For a number of reasons out of our control we ended up at WDW right after Independence Day. The truth is we had as good a time as we could have had, but I would not do Disney around this time if I can avoid it. In the past we had gone in April, May and November. Except for a couple of days with a heatwave in May, the weather was much much better. We had a combination of extreme heat, rain and way too many people, yet none of that got in the way of our fun.
How we got there
We got lucky and United upgraded a couple of us to United First. While I would almost never pay for domestic first class or business oan flights under 4 hours, it was sweet to get the upgrade. Our flight left on time and was very smooth. We checked all our luggage, something we had not done in years, thanks to Disney’s Magic tags. Our luggage made it to our rooms about an hour after we had arrived at the hotel via the Magic Express.
Where we stayed
In the past we have stayed at the Pop Century, Coronado Springs and the Art of Animation. Each time Port Orlean French Quarter was in our short list. This time around FQ won over the above hotels Saratoga Springs and Wilderness Lodge. While in our future trip we might go for Wilderness Lodge or the Polynesian, FQ felt like the best move. It makes no sense to pay 2X-3X more if one plans to stay at the parks all day and just come to the room to sleep.
The FQ was manageable (a lot smaller than other properties), clean, the food at the restaurant was good and the staff was great. With one minor exception not worth including. Pro Tip: ask for a room close to the 2 bus stops. We did not do it, and the walk from the last building was not a big deal, but if we returned to this property that would be our top request.
Where we ate
Every morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then headed to the park of the day. On day one we had a great lunch at the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom. Make sure you try the Brazilian cheese bread, but everyone enjoyed what they ordered. The next day we ate at Restaurantosourous some appreciated the food more than others. Next time I will make arrangements for another location. We also had lunch at Cosmic Ray’s. While the food was OK, the crowd was way too much. In previous trips we had made reservations for diner every night. Getting reservations for Monsieur Paul was not in our cards this time around, but we had a very satisfying dinner at Hacienda de San Angel and the staff was great. This time around we only did one character dinner the last evening of our trip.
Extra Magic Hours
With 2 exceptions, we headed to parks with extra magic hours each day. However, even with Extra Magic Hours we were not able to ride Pandora Flight of Passage nor the Slinky Dog Dash, arguably the most desired rides in the world of Mickey.