October 23, 2020

Fall Break at Disney World

Last week our schools had Fall break. I am definitely not saying travel is right for everyone right now, and it wasn't a decision we were even sure was right for us. After a ton of consideration we decided to spend our Fall Break at Disney World. We used to live in Orlando and all our friends were reporting back that Disney was doing an amazing job with distancing and so we felt like it was a good option. We had purchased tickets last February for a May trip that was cancelled, so we'd been sitting on tickets for almost 9 months. If you are interested in what Disney is like right now, here's a little recap. 

It was wonderful to be in Magic Kingdom again and to see the Disney castle! We've been to Disney World during Halloween before and this time, there weren't quite as many decorations as you normally see, but it was still fun. Also, they aren't doing any character meet & greets right now (which are not our thing anyway). They are doing these mini parades with tons of characters in the walk ways and it's actually really fun. They just pop up randomly. We were excited to ride Splash Mountain one more time before it gets a facelift - although, I'm super excited to see it with a Princess & Frog theme. And we got to eat at our favorite Magic Kingdom restaurant - Jungle Skipper Canteen. Everything was amazing. Disney has tables completely spaced out and all the servers wear masks and face shields. 
*Tip* I highly recommend making your restaurant reservations ahead of time. We saw so many families turned away, as they weren't taking walk ins at all. 

We spent 2 days at Epcot because it's one of our favorite parks. We always stay at Epcot properties so we can easily pop over. 
*Tip* Entering Epcot through their back entrance, The International Gateway, means less crowds, less stress. 
For both our Epcot days we chose to spend only the evening hours here so we could get more pool time (it was HOT!!).
Food & Wine Festival at Epcot is everyone's fav! The s'mores whoopee pie was our favorite dessert. We had too many small bite favorites to even name! Here's just a few.

Animal Kingdom opened at SEVEN AM (what!) the day we were there. 
*Tip* Be sure to check opening times daily, because it was supposed to open at 8am and we luckily saw this time change the morning of and made it there right after 7am.
 It was so early we got to see the amazing Tree of Life in the morning haze. All of the lines have social distancing markers, so they look intimidatingly long. The worst part is they are all outside and with the heat, it can be miserable. However, they move really fast and we were able to ride Flight of Passage and Everest (twice) within the opening hour. We always enjoy the carnival section in the Dino land area. Currently only 2 games are open, but we still had fun.
*Tip* If you play the basketball game, play one of the ends.. you have the advantage of the ball going off the prize wall on the side. Asher won 4 fun stuffed buddies.

Hollywood Studios has been selling to capacity for a while now, so be prepared that it is BUSY! We always take the walkway from the Epcot properties and walk over to Hollywood Studios. Usually we are one of the only families using the path, however, now it's your ticket to early entry and the path is crowded with people taking taxis over to the gas station nearby and walking into HS. 
*Tip* When you get to HS before opening, go to the most left entrance lines (all the way to the left). These will usually have the quickest entry. 
Our favorite ride of the trip was at HS... Slinky Dog Dash. And Asher rode his first upside down coaster and was in love (Rock 'n' Roller Coaster). For Rise of the Resistance, there is a virtual queu lottery at 10am and 2pm. You have to be in the park to enter it. Don't be discouraged if you don't get the 10am (we didn't) you may get the 2pm (we did). 
*Tip* If you want a cocktail or like craft beer, you have to check out BaseLine Tap House. They have a great drink selection and upscale pretzel and charcuterie platters. 

For this trip, we chose to stay at the Dolphin hotel. We've never stayed here before and we were thoroughly impressed (except for the tiny bathrooms :( ). When you first walk into Dolphin, you'll see a massive lobby with a huge glass bead chandelier hanging over their dolphin fountain. The lobby had a bunch of small sets of seating so social distancing was no problem. There is a grab and go called Fuel on the main floor that had wonderful breakfast selections. There's also a small gift shop for fun stuff or things your forgot (Asher's toothbrush and goggles!). Also Dolphin has bus service to MK and AK. The seats are marked by number, so each family gets a section away from the others. 
The pool was by far our favorite feature of this hotel. It is sprawling, with plenty of shade. It has a huge water feature and a slide. The pool area also has sand volleyball, table tennis and corn hole. It was unbearably hot when we visited Florida so every day we visited the parks at open, had a sit down lunch at the park and then went back to the hotel and finished our days at the pool. The pool after the hot, crowded parks was heavenly! This hotel also had a game room which we love! Disney used to have these on their cruises but they removed them for sweet shops, so we are always excited to see some still exist!
*Tip* On your last day you can check your luggage and then use the pool/go to the parks and still come back and use the showers in the gym. They have all the products you need.

Food was a big part of this trip! 
We booked all our favorite restaurants and definitely enjoyed that vacation life! haha! Some of our favs from this trip:
Beaches & Cream (Boardwalk): No Way Jose Sundae (peanut butter/chocolate perfection!)
Yak & Yeti (Animal Kingdom): Wonton Nachos and Bang Bang Shrimp
Jungle Skipper Canteen (Magic Kingdom): Orinoco Ida's Cachapas and Perkin's Thai Noodles
Todd English's Bluezoo (Dolphin): Teppan Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops
Il Mulino (Swan): incredible bread service and Mussels in white wine sauce 
Rose & Crown (Epcot): Fish & Chips (these are huge, I recommend splitting)
*Tip* You can book Bluezoo and Il Mulino on OpenTable and they have better availability & cancelation policies than the Disney app. 

And next week I'll be reporting on how weight watchers is going now that I'm back to real life! ha!

So, there you have it! Our very socially distanced, mask wearing, indulgent, fabulous memories made Fall Break at Disney World! 

See more adventures and ramblings on instagram  :)