Planning a Disney World Trip – Third Time is the Charm (hopefully)

Published: April 5, 2021

It has to happen this time, it just has to.  For the third time we are attempting to book our family vacation to Disney World to celebrate our oldest daughter’s graduation from high school.

Our first attempt was for April, 2020.  We were able to book all of the bells and whistles for this trip that, in the past, we had never been able to afford.  This trip we had rented a suite at Disney’s All-Star Music resort so that both of my daughters would not have to sleep in the same bed.  We had great flight times for our trip (first one out, last one home) so that we basically had an extra day in Florida.  We had dinner reservations at Cinderella Castle, 50’s Prime-Time Cafe and Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White.  We had FastPasses for Mickey’s Runaway Railroad, Slinky Dog Coaster and Avatar Flight of Passage.  By early January we had everything booked and were starting to plan our days.  By mid-February, there were rumblings of this highly contagious virus that was spreading that originated in China that was really dangerous.  We didn’t think much of it, we have been through the “Bird Flu”, “Swine Flu” and “H1N1 Flu” and thought that it would last for two or three weeks and that it would pass.  As you know, we could not have been more wrong.  Come mid-March, 2020, the entire world came to a screeching halt and all of our April vacation plans came to an end when Disney World in Florida completely shut down and all reservations were cancelled.

Our second attempt to salvage our vacation came in July of 2020.  Disney World had reopened to limited capacity and we rebooked our vacation for the last week of July.  We had our hotel, airline and car rental.  We were able to book FastPasses and Dinner Reservation as we had for our cancelled April vacation.  But, as with our first attempt, these plans also disappeared when the state in which my family lives announced that anyone traveling into our state from another state would have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.  I would not have been able to take an additional 2 weeks from my job and this made our second attempt financially unacceptable. We also did not feel safe traveling at what would be the beginning of the highest peak of the pandemic.  We were able to cancel all of our reservations and both Disney and Southwest Airlines gave us credits that we would be able to use before September, 2021.

The dilemma that we now faced is that my oldest daughter has now graduated from high school and is now a Freshman in college in another state than us.  My wife is a school teacher and my youngest daughter is a Junior in high school.  This means that my oldest daughter has different school breaks than my wife and youngest daughter…  So this means that we need to book our trip for the Summertime…  Yay, Summer in Orlando.

So here goes our third attempt for planning a vacation at Disney World in Florida.  So far, we have booked our hotel, we are staying at Pop Century.  We have activated our park tickets and have linked them to one of the last sets of Magic Bands that Disney sent out before discontinuing this perk for staying on-site.  Our flights have also been booked with a 7am departing flight (we will arrive at MCO at approximately 10:30am) and a departing flight at 6:35PM.  We have booked park reservations for the week as such:

  • Wednesday – Magic KingdomSonny Delight at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
  • Thursday – Hollywood Studios
  • Friday – Epcot
  • Saturday – Magic Kingdom
  • Sunday – Hollywood Studios
  • Monday – Water Park (maybe)
  • Tuesday – Animal Kingdom

So we still need to book a rental car and once it is within 60 days of our first day, we will start to book dinner reservations.

At this point, there are so many unknown variables.  Will there be parades and fireworks?  Will FastPass come back?  Will masks and limited park capacity still be needed for mid-July?

This trip will also be a make or break for future trips to Walt Disney World.  There have been so many reports of Disney ridiculously raising prices to the point where the parks will become not affordable.

Follow along with our Blog through each step we take for booking our Summer, 2021 Disney World Vacation.