We were actually supposed to have 2 Disney trips in July. The first week of July our trip was cancelled due to Disney still being closed. It was a major bummer because we really needed out of the house, but thankfully they reopened and we were able to make it there at the end of July to celebrate Belle’s 2nd birthday on August 1st!
This was overall quite an experience for us considering we all (minus the 1 year old) had to wear masks the entire time. The kids definitely did better with the masks than Andrew and I. They never complained about them. I found our masks comfortable and easy to breathe in, but obviously would have preferred not to wear them. Disney is strictly enforcing the mask rule. They are also checking temperatures before entering the parks. There are hand sanitizer stations set up literally everywhere in the parks and resorts. All the line queues are marked with 6ft markers for people to stand on. The buses are allowing limited people on board with plexiglass dividers between parties and same for the rides. We felt extremely safe and that Disney has actually gone overboard in precautions. We spent 9 days at Disney and have been home for over a week now and I’m happy to report none of us are sick.
For this trip we stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It is one of our absolute favorites and we stay there multiple times a year. We love the main tower theme park view rooms. The room has a perfect view of Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle. Due to COVID there are no fireworks at night right now but typically we enjoy watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the comfort of our room at night! One of the other major perks to staying at the Contemporary is that it’s literally right across the street from Magic Kingdom! This means that you don’t have to take any kind of transportation to get to Disney’s main park, you can just walk down the sidewalk from your room!
Due to COVID a ton of Disney restaurants are closed right now. We ended up eating breakfast at our resort every day of our trip. We alternated between Chef Mickey’s and The Wave. Chef Mickey is usually a buffet and a character meal but right now there are no characters and the food is brought to your table served family style. As many times as we have stayed at the Contemporary we have never eaten at The Wave but they have a wonderful breakfast! Andrew and I both really enjoyed the Floridian Eggs Benedict which is traditional eggs Benedict with crab cakes on top!
Usually when we do Disney we spend every day at the park but for this trip we took some time to hang out at the pool. The Contemporary’s main pool area has a small splash pad for the little kids and a water slide for the bigger kids. I say bigger kids, but there’s no height requirement for the water slide and it’s very very tame. My 3 & 4 year olds were able to go up and down it by themselves with no problem. We just waited at the bottom for them while the slid down it repeatedly for hours. One of the best things about staying on Disney property with littles is you don’t have to take up valuable luggage space with life jackets! Disney’s pool areas are equipped with life jackets for kids of all sizes all the way down to infants! You also don’t have to pack your towels! When you walk into the pool area there is a place to pick up towels, you don’t have to leave your room key, see an attendant or anything like that, just grab the number of towels you need and go. Exact same with the life jackets, they’re all hanging up in size order and you find the sizes you need and go. Just be sure to drop your life jackets and towels back off before you leave.
This was a long trip and the parks were operating on limited hours so we spent multiple days at each park really taking our time and heading back to the hotel early in the evenings. Usually our Disney trips are nonstop and action packed but this was a pretty relaxing trip. We came home not feeling like we needed a vacation from our vacation.
A lot of our favorite restaurants were closed and that was definitely the biggest bummer of our trip. We did try out a few new places though that will most likely become new staples for us!
I’m going to split the rest of this post up into parks instead of days like I normally do so it’s easier to follow since we had a lot of days
Disney’s newest ride, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened right after we got back from our February trip earlier this year just before the parks shut down. We were really eager to ride this ride because it has no height requirements so it’s good for our entire family. Even with the limited capacity crowds at the parks this is one you HAVE to rope drop! The first day we went to HS we didn’t realize how crazy the lines would be without fastpasses but immediately after opening and all day long the wait times were over an hour long. We just can’t wait that long with 4 babies so we skipped it the first day but our next HS day we made sure to head straight there as soon as the park opened and we were able to walk right on to it with no wait. It’s a trackless ride very similar to Ratatouille at Disneyland Paris. It was so loud though you couldn’t hear Mickey & Minnie talking street all so we couldn’t follow the storyline for it, it just seemed chaotic.
Our main focus for HS was Toy Story land. MM absolutely loves Goofy’s Barnstormer roller coaster in MK and she is finally tall enough to upgrade to Slinky Dog. We knew this would be a big hit for her so we made sure to rope drop Slinky Dog every day so we could all ride it. Toy Story land was completely empty every morning because most people head straight for Star Wars or MMRR. We were able to walk on to Slinky Dog 3 times in a row before there was ever a line. Just as we expected, MM LOVED Slinky Dog and we rode it multiple times on this trip for her.
The newest ride in Star Wars land, Rise of the Resistance has a 40″ height requirement so only the twins would be tall enough. For ROTR Disney is using a virtual queue system that opens up slots at 10am and 2pm. They were doing this back in February and we were unable to get a spot in the virtual queue even right at opening. Just like February the first day trying we couldn’t get a spot at all. Our next HS I managed to get a spot right at 10am but it was for so late in the evening we were already at dinner by the time our group was called! Definitely a bummer, but we aren’t huge Star Wars fans anyway so we will just wait until everyone is taller or we can get fastpasses for it.
All the shows at HS are closed right now because the actors union can’t reach an agreement with Disney. Because of this there are very few things to do at HS and we only spent half a day there both days we went. It definitely felt like the most crowded park too, by lunch time all the rides had very long wait times. We definitely did it right for us by hitting the rides we wanted as soon as the park opened and then leaving for the afternoon.
Our favorite thing at AK, the Festival of the Lion King show, was not open. The Finding Nemo show was also closed, both due to the actors union disagreement. Our favorite Disney character meal, Tusker House, was also closed and we were so sad about not getting our curry chicken and rice for breakfast. Nothing at AK required rope dropping, the lines across the entire park for the entire day were consistently under 15 minutes for everything including Flight of Passage. We were able to have dinner at our favorite AK dinner spot, Yak & Yeti, and it was just as good as always! The kids all had Teriyaki chicken with mango salsa & rice and Andrew and I both had Chicken Tikka Masala which is my favorite dish ever. They also have the best fried wontons for dessert!
Epcot is borderline sad. About half the restaurants are closed and none of the country pavilions in the world showcase are staffed by natives of those countries right now. Walking around Epcot was like walking through a ghost town. On the positive side, there were zero lines for any of the rides. They even offered to let us ride Frozen multiple times because nobody else was in line. Epcot also has one of the few character meals right now, Garden Grill, so we did take advantage of that for lunch one day to see Mickey, Pluto, Chip & Dale. The characters aren’t coming directly to your table but they will walk by frequently. We definitely had a dinner at Via Napoli, our favorite Disney property restaurant of all, and it was wonderful as usual. We also decided to give Coral Reef another try one night, but it was mediocre at best. We have eaten at Coral Reef before and although it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good either. With limited options this time we decided to give it another try and we had the same experience as last time. Nothing major to complain about, but we won’t be back again as there are a lot of better restaurants in Epcot.
MK is probably the park with the most normalcy to it right now. With the exception of several dining locations being closed (Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table, 2 of our faves! Waahhh!) basically all the rides are up and running so we spent several days at MK. Wait times for all the rides never exceeded 30-40 minutes at the longest with most being straight walk ons so we were able to easily ride everything we wanted multiple times.
MM got to ride 7 Dwarf’s Mine Train for the first time and just like Slinky dog she really loved it!
We spent Belle’s 2nd birthday at MK complete with dinner at Be Our Guest. We actually ate BOG for dinner on all of our MK days because it was basically the only thing open for dinner there and we love their filet Mignon. Belle loves Olaf and wanted an Olaf cake for her birthday. For a 1 year old she’s been talking about this Olaf cake for months now! Originally the Contemporary bakery was supposed to make her an actual Olaf cake, but they ended up not reopening so we were forced to improvise. We ended up buying a large Olaf ornament and sticking it on top of the traditional Mickey birthday cakes. Belle didn’t know any different and she really loved her thrown together Olaf birthday cake!
In case you missed it, Cinderella’s castle just got a new paint job! I was skeptical at first but it’s really pretty in person and I love it now!
We had a lot of fun on this trip with the ride pictures if you can’t tell!
While none of the parks have their usual designated parade each day, all the parks had characters riding around all day long at random times! I actually prefer the way they’re doing it now as opposed to the mass crowds for the one 3pm parade!
We love Disney so much we may just decide to go back next week 😉