Day 9: Ultimate Park Hopper + Final thoughts

Here it is, our final day of our trip to Walt Disney World. We’ve successfully done almost everything we wanted to, with very few exceptions. (Fortunately, I’d drilled it into Amanda’s head that there was simply no way to do *everything* at WDW even with 9 days there, so there was no disappointment).

I’d told Amanda that this day was entirely up to her. Any park(s), any attraction(s) she wanted to do, we’d do. We took our bags down to luggage services, got our boarding passes from airline-checkin, got breakfast at Everything Pop, and discussed the plan. Her decision: The ultimate park hopper. One attraction from all four parks.

So we started off by going to Animal Kingdom and being almost first in line to ride Everest. I think we were actually on the second train of the morning, which is pretty darn cool.

Exiting the park, we went to the bus stops and were going to go to the Magic Kingdom. We decided we’d take which ever bus came first – the bus for the T&TC or the buses for the MK-area resorts. A bus for Wilderness Lodge and Grand Floridian showed up within 15 minutes. This was actually the first time I’d ever even seen the WL, so that was kinda nice. We got off at the GF, and walked into the lobby (Amanda’s jaw dropped) and then upstairs to the Monorail platform.

Into the Magic Kingdom, we headed straight for Amanda’s favorite WDW attraction – the Carousel of Progress. I’m not sure “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” is the right sentiment when we’re on our last day at WDW, but that’s okay. 🙂

Back on to the monorail and over to Epcot we went. The attraction here was planned on being Spaceship Earth, but the line was at least 40 minutes long, so we went with a backup plan of Living with the Land.

By now, it’s time for some lunch. We walked out the back entrance of Epcot and took a boat over to the Boardwalk. We had lunch at the Big River Grille, which was surprisingly good. Then back on the boats and over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

At DHS, the attraction of choice was Muppetvision 3D. After the movie, we walked out past Toy Story just out of curiosity. 90 minute wait. Yeah no.

So there we have it. All four parks, with time to spare. Actually… quite a lot of time to spare. Enough time, in fact, for a bonus round. We took the tram over to the taxi area, and got a taxi to Downtown Disney. We went into DisneyQuest for the first time, and rode Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters. (This had the added bonus of making me no longer feel like I made the wrong choice by adding the WPF&M option to Amanda’s ticket rather than just buying a single water park ticket).

Okay, NOW our ultimate-park-hopping tour is complete. 🙂 We went back to the bus stop and back to Pop Century. Got our bags from baggage claim, and waited for our Magical Express back to the airport. Man do I *love* not having to wait in the Southwest checkin lines. That may in fact be the single biggest benefit of staying onsite at WDW these days, honestly. No real issue flying home, other than our flight was delayed by about 30 minutes. I drove Amanda back to her place, dropped her off with her parents, drove over to my parents’ house, and crashed on their couch. A very very long and good Disney trip was complete.

The good: Almost first in line for Everest, lunch at Big River Grille
The bad: Line at SSE too long
The magical: Successfully completing the 5-parks-in-one-day plan.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This was a great trip. We both enjoyed it immensely. Amanda’s jaw dropped so many times during the trip, I wish I’d taken pictures of her reactions. She has already decided she’s going to return the favor when she graduates college (ie, 7 years from now) and has a job.

I’m glad we went and experienced the Universal Parks, but I have no desire to make them part of my standard WDW trips. Once in a great while only. As much as I love the new Harry Potter attraction, it’s not enough to justify the additional cost of going to Universal.

I will not be going in the summer again. I can deal with heat, as most things are inside. I can sometimes deal with crowds. I cannot deal with heat and crowds at the same time. It was insane, every day.

Trips like this prove to me yet again that the DVC is not for me. I spend every waking moment in the parks. What do I need a hotel for beyond a shower, bed, and roof?

I experienced lots of new-to-me things on this trip: Main St Electical parade, Summer Nightastic fireworks, Trails End, Chefs De France, several Kim Possible adventures, new effects on the ToT, new TS3-inspired additions to Toy Story Mania.

No matter how often or how well you try to explain to a newbie just how big the place is, nothing compares to experiencing it in person. I don’t think Amanda was planning on doing nearly as much walking as we did that week.

For those who are interested in Amanda’s perspective, she has left brief comments on each Day’s post on this blog.

Thank you all for reading. Sorry it took so long to get the full thing completed. I hope you enjoyed it!

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