Blog

Disney World, Personal Story

Visiting Disney World During A Pandemic

Who would have thought this would be a blog post, but yet here we are. As a travel agent, the travel industry is my income source and Disney has been a larger portion of that for several years. This year it has unfortunately presented me with the good, the bad and the ugly on a regular (sometimes overwhelming) basis. During these COVID times, I think knowing the ins and outs of a place I love so much can have an adverse effect some days, but I do constantly work to focus on the good. Which leads me to my recent return from Disney World, it was FANTASTIC. There are a million other words I could use, but it was so much better than I even expected it to be and I am so happy we took the plunge and went for it. My emotions were all over the place with this trip and I could not have returned more joyful.

My husband had a conference in Orlando and the chips slowly fell in place for us to take an impromptu weekend trip to meet up with him. I was all over the board with whether to go or not. Was it going to be the right decision? Were we going to feel comfortable? What would people think? Should I post anything on social media? The questions continued on and on leading up to the day we left. Disney has a Book with Confidence policy until April 30, 2021 allowing me to receive a full refund up until check-in, which gave me even more time to think on it and decide. I was very thankful for this and the ability to know I could change my plans last minute.

After all my internal debate (and external thanks so some amazing friends who would listen to me), we were on the road. The excitement in my kids from the beginning was rejuvenating. My youngest came galloping to the car door singing “Disney, Disney, Disney. I can’t believe I’m going to Disney” over and over again as fast as he could say it. We talked in the car for the first hour about what we were excited to see and do…. no video games, no movies, just talking and pure excitement.

Disney during a pandemic is undeniably different. I’m not going to pretend it is not. However, I continue to reiterate to my family and friends that different does not mean bad. While, ‘different’ has a connotation for meaning bad, unenjoyable or any other negative word you find to insert. That is simply not always the case.

Different is simply that… different.

I found over the course of our trip several different things I thoroughly enjoyed more than the ‘normal’ ones.

Social distancing. Disney has done an amazing job of this and I really enjoyed this different part of Disney. I felt my personal bubble was recognized and I had my personal space in line, on the ferry boat, in the Skyliner, etc. I absolutely LOVED having a Skyliner bucket solely to my family. It was fun to just ride along property in it and talk about what we were seeing. We rode it several times just to ride it and see what we could see.

Mask wearing. Disney is requiring face coverings on property. This does not just mean in the parks, but also at the resorts. While you will always have the people no matter where you go who will disobey the rules, I felt the overall percentage of people wearing masks properly was higher than other places I’ve been like Target, Sams, Kroger, etc. There are Cast Members whose job is to enforce proper face covering use and they were reprimanding anyone disobeying the guidelines. This is something Disney is using very strong language and telling people to wear their face coverings properly or leave.

Hygiene and Sanitation. Over the years, we have traveled to Disney often and I always bring my own hand sanitizer. Kids always touch everything, so it was a nice thing to have on hand for traveling. While it was still nice to have my own, I rarely used it because of the touch-free hand sanitizing stations EVERYWHERE. I have never sanitized my hands so much in a weekend than I did for this trip. It became such a habit to sanitize when getting on a ride, when getting off a ride and when just walking by a sanitizing station. My hands started to feel very dry by the end of the day. I was very thankful for the hand lotion in the room. In addition to the touch-free stations, there were also portable hand washing stations located throughout the park to encourage additional hand washing. Needless to say, I feel like my family was well sanitized every day.

Safety checks. For an additional layer of health guidelines, our temperature was taken multiple times a day. AdvoCare had stations set up at all park entrances where you would get your temperature taken prior to entering the security check area. If your temperature was over 100.4 F, then you and your traveling party could not enter the parks. In addition to this, our temperature was also taken prior to entering any table service restaurant. No exceptions. There are businesses in my local area saying they temperature check too, but it seems to happen more randomly than routinely. At Disney there was never a time entering a restaurant we were not temperature checked. We were even temperature checked prior to playing miniature golf, which is 100% outdoors.

One might think all these measures would damper the trip, but that wasn’t the case at all. They became our new routine and we didn’t mind them or even notice them. In fact, my youngest became interested to see what his temperature was every time and the AdvoCare staff was sweet to always show him (I’m assuming for HIPAA reasons, they can’t say it aloud because they always told him they couldn’t say it, but would show him).

All in all, the kids and us had a fabulous time. Even with so many of our “normal” things missing or changed, it simply didn’t matter. It was different, but wonderful. The joy is still there. The excitement is still there. And of course, the magic is still there.

COVID-19 disclaimer:
Disney has taken enhanced health and safety measures—for their other Guests, and Cast Members. Guests must follow all posted instructions while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.  An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. 
By visiting Walt Disney World Resort you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19. 

Universal Studios

Universal’s Re-Opening! New Guidelines and Procedures for Your Safety

Universal has been open nearly a month and the reviews are in — They are ROCKING it! In today’s world everyone is yearning for a sense of normalcy, but with caution. Universal has added new guidelines and procedures to help keep you safe, but still have an EPIC experience. They definitely have my vote for travel right now!! I want to highlight some of the new guidelines for you in this post to make you see how AMAZING they are doing.

Families are raving about the memories they make and are continuing to want to return for more.

  • Face coverings and temperature checks will be required for all guests:
    • Everyone is required to wear a face covering during their visit
    • Temperature checks will be required upon arrival, and guests with a temperature of 100.4 °F (38° C) or greater will not be admitted
    • For important safety information at Universal Orlando Resort, please click here.

Note: New screenings may make security check slower, so please arrive earlier to give yourself time to get screened, while maintaining social distancing.

Additional measures throughout the property and resorts include:

  • Limiting capacity at attractions and restaurant venues to help ensure social distancing
  • Signage throughout the theme parks and CityWalk to help you follow social distancing guidelines
  • Continuously and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all tables, chairs and high-touch surfaces
  • Offering contactless payments at select locations
  • Requesting guests to be aware of and comply with government guidelines regarding travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines before visiting our destination
  • Limiting attendance during our phased reopening

One of my favorite things Universal has done is recognize wearing masks is new to most people. This is not something we are accustomed to and therefore they have introduced “U-Rest Area” areas in the theme parks. This is an area where you accept the risks of taking off your mask, but can go for a break.

I have seen so many positive reviews coming out of Universal and I can’t wait to get my family there soon. Another huge positive: Volcano Bay is also OPEN! Yes, if you have been wanting to visit a waterpark, here is your opportunity. With the TapuTapu, Volcano Bay already has virtual lines in place for the water park too. Perfection! To make it even better, Universal currently has a ticket promotion: 4 days at the parks for the price of 2 days!!

Quick list of what you need before you go:

  • Face coverings for everyone in your travel party, for each day in the park (or bring soap to wash each night to help keep healthy and clean)
  • Download the Universal app here for virtual queues, maps, mobile food ordering and more
  • Review the safety guidelines before you go here to know the most updated information before you go

If you’re ready to start planning your trip to Universal or have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am here to help you and can not wait for your to experience Universal with some EPIC memories of your own. I can book resort packages or ticket only for you and assist with all the planning. Best Part: EXACT same cost for me to handle everything for you, as it is for you to book direct with Universal.

Time to pack!

In connection with your purchase of Universal Orlando products and your visit to Universal Orlando, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay, Universal CityWalk, and the Universal Orlando Resort hotels, please be advised that you must follow Universal Orlando’s policies, CDC guidelines and the recommendations of health officials. Please note that any public location where people are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and Universal Orlando cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit. By visiting Universal Orlando, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance. When you enter Universal Orlando, you understand that you are subject to the Universal Orlando terms of service (including arbitration, class action waiver, assumption of risk, and infectious disease release of liability) located at Universalorlando.com/safetyinfo

Announcements, Disney Cruise Line

Summer 2021 Itineraries Announced for Disney Cruise Line including Greece and Alaska

Ready to plan your summer vacation 2021?  Ever wanted to see Greece or Alaska?  Then these itineraries are for you!  Opening day rates are always the BEST time to book!  Contact me today with any questions or information on booking.  Happy sailing!

All itineraries are listed at the bottom of this blog with the explanations and descriptions listed here.  2021 has some exciting new itineraries!!

Continue reading “Summer 2021 Itineraries Announced for Disney Cruise Line including Greece and Alaska”

Beaches/Sandals, Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Disney World, Planning, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Universal Studios

Spring Break 2020 Planning: Part 2

If you follow my blog, then you know I posted earlier about March Spring Break and some great options.  A very popular time is April, so as promised — here is Spring Break planning: Part 2! The goal is simple: give you some great options and go ahead and get Spring Break planned and checked off your list.  You have more options and better pricing, when you plan it early and while it may seem far away right now, once the holidays get closer time begins to fly.

Continue reading “Spring Break 2020 Planning: Part 2”

Beaches/Sandals, Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Disney World, Planning, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Universal Studios

Spring Break 2020 Planning

I know school just started for some and Spring Break seems very far away, but it will be here before you know it.  I know planning Spring Break can seem overwhelming at times and just trying to think of ideas is difficult too.  If you feel this way, then this post is for you. I find September and October are the best months to start planning Spring Break.  You will have more availability for your options, better pricing and also the satisfaction of checking that off your daunting to do list before the holidays are upon us.  The best part is I can help you with all of it and it will cost you the exact same if you did all the hard work yourself.

Continue reading “Spring Break 2020 Planning”