I’ll start off by saying, we visited Disney World during the COVID pandemic. We did not have COVID at Disney. Whew. Close one.
This was our 3rd family trip to the world of Disney and our strangest. My first trip not breastfeeding a child and that part was extra wonderful.
We got to the most magical place on earth’s grounds the afternoon of Monday, September 21, 2020. Our hotel this trip: Contemporary.
Day 1: Pool
It was so empty. Maybe 2 other families in the whole place. There were more lifeguards than swimmers. A couple of people walked around with the sole job of cleaning and wiping down. Glorious.
We washed the road and the pool off of us and headed for some hotel exploring and a fancy dinner at the Contemporary’s California Grill.
The view was stunning (you could see Cinderella’s castle), food delicious, company questionable (our children). Masks are required all over the grounds, even from the hostess stand to your table. Waitstaff wears masks and face shields and tables are socially distanced. Not so distanced that our neighbors couldn’t hear our nap deprived children. Bummer.
Family first: River and Ramsey shared a bed! It was a short nights sleep, unfortunately.
We chugged coffee and took the bus to Epcot! Bus was empty. So was the park. It was almost creepy. But, we appreciated the VERY SHORT ride lines.
As expected, our earlier risers blacked out on our trot to the Frozen ride.
Waiting for rides you’re 6 feet apart. Estimated wait times are inflated. Most of the time we spent way more time walking to the front of the line than we did waiting. 2020 WIN!!
There aren’t any characters to meet or parades to sit and wait for, but they do have random parades. We saw Minnie and Mickey a few times and a car full of princesses this way.
Justin made lunch reservations at Garden Grill. Family style food service with character hosts.
Justin makes all of our Disney plans. He loves it and it and just the idea of making those reservations stresses me out, so it works out well for us. He was able to find a couple of character meals. I LOVE character meals. You can eat, typically have a cocktail, and people in costume walk around and entertain your children sans line. Louder for the people in the back: I LOVE CHARACTER MEALS.
We rode a ton of empty rides and thoroughly enjoyed the food and wine festival. Our favorite parts about late September trips: Epcot Food and Wine Fest, Mickey’s not so scary Halloween. The latter was canceled this year. Once again, they had some random Halloween parades and the park was decorated, but it wasn’t the same.
Ohhhh the meltdowns.
At Disney they are extra epic. Even for parents (not pictured, but we rarely fight and typically have one on Disney trips over something trivial).
The parks close earlier than usual during these crazy COVID times, but they don’t seem to enforce it or even announce it loudly.
We took a slightly more populated bus home and slept a glorious 10 hours. All of us. Next stop, Magic Kingdom.
We took the monorail over and, once again, very empty. It’s one party per “car” and the slot behind us was empty too.
Ages 2 and up are required to wear a mask unless you are sitting and eating. River is a rockstar mask wearer. She puts it on and leaves it alone. Ramsey… acts like we are drugging her with chloroform. It’s miserable. They are more strict about this requirement at Magic Kingdom, and I totally get it. A few moms I asked in the park said they were lying telling cast members their child was 1. I tried it once when River wasn’t in earshot. The idea of her hearing mommy lie just really bothers me. So, instead I just walked in places assertively or chloroformed my screaming child and marched on.
You don’t have to have park tickets until age 3. That seems like a more reasonable mask requirement age. But, I say this as the mother of a child who refuses to wear a mask. If I were the mother of a reasonable 2 year-old I might not understand what the big deal is. Different strokes. Different folks. They still happily took our money, so there’s that.
Magic Kingdom was much more populated. Not sure if it was because it was a Wednesday or that it’s the most popular park.
Mickey and co greet you with a balcony appearance when the park opens. I personally prefer this to using fast passes or sitting in super long lines as in times past. But, you might not see your favorite character and you certainly won’t get great pictures with them.
Lines were very short. The Starbucks one was not, but so is the price of being caffeinated. You can’t stroll and sip, so we opted to sit and chug with a view.
And we took my favorite pics of the trip.
Tons of short lines and the estimated time is exaggerated.
See how empty the rides are?? We had lunch at “Be Our Guest” – it’s my favorite and we never miss it! The Beast keeps his distance, but the girls enjoyed seeing him peek in on our meal.
More rides, more meltdowns.
All in all, I’m glad we went. If you’re going to Disney for the first time, you’ll be fine. You honestly won’t notice you’re missing much. If your favorite things are the parades, pictures with characters and fireworks… wait. That list contains some of my least favorite Disney activities, but they are some of the most magical. The mood is different than before… but you would not notice if it’s your maiden voyage. Not waiting long, if at all, for rides is epic. Restaurants are easy to get into, and it’s SO CLEAN. Those things make it awesome. I’m very said the girls didn’t get to do Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but it saved us a pretty penny, so for that I’m thankful. I think I enjoy it more than the girls do anyway. Not because they don’t love it, because I LOVE IT THAT MUCH.