Disneyworld 2023 - Day 1 & 2

Okay so it's been a little while since I posted last. 

I think the last time Mason had a vacation with me was in Nov 2015 (not sure if I even blogged about it in here).  In 2019 I went solo to Belize and Guatemala and then the pandemic happened.  It's been a long three years without an overseas vacation.  I've done a few roadtrips with Mason but he's long overdue for a fun holiday.

I asked him if he wanted to go to another all inclusive but he mentioned Disneyworld and I thought, you know what? You've been through a lot and I've saved up enough money for us to go on a few trips (I am off to Indonesia solo in July and we are tentatively going to the DR in Nov).   

Off to Google to start vacation planning earlier this year.  For this trip, planning this vacation harder than all of my other trips and add in a 14 year old with ADHD.  So here we go.

I learned that Travel Agents no longer offer package deals for Disney (with some exceptions for Disneyland) and so I was on my own to figure out hotel & flights.  I chose to book through Expedia and I wanted to avoid major holidays as I knew it would be insanely busy.  I settled on end of April.

Here are the trip costs (all figures in CAD) for two of us:

Flights (Westjet & Air Canada) $1643.02
Hotel (Westgate).  Studio suite $1259.60
Resort Fee $133.90
Package Insurance (Cancellation) $239.66
Legoland (1 Day Pass) $173.76

Packing Essentials

  • Sunglasses
  • Poncho (it rains crazy amounts)
  • Flip flops (those who wore sneakers got drenched)
  • Hand Sanitizer (I didn't see one station)
  • Charging cables
  • Earplugs & eye mask

Pre Trip Planning

  1. If your child has any type of challenge, please check out the Disability Access Pass.  It's a free service and it allows you to join the 'Lightening Lane' (Previously called Fastpass?  You can preregister up to two (2) rides 2-30 days ahead of your visit.  You need to have a video call with one of their agents (with the child) and then you can pan.  Unfortunately the service didn't work for us and I learned upon arrival that you miss out on the super busy rides.  When you are onsite, you pick the rides you want to visit and it will tell you wait times.  You register and then show up after the designated time.  No meltdowns.  You can just wander near the ride and go in when you are ready.  LOVE THIS.
  2. Expedia incorrectly stated that our hotel had a shuttle.  HAD a shuttle, they stopped offering it.  I complained.  They said I could cancel my flight, I told them that rebooking would result in me paying a lot more for my hotel.  So they gave me a lousy $25 credit to use on a future purchase on Expedia.  Unlike Disneyland, the park is near freeways so even though it's 'close by', it's over an hour of walking, no thanks.  We also booked a day at Legoland which is 45 mins away so a car rental was a better option and also gave us more mobility to go get groceries & go to restaurants.  I booked a car rental through Expedia, the credit was not applied to my purchase.  They didn't care.  
  3. Park tickets are CRAZY expensive.  $1200 CAD for a 3 day pass for Mason and I.  I didn't prepay for parking and it was $25/day.
  4. Legoland was booked through Expedia, price was cheaper than buying direct.  I didn't prepay for parking

It took three flights to get to Orlando

  1. Vancouver Island to Edmonton
  2. Edmonton to Toronto
  3. Toronto to Orlando

I chose an overnight flight to spend less awake time in the air which I felt would be better for Mason.  The first flight was uneventful but when we got to Edmonton, our boarding pass didn't mention a gate and neither did the giant board.  There was no mention of an Edm to TO flight at all, I got nervous as it was almost midnight.  Luckily, a nice agent walked by and told us where to go.

When we got to Toronto, our uneventful trip got interesting. I could write a novel so I'll stick to bullet points for an easier read.

  • Plane was marshalled into the wrong gate and resulting us being delayed through customs.  The plan LEFT without us (and 5-6 others)
  • It was 7am, we were supposed to fly out at 7:30am.  There was hardly any restaurants open.  There was another flight out at 10:30am but it was FULL.  They said we were on the 2:30pm.   7 hours wait.  I found a Starbucks so I could get some caffeine and breakfast but Mason was another story.
  • Found a Mexican restaurant and asked them to make me a simple cheese quesadilla.  $12 CAD.  Med carton of milk for Mason $2.50
  • No nap pods in the area we were in :(.  Mason slept for 15mins at 1pm
  • Westjet sent me an email and a text with $60 in meal vouchers (which could be used at the snack stores) but they are one time use and expire the next day, when we are GONE.  This text came in after I spent $40 on two meals.  Starbucks & the restaurant were so lovely and processed a refund so I could use the two vouchers.  Very grateful.
  • I did put in a request to Westjet for monetary compensation for the flight delay.  7 hours = $700 each.  They have 30 days to respond. 
  • Flight finally arrived and we were back in the air.   Plane half empty.  Got into 2nd class (lots of leg room but no fancy meals)
  • Wasn't able to sleep on this flight, I've now only had 2 hours of a crappy plane sleep at this point.   Mason slept for two hours, he had his head on my shoulder, I was worried about him getting a stiff neck.  I spent most of the flight holding up his head


Plane arrives, now to find our bag.

  • Bag is on wrong carousel
  • Head outside to catch our shuttle to the rental car.  It was just driving away.  No big deal, another will come.  TWENTY minutes later.  Oh and it started to rain lol
  • Get to car rental, it's packed with people.  I rush the line.  I've got my credit card and driver's license.  They want PROOF of my policy.  I did see that there was a document attached to my credit card add on for insurance.  Guess what? It's not for the policy.  
  • Have to use data to log into my bank account because their 2FA/MFA is only sent by text/phone.  Activate Fido Roam like Home.  $12/day.  Le Sigh
  • After 15 mins, I finally prove I have a policy.  They tell me my bill is now $160 (Plus the $40 I prepaid).  It was supposed to be a $117 cost because I got insurance elsewhere BUT there are tolls everywhere in Florida.  I didn't bring much USD because I didn't want to pay a lot of extra fees to convert and I could use CC when needed.  After I agree to prepay tolls, she then tells me I pay a specific amount whether I go through the tolls or NOT.  WHAT?!? They just assume you do.  
  • Got a Toyota 4 door sedan, it felt really weird driving it as it was so low to the ground compared to my Jeep!
  • Mason navigates and we try to get to our hotel but he says he's hungry.  He spots an Olive Garden and wants breadsticks.  We order two dishes (Fettuccine Alfredo & chicken/broccoli (I took the lemons for my water, home), unlimited salad & breadsticks), no drinks.  It came to $63.00 CAD including tip. Ouchie

Okay now we are full but exhausted.  Time to get to our hotel.  

The Good:

  • Free parking - bonus
  • Get our package and head up to the room.  The room has a nice layout, on the second floor, view of the lake from a fully screened patio (mosquitos?)
  • And the best part? a JETTED tub in the bathroom!  The bathroom vanity had drawers, that was cool
  • It has a waterpark (slide and lazy river)

The bad

  • Front desk clerk is not friendly.  Didn't make for a great check-in experience
  • Waterpark cost $20each USD
  • It started pouring rain as soon as we settled in!  Check this video out.
  • My bedsheets were not clean, I found a live silverfish under the sheets and human hair. 

I named him Frank and put him in a cup to show Mason but I forgot about him and he died the next day.   RIP Frank, please tell your friends to stay outta my bed!

  • Clearly they made the bed but didn't change the sheets.  The sheets for the hideabed were ripped and dirty.  The housekeeper brought me new sheets but gave zero fucks about my complaint of dirty sheets in the first place
  • The shower wasn't cleaned
  • The hairdryer was missing (they brought me a brand new one (full size) later today)
  • The safe was broken (Maintenance fixed it quickly)

It gets worse...

  • After a VERY LONG day, we finally crash for the night.  The phone rang to let me know that our free breakfast/brunch was waiting with a presentation on the grounds amenities.  It is a huge resort.  We check in and I overhear them talking about packages so I figure they will try to upsell us on other amenities.  We are taken to the breakfast area which consists of eggs/sausages/potatoes, drinks, yogurt and cereal.   Free breakfast was appreciated until I realized I was in a TIME SHARE presentation.
  • OMG.  1 hour of my time and I will also receive a Visa gift card to use on site and free tickets to the water park.  I really didn't want to pay $40USD to go in a lazy river.  So we let the guy do his spiel.  He drives us around the property and then show us the suites.  They are gorgeous.  The timeshare makes sense for someone who is wealthy & travels a lot.  
  • An hour later, he tells me I have to decide in our chat if I want to give them $45,000USD (with $10k deposit) LOL.  I came here for a vacation, not to buy a timeshare in America.  I say no.  He says fine but you can tell he's annoyed.   He brings his Manager over to see how to get the cost down.  Still no.  I don't make decisions like this with high pressure.  He says I have to wait for my free passes.  Some lady sits down and asks me if I want to pay $700 for another week at the hotel at another time LOL.  NO! I don't think I'd come back to Florida or to this hotel.  She leaves
  • Finally I get a piece of paper to go to the welcome center to get my passes.  I go there, they tell me to go somewhere else.  Sigh.  The time is now noon and it's getting HOT out.  My $400 Disneyworld tickets are getting dusty.  Finally get to the Services center and I tell them I didn't have a great experience.  They end up giving me $100 USD cash, the voucher and another amenity voucher to use paid amenities at no cost.  This made up for the 1.5 hours of lost time.

I am VERY grateful I have a very patient child.  He didn't complain once.

Finally we are in the rental car and heading to DW.

  • Parking was easy and cost $25 USD / $34.77 CAD for the day
  • Shuttle to the monorail and we go to line up and I realize that my registration emails have NO pass in them.  I get locked out of my Disney account.  I get back in through the APP only to discover my passes are not linked to my account.  It's getting hotter out
  • Finally the check in lady finds them and we ask about our DAS pass.  She explains it's too late to book tomorrows rides and I can only book 2 for Friday.  That's the advantage of booking in advance, some rides are high volume and the times are already reserved.


  • Our first park is Magic Kingdom which seemed identical to DL.  We went on:
  1. Toy Story ride Buzz Lightyear shooting thing x 2 
  2. Space Mountain - Mason hated Space Mountain when he was 5 and I accidentally took him twice then.   As we were on this ride I said to him that the ride was WAY too fast for such a young child.  After it was over, we both agreed we did not like it lol
  3. Big Thunder - We liked that one!
  4. Haunted Mansion - When we got in the line, it started to downpour.  We did NOT bring ponchos or rain jackets.  I did bring a hat for me and Mason had a fan to sorta stay dry.  This is where the Lightning passes really come in handy.  The line up was covered!  Once the ride was over, it was raining less hard.
  5. By 4:30pm, it was a crazy downpour.  The streets started flooding.  We found cover before our next ride and it took a while inside before we got on the ride so essentially that kept us dry.  Video is here.
  • Food.  Hotdog & chips or an orange - $10.96 USD
  • I had 3 tacos $11.00USD.   It was quite yummy!
  • Water is $3.75USD for a bottle of Dasani

We decided after 4 hours that we saw everything we wanted to (weren't interested in going into all the little stores).  We opted for the ferry boat ride back to the parking lot shuttles:

Pic courtesy of DisneyLists.com

Pic I took during the float over.  

After searching for our rental car for 5 minutes, we head to Walmart to pick up some groceries as we have a mini fridge in our room and I want to avoid spending crazy money on food.  We grab:

  • Ponchos at $1.00USD
  • Water
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Mason's diet is very limited and we only have a toaster/microwave.  We opted for
    • Mr. Noodles
    • Eggos & maple syrup
    • Cucumbers
    • Milk
    • Krispy Kreme donuts 6 for $10 (splurge)
  • For me, I got yoghurt, salad bowl, fruit/nut bowl
  • Total bill was $73.98 / $103.37 CAD

I filled up our water bottles with ice from the hotel so we can keep our water cold tomorrow.

I had leftover Olive Garden for dinner.  Mason didn't eat because he felt sick (Hello Krispy Kreme)

Now it's time for a bath to soak my achy feet (15,000 steps today!) and head to bed.  It's only 7pm BC time but I am exhausted and we are hitting the park earlier tomorrow!

Hoping the weather doesn't look like this for the rest of the week...


*Prices shown in CAD also include exchange rate and any credit card fees.

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