To be very transparent with you, I was a little uneasy about visiting during the reopening week of Walt Disney World. The virus aside, was I going to be more depressed about the absence of so many of our favorite Disney things like parades and fireworks? Was I going to miss the character meet and greets? Maybe I would really dislike wearing a mask in the heat? Well, I am here to tell you, surprisingly the trip was exactly what I needed! Arriving into MCO and walking up to the Magical Express I noticed a 90 minute warning sign for the courtesy transfers Disney offers. I was advised that Disney temporarily only had 6 active Magical Express buses in use and my wait could be up to 90 minutes, therefore I decided to use Lyft to head to my resort for $36.00. I also opted to use Lyft on the way back after my stay as well
We stayed at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, which is one of my favorite monorail line resorts. We checked in on the MDE app and were able to completely skip the front desk and head to our room. Surprisingly, there is no one conducting tempature checks in the actual hotel unlike the hotels over in Universal Orlando Resort. We had breakfast at both Capt. Cooks which is Poly's Quick Service dining area, as well as a sit down over at Kona Cafe during our stay. Upon arriving at Capt. Cooks you scan the QR code to place your mobile order on the MDE app and once it is completed you are alerted on the app to then head inside and pick your food up which is all packaged and ready for you to take away. If you have a refillable mug, or need a coffee, you head over to the beverage station where a cast member will fill it for you. As far as Kona, when you arrive you scan the QR code to check into your reservation and once you are seated at your table there is another QR code to scan for the menu. They have every other table marked as not available for health and safety social distinacing purposes. These were the only two dining establishments open during our stay, but there are some snacks you can pick up in the gift shop if needed. Light house keeping is done every other day unless you need additional towels etc.
Heading to the parks on a bus, you will find they air the bus out for 4 minutes in between drop off and pickup before wiping down the seats where anyone sat. For the water ferry they keep you with your party and there are spots posted on the ground once on the ferry to show you how to physically social distance. Riding on the monorail a castmember will tell you which car you can enter while they are only allowing one party on each seat with no one standing in the middle and on the Skyliner they are placing you with only your party in each gondola. Once at the park you will come across a white tent before arriving to bag check, this is the tempature screening area. Two times when we arrived, our temp was very high from walking in the blazing sun to the actual check point. They had us stand over to the side and after a few minutes in the shade our temps were normal and we were able to pass through. During bag check they no longer rummage through your bags. They ask you to take out your camera equipment and any type of beverages or liquids and place them into the bin and then you walk through the metal detector. Each park also has 'Relaxation Stations' scattered through the park where you can grab some shade (or even some air conditioning depending on where it is located) and take your mask off for a few minutes to cool down and breathe. I am not going to lie, it was a struggle being in the Florida heat with the mask on and the relaxation stations were extremely helpful. You will also find hand washing stations and many hand sanitizers scattered through out the park.
The parks were relatively empty so it was easy to social distance and we were able to walk on almost any ride or attraction we wanted to. Although there are no official parades, there are pop up character calvacades, marching bands, and free roaming characters that truly bring you back to that classic Disney magic that we all grew up loving. The fact that there will be such less planning at this time is a pleasant way to truly vacation. This is when the real magic happens, when you least expect it!
Masks must be worn pretty much anywhere and everywhere if you are not in your room or in the actual pool. They are not allowing gators either. You can take them off when you get to your table at your restaurant but once you stand up, the mask must go back on. I did feel as safe as I could while visiting. I also felt that the cast members were really very happy to have visitors back. Most of them would stop to tell you how happy they were to see you and chat for much longer that normal.
We had a character breakfast at Topolino's Terrace one morning, and it is not much different than the way they had it pre-pandemic besides the characters not signing your autograph book or coming within 6 feet of your space. Currently, Topolino's Terrace and Garden Grill are the only 2 dining experiences being offered that have characters (we are not sure when that is going to change).
My final thoughts.........If you are a longtime Walt Disney World fan you are going to be very happy with some of the classic magic they have brought back to the park as well as the low crowd capacity that makes your experiences that much nicer. If you are a first time visitor, you are not going to realize what you may be missing and you will be so much happier not stressing about overplanning and enjoying parks with much lower capacity. I really loved the way it felt to be back in the Walt Disney World I actually grew up visiting!
Check us out on social media!