What parks did you visit and when were the dates? We arrived late on Friday, September 4th and left on Monday, September 7th . It was the perfect amount of time away from our little ones and we were able to experience Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom.
What made you risk going back so soon? We had this trip planned with another couple, for a LONG time. We were supposed to go with another Believe Travel Agent, Emily Carter. When they had to cancel, we kept our trip and I was ready to see the parks personally. After following my favorite Instagram accounts, seeing a ton of our team traveling and watching all the wonderful Disney videos, it made me more ready then ever.
Did you stay on the grounds somewhere? We stayed at the Yacht Club, which is an Epcot area resort.
What modes of transportation did you use to get around? We used Disney’s Magical Express to and from the airport. The Disney Bus Transportation to Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom and we walked to Hollywood Studios from our resort.
Was there a certain ticket/package you purchased and what was the process of purchasing (different or the same)? We actually purchased our tickets separately from our room. The process is different, adding the Park Reservation System to the mix. At first, I was nervous and slightly apprehensive, but understanding the process and experiencing the parks, it makes complete sense. To me, it’s similar to understanding Dining Reservations or Fast Passes (when they existed). It’s a learning curve, that we as agents can help with.
What were the new guidelines you had to follow (masks, could not do this, etc.)? Masks were required the minute we left our room in all hallways, transportation, parks, attractions, etc. The only time we had it off was at the pool, after being escorted to our chairs. There are social distancing markers at every ride/attraction. If there are numbers you typically stand on (Tower of Terror, Flight of Passage, etc), they have you stand on a large circle with your group. There are sanitizing stations before you get on the rides, after you are off the rides and throughout the queues. For me, I hope a few of these new guidelines stay. I know I enjoyed not being hit by someone else’s backpack while waiting in line.
How was wearing a mask in Florida in the summer? Honestly, and shockingly not terrible. Disney allowed you to take a quick drink of water in line, so if needed, we were able to. We packed neck fans, but only used those a few times. It helped that most of the queue lines were in the air conditioning interiors.
How was the crowd size? AMAZING!! Holiday weekends are usually known to be busy, but this was not the case. I will say that normal congested areas were slightly crowded but I’ll take 30 minutes compared to hours. We were able to ride most of the rides that we wanted to more then once, which
says a lot for the crowds.
Were there any attractions/experiences that were closed due to COVID? Some of the shows are still closed. But we did see Disney Junior Dance Party is back for the little ones. For us, we didn’t notice all of them, because we were enjoying the low wait times.
What was the attitude like of the employees? Disney is known for having the iconic, positive, Cast Members and for me, it was the same, if not better. They were more than understanding with questions that might arise, especially with mobile ordering. I found myself stopping and watching how quickly and diligently they cleaned tables, chairs, and common areas, all while being positive. I also made sure to thank those that stopped and helped, or I had time to chat with. Without the cleaning staff being so organized, parks could not open. Everyone was doing their part and it did not go unnoticed.
What was the attitude like of the guests? So anyone that knows me, knows that I rarely meet a stranger, especially in Disney. Guests were so sweet offering to take pictures for us, chatting in the lobby, holding doors and even inviting us on the elevators (there is a limit). The biggest advice I can give, is during this time, be understanding. Some people are not okay with lending a helping hand right now, do not be offended, simply ask someone else to capture a picture for you or find a Cast Member if you have any questions.
What advice do you have for post-COVID times at theme parks?
Mobile Ordering is big, so make sure you allow yourself time to view the menu, on your phone,
order and not have little ones hangry with you.
Some parks open earlier then what is listed on the app, so be sure to plan to arrive a little earlier then posted.
Embrace every single cavalcade. There are a few different ones at each park, and they happen
when you least expect them. I understand that not seeing the characters on a personal basis, might
seem hard, but with the lower crowds, they interact phenomenally with the guests.
Walk through Cinderella’s Castle. Normally with stage shows, you have to walk around. Walking
through the castle and seeing Main Street USA in the background, is one of the greatest feelings.
Travel. I think a lot of us fear the unknown (picture me singing in my Elsa voice). You truly have
to see the changes to believe them. I think any social media influencer, blogger, and Disney itself can
paint a picture but seeing is believing. I was so impressed with every change that Disney has made. It
brought me back in time, allowing me to embrace the time with my husband and see Disney in a new
Did you ever feel unsafe? The only time I felt unsafe was in Magic Kingdom outside of Small World, Peter Pan. That area is known for congestion and it would be that way for a short period of time. We simply waited for the crowd to disperse, which it did, or we went the other way.
Do you think they opened too early or was it fine for what it was worth? Absolutely not. At first, I was more upset that they took so long to open and now I completely understand why. I think being able to share with my family, friends and clients just how great Disney truly is, with or without fireworks, is important. The shorter park hours had me concerned too, but again, I stopped and thought about all the moments we would have missed at our resort and around the Boardwalk area if we continued to rush around parks. Disney’s new norm is just what we needed for this vacation. I am excited for the phases, dining options and more cavalcades to come in the upcoming months. For me Disney is home and it never felt like anything less!