A Walt Disney World Christmas In July Trip Report: 11/18/23

Space Mountain and Tron view from the balcony of The Conteporary Resort in a theme park view room

Christmas in July is here! I held back my Thanksgiving Walt Disney World trip report due to time constraints, and I’m so excited to finally share it with you. Read all the posts in this report here. Onward!


Before we begin, a bit of housekeeping: in the modern age, it is incredibly rude to post photos and information about other peoples’ children without permission. Rather than bother my siblings-in-law about it, I have chosen to take the avoidance route. To that end, I’ve selected pseudonyms for everyone involved in this trip report except for me and Pat. He’s already appeared in previous reports, and I dare say at this point the jig is up re: me.

I’ll also be keeping everyone but Pat and I out of photos, which is kind of a bummer because so many of our pics are cute. 😅 I’ll supplement at times with photos from previous trips for illustrative purposes. Just imagine these photos include two awesome little girls having the best time, okay? Okay!

With that out of the way, let’s get this party started!


After months and months of planning, the day finally arrived: we were headed to Orlando for my nieces’ first ever Walt Disney World trip!

Picture it: the Saturday before Thanksgiving, 2023. Our group originated from two separate places, with Pat and I representing the Puerto Rico contingent. The DMV contingent shall be hereinafter referred to as follows:

Egon, Pat’s brother
Ariel, our sister-in-law
Alice, niece the elder (9)
Cindy, niece the younger (6)

You will never know their real names, but I’ve left you some clues about some of their favorite fictional characters. Little may it help you!

This might be my longest trip report lead-in yet? ANYWAY. Pat and I got on a pretty early flight into Orlando. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the onboard wifi was working, as my first task of the trip was to begin before we even arrived: grabbing our Genie+ slots. This being Alice’s and Cindy’s first ever trip to Disney, we had no intention of skimping on the Lightning Lanes.

My Disney Experience

I was pleased if a bit surprised to see that Lightning Lane availability was pretty decent, and was able to secure a couple good slots before we even arrived. We did have to wait for luggage for a fair bit after arrival (the handlers suddenly dropped everything to focus on transfers?), but our Uber showed up quickly and we were standing in front of Disney’s Contemporary Resort in no time. Oh, yes; it was deluxe resort time. No skimping on that either!

Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we dropped off our luggage with bell services and began the vaunted walk to the Magic Kingdom. Major Contemporary perk, that. Egon et al had beat us to the park – and the girls didn’t know we were coming. Time for a sneak attack!

Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom

After a bit of texting, we decided to meet up with them in Frontierland. Ariel distracted the girls with a lizard while we sidled up behind them. The thing is, the lizard distraction worked too well, and they didn’t even notice when we were a foot away! If I recall correctly, Pat ultimately had to poke Alice in the back of the head before they saw us. And there was much rejoicing, because we are the coolest aunt and uncle ever in the history of the universe. You can ask anybody!

Big Thunder Mountain sign

Frontierland was already a convenient convergence spot, as it positioned us perfectly for our first Lightning Lane of the day: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Pat and I thought this was a perfect ease-in attraction; thrilling enough to set the tone, but with no real risk of scaring anyone. And we were right! The girls tumbled off their first roller coaster of the day exhilarated and ready for more.

We took a quick snack break at Golden Oak Outpost, hoping against hope for the return of their once-glorious waffle fries, but alas – they have the normal Disney shoestring fries now. Some chicken strips did the trick, but it wasn’t the same. Oh, well; we had a whole week of Disney dining ahead of us.

Our next Lightning Lane was for the Haunted Mansion, and thus we all headed toward Liberty Square. The girls took a quick pitstop by the Country Bears to show off their hula hooping skills, then paused by the stocks to get the obligatory prisoner photos. That’s part of what makes it fun to go to WDW with newbies, don’t you think? Everything is new-dyed in their eyes.

We killed a bit of remaining time in the Memento Mori gift shop and on ice cream (frozen banana what what) before it was finally time for our Haunted Mansion slot. Our spin was successful, but if I recall correctly the audio did a bit of fading in and out at times. Visuals were, of course, spot on as always. The girls are great proponents of what they call “spooky” stuff, and I was pleased they could join me in my Haunted Mansion fandom.

After narrowly avoiding becoming the 1,000th ghost, backtracked a bit toward Adventureland for our next Lightning Lane slot: Pirates of the Caribbean! Just playing all the hits for day one. Naturally this classic attraction charmed the girls, although it didn’t have quite the allure of the Haunted Mansion and its spookiness. They did award some bonus points for the drop.

Pirates of the Caribbean queue detail

Oddly enough, after our back-to-back-to-back Lightning Lane reservations, the girls were none to keen on the idea of waiting in a standby line. Kids these days! They wouldn’t last an hour in the FastPass-less asylum where they raised me. 😜

Instead we headed over to the Emporium. It was time for the official initiation, for in this hallowed space each child would be permitted to select her own pair of Minnie ears. It’s like the b’nai mitzvah of the theme park industry, and both girls gave the moment the serious attention it deserved.

After a thorough perusal of the ear wall, Alice went away with sequined lilac ears, while Cindy went with a pair themed to Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas; even at six she displayed tremendous taste and discretion.

I myself almost succumbed to some purple floral ears, decided not to buy, regretted it, and didn’t see that pair once for the rest of the trip. Buy the ears when you see them, people! (Happy ending to this story, as it happens; I was later reunited with these ears during my unplanned Princess Half trip in February.)

Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Emporium souvenirs - Minnie Ears and Remy Munchling

After this wildly important ritual, we wandered over toward Tomorrowland (never come with me to WDW if you prefer to tour efficiently 😅). We were still a bit too early for our Lightning Lane slot, so I herded everyone into the Carousel of Progress.

I know, I know; maybe not the best move for a first Disney trip. Carousel of Progress is a bit of a Walt-idolizing, Imagineering Story-binging, Disney Adult attraction. On the other hand, it contains the original birds from the “Spoonful of Sugar” number in Mary Poppins. That counts for something, right? Jean Shepard voiced acted the father! Everyone loves A Christmas Story!

With a little nap to bolster their spirits, I then led everyone to our final LL attraction of the day, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. This was destined to be a Pat vs. Egon Cagematch, as Egon works in the video game industry and Pat plays a lot of video games.

Obviously my loyalties could only lie with Pat, and I willingly sacrificed any Galactic Hero title to operate as Pat’s navigator. I never raised my gun, instead telling him – according to the internet – how to get the highest score in each room. Alas, we didn’t max out Pat’s score, but he did beat Egon, and is that not the essence of brotherly love?

By this point the girls had been up since I want to say 3am? So we decided to put an end to the Magic Kingdom portion of our first day. We walked back to The Contemporary and headed toward our individual rooms for some rest and a bit of unpacking.

… And in my case some gawking and picture-taking, because I promise you I do NOT find myself in a theme park view Contemporary room every day. I marveled at the park spread out below from the balcony, admired the subtle The Incredibles touches, and joined Pat and wondering how a completely clear shower door works out when you’re a family of four. Luckily not our problem.

A short time later we headed down to Steakhouse 71 for dinner, during which Alice fell asleep in her chair. Girl had a point; it was a long day.

After dinner Pat and I put a bit of The Fifth Element on TV and enjoyed that glorious theme park view before heading to bed. Day one was successfully in the books. We had a whole Walt Disney World week ahead of us. Is there anything more delightful? (No.)

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!


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