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Fall in Love with the Holiday’s at Walt Disney World

Fall in Love with the Holiday’s at Walt Disney World

Fall in Love with the Holiday's

at Walt Disney World

Summer is officially over, which means our favorite time of year is right around the corner. There is truly something so magical about the theme parks during the Holiday season. This year is definitely different than previous years, however, there are lots of new and exciting things to look forward to in the coming months!

Fall & Halloween at Magic Kingdom

News13

    Although Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been canceled this year, fall is still such a wonderful time to visit the theme parks.
    From September 15th through October 31st, Magic Kingdom will be adorned with beautiful seasonal decor throughout the park. Characters including Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and pals will wave to guests from a special Halloween cavalcade. You may even see some of your favorite Disney villains along for the ride. Disney is also allowing guests for the first time ever to wear their favorite Halloween costume to the parks to celebrate.

New Projection Show for Cinderella’s Castle Starting Nov. 6th 

Each year during the Holiday season, Cinderella’s Castle lights up with over 200,000 beautiful crystal lights that emulate icicles dripping from every angle. This year, in place of the icicle lights, Disney has created an incredible projection show that will run through the evening starting at sun down. According to Disney Parks Blog, “the appearance of the iconic castle will be transformed with a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation”.  Get your cameras ready! This new addition will make for an incredible Holiday card backdrop for the whole family.  

Character Sitings throughout the Parks

One thing we have truly missed about the parks is being able to meet all of our favorite characters and princesses. This holiday season, however, the Disney parks have created ways for us to see all of our favorites while staying safe with social distancing. Starting November 6th, guests will be able to see special character cavalcades through Magic Kingdom including gingerbread men, elves, reindeer and our personal favorite, the toy soldiers! Guests can also enjoy festive flotillas at Animal Kingdom, Holiday Promenades at Epcot, and Merry Motorcades at Hollywood Studios. Santa Claus will also be available to wave to guests at all four parks and Disney Springs.

Minnie Mouse to Host Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine

We are so excited to see character dining slowly returning to the parks. Starting November 6th, Minnie Mouse will host a seasonal dining experience at Hollywood & Vine located at Hollywood Studios park. Santa Goofy will also be in attendance along with some of Minnie’s other friends. The characters will not be available for personal photos, however will be available to wave to guests and pose for photos.

Celebrate the Holiday’s at Disney Springs

If you are heading to the theme parks this Holiday season, make sure to stop by Disney Springs. Disney has announced that the “elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees are spread throughout this retail, dining and entertainment destination”. These beautiful trees will be displayed all throughout Disney Springs, which is perfect for an unplanned afternoon, or evening after a busy day at the parks. Another special addition to Disney Springs this year will be a magical snowfall throughout three of the main areas: The Landing, Town Center, and West Side.

Jock Lindsey Hanger Bar will transform into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with returning holiday decor and a limited-time festive menu for guests to enjoy this Holiday season.

    Stay tuned for more Walt Disney World and Universal Studios updates in our October newsletter. You can also stay up to date on all park and resort information by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

     

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    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Walt Disney World Resort closed mid-March due to Covid-19. Four months later, we are thrilled that all four theme parks are now open! Magic Kingdom...

    What Are the Best Things to do on a Disney Cruise?

    What Are the Best Things to do on a Disney Cruise?

    Magic plus fun — that’s what Disney cruises are all about. No matter your age, a Disney cruise is like no other; it caters to your expectations of what a cruise should deliver. Disney cruises offer various entertainment options, gourmet food, and character meet-ups. In fact, the list of what are the best things to do on a Disney cruise is so long you could easily miss some items. What to do on a Disney cruise? We’ll share some of the best below.

    Marvel at a Live Show

    What are the best things to do on a Disney cruise? Well, if you’re a huge fan of live stage shows, you surely wouldn’t want to miss the Broadway-caliber Disney cruise shows offered on Disney cruises. Some cruise ships even cast New York-based Broadway actors in the shows.

    What to Do on A Disney Cruise
    What to Do on A Disney Cruise

    Try the AquaDuck

    The land has Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Animal Kingdom, while the sea has Disney’s AquaDuck! As silly as it sounds, trying the AquaDuck might just be one of the most thrilling and memorable experiences you’ll have at sea. If you want to ride this water coaster, make sure to book on either the Disney Fantasy or Disney Dream.

    Relax at the Spa

    Indulge in various treatments at the spa aboard the cruise ship. Any treatment will feel like you’re at Aulani and allow you to use the private hot tub and heated loungers. Take note, all these with an ocean view!

    Run a 5K

    So you’ve landed at the private Disney island, Castaway Cay. What to do on a Disney cruise? Here’s a suggestion: spend time getting a bit of exercise by signing up to join the Castaway Cay 5K. You get to explore and enjoy the island and receive a plastic medal as a souvenir after.

    Encourage the Kids to Participate

    Going on a cruise with kids or teens? Let them join the clubs! Sure, it can be intimidating at first, but the Disney staff does an awesome job of making sure the kids adapt and feel like they belong to the point that they’ll never want to leave.

    Wait for the Fireworks Display

    When it comes to fireworks, no one does it better than Disney. Although it comes pretty late, the fireworks Disney cruise shows at the sea are rewarding and a memorable experience that can last for a lifetime.

    Bring to Life Some Disney Cruise Pirate Night Ideas

    No, it’s not cringey! In fact, you’ll see people of all ages come up with Disney cruise pirate night ideas. On Pirate Night, you’ll receive a pirate bandana to wear. Expect two fun deck shows as well — one with Mickey and the other with Jack Sparrow.

    Things to Do on A Disney Cruise
    Things to Do on A Disney Cruise

    Join the ‘Sailing Away’ Party

    Disney throws a number of parties, and each time they do, make sure you attend because it will be festive and fun. One of the things to do on a Disney cruise is joining the Sailing Away deck party, where Mickey Mouse and his friends own the stage and everyone dancing along.

    Participate in a Fish Extender Exchange

    Make new friends by joining a simple gift exchange with other families/guests. These Disney cruise activities can be an opportunity for you to teach kids the joy of giving and receiving tokens.

    The list of answers to what are the best things to do on a Disney cruise is endless, but here are some of the lesser-known ones that are equally interesting and fun. Once you’re onboard a Disney cruise ship, don’t forget to try these Disney cruise activities or the Disney holiday highlights yourself!

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Epcot's Park Preview Experience

    Walt Disney World Resort closed mid-March due to Covid-19. Four months later, we are thrilled that all four theme parks are now open! Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opened their gates to all guests on Saturday, July 11th. Hollywood Studios and Epcot open this Wednesday, July 15th. Follow along with us as we document everything you can expect at Epcot for your upcoming visit!

     

    Entering the Park

    Parking 

    Upon entering the Epcot parking lot, cast members direct cars to park in every other row to allow space between each car. If you are planning on driving to the park, we would recommend factoring in additional time not only for parking, but also for walking up to the main entrance as trams are not currently running. You may travel to Epcot by either resort bus or driving directly to the park. The monorail is unavailable to and from Epcot at this time.

    Temperature Screenings/Security 

    As you approach the front of the park, Disney cast members will direct you to the temperature screening area currently run by employees from AdventHealth. A representative will quickly scan your forehead to make sure that your temperature is under 100.4 degrees. If your temperature reads above 100.4 degrees, you may take a few moments to cool down in a cooling tent before being screened again.

    Security cast members will then direct you to walk straight through the metal detectors. There is no need to stop or open any of your bags as required in the past, this makes for a much quicker and safer process.

    Turnstiles

    Once you are through temperature screening and security, you will arrive at the turnstiles queue, which will have separated markers on the ground to promote social distancing. At the turnstiles, a cast member will scan your park ticket or Magic Band. Guests are no longer required to use their fingerprint to enter the park to minimize contact.

    Masks

    Rules

    All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings during their time in the parks. In order to enter the park, you must be wearing a face covering with ear loops that cover both your nose and mouth. The parks do allow guests to remove their masks to eat or drink. To view Disney’s complete lists of rules regarding masks click here.

    Relaxation Stations

    Disney has added mask-free “Relaxation Stations” throughout the park to cool off throughout the day. These small, roped-off areas allow guests to remove their masks and take a break. Cast members only allow a small number of guests in at a time to ensure that everyone is at a safe enough distance.

    Epcot’s Relaxation Stations can be found at the following locations:

    • Outside the Yorkshire County Fish Shopper in the United Kingdom (World Showcase)
    • In between Test Track and Mission: Space (Future World)
    • Inside Akershus restaurant in Norway (World Showcase) as an air-conditioned option

    Ride Experience

    Attraction and Experience Updates

    Despite previous plans for a two-year long renovation, we are so excited that Spaceship Earth is open for guests returning to the parks. This gives guests the opportunity to experience the attraction one last time before any changes take place. Renovations for Spaceship Earth are delayed to a later date.

    Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak also returned on July 13th. Guests who are interested in this fun activity can purchase a scavenger hunt map from guest services for $7.99 and find Remy figurines hidden around the World Showcase.

    Queues

    All attractions throughout the park have new floor markers which indicate where each group should stand in order to be 6 feet apart. Most rides have added plexiglass shields as an additional barrier in areas where the line wraps around or are close together.

    All interactive elements found in queues such as Project Tomorrow at Spaceship Earth, and the design stations at Test Track are currently roped off and are not operating at this time.

    Safety Procedures

    All Disney cast members are permitted to wear face coverings throughout the park.

    Most attractions have plexiglass shields in between rows or reserved, empty seats to separate guests. For example, Soarin’ Around the World is currently seating guests in each row, however, plexiglass separates parties from one another. Guests may ride in groups of two or four. 

    Ride vehicles are deep cleaned and sanitized by cast members every two hours. We recommend bringing your own sanitizing wipes if you would like some added reassurance before boarding rides.

    Characters

    Sightings

    Epcot is one of our favorite parks on Walt Disney World property to meet characters and Princesses. Even though character meet & greets are unfortunately not currently available, we are so excited that there are still so many characters to see around the park!

    Throughout the park previews, Anna and Elsa have been noticed welcoming guests to the park. Around the World Showcase, you may see Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy as well as Disney Princesses making their way from country to country. Joy, from Disney’s Inside Out, as well as Winnie the Pooh, have also been seen frolicking through grass areas in the World Showcase.

    Dining Experience

    Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

    Due to Epcot closing shortly after the Flower & Garden Festival began in March, Disney has decided to blend the event together with the annual International Food & Wine Festival. Guests will see a handful of Flower & Garden topiaries placed around the park as well as more than 20 global marketplaces to sample cuisine from around the world. Appropriate social distancing will be mandatory at all marketplaces and high top tables will be offered for a mask-free dining experience. Click here for more information on the Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

    Quick Service Restaurants/Mobile Ordering

    While Mobile Ordering on the Disney Experience app is not a new concept, it is now required for all Quick Service restaurants. This includes the new Regal Eagle Smokehouse located in America at the World Showcase and Sunshine Seasons in Future World. The process is relatively quick and easy! After you select your restaurant and food, you will be asked what time you would like to pick it up. A cast member will greet you and direct you to the correct pick-up window. Plenty of seating options are available and spaced out appropriately.

    Table Service Restaurants

    Many of Epcot’s table service restaurants located around the World Showcase are not currently open, which is more of a reason to visit the global marketplace booths included in the Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Several restaurants in Epcot are owned by third party companies and do not currently have set dates to re-open. Restaurants that are currently closed include Chefs de France, Monsieur Paul, Nine Dragons Restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, Takumi-Tei, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Yorkshire County Fish Shop, and more.

    We were extremely happy to see that character dining became available at Garden Grill located in Future World. Here you can see Mickey Mouse, Chip ‘n’ Dale and Pluto.  Princess dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall will remain closed for now.

    All of the restaurants at Epcot have spaced their tables out six feet apart and will be utilizing paper menus.

    Shopping

    Stores

    Many souvenir shops located in the countries around the World Showcase are currently closed. If you are looking to do some shopping on your upcoming visit to Epcot, we recommend visiting MouseGear, temporarily located at the end of Innoventions East building, where you can find a wide variety of gifts and souvenirs for the whole family.

    Markings and signage are found throughout the stores to inform shoppers of health procedures as well as which direction to walk in. Dressing rooms were blocked off and will remain closed for now. Similar to the rest of the park, plexiglass shields are located at all of the check-out counters and contactless payment is encouraged.

    Overall, it was a dream to be back in the parks experiencing the Disney magic we have been longing for! While there were many changes from our last visit, we still thoroughly enjoyed our day and felt so fortunate to be part of the lucky Annual Passholders that could experience the day. Due to all of the new safety procedures and the Cast Members implementing them, we felt super safe as we explored the park in the “new normal”.

     

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    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Walt Disney World Resort closed mid-March due to Covid-19. Four months later, we are thrilled that all four theme parks are now open! Magic Kingdom...

    Hollywood Studios’ Park Preview Experience

    Hollywood Studios’ Park Preview Experience

    Hollywood Studios' Park Preview Experience

    Today we had the pleasure of being some of the first guests back inside Hollywood Studios since its closure back in March due to Covid-19. While Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom both reopened their gates this past Saturday, Hollywood Studios and Epcot will not officially reopen to guests until tomorrow, July 15th. Luckily, we were able to book reservations for the Cast Member Park Preview and get a first hand look. Follow along with us as we document our full experience of the day!

     

    Entering the Park

    Skyliner

    Disney’s Skyliner made its debut back in September and is a fun, alternative way to get to and from Hollywood Studios and Epcot if you are staying at one of the select resorts along its route.

    Thankfully, these character themed gondolas will be back in operation for the park’s official reopening tomorrow with some additional safety features in place to ensure proper social distancing in queues. Gondolas will now be limited to one party per cabin.

    Temperature Screenings/Security 

    Cast members and signs direct you to the temperature screening tent. They quickly scan your forehead to make sure that your temperature is under 100.4 degrees.

    Security then directs you to walk straight through the metal detectors. There is no need to stop or open any of your bags as required in the past unless you have an umbrella, metal drink container or aerosol can with you, which makes for a much quicker and safer process. 

    Turnstiles

    Once arriving at the turnstiles, a cast member scans your park ticket or Magic Band with an iPad. Guests are no longer required to use their fingerprint to enter the park to minimize contact.

    Paper maps are still available at the entrance, but it is recommended that you use your Disney Experience app.  

    Masks

    Experience

    All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings during their time in the parks. However, the parks do allow guests to remove their masks to eat or drink. To view Disney’s complete lists of rules regarding masks click here.

    During the afternoon when the Florida heat is at its peak, it does get a little more uncomfortable to keep a mask on, so having the right mask is important. It is also worth noting that you may experience some fog while pairing your mask with the 3D glasses used on attractions like Muppet*Vision 3D and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. The mask experience was a lot easier than we expected and everyone was wearing them.

    Relaxation Stations

    We love that Disney has added mask-free “Relaxation Stations” throughout the park. These small, roped-off areas allow guests to remove their masks and take a break. Cast members only allow a small number of guests in at a time to ensure that everyone is at a safe enough distance.

    Hollywood Studios’ Relaxation Stations can be found near the entrance of Rise of the Resistance and in the Animation Courtyard next to Star Wars Launch Bay. We recommend taking advantage of the station in Animation Courtyard as it is indoors with air conditioning.

    Ride Experience

    Queues

    The biggest difference found throughout the attraction queues are the new floor markers that indicate where each group should stand in order to be 6 feet apart. Most rides have even added plexiglass shields as an additional barrier in areas where the line wraps or is close together. 

    Safety Procedures

    Almost all of the cast members working the attractions were wearing plastic face shields in addition to their mask for added precaution. They were also regularly announcing any new procedures to ensure all guests were safe, such as standing 6 feet apart and keeping masks on.

    All attractions either had plexiglass shields in between rows or reserved, empty seats to separate guests. Ride vehicles are deep cleaned and sanitized by cast members every two hours. We recommend bringing your own sanitizing wipes if you would like some added reassurance before boarding rides, especially ones like Toy Story Mania that are high touch.

    Closures

    We were so excited to see that most of the attractions are open and running as usual. However, all shows will remain closed for the time being including For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! and Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage. Jedi Training will also not be available.

    Characters

    Sightings

    While character meet & greets are not currently available, there are still so many characters to see! Character cavalcades go throughout the park around every 20 to 30 minutes and feature characters from Disney Junior and Pixar as well as Mickey Mouse and friends.

    In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge we also found characters, such as Kylo Ren and his StormTroopers, out for patrol on platforms located by the different starships in the area.

    Dining Experience

    Quick Service Restaurants/Mobile Ordering

    While Mobile Ordering on the Disney Experience app is not a new concept, it is now required for all Quick Service restaurants. This includes Backlot Express, Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, PizzeRizzo, Ronto Roasters and Rosie’s All-American Cafe. The process is relatively quick and easy! After you select your restaurant and food, you are asked what time you would like to pick it up. A cast member will greet you and direct you to the correct pick-up window. Plenty of seating options are available and spaced out appropriately.

    Some Quick Service Restaurants, such as Woody’s Lunch Box and ABC Commissary, are remaining closed for now.

    Table Service Restaurants

    While some restaurants were offering walk-ins, we were told this will not be the case once the park opens to all guests tomorrow. It seems at that point, all table service restaurants will require a reservation made in advance. Hollywood Studios’ character dining experience, Hollywood & Vine, will remain closed for the time being.

    All of the restaurants have spaced their tables out six feet apart and will be utilizing paper menus. 

    Shopping

    Stores

    While some shops did remain closed there were still plenty of stores open in each of the lands to satisfy all of your merchandise needs! The stores have a capacity limit, and utilize a virtual queue once capacity has been reached. For the shops in Batuu cast members only allow one party in at a time to shop. 

    Markings and signage are found throughout the stores to inform shoppers of health procedures as well as which direction to walk in. Dressing rooms were blocked off and will remain closed for now. Similar to the rest of the park, plexiglass shields are located at all of the check-out counters and contactless payment is encouraged. 

    Overall, it was a dream to be back in the parks experiencing the Disney magic we have been longing for! While there were many changes from our last visit, we still thoroughly enjoyed our day and felt so fortunate to be part of the lucky Annual Passholders that could experience the day. Due to all of the new safety procedures and the Cast Members implementing them, we felt super safe as we explored the park in the “new normal”.

     

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    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Walt Disney World Resort closed mid-March due to Covid-19. Four months later, we are thrilled that all four theme parks are now open! Magic Kingdom...

    Magic Kingdom’s Park Preview Experience

    Magic Kingdom’s Park Preview Experience

    Magic Kingdom's Park Preview Experience

    Today we had the pleasure of being some of the first guests back inside the Magic Kingdom since its closure back in March due to Covid-19. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will both reopen their gates to all guests starting this Saturday, July 11th, but we were lucky enough to book reservations for the Annual Passholder Park Previews and experience the Disney magic again. Follow along with us as we document our full experience of the day!

     

    Entering the Park

    Temperature Screenings/Security 

    After arriving at Magic Kingdom’s Ticketing and Transportation Center, cast members and signs will direct you to the temperature screening tent. A cast member will quickly scan your forehead to make sure that your temperature is under 100.4 degrees.

    Security cast members will then direct you to walk straight through the metal detectors. There is no need to stop or open any of your bags as required in the past, this makes for a much quicker and safer process. 

    Monorail/Ferry Boat

    Unlike the other Disney theme parks, Magic Kingdom requires a short monorail or ferry boat ride in order to get to the main park entrance. To keep guests safe they are now only allowing one party per cabin with up to eight guests. Solo riders will get their own cabin.

    The ferry boat has large green dots on the ground to mark where each group can stand in order to demonstrate proper social distancing and is no longer allowing guests to sit on the benches. 

    Turnstiles

    Once arriving at the turnstiles, a cast member will scan your park ticket or Magic Band. Guests are no longer required to use their fingerprint to enter the park to minimize contact.

    Paper maps are still available at the entrance, but it is recommended that you use your Disney Experience app.  

    Masks

    Experience

    All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings during their time in the parks. However, the parks do allow guests to remove their masks to eat or drink. To view Disney’s complete lists of rules regarding masks click here.

    During the afternoon when the Florida heat is at its peak, it does get a little more uncomfortable to keep a mask on, so having the right mask is important. It is also worth noting that you may experience some fog while pairing your mask with the 3D glasses used on attractions like Mickey’s PhilharMagic. The mask experience was a lot easier than we expected and everyone was wearing them.

    Relaxation Stations

    We loved that Disney added mask-free “Relaxation Stations” throughout the park. These small, roped-off areas allow guests to remove their masks and take a break. Cast members only allow a small number of guests in at a time to ensure that everyone is at a safe enough distance.

    Magic Kingdom’s Relaxation Stations can be found near Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland, at Tomorrowland Terrace in Tomorrowland and at Silly Pete’s Sideshow in Fantasyland. We recommend taking advantage of the stations in Tomorrowland or Fantasyland as they are both indoors with air conditioning.

    Ride Experience

    Queues

    The biggest difference you will find throughout the attraction queues are the new floor markers that indicate where each group should stand in order to be 6 feet apart. Most rides have even added plexiglass shields as an additional barrier in areas where the line wraps or is close together.

    All interactive elements found in queues such as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train have been roped off for the time being to deter guests from touching.  

    Safety Procedures

    Almost all of the cast members working the attractions were wearing plastic face shields in addition to their mask for added precaution. They were also regularly announcing any new procedures to ensure all guests were safe, such as standing 6 feet apart and keeping masks on.

    All attractions either had plexiglass shields in between rows or reserved, empty seats to separate guests. Ride vehicles are deep cleaned and sanitized by cast members every two hours. We recommend brining your own sanitizing wipes if you would like some added reassurance before boarding rides, especially ones like Mad Tea Party and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin that require touching objects. 

    Closures

    We were so excited to see that most of the attractions are open and running as usual. Two exceptions include Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Country Bear Jamboree. All play areas will also remain closed for now.

    Characters

    Sightings

    While character meet & greets are not currently available, there are still so many characters to see! Not only are there characters walking around the park throughout the day, but there are also frequent cavalcades. In lieu of the Festival of Fantasy Parade, guests can enjoy “The Royal Princess Processional” and “Mickey and Friends Cavalcade”. There are no set times for these character sightings, however, we noticed that they happen about every hour or so.

    Cinderella’s Evil Stepsisters were also spotted interacting with guests from the balcony of the castle at different times throughout the day.

    Character sightings include, but are not limited to, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Merida, Rapunzel, Tiana, Aurora, Snow White, Elena, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Fairy Godmother, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Captain Hook and Cinderella’s Evil Stepsisters. 

    Dining Experience

     Quick Service Restaurants/Mobile Ordering

    While Mobile Ordering on the Disney Experience app is not a new concept, it is now required for all Quick Service restaurants. This includes Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe and Pinocchio Village Haus. The process is relatively quick and easy! After you select your restaurant and food, you will be asked what time you would like to pick it up. A cast member will greet you and direct you to the correct pick-up window. Plenty of seating options are available and spaced out appropriately.

    Some Quick Service Restaurants, such as Casey’s Corner, Lunching Pad and Harbor House, will remain closed for now.

    Table Service Restaurants

    While some restaurants were offering walk-ins, we were told this will not be the case once the park opens to all guests this Saturday. It seems at that point, all table service restaurants will require a reservation made in advance. Both character dining experiences, Cinderella’s Royal Table and The Crystal Palace, will remain closed for the time being.

    All of the restaurants have spaced their tables out six feet apart and will be utilizing paper menus. 

    Shopping

    Stores

    While some shops did remain closed there were still plenty of stores open in each of the lands to satisfy all of your merchandise needs! The stores have a capacity limit, and utilize a virtual queue once capacity has been reached. 

    Markings and signage are found throughout the stores to inform shoppers of health procedures as well as which direction to walk in. Dressing rooms were blocked off and will remain closed for now. Similar to the rest of the park, plexiglass shields are located at all of the check-out counters and contactless payment is encouraged. 

    Overall, it was a dream to be back in the parks experiencing the Disney magic we have been longing for! While there were many changes from our last visit, we still thoroughly enjoyed our day and felt so fortunate to be part of the lucky Annual Passholders that could experience the day. Due to all of the new safety procedures and the Cast Members implementing them, we felt super safe as we explored the park in the “new normal”.

     

    Recent Posts

     

     

     

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Epcot’s Park Preview Experience

    Walt Disney World Resort closed mid-March due to Covid-19. Four months later, we are thrilled that all four theme parks are now open! Magic Kingdom...

    Animal Kingdom’s Park Preview Experience

    Animal Kingdom’s Park Preview Experience

    Animal Kingdom's Park Preview Experience

    Today we had the pleasure of being some of the first guests back inside the Animal Kingdom since its closure back in March due to Covid-19. Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom will both reopen their gates to all guests starting this Saturday, July 11th, but we were lucky enough to book reservations for the Annual Passholder Park Previews and experience the Disney magic again. Follow along with us as we document our full experience of the day!

     

    Entering the Park

    Parking 

    After the parking attendant scanned our Magic Bands for us to enter the parking lot, we were met by a long line of cars. This was because cast members were directing cars to park in every other row to allow space between each car. If you are planning on driving to the park, we would recommend factoring in additional time not only for parking, but also for walking up to the main entrance as trams are not currently running. 

    Temperature Screenings/Security 

    After arriving at the main entrance, cast members and signs will direct you to the temperature screening tent. A cast member will quickly scan your forehead to make sure that your temperature is under 100.4 degrees.

    Security cast members will then direct you to walk straight through the metal detectors. There is no need to stop or open any of your bags as required in the past, this makes for a much quicker and safer process. 

    Turnstiles

    Once arriving at the turnstiles, a cast member will scan your park ticket or Magic Band. Guests are no longer required to use their fingerprint to enter the park to minimize contact. Paper maps are still available at the entrance, but it is recommended that you use your Disney Experience app. 

    Masks

    Experience

    All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings during their time in the parks. However, the parks do allow guests to remove their masks to eat or drink. To view Disney’s complete lists of rules regarding masks click here.

    During the afternoon when the Florida heat is at its peak, it does get a little more uncomfortable to keep a mask on, so having the right mask is important. It is also worth noting that you may experience some serious fog while pairing your mask with the 3D glasses used on attractions like Flight of Passage and It’s Tough to be a Bug. The mask experience was a lot easier than we expected and everyone was wearing them.

    Relaxation Stations

    We loved that Disney added mask-free “Relaxation Stations” throughout the park. These small, roped-off areas allow guests to remove their masks while taking a break in a shaded seating area. Cast members only allow a small number of guests in at a time to ensure that everyone is at a safe enough distance.

    Animal Kingdom’s Relaxation Stations can be found at Upcountry Landing in Asia and Pizzafari in Discovery Island. 

    Ride Experience

    Queues

    The biggest difference you will find throughout the attraction queues are the new floor markers that indicate where each group should stand in order to be 6 feet apart. Most rides have even added plexiglass shields as an additional barrier in areas where the line wraps or is close together.

    We also noticed that some of the waiting rooms and pre-shows for the attractions have been modified to create extra space between each group. For Flight of Passage, Disney no longer has guests stop in the first room to do a body “scan” to match you to an avatar. However, they do still have guests watch the pre-show video in the second room, just with modified floor markings to be spaced further apart. Similar markings are located on the ground in the waiting room for It’s Tough to be a Bug. 

    Safety Procedures

    Almost all of the cast members working the attractions were wearing plastic face shields in addition to their mask for added precaution. They were also regularly announcing any new procedures to ensure all guests were safe, such as standing 6 feet apart and keeping masks on.

    All attractions either had plexiglass shields in between rows or reserved, empty seats to separate riders. Ride vehicles are deep cleaned and sanitized by cast members every two hours. Alternate vehicles are swapped out at this time so that wait times are not affected. 

    Closures

    We were excited to see that most of the attractions are open and running as usual. Two exceptions include Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical. You will also find that most of Dinoland U.S.A. has remained closed including Primevil Whirl, The Boneyard play area, and the carnival games. However, TriceraTop Spin and DINOSAUR are still up and running.

    Characters

    Discovery Island Boats

    While character meet & greets are not currently available, there are still so many characters to see! Every 20-30 minutes, a boat floats around Discovery Island with different characters while playing fun music. There are plenty of great viewing locations around the island to spot them and take great photos.

    Characters include, but are not limited to, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Chip ‘n’ Dale, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, LaunchPad McQuack, Timon, Rafiki and Pocahontas. 

    Dining Experience

    Snack Carts

    While some snack locations have remained closed, many have reopened. There is at least one snack vendor open in each land of the park, from healthy options at Harambe Fruit Market in Africa, to our favorite- Mickey premium ice cream bars at Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks. Plexiglass shields separate guests from Cast Members, and cashless payment is encouraged.

    Quick Service Restaurants/Mobile Ordering

    While Mobile Ordering on the Disney Experience app is not a new concept, it is now required for all Quick Service Restaurants. This includes Flame Tree Barbecue, Restaurantosaurus, and Satu’li Canteen. The process is relatively quick and easy! After you select your restaurant and food, you will be asked what time you would like to pick it up. We selected “now” for our food at Flame Tree and it was ready as soon as we walked up to the restaurant. A cast member greeted us and directed us to the correct pick-up window. 

    Finding a table at Flame Tree after picking up our tray was fairly easy. They have a ton of outdoor seating options, even with some tables not being available and marked off with signage to follow social distancing guidelines. 

    Table Service Restaurants

    All Disney table service restaurants, such as Tiffins, will require a reservation made in advance. Since Yak & Yeti and Rainforest Cafe are third party restaurants, they are not currently accepting reservations, and are only taking walk-ins instead. Tusker House, Animal Kingdom’s character dining experience, will remain closed for the time being.

    All of the restaurants have spaced their tables out six feet apart and will be utilizing paper menus. 

    Shopping

    Stores

    While some shops did remain closed, such as Island Mercantile, there were still plenty of stores open in each of the lands to satisfy all of your merchandise needs! The stores have a capacity limit, and utilize a virtual queue once capacity has been reached. We witnessed quite a long line outside of Discovery Trading Company for shoppers looking to purchase Disney themed face masks, but we were happy to see it moved pretty quickly.

    Markings and signage are found throughout the stores to inform shoppers of health procedures as well as which direction to walk in. Dressing rooms were blocked off and will remain closed for now. Similar to the rest of the park, plexiglass shields are located at all of the check-out counters and contactless payment is encouraged. 

    Overall, it was a dream to be back in the parks experiencing the Disney magic we have been longing for! While there were many changes from our last visit, we still thoroughly enjoyed our day and felt so fortunate to be part of the lucky Annual Passholders that could experience the day. Due to all of the new safety procedures and the Cast Members implementing them, we felt super safe as we explored the park in the “new normal”.

     

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