2023 Walt Disney World Pre-Trip Report

I finally have a trip to Walt Disney World coming up and I could not be more excited! It’s definitely still a little weird to go from how frequently I used to visit the parks to just taking more than a year off, so I can’t wait to be back.

If you need to be caught up, I didn’t renew my Annual Pass at the onset of the pandemic because it expired in March 2020, and I had no idea what travel would be like then. Of course, when Walt Disney World reopened, they paused Annual Pass sales, so I bought a regular ticket for my June 2021 trip, and…have not wanted to pay for more tickets since then, knowing I could just wait until AP sales began again. Well, that and my cat, Maui, was diagnosed with diabetes that year and it’s been a challenge until recently to figure out how we can go on vacation while he needs insulin shots.

My next trip is really for Josh and me to visit his family, who lives in Florida, but we added a couple of days in Disney World to the end of the trip. AND Annual Passes go back on sale next week, so that’s definitely exciting! (And confusing…Because I already have a package booked, I have to buy the AP, then call Disney to have them downgrade my package, refund my original tickets, re-purchase Josh’s, and then re-make our park reservations based on two different availability calendars…)

Disney Skyliner
Credit: Disney

Anyway, back to the pre-trip report, here’s an overview of what we have planned for our next trip:

Saturday – Travel Day / Check in to Disney’s Pop Century Resort

The first day of the Disney portion of our trip is a travel day where we’ll be driving about three hours to Orlando after visiting Josh’s family. We don’t really have anything planned for the first day of the trip as we may see some of his family that live closer to Disney that day.

Some things to note though– Since we’ll be driving about three hours to our resort we’ll have a rental car with us. I’ve actually never rented a car for a Disney trip, so I’m curious to see how much of a difference it makes when it comes to getting to and from the parks. I’ve also never stayed at Pop Century (or ridden the Disney Skyliner!) so I’m very excited about our stay.

Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Sunday – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This is where I should probably point out that we don’t have Park Hopper tickets. (Well, I would once I have my Annual Pass, but Josh isn’t getting an Annual Pass, and when the trip was planned before AP sales were announced, we just got base tickets. We only have three days in the Parks, and rather than trying to rush, one park per day just made sense.)

During our last trip, we didn’t get to do much in Hollywood Studios, but Josh really enjoyed it there so this was a top priority for our upcoming trip. (We actually could not even get reservations for Hollywood Studios in 2021, we only made it to the park because of a totally random power outage in Animal Kingdom that resulted in our base tickets being transferred to Park Hoppers.)

Last time was also Josh’s first visit, and none of the parades and nighttime spectaculars were back at the parks yet since the pandemic. That’s made seeing Fantasmic! a big priority for this trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios along with riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. (During our last trip, we did not try to get a spot in the virtual queue since we couldn’t get reservations to this park in the first place.)

I also have lunch reservations booked at 50s Prime Time Cafe. I believe the last time I was here was during my Disney College Program, so I can’t wait to try it again!

Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Monday – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Next up we’ll be heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. No specific plans here other than the things we missed last time (Avatar – Flight of Passage and the live shows that weren’t back yet since COVID; Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Big Blue…and Beyond.

I didn’t make any dining reservations for this park because we’ll be having a late dinner (or maybe just ice cream) after the park closes at Beaches & Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. I’d like to try the Kitchen Sink where I’ve never done it, but that’s definitely dependent on how much we snack in the park during the day…

Tuesday – Magic Kingdom

I wanted to save the Magic Kingdom for as mid-week as we could get since most guests make this park the first stop on their trip. Again not a ton of specific plans here other than parades and fireworks since those weren’t back during our last trip. No dining reservations here either, just because for such a short trip I wasn’t sure we’d want to spend the time sitting in a restaurant when we could be out enjoying the park.

Riding Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Fantasyland, MAgic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Wednesday – Travel Day

We’re flying back home on Wednesday, but we have most of the day open still, just a late breakfast at Boma at 11:00 a.m. No other plans as of this writing in case this day works better than Saturday to see more of Josh’s family, but at some point during the trip on either travel day, I’d like to get to Disney Springs and/or the Character Warehouse at the outlets.

Also– I know, no EPCOT, I’m a little bummed, too. But we just planned three days in the parks and I wanted Josh to pick where it’s only his second trip so we eliminated EPCOT where that’s where we spent the most time last time.

That’s really all that’s in the works for now, otherwise, I’ve just been researching Genie+ since I haven’t used it yet to see whether or not it would be worth it for this trip!

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