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When You Wish Upon A Star: Disney Part 2

Updated: May 20, 2021

So I haven’t completely screwed up April by jumping ship on Scotland for now. While I want to finish that post, it’s not my priority at this moment. Luckily for April, while Scotland is her dream trip, she is headed to Disney with family, just like I am when this madness of a pandemic is over. It was her idea to pivot. As a marketing expert, she believes the ability to pivot is important and sticking to your guns when they’re not firing is dumb. So here we’re going down the rabbit hole.

Bug and Paul, who you’ve read about, and we owe 10,000 favors to, were supposed to get a 2021 spring break trip to Disney and Universal. Well that ain’t happening folks. We reschedule for June, but that’s probably not happening. Bug and Paul are teachers so they can’t go whenever. Having spent all the pandemic with us, other holidays have been booked by the family they didn’t see. That left us with late August. Go get your fan mister. It’s gonna be a hot one.

This kids is where the planning fun begins. Ok it’s not fun for everyone, but as the Cheshire Cat says, “we’re all mad here.” Here being the world of Disney fanatics. Disney is a 1,000 piece puzzle and for some of us putting it together is fun. Sure, looking at a completed puzzle is nice but it’s short lived. The puzzle building is where the brain wrinkling happens. Of course you know I can’t do it without Christina. She’s my all star travel agent, who gives me as little or as much help as I want.

Abbreviations you need to know: Magic Kingdom (MK), Hollywood Studios (HS), Animal Kingdom (AK), Galaxy’s Edge (GE) Quick Service Meal (QS), Table Service Meal (TS)

So we’re going to break this down to the basics. As I said in my previous post knowing all these things is what drives your trip planning, including budget. Who, what, when, where, why, and how.


  1. Amanda, she’ll be 39 and has visited Disney roughly 700 times. She loves drinking and eating Disney snacks.

  2. Pat, he’s like 37, I think, I can’t keep track of my husband’s age. He’s been to Disney 4-5 times, he loves it because all three members of his immediate family have fun at the same time doing the same thing. And booze. And food.

  3. Sarah, 30, went on band trips in high school. Mostly wants to eat and drink around the world, but also all the rides, and maybe some of the shows. Getting to Universal and having a wand pick her is really her top priority.

  4. Paul, 30, he has been once in his life as a child with his family but remembers very little. He loves a good thrill ride and also tasting new and exciting things. He graciously gave over his bonus pick to his niece. Collective “awww” should happen here.

  5. Daniel, 28, has also been mostly on band trips. He has never been on vacation with Scarlett or one that’s been planned min by min by me. That should be interesting, but he’s really chill. I’m not 100% sure why he wants to come other than, Disney is fun. And maybe that should just be good enough for me.

  6. Scarlett, just turned 10, which is obnoxious because now Disney sees her as an adult. Scarlett loves Disney, but it’s unclear why. She no longer loves roller coasters or “thrill rides.'' Apparently it’s common for kids fears to evolve with their brains and her brains say going 0-60 in 3 seconds isn’t safe. She’s into new technology rides like Flights of Passage and the interactive rides like Buzz Lightyear. She actually thinks Laugh Floor is funny and she likes birds. Maybe she just loves Disney because she’s a kid.

What (top three picks: to eat, do, and ride, plus a bonus - I will add that I removed eating and drinking around the world in Epcot off the table as the plan is to do all of them:

  1. Amanda: Sat’uli Canteen (an pan-Asian themed cuisine QS in AK), Fantasmic (fireworks/show in HS), Millennium Falcon Smuggler's Run (New Star Wars ride in HS). My bonus is eating in Oga’s Canteen (a bar in GE).

  2. Pat: Eating at Topolinos (at the top of a resort that has views of the Epcot fireworks) alone with me, Buzz Lightyear ride in MK (which is basically an arcade - I allowed his to do to be a ride because he’s difficult to get any info out of him), Kilimanjaro Safari (AK). His bonus was riding Space Mountain in MK, begrudging that this isn’t in someone’s top 3.

  3. Sarah: Sa’naa (TS in one of the AK resorts that’s on the safari grounds), Festival of the Lion King (show in AK), Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster (in MK, she apparently loves Snow White). Her bonus is riding Dinosaur in AK out of nostalgia.

  4. Paul: Spice Road Table (tapas TS in Epcot, a solid choice as it’s been on my wish list for awhile), Everest in AK (he also picked a ride as his to do), his ride was Rock’n’Roller Coaster in HS. He passed his bonus on to Scarlett.

  5. Scarlett: Ohana Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, making a droid and a light saber, Splash Mountain in MK (we must ride in the front row so Mommy gets soaked), Her bonus is Flights of Passage in AK, risky, picking Splash over Flights. With her extra bonus she picked Soarin, in Epcot. She also heavily requests riding Nemo and Friends without a fast pass, because she likes the line.

  6. Daniel: We had to push him a bit to make some decisions but I have to give him credit. When called on the phone and asked to think about he did. He packed two great restaurants, Kona Cafe and Skipper Canteen. He loves Asian food and my husband was thrilled with these choices. He chose Flights of Passage, a ride everyone wants but no one picked so now that it’s a top three, it’s a done deal. He also chose Tower of Terror, in HS, which thrilled me. I would have picked it but I knew no one else would ride with me willingly.

When: This was complicated. Paul is a classroom teacher, since spring break is out, and August seemed like our best bet of either reaching herd immunity or child vaccines. We chose the third week in August because that’s after the schools in the south go back and before the northern schools go back. It’s also hotter then the sun’s surface so sensible northerners stay away. Maryland is humid and nasty in August too, it’s not quite as hot, so we knew we had to plan on afternoons in the pool/hotel.

Where: I told you the budget had to come after these things. Yes, of course you have a limit, but how can you have any idea about what you need to go if you don’t know what you want? If we do only the things on the list, three days with a park hopper is enough. Knowing when we can go also affects our budget, but in our case it’s in our favor. But this is really where Christina shines. I call her up and I say I have six people. We’d like to stay together, but Pat and I really want a deluxe hotel and that could be out of the rest of our party’s budget. What can you make work? Boy did she pull a rabbit out of a hat. She got us a two bedroom villa at Beach Club with 5 day park hopper tickets for well under $10000. Divide that by 6. It’s quite affordable. Can you spend less? Heck yeah, but this is a vacation we’ve all had two years to save for and the appeal of Stormalong Bay, which is the killer pool/water park at Beach Club in the August heat is too good to pass up. It’s 7 days and 6 nights, one day will be spent at Universal and one at Disney Springs.

Why: This is a dumb question and I am skipping actually let’s talk why because our whole family isn’t coming. Just this subsection. So Why. Well Sarah is dying to do two things. First, see Harry Potter World, and second see Disney with her niece before she’s a teenager and doesn’t think it’s cool (I don’t think this thing will happen but it’s a fair enough point). We discussed that Pat and I love that we all have fun together, doing the same thing at the same time. Whereas at the beach or on a cruise, it’s do what we want or do what she wants. Paul likes to have fun and Disney is fun. That leaves Daniel…fun? But I could see a world where he doesn’t want to miss out on this epic vacation with this subsection of our family. Scarlett calls all of them Aunt and Uncle, and she won’t hear otherwise that that’s not accurate.

My sister and her husband, as well as my parents, did Disney with Scarlett when she was 6 and they have kinda had their fill for the time being. Everyone wants different things from vacations. My point is you shouldn't be disappointed if people don't want to do your family trip to Disney.

How: Alas, how will have to wait. It involves spreadsheets. Stay tuned.

P.S. Yes I know late August may be a pipe dream, but when you wish a upon a star...

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