Posted at 12:37 pm by taryngirl, on October 21, 2021
It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten at Mama Melrose in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so I wanted to check it out! The last time we ate there, I really wanted to try the famous steak and JUST THAT WEEK they removed it from the menu. After lots of customer complaints, they brought it back, so I was anxious to try it, and honestly, by the time we made reservations, our choices were limited with both location and times.
We got to Hollywood Studios at around 3:30 p.m. Our reservation was at 4:45 p.m.
We walk through some of the shops on the way in, then checked wait times on the rides. Toy Story Midway Mania only had a 20 minute wait, so we went on that. Once we came out of there, we made our way over to Mama Melrose right on time.
The decor and atmosphere are super cozy and cute inside this restaurant. To access the menu at the table, you scan a barcode and it pops up on your phone.
To start, they brought us some amazing bread. It was warm and had a great olive oil dip. I also asked for straight up butter.
Jamie ordered the Mama’s Caesar Salad–Fresh Romaine Lettuce, Housemade Caesar Dressing, Herb Croutons, and Parmesan. $11.00.
For her main dish, she ordered the Oven-Baked Chicken alla Parmigiana–Breaded Chicken Breast with Marinara Sauce topped with Melted Mozzarella over Spaghetti $25.00.
I ordered the Charred Strip Steak–Four Cheese Macaroni with Pancetta, Aged Balsamic Shallot Butter, and Chianti Wine Reduction $33.00. At Italian restaurants I always order some type of pasta, just because I feel like I should! But I’ve heard so many amazing things about this steak, that I had to give it a try. I LOVED IT! Both the steak and mac and cheese were so good! If I come back here, I 100% will be ordering this again.
We were so full there was no way we could do dessert here. Plus, I still had Gideon’s cookies back in the room!
After we left here, we went and stood in the standby line for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which had a posted time of 30 minutes I think. We were pretty beat at this point from traveling, so we took some photos and then headed back to the resort.
Up next…Magic Kingdom for the 50th Anniversary Celebration!
Posted at 2:35 pm by taryngirl, on October 20, 2021
As I stated in an earlier post, I was lucky to score a DVC reservation here on short notice! I kept checking back since things were completely booked immediately for the start of the anniversary celebration. I had stayed here one time before, when Magic Kingdom had the 24 hour party. The rooms had recently been refurbished, and the sofa bed was replaced with a murphy bed, so I was excited to check it out!
After I got back from Disney Springs, I changed (had my swimsuit in my backpack), and headed to the pool to relax and have lunch until my room was ready. I got the text around 12:30 p.m. that my room was ready, and it was super close in The Springs section. Here you can see the pool, where the bus stop is in this section, and the main lobby. My building was where the 4101-4436 rooms are marked. Super convenient! I did reserve a “Preferred’ room. I went to Bell Services first and got my luggage, then headed to the room.
This resort is inspired by a historic New York retreat famous for its horse racing. It’s 65 acres and a short boat ride or walk to Disney Springs. There are 2 feature pools and 3 leisure pools, whirlpool spas and aqua-play areas.
The Deluxe Studios can accommodate 4 people with a queen bed and a double size pull down bed.
Here’s the view when entering the room:
Here you can see the small sofa with the double pull down bed above it.
The coffee table also can be raised up if you want to use it as a table while sitting on the sofa.
I love the Deluxe Studios because they have a microwave, toaster, mini fridge, coffee pot and sink. This is great for quick breakfasts or snacks in the room.
I loved our view! We did enjoy sitting out there in the evenings once we were back from the parks.
Overall, I loved the room and the resort, and would definitely stay here again in the preferred section. I love that they are adding the pull down bed. It’s so much more comfortable than the regular sofa bed.
Up next…Dinner at Mama Melrose and Around Hollywood Studios!
Posted at 10:07 am by taryngirl, on October 7, 2021
I was so excited to be able to get away during the middle of my daughter’s soccer season, and visit the most magical place on Earth for the 50th anniversary celebration that was set to officially begin on October 1st! My friend and fellow travel agent Jamie, booked a room the second they were released for our dates. We knew it would book up quickly. I was unlucky with trying to make a reservation with my DVC points. She booked us at Art of Animation in a Little Mermaid room. Just a few weeks ago, I was browsing the DVC website to see if there was any availability, and Saratoga Springs Resort popped up! I snagged a Deluxe Studio in the Preferred section. I was excited to stay here because the rooms have recently been refurbished!
My flight was SUPER early…5:40 a.m. from Philadelphia. I was hoping to avoid a crowded airport with this early time, and make the most of my arrival day.
Upon landing at MCO, I was greeted with these cute wraps on the monorail shuttle to the main terminal.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as wait times for the Magical Express, but I decided to get my luggage from baggage claim and head that direction before making a decision to Lyft to the resort.
To my surprise, I was the ONLY person there! One person came after me, so there were only 2 people total on my bus besides the driver.
It was a quick trip to our resort, as we were the only stop. Upon arrival at the resort, there was some construction/refurbishment going on at the main lobby area and around bell services. This caused a little bit of crowding and confusion, but the bell services cast members were working hard trying to get everyone handled! There were little kiosks set up outside for those checking in.
I was starving, so after checking my luggage with bell services (since my room wasn’t ready), I went directly to The Artist’s Palette to check their breakfast options. You no longer HAVE to mobile order, although it is still an option with signage all over the place telling you how to do it. You can walk in here and order your food. I chose to do this so I could take some pictures.
There is a grab and go section, which I did not get to experience on my last trips in May and June! So things are slowly getting back to “normal.”
Here is the breakfast menu:
I always order the kid’s meal. It comes with two sides and a drink! (Mickey waffles are my must do breakfast…)
When I was finished eating, my plan was to walk to Disney Springs and check out Gideon’s Bakehouse! That’s up next.
Posted at 11:23 am by taryngirl, on September 22, 2021
Today was our Epcot day. We slept in and got to the park around 10:00 a.m. The posted opening time was 11:00 a.m., but I knew they would open the gates prior to that.
Our Touring Plan:
10:07 a.m. we were allowed in, and we made it to Test Track at 10:13 a.m. The gates there didn’t open until 10:17 a.m. though. We were on the ride by 10:25 a.m, then headed directly to Soarin’ and were in line by 10:42 a.m. The posted wait time was 20 minutes, however, we were out at 11:22 a.m. From there we hit Living with the Land, and The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Our plan was to just eat and walk around the countries! Everything looked so beautiful with the pretty flowers and amazing topiaries.
After walking around the countries, we took a Skyliner ride to Riviera Resort to check it out. We then went back to Epcot and hit the DVC Lounge for a drink and snack. We watched Pixar Shorts and went on Journey Into Imagination with Figment. We had dinner reservations at Via Napoli and then stood in a longgggg line for Frozen Ever After.
Here are some of the sights from around Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival:
This photo is my favorite!
We were able to catch a glimpse of new Ratatouille ride area that is opening October 1st!
Located between the United Kingdom and Canada:
Located near The Seas with Nemo were these really gorgeous butterflies! The perfect backdrop for two Instagram loving teens!
Overall, it was a fabulous day in Epcot! We saw everything we wanted to. Up next will be my dining review of Via Napoli, which is one of our favorite restaurants!
Today was the day…our first attempt at getting into the queue for Rise of the Resistance! If you know anything about this process, you know you have to be on My Disney Experience wherever you are to score a spot. All of my clients get detailed notes on how to get the best chance of securing a place in the virtual queue! If you do not have a spot, you do not ride! (There is a second chance at 1:00 p.m. as well, but you have to have a park reservation for that day, and you have to be in the park to actually get into the queue.)
So I arose at 6:45 a.m., logged onto the My Disney Experience app. This is what you see when you scroll down a little bit on the home page:
When you click on Check Status, it will take you to this screen:
When you click Join Virtual Queue, it takes you here:
On my daughter’s phone I used the time.is website to check the time down to the second. This is very important! These spots get taken within seconds and then they are totally booked.
And it’s a fail…I’m telling you, it’s difficult to get! You cannot wait until exactly 7:00:00. You have to hit the join at 6:59:59.
Hollywood Studios opened at 9:00 a.m. today. I could not get my crew moving! We didn’t leave the room until 9:30 a.m. This destroyed all of my plans for rope dropping since they open the gates at about 8:15 a.m. Luckily a bus came immediately, and we arrived at DHS at 9:55 a.m.
The night beforeitannounced that there would be no more masks while outdoors in common areas at Disney! So I was anxious to see how this was indicated in the parks.
Right before we got to security, they had cast members announcing NO MASKS! So it really was true.
I had to stop at Guest Services to pick up my physical Annual Pass card, and my family headed to Alien Swirling Saucers because it had the lowest posted wait time of 30 minutes. My plan was to meet them there.
Wait times were already rising…BECAUSE WE DIDN’T ROPE DROP! So we went to Toy Story Midway Mania, which had a 40 minute wait posted. This was fairly accurate. The queue for this started wayyyyyyyyy back near the old entrance for this ride. Here we are at the end of the ride. There are a few different “walls” here to get good IG pics!
At the end of this ride, we took some time to mobile order our lunch from ABC Commissary. I will have a whole separate post reviewing our experience and food here. Stay tuned! At this point, my sister-in-law and niece were just arriving at the park and were able to meet up with us for lunch, as they also placed a mobile order.
While at lunch, at 1:00 p.m., we again attempted to secure a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance. SUCCESS!!! We had about 2-3 hours to kill before our group would be called, so we forged on.
After lunch, we got in line for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway which had a 45 minute wait posted. This was accurate.
The crew, with the exception of my mom and I, headed to Star Tours which had a 25 minute wait posted. We just sat on a bench and people watched.
Next we headed into Galaxy’s Edge to look around. Our boarding group was called at 3:15 p.m. We got in line at 3:25 p.m. and were off the ride at 4:10 p.m. We still had to go through the entire queue, it wasn’t a Fastpass situation.
At this point we decided to take one more ride on Toy Story Midway Mania (20 minute posted wait) and then head back to the resort to relax and swim. Overall, it was a great day, but there was so much we didn’t get to do yet.
Welcome to my latest Disney World trip report! This one was a girls only trip that included my mom, my two daughters, my sister-in-law, and my niece. We originally were supposed to take this vacation in May 2020, but we know what happened there…
We were arriving on Friday, and sis-in-law on Saturday.
Our drive to the Philadelphia Airport was quite eventful. Usually I take 76 to the Blue Route and for some reason Waze had other ideas. We went over the river and through the woods, and made it to our parking reservation right on time. We would have been late for sure if we would have gone our usual route! All I could see on those routes was red, red, red. We used Park N Jet on this trip. It was a Groupon and a great value. This is who we typically use so I wasn’t worried. The parking lot was PACKED! They were turning people away if they didn’t have a reservation.
We arrived at the airport around 3:30 p.m. and our flight was to leave at 5:12 p.m. Thankfully, security was a breeze with not too long of a wait. We had not even boarded our flight from Philadelphia, when I received this text. Our room was ready! (Be sure you do online check in in My Disney Experience and you can completely skip the front desk!)
Our flight was on Frontier, and it was packed full! It took forever to board and we actually got off the ground about a half hour late. However, we somehow arrived on time in Orlando, but then had to sit on the runway for 15 minutes. Just a reminder that Disney’s Magical Express no longer handles your luggage. You are responsible for getting it from Baggage Claim, then toting it with you to the Magical Express line. Sometimes this requires you to go from Terminal A to Terminal B.
This is a tradition pic! Every year, we have a picture of Devon trying to touch the sign, or running and jumping trying to touch the sign (down by the Magical Express). This year she didn’t have to jump!
I had been hearing and reading about realllllllly long wait times for Magical Express. This is due in part to less buses running, seating every other row, etc. I was super pleasantly surprised when we arrived and this was the line! THERE WAS NO LINE! This was about 9:00 p.m. on Friday night. I was fully prepared to call for an Uber/Lyft.
Look how empty!
I do want to say, my sis-in-law arrived on Saturday morning and the line was very long. They got a Lyft!
We boarded at 9:10 p.m.
As stated in my previous post from my trip in November, they are assigning seats. They are seating only every other row (at the time of this trip). We did tip the driver once we got off.
We arrived at Old Key West at 9:45 p.m. We were the first stop! They were going to 4 other resorts after our stop. The Bell Services desk is located right at the drop off outside of the lobby. We never even stepped foot inside the lobby!
We had placed an order with Dizzy Dolphin Delivery several weeks ahead of time and it was awaiting us at Bell Services. This resort is huge! Like 5 bus stops huge. So we were extremely thankful that one of the bellman drove us to our room in this golf cart! He also carried everything up to our room for us. We tipped him well!
We were in Room 2420, which was located on the second floor at the Peninsular Road area bus stop. I put in a request for this building because of it’s location. The bus stop at Peninsular Road is the first bus stop. I didn’t want to chance not having a seat by being directly at the Hospitality House. That is the last stop. We did experience passing by a few stops on a few different occasions with the driver letting them know they will have to catch the next bus.
The Deluxe Studios are about 390 square feet, with 2 queen beds. This is the only DVC resort studio that has 2 regular beds. (Not a sofa bed, not a pull down)
It features a table with two chairs and a tiny tv (this is my only complaint!) in the bedroom area.
Between the bedroom area and the bathroom is a little kitchenette area. Here you can find a microwave, toaster, fridge, coffee pot, sink, etc. Some paper products are provided in the room and are individually sealed. There’s also a roll of paper towels under the sink.
The bathroom is on the smaller side, so we just had to stagger our “get ready” times with four females in the room!
There’s a closet with extra bedding, a vacuum, safe, and ironing board.
I had mentioned we ordered from Dizzy Dolphin. I just wanted to mention that they were great! I received a text from them when the goodies were delivered to the resort. It stated very specifically where our items could be located by Bell Services. Everything was packaged with the greatest care and we were extremely pleased.
Besides the muffins pictured above, we also ordered Panera bagels and cream cheese,
these amazing trays from Publix, which come in various sizes, as well as a few other grocery type items.
We had these for breakfast, snacks in the room, and even packed some for snacks in the park. It was perfect for a later evening arrival. We were all starving!
Up next, our first park day…Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Posted at 1:02 pm by taryngirl, on December 17, 2020
We are DVC owners at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. When we were first deciding whether or not we wanted to buy in, this is where we toured. We love the location the most, which offers a quick walk to Magic Kingdom, and the monorail to Epcot. The views of Magic Kingdom and the lake are great!
Since there were only two of us, I booked a Deluxe Studio, Standard View. The Deluxe Studio offers spacious accommodations including a kitchenette with small fridge, microwave, toaster, sink and a balcony. It features one queen bed and a double size sleeper sofa.
For two people this Villa is perfect. It would also be fine for a family of 3 or 4. There are some other Villas that offer a split bath or 2 bathrooms which is better for a family of 4. Our room was clean, and everything was fine! I’d definitely stay here again.
We also checked out some of the shops on the Contemporary side. Everything was decorated for Christmas!
We absolutely love it here and would definitely stay again!
Posted at 12:36 pm by taryngirl, on December 8, 2020
Continuing on with our day at Epcot, we finished up our Germany snacks and headed toward Mouse Gears to do some shopping. The entire center where the fountain used to be, is all blocked off and under construction at the moment. They are redoing things in there. That means that Mouse Gears is now moved to a different location. It’s still in Future World East, just a different building. The selection is still really good!
From there we headed to Spaceship Earth. Wait time posted was 20 minutes. We waited 25 minutes. Once exiting there are no games anymore. It’s completely silent! I’m assuming this is because of Covid, and the fact that they don’t want people touching the games and crowding. We went over to Journey Into Imagination with Figment, which had a 20 minute wait time posted. We waited 5 minutes. Also, at the end of this attraction there are no games or anything interactive!
Of course at the end of this, we went and enjoyed the DVC Lounge which is upstairs in this building. We sat for about an hour and enjoyed some drinks and snacks while recharging our phones and resting our feet.
While there are no character meet and greets available at the moment, there are characters out and about. We were able to see Joy and Pooh right outside of the Figment attraction.
We headed into The Land and went directly to Living With the Land. Wait time posted was 10 minutes, but we walked right on.
After this, Alex went to ride Soarin’. The wait time posted was 35 minutes. She was on and off in 35 minutes.
Here’s a picture of Garden Grill. The characters are there, but walking in the row of tables behind the patrons.
From there, we went to The Seas with Nemo and Friends, where there was no wait. We also stayed to explore the SeaBase since we had some time to kill before our dinner reservation at Coral Reef.
It was finally time for our dining reservation at Coral Reef! I hadn’t eaten here since my husband and I went for our anniversary many, many years ago…pre kids I think.
The entrance may be hard to find. If you are standing facing the entrance to the Nemo ride, go right around to the side of the building.
There are (for the most part) no paper menus anymore. You have to scan the QR code at the table or outside of the restaurant to see the menu. The menus have all been paired down for sure! Offering less selections than normal.
Note…I don’t eat any seafood! At all!
Our reservation was for 7:15 p.m. We were in and out and at the bus stop to the resort by 8:25 p.m.
I would definitely eat here again, and would recommend anyone who needs a break from the countries to give it a whirl! When I travel with our big family, we always eat in the countries. This was a nice break from that since we had all of the food booths in the afternoon. The staff here was very friendly and accommodating.
Posted at 9:46 am by taryngirl, on December 1, 2020
Recapping a little bit from my previous post, Disney After Covid (which focused mostly on safety and Covid procedures)…
I was presented an amazing opportunity to visit both Disney World and Universal Orlando. I am a Disney Vacation Club member and had several points available to use thanks to a canceled trip back in May, I’m an Annual Passholder, and had a free flight thanks to Southwest Airlines points. That covered the Disney portion of my trip. Universal Orlando invited me to stay on property and experience the parks for a few days, so I could see how they are keeping guests safe while still having loads of fun!
My travel day started off with a 2:50 a.m. alarm to wake up. (I am NOT a morning person unless I’m traveling!). My cousin Alex was my travel partner. We left around 3:40 a.m., and drove to the Philadelphia Airport, arriving around 5:10 a.m. at our parking lot. We went with Smart Park on this trip. I really just look around to see who is cheapest! Upon arriving at the parking lot, we were picked up in a shuttle with two other travel parties. We felt very safe. Everyone was wearing masks and the driver was wearing gloves.
Once at the airport, security was a breeze. Everything is still normal…shoes and coats off, everything on the belt and through the scanner. Everyone in the seating area was social distancing. Our flight was scheduled for 7:05 a.m. and we landed and had our luggage by 9:45 a.m. A note about Disney’s Magical Express…it is not the same! They no longer send you yellow tags in the mail or get your luggage and deliver it to the resort. YOU must get your own luggage from Baggage Claim and take it to the Magical Express with you. We flew Southwest, so our terminal was the A Terminal. We had to get our luggage from there and head over to the B Terminal to get on the Magical Express.
A fun thing I overheard at the Magical Express desk while we were heading to check in…they were expecting 6,458 passengers on the Magical Express on this particular day. The supervisor I guess?? was filling in the workers behind the desk so they knew what to expect. We got in line at 9:57 a.m. Be aware that they are using assigned seating from back to front, and using only every other row. The person checking us in told us where to sit. We were on the bus by 10:08 a.m. and departed at 10:20 a.m.
We arrived at Bay Lake Tower at 10:48 a.m. and were the first stop. We may have actually been the only stop as it seems everyone got off here… We headed into the lobby. We wanted to check our luggage with Bell Services and head to Epcot. We also wanted to change into our shorts because it was hot!
This is one thing I did comment on the survey they gave me. Because there is no luggage delivery anymore, Bell Services is CRAZY! Be prepared for longer than usual waits to actually check the luggage with them.
We finished changing and got organized, checked our luggage, and then were at the bus stop at 11:35 a.m. There is no monorail to Epcot at the moment. The bus arrived at 11:45 a.m., and we made it to Epcot at 11:55 a.m. We were hungry for lunch and decided to start with some food booths! We decided to go counter-clockwise starting in Canada because we knew we wanted to eat something from there!
One of my favorite restaurants is Le Cellier (in Canada), but it’s on the pricey side. The items at this food booth are some of my favorites!
These did not disappoint and were tasty as usual. I absolutely LOVE the soup with the pretzel bread dipper! We continued on and our next stop was the World Showplace Events Pavilion, located between Canada and the UK. I have never seen this open for this particular event, but they do have other events there. I was interested to check it out, and it housed several food booths!
The Liquid Nitro Cake Pops came highly recommended to me from friends who had already been there, so of course I had to try one! I went with the Twix version.
This was really good and different! By this point I was already full, but I still had some items on my list that I wanted to try. Here are some pics from along our way.
Our next stop was in Germany at the little caramel store, Karamell-Kuche. This is a must do for me every trip! It has some of the best snacks. There were some new offerings this trip, possibly just seasonal? I had to have the Gingerbread Salted Caramel Buttercream Cookie Sandwich!
IT WAS AMAZING! My favorite snack from anywhere in the world. And possibly the single best thing I have ever tasted! The cookie was soft, but had a crispyish layer outside. It was perfect. The buttercream and caramel was so good together! I wished I would have bought more to bring home. We found a table next to Mexico in the area where the band usually performs so we could stand and eat our snacks.
What you can see in this picture is the line just to get inside the Mexico pavilion. The man holding the sign actually had to cut off the line because it was too long. The wait from here was about a half hour. I think they cut it off because they didn’t want too big of a crowd blocking the sidewalk.
While we were standing there, some cast members came rushing by telling everyone to get to the side, and that a horse and carriage were coming. We had no idea what was going on! All of a sudden, this went by:
It was brief, but exciting to see! We decided that they do not announce times for these little cavalcades because they don’t want people gathering and lining up. We were just out of Mexico when this one came by:
Short and sweet! It was nice to see the characters out and about since there are no real meet and greet experiences at the moment.
Next up will be the rest of our day at Epcot with dinner at Coral Reef!
Posted at 8:08 pm by taryngirl, on November 23, 2020
An opportunity arose for me to do a quick trip to Florida to visit both Disney World and Universal Orlando, and I couldn’t resist! Several things fell into place…I had DVC points to use from a canceled trip in May, my Annual Pass was expiring on November 17th, and Universal Orlando offered me an amazing deal that I couldn’t pass up! Throw in the free flight I was able to get with my Southwest points, and that was just the cherry on top. I was excited to check out how things are running post-Covid since I have clients scheduled to travel within the next couple of months.
This post is going to deal with everything specific to Disney World and the protocols in place at the resorts, the parks and the restaurants, as far as my personal trip is concerned. My cousin Alex traveled with me.
We started off with a a 7:00 a.m. flight on Southwest from the Philadelphia Airport. We booked offsite airport parking at Smart Park. Starting there, the attendant at the booth was wearing a mask. The shuttle bus driver was wearing gloves and a mask. There were two other parties on the shuttle with us.
Once at the airport, we did the self-service check in. The workers behind the counters were wearing masks. All security workers were also wearing masks. They still are doing regular security. Shoes off, coats off, and everything goes on the belt through the scanner. Once we got to our gate, people were definitely social distancing and not sitting next to one another. There were constant announcements about mandatory mask wearing, and what types of masks were permitted. They did have some available if needed. Southwest is currently not utilizing the middle seats on their planes, unless there are family members that sit right next to each other. They are seating every row.
As always (pre-Covid I did these things!), I had my Clorox wipes to wipe down my seat, tray, etc., and my hand sanitizer. The only beverage available on the flight was water, and they had prepackaged snacks.
In summary, I felt super safe in the airport and on the flight! Everyone was being respectful, wearing masks and social distancing.
Once in Orlando, we were using Disney’s Magical Express transportation from the airport to our resort. This service has changed! They no longer send you the yellow tags in the mail to attach to your luggage. You are responsible for getting your own luggage from baggage claim and taking it with you to the Magical Express bus!They do not deliver the luggage to your room anymore! Since we flew on Southwest, we arrived on the A side. The Magical Express is located on the B side. This means that we had to go to baggage claim on the A side, then go back up and across the entire airport to the B side and downstairs to the Magical Express location. (They also are not doing airline check in at the resorts. So you also bring your luggage with you when leaving the resort and getting on the Magical Express.)
Here you can see the plexiglass up at the counters, as well as some signage.
The lanes are numbered and the cast member will tell you which lane to enter. There are signs all along the lanes with these social distance markers.
The cast member scanning our bands to enter the bus assigned us specific seat numbers. He had a map of the bus with a dry erase marker, and was marking off the seats he assigned. They are utilizing only every other row and are filling the bus from back to front. We were first in line so got the very last seats! (As a side not, there was a girl next to us who was assigned to another bus. She asked if she could sit near the front, and the cast member told her she could sit on a bench until the bus filled up and then could sit in the front. She didn’t like that answer and proceeded to the bus.)
The Magical Express delivered us to Bay Lake Tower with our luggage. The lobby is small and it was chaotic! This was mostly due to Bell Services and luggage. People who did not have a room ready or were checking out but not yet leaving the resort had to check their luggage with Bell Services. Our room was not ready (as indicated by the text we had received while at the airport). So our plan was to check our luggage with Bell Services and then head to Epcot. A note! The monorail to Epcot was not running at the time so we had to take a bus.
We waited for a bus and once it arrived, the bus driver assigned us seats using a seat number. He was wearing a mask.
There are dividers up between seat numbers.
Standing is not permitted so the handles were zip tied up.
None of our buses were ever even nearly full. I felt very safe on the Disney bus transportation!
Once we arrived at Epcot, signs were everywhere!
Everyone has to pass through a temperature screening.
They used handheld thermometers.
Everyone also has to pass through security which is very different! They no longer go through your bags. You walk through a metal detector with your bag on you.
These signs on the ground are EVERYWHERE! Spaced 6 feet apart! Every ride, every kiosk, every store check out, EVERYWHERE!
Up next are attraction queues. The above signs are all along the ground/floor. Also, they are not using every seat/row! This is Journey Into Imagination with Figment. They did only one row per car. This was the same for Pirates, Mine Train and Small World as well.
You know the fun area once you exit the Figment ride? It’s CLOSED! It was so quiet. Normally it’s chaotic with people everywhere. We found this to be a trend for every interactive attraction. (At the end of Spaceship Earth, all activities closed. Pretty much any interactive piece at any attraction is inaccessible.)
This is the queue for Living with the Land. Barriers are up between the rows of the queue.
On the boats, you can see the dividers up between seats. They also were not seating every row on this ride, but there was no line so they were spacing us out.
Here you can see Soarin’.
These signs are all around the popular photo taking areas. There are also cast members carrying handheld signs that say this same thing. They were approaching people who were removing masks for pictures.
Moving onto dining now…
This is Coral Reef Restaurant, which is a table service location. Everything is one way in, one way out. Every dining location, shopping location, etc. Doors are specifically marked ENTER or EXIT only. They have limited indoor seating and are not using every table. If you want a table service meal, it’s very important that you have a reservation! I saw them turning people away if they didn’t have a reservation.
Another very important note, all quick service locations are MOBILE ORDER ONLY! This includes resorts and parks. Even if you only want a muffin or an orange juice. It’s all on the My Disney Experience app, or you scan a bar code located at the location.
There is no grab and go section that is self-serve at the moment. Drinks are not self-serve either. Once you scan the QR code, it takes you right to the menu for the dining location. Here you choose your pick up time. You do not have to be AT the location to order. You can be in your room, somewhere around the resort, in a ride line, etc.
After that, the menu will pop up and you can scroll through and click on what you would like. You pay right through the app with either you credit card on file or you can add a different card.
Once you arrive at the location you can click that you are here and they will begin preparing your food. Just a note…we found that it took a good 10 minutes or longer for the food to be ready once we clicked we are here. So we began clicking it as we were walking on our way before we got there. Once the food is ready for pick up, the notification changes and it tells you what number table to go to to pick it up. They have multiple stations so people aren’t picking up at the same station at the same time. They are marked with big numbers on the floor.
After you pick up your food, if you ordered a drink, you move to a different station, and someone will get it for you. This is the Contempo Cafe drink station area:
The food is served in bags that are sealed, and packaging that is sealed. I removed my sticker before I remembered to take a picture!
Next up is the resorts. This was in our Villa at Bay Lake Tower.
You will notice that they are back to individual serving sizes of the toiletry items.
The remotes are packaged in plastic stating that they have been sanitized.
One last picture I took was at the monorail located inside the Contemporary Resort.
We did have our temperature screening and security done here on our way to the Magic Kingdom. This allowed us to bypass those things at the Magic Kingdom.
Overall, we felt very safe during our entire stay. There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere for use at your discretion. No one is spraying it on you. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was complying with the mask mandate and social distancing. The only time you could remove your mask was if you were stationary off to the side eating or drinking. If a cast member saw someone walking and eating or drinking, they did remind them of the rule.
Capacity at the moment is maybe 1/4 of what it is normally. So there were so many less people. Many of the ride queues went way out onto the walkways. Adding to capacity will definitely affect this. What seems like a crowded area really isn’t, because the line is continuously moving. It will be interesting to see what happens once they expand the capacity!