I was going to write a blog about what all my advisors, and I have experienced in the first six weeks since the parks have opened back up at Walt Disney World® Resort. I asked for their feedback, and it was so good, I will be sharing their words below. Check out our blog on the Kid Experts of Ears of Experience and their take on how life is now at the parks All the Magic for the Kiddos
Before I begin, I understand this is not the time for some to travel and we acknowledge and respect that. We are here when you are ready to travel. This information is for those that are curious about the new policies, the magic that remains, and the magic that is new.
Vickie Garrow, Advisor from Annapolis, Maryland, stated the below about her experience.
A Walk in the Park
Rounding the corner of the resort monorail ramp, I couldn’t help but wonder how the first day back in the parks would feel. Stepping into Magic Kingdom, a waving Cast Member greeted me; her look of pure excitement caused all worries to fade away. That’s right, the magic never left. As I rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train three times in a row, I witnessed a family with two young children eagerly ask their parents, “Can we ride it again?!” The rare chance to say “Yes!” to this answer and watching the kids jump up and down in excitement made me so happy for them. The experience that morning at Magic Kingdom was akin to attending additional cost special-access ticketed events like Disney’s Early Morning Magic at Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Hours. Low crowds allowed walk-ons to feel like a VIP even on the most popular and newest attractions.
The mini, unannounced parades are charming and intimate. My first experience was the Mickey and Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom. Your cue of the cavalcades coming is an abrupt change of music. I found the perfect spot near Pecos Bill’s and looked around to see no one else there. That alone was already exciting given the crowds I’d experienced during other parades. Lively music, bright costumes, and Disney characters waving – what could be better? I knew the characters must be waving at me because no one else was around! There’s something special about being spotted by your favorite Disney character on a bright summer day. All of the past months uncertainty recedes in the care-free Kingdom!
Flight of Passage
The morning sun was shining on the Tree of Life as I snapped a photo and headed into Pandora: The World of Avatar. I move at a quick pace because, despite seeing 10-minute waits all week, this one seems too good to be true. Wide-eyed, I give a friendly glance to the Cast Member as I walk into Flight of Passage under the 10-minute wait sign. I’m on and off the ride in that amount of time. As I exit, a Cast Member announces that, should any guests like to ride again, hang a right and head back to the start of the ride. By my fourth pass, I thought I should stop while I was ahead. The line for this attraction is typically 3+ hours long. Previously, I’ve only experienced low wait times during special ticketed events like Disney’s Animal Kingdom After Hours. The pure joy from adults and kids alike as they continued to ride this popular attraction over and over is truly amazing.
In the open condition of the parks, I picked up on details of sight, sound, and smells that I’ve never noticed before. I’m unsure if it was from the lower crowds, me being less rushed, or some combination of both, but I found myself standing in the parks and soaking it all in. The calmer demeanour of guests around me likely played a role, as well. I heard more adults asking the family “What do you want to do?” Whatever it is, you can pretty much do it. Right now. Ride what you want, when you want.
Jennifer Henneman, Advisor from the Charlotte area is one of our self-proclaimed OCD clean freaks. I was amazed she ventured down, and boy was she impressed. Please see her comments below. I have a link to her YouTube video on her stay as well. My Disney trip after re-opening
Being that she is so conscious about cleaning, I thought it was great she experienced the cleaning of ride vehicles. They do it every two hours, and they typically do it where a guest can see it, so there is full transparency. She was extremely impressed that all surfaces inside the resort rooms and on the balcony were clean, no dirt, no dust. It was very apparent all surfaces were cleaned thoroughly.
Jennifer’s family LOVED the short lines. Even though the parks are working at shorter operating hours, they still were able to get everything in and enjoy them multiple times. They rode Slinky Dog 9 times. Because of all the pop-up character interactions, the long meet n greet lines of the past were not missed at all. And as so many have stated, we all think these new character interactions are incredible. It seems like they are taking even more time and energy to make sure to connect with the guests.
Jennifer Sebby, an advisor of ours from the Dallas, TX area, travelled with her daughter Lyric this past month. She was looking for those magical moments on a trip that needed to be a little easier on mom as it was just the two of them. Her daughter Lyric has a lot of input in our Kid expert blog, but I have included Jennifer’s take on things below.
The crowd levels were terrific, and in most parks, it was almost like we had them to ourselves. We explored for pressed pennies and wandered through shops and still did everything we wanted with hours to spare each day. There were little things we noticed in queue lines and just walking around that we had never seen with regular crowds. We had never gone through the queue lines for 7 Dwarfs or Peter Pan (sooo cool) and getting to go back through the standby queue for Flight of Passage without being rushed through the lab was so much fun.
When we walked into Magic Kingdom, the characters were up on the railroad station. Lyric was wearing a Minnie Dress and dancing and twirling. Mickey and Minnie saw her and started copying her, and they were going back and forth. For the rest of the day, she didn’t stop talking about how they danced with her. I felt like everyone got more personalized interaction with the characters this trip because there were never the vast crowds.
Joy was playing in the grass outside of Figment, and no one else was around. She played around with Lyric and pretended to be a unicorn because of Lyric’s ears. Just another example of relaxed character interaction that would not have happened previously.
Lyric didn’t struggle with a mask at all and said she would forget she had it on.
It was nice to feel comfortable sitting down while Lyric rode certain rides like the Carpets at Magic Kingdom and Alien Swirling Saucers on repeat. There were quite a few times I would let her ride something over without me when I would not have felt comfortable with normal crowd levels.
We love Nomad Lounge and were at one of the couches, in the outside seating area, enjoying our Churros and drinks. This also happens to be right after the character boats start from the other side of the bridge to Pandora, so we had a front-row seat as they each went by. It was amazing!
Dare I say that I liked the character dining experience better without the constant interruptions and getting up for photos and autographs? Lyric enjoyed it just as much as she has before, and I feel like we saw more of the characters overall at both Garden Grill and Topolino’s.
The whole feel of the vacation was more relaxed and less stressful. We enjoyed more resort and pool time than we have on any other trip, and the slow start to the Epcot and Hollywood Studio days was so nice.
There are so many other little things that add to the magic. The energy of the cast members and how much Disney is doing to help you feel as safe as possible to name a few.
Brandy Incorvia, an advisor from the Myrtle Beach area, has shared so many great nuggets from her trip. She had such a good time; she heads back Labor Day weekend.
Brandy and her 14-year-old daughter, Olivia love character interactions, so this was one of their main concerns, but they too truly enjoyed the new way. On their Hollywood Studios day, Olivia was Disney bounding like Sully from Monsters Inc. Sully came down the street and started a socially distanced interaction with her about her looking like him. They also felt the character dining was more efficient, and you communicated more with the characters instead of the rush for a picture and autograph as it used to be.
She also said they were able to sleep in and not rush to rope drop. They noticed more as they walked through the parks as they were not trying to go from FastPass to FastPass. And she came home rested, not feeling like she needed a break from the vacation.
A few takeaway tips are below. Please let one of our Ears of Experience advisors know if you have any questions or wish to book your new magical vacation.
- Later in the day, the attraction lines are shorter than in the morning
- Lines look longer due to social distancing, so do not be fooled.
- You may want to consider a villa if travelling with a group that wants to spend that extra evening time together in a common area. You can also use the kitchen for meals.
- There seem to be more calvalcade appearances in the morning.