Our August 2020 Walt Disney World Trip

By Cathi Marcheskie Maziarz

Recently, my husband Rich and I traveled to Walt Disney World. Our four-day trip was Tuesday 8/19 through Friday 8/21/2020.

Since it was a quick trip, we decided to fly instead of drive.  We each packed 2 hard side carry-ons, (easier to wipe down and disinfect). Having carry-ons also helped reduce who touched our bags and with them being upright on wheels, less contact with dirty surfaces.

Another reason we choose to take just carry-ons was because Disney is no longer retrieving your luggage from the airport. You are to retrieve it before exiting the airport.

We packed hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes to use during our trip.

This was my first trip flying ever that I walked right through security with no wait.

Our Southwest Airline flight was out of Philadelphia at 6:05 AM and landed in Orlando by 8:10 AM.  Boarding was a breeze.  10 passengers were to get in line at one time depending on your boarding number.  The middle seats were open and people sat every other row.  There were only 45 passengers on board the plane that normally holds 175 people.

There were not many people at the Orlando airport. Having carry ons allowed us to go directly to the Magical Express area of the airport.  At that time of the morning there were only 6 people on board.  We were given assigned seats before boarding.

 

Even though we did our resort check online, we went to the front desk to finish.  I had received a text from Disney saying our room wasn’t ready.  At the front desk we were told it was.  Yay!  We didn’t need to leave our bags with bell services.

The Caribbean Beach Resort where we stayed is a very large resort.  Bell Services drove us to our room located in the Jamaica section building 42.  This section is right across the street from the Skyliner. Less than a 5-minute walk to get in line.

Our room had a seal on the door to let us know it had been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized which was very good to know.

 

You MUST wear a mask on property.  You may take it off while seated to eat or drink or in a designated relaxation station. You do not have to wear it in your room.

Right now Epcot opens at 11 AM.  We walked across the

street to board the Skyliner, which we absolutely loved riding.  There was no swinging and there was air circulating while it moved.

The Skyliner base for Epcot is at the International Gateway.

We first went through a “medical” tent where our temperatures were taken.  Then through security screening.  No more individual bag checks.  A quick touch with our Magic Bands (no more finger prints) for entry and we were in!

Our first stop was in France at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie for quick bite to eat before seeing the new Beauty and the Beast singalong.  It was surprisingly enjoyable.  The lobby area hosts display cases with beautiful costumes and theater paraphernalia. Be sure to check them out during your next visit.

Taking our time, we started our walk around the World Showcase.  There was no crowd and we were able to enjoy the view as we walked.  Amazing what you see when you don’t have to worry about bumping into someone else.

During our tour we stopped at the American Adventure.  It has been updated since our last trip.  Crowd control was in place every where we went.  Social distancing in line and in the theater, rows were blocked off and, in the row, seats were blocked off into segments.

The Food and Wine Festival is happening in the World Showcase.  So many offerings!  Rich tried the pork belly (which he said was delicious) in Brazil. Continuing our way around the World Showcase the only line we saw was in Norway for the Frozen ride.  Social distancing was maintained.

We walked right onto Figment and Soarin.  The wait times listed is really how long it takes you to walk to the ride.  The cast member wouldn’t let us choose our row for Soarin which was disappointing. Social distancing in effect here too!  Hand sanitizer to use before you enter the line and at the end of the attraction.

We saw the new movie, Awesome Planet before we rode the Living with the Land boat ride.  There are dividers up in the queue and in the boats.

By this time, we were famished and tired.  We were up at 3:45 AM!

Our dinner reservation at the Rose and Crown was for 7:40 PM.  It was only 5 PM but we went over and requested to get an earlier seating which they were able to do.

The park was open until 9 PM but, we decided to go back to our resort after dinner.  Rode the skyliner back to the Caribbean Beach Resort and called it a night.

Wednesday was our Magic Kingdom day. It felt great to be back to my “happy place”. The park hours were 9 AM – 7 PM.  There weren’t many people on the bus to the Magic Kingdom and we were given assigned seats.  Disney is only allowing up to 25 people on a bus at a time.

   

I think I had tears in my eyes as I saw the castle for the first time with the new paint job.  It is absolutely gorgeous!  Main Street had few people and we easily walked right down the middle.  Rich beelined to Starbucks for his coffee fix and I kept going.  It was amazing to see the hub and the castle without a crowd in front of it.

Our goal was to have breakfast at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square.  We love the waffle sandwiches there.  I was a little disappointed breakfast sandwiches weren’t on the menu.  Rich had the chicken and waffle sandwich and I had strawberries and whipped cream on mine.

From there we walked over to the Haunted Mansion where we walked right through to the ride.  Once again, no waiting and no preshow.  All the doors were open right up to where we boarded our car.  Just a little tidbit, there are new ghosts in the cemetery!

We experienced many attractions during our day.  Hardly any wait time.  I think the longest wait time was for Peter Pan.  The line kept moving.  It was our first-time walking through the stand by queue and we saw the children’s bedrooms.

If there was a wait time, it was most likely due to the attraction being sanitized and cleaned.

When we rode It’s a Small World and Pirate’s of the Caribbean we saw in the back of the boat and another couple sat in the front of the boat.  Larger families or groups were given their own boat.

Once again, all theaters had every other row blocked off with seats blocked off into groups in each open row.

Disney really wants you to use your WDW phone app.  There are QR symbols at restaurants to read menus.  Quick service meals are ordered through the mobile app.  Touchless payments are encouraged.

During the day, we caught cavalcades throughout the park along the former parade route.  No crowds waiting to see them.  It was a hit or miss experience.

A couple of the Country Bear Jamboree characters were out on the second floor.

There are 3 relaxation stations in the Magic Kingdom.

My phone was dying mid day so I sat in the store at Space Mountain where recharging stations are located.  Air conditioning and a much-needed break while Rich rode Space Mountain.

We bought our new Mickey Head Christmas ornament before heading out of the park.  Purchases are not sent back to your resort or to the front of the park.  So, we had to be sure we made purchases at the end of our day.

Wednesday was our Hollywood Studios day.  We were up bright and early even though the park didn’t open until 10 AM.  Rich was like a little kid on Christmas morning.  He was anxious and excited to ride Rise of the Resistance.

The Skyline operates an hour before the park opens.  Don’t arrive early, Disney does not want you to wait to stand in line. We were in line at 9 AM and boarded by 9:05.  We were at Hollywood Studios in less than 4 minutes.

The Skyliner is the closest form of transportation to the park entrance.

We went through medical screening, security and ticket entry and were in the park by 9:30.  Rich headed to Starbucks for his morning coffee and I found a bench to sit and wait for park opening.

Right on the dot we used our WDW app and acquired a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance.  Boarding group 24!  130-minute wait.

I collect Disney popcorn buckets and saw a Millenium Falcon bucket, so I bought it and had popcorn for breakfast.

We took in a few attractions before heading over to Galaxy’s Edge.

We kept checking our app and saw our boarding time kept decreasing quickly.

The market area in Galaxy’s Edge was blocked off.  The cast member was only allowing a certain number of people in that area at a time and only 2 people were allowed in the stall at a time.

We were called around 110 minutes into our wait time for ROR. From the time we checked into ROR to when we walked off took about 20 minutes.

Mickey and Minnie’s Train Ride had a long line, but with the lines for social distancing it went fast.  What a cute attraction.  One you must see.  Although I have to tell you, if you have any back issues, you may not want to ride it as it can be a bit jerky in areas.

Mickey and Minnie rode past us in cars.

Storms were in the forecast so we went back to our room to relax before heading back. Well, that was our plan anyway.  We cancelled our 50s Prime Time reservation and yes, we were charged $10 each.  Instead, we used Uber and went to Olivia’s Restaurant located at the Old Key West Resort.

I highly recommend the chicken dish, delicious!

Friday was our last day and also our travel day.  We had received our Magical Express information the day before and our pick up time was for 4:15 PM.

We bought a few souvenirs and decided to check two of our carry ons and take a Disney bag as one of our carry ons.  Problem solved.

We packed up and dropped our bags at bell services to hold our bags for the day.

A bus was at the bus depot waiting to go to the Animal Kingdom theme park.  We were the only ones on the bus.

Once again, we went through the medical tent, security and ticket area.

The Safari was our first stop.  We basically walked right on.  Social distancing floor markers and then dividers on the trucks.  Lots of animals out in the early morning hours.

Afterwards we took the train back to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  We hadn’t been there since it was redone.  I loved the new animation station area.  If you like to draw you definitely have to make this a stop.

Right now, there are no live shows in Walt Disney World.  There is a live bird show in the Caravan Stage Theater where Up is normally shown.

There are boats that ride around on the water with characters in them.  We saw, Pocohontas and Meeko, Mickey and Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale and a small band playing music.

We were able to enjoy seeing them as we sat in the relaxation station in Asia.

After lunch at Yak and Yeti, we took in a couple more attractions followed by some shopping before heading back to the bus stop.

 

I melt in the heat.  For this trip I bought a portable fan that you wear around your neck.  It was a life saver for me in the Florida heat.  I also had bought a new neck cooling towel that I forgot to take with me.  I really could have used it!

After retrieving our luggage and changing our clothes, we took the Magical Express back to the Orlando airport.

After checking our bags and printing our tickets, we walked to security.  Once again, we walked right up to security and had our credentials checked right away.  I have never been through Orlando security in such short time.

Our Southwest flight had more passengers on board.  Most rows had people in them but the middle seat was still empty, unless a family was sitting together.

It was an amazing short trip for us.  Would I do things differently?  Probably but not much.

We felt totally safe with the health and safety protocols that are in place.  Thorough cleaning is done often on all rides and attractions.  They are either totally wiped down or sprayed with sanitizer.  If there is a wait where the line doesn’t move, it is normally due to the cleaning being completed.

Did I tell you that I loved the Skyliner?

 

Our Walt Disney World experience was totally different from any other trip we have taken.  This trip was less stressful, less busy but definitely more fun!

No fastpasses are being used, but you do not need them right now.

You do need a park day reservation and you can only visit one park per day, no park hopping at the moment.

It was amazing to walk onto almost every attraction with little to no wait time.

You will never have an opportunity to experience Walt Disney World as it is right now. If you want to travel to Walt Disney World, reach out to me to help you with your own magical experience.