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!