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Monday, November 26, 2018

our november 2018 trip: a recap

what. a. week.  talk about a #wdwbestdayever... seven days in a row!

Yesterday night, my family returned from the most magical week at Walt Disney World resort ever.  Highkey, we're all missing it already and back to watching TheTimTracker and HappiestVlogsonEarth on our SmartTV.  Can't we go back already?

We don't go back until August, so until then... here's a recap of our amazing time at Walt Disney World.

We left NJ at 11:30 at night on Friday, November 16.  Mom doesn't fly, so we embark on the 20-hour drive two days before each trip.  It was a long day, but without traffic, we were in Georgia for the night by 6:00.  If you're wondering how we conquer this beast of a drive every year, don't worry-- there is definitely a post in the works about our combined experiences, alongside tips and tricks, about taking the I-95 to the mouse every year!

I was up at 3:10 in the morning on Sunday, November 18... that's not a typo.  I was up at 3:10 to do makeup, and by 4:15, we were back on the road to make it to WDW so we could beat traffic and maybe make it to Magic Kingdom by Rope Drop.  We checked into our room at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and headed right to Magic Kingdom.

The park crowds were insane for Mickey's 90th birthday-- but we had a FP+ so we could wish the main mouse a happy birthday in person!

Of course, before we could wish Mickey a happy birthday, we had to make a stop at will call to activate our annual passes!  This will be our first year as APs, so now I'll be walking around with an active park ticket in my wallet at all times this year... which will probably mean I'll spend a lot more time looking at flights to MCO during my worst class lectures.  We definitely enjoyed that Passholder only gate throughout the week!

Monday, Nov 19 was our Epcot day.  Once again, the crowds were insane!  We took a few pics, did our FP+, and had dinner at our favorite Epcot restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel.

After a long and busy day at Epcot, we were thankful to crash in our room at our longhouse, Moorea.  Moorea is the only longhouse at the Poly that offers DVC suites with a view of the castle-- and look at the view we had from the third floor!

We loved watching the fireworks from our room every night!

I got up earlier than normal on Tues, Nov 20.  Tuesday was our Hollywood Studios day, and I was more than ready to play in Andy's Backyard at the brand-new Toy Story Land!  I was one of the first toys to reach Slinky Dog Dash that day, and even though the crowds were bad, I was able to see everything in TSL that day!  I got on all three rides, met Buzz, and had a great lunch at Woody's Lunchbox.  Oh-- and I got an alien headband.

Toy Story Land left an imprint on my heart.  No surprise there.  I'm so impressed with the theming, and it's just so adorable!  Everything about it is so perfect that even the crowds couldn't wipe the smile off of my face while we were there.  

I wasn't excited for our Animal Kingdom day (Wednesday, Nov 21) at all.  In fact, I was kind of dreading it.  Animal Kingdom has always been my least favorite park.  It's always been too hot to do anything, none of the theming really interests me, and when you couple that with the crowds I had been seeing this week, I was ready to cancel our lunch reservation at Yak & Yeti.

Boy, am I glad I didn't do that.

Our Animal Kingdom day was truly our #wdwbestdayever.  It started off when I rode Expedition Everest 5 times in a row, and once my family rejoined me, we were able to do everything we wanted to do.  We had a great lunch, met so many fun characters, saw so many animals at Kilimanjaro Safaris, and rode Na'vi River Journey together.  And the best part about it was that the weather was perfect.  It wasn't hot, it wasn't humid.  We were able to get a full day of fun out of Animal Kingdom for the first time ever and we were able to walk away with a different point of view on the largest park at Walt Disney World resort.

Thursday, Nov 22 was Thanksgiving!  We had some early morning Magic Kingdom FP+ choices, but because it was so crowded, we decided to head back to the resort early and take a nap before we got ready for the real star of the day-- dinner at the California Grill.

The California Grill is a signature dining experience at Disney's Contemporary Resort.  Not only did we have one of the best Thanksgiving dinners ever, but just look at this view from our table!

Our final day in the parks was Friday, Nov 23.  Even though Magic Kingdom was projected to be crazy busy again, I decided to get up early and enjoy morning EMH.  I did a few rides, met a few characters, and saw some of my favorite coworkers from my DCP!  As I was leaving MK for the last time this trip, I was stopped by Bea Star, one of the lovely Main Street USA citizens.  What a sweetheart she was.  First she complimented my ears, and then she walked me through the Main Street Jeweler and spoke with me for 10 minutes.  The interaction touched my heart, and it was so magical and unprecedented. I'll remember it forever.

We had another Slinky Dog FP+ for that night, so the family headed over to meet with our family and do that later in the afternoon.  After another dinner at the Contemporary Resort, we went back to the Poly and went to sleep early.

Our drive home was a little rough.  The first day went smoothly, but once we reached Maryland on the second day, we hit really bad traffic and didn't get home until late.  That concluded our 2018 family vacation to Walt Disney World, but we're already deep into planning our 2019 vacation coming up in August!

If you'd prefer a more in-depth report on this vacation, don't worry, I have you covered.  You're more than welcome to read my DISBoards trip report that accompanies this trip!  I've been writing for hte DISboards since 2013, so when it comes to full-length reports, I'm very loyal to them.  The report is updated outside of a schedule and sometimes it takes longer for some updates to be posted, but it will go into the little details of the vacation.  I'll link it {here}, and you'll be able to find it under "other links" at the top of the page!

For now, I have to go get ready to return to school and finish the semester.  But don't worry-- I have so much more content to share about this trip on tinkerkait.com!  It was really one of the most magical weeks we've ever had at Walt Disney World Resort.


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