DVC July 2020 Disney Trip

OKWFan88

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
I wanted to share my experience at Disney as we rented DVC points. I want to start off by talking about the elephant in the room: Corona. I was nervous to visit FL with the increase in cases. Now that I have been home for a couple days, I feel fine but in about a week I will go get tested at one of the drive up sites for free. My significant other and I work remotely. No kids. We haven't stepped out of our home (outside of an emergency Target run and walking our dog) since April. We have groceries delivered, haven't eaten out or seen friends or family in person before our trip. So, after three months of captivity and four cancelled Disney trips, we weren’t cancelling this one. The cases increasing do concern us, but again we have been very diligent on our end. We flew from a state that isn't a hot spot and we prepared ourselves with masks, had disinfectant, social distance etc. We were well aware that this "vacation" was going to be very different and that is OK. Now that our trip has ended we will self-quarantine for two weeks in our home just to be safe. Thankfully because of our jobs we can work remotely and have no issues with social distancing and/or not going out. We took every precaution and followed ALL the rules at Disney. We've done our part and will continue to do our part to be safe/healthy not only for us but for those we might encounter.

Just got back from a 11 day stay in Orlando. I flew SouthWest from Denver and all middle seats were open. Actually no one was on my entire row. That was nice. MCO was pretty empty, mask compliance was 80%.

RESORTS:

Started at AKL 1 bedroom (rented DVC points) savanna view Kidani - first time at resort - with the sole goal was to see giraffe’s, hence why we chose AKL. Went to lobby around 3PM as hadn’t received a text to check in and we didn’t have magic bands as they never were mailed out although we ordered them… Lobby was somewhat busy and the man at check in seem pre-occupied. This was the first time staying at a Disney resort in which check in seemed very impersonal. As this was my first time staying at AKL I didn’t know where anything was or what might have been open and available. I assumed we would have been given the rundown about the resort but that didn’t happen. He checked us in and handed us magic bands and told us the room wasn’t ready yet and I’d get a text. I asked for a map and then I was sent on my way. I am sure the resort is better once everything is opened back up and they are still getting the kinks out with all the changes. But very limited food options but that was too be expected… The room wasn’t ready until just before 5PM, which we thought was pretty late, but we had a rental car, so we were doing some grocery shopping. Finding the room was a chore. Since we’d never stayed there before it took way too long for us to figure out where to park compared to where the room is… But loved the underground parking. Carrying all the groceries and luggage was a comical lesson for us. We just had to laugh about it. We requested a specific room but didn't get it... Not a big deal but the room we got was on the complete opposite side of what we wanted and was on top floor... We requested the 2nd floor for better sights of giraffes but oh well. I did call the front desk to see if they had any lower floor rooms available but was told they didn’t. The cleanliness of the room seemed ok. There was a plastic covering on the remote and the shampoo/conditioner bottles in the bathroom. We did notice some areas that could have been cleaned better but we brought wipes and cleaned things up a bit, so not a big deal. Main bedroom had a King bed and sofa bed in living room. Full kitchen. Washer and dryer. The view from the room assigned was outstanding although sometimes harder to see the animals since we were on top floor and the tree line tended to be in the way. Still saw a ton of different animals. HUGE balcony. The room itself, was ok. Seemed a bit dated, loved the two bathrooms. I slept on the sofa bed and all I can say is, why hasn’t anyone learned how to create a sofa bed without that bar in the middle that your back rests on? Overall, I probably wouldn't stay here again, as the resort was too big. Very long hallway's and takes a while to walk anywhere. The drive over to AK was super easy as it’s right there and driving to the other parks was quick. We didn’t attempt the buses but did see some long lines. Mask compliance at the resort was very good and guests were social distancing and appeared to be following all rules.

After three days I moved over to OKW 1 bedroom (rented DVC points) for four nights (fav resort due to the laid-back feel). We got text that room was ready at 11AM. We got placed near the hospitality house, top floor, which was nice. Room was well cleaned and have to say the best cleaned room I’ve stayed in. The smallest details they cleaned. Finally tried Olivia's after over a dozen trips and the southern chicken is the best chicken I've ever had. Service was great. Reservation was made thru MDE and you can check in thru MDE and then you get a text when your table is ready. Pools were busy but we aren't pool people but did enjoy some drinks at the bar but you can't sit at the bar FYI. We rented bikes, walked around a lot. Such a different vibe than the other resorts we've stayed at plus the 1 bedrooms are HUGE and I am obsessed with having a washer and dryer. Large king bed and loved the huge tub and separate walk in shower. Full kitchen. We did use the buses a couple times and they were quick and social distancing was done on the bus... I am sure as resorts get busier than the waits will get longer so make sure you plan... Although the times for the buses on the app and even on the tv screens were not populating at all... So, it was just luck we were able to get the buses at the right time. Mask compliance at OKW was nearly perfect.

Next stop - Polynesian for one night (rented DVC points) – first time stay. This has been a bucket list item for a long time. We got text that room was ready around 2PM. Mask compliance was close to perfect and appeared to be busier than we thought it would be. We stayed in Tokelau, top floor and although this was a standard view we could see the lake from our view and the pool. Because I am directionally challenged, took us awhile to find the longhouse. I really wanted to love the room, but maybe because we just came from a 1 bedroom at OKW, we weren’t loving the studio room. But it was large enough easily for two people, just not a fan of the queen bed. Loved that there were two bathrooms. Room seem dated and wasn’t very clean. We noticed many things that didn’t get a deep clean. The phone was one of the main things we noticed had caked on dirt and dust. But again, we had wipes and took care of it. We noticed that the plastic coverings on the shampoo/conditioner station in the shower that was in the other two resorts was missing from Polynesian. We also moved the couch over a bit to place a fan and saw that there were someone’s socks behind the couch. Also noticed another pair of socks in a dresser drawer. And a pop tart wrapper in the drawer besides the bed. Crumbs and all. Didn’t eat at the resort as Ohana is closed which stunk as we wanted to try it but knew going in it wouldn’t be opened. Pool was super busy. Drinks were yummy at bar. I didn’t see the boat running for MK, but didn’t pay that much attention. What is great about Polynesian is the access to the monorail in the resort. 2nd floor you go thru security and temperature check and then off to monorail. We were social distanced on the monorail and always had a car to ourselves. Monorail never appeared busy but we only took it a couple times. The resort itself is beautiful and it really does feel like you are in a tropical island. But this would be a one and done for us.

Last stop on this trip is back to OKW for a studio for four nights. (rented DVC points). I was actually regretting the decision to get a studio since we had already been at the resort in a 1 bedroom but since we rented points we couldn’t change it. We got the text that our room was ready around 12PM. The room was in the Miller Pond’s area and we laughed about it because appeared we were getting the same room we had last year in a studio. Being in a studio isn’t awful at OKW because of two beds and I am a bit of a bed snob so I like lots of space in bed. We walked up to our room (top floor) and opened the door… But some pixie dust happened. I was shocked to walk into a 1 bedroom. I actually gasped and walked back out as I thought I walked into the wrong room. I checked the text again and we were at the correct room. But I couldn’t comprehend how we were given a 1 bedroom when we rented DVC points for a studio. I thought DVC never got upgraded… I was thoroughly convinced the rest of the time that we were going to be kicked out of the room once they figured out we shouldn’t be there hahaha. But nothing like that happened. Room was just as immaculately cleaned as the two days before and our view overlooked the Millers pool. Although the bus stop was just across the street from us, we didn’t hear the buses as the bedroom is on the opposite side. We thought it was very quiet. I was ecstatic that we had a washer and dryer again. Another wonderful stay and getting pixie dusted for the first time was just icing on the cake.

DISNEY SPRINGS:

The Disney springs boat at OKW was not running. We drove over to Disney Springs almost every evening for dinner. Temperature check was done before you left the garage to walk into Disney Springs. I only saw hand disinfecting stations near the escalators/stairs or just inside or outside stores/restaurants. Maybe I missed if there were more. Went to Jocks Hangar a couple times and love the atmosphere there, service is always great and drinks are good. Only had drinks, didn’t try any food. Pricey but tasty. We made reservations per MDE at several restaurants. There were options at some of the restaurants to eat outside, and that probably is the better option, but we aren’t outside eating type of people so we ate inside at all places. Ate at Raglands and sadly wasn’t a fan of the food but loved the entertainment as there was dancing on tables by some very talented employees that reminded me of Riverdance. Ate at Terralina and the Italian food was very good. Chicken Parm was fantastic. Large portions but was surprised they didn’t serve bread as I have never been to an Italian restaurant that didn’t serve bread. They gave us a bag to put our masks in, I thought that was a great idea. Would definitely eat there again. Service very good. Ate at House of Blues and was surprised how good the food was. Shared the Brisket Nachos and they were some of the best nachos. The Brisket was melt in your mouth yummy. Got the Pulled Pork sandwich and love me some Carolina BBQ. Service good and everywhere I looked they were cleaning, and wiping down tables, handrails, ledges, windows etc. Out of all the places we ate at in the parks and out of the parks, they were by far the most diligent in cleaning. Ate at Blaze pizza, did the mobile order thru their app and our food was waiting for us when we arrived. You can eat inside as it’s all socially distanced. Food is always great at this Blaze and saw employees cleaning/wiping down tables in between guests. Did mobile ordering at Sprinkles and there was an employee outside who would bring you the order. The ATM for the cupcakes was working and always saw long lines, so I suggest mobile ordering so you don’t have to wait in those long lines. We also went to the Coca Cola store and went up to the roof top bar as we wanted a coke in a glass bottle. Social Distancing was more difficult up there as there were a ton of people and with many tables blocked off due to social distancing, it was harder to keep 6 feet away, so we ended up leaving after we got our coke. Went to the Candy Cauldron and sad to report there are no cake pops. Cake pops seemed to be non-existent during this trip… They had a smaller selection of baked goods. Mask compliance at Disney Springs was lacking. Disney Springs was very busy every night we went, either on a weekend or weekday didn’t matter, it was just busy… probably due to the limited food options in all the parks and resorts. I saw a couple CM’s reminding people about wearing a mask correctly but the further you got away from the garages the more non-compliance on masks were evident. Biggest advice I have is you can only control yourself, so make sure you are following the rules and that you are social distancing, because there were many people around us that weren’t, so protect yourself and if you feel like you’re too close to people, then be proactive and walk away and move. In regard to safety, we saw many police walking around and cops with dogs. We didn’t feel unsafe in that regard.

PARKS:

All parks were strict on mask compliance and overall majority of guests followed the rules. Maybe 5% didn’t but it was mostly noses sticking out and I lost count how many times I saw CM’s tell a guest to fix their mask. It happened more times than I thought it would. Social distancing was pretty good until a ride exit and then it would get bunched up but would quickly resolve itself when people moved. The change in the policy about needing to be stationary while eating or drinking did create a bit of a learning curve for some people and saw numerous people after the policy change still walking and drinking but again, I saw CM’s remind people and all interactions I saw the guest complied. I never saw a guest giving attitude… But I am sure that was happening as well.
We are ride people so fireworks, parades and character meet and greets although we enjoy it, wasn’t why we were coming to Disney. We are ride people, we enjoy the feeling we get when we are in Disney. It’s our happy place. So, our main goal this trip was rides, rides, rides.

Magic Kingdom:

Went to MK twice. Security/temperature check went quickly the one time we drove to the TTC. Security didn’t look thru our bag just walked thru detector. They seemed to ask if you had any metal in your bags like aerosol cans/umbrellas, we didn’t so we got to walk thru. Monorail from TTC was backed up so they had buses that took us to the drop off right past the temp and security check for those doing the walk from Contemporary to MK. So, we didn’t have to be re-checked. We walked the 3 minutes to MK after the bus dropped us off… Each time we went to MK we rode everything that was open. Even went to Country Bear, Hall of Presidents, CoP etc. Rode Space Mtn (fav ride) 6 times in a row just walking on. Wait times were minimal. We rope dropped the first day and then decided we didn’t need to do that on the 2nd trip. The longest wait was 7mines train ride. Did Splash Mtn 3 times and it got busier later in the day. The first day we were there it seemed to be busier but it was a Saturday. The next day we went was Tuesday and it really felt empty. It did rain but we had parkas and getting wet isn’t that big of a deal to us. We did eat at Liberty Tavern. Since buffet is not available they did family style. Our server was swamped so we didn’t get much interaction. We were in an out in less than 40 minutes. Service was quick but very impersonal. Pretty expensive for what was offered. Food was ok. Wouldn’t do that again. I only found two places that sold Mickey Pretzels. The Confectionary sadly didn’t have cake pops either. I also didn’t see any large Mickey rice krispies treats. I did get some peanut butter fudge, Caramel Apple and large mickey sugar cookie. All were yummy. I did see cleaning happening in MK frequently. The castle was beautiful, the new colors weren’t awful and looked much better in person. I wish they would move the crane though. That was an eyesore. Was sad that PeopleMover wasn’t running. There were several pop up mini parades called Cavalcade. I understand why so many food areas are closed but you could really tell the limited food options, even for something quick. We didn’t do any mobile ordering but even the small pop up food/drink places were closed and for something quick like a bottle water or a coke, you had to walk a bit further. For those places that were open we dealt with longer lines.

Epcot:

Mask compliance was very good even with Food and Wine going on… I saw many CM’s reminding people about their masks. I am a big fan of Epcot during Food and Wine time. We went to Epcot twice. Both times we went after 3PM and stayed till close. We drove both times and security and temp check no issues. I did have to go to guest relations to fix a ticket issue with my significant other’s ticket and there was a long line at the front of Epcot for guest relations so we went to the air conditioned guest relations inside Epcot and they fixed it right away with no wait. Also was able to purchase gift cards at the store just inside Epcot so we could use them for the Food and Wine. Did Spaceship Earth, TT (had our own car), Mission Space (begrudgingly – always makes me feel like my head is going to explode). Sadly, wasn’t able to do Frozen or Soarin. Both times we went the ride was down and when we went back, they were doing cleaning. The timing wasn’t in our favor. But we went to the World Showcase both days and tried majority of foods. Watched all movies at America, China etc. The part of the F&W that is inside with the four different booths was GREAT!!! They had tables, some with chairs spread all out, it’s air conditioned and just a nice spot to relax and get out of the heat. I have to say the best thing I had was the non-alcoholic Frozen S’mores drink at the Desserts and Champagne station. I had way too many of those and not sorry. My better half basically spent an hour at the Mac & Cheese station and tried everything and left smiling. He also was a big fan of the Seafood Fisherman’s Pie at the Wine & Dine Festival Favorites station and the New England Lobster Roll at Hops & Barley. I am a pretty picky eater unfortunately but loved the Crispy Citrus Chicken at Citrus Blossom station. Also, the pizza at the Italy station I thought was great but FYI it is just plain cheese pizza and for the price it did slightly remind me of something you get out of a grocery freezer. The Cheese Tortellini wasn’t bad… but the price for some of these things didn’t mesh with the taste. Epcot wasn’t crowded during the two times we went; we were able to easily find places to stand or sit and eat. We did stop at the Rose & Crown for a tasty adult beverage and didn’t need a reservation, they have social distancing in the bar area, and you can order at bar and then find a place to sit inside. It did rain significantly while we there both times and got soaked but still had a great time.

Animal Kingdom:

We went twice and both times we got there right after rope drop. Drove both times. Temp and security check a breeze, no one went thru our bags, just walked thru. AK out of all the parks was the most empty. My 2nd fav ride is FOP. The smells, the breeze while riding just brings me peace for some reason. The first day I rode it twice and then did EE twice, Dinosaur twice (they let us stay on without getting off) and Safari. Had great weather. This park by far was the one I noticed the CM’s cleaning the most. They were cleaning everything. CM’s were smiling and just really seemed happy about being back to work. The only bad thing I can think of is the food situation. Pretty non-existent here. I couldn’t find a Mickey Pretzel anywhere, the only place we could find a drink place open that had Coke was near EE. I did see penny machines all around AK, more so than any other park, but that just might have been because I was looking for them. The 2nd visit was more productive for me as my goal was to ride FOP as many times as I could and boy did I. After I stepped into the FOP queue at 820am I didn’t leave until 2PM. Apparently there was a huge rain storm while I was in there so I never had to get back into the long queue and walk out, they allowed us to get back into the shorter queue without having to go back thru and I rode FOP over and over. I lost count after ride 12. I noticed it seemed to be much cooler at AK because of the breeze and shade from the trees. Mask compliance was almost perfect. Social distancing was fine until you exit a ride.

Hollywood Studios:

We went twice. My better half had never been on either of the Star Wars rides so that was the main goal. We drove and got into line to park around 9:00AM and they started letting people in to park around 9:20AM, got past temp and security check quickly, despite the long lines and were in the park around 9:40AM. Went towards Rock n roller coaster, they let us ride twice before it was even 10AM. Millennium Falcon was a walk on although wait time said 20 min. We had our own ship and were pilots both times we rode it. Very fun. I had done RoR previously in Dec 2019 with friends, so I was aware of the boarding groups. Here is how I was successful this time around in getting a boarding group with the new system. We had ridden rock n roller coaster two times in a row and it was close to 10AM so I was standing by the exit to rock n roller coaster and used my LTE for Internet (Sprint) on my Iphone 11... didn’t use park wifi. At one min till 10AM I closed the app completely and then opened back up and went to virtual queue link and once it hit 10AM I clicked join and added myself and other guest and then got boarding group 11. Very easy. That day though the ride was having issues and it took awhile before our group was called. So rode rock n roller three more times, toy story mania, did muppets, slinky, ToT and alien saucers. When we got called we walked over and was on the ride in about 10 minutes and smooth sailing. I won’t go into details on the RoR ride, but the two pre-shows did happen which was great. Great ride. All CM’s were in character and made the whole experience memorable. We didn’t do the new Mickey’s ride until the 2nd visit and it broke down while we were on it, we got a multi experience fast pass to ride it again same day and we did it 30 min before park close and walked right on. I will say that was the longest wait the first time we went on it, about 20 min wait even though wait said 50 min. I did notice all wait times appeared to be inflated. Many times, we walked on rides that showed 15 min waits. There felt to be significantly more people at DHS both days. Mask compliance was pretty good, and I saw CM’s remind guests about masks as well as being stationary to eat/drink. Found Mickey Pretzel and our day was complete… or so I thought. The first visit we had an Oga’s reservation and I have found my favorite place at DHS… I became obsessed with the Provision they make. They have an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version. Both are fantastic, although the non-alcoholic is half the price. If you like Jello then you will LOVE the Provisions. I didn’t know what it really was until it came out and I was pleasantly surprised. I ate four of them. Not sorry. We had such a great time there; the next time we had a DHS day I stalked the dining reservations for another Oga reservation and got another one and we went a 2nd time. And again I had the Provision four times over. Bartenders are great and even though you socially distance in there, it’s just a great vibe. FYI – you have to keep your mask on until your drinks/provisions come out. Also, you have a 45 min time limit once you receive your drinks. I would have stayed longer but 45 min time limit. We only did RoR the first day and centered in on the other rides and movies they have for Walt Disney etc.

SeaWorld:

My better half had never been to Sea World and he loves roller coasters. It was very empty on a Monday when we went. He had an unlimited queue pass (kind of like a fast pass) he was able to ride certain rides over and over as a walk on with no wait, but it wasn’t needed. I’m not into roller coaster rides that much, so I stayed in my favorite place the Penguin area. I must have been there for 4 hours. Very peaceful and love me some Penguins… Mask policy was not as strict as Disney. Saw many masks all the way down and a ton of noses exposed. Social Distancing not an issue as park was pretty empty.

City Walk:

We had never been to City Walk and will say we were disappointed. The crowds were intense, and we experienced several groups of people that weren’t nice and were downright rude and abusive. There were two situations in which we were physically pushed and threatened in the one hour that we were there. The workers that we encountered didn’t seem happy and just a very different vibe from Disney and even Disney Springs. I didn’t see any police like I had seen at Disney Springs. We wanted to go to City Walk as we had two days of Universal planned (never done Universal) and wanted to get acclimated to the area. Well we were so turned off by this experience we ended up doing SeaWorld instead and added another day of Disney World. We did try Toothsome for the crazy milkshakes but were disappointed. I am sure this was a one off and Universal would have been fine, but this experience left us with such a bad taste in our mouth that we changed our plans.

Conclusion:

This was a great trip. Despite the limited offerings, I still feel that what we paid for exceeded our expectations. The most surprising to me was how much I DID NOT miss fast passes. What a more relaxing trip, as I wasn’t on my phone the whole time. We didn’t have any set in stone plans, we just did our own thing. We weren’t rushed. It was a very refreshing thing to experience. For once I don’t feel like I need a vacation from the vacation I have been on. Our fav part of the Disney is rides and the nostalgic that they bring and we were able to go on all rides over and over due to crowds. We also did so many sit down things that we normally don’t do like Hall of Presidents and the movies at World Showcase, Walt Disney movie at DHS, Country Bears etc. Now, the masks I will be honest were not pleasant and they aren’t made to be. I will say by about the third day you just get in a rhythm and get used to wearing it. It’s hot right now and my upper lip remained a soaking mess under the mask, but we had small fans with us and took breaks, we had bottles of water with us at all times and every 10 min would stop and drink. Stay hydrated. Take breaks and duck into some air conditioned stores. We saw the relaxation zones at Disney but didn’t partake, as we didn’t get to the point where we needed to do that. Also, the masks did change how long we wanted to stay in the parks. We would either go early in the morning and leave during lunch and then go back a few hours before close. The heat, coupled with the masks made it hard for us to stay in park all day. We needed, and wanted a break. I do wish they would open the park hopping up for at least Epcot while they have Food and Wine… I say this because many nights after MK, AK or DHS we would have gone over to Epcot to finish with some food and wine but since we already were in a different park that day there isn’t an option to go to another park. I am supposed to go back to Disney in September but even though I had such a great time on this trip, with knowing the heat is going to be the same, with masks and lack of Halloween party, I am thinking of cancelling. Possibly might go back in December. My final assessment on this trip – we went in with eyes wide open, knowing that this would be a different Disney experience and it was. But the Disney we love was still there waiting for us with open arms; well, socially distanced arms that included masks, disinfectant stations and shorter hours. But we still had a great time!!!
 

DianaMB333

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Thanks for sharing!! Liked your notes!
Question please.. at the DVC villas that you stayed in.. did you get additional Room cleaning services than what is stated in the policy?
 

OKWFan88

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Thanks for sharing!! Liked your notes!
Question please.. at the DVC villas that you stayed in.. did you get additional Room cleaning services than what is stated in the policy?
Hi, so housekeeping came only to take the trash. They came every day for that. We called for more towels and coffee and they delivered that.
 
  • Ms.Minnie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2004
    Great report, thanks!

    I have to agree with you about Universal, we have been to Universal a couple of times, mainly to see Harry Potter in FL location and once in CA. Our first time was in CA and it was pretty cool, they have trams that drive you around the park with stops for you to get off to do attractions and re-boarding to go to next attraction. Pretty nice way to travel the park. I have to say I'm not a fan of Universal FL. To me it is lacking the "Disney magic" and it's not IMHO the best place for kids. It just seems unwholesome to me unlike WDW. It might be worth it to see Harry Potter if you a fan but other than that it's just not for me.
     

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