Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)
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  1. #1

    Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    Day 1
    Friday, 12/19/14
    Traveling party: me, DH, DS10, DD8, DS6, DN(niece)9, my mom, my dad, Big Nanny (my grandmother), my brother, my SIL, and there two kids boy (almost 3), and girl (10 months)


    After 18 hours in the car with DH and four kids (ages 10 and under) and only one real stop at Dennys for breakfast in North Carolina, we finally arrived in Disney at 6pm. Our check in day for the cabins wasn't till the next morning so we booked a room at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (across the street from downtown Disney) for just under $100. My parents and Big Nanny also booked a room a couple doors down from us, as they drove also. (My brother and his family would be meeting us the next morning at the cabins).


    The hotel was just perfect for what we needed: a good nights sleep, great restaurant for dinner (the restaurant even does a character breakfast with Goofy and Pluto, no reservations needed), and a sprinkle of Disney and Christmas all wrapped into one to get us excited for the start of our trip!!! I definitely recommend it if you arrive early for your trip. After dinner we were all in bed by 9/10pm. It was going to be an early start at the Magic Kingdom!!! Let the real fun begin tomorrow :-)
    (day 2 will be posted tonight!!)
    SEPT'89 Contemporary, MAR'01 A.S. Sports, AUG'07 A.S. Sports, OCT'08 A.S. Sports, SEPT'09 POP Century,
    NOV'10 P O Riverside, JAN'12 POP Century,
    JAN'13 P O French Quarter, OCT'13 Art of Animation
    APR'14 Caribbean Beach, SEPT'14 Coronado Springs
    DEC'14 FW Cabins, OCT'15 Caribbean Beach

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Phillyburbs
    Posts
    1,277

    Re: Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    Hooray for a trip report! Excited to read about your adventure!
    Couldn't imagine life without WDW!
    Last Trip: Oct 2015
    Upcoming: Feb 2016
    Treehouses(2) Vaca. Villas(2) Poly(1) Contemporary(1) CSR(1) CBR(4) POR(1) Sports(4) OKW(1) SSR(2) AKL(1)
    **Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, what a day!**

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183
    Wohoo! I'm looking forward to reading more!
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    691
    We always talk about doing Christmas at Disney. Can't wait to hear about your trip!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Elgin, IL (a suburb about 40 miles outside Chicago)
    Posts
    1,360
    Can not wait to read your trip report!
    ** If you can DREAM it, you can DO it. - Walt Disney **

  6. #6

    Re: Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    Day 2


    Saturday, 12/20/14


    The kids woke up to see that Santa had come early!! (see photo)


    He left each child a $100 Disney gift card, $100 universal gift card, family trip shirt, and decorated magic band all under the Disney/Mickey Christmas tree I had ordered. There was also a note from Santa explaining that they can buy their own gifts on the trip :-)


    By 9/9:30am we were on our way over to Fort Wilderness. I love decor/theme in the check in building, While we had done online check in, the process was a little bit longer than expected as we wanted at least one cabin ready to drop off food in fridge. The cast member was really awesome with helping us out. He got us in loop 2200, with cabins across the street from each other and they were both ready!! He also got us buttons for little nephews birthday and first visit and buttons for my parents 35th wedding anniversary! He also had them take a picture in front of the fire place to commemorate the occasion. Only problem we had was that our bands weren't working for entry to our cabin so I had to drive back to the check in building to get that sorted out.


    We quickly dropped off our bags, and were surprised with how much space the cabins had. The only drawback was the lack of drawers for clothes. (DH and I basically lived out of our suitcases for the week.) We put the four kids in the bedroom (one full bed and a set of bunk beds) and there was even a flat screen tv in there for them, while DH and I took the Murphy bed in the living room. There is only one bathroom in the cabins, but it is a rather large bathroom.


    The driveway is only large enough for one car and one golf cart so my parents and brother had to get a little creative with fitting both their cars in their driveway. We decided not rent golf carts since we all had cars, but we loved seeing all the decked out cart that people had.


    Once the bags were unpacked from the cars I realized I had to go back to the check in building AGAIN to pick up Big Nannys wheelchair and the double stroller for my baby niece and nephew (totally slipped my mind earlier). The process was quick and by the time I got back everyone was ready to head over to Magic Kingdom. The internal bus stop to the marina was right at the start of our loop (super convenient!) and we waited less than 5 minutes for bus to come. At the marina dock the boat was already there unloading as we arrived so we quickly boarded and were off the the magic kingdom. By now it was already 11:15am and our first FP time was 10:25-11:25am for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. I said a quick prayer that it wouldn't be a big issue.


    The ferry ride was about 20 minutes, so by the time we got through bag check, tapping our magic bands, and all the way back to FantasyLand (fighting through the parade crowds on Main Street) it was almost 12pm. I explained to the cast member at the fast pass entrance that just arrived and we'd had a couple issues with check in and our bands not working and apologized for being late for our allocated time. She let us all through (we were only 30 minutes late so I guess they can fix it on the computer at their discretion). We thanked her profusely and practically skipped through to queue to ride 7 Dwarfs for the first time. The ride was shorter than I thought it was going to be, but very cute. It was a great way to start our day in Magic Kingdom :-)


    From here we parted ways with my cabin heading over to Tomorrowland for our Space Mountain FP while my parents/brother's family cabin had FP for Peter Pan and then jumped on the short line for Small World after. Everyone enjoyed their rides and we all met up in front of Princess Fairytale Hall. DD8 was super excited because it was now time for her to meet Anna/Elsa!! The wait time was 120 minutes, but we had FP so in mere minutes DD and I wear taking photos and chatting with the Frozen princesses. My SIL and baby niece were next door meeting Rapunzel and Cinderella at the same time. Everyone else was on Splash Mountain. On a warm sunny day in Disney, they all welcomed the refreshing splash of water on the ride.


    From here we all headed over to Adventure land where different members of my parents cabin had fastpasses for PotC and Jingle Cruise. I thought about grabbing a Dole Whip Float but the line was pretty long so I decided to wait till later that night when we came back (extra magic hours were till 3am!)


    It was 3pm and pretty hot so our cabin decided to head back to the cabin to swim, while my parents/brother's fam/big nanny cabin stayed for their 3:30pm late lunch reservation at Crystal Palace.
    The ferry was already waiting for is at the dock again and the boat ride back was quite relaxing! We quickly changed into bathing suits and headed over to main pool. Having stayed at Caribbean Beach last April the theming at this pool is pretty minimal, but it does have a big slide that the kids enjoyed. Also there is VERY limited quick service meal options (we had the free dining plan) at Fort Wilderness, but we managed to find some hot dog meals for the kids at the pool snack station. DH stayed at the pool an extra hour while I ran back to cabin to really unpack/settle in/explore the cabin.


    By 7pm we were dressed and ready to head back to Magic Kingdom for the night (my parents and Big Nanny joined us, while my brothers family stayed in since the babies were exhausted). We just missed the actual lighting of the castle show, but seeing the castle already lit up as the boat pulled in took our breath away. We took tons of photopass pics on Main Street with all the beautiful Christmas decorations and while it was "snowing" (I had pre-ordered Memory Maker and we planned on getting our money's worth...lol). From here we headed to the FP kiosk to see if anything was left for the evening. Unfortunately there wasn't much of anything left so we decided to ride Dumbo so the kids could play in the circus area while the adults relaxed.


    Coincidently we planned it just right that we were boarding our elephants just as Wishes was starting. It was so amazing to watch the fireworks while flying on Dumbo...definitely a first for me! Once Wishes/Dumbo ended we headed over to Adventure Land so that now we could ride Jingle Cruise...which I highly recommend you do at night so you can see the holiday lights/decorations. There were many Christmas jokes added and we all had a good chuckle.


    I grabbed Dole Whip Pineapple Floats (with vanilla ice cream) for myself and DS10, DN9 after Jingle Cruise so we could have a little snack while waiting for the Castle show (I forget what it's called, the one where they project images on the castle). It's my moms favorite show so couldn't miss it. It seemed like it was the same version we saw in April with an extra 5 minutes at the end for a holiday tag.


    My parents and Big Nanny left after the show. The park had really thinned out by this point as it was close to midnight so we headed over to Haunted Mansion since it was only a 10 minute wait time (and it's one if our favorite rides). After that we were all pretty tired, and even though we could have pretty much walked on to any ride for the remainder of the night we decided to head back. We had an early morning at Universal the next day. We were all asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows. Good night!!
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    SEPT'89 Contemporary, MAR'01 A.S. Sports, AUG'07 A.S. Sports, OCT'08 A.S. Sports, SEPT'09 POP Century,
    NOV'10 P O Riverside, JAN'12 POP Century,
    JAN'13 P O French Quarter, OCT'13 Art of Animation
    APR'14 Caribbean Beach, SEPT'14 Coronado Springs
    DEC'14 FW Cabins, OCT'15 Caribbean Beach

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183
    Love it!

    We caught Wishes from the top outside section of Splash Mountain. Like you say, it's great seeing the fireworks from a more unusual perspective.

    Thanks for posting. I'm looking forward to reading more.
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Anderson indiana
    Posts
    968
    Can't wait to read more! It seems like forever since we've had a trip report!

  9. #9

    Re: Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    Day 3
    Sunday, 12/21/14


    We were up and out by 8:30am. I had planned on being on the road to Universal by 8am but our late night last night at MK meant everyone was a little groggy getting ready. Universal opened at 8am that morning and we arrived at 9am. This was the kids' first time at Universal (and pretty much the first time for DH and myself as well since we had stuck mainly to the haunted houses at the Halloween Horror Night a few months ago). We had a pretty specific list of rides to do, but I couldn't see spending all that money to do the express on 6 tickets so we just hoped for the best.


    First up Minion Mayhem with a 40 minute wait time. This was the one all 4 kids really wanted to ride and we knew it would only get longer as the day went on so we decided to bite the bullet. The line didn't feel like 40 minutes as it kept moving. The ride is one of those simulator types and the kids all loved it. Even better was getting to meet 2 of the minions after the ride with no real wait!! Those little yellow guys are so cute! We, of course, couldn't get through the gift shop without them each purchasing a little something with their gift cards from Santa.


    From here we headed straight "across the street" to the Shrek 4D attraction, with only a 15 minute wait time. It was also a simulator type ride and they kids were happy to meet Shrek after with barely a wait (I was starting to notice a theme here).


    There was only a 15 minute for Rip Ride Rocket (i think that's the name?), and DS10 and DN9 begged for me to take them, as they were the only ones tall enough. I was a little hesitant but I have to say it was pretty awesome! We would have even done it again later but the wait times were really long.


    We thought an early lunch was a good idea being that the parks were going to be crowded this week and DH and I remembered Simpsons World seemed to have a lot of options. Since it was only about 11am there were no lines and plenty of tables. After stuffing our faces with pizza, chicken fingers and fries we were ready to try the Simpsons ride...another simulator. Only a 10 minute wait and kids all loved it (funny because they have never really watched the show). They are still talking about when they were in Maggie's mouth...lol.


    My youngest DS6 really wanted to meet Spongebob so I ran him over to Spongebob store while the others lingered in Simpsons world. When we got there Patrick was at the meet/greet spot and there was no line so we hopped on. Patrick spent a lot of time with my little guy. 10 minutes later the others met us in store and we all got on the short line for Spongebob to come out. I couldn't believe how short all the character lines were in Universal, so different than Disney.


    After our time in bikini bottom we headed over to the ET ride. They took our names and entered them into a computer linked to a card. I had no idea what for....and if it wasn't for my kids telling me at the end I would have missed it all together. Whoops! After having done all the high tech rides this morning this one definitely felt a little primitive, but we enjoyed it regardless.


    We noticed a great play area for the kids (Fiefel from American Tale which was one of my favorite movies as a kid) so decided it would be a good time for DH and to grab a beer while the kids played. The kids loved the tube water slides (just a sprinkle of water, don't worry- they don't get drenched). They must have played for almost an hour in this area!


    From here we split up a bit. DH took DS10, DN9, and DD8 on the Revenge of the Mummy, but DS6 was too short so went to the Beetlejuice show. Being a fan of the movie, and anything with monsters we loved it!! The music was great, a lot of 80s rock- my favorite!!


    We all met up after the ride/show and took in some of the holiday decorations near the big universal Christmas tree. There were tons of "holiday characters" and other types of neat stilt walkers dressed in holiday outfits taking pictures. We leisurely strolled up the street stopping to take pics as we went, on our way to the park exit.


    After a minor detour on our way home we had just enough time to shower and get ready in the cabin (no real time to rest...lol) and be back out to downtown Disney for dinner. We had 8:15 reservations at Raglan Road and between the rainy weather, parking situation, and massive construction walls we had a hard time getting to the restaurant. Seriously, we have been to DtD MANY times, but had I known what a head ache it is down there I would have just skipped it this trip. Once we got to Raglan Road things calmed down a lot. The dancers were beautiful and the kids loved having a chance to get up and dance with them. As a former irish dancer myself I wanted to get up there and dance to but I held myself back...lol. The food was pretty good. I had the steak, it wasn't spectacular, but wasn't bad either. DH had the mixed grill and his plate was empty so I assume it was good. DS6 loved his shepherds pie and I was so happy that he ventured away from the standard chicken nuggets or pasta.


    The kids were hoping to do some pin trading/buying. They are finally old enough to get how it works. What we were hoping would be a quick stop in the Pin Traders Store turned into almost an hour of 4 kids chasing around cast members and excitedly trading pins. Oh well, at least the rain had stopped so it didn't seem so terrible anymore.


    We were back to the cabins and asleep by 11pm...boy were we all exhausted. Tomorrow would be Hollywood Studios...good night Disney!
    SEPT'89 Contemporary, MAR'01 A.S. Sports, AUG'07 A.S. Sports, OCT'08 A.S. Sports, SEPT'09 POP Century,
    NOV'10 P O Riverside, JAN'12 POP Century,
    JAN'13 P O French Quarter, OCT'13 Art of Animation
    APR'14 Caribbean Beach, SEPT'14 Coronado Springs
    DEC'14 FW Cabins, OCT'15 Caribbean Beach

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    581
    Joining in! Sounds like a great time so far.

  11. #11
    What a great time...I can't wait to read more

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Phillyburbs
    Posts
    1,277

    Re: Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    Fun! I really want to get to Universal next time. It's been years!

    We loved Raglan Road! Such a great place. I agree though, the construction walls were horrible!
    Couldn't imagine life without WDW!
    Last Trip: Oct 2015
    Upcoming: Feb 2016
    Treehouses(2) Vaca. Villas(2) Poly(1) Contemporary(1) CSR(1) CBR(4) POR(1) Sports(4) OKW(1) SSR(2) AKL(1)
    **Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally, Golly, what a day!**

  13. #13

    Re: Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    Day 4
    Monday, 12/22/14


    A good nights sleep was had by all. My brother, SIL, their two little ones, and Big Nanny had a 9am ADR for Hollywood and Vine. We decided to drive over with them also, and my parents stayed back at their cabin to sleep in a little after their late anniversary dinner at Narccoossee with fireworks! We arrived at Hollywood Studios at 8:45am and somehow wound up on the queue that only had one band reader instead of 4. This slowed us a down a bit, but I was still able to get them there and checked in at 9:05 for their breakfast.


    Once they were settled in my cabin/family walked over to Starring Rolls to grab some snacks for our breakfast. The kids begged for the gigantic Frozen cupcakes and I didn't even try to persuade them otherwise. It's vacation after all...how often can you have cupcakes for breakfast. I had a raspberry Danish and gingerbread coffee, so I wasn't really doing any better myself...lol. I intended to walk it off during the course of the day. It was pretty relaxing sitting outside while the park was still pretty empty.


    As we were finishing up, I got a text from my parents that they were on their way. We planned to meet in front of the sorcerers hat in 15 minutes. While waiting we took some magic shots with the photopass photographers. The one with Olaf snowing came out really cute!!


    Now that everyone was there, we headed towards Hollywood and Vine to scoop up my brother and crew from breakfast and on to Star Tours. My mom offered to stay back with the baby while the other 11 went on. 20 minute wait time was actually less because of my grandmothers wheelchair so that was a plus. From here we headed back to Muppets. I normally skip this one but since it was my little nephew and baby niece's first trip I decided to see it all through their eyes this trip. I hadn't done this attraction in a long time and it was nice to see the update in the pre-show based on the latest Muppet movie/Constantine.


    By the time we walked out it was time for our first FPs of the day...Toy Story Mania for their cabin (plus DS6) and Rock'n Roller Coaster for my cabin...followed by Tower of Terror for everyone!! My favorite ride in this park!! Did you know there is a video clip now for Photopass on this ride? It's so cool! (Btw, same thing for 7 dwarfs in MK).


    Quick bite to eat at ABC Commissary. This has become our go to quick service at Hollywood studios. I am so glad we have graduated from Pizza Planet...lol.


    And now on to our last FP of the day, and thing DD8 had been most looking forward to today..."For the First Time....Frozen Sing Along Show". I have to say this was one of my favorite things at DHS too. The two "Arrendale Historians" are hilarious and had the adults laughing the entire time. It goes through a quick version of the story and pauses for the songs while they are played on the big screen directly from the movie. Princess Anna and Kristoff are there to help tell the story too. Elsa does not come out till the very end, so just a heads up incase you have a little princess there expecting to see her right away. All 3 of my kids and my DN were signing along with the songs, as were 90% of the kids there. It was a really fun experience and even my parents and Big Nanny (who have never seen Frozen) said they loved it. (My brothers family was at playhouse Disney show while we were at this.)


    From here we decided to keep in the Frozen theme and head over to the Frozen outpost where the kids could play in the snow (as if we don't get enough snow in NY). I will say though, there is something kind of neat about playing in the snow in Florida. While we were in there they also had a photopass with this beautiful wintery background that they add Anna and Elsa into.


    We (my cabin) had an early ADR for 4:30pm at Mama Melrose, it was was already 4pm. The kids wanted to stop in the Muppet Gift shop since there wasn't time earlier and luckily that shop is right next door to Mama Melrose. DH grabbed me a holiday cocktail (a Gumdrop) from the cart outside the restaurant while I checked in....so yummy!!! That wound up being my first of many for the evening :-)


    Mama Melrose was pretty good. I had a pasta Alfredo dish and the tiramisu for dessert. Maybe it was because it still early and wasn't starving or maybe it was because the kids were all cranky at this point for some reason but I found the restaurant to be just okay. Maybe I would try it again without the kids next time ;-)


    By the time we finished dinner it was just in time for The Osbourne Lights. I didn't want to be there for the start of it because the crowds were pretty insane. So instead we all sat on the benches in front of the giant Kermit statue/Mama Melrose indulging in some more of those tasty holiday cocktails!! Almost an hour later the crowds hadn't thinned very much, but we decided to just go for it. It certainly was spectacular between the lights, the music, the snow (and more cocktail carts along the streets...lol). We took a bunch of pictures which will never do it justice of course.


    It was about 7:30pm and now my parents had their Mama Melrose ADR so we parted ways. They went to the restaurant, my brothers family went back to the cabin, but my kids and Big Nanny wanted to ride The Great Movie ride one last time before they revamp it. Because everyone in the park was at the Osbourne lights or Fantasmic we had the whole park to ourselves with no wait for the ride. We got the cowboy this time, and we were in the from row for the first time ever, so it was pretty cool to get all the personal interaction with the cast member and cowboy. I never realized just how much they joke around with the front row when the microphone is not on.


    A quick car ride home and we were cozy in our beds by 9:30/10pm. Early morning at Islands of Adventure tomorrow....first time at this park for all of us.
    SEPT'89 Contemporary, MAR'01 A.S. Sports, AUG'07 A.S. Sports, OCT'08 A.S. Sports, SEPT'09 POP Century,
    NOV'10 P O Riverside, JAN'12 POP Century,
    JAN'13 P O French Quarter, OCT'13 Art of Animation
    APR'14 Caribbean Beach, SEPT'14 Coronado Springs
    DEC'14 FW Cabins, OCT'15 Caribbean Beach

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
    Posts
    10,183
    Gotta love a WDW cocktail (or four!).

    Can't wait to hear about IoA. Love that place!
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    608

    Re: Christmas 2014 in WDW with 13 family members :-)

    It's so great to read your trip report...thanks for sharing! I'm with Winkster, I love IOA and can't wait to hear all about it!
    “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”

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