Will we stay or will we go? Decisions, Dining and Detours, Oh My! WDW and DCL November of 2020, updated 8-1-2020

tundra1

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 25, 2019
This trip report has been 18 months in the making so far. Our last trip to WDW was in December of 1998. At that time, our son was 8 and our daughter was 4. We stayed at the Poly and had an amazing time! That was when the Christmas Parade was still filmed at Magic Kingdom and both of our kids were able to be in it! Hollywood Studios was still MGM, and Mulan was the parade at that park. Disney Springs was still Downtown Disney, Discovery Island was my son's favorite "park", and Animal Kingdom was still very new. We had a truly magical time!

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Fast forward to 2018, and for Christmas, I told my son and daughter that we were planning a trip to Walt Disney World followed by a Disney Cruise in January of 2021 to celebrate my husband's and my 35th Wedding Anniversary, and to start saving up for the airfare. At the time, he had three boys, ages 1, 2, and 5. In January of 2021, the youngest would be three, and old enough for the Kids Club on the cruise ship, and we could have some "adult time" alongside the family fun! Meanwhile, my daughter was living in New York City, and this would give her a great opportunity to spend some quality time with her nephews.

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So... I started doing my research. I don't like to go anywhere without a little knowledge before hand, and OMG, had things changed at Walt Disney World! There was a whole new language I needed to learn, filled with abbreviations, and places that did not exist in 1998. There were new challenges, and the all inclusive pass that we had back then no longer existed! I had to learn about fast passes, the bus system, Disney Springs, and Hollywood Studios! There were many more resort choices, and thankfully, I discovered the DISboards... Thanks to @chunkymonkey, @Jenny Sanders, @disneyAndi14, @pkondz, @Steppesister, @Lesley Wake, @Newsies, and @kastoney plus many others for all the amazing and helpful information!

In the next 6 months, I started doing my research, planning out our agenda, and waiting for the resort and cruise reservations to open up. I was looking up the best way to set up the vacation (Travel Agent vs. DIY), and had everything pretty much lined up for those opening reservation dates. Then, shortly after my birthday in June, my son informed me that baby number 4 was on the way, and due at the end of February, 2020. While I was very happy for them, I also started thinking about how that would impact our trip to WDW! (I know, selfish on my part, right?) That would put the baby at 11 months come the end of January, and if the baby was like his/her brothers, he/she would already be mobile and NOT wanting to sit in a stroller. That also increased our family travel size from 8 to 9, which decreased our choices for resorts. Plus, a baby would bring a whole new set of needs to accommodate!

So, I had a knee jerk reaction, and decided we had to travel sooner than later. The baby would be much less mobile and less likely to be touching everything at 8 months vs. 11 months. I went back to researching, and found the same cruise offered in November of 2020. I missed the all important booking window for the first day the cruise opened up to new cruisers, but saved the difference in that Charlie would still be two, and his cruise fare was that much less expensive. We would be traveling with an 8 month old and an almost three year old, but really, Charlie would be only 2 weeks shy of his third birthday, so he should be mostly past the terrible twos by then, right????? And, because I did not want to wait a minute longer, I booked the cruise myself through Costco. Up to this point, Costco has been wonderful to work with. I was able to get adjoining rooms and balconies, and although we needed the larger family veranda rooms to accommodate 5 people, overall I think we will appreciate the extra space, and we just went with a lower deck (6) to save about $300.

I had decided on Art of Animation, since it was on the Skyliner, and had a great pool, and two family suites would work well for us. But then I read that the Big Blue Pool was going to be closed during our stay, and our plan was to leave the parks after lunch, go back to the resort, swim with the older boys, and let Charlie and the baby take a nap. Without having that pool, I was not sure I still wanted to stay there.

Then, a miracle happened! I was talking to one of the ER Docs at work about our plans, and being unsure about what to do about the trip with the new baby, and where we should stay to accommodate nap times. He offered to sell me some of his DVC ponts for Bay Lake Tower at the cost he would be paid if he sold his points back to Disney! It really was the answer to so many needs, since we could walk to Magic Kingdom, and the cost was significantly less than the price of getting two rooms at a moderate and half the cost of staying in two rooms at a deluxe. So on the 11 month mark exactly, he reserved a two bedroom villa at BLT for us for four nights prior to the cruise.

To sum it up, by December 11th, I had the cruise reserved, the hotel reserved, and was just waiting for the rest of our details to fall into place. It looked like a "GO" at this point!

Next... here comes the baby!
 
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  • tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    Ready for Number 9!

    So when I left off, we had our resort 501388 , we had our cruise 501390 and the next step was planning for the baby and getting our park tickets. We were arriving on Tuesday afternoon and staying until Saturday morning, at which time we would head over to Port Canaveral to get on the ship. I debated between 3 day and 4 day tickets, hoppers or no hoppers, adding the water parks or not adding the water parks, all trying to figure out what would work best for our multi-generational family. I finally decided that our arrival day could be spent with the boys swimming for a few hours at whichever water park would be open in November, and the girls/baby settling into the villa, making a run to Publix for diapers, snacks, etc., and then meeting up in the late afternoon to head to dinner at either Disney Springs or one of the resorts. That led to the decision to get 3-day park hopper plus tickets so we could fit in a water park on the first day, and the four theme parks in the three remaining days there. (Had I only known then what impact the Coronavirus would have on everything!) :scratchin

    My husband retired from the Department of Defense in August of 2019, and even though he was a civilian employee, I read on the DISboards, :disrocks: that he qualified to purchase tickets from the Recreation Office on the Navy base. The tickets through the Navy were not only discounted, but they also cost only $9.00 more per ticket to go from Park Hopper to Park Hopper Plus, the tickets had no specific use dates (just an expiration date in 2030), and we did not have to pay taxes on them! Then I read that ticket prices usually go up in early February, so I encouraged my husband to buy our tickets by the end of January.

    I didn't intend to have him drive through a snowstorm 🌨❄🌨 to get the tickets... but snow in Wisconsin is kind of like rain in Florida. The morning may start out bright and sunny, but that doesn't mean that a sudden squall won't blow through and complicate your day! Nevertheless, I got a text message that afternoon that the tickets were purchased, and would be arriving by mail in a few weeks. :banana: Sure enough, on February 8th, ticket prices went up, so we did end up saving even a bit more money by him braving the snow!

    Once the tickets arrived, I set up the MDE app, added my daughter and daughter-in-law as "friends" who could help with the planning, and linked our tickets and resort reservations. I was starting to feel like I could actually make this planning thing work out!

    On February 24th, little Aubrie arrived to complete our party of 9. 501393
    My daughter came to visit from New York when Aubrie was 3 months old, and so far she has been the happiest and easiest child out of the four! It was great that my daughter came home when she did, because we were going to hit the 180 day mark for Advanced Dining Reservations, and I knew I would need her help!

    Next up... Decisions and dining and detours, oh my!
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    When I left off, it was late February, and Aubrie was just born. 3 weeks later, the world came to a crashing halt. Disney closed its gates around the world, the cruise ships were stranded at sea, some of them full of passengers, and every patient at work in the ER was considered Covid+ until proven otherwise. My daughter was laid off, my son was on an extended FMLA because of the newborn, and I was working more than ever, but had to take a cut in pay. However, we had been saving for this 35th anniversary trip for 5 years, and the money was set aside, just waiting for final payment due dates. 💰

    Plane fares to Orlando were being sold at half the price they had been 2 weeks prior, and I was able to get round trip tickets for us on United for $177 each, with the caveat that if we purchased them before March 31st, and our plans changed at any time up to the week before the trip, we could get a full refund. So, I bought us all tickets for a flight leaving on Tuesday at 8:30 am and arriving in Orlando at 12:20 pm. :dumbo:We were able to get the last four rows of double seats along the windows and on the opposite side of the plane from the bathrooms, so there won't be anyone sitting behind us or walking next to us to worry about spreading their germs, and we could put one adult with one child in each row. I was also able to get the exact same seats on our return flight to O'Hare. Better yet, according to Seat Guru, these seats have extra leg room without paying the premium price, which will be appreciated because we are all rather tall with long legs!

    So, flights booked, the next task was to arrange for Magical Express and a way to get to the cruise terminal and back to the airport after the cruise. Magical Express was easy peasy. 502455 However, taking Disney transportation to and from Port Canaveral was going to cost $630. I looked into renting a van one way each direction, but then we would have to rent car seats, and also deal with the hassle of dropping off people and luggage, bringing the van to the rental lot, taking the shuttle back to the cruise terminal, etc., and started to do the math. The cost of the van would be $120 each way, plus $48 for the four car seats, plus taxes, drop off fees, gas, etc. and it ended up being around $200 each way. Still beats Disney's Cruise Line bus, and we would have more control of our arrival time.

    However, I then read on the DISboards :disrocks:that we could hire a van with a driver. I looked into Happy Limo, which had a bus for $17.00 per person, or a 12 passenger van for $189 plus the cost of adding car seats, port fees and the tip. I thought that was a pretty good deal. Then I looked up Florida Tours and we were able to book a 12 passenger van502456 with car seats and port fees included for $360 round trip plus the tip. This service would pick us up at Bay Lake Tower, stop at a Publix on the way to the cruise terminal, and then pick us up at the port after the cruise and bring us to the Orlando airport. That deal was perfect! So, Florida Tours it will be! I am so grateful that we can still select the departure time and not have the hassles of dealing with a rental van for the same amount of money!

    Then, April 14th arrived, which was the day that we could make our Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR's). Since they open up at 6:00 am Eastern time, we had to be logged in and ready at 5:00 am Wisconsin time. So, we made it a girl's morning! My daughter made some pastries, I made the coffee, and my daughter-in-law came over with the baby. By 4:45 am we were all set to go, and was trying to log in early to see if the window would open before 6:00. (It didn't... :hourglass )

    Our plans were for Homecomin' in Disney Springs on Tuesday, Be Our Guest for lunch and Storybook Dining at Artists Point Restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge on Wednesday, Topolino's Terrace for the Character Brunch on Thursday, and Tusker House at Animal Kingdom on Friday. We would park hop between Hollywood Studios and Epcot on Thursday, and the adults would take turns going to Epcot in the evenings on the other days after the kids were in bed so we could all enjoy the Food and Wine Festival sans children.

    Once the ADR's did open up, we immediately tried for the Topolino's Terrace Character Meal. We could not get that reservation for the day we wanted, (Thursday) but was able to reserve a 10:30 am seating on Wednesday. So, we then tried for Tusker House on Friday... nothing was available. We tried for Tusker House on another day, and still could not find any openings for our large group. So, we skipped that and started to look at the Snow White Character Meal. Nothing for any of our four days. Then we tried for Be Our Guest, and was able to snag an 11:30 reservation for lunch on Friday, moving our Magic Kingdom Day to Friday. We then were able to get a Garden Grill at Epcot reservation for Friday evening, giving us the Chip and Dale character experience. That left us with Animal Kingdom on Thursday. Animal Kingdom has excellent quick service restaurants, so we would be okay with not having a sit down meal that day, but just in case we wanted a park break, we decided to book an early dinner reservation at Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Finally, we needed a place to eat on arrival day, and looked to see what was available at Disney Springs. Homecomin' was my first choice, and amazingly enough, we were able to get in! The kids were going to love it there!
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    So, our revised itinerary after ADR's looked like this:

    Tuesday: arrive at noon, ME to BLT, swimming, and then 6:30pm reservation at Homecomin' followed by some time exploring Disney Springs.
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    Wednesday: Early morning arrival at Hollywood Studios. Try to score boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance, Sign up Ben and Zack for Jedi Training Academy, rope drop Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, Brunch at Topolino's Terrace, 502458 Fast Passes for Toy Story Land attractions (Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania) and Millennium Falcon, evening at Magic Kingdom since it won't be a Christmas Party night.

    Thursday: Animal Kingdom 502459 fast passes during the day (planned for the Safari, Flight of Passage, and Expedition Everest). Early Dinner at Boma, early night for the kids.

    Then, half of adults to go Epcot for Food and Wine / Fireworks 502461or head back to Animal Kingdom to experience Pandora at night.


    Friday: Magic Kingdom 502462 rope drop (possibly early magic hour as well); Be Our Guest for lunch, early afternoon fast passes or back to hotel for swimming. Epcot for evening with dinner at Garden Grill.


    Saturday: Florida Tours van to cruise terminal. Start cruise!502464

    Next up: All our ADR's get cancelled! We have to make park reservations? We have four parks to explore, but bought 3 day park hoppers! Fast Passes might not be an option? Cruises are cancelled until September? What do we do now??????
     
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    disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    Following along. What a whirlwind of news yesterday. I am so bummed about the no park hopping, ugh! I don’t have any dining reservations for August and I really had some good ones.
    I hope your cruise still happens, so iffy right now.
    I’m not sold on this park reservation business. I heard there will not be any virtual queues or single rider.
    This darn virus with no end in sight is reeking havoc on everything. We go so often but this sounds like a truly special trip for you and your family! I sure hope it works out!
     
  • tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    Following along. What a whirlwind of news yesterday. I am so bummed about the no park hopping, ugh! I don’t have any dining reservations for August and I really had some good ones.
    I hope your cruise still happens, so iffy right now.
    I’m not sold on this park reservation business. I heard there will not be any virtual queues or single rider.
    This darn virus with no end in sight is reeking havoc on everything. We go so often but this sounds like a truly special trip for you and your family! I sure hope it works out!
    Thanks Caroline! :thanks:I talked to my daughter-in-law yesterday. She still wants to go. We are going to try to book Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom on our three days in the parks, and hope that since Epcot is the biggest, they will allow the greatest number of guests, and we can still park hop there if they open that up by then. Maybe they will allow a partial day reservation or something, like you can only show up after 4 pm for people with park hoppers. My hope is that with this new reservation system, they will see that the parks pretty much empty out after a certain hour, and additional people can go in!

    I also have a back up reservation at the Beach Club Villas for during our cruise week, in case the cruise gets cancelled. I wanted some place in walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood studios, and the boats would be fun for the kids. However, since I don't want to add any extra days to our current tickets, I won't be able to book theme park reservations until I know if the cruise is still occurring. We have a pretty active Facebook group for the cruise, and as soon as someone drops out, a new family rebooks for our week. Everyone in that group is so positive and fun, so I think it will happen. 🤞

    There are a few Disney Springs restaurants that allow reservations through Open Table, so we have booked Frontera Grill for our arrival night in case we can't get back into Homecomin'. Having a large group does complicate the process! :tink:Here's hoping for some pixie dust on Monday!
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    So... on with the saga! It was May 14th, we reserved ADR's that we were happy with, and were good to go until the final payment would be due for the cruise on July 3rd. Our next big date after that would be August 31st, when we could start booking adventures, specialty dining, and perhaps sign up for a bit of adult beverage tasting! :drinking: My son and daughter-in-law really want to go to Remy for dinner one night of the cruise, so that has also been added to the list.

    But then, I thought to myself, what if the cruise does get cancelled? 😨 All those vloggers are sending such mixed messages! :mic: And the CDC keeps extending the length of time ⏲ before cruises can start up again! And now they are repatriating all the crew members! That can't be good news for people with cruise reservations! :scratchin I am going to need a back up plan! :idea: So... I started looking for another resort for the second half of our trip. :magnify:

    Although Animal Kingdom Lodge 🦓🦒🐏🐾 would be super fun for me and the older kids, it would be so far removed for my son and the two little ones if they needed to go back for a nap and to unwind. So staying somewhere within walking or Skyliner reach of Epcot / Hollywood studios would make the most sense. But, do we go with a large multi-building complex like the Caribbean Beach Resort, or stay somewhere a little more compact like a Yacht Club, Beach Club or Boardwalk Inn? And, I started looking. I knew if I booked through Disney, I could easily cancel the reservations if the cruise was still a go, but if they ended up limiting park attendance to AP's and Resort Guests, I should stay on property before everything was sold out. :chat: So I called my daughter and daughter-in-law to ask what they thought.

    After much deliberation, although more affordable, the Caribbean Beach Resort was just a little too spread out for the little kids. If we got assigned a room at the far end of the resort, they would be all tuckered out just walking to the quick service restaurant. It is just too hard with a baby and a 2 year old. So, then I looked at the Yacht and Beach Club. I always thought those resorts were beautiful, and the Yacht Club is exactly my aesthetic and ultimately booked two rooms there that could sleep 5. It was kind of a spur in the moment decision, and more than I wanted to spend, but it was still going to be cheaper than the cruise, so we would be okay.

    Well, then I started to check out the Yacht Club videos and read reviews, and I quickly realized that it would not be the best place in the world for a family with four children! However, the Beach Club sounded much more family oriented, and it was closer to Epcot. I then called Disney to switch my reservation to the Beach Club. 503697 That is when the nice CM on the phone asked if I would prefer the Beach Club Villas, so we could have a bit more room? They didn't have a 2 bedroom unit for us, but she suggested 2 studios, which were actually less expensive than the resort rooms, and would be a little quieter for the little ones to nap. She also put me on the wait list for a 2 bedroom lock-off unit should one open up (which is a studio unit connected to a 1 bedroom unit via a connecting door which could be open or locked. Honestly, that CM was so nice, I was almost convinced to cancel the cruise and just stay in the BC Villas because the service was going to be so awesome! :yay:

    Of course, that led to another round of back-up ADR's at 0500 on May 18th! This time, I got Tusker House, Storybook Dining at Artist Point, and Cape May Cafe' at the Beach Club, plus I booked Monsieur Paul for my son and daughter-in-law to replace the potentially missed dinner at Remy on the cruise ship. I was pretty pleased with my plans and back-up plans. The nice CM also said that once we got to the parks, we could just add on the extra days to our 3-day park hoppers, which would only cost the difference in price between the two and be much cheaper than getting another 3 or 4 day park ticket. So we had our plans, our back up plans, and were all set to go... 503698
     

    Leopardchucks

    Riff Raff, Street Rat
    Joined
    Mar 15, 2018
    oh man... I already know a couple things that happened. *sigh* At this point, I'm guessing the PTR is both cathartic and perhaps a plea for others to commiserate? lol
    I joke cuz I'm in a similar boat. Thank you for sharing. In my current quest to plan a perfect vacay, I can always persevere with knowing that at least I haven't had as much trouble as Tundra1!

    I'm looking forward to a happy ending!
     
  • tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    oh man... I already know a couple things that happened. *sigh* At this point, I'm guessing the PTR is both cathartic and perhaps a plea for others to commiserate? lol
    I joke cuz I'm in a similar boat. Thank you for sharing. In my current quest to plan a perfect vacay, I can always persevere with knowing that at least I haven't had as much trouble as Tundra1!

    I'm looking forward to a happy ending!
    All my friends are telling me to give up already, so of course I have no one to share my trials and tribulations with except the people who are in the same boat on these Boards! You nailed it on the head... it is a definite plea to commiserate! LOL!

    Honestly, I do feel better reading about everyone else going through the same uncertainties and struggles as me. I have decided that if the cruise gets cancelled, I will cancel everything else and reschedule for next year. But there is still more time between now and our trip than there has been since Disney closed down in March, so a lot can happen in the next 139 days, 10 hours, 51 minutes and 26 seconds! :teleport:
     

    dorospin

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2016
    So... on with the saga! It was May 14th, we reserved ADR's that we were happy with, and were good to go until the final payment would be due for the cruise on July 3rd. Our next big date after that would be August 31st, when we could start booking adventures, specialty dining, and perhaps sign up for a bit of adult beverage tasting! :drinking: My son and daughter-in-law really want to go to Remy for dinner one night of the cruise, so that has also been added to the list.

    But then, I thought to myself, what if the cruise does get cancelled? 😨 All those vloggers are sending such mixed messages! :mic: And the CDC keeps extending the length of time ⏲ before cruises can start up again! And now they are repatriating all the crew members! That can't be good news for people with cruise reservations! :scratchin I am going to need a back up plan! :idea: So... I started looking for another resort for the second half of our trip. :magnify:

    Although Animal Kingdom Lodge 🦓🦒🐏🐾 would be super fun for me and the older kids, it would be so far removed for my son and the two little ones if they needed to go back for a nap and to unwind. So staying somewhere within walking or Skyliner reach of Epcot / Hollywood studios would make the most sense. But, do we go with a large multi-building complex like the Caribbean Beach Resort, or stay somewhere a little more compact like a Yacht Club, Beach Club or Boardwalk Inn? And, I started looking. I knew if I booked through Disney, I could easily cancel the reservations if the cruise was still a go, but if they ended up limiting park attendance to AP's and Resort Guests, I should stay on property before everything was sold out. :chat: So I called my daughter and daughter-in-law to ask what they thought.

    After much deliberation, although more affordable, the Caribbean Beach Resort was just a little too spread out for the little kids. If we got assigned a room at the far end of the resort, they would be all tuckered out just walking to the quick service restaurant. It is just too hard with a baby and a 2 year old. So, then I looked at the Yacht and Beach Club. I always thought those resorts were beautiful, and the Yacht Club is exactly my aesthetic and ultimately booked two rooms there that could sleep 5. It was kind of a spur in the moment decision, and more than I wanted to spend, but it was still going to be cheaper than the cruise, so we would be okay.

    Well, then I started to check out the Yacht Club videos and read reviews, and I quickly realized that it would not be the best place in the world for a family with four children! However, the Beach Club sounded much more family oriented, and it was closer to Epcot. I then called Disney to switch my reservation to the Beach Club. View attachment 503697 That is when the nice CM on the phone asked if I would prefer the Beach Club Villas, so we could have a bit more room? They didn't have a 2 bedroom unit for us, but she suggested 2 studios, which were actually less expensive than the resort rooms, and would be a little quieter for the little ones to nap. She also put me on the wait list for a 2 bedroom lock-off unit should one open up (which is a studio unit connected to a 1 bedroom unit via a connecting door which could be open or locked. Honestly, that CM was so nice, I was almost convinced to cancel the cruise and just stay in the BC Villas because the service was going to be so awesome! :yay:

    Of course, that led to another round of back-up ADR's at 0500 on May 18th! This time, I got Tusker House, Storybook Dining at Artist Point, and Cape May Cafe' at the Beach Club, plus I booked Monsieur Paul for my son and daughter-in-law to replace the potentially missed dinner at Remy on the cruise ship. I was pretty pleased with my plans and back-up plans. The nice CM also said that once we got to the parks, we could just add on the extra days to our 3-day park hoppers, which would only cost the difference in price between the two and be much cheaper than getting another 3 or 4 day park ticket. So we had our plans, our back up plans, and were all set to go... View attachment 503698
    Looks like you're all set.. can't wait to read more!!
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    Hello again! :wave: I left off last when things were looking okay. I had plans for WDW followed by a cruise, back up plans for WDW BLT followed by WDW BCV, and dining reservations for both trips. party:

    Then everything ended up changing again. Walt Disney World decided to reduce its park capacity, and they cancelled all Dining Reservations, all paid events, and the hopping part of our tickets. At first, I just got the cancellations for the in park dining, and I was thinking that my reservation at Homecomin' was going to be okay. But then Homecomin' baled on me also, and now we have no reservations anywhere. No Disney Dining Plan, no park hopping, and only a 3 day ticket when there are four parks! I was very sad...:sad:

    But after a few days I stopped pouting long enough to put on my big girl pants and figure out a new game plan. Disney will either open up the 2020 tickets so I can change my 3 day park hopper to a 4 day single park, go back to allowing park hopping by November, or give me a refund for the loss of my hopper status which I can use for other fun things like horseback riding, boating, or one of the water parks. While I am waiting for them to make that decision, I needed to book at least 3 of the four parks during the resort stay reservation window. I figured that Epcot is the park that can hold the most people, so that is the park we would hold off on for the time being until I could convert our tickets to add the fourth day or book it with our hoppers.

    I have read about Disney IT and its glitches, and have experienced days where the app does not work or I get a promise that they are fixing things and to come back soon, but I have never experienced first hand the issues like trying to book park passes on day 1 of them being "open". I woke up early, logged in early in case there was a soft opening, and then kept trying for 2 hours until I had to go to work. No luck. :badpc: Once I was at work, I set up my laptop in the ER Manager's office and logged in. I got the pink castle, and every time I went back to check on its status, the castle was still there. Twice, I had the log in page, and I was able to try to log in, but the system would not accept my password and then it would crash and Stitch :stitch:would eat the page before I could get into the system. I even thought I had messed up my password, so I changed it, but that was not the problem. Finally, by mid-afternoon, I had 2 of the three parks booked, and by the time I left work, all 3 parks were reserved. :thumbsup2

    Our plans are now like this:
    Tuesday: arrive in Florida. Disney Express to Bay Lake Tower, and go swimming there. Spend the evening in Disney Springs. I am still hoping I can book Homecomin' at the 60 day mark.
    Wednesday: Hollywood Studios. Try for an ADR for brunch at Topolino's Terrace. I am hoping the steak is back on the menu by then!
    Thursday: Animal Kingdom: Quick Service Lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and dinner at Satu'li Canteen.
    Friday: Magic Kingdom: We will try for lunch at Be Our Guest or Crystal Palace, and dinner at a counter service location in the park.
    Saturday: Leave for the cruise without visiting Epcot at all. 😞

    This new plan without the park hopping seems to be so constricting. I like the freedom of only spending half days at the parks, and starting off at one, and ending at another. I am still hoping things will change closer to the fall. I completely understand Disney's concerns for right now with limiting attendance numbers, transportation, etc. And I am grateful that our family trip to WDW is going to occur later in the year. It has been 112 days since Disney closed down, and it is 128 days until our trip... Disney will open up when we are exactly half way. So a lot can still happen between now and November.

    In the meantime, have a safe and happy 4th of July everyone! 506341
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    How much can happen in 2 weeks you ask? :confused3 Well, let me tell you!

    1. I had read a blog that said that if I was planning on traveling in 2021, I should book park tickets now, in case the price goes up. If I book a package deal, then I can purchase park hopper tickets and reserve my park reservations at the same time. We are park hopper types, and so I was excited about that! After doing some research, I booked a one week stay at AoA, from March 3-10, 2021, including 7 day park hopper tickets.

    2. Somehow, after trying to add on that stay to our previously booked park reservations, my MDE family and friends profile got completely messed up. I am sure it was my fault, although I have no idea what I did to make that happen. :confused: I could not make any park plans nor could I link my son's room reservation with mine. I had to call the WDW tech line for help. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity (it was really only about an hour and a half, but I made it through the music track a few times!), a very nice CM named Thad spent another hour and 40 minutes with me on the phone, trying to straighten everything out. Finally, except for losing the Disney character icons attached to a few of our names, we are all set.

    3. But guess what???? Even though Disney allows you to purchase a park hopper ticket for 2021, they still only allow you to book one park per day. Is that even fair? :badpc:

    4. The parks have finally opened, and the crowd levels are so low, it is almost eerie! But I can definitely see the difference in the park experience from limiting social interactions, limiting character interaction, and having no production shows, fireworks, or parades. The only good thing is I am hopeful that the wait times will continue to be shorter when we go in November, and I feel better about booking a lake view at Bay Lake Tower, since I probably won't be able to see any fireworks from my balcony anyway!

    5. :sail:Yesterday, the CDC pushed back the date for cruise ships to sail by another 2 weeks, so now, no cruises can sail before September 30th. That only gives us 6 weeks before we board for the cruise lines to get up and running. And, they have not released the 2021 fall cruises yet for us to at least hold a spot on the same cruise next year. I just want to know if we are actually going to sail or not, so I can sort out our plans officially.

    I am not a person who gets anxious or depressed. I always am optimistic that things will work out. So, I am not throwing in the towel yet! :tink:It will be great to see how things progress in the next 6 weeks and if we can get this virus under control. If people follow the rules, we should be okay. Look at Italy. They are doing so much better now!

    I hope all of you who have upcoming plans for WDW have an amazing time and will share your experiences on these boards! :disrocks:
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    We have another update! :sail:The cruise world is looking pretty grim for 2020, so my paranoid self ended up booking a back-up cruise for 2021. Because I booked on opening day for first time cruisers, I actually would be spending less money than what this year's cruise is costing us (even though Charlie will be three by then, so he costs more) because we booked a month later last year. So, now I am just waiting to see if the cruise is going to get canceled or not...

    We ended up booking the same cruise during the same week. I was able to get adjoining rooms on the 7th deck, which was my preference for this year as well, so that is good! However, next year's cruise leaves on a Sunday instead of a Saturday. I am not as happy about that. I was really looking forward to having a day to unwind and do laundry before heading back to work.

    Looking at the two count down calendars going from here: Yeah! We are almost at the 100 day mark!!!!!! :cheer2:

    515105

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

    ... to here: UGHHHH, :(:(

    515106

    ...this makes me very sad!

    So, I may be writing this pre-trip report for quite a while!
     

    CruellaNY

    It’s Good to Be Bad
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2020
    Joining in! First of all don’t listen to those who say give up already; see it through till the end lol! You know from my TR we just went to Disney and it’s about absolutely worth it to go now/this year. I know the outlook for Nov cruises seems bleak, believe me I wish that wasn’t the case and am preparing for further cancellations this year :sad: But you got next year set and will still have a great time this year in Disney! Awesome on they BLT points too!

    I haven’t gotten to this yet in my TR but we always park hop ALOT and that’s the one thing we really did miss this time. From all info we have gotten to this point I do not expect PH to be back in 2020 but it’s still worth going :goodvibes
     

    tundra1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2019
    Late to the party but joining in. I hope you plans pan out and you get to take your trip!
    Thanks Courtney! I am so excited to hear all about your baby on the way! We are still planning on doing the parks, and will have an 8 month old with us. I am hopeful the baby care centers will be a welcome break during the day!
     







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