Considering we’ve been confined to our homes for over a week now due to COVID-19 and social distancing you would think I would be caught up on my travel posts by now, but I am not, of course. This is the last post in our winter travel adventures though so I wasn’t too far behind!
We’ve been going to WDW the second week of February for the last 4 years now. We started going in February because it’s down time for us farmers, the weather is usually perfect, and crowds are low because most kids are in school. With that being said February has now become one of the busiest months for WDW! In the last 4 years we have seen our usual week go from almost empty to crazy packed. It steadily increases every year! We always avoid Presidents Day weekend and Mardis Gras because lots of schools are out during those times, but even avoiding those the crowds have taken over our peaceful week. I’ve actually noticed that our middle of the summer Disney trips have become the least crowded because most people want to avoid the heat and rain.
For this trip we decided to stay at Disney’s new Riviera Resort. It had just opened about 2 months prior and we got a great 40% off passholder discount! I was really excited to stay at this resort because it’s a new deluxe resort and it’s connected to the new Skyliner system. We stayed at Caribbean Beach resort back in November that is connected to the Skyliner system also and we really loved the convenience of it. I’m sorry to say though that our experience at the Riviera resort was a major disappointment. I would never stay there again. The resort itself was beautiful, the rooms are spacious and gorgeous. Our main complaint was transportation. If the Skyliner was even running at all it didn’t open until late in the mornings well past park opening which made it useless to use. This leaves the Riviera with bus transportation only. If you’ve been to Disney before you know that Disney bus transportation is a huge hassle. The main reason we stay at deluxe resorts is to avoid buses because the other deluxe resorts are in better locations and have better park transportation like monorail or walking distance to some parks. You definitely pay more for better amenities. Because the Riviera is bus transportation only in the mornings this makes it no better than a value resort and with the rooms being $500+ a night it’s absolutely not worth the price to stay there! We were really upset with the Skyliner situation and even spoke with the resort manager about it. He told us that they were getting so many complaints from guests about the same thing that he’s been working with upper Disney management to get the Skyliner on better operating hours. So hopefully in the future this issue will be resolved!
Disney’s Magical Express picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at our resort on our arrival day around 11am. We decided to stop by Primo Piatto for a quick service lunch before heading to Epcot.
We usually do Disney by ourselves but for this trip we took 2 of our employees with us. They’re more like family and our kids love them. It was really nice to have extra bodies to watch the 2 little girls while Andrew & I were able to ride the big rides together with the twins.
We tried out Teppan Edo for dinner at Epcot our first night. It’s a Japanese steak house in the Japan pavilion. We sat at a grill in the very back room and had a great time. There was 8 of us so we had our entire grill to ourselves, but like most Japanese steakhouses, you will be seated with other parties to fill up each grill.
The next morning we had breakfast at our resort at the new Topolino’s Terrace. This is a character meal (breakfast only) that includes Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Daisy. I had sour cream waffles which I did not care for, but Andrew had a sausage hash that was wonderful!
After breakfast we took the bus to Magic Kingdom. Nothing out of the ordinary on our first MK day. We had dinner at Crystal Palace with Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore & Tigger.
The next morning we had breakfast at probably our favorite character breakfast, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. Characters are there all day including Mickey, Goofy, Donald & Daisy. It might sound odd for breakfast but get the curry chicken and rice, it’s the best!
After breakfast the park was just opening to guests and we had fastpasses for Expedition Everest so we headed across the park. When we arrived at EE there was no one there! We ended up riding a total of 6 times! Andrew & I rode 3 times and Tyler & Landen rode 3 times while we switched out waiting with the kids. The line was so short we had all rode that many times by 9:30!
We had dinner at Yak n Yeti which is one of our favorite AK dinner spots, but this was probably our worst experience there. Our food was good, as usual, but our service was horrible. I have really noticed if you have a large party where the server is guaranteed their gratuity the service usually stinks.
The next morning we had breakfast at Hollywood & Vine inside Hollywood Studios. This is a Disney Junior character breakfast (breakfast only) that includes Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina & Roadster Goofy. The food is a typical breakfast buffet that you can’t really mess up and has something for everyone.
I was able to snag a boarding group right at park opening for Star Wars Rise of the Resistance but all o could get was a standby group for later in the day. I kept it in hopes we would get called sooner, but we never did. Our boarding group did eventually get called at 5:15pm but we were heading to dinner at the Yachtsman at the Yacht Club Resort and all the kids couldn’t ride it anyway so we decided to go on to dinner but Landen & Tyler stayed behind to go check out the ride and they loved it! I can’t wait to ride it on our next trip! Our dinner at the Yachtsman was amazing! The food and service were so good! We loved it so much we are staying at the Yacht Club on our next trip!
The next morning we had breakfast at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort. This is a character breakfast that includes Minnie, Daisy, Donald & Goofy. Food is traditional breakfast buffet. We loved this character meal so much and love the Beach Club Resort!
After breakfast we took the bus from Beach Club to Magic Kingdom and we made it there just in Rome for opening ceremony.
We had dinner at Be Our Guest, the only place at WDW you can meet the Beast! Rhett loves the Beast and of course of little Belle has to have dinner in her castle!
The next morning we had a pre park opening breakfast at Akershus with the Princesses then immediately jumped over to meet Anna & Elsa and ride Frozen before the park opened and the lines got long!
On this day an unexpected shower caught us off guard and we got soaked along with our strollers. We had to buy the kids dry clothes and beach towels to put in their strollers!
This was during Epcot’s Festival of the Arts and Andrew found an amazing painting of Anna and Elsa that reminded us so much of Lorelei and Maggie Mae we just had to get it! We had dinner at our favorite restaurant in all of Disney, Via Napoli, before calling it a day!
Our last full day we had breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno at the Boardwalk Inn Resort. This is called the Bon Voyage character breakfast and includes Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel & Flynn Rider. This was our first time here and I was really excited about it because I knew Rhett would love seeing Prince Eric and Flynn Rider and I was right! He was so excited to see them, it’s a great change up from the endless Princesses. This is also the only place that has Rapunzel regularly. We have seen Rapunzel at Akershus before but she’s not on the regular list there.
We spent our last day at Magic Kingdom catching up on anything we may have missed and closing out our last day with dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside the castle.
Magical Express was set to pick us up the next morning at 9:30am so we had a quick breakfast with Mickey and the gang at Topolino’s Terrace in our resort.