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Disneyworld Travel Tips During COVID

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Niel and I just returned from a 5 day trip to Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida for our babymoon!  I'm a Disney lover through and through and love all things magical, Minnie Mouse, treats, princesses, glittering lights, castles, carousels, and fancy dining.  I was 22 weeks pregnant and we left the kids at home!  It was so fun to get away from work, homeschool, momming 24/7, and the monotony of COVID life.  Lots of people suggested waiting to do a Disney trip until after COVID because of the limitations, but I am so glad we went.  It was my first time going since I was four so I didn't have any expectations from previous trips to live up to.  If something was closed, I didn't know any better!  There is SO much to do and see at Disneyworld, it's OK that we didn't get to do every single thing.  In a world where entertainment is shut down, I was THRILLED to spend a few days at Disneyworld even if I had to wear a mask!  Sometimes you can't wait for everything in life to be 'back to normal' to keep on living!

 

Our itinerary: 

Day 1:  Travel Day.  Arrived to hotel around 6 p.m. Checked in & had dinner at Ale & Compass on-site

Day 2:  Magical Kingdom

Day 3: Epcot

Day 4: Rest & Relax day at the hotel.  We slept in, ordered room service, hit the pool, and enjoyed the hotel amenities

Day 5: Animal Kingdom & Disney Springs

Day 6: Travel back home (We didn't go to Hollywood Studios since it has the least rides for expectant mothers.  Looking forward to going to Disneyworld again someday and experiencing that park!) 

Know before you go. Disneyworld during COVID:  Masks are strongly enforced, Reservations are required to enter the parks, Reservations are required for all sit-down restaurants, six-feet distance is enforced in lines, no parades, no fast passes, no characters, and all parks are at 30% limited capacity.  Not all on-site eating establishments, hotels, and rides are open.  

Planning your trip: 1.  Check Park Availability HERE first to make sure the park/s you want to attend are available on the dates you want to travel.  Make your park reservation, buy your park tickets, book your hotel and flights.  

What to pack:  The comfiest shoes you own that are broken in.  Minnie Mouse ears (yesssss!).  Since we went in January, I packed a short sleeve tee with a light jackets or pullover for each day and long pants.  I wore my Mini Fawn Design bag to the parks everyday and it was the perfect size.  I could still wear it on all the rides but it was big enough to hold my water bottle, wallet, chapstick, and snacks. 

Park Hopper or Single Day Ticket?  We chose to do single day tickets.  I personally, prefer single day tickets because the parks are HUGE and there is so much to do at each park.  If you go regularly or are only wanting to visit a few select attractions, a park hopper would be a good option for you.  If you are like most people visiting for the first time, you will want a full day dedicated to the park without taking time to travel in between parks.  

Where we stayed:  We stayed on property at Disneyworld at the Disney Yacht Club Resort.  Normally this hotel is close to $500/night but Disneyworld is running a promotion on select hotels up to 35% off now through April, 17th 2021 (must book by March 15th!)  Click HERE for the details of this promotion.  This is a great opportunity to stay on property for a lower price!  I love staying on property because it extends the Disney experience.  Our hotel had a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport and complimentary bus/boat/shuttle to all the parks.  I chose the Yacht Club because it was walking distance to Epcot, next to Disney's boardwalk, was recently renovated, and had an amazing pool and amenities.  We loved the restaurant Ale & Compass which was on property.  Overall I loved this hotel and would stay here again.

 Before you go:  Download the "My Disney Experience' application on your phone.  Make dining reservations through the website or Disney application.

My best tips and recommendations:  

1.  Arrive to the park EARLY!  The parks are opening their doors up to an hour early to avoid crowding.  They are not advertising this and employees will not tell you what time they are opening their doors, but they open doors to the park as soon as people start congregating to avoid crowding during COVID.  Our best and most-productive hours were from 8:40 a.m. until about noon at Magic Kingdom when we walked on almost all the rides in Fantasyland. 

2. Go Tuesday-Thursday during the week for shortest wait times 

3. It's OK if you don't get to see every park and every ride.  

4.  Make a reservation at 'Be at Our Guest Restaurant' in advance before your trip 

5.  Don't leave the park without enjoying some chocolate covered Minnie Mouse ice-cream ears.  


6.  If you love shopping and food make sure you plan time to visit Disney Springs!  We spent about three hours there and I wish we could have spent 4-5.  Tons of shopping and great food!

What I wish I had known beforehand:  It was really hard to get dining reservations!!!  All sit-down restaurants require reservations.  All the restaurants are operating at limited capacity and book up fast.  Unless you want to eat hamburgers at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe for every meal, you need to schedule your dining reservations in advance!  This can be tricky (and annoying) because it's hard to know exactly where you will be during the day in the park and what you will feel like eating!  

Common questions I received regarding my Disneyworld Trip:

Is it worth it going pregnant?  Absolutely!  I had a great time and would do it again (in my second trimester! Not sure if I would want to go during my first or third trimester).  I recommend doing two days while pregnant and sticking to Magical Kingdom and Epcot which I felt were the two parks I could do the most at while pregnant.

What rides can you ride pregnant? Below I listed the rides I did while at Disney, all of which were approved for expectant mothers. 

Magic Kingdom- It's a Small World, Peter Pan Takes Flight, Charming Regal Carousel, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Under the Sea-Little Mermaid, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mad Tea Party, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Cruise, Enchanted Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.

Epcot- Soarin' Around the World, Frozen Ever After, Spaceship Earth, Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival, Living with the Land, Nemo & Friends, The American Adventure (wish we had made it to Beauty & the Beast Sing along!)

Animal Kingdom- Kilamjaro Safari Ride, 

How was the weather?  Weather was beautiful!  We went in the middle of January.  The mornings and evenings were chilly and afternoons would warm up and the sun would come out.  I would wear a pullover or light jacket most of the time and take it off during the afternoon hours sometimes.

How were the lines?  The longest we waited was 1 hour on Avatar.  We waited 45 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean, Mine Train, and Frozen.  Everything else we were able to walk on or wait 10-20 minutes.  the line wait times were always overstated and appeared to be longer because of the 6 feet distance required between people in line.  We went to the parks on Friday, Saturday and Monday during a three day weekend so it was still busy but not as busy as pre-covid. 

How long should I stay to do all the parks?  In my opinion you will need four days (at least!) to do all four parks.  If you are going to do all four parks I recommend going for 5-7 days so that you can break up the days.  Park days are long days.  I would not want to do three consecutive park days. 

Disneyland or Disneyworld?  I love both for different reasons!  The castle at Disneyworld is amazing.  The SIZE of Disneyworld is amazing.  I liked Disney Springs better than Downtown Disney.  Disneyland is smaller and nicer to get around faster and quicker. 

What is your favorite park?  My personal favorite park is Magic Kingdom.  Because it feels MAGICAL and makes me feel like a kid again!  I love the Castle, Main Street, It's a Small World, Dumbo, the Carousel, and all the Disney classic rides and shops.  

Which ride do you recommend to start at for each park?  Magic Kingdom- Mine Train, Animal Kingdom- Pandora- The World of Avatar, Epcot- Frozen, Hollywood Studios- Star Wars.  With that said, those are the best rides to start at if you get there first thing in the morning and typically have the longest wait times.  But it also means you will be walking past some other rides while you walk through the park and have to back-track.  Sometimes it makes sense to do the rides you are nearby to save the time walking back and forth.  Use your app to check wait times.  Most times we ended up doing the rides in the we were walking to save time walking all over the park! 

Such a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime trip to take before bringing baby #4 into the world.  So grateful for the time we were able to spend alone together before baby boy.  Cheers to the happiest Place on earth!

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