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Old 10-18-2020, 03:43 PM   #1
richviii
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Default Disney in Pandemic Trip Report (BCV/DRR)

Airport
Seeing the BWI parking lot on a weekend half full was the first indication we were not traveling in normal times. We have also never come this close to departure time but many colleagues had reported the speed and ease of the airport. We got to the gate 5 minutes prior to departure. Our aircraft had many empty back rows but we decided on the row before the exit for a little more room from those behind us.

Arrival/Check-In
We rented a car to make things a bit easier and not have to rely as much on Disney transport. We were able to book a BCV studio 3 days out during Food and Wine (that wonít happen again). We had packed an easy change for the pool since we got to the resort at 11:30am. We knew check in wasnít till 4pm but I had heard others getting in early so we hoped. By 4pm we asked again and no luck. Having traveled during COVID we just wanted to get cleaned up, instead we were grabbing a meal and headed to MK. The process (temp screening and bag check) was efficient. I wanted to feel that rush when I walked onto Main St. Instead I found myself looking at the new landscape of dots, line markers and cats members kindly reminding people to fully cover their nose and mouth. Being from MD (face coverings required since the start) and good COVID numbers that was comforting. It was crazy to think we had flown into a hot spot in the middle of a pandemic to get a churro and cruise around in a jungle boat. While there are some fall decorations up, it is not the normal fall in Disney (not a complaint, just an observation). By 6:30 we still had no room and all We wanted to do was get cleaned up. Finally we got a call at 6:40 that a broken piece of furniture had been the hold up and they wanted to make sure we were okay with a higher floor (even though we had said early check in was preferable). The line to get in to the Emporium to shop was stretched back to almost Adventureland. Because of capacity, everywhere shop/place on Disney property had to maintain counts.

What an exhausting day in many ways.

Epcot
While I donít miss Fastpasses, not being able to park hop with very limited hours certainly changed our plans. We could sleep in a bit with the park not being open till 11am. We had heard and generally tried to be at the park gates 30 minutes prior. So we were on Soarin by 11am. It is amazing to see what the park looks like with much of the front in demolition. It is also sad to see how scaled back the preview of what Epcot is to become. I get it. Just sad. The character cavalcades are cute but we never seem to catch many. Tough on kids not to get to see the friends. Even my DD (10) just wanted a hug from Goofy. We had fun enjoying the food as usual. It was weird to see the Flower and Garden merch at only 30 percent off. We sadly had planned on being there but 30% doesnít make me want to buy for sure. With the limitations on movement and eating, the strolling with many drinks was certainly curbed (to be fair, we didnít see a weekend day).

AK
A fairly standard visit to AK with a stop at Pandora for Navi River, awesome early morning safari with a roaring lion and a bit of shopping. FoP was an hour most of the morning. This is still a half day park so we headed to the Orlando Premium outlets to hit the Disney outlet. Because is limits on people in the store we had to wait an hour to get in. Yes, a random Wednesday afternoon and it was still an hour to just shop. We had not been to Disney Springs in a while so we headed over. For us, we have many of those shops around us and the big Disney Store seemed to have the same merchandise as others stores we had been in. In the past it seems like we could find some unique things. Wolf Gang Puck express closing was a disappointment since that was one stop if we went to DS.

DHS
We had prepared ourselves as this was going to be the most crowded park, and it was. We headed straight back to SWGE and did Smugglers Run as a walk on. Most people were sitting out waiting for RotR virtual queue. We ended up doing a rider swap so my DW and I each rode by ourselves. So that made it not as fun and probably interactive. We scored RotR boarding cards (group 37) so we realized we were probably going to have lunch in the park. By the tile we left Batu to head to Toy Story land, the lines were getting insane and we didnít feel like waiting for anything, including Runaway railroad (that was at least an hour, even at near the park close). New menu items at the commissary are a needed improvement at DHS. Finally, RotR! It was amazing but seeing ride vehicles empty or barely full made you realize how lucky we were. After that it was a break until we came back to build a Droid and a light saber. My daughter loved both experiences after saving up and grandma chipping in. A few Toy Story Manias since it was a 15 minute wait and we were out.

Our final full day was a visit to MK. The humidity was up, it was hot and crowds seemed high. Before we knew it all the waits were nearly an hour so we bailed to stay the final night in Riviera.

Riviera
The resort is massive! We had a preferred view studio. We donít usually spend points on views but I think we would have been disappointed in a parking lot view. Our room viewed a bit in to the resort but we could see ToT at DHS and Expedition Everest in the distance. The room was large for a studio. It is so nicely appointed. Once again, having a shower and a tub/shower is handy. The Disney touches are subtle but nice. The lobby is very much like an upscale Westin with Disney Artwork. Some may hate me foe saying that. The quiet pool was our favorite. The feature pool slide was slow (first world problems). Also hard after coming from the Beach Club. We ate at the Quick Serve for dinner and it was good. The tours of the DVC rooms were non-stop and busy. They actually asked us if we could come back later. The free gift is a print of Riviera. The GV is over the top amazing. We donít have 12 friends or family (or enough points) to ever do it but it was fun to see. Even the 1br compared to our studio was massive. It was honestly one of my favorite 1brs. The Tower Studios were nice and I can see mass appeal for couples because of points chart. The resort seemed very active overall. We loved the resort and glad we stayed there.

MCO
Up and out early. Rental cars only on one side (A). The new gas station at MCO is so much more convenient now. Arrived almost too early this time. 7 am on Saturday and no security wait time.

Overall thoughts.
Glad we did it. In two weeks after we are clear, we will probably be even happier. We didnít tell but only a few people we were going because we didnít want to hear anyoneís thoughts on it. As reported, crowds are growing but they are still manageable. I donít know how much more thy can grow without really impacting the already diminished guest experience. As a park commando family, no park hopping was certainly different. We spent more time at the resorts than ever before because of it all. More food is opening but that makes things a little more challenging. We are glad we had groceries and ability to make some food in the room. Because there are less chefs, many places are serving more cold pre-packaged items. We only had French fries once on this trip (which is some sort of record for us). Resorts were cleaned well and often (more on the weekend for sure). Ride cleaning was hit or miss. They are installing more plexiglass to get ride capacity up so that positive in some ways and maybe detrimental to the ride experience (a trade we all must make). Cast members have an incredibly challenging job already dealing with expectations of a Disney guest. Now you add in a face mask and shield they wear and some guests not wanting to comply. For the most part people were pretty good. Buy yourself disposable masks or those designed to be cooler (we got some at Costco and wish we had purchased more). This was our longest stretch without being in the parks in many years. We are somewhat question our pre-booked holiday trip in December. With no Very Mickey Christmas and limited decorations (even know Gingerbread) should we go? We have a few weeks before our 31 day window. We also cancelled our Spring break trip since our passes are blocked out and the points tied up in that trip are insane. I would rather have flexibility in trying to piece together another trip closer to decision time.
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Old 10-18-2020, 08:52 PM   #2
Brian5581
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Thanks for the summary, glad you were still able to enjoy.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:16 AM   #3
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Great summary. Thank you so much for sharing.

It's definitely a whole new world right now.
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:43 AM   #4
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Thanks for not sugar coating it or adding negativity. You covered many of my questions.
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Old 10-19-2020, 07:24 AM   #5
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Thanks for the TR - it reminded me of how it was before the FP systems. We're going in 2 weeks and hoping for cooler weather to handle mask wearing.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:01 AM   #6
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Thank you for the TR! We are staying at RR over Christmas (hopefully) we are looking forward to it. I am nervous that once I stay there I will want to add on points there
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