Posted at 12:33 pm by taryngirl, on January 7, 2021
Our plan for this day was to check out of Bay Lake Tower, giving our luggage to Bell Services to transfer over to Boulder Ridge Villas, and then head to Magic Kingdom. We woke up at 6 a.m., dropped luggage at 6:45 a.m., and went to Contempo Cafe to Mobile Order our breakfast. All orders had to be mobile ordered. There was no walk up. They had a cast member sitting at the entrance who checked for your name on the list and then directed you to pick up your order based on a numbered spot.
Anyway, we had planned to walk to Magic Kingdom, but decided to take the monorail instead since we were right there. We arrived at Magic Kingdom at 7:45 a.m. The gates were open already.
Since there were no Fastpasses, we had to prioritize what we really wanted to ride since we had no idea how crowds and lines would be. We went directly to 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. We were in line by 7:55 a.m. with a 40 minute wait time posted. We got on the ride at 8:28 a.m., so it went slightly faster than what was posted. I have only ever stood in the standby line for this ride one other time! We ALWAYS have a Fastpass. So imagine my surprise when the end of the line was all the way back near Dumbo!
Because the markers on the ground are every 6 feet, this greatly stretched out the line. We basically kept moving the entire time without stopping.
Next up was Peter Pan! We were in line by 8:32 a.m. with a 15 minute wait posted. (Which is crazy low!). We got on the ride at 8:44 a.m., so below the time posted. Look how empty Fantasyland was!
From there we went to Haunted Mansion. It was a walk-on with a 5 minute wait posted. We had the walk to ourselves on the way over!
I wanted to note…there was currently no stretching room for Haunted Mansion. You walked through it to get on the ride, but no stopping and gathering for the pre-show.
We went back to It’s a Small World which had a 10 minute wait posted. We were on in 8 minutes.
They were only seating every other row on the boat due to social distancing.
After every ride, we checked the app for wait times. We decided to go to Pooh next since that line tends to get long quickly. We got in line with a 10 minute wait posted, and actual wait time was 8 minutes. There were constant announcements about no eating and drinking in line! Next was Little Mermaid which was a walk on.
From there, we went to Dumbo, which is a ride I rarely go on! We were on in 5 minutes.
Up next was Buzz with a 20 minute wait posted which was accurate.
Of course we had to see the Carousel of Progress, and we had a 5 minute wait there. You can see by my picture that seats were blocked off due to social distancing. Some entire rows were also roped off.
Up next, an afternoon/evening at Magic Kingdom, along with lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern!
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!
Posted at 12:10 pm by taryngirl, on September 21, 2020
From Disney Springs, we took the bus to the Grand Floridian and then the monorail to Magic Kingdom. I think it’s super important to know your options for transportation ahead of time.Sometimes there is more than one option, sometimes things are not operating, etc. Also, don’t underestimate how long it will actually take you!
I can honestly say in all of my trips to Magic Kingdom, I have never seen the Main Street Philharmonic band performing! This was quite a treat. Maybe because we always hit rope drop at Magic Kingdom, and they don’t perform until the afternoon? We are usually heading back to room at this time or busy on rides. This was a pleasant surprise!
We had a FP+ for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, so headed there first thing. That’s my favorite ride in Magic Kingdom! From there we headed to Country Bear Jamboree since we had to wait a little bit for our next FP+ at Pirates of the Caribbean.
When we exited the show, these characters were all out on the street having a dance party! I have never seen this happening, but have seen just random bear characters walking down the street.
Our next stop was the Enchanted Tiki Room. Also a Disney classic! A great spot during a rain shower or a super hot day!
Have I mentioned that I LOVE my iPhone 11? These pics were taken in very dark conditions with no flash. From there we headed to our Pirates of the Caribbean FP+. After leaving Pirates, we made our way toward Tomorrowland. The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party was going on.
We had a FP+ at Peter Pan, so I think we rode on the People Mover then made our way to Fantasyland. After Peter Pan, we went to the Haunted Mansion. I just LOVE how my pictures turned out here!
After that, it was time to make our way to a spot to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks. Of course we had to walk past the Tangled bathrooms! This area is so gorgeous at night!
Fireworks tip…to start, people seem to stay on the sidewalks and out of the streets. You CAN stand in the street. My tip is to stand either to the right or left of the castle on the street about mid-hub. Make yourself big, because people will start filling in and you don’t want to be squished! (Although with Covid right now we don’t really have to worry about this…but when things return to normal!). If you know you want to go to a ride in Tomorrowland, stand to the right. If you want to go to Adventureland stand to the left. It’s a complete mob scene right when they are over. We tend to stand still for a little bit until the crowd starts to disperse.
After this amazing display, we did head back to our resort. We were checking out from All Star Movies and heading to the Contemporary Club Level! <—————–Up Next!
The V.I.Passholder Event is the entire reason we took this quick trip! It was advertised we could check in from 6:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. However, we noticed this set up in Fantasyland and had a chat with the Cast Members. They said we could check in starting at 5:00 p.m. So we did! There were a few different check in areas around the park so we didn’t have to go all the way out to the entrance to get our wristbands.
They actually were having technical difficulties with the iPads that were scanning our Annual Passes or MagicBands. She ended up having to manually input our numbers.
You can see the time of the even was 10:00 p.m. until midnight officially.
After we got our wristbands, we headed to use our next FP+ that Chrissy secured immediately after Winnie the Pooh. This would make FP+ #5 for the day. It’s a Small World!
I swear I see something different every time I ride this!
Right after we scanned in to the ride, my friend secured our 6th FP+…Pirates of the Caribbean.
We were getting hungry for dinner, and we had discussed previously that neither of us had ever eaten at Casey’s Corner! So that’s where we decided to go. It’s located on the corner at the end of Main Street, and you can definitely smell it when you walk past! We knew we were going to share something and decided on…
Buffalo Chicken Loaded Fries (These were AMAZING! I loved them!)
Footlong Chili Cheese Dog (Also AMAZING!)
The fries were so good. I can’t imagine Buffalo chicken on a hot dog though! I despise the yellow squeeze cheese. So was super happy that this was shredded cheese on the top! This was plenty of food for two of us. They did allow us to upgrade from regular fries that come with the meal, to the specialty fries for a slight uncharge.
From dinner we headed to Adventureland. We had a little bit of time to kill before our FP+ at Pirates, so we went into Tortuga Tavern to have a seat and do some work on our phones. It was starting to become a more regular rain so we had to poncho up! (I never take a Disney vacation without a poncho.)
After Pirates, we hit our 7th FP+ Splash Mountain. It had started raining and we were wet anyway, and we had ponchos to wear the entire time! So off we went.
After Splash Mountain, we headed towards the castle. We had reservations for the After Fireworks Dessert Party, so we had to check in first at Tomorrowland Terrace.
We received our wristbands and were escorted to one of the grassy areas.
Even though it was raining, the fireworks were still amazing!
They had just added a new cone here called the Hei Hei cone, which I just had to have. My friend opted for this masterpiece, which has also been on my snack list forever!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Dole Whip! You can pick vanilla, pineapple or swirl.
I had a bite and it was really delicious.
Hei Hei Cone–pineapple dole whip with raspberry soft serve in a blue cone.
This was good. It was a little more sour than I was expecting! But it was still good. We found a spot in Frontierland to watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade that was going on.
After the parade, we headed to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to use our FP+. Then, for the first time since the new presidency, we checked out the Hall of Presidents. My friend, who is a history lover had never seen it and she was excited!
Onto our third FP+…the Haunted Mansion.
Right after we scanned through with our FP+, we secured a 4th FP+.
We took a quick jaunt through Fantasyland and went straight for Pooh to use our 4th FP+.
I had to check out the shop that has tons of ears! I love these Small World ones!
Posted at 8:46 pm by taryngirl, on February 24, 2019
We were toying around with heading to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or not. It had been so hot, and it was the very first party of the year. We knew it would be crowded! But how could we go all of that way and not do it right?? So we bought our tickets. Some side notes. DVC members could actually enter the party at 2 p.m. if they wanted. 2 hours earlier than the normal 4 p.m. entry. Even though party hours are listed as 6 p.m. until midnight, you can technically enter at 4 p.m. The party festivities don’t begin until 6 p.m., but you still can ride rides or eat, etc. until then!
We didn’t bring official costumes for this. But we did have ears! So we opted for those. It was SO HOT AND HUMID! So we were glad to not be wearing anything heavy. Here we are leaving Bay Lake Tower on our walk over to Magic Kingdom.
When you get to the turn styles, you will enter at the ones with the cast members all dressed in their Halloween uniforms. They will get you a wristband which is used to let cast members know you are there for the party (and paid for it!).
You also can pick up the special brochure that outlines everything special for the event.
Here’s a snippet of a video. When you enter through the gates and get past Tony’s, you will go the back way…not up Main Street! So you are actually behind the buildings on Main Street. Here you will see special merchandise, maybe some trick or treating, maybe some special photo opportunities, etc. You will come out near Tomorrowland. You can also see some other costumes!
This is just one of the trick or treat trails. Traffic moves one way so the line keeps going! It was packed!
We were a little bit hungry, so we hit up Columbia Harbour House. Surprisingly, this is the only food picture I have from here! This is the Garden Salad with Chicken from the Kid’s Menu. Came with two sides and a drink. It was CHAOS in here! They forgot one of my sides and I didn’t even go back to the counter to get it. This was the perfect size for my hunger at the moment!
From there, we hit a few rides. We also stopped by the dance party in Tomorrowland before making our way to the front of the castle for the fireworks and parade.
We got a really good spot in front of the castle. It was crowded!
There was a Hocus Locus show going on in front of the castle. We were a little too far away to see it.
This parade is probably my favorite parade! I love the costumes on the live characters, and my favorite is the grave diggers!
Our loot from trick or treating!
Our PhotoPass pics!
I’ve done the Halloween Party 3 times now. I’m not sure I need to do it again! The price seems to go up each year. My kids have both experienced it at least once. I would like to do the Christmas Party though one more time!
Posted at 12:45 pm by taryngirl, on February 18, 2019
In all of my times traveling to Disney World, I have NEVER done a dessert party! For one, my husband does not really like dessert, and two, it’s pricey! When I saw that a new AFTER Fireworks Dessert Party was introduced, it intrigued me. I DREAD when fireworks are over and there’s a stampede to exit…crowds, pushing, etc. What better way to avoid all of that than eating some dessert!
I booked us online and the cost was $69 for an adult and $41 for a child.
Upon arrival, we headed to Tomorrowland Terrace area. There were two different check-in stands as there are multiple dessert parties that you can do. They issued us wristbands and then we had an escort to our reserved seating area in the Plaza Garden. (You can check in up to an hour prior to the fireworks!). Once inside the Plaza Garden area, it’s free seating/standing anywhere you can find space. It was not crowded at all when we got there. We ended up here:
View straight ahead.
To our left.
To our right.
Most people at this point were just sitting on the lawn waiting. We didn’t feel crowded or squished at all!
Our view was spectacular! On very crowded, hot days, this experience may be worth it just for the lack of stress with the fireworks viewing!
Once the Happily Ever After fireworks were over, we headed directly back to Tomorrowland Terrace for the dessert party (while everyone else was bum-rushing the exit!). We checked in again at the podium and showed our wristbands.
There were so many amazing options!
Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake!
The seating area. You can see it wasn’t full at all!
Overall, WE LOVED IT! I would absolutely do it again (and skip dinner prior). With the egg rolls and spinach dip, that was a meal itself! I loved that everything was a small serving allowing us to sample multiple things. I especially loved the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake with ice cream, the macaroons, and the chocolate covered strawberries.
I would love to hear if you have ever done a dessert party? Let me know in the comments!
Posted at 10:02 am by taryngirl, on February 12, 2019
We decided to head towards Storybook Circus. There was a PhotoPass photographer right outside of The Little Mermaid ride, and there was no line! So we took advantage of that!
We were lucky enough to get a magic shot with Sebastian!
We made our way to Big Top Souvenirs, which is one of my favorite stores! The second you walk in, all you can smell is SUGAR. They have so many good snacks here! Outside and to the right of the Big Top, is Pete’s Silly Sideshow. Here you can meet some characters. We decided to check it out because the wait was only 10 minutes.
Our first character was Goofy.
This was hands down one of our favorite character meetings EVER! There were so many good Memory Maker pictures, that I couldn’t pick just one. So sorry…
This was seriously the best! I’m not sure how Donald could compete…he was up next!
This was so funny. You will notice that Donald makes everyone put up the number 1 finger. This is because he thinks he is #1 and not Mickey! I never knew this. He made everyone in front of us do the same thing. So Kinsey was watching this and said, “I’m going to do #2 instead.” She tried! But they didn’t let her! Hahahahaha
At the end, the PhotoPass photographer took my phone and started taking selfies with it.
There are two more characters at a separate entrance…Minnie and Daisy. We didn’t have time to hit them up.
If you haven’t checked out this character greet, I highly encourage it! This was the second time we’ve had a great experience here.
Posted at 5:11 pm by taryngirl, on February 8, 2019
We had 9:30 a.m. breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest. Since we were staying at Bay Lake Tower, we walked over! It’s a quick, short, painless walk. And you have your own security on the walkway over, so you avoid the mass screening lines once you arrive.
We were meeting my cousin in front of Be Our Guest, and made it there just in time. This gentleman greeted us on the walk across the bridge.
So many fun details in this restaurant!
These fellas are lined up along where you wait to order.
Be Our Guest is one of the few Quick Service locations that accept Advanced Dining Reservations. You can also order ahead for breakfast or lunch up to 30 days prior to your reservation. Under My Reservations a link will appear next to your reservation. You don’t have to do this though if you are not sure what you want! I can be indecisive so I never order ahead. I like to see what I’m hungry for once I get there. ***NOTE! This is from August. Pricing has gone up since then and is not $28 for an entree! the menu itself is also different now! They have added just waffles, French toast sticks, etc.
Ordering is done on a touchscreen or with a live person. They had both when we were there.
Breakfast and lunch seating is wherever you can find a spot! There are three different “rooms” that you can choose from…Grand Ballroom, Rose Garden, and West Wing. The Grand Ballroom has the most seating. For dinner you are seated where they put you.
I like to eat in the West Wing if I can find a table! The rose is in this room and the room goes through a transformation as time goes on.
For breakfast, you get a plate of pastries for your party. My cousin and I ordered separately, so they got their own plate. So this was just for 2 of us! I didn’t order Kinsey an entree or meal here. I knew she would just eat these pastries!
Open-Faced Bacon and Egg Sandwich–Poached Eggs, Applewood Bacon, Brie Cheese, and Arugula on a Croissant served with Fresh Fruit.
I loved this actually. I have a hard time paying $25 for a breakfast though! So we definitely don’t eat here every trip. It’s more of a splurge. It IS a good value on the dining plan for a Quick Service though. A beverage also comes along with the entree.
Vegetable Quiche–Mushroom, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Onion and Chive Quiche served with Fresh Fruit
Feast A La Gaston–Scrambled Eggs, Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Apple Smoked Bacon, and Sausage served with Fresh Fruit
After our yummy breakfast, we hit some rides in Fantasyland on the way to our first Fastpass+ at Haunted Mansion.
Posted at 9:43 am by taryngirl, on January 16, 2019
This year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will transform Magic Kingdom® Park into a spook-tacular celebration for a total of 36 nights! That’s right, two additional nights have been added to the event, extending it to Nov. 1, 2019.
Returning to the event will be spooky fun for everyone, including devilish Halloween décor, special entertainment such as fireworks, a parade and character greetings, as well as trick-or-treating throughout the park! In addition, you will have access to dozens of popular attractions and may even encounter some bewitching surprises along the way.
If you are interested in adding tickets to this special event, please contact me at Taryn@MadHatterAdv.com! Pricing starts at $79 and varies depending upon date.