whereas DME picks up in terminal B. Translation: lots of walking and lots of backtracking. But it was worth it to know that my bags were with me and not floating out in the great unknown for hours!

    We finally reached check in for DME and scanned our magic bands. We were right at the front of the queue.


    A couple minutes later, and we were on the bus! Woo!


    After a leisurely ride, we arrived at Pop Century! I got the text about our room being ready while we were on the train in the airport- we were in the 90’s section, on the 4th floor in building 8. I remember requesting a higher floor through online check in, so it looks like my request was granted. Once we grabbed our bags we set out to our room.

    Now, my biggest mistake here was not looking at a map of the resort before we got there…. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but I really didn't pay attention to the actual layout or anything. Instead of taking the very quick and easy shortcut through the parking lot, we walked the lonnggg way to the 90’s section. Through the 60’s, through the 70’s, then the signs stopped changing and I thought we’d never get to the 90’s…. But we did. Definitely not a fun walk while lugging suitcases. But, we learned the errors of our ways when we glanced to the left and saw the main building and the bus we’d just gotten off sitting just across the parking lot. But, from that point on, we used the shortcut, which came in handy after long days of parkhopping.

    Sweaty and tired, we lugged out suitcases the last few feet into the elevator before navigating to our room and home for the week: Good ol’ 8441.


    My first thought was that the rooms looked just like the pictures I saw online, but they felt much less sterile and more welcoming in person. I really appreciated the hard floors as opposed to carpet. I HATE carpet. It's hard enough to keep clean in a home, I don't have any faith in hotels keeping it clean. Also, the murphy bed adds so much space to the room, although we ended up leaving it down for most of the time.

    Which, side note, when lowering the bed for the first time we had a spit second moment of "oh wait, does the table actually just... Collapse? Is this how it works?" Lol, I guess neither of us had ever experienced a murphy bed before, so we were nervous about breaking something when we put it down.


    One thing I was bummed about was that the light up headboard on the murphy bed was burnt out. L It was a real downer for my sister: from “Ooh, it lights up!” to “oh, never mind, it’s broken” in a matter of seconds. It still looked cute though!

    I'll save a full resort review for later in the report, but overall we were very happy with Pop and would absolutely stay there again. And, the beds were SO COMFORTABLE! On our last trip, we stayed in a royal room at POR: Riverside, which i loved, but the beds felt hard like dorm mattresses! After years of enjoying cozy beds at Paradise Pier Hotel and The Grand Californian at Disneyland, I was left with the impression that beds at WDW just didn't measure up- but the beds at Pop put that to rest for sure.

    Anyway, like I said, I'll save more thoughts about the resort for later :) Back to the report:

    We had some time to kill before our Beaches and Cream ADR- 3 hours to be exact. I made it super late to account for any travel delays- it seems excessive, but you just never know! So, we got settled and freshened up for the evening with a soundtrack to set the Disney mood, with the help of the resort TV channel. My “rule” for a Disney trip is always to only watch Disney or Disney-adjacent shows on TV. It just feels right. So we spent a lot of time either listening to the resort TV soundtrack, or watching Disney cartoons.




    As you can see above, we wasted no time making ourselves at home and cluttering up the dresser. Our collection of minnie ears took up most of the space- we always get at least one or two new pairs per trip, hence why I referenced them in the title of this report!


    While we decompressed, I took a quick “I’m at Disney, yay!” selfie, with a fun photobomb from the mouse himself:



    After a little while, we decided to head over to Disney Springs for a bit before heading to Beach Club. So, we set out for our first introduction to the Pop Century bus system- and it wasn’t exactly the smoothest one!

    We got in line for the Disney Springs bus right after one left… It was at this point that I remembered that I could check bus times in the app. That wasn’t a feature on our last trip! If we’d left the room a few minutes earlier, we would’ve made it. But, instead, we were towards the front of the line for the next one, in front of a large softball team that took up most of the queue.


    And there, we waited. And waited. The next bus arrival time on the screen moved forward, then back, then disappeared altogether. 7:21, 7:25, 7:30, 7:27…. We passed the time by talking to the couple behind us, who were from Ohio I think…. Or somewhere else cold. They expressed that they’d dealt with several long bus waits during their time at Pop. Not exactly the glowing endorsement I was hoping for.

    We ended up waiting almost 45 minutes… A serious dent into our Disney Springs time. Several times throughout the wait I thought about just throwing in the towel and calling an Uber, but I was really trying to rely on the buses as much as possible during this trip, because I’m cheap. Once the bus disembarked, we said goodbye to our might-be-from-Ohio friends. The husband pointed out where the return bus would pick us up, “all the way over there”. I made note of that and we went our separate ways.


    I had recently heard that Disney released a new line of dog accessories- and as someone who loves dressing up my dog, I knew exactly what my first souvenir was going to be!

    Obligatory dog picture: This is Lucy!



    For some reason, I had it in my head that the dog accessories were sold at World of Disney. Despite the fact that I carry a super computer in my pocket, I didn’t stop to use the wealth of information at my fingertips to verify this. We headed to World of Disney and wandered aimlessly, looking for merchandise that wasn’t there. I hate asking for help, but ultimately gave in and asked a cast member, who told us the dog stuff was “in the center of the store”. So, to the center we went, to no avail. Then, a second cast member pointed us to the Co-Op, where we should’ve been the whole time.

    But, at this point, we were veering dangerously close to “you’ll miss your ADR if you don’t leave RIGHT NOW” territory, so we had to book it back to the buses. And, of course, we arrived at the Beach Club bus RIGHT as one was leaving. Again I was faced with “pay for an Uber or sit here and stress”. And I chose to sit there and stress…. Even going so far as to Google every possible variation of “late for ADR what to do”. But, the bus finally arrived, and I sat there attempting to will the bus to go faster.​


    We arrived at Beach Club and my lack of foresight struck yet again, as I realized I had no idea where Beaches and Cream was. Without thinking to ask a cast member, we wandered out of the lobby and onto the boardwalk, which got us nowhere. We wandered some more until we finally asked someone, and they pointed us in the right direction. I must say, the location is very nondescript and easy to miss. But, we arrived, 11 minutes after our ADR time. I was so sure they were going to cancel it, and I had a whole spiel ready for the hostess when I went to give her our name. But, thankfully, we were seated no problem. A crisis narrowly averted.



    This was our first time at Beaches and Cream, and I loved the atmosphere! It was so cute and fun. We both had cheeseburgers and enjoyed watching a table nearby take on the Kitchen Sink. I think they were vloggers, or aspiring vloggers, because the dad filmed the whole thing with a go pro looking thing. Then the time came for dessert!


    We got the snickers sundae to split, and I got the cherry ice cream soda. Which…. Wasn’t great! It tasted very flat and not at all as I expected. I didn’t feel like saying anything though, in case it was a problem with their machine and not something they could fix. But the sundae was very good!

    After finishing up, we set out to get the bus back to Disney Springs, in order to transfer to Pop. At the bus stop, we found that someone left their Disney parks bag with a new T-shirt inside. As our good deed of the day, we went back to the lobby and handed the bag to the concierge. The person’s name was on the receipt, so hopefully they were reunited with their stuff.

    Once we got back to the hotel, we got to bed pretty quickly. We were tired from the long day of traveling and had to be up bright and early for our first park day. After our not-so-fun night of busing, I was adamant that we would be early, early, EARLY for our bus to the Magic Kingdom Early Morning Magic. So, we aimed to be down waiting for the bus at no later than 6:30. Were we successful? Well, that’s a story for another day!

    Stay tuned for Part 2 in which we take on a whirlwind "sun up to sun down" first day at Magic Kingdom!
     
    Last edited:

    suse66

    Mickey Bars should be a daily food group!
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2008
    Loving the start to your report! I am so sorry to hear of the stressful year you had and your diagnosis. You have a positive attitude and I hope for only the best for you. Looking forward to hearing more about your magical trip!
     
  • TheOneWithTheTriplets

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2018
    Glad that you looked Pop! We were planning on booking rooms there initially, and they look really comfy for values.

    Sucks about your bus luck. I've heard DS buses are least reliable in general, so hopefully you did better as the trip went on.
     

    Spacecow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2017
    Loving the start to your report! I am so sorry to hear of the stressful year you had and your diagnosis. You have a positive attitude and I hope for only the best for you. Looking forward to hearing more about your magical trip!
    Thank you- glad to have you along!

    Following along.
    Yay! Welcome!

    Glad that you looked Pop! We were planning on booking rooms there initially, and they look really comfy for values.

    Sucks about your bus luck. I've heard DS buses are least reliable in general, so hopefully you did better as the trip went on.
    Our bus luck got considerably better over the course of the week, which was great. The worst part was the long walks from the bus dropoff to the parks!
     

    ArielSRL

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2006
    I'm here! I came over from the March thread!

    After losing most of the sight in my right eye, I was diagnosed with MS in February of 2018. It was earth-shattering, and completely changed the course of my life- thankfully though, my vision came back after about 3 weeks. With my future mobility and health in question, I wasn't really thinking about Disney. After months of navigating yellow tape and headache-inducing back and forth with my insurance company, I started on one of the best drugs on the market and kept up diligently with regular MRIs and visits with my neurologist. One year later, I'm still on my feet, and still (generally) functioning just like everybody else. Coming from how hopeless I felt then, it's amazing how things have turned out.
    My aunt was diagnosed several years ago. I know there are more aggressive types of MS than my aunt has but she is doing very well, living with the disorder. I hope the same for you.

    It ended up being an amazing trip- as you'll see from this report! So, if I haven't bored you yet, stay tuned for more as I attempt to starve off my post Disney-depression by sharing my trip with my DIS fam!
    Looking forward to reading more. Headed to bed now but hoping to catch up in the next day or so!
     

    Spacecow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2017
    I'm here! I came over from the March thread!


    My aunt was diagnosed several years ago. I know there are more aggressive types of MS than my aunt has but she is doing very well, living with the disorder. I hope the same for you.
    Welcome! :daisy: and thank you for the kind words- MS is so different person to person, it's always nice to hear about people doing well. i think I'm very lucky, all things considered, in that I was diagnosed young and was able to start on a powerful medication right away. I hope your aunt continues to do well!

    following along :)
    Yay, welcome! :yay:
     

    Lesley Wake

    Bright Suns
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Following along! I remember your previous report - I wonder how many times you guys will get on Space Mountain this year?
     

    disgeek009

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2012
    Following! Sounds like you had a good first day.


    I was so sure they were going to cancel it, and I had a whole spiel ready for the hostess when I went to give her our name. But, thankfully, we were seated no problem. A crisis narrowly averted.

    I'm totally like this too! Even though the common sense part of me knows they must have some grace period, I always obsess over being on time for reservations.
     

    Spacecow

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2017
    Following along! I remember your previous report - I wonder how many times you guys will get on Space Mountain this year?
    Welcome! We rode Space Mountain 4 times in just our first day! (spoiler alert, lol) - it's still our favorite! :)


    I'm totally like this too! Even though the common sense part of me knows they must have some grace period, I always obsess over being on time for reservations.​

    Glad to have you along! And yeah, i can't shake the feeling that if we don't arrive RIGHT AT THE DESIGNATED TIME our reservation will just be thrown out! I usually try really hard to get there early. I'm the same way with any kind of appointment, whether it's the doctor, the dentist, anything.​
     

    Lesley Wake

    Bright Suns
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Welcome! We rode Space Mountain 4 times in just our first day! (spoiler alert, lol) - it's still our favorite! :)
    Haha, I’ve gone on it 3x, which is 2x too many for me! It’s just too rough for me and the seating doesn’t feel secure enough (I know in my head it’s fine, but it doesn’t feel that way when I’m on it). I prefer Disneyland’s version which is smoother and proper seats and lap bars! But everyone has their favorite rides so I don’t presume to judge!
     

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