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September 2019 Trip Report – Walt Disney World

It was a fast, but great trip! I traveled with my Husband & our three littles. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside, went to all 4 parks, attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Food & Wine Festival, Disney Springs, and thoroughly investigated Galaxy’s Edge – All in 2.5 days!! Whew… It was fantastic and informative and I now feel like I can better serve my guests when it comes to their questions and planning for Star Wars Land.

Resort – Port Orleans Riverside

When traveling as a family of 5, this is one of our favorite resorts. We love the laid back feel, the theming & Decor, the eateries, the entertainment, and we have perfected our building choice so the bus system works well for us too! The rooms in Alligator Bayou sleep 5 when you utilize a pull-down bed. This works perfectly for us and the theming is just adorable. All rooms were recently refurbed and we love them – especially that they kept the ceiling fans!

Transportation:

Riverside has 4 internal bus stops. They are West, North, East, & South Depots. The South Depot is what we consider to be the “main” depot. It is where the lobby, eateries, bars, and pool area is. Naturally, guests want to be as close to these things as possible so the first 4 buildings in Alligator Bayou that surround that area are “Preferred” and come with a higher price tag. This trip we chose to stay in one of them – building 27. This preferred building is the furthest of the preferred buildings from the Lobby so if you request it, you are likely to have your request granted. This building is on the main path around the lake so it is still quite quick to the lobby and South Depot.

Why did we choose this building?

Well, this preferred building is in an ideal location when it comes to busing. It is equally distant to the South and the West Depot which gives us easy access to both.

Why is that beneficial?

In the morning when we are heading to the parks, the buses come in and stop at the West Depot first. They continue around the loop picking up at the South Depot last. If we are heading out early and are concerned that buses may be full, we head to the West Depot so we know we will be among the first depot to get on a bus. If we are not concerned about a full bus, we can head to the South depot which is the last stop on the internal bus loop before it heads to the park. This has us on the bus for the least time as possible.

In the evening when the West Depot is once again the first stop, we can get off there instead of riding the next three stops to get off at South Depot.

It really is an ideal location. If you do not want to pay the extra $$, there are buildings that are not preferred that are also right near 27. Requesting building 17, 26, or 28 will have you in the same area and you will be able to take advantage of the same bus scenario.

Riverside also has a boat to Disney Springs. It is a nice and relaxing ride down the Sassagoula River where you will pass some other neat resorts as well as get a whole different view of Disney Springs.

Entertainment/Recreation:

My littles love this pool and its water slide. They float around the main pool trying to maneuver each other into the spilling buckets of water and they really enjoy the little walk up to the slide and the ride down. Disney has the path to the slide as well as the looping slide maneuvering through the “Bayou”. It really is done so well.

Like other Disney Resorts, the staff at the pool do a great job of offering water games, trivia, duck races, and more. They are some fantastic young people.

We have also taken advantage of the nightly entertainment. The River Roost is a great little bar/lounge where pianists and singers entertain nightly including our favorite, Yeeha Bob. He is a very talented entertainer and I highly recommend checking his schedule to see which night he plays so you do not miss him!

Disney Cast Members offer “S’mores on the Bayou” nightly at a fire pit over by the playground. Our littles love to experience this. I mean, s’mores..in Disney?! Can life get better?

You and your family can also visit the Fishin’ Hole where you will be set up with an ol’ cane pole and some bait. See what you can catch!

This resort has an abundance of activities. On our typical week long trips, we find we spend at least one full day staying at the resort and enjoying it’s amenities. It is also a very short walk to Port Orleans French Quarter. We have taken that short walk a number of times to get some yummy beignets!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

We had a great time and were excited to be back at this party. We all went as Star Wars Characters and received several compliments. (especially little BB-8) I highly recommend it for all of the wonderful experiences you can have that are exclusive to this party. The shows, the parades, the dance parties, the CANDY, and of course, the really short lines on your favorite attractions. (We waited 15 minutes for Mine Train!)

My little’s favorite part of the evening wound up being the DescenDANCE Party where the Villain Kids played music videos and danced for hours. All three of mine were glued for a solid show and a half. It took place at Comic Ray’s Starlight Cafe so they danced their hearts out, took a break to eat dinner, and went and danced some more while we finished up. It was perfect and an event that no Descendants Fan should miss.

The food was an attraction in itself! I am a foodie – especially when I am in Disney. The “Amuck” Cupcake was full of surprises in each bite with candy pieces and crunchies in the cupcake itself and a piece of white chocolate with the Sanderson Sisters that adorned the top. Yummy! This can be found at the Main Street Bakery.

The Headless Horseman Cheesecake is a must-have for any pumpkin fan. It is a pumpkin mousse that covers chocolate cake and crunchies, topped with a Headless Horseman Candy Piece. It was creamy and pumpkin-y and delicious!

The sweet treats were so tasty but my favorite by far was the Lots-O Burger. OH. My. It was a beef patty topped with creamy fondue brie cheese and bacon jam and a huge onion ring. It was creamy and crunchy, sweet and salty. I wish I had two. I may even try to replicate it at home – it was that amazing!

My favorite parts of the evening (other than the burger!) were the Pirates of the Caribbean ride enhancement and Hocus Pocus Stage Show. Pirates was hilarious with all the live actors running around. It was very different and very entertaining! Hocus Pocus never disappoints. I thoroughly enjoy that show each year. If you are not traveling with littles or if you are and they do not mind up staying up late, I suggest the 12 a.m. show. This is the last show and the last event of the evening. Waiting until midnight to attend this show allowed us to visit rides and continue to trick-or-treat while those things were still available. It worked out well.

Hollywood Studios

We got back to riverside and we had the littles asleep by 1 am. When you only have 2.5 days in Disney, you can sleep on the way home! We were up at 7 am to head to Hollywood Studios and see Galaxy’s Edge for the first time. We had a reservation at Oga’s Cantina for 10:40 am so we headed to Toy Story Land when we got there. We got on Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Swirling Saucers all in an hour. I highly recommend getting there early if possibly with the new way the Fastpass system is working there. (More information about Hollywood Studios Fastpass system Here)

At 8:15, the park was still only open to Walt Disney Resort guests so we were used our Fastpass for Tower of Terror and we were able to get on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster after just a short 10 minute wait.

We had about a half hour until our reservation so we headed to Galaxy’s Edge a half hour hour. To our surprise, they were not even utilizing boarding times. We were able to walk right into the land. We spent our half hour exploring all around Batuu. We Ronto Roasters, several stores, and made our way over to Oga’s. I cannot say enough about this Lounge. The theming is awesome, the cast members/actors are always “on” and the snacks and drinks were wonderful! More to come on Galaxy’s Edge in a separate post.

Due to the way they limit guests in the land, the line for Smuggler’s Run was only 35 minutes. The queue is interactive so you will want to have the Disney Play app downloaded to enjoy that. The littles loved it! We all agreed that the ride was a lot of fun. We loved the individual roles we got to play and how real it all felt.

Magic Kingdom

When we left Star Wars Land, we headed out of Hollywood Studios and over to Magic Kingdom. We enjoyed the rides we had not done the night prior at the Halloween Party. The crowds were light-moderate. I did grab a Fastpass for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin because that is a family favorite. How many of you can max out on one laser and more over to the other??

The Tron Coaster is making big progress! I was excited to see how different it looks in just 2 months!

After we visited all that we wanted to and ate all the goodies we set out to, we headed back to Riverside for an evening swim. I recommend that if it is something you can make work in your schedule. It is relaxing and a great way to end any day. No surprise – We headed to bed early!

Animal Kingdom

We rope dropped Animal Kingdom at 7 am for Early Morning Hours. Again, I highly recommend this! We hopped on Everest with no wait at all. Tree of Life at Sunrise, Anyone? We made it over to Pandora and the line for Flight of Passage was only 20 minutes. These were the only rides the kids were set on visiting so we grabbed our favorite beverages from the Pongu Pongu Lounge and we were off to Epcot!

Epcot – Food & Wine Festival

We arrived at Epcot at 9 am. It was perfect timing and allowed us to hop on Soarin’ with a 5 minute wait. Again – these first few hours in the parks are my favorite to visit for this exact reason. We utilized our Fastpasses for Test Track – This is my suggestion based on what I have encountered in my last few visits. Grab a Fastpass for Test Track if possible and just go Standby for Soarin’. The lines for Test Track get longer, quicker and we have found this to work best.

We stopped to see the Jammitors, or during Food & Wine Festival they are known as the Jammin’ Chefs. They are always full of life, humor, and great beats provided by pots, pans, & stove tops!

After a few more attractions in Future World, we decided to head back and enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. This year is the longest Food & Wine Festival to date. It did NOT disappoint. We had a great time tasting and sipping around the world. I will write a separate post for the Festival itself but here are some must try’s!

Must-Visit Food Destinations-

  • Flavors From Fire
  • Earth Eats
  • Coastal Eats
  • Active Eats
  • China
  • Hops & Barley
  • France
  • Hawaii

Check out the awesome lanyard we got in the photos above! It keeps track of what you ate where and how you rated it. You can also track the price or if you are on the dining plan like we were, we used it to check off snack credits! We utilized a dry erase marker so we can re-use it again! It is offered by a really neat shop on Etsy – Studio1955. She has all sorts of really great Disney Items. We have gotten band sliders as well.

Disney Springs

We went to Disney Springs for out last few hours in Disney. This is something we always do. We grab last minute souvenirs at World of Disney, grab the littles ice cream at Ghirardelli, and have one last visit to the Hangar Bar.

If you have not checked out the Hangar Bar, I urge you to. They have great tappas, fun & yummy beverages, and some really neat theming. It has become a fun tradition and a great way to say goodbye to Walt Disney World.

That is all for this 2.5 quick little trip.

If you have any questions or are interested in reserving a trip, contact me today! I would love to help you and your loved ones turn your Disney Dreams into Magical Memories!!