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Old 10-10-2020, 04:26 PM   #1
Grand Villa
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Circle Pines, MN
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Default Oct 2020 Trip Report

I don't usually take the time to do these but thought given the COVID situation, it might be helpful to fellow DVCers.

Please note: These are my opinions and observations. If you don't like them, please move along and ignore me. I'm not sharing this to tick anyone off or start an online squabble.

Our trip dates: Oct 4-9 in a 2BR at BCV

I'll try and organize this by topic:

Flying & MCO
Crowds and Lines
Technology & Mobile Ordering
Safety Practices
Final Thoughts


We've been DVC owners since 2002, going every year, usually operating in borrowing mode because we go too much.

This was a sort-of-replacement for the annual May trip that was cancelled. DH and I have 2 adult children who usually travel with us. DS opted out and took his vacation time to do a road trip with his buds out West in August so he didn't have PTO to come.

DH really wanted to go. I was not enthused. I was not and am not worried about COVID. My issues have everything to do with being able to vacation and spend my $ the way I want. But DH hasn't had a vacation all year. And I read an article earlier this year about two girlfriends who were chatting about their spouses. Susie mentioned her hubs really wanted chili for dinner and she wasn't into it, planned to look for other stuff. Jenny had just lost her spouse in the last year and said, "Susie, do yourself a favor; make the chili. Life's too short." I'm paraphrasing, but I took the story to heart. DH wanted to go. So we did.

Flying & MCO

We fly out of MSP and it's a breeze here. Left on Sunday afternoon. Walked right through TSA. We fly Delta and it's easy. They board back to front and all middle seats are blocked. I frankly don't worry about that, but it gives us more space between each other. A luxury I will miss when things get back to normal.

Arrived at MCO to find that all rental cars are on Side A. Delta arrives on Side B. Didn't know about the rental cars until I went out to National Emerald Aisle so we had to hoof it over to Side A.

MCO had most shops and most food service places closed. If you like to stop for a bite to eat in the main food court, McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, and Panda Express are the only ones that were open.

Crowds & Lines

It's crowded. DH was really on board with early October because of the reports of low crowds. That ship has sailed.

If you missed my post on taking the Skyliner to DHS in the morning, look it up.

DHS was on Monday. Lines, lines, everywhere. Our shortest wait was probably 10 minutes (posted 25 min) for TSMM. But I think we were lucky.
But everything else was crazy long. The shortest time for Smuggler's Run was 60 minutes. We didn't even bother with M&M Railway; it was 2hrs or more every time I looked on MDE. Those were the only rides we did.

AK was on Tuesday. DH and DD wanted to do FOP. We got there before opening. It was a 90 minute wait in line. The line snaked from just after Tiffins, down and around to Festival of the Lion King, back and wound around through Pandora before heading into the regular queue. We rode Kali after which was a literal walk on (slow walk on, but we never stopped moving except to receive direction to the boat) and then we left.

MK was on Wednesday. We got there around opening. The tapstiles were down so CMs were using tablets to check people in. Lines were super long. Tapstiles came up a couple people before us in line, but what a tech hiccup. BTMRR jumped to 45 minute wait so we headed for Buzz Lightyear which had a 5 min posted wait. That wait for us was actually 35 minutes from the time we got in line until we got on the attraction.

Fun fact: They let one group ride, then they sanitize all ride cars. We stood in line second from the front watching the empty cars cycle through. We didn't see CMs doing anything to them, but assumed someone must be sanitizing somewhere down the line for the cars to continue to roll by empty for several long minutes.

We got on the Teacups. It had a breakdown, but otherwise went pretty fast. We went on Philharmagic. Then we left. After riding the monorail, we were walking back to the car and heard the two couples in front of us talking. One said they only rode 1 ride and were leaving because it was too crowded. The other couple said, "We didn't get on any rides. But we got popcorn."

EP was on Thursday. This park felt the most "normal" probably because being the bigger park, the crowds are more dispersed, even with the Taste of Epcot. It also was the only park I remember having background music playing. We saw a couple of the character marches - Anna & Elsa in a horsedrawn carriage and Mickey & Minnie in an old school classic car with Goofy and Pluto on foot in front.

Technology & Mobile Ordering

MDE has you read the Health & Safety Announcement before you come. And prompts you to read it every day, sometimes multiple times per day. It's annoying to have so many prompts.

We tried Mobile Ordering for a couple of places. It worked fine from an efficiency point of view. But I don't like it. I get that it's designed to keep people out of line, to do physical distancing, etc. But so much human interaction has been removed that it doesn't feel special. It doesn't feel personal. I feel like a number in an assembly line. I'm nobody in the Mobile Ordering system.

And in some places, this Mobile Ordering trying to keep people out of lines and social distancing...it doesn't always work. Example: Docking Bay 7 at Galaxy's Edge. You aren't allowed to go in until you've placed your Mobile Order AND it's ready for pick up. All this does is make people cluster outside the doors because MDE isn't always prompt about notifying you that your order is ready so the CMs are calling people's names out telling them their order is ready. But when you have a mask on, and there's a crowd - yes, literal crowd that was trying to social distance, but the space up there isn't conducive to it - you have to get closer to hear if they called your name.

Safety Practices

For those whose primary concern is the safety practice portion, Disney does have hand sanitizer everywhere. Every. Where. There are signs about the risks you take being at Disney - everywhere. The announcements about having your masks and not eating or drinking unless stationary are consistent. The tape on the floor showing you where to stand. The temperature checks.

Honestly, outside forcing a rapid COVID test, they can't be doing much more to make the worried part of the population feel more safe.

And for the most part, people were complying. Nothing egregious was going on.


It wasn't there. The limited hours combined with the park reservation system is what is fueling the crowds. People wanting to make the most of their ticket for the day are causing what I believe to be a higher surge of attendees at park opening than before when park hopping was available.

The enforced physical distancing lines may not be different than any other October, but even if there's only 25% of the regular capacity allowed, it looks and feels very crowded. You can't escape that feeling; it's visually in your face.

Then you have so many shops and eateries that are closed. No FP so you can't manage your vacation time any better.

And then they are being very persnickety about Entrance Only and Exit Only in stores. It's the little things like this that impact your ability to control your enjoyability. On hot days like every single one this week, we'd normally walk through the Emporium side of Main Street on the way out to get a break from the heat. But you can't do that any more. The entrance to the Emporium is at the front of the park; you aren't allowed to enter further in.

I can't walk out to Hurricane Hannah's to grab a burger because they aren't doing food; but the bar is open.

The limited hours meant taking a midday break in the heat cut into your ability to go back later in the day. We went back for DHS and Epcot because they closed at 7pm. We didn't bother for MK and AK.

As people who almost exclusively stay

Could we have ridden more rides? Probably. Did I want to spend my vacation standing outdoors, in long lines, in the heat, in a mask? No.

Final Thoughts

The three of us talked on the way to the airport about it and though I have made reservations in May 2021, we've decided that we will cancel if masks are still required, if there's no FP and no Park Hopping (yes, I know they are selling PHs and APs for 2021, but I'm not believing it until it's enacted), and more stores and restaurants are open with more reasonable operating hours.

We felt the value wasn't there. We don't like feeling that way, but it's our money and we don't want to have the same feelings we have now for that next vacation.

Disney did what it felt it needed to do. But the experience we had this past week is not something we want to repeat.

So I'll hold on to that reservation until the 30 day window and we'll see what happens. We still have the Disney bug. But life is already a bummer with everything everyone is being forced to do right now. I'd rather wait until I can go to Disney and feel myself uplifted rather than simply transplant my COVID life management process to a new location.

DVC Member since 2002.

Next trip: Hopefully 2021
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:03 PM   #2
Grand Villa
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Excellent report. We have been to Disney twice since opening. A week in August and a week and a half in September. The crowds were awesome in August and huge in September. We still enjoyed both trips, but they were definitely not normal trips!
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:18 PM   #3
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The masks aren't a problem for me
But $100 plus a day for limited hours and no park hopping...

UH NO! Sorry Mickey, your greed exceeds your delivery IMHO.
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for the summary. The masks definitely suck, along with the lack of park hopping and other restrictions. Hopefully some of these start to be alleviated within the next several months... Doubtful, but hopefully.
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:46 PM   #5
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Thank you for sharing. We leave tomorrow and are also staying at BCV. How were the pools (in terms of crowds)?
2020 Dec - Poly

2020 Oct - BCV/DRR, May - DCL and DRR - COVID Cancelled 2019 Jan - AKV, Apr - HHI, Apr - CCV, BCV, May - Off-Site, Jun Poly, Nov BLT 2018 Jan - Swan & Dolphin, Apr - BCV, July - Disneyland, Sept - BLT, Nov - Swan & Dolphin, BLT 2017 Apr- BWV/BLT, Aug - VGC and Aulani, Dec - BWV & BLT 2016 Dec- BLT, Dec - Disneyland, Aug - Disney CX Summit - GF, Apr - BWV/BTL, 2015 - Nov - BWV/S&D, June - Off-Site, Apr - Contemporary/Off-Site, Feb - S&D, Jan 15 - Off-Site, 2014 - Nov - BLT, Aug - Off-Site, May - Off-Site, Mar - Off-Site, 2013 - Nov - Off-Site, Jun - Off-Site, 2012 Nov - Off-Site
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Old 10-10-2020, 05:52 PM   #6
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I can't walk out to Hurricane Hannah's to grab a burger because they aren't doing food; but the bar is open.

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

We leave in less than two weeks. Bummed Hurricane Hannah's is not open for food. We spend a lot of time at the resort and grab lunch here quiet often.
October - 2020 - BCV - F&W
February/March - 2021 - OKW & Disney VBR

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Old 10-10-2020, 07:13 PM   #7
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I appreciate your perspective, but I’m on the total opposite side. Today was our last day. We went US Sat-Mon then WDW Tues-Sat. I loved the no fastpass, everyone stands in line. We did EP, AK, HS, MK, MK. We didn’t fell any line was too long. We never waited longer than 60. Lines always moved and NEVER waited the posted time. I think WDW does that as a worst case scenario. Now it was Hades hot this week, almost to the point of unbearable.

Epcot tues- we rode everything once. Soarin/Test track twice (could’ve done more but we were pooped). Along with 2 laps around countries to sample food. Nothing felt crowded except our last 2 days at MK but it’s a tight park.

For me, it was the heat combined with the masks that was torture but we survived. We rented from David’s so there was no cancelling in my eyes. We just made the best of it.

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Old 10-10-2020, 07:28 PM   #8
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Thanks for your thoughts. I really enjoy reading others' perspectives. DH & I are headed down this week and we're very much looking forward to it. It will be interesting to see if we have the same feelings. We are very much go with the flow these days with our trips, but the lack of park hopping and shorter hours are a bummer. Either way, we are both very much looking forward to a vacation.
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Old 10-10-2020, 09:24 PM   #9
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Thanks for the honest report. We should have been leaving next week but I feel at peace with our decision to cancel.

I have to scratch my head at your comment about Epcot being the only park you recalled there being background music. I wonder what possible reason they could have to stop playing it?
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Old 10-11-2020, 04:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by zulaya View Post

I can't walk out to Hurricane Hannah's to grab a burger because they aren't doing food; but the bar is open.
Originally Posted by zulaya View Post

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

We leave in less than two weeks. Bummed Hurricane Hannah's is not open for food. We spend a lot of time at the resort and grab lunch here quiet often.
We were at BCV last week of Sept and Hurricane Hannah's was serving sandwiches but no grill items.
One day SAB was at capacity so we moved to the quiet pool and there were 3 other people in it. More peaceful ...
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