It is always very tempting to use a school holiday for a Disney vacation. There is usually the problem of crowds and heat. But here in the Northeast we have quite a few days to select in early October where schools are closed that will include a weekend. This might be a great time to visit the World! I interviewed my friend, Tom Andriello, a social studies teacher, who recently took his family to the World.
Tom is a true Disney fan taking a long time to plan out the perfect vacation for his kids. Tom, his wife, and three kids (10,8, 5) took a recent school holiday to swoop down to Disney and Universal for a “6 parks in 3 days” commando style tour. Tom and his family jumped at the chance of visiting 6 parks and also throwing in Mickey’s Halloween Party too. Here are some tips and thoughts about his experience from a teacher’s point of view.
They stayed at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort mostly due to their party of 5. The youngest is 5 years and slept on the trundle bed. He says this may be the last time his family can all fit in one room. Riverside is a great resort with very good bus access and lovely scenery but the room size was a little tight for all of them. Plus they did not spend any time enjoying the resort due to the short amount of time they had and the agenda they were sticking to.
Day one was spent at Universal (both parks). Tom has a 10 year old who is a big Harry Potter fan. He wanted to ensure she had her magical experience at the right age. His 8 and 5 year old, although not as engaged in the HP story line, endured the visit while the 10 year old really loved. The park was hot and crowded. He commended Universal on their child swap benefit allowing parents to stand in line with children that will not be actually entering the attraction.
Day two they visited Animal Kingdom. The plan was to visit AK in the morning, head back to the hotel for a nap, and then head to Magic Kingdom for the Halloween party. The plan was smooth going with no problems. His primary objective was to give his 5 year old an awesome experience of Animal Kingdom considering his age and the uncertainty of when they would return to WDW. After a quick nap at the resort, the family headed to Magic Kingdom; truly a magical park at night. They attended the Halloween party. He had experienced the party 5 years ago and compared to this year his thoughts were that this year’s party felt very crowded. There were long wait times for attractions. They completely missed the parade. The candy selection was plentiful and good. You can’t use fastpass+ for Halloween party attractions.
Day three was EPCOT. Planned downtime was the sit down meal at Akershush. Tom was able to score a same day dining reservation using the My Disney Experience app. He planned ahead for the evening activities. The family spent the night at DHS for a 7:45 Star Wars dessert party and fireworks viewing location. He believes the money is well spent on the dessert party because they don’t have to stake out their viewing spots. They can instead enjoy an attraction knowing their viewing location will be waiting for them.
Tom used only quick service meals for the entire trip. He used a cab to get to Universal from Disney property. They took advantage of the hotel discount that was available. They were able to use their credit card miles to book the airfare. He’s glad went on this adventure/vacation given the crowds and the time crunch. He mostly wanted to give his kids that special experience at the right age. He says his next trip will be when the Star Wars attractions up and ready.