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Trip Report Cheerful Goodbye to 2020 and Optimistic Hello to 2021! Video Trip Report - Updated March 2nd 2021

Introduction:

Hey everyone! My family decided to go ahead and use our remaining DVC points over the week of NYE to ring in the new year at the most magical place on earth. We had heard how safe Disney had been with all the precautions so we decided to go forward with the plans and head on down to Disney World!

We went from December 27-January 3rd and stayed at the Boardwalk Inn Villas for the full week with 4 nights in a 2 bedroom villa and then 3 nights in a 1 bedroom villa. We had 2 days in Magic Kingdom, 2 Days in Hollywood Studios, 1 Day in EPCOT and 1 Day in Animal Kingdom. I love vlogging so most of my post are just going to be recaps of the video with the full video able to watch if you would like to :). Feel free to follow along and engage in any conversation, I love talking to new people - especially about Disney!

In case you don't want to read/watch - it was an AMAZING trip even in this different time and we felt super safe the whole time in Disney :)

Please enjoy!

Chapters:

1: Delayed Flights and Yummy Treats
2: Exploring the Boardwalk and 2 Bedroom Villa Tour
3: Boarding Groups and Rope Dropping Toy Story Land
4: 1st time on Mickey and Minnie's Railway AND at Galaxy's Edge
5: Rise of the Resistance and Food!
6: Rockin Around Hollywood
7: Flying the Millennium Falcon
8: Closing Down Hollywood Studios
9: A Very Early Animal Kingdom Morning
10: Yak And Yeti with a Side of Safari
11: Closing Down Animal Kingdom
12: Disney Springs!
 
Last edited:

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Chapter 1: Delayed Travels and Yummy Treats

The day is finally here-it is Disney day!! The group leaving today is myself (Zac), my mom (Karen - the fun Karen not the mean/bad kind), my brother (Jake), my sister (Nae), and my partner (Clint). All of the family have been to Disney many, many times; however, this was Clint's first time (aside from the one night we stayed at the Polynesian before a cruise, I don't count that lol!). We typically go every summer but you know 2020 happened and we didn't go this summer so we were all super duper excited to get a fix of Disney magic, even with all the differences.

Side note - I had ordered some special magic bands for everyone and they had not arrived to our house before leaving. I called the DVC multiple times and got different answers on if I could pick them up at the hotel, if I had to wait for them to arrive so we were going into this thing with no magic bands and hoping they would be at the resort. I brought a old one just in case it was needed.

This was the latest we have ever left for a Disney trip, typically we are on the first nonstop flight that leaves so we have a full extra day but due to covid and timing, we got an early afternoon that had an hour layover in Baltimore. We packed up our stuff and all our new Disney gear (thanks Santa :)) and headed over to the St Louis airport for our flight. As we got close to the airport we got a text that our flight was delayed and hour, boo! However, we should still be able to make our connection flight.

As we landed in Baltimore, we were notified that our flight had been changed to the flight leaving just an hour later so we didn't have to worry about rushing, we just were getting into Disney later. Not ideal but much better than having to sprint through an airport and make a connecting flight in 15 minutes. The Baltimore Airport was the place where I was most worried about the amount of people who were packed into the terminal. I have never been to this airport but the terminal we were in seemed small in general, there were people everywhere and they were operating as boarding groups of 30 instead of 10 as Southwest has done since this pandemic happened. I know that there was a risk in general going on this trip but I thought most places would still have most mitigation efforts happening.

We made it to Orlando, got our checked bags and headed over to the Magical Express. We waited no more than 5 minutes in line for the magical express and only 20 minutes before taking off and driving to the Boardwalk. (I did yell at my brother for having his mask off in the Magical Express once I actually realized it was off. I was so hyped up when I first got on the bus that it didn't register that his was down. He thought since we were the only ones on the bus he could have it off - just a little learning for him on appropriate times to take off the mask).

So from the time we landed to the time we got to the hotel was about an hour and fifteen minutes, which isn't bad given we had 5 adults (children at heart) that were so exhausted from the delays and travel time, moving relatively slowly and the baggage claim area was packed with people so it took a bit to get our luggage. The time was about 10:30 and we hadn't eaten since lunch so we were starving. We ran up to the room by passing the front desk to drop our luggage off and sprint over to Beaches and Cream. We had a reservation at there at 10:15 that we obviously missed but were hoping we could still be sat since it seemed most quick service places were closed. We arrived and thankfully they sat us with no issues at all! I had never actually eaten here before, just got dessert so I was super excited and I knew they had a good plant based option for Jake. This was just the thing we needed to refuel and really start enjoying our magical vacation!

 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
Chapter 1: Delayed Travels and Yummy Treats

The day is finally here-it is Disney day!! The group leaving today is myself (Zac), my mom (Karen - the fun Karen not the mean/bad kind), my brother (Jake), my sister (Nae), and my partner (Clint). All of the family have been to Disney many, many times; however, this was Clint's first time (aside from the one night we stayed at the Polynesian before a cruise, I don't count that lol!). We typically go every summer but you know 2020 happened and we didn't go this summer so we were all super duper excited to get a fix of Disney magic, even with all the differences.

Side note - I had ordered some special magic bands for everyone and they had not arrived to our house before leaving. I called the DVC multiple times and got different answers on if I could pick them up at the hotel, if I had to wait for them to arrive so we were going into this thing with no magic bands and hoping they would be at the resort. I brought a old one just in case it was needed.

This was the latest we have ever left for a Disney trip, typically we are on the first nonstop flight that leaves so we have a full extra day but due to covid and timing, we got an early afternoon that had an hour layover in Baltimore. We packed up our stuff and all our new Disney gear (thanks Santa :)) and headed over to the St Louis airport for our flight. As we got close to the airport we got a text that our flight was delayed and hour, boo! However, we should still be able to make our connection flight.

As we landed in Baltimore, we were notified that our flight had been changed to the flight leaving just an hour later so we didn't have to worry about rushing, we just were getting into Disney later. Not ideal but much better than having to sprint through an airport and make a connecting flight in 15 minutes. The Baltimore Airport was the place where I was most worried about the amount of people who were packed into the terminal. I have never been to this airport but the terminal we were in seemed small in general, there were people everywhere and they were operating as boarding groups of 30 instead of 10 as Southwest has done since this pandemic happened. I know that there was a risk in general going on this trip but I thought most places would still have most mitigation efforts happening.

We made it to Orlando, got our checked bags and headed over to the Magical Express. We waited no more than 5 minutes in line for the magical express and only 20 minutes before taking off and driving to the Boardwalk. (I did yell at my brother for having his mask off in the Magical Express once I actually realized it was off. I was so hyped up when I first got on the bus that it didn't register that his was down. He thought since we were the only ones on the bus he could have it off - just a little learning for him on appropriate times to take off the mask).

So from the time we landed to the time we got to the hotel was about an hour and fifteen minutes, which isn't bad given we had 5 adults (children at heart) that were so exhausted from the delays and travel time, moving relatively slowly and the baggage claim area was packed with people so it took a bit to get our luggage. The time was about 10:30 and we hadn't eaten since lunch so we were starving. We ran up to the room by passing the front desk to drop our luggage off and sprint over to Beaches and Cream. We had a reservation at there at 10:15 that we obviously missed but were hoping we could still be sat since it seemed most quick service places were closed. We arrived and thankfully they sat us with no issues at all! I had never actually eaten here before, just got dessert so I was super excited and I knew they had a good plant based option for Jake. This was just the thing we needed to refuel and really start enjoying our magical vacation!

OMG that food looks sooooo good!! I LOVE french dip, but your chicken bacon ranch or whatever it was looked amazing as well....and tatertots!! Oh how I miss tatertots! Living vicariously here....was it as good as it looked?

Thanks for sharing! Can't wait for more. Was Jake doodling on his hand, or does he have a tattoo there? (I couldn't see what it was in the video, when he was trying to take pictures of the fonorail.)
 

Minthorne

Well-Known Member
We were in the room next to you 3005 12/31-1/4 lol
It’s a small world after all!
20B7C241-DDE6-4A36-86F0-44B948DD221F.png
 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
OMG that food looks sooooo good!! I LOVE french dip, but your chicken bacon ranch or whatever it was looked amazing as well....and tatertots!! Oh how I miss tatertots! Living vicariously here....was it as good as it looked?

Thanks for sharing! Can't wait for more. Was Jake doodling on his hand, or does he have a tattoo there? (I couldn't see what it was in the video, when he was trying to take pictures of the fonorail.)
Omg it honestly all was SO amazing, just as it looked! Only note was there wasn't much sauce for our chicken sandwiches or on the burgers, but we are saucey people so that is totally just an opinion! Those are his hand tattoos! He is a very creative and expressive person so he designed all his tattoos and wanted to showcase them :)

We were in the room next to you 3005 12/31-1/4 lol
It’s a small world after all!
Oh my gosh, seriously such a small world!! How was your trip?! I hope you had an amazing time!

I’m in too! Didn’t know if I would like the vlog element but I really did. Great commentary! And I like being better able to assess crowd in a video as opposed to a picture.
Oh welcome, welcome! I definitely hope I can continue to have both written expression to accompany the vlog as I know sometimes reading is more up people's alleys. Very glad you enjoyed the first episode! I really tried to be conscious to show crowds and everything while filming but we will see how well I did lol!
 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Chapter 2: Exploring the Boardwalk and 2 Bedroom Villa Tour

After Beaches and Cream, which was absolutely incredible and well worth it, we leisurely stroll back over to the boardwalk and take a little time to see it all with no one else around us. Even though it was later at night, I think about 11:45, I still couldn't get over how empty it was. There wasn't a single soul in sight our whole walk back to the boardwalk. The weather also was a bit on the chilly side so we didn't spend too much time outside but still liked taking in the view and slowing down after the hectic day we had.

We go to the front desk to try to fix our magic band issue, we never were sent our magic bands that we had ordered. That was super disappointing especially because I had spent some money to buy everyone a special one as a stocking stuffer :(. Total first world problems and we got over it real quickly once they gave us some different magicbands to use and we got to at least pick a color one and not the grey one. Then we really explored our 2 bedroom villa. This room was exactly what we needed with the two bathrooms, the multiple beds and the boardwalk view! It just all was amazing and a perfect slice of heaven for the vacation.

After we did the room tour and took some showers, the time was about 12:30. We were definitely tired after the long travel day and huge meal we had just eaten so it was time to hit the hay to get some sleep. Our alarms were set for 6:30 as our first park was Hollywood Studios and you all know what that means - boarding group! I honestly hadn't done much research on how to get a boarding group but I just knew the importance of it all. Crossing our fingers that when we wake up tomorrow, we wake up lucky and get a boarding group!

 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
Chapter 2: Exploring the Boardwalk and 2 Bedroom Villa Tour

After Beaches and Cream, which was absolutely incredible and well worth it, we leisurely stroll back over to the boardwalk and take a little time to see it all with no one else around us. Even though it was later at night, I think about 11:45, I still couldn't get over how empty it was. There wasn't a single soul in sight our whole walk back to the boardwalk. The weather also was a bit on the chilly side so we didn't spend too much time outside but still liked taking in the view and slowing down after the hectic day we had.

We go to the front desk to try to fix our magic band issue, we never were sent our magic bands that we had ordered. That was super disappointing especially because I had spent some money to buy everyone a special one as a stocking stuffer :(. Total first world problems and we got over it real quickly once they gave us some different magicbands to use and we got to at least pick a color one and not the grey one. Then we really explored our 2 bedroom villa. This room was exactly what we needed with the two bathrooms, the multiple beds and the boardwalk view! It just all was amazing and a perfect slice of heaven for the vacation.

After we did the room tour and took some showers, the time was about 12:30. We were definitely tired after the long travel day and huge meal we had just eaten so it was time to hit the hay to get some sleep. Our alarms were set for 6:30 as our first park was Hollywood Studios and you all know what that means - boarding group! I honestly hadn't done much research on how to get a boarding group but I just knew the importance of it all. Crossing our fingers that when we wake up tomorrow, we wake up lucky and get a boarding group!

I wondered how long it would take you to notice that Jake was just lying there on the boardwalk in the background while you were vlogging. So funny! Do you have any of his pictures to share?

I love that you asked everyone what they were most excited about, and everyone had a different answer.
 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I wondered how long it would take you to notice that Jake was just lying there on the boardwalk in the background while you were vlogging. So funny! Do you have any of his pictures to share?

I love that you asked everyone what they were most excited about, and everyone had a different answer.
He is such a goober lol! I have asked him to send me some, he takes forever to edit but I definitely will post some when he finally sends some to me. I typically try to ask a question every day, at least what their favorite part was. Its a fun little game I like to do on vacations! Thanks for watching/reading and engaging along with it - I really enjoy it!!

Don’t normally watch video reports, but I am making an exception for yours.
Loving it so far.
Looks like you have a close fun loving family.
Can’t wait to read and watch more.
Thanks for sharing.
Well, thank you very much for making an exception! I definitely hope that you continue to enjoy it! We are a very close family and I am forever thankful for that.
 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Chapter 3: Boarding Groups and Rope Dropping Toy Story Land

Our first park day of this trip and boy did it start out stressful! We had our alarms set for 6:30 and I was up and showered before those even went off. I think I was more nervous than excited at this point as the time was ticking down for a boarding group. This will be my first time trying to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance and I hadn’t done ANY research, which obviously was my fault. We aren't a huge Star Wars family (aside from my sister) but I knew this ride had all sorts of hype around it which was why I really wanted one! 7:00 am rolled around and Clint and I both tried to get a boarding group for the family and Clint was successful! He snagged us boarding group 27, which I didn't realize at the time how great of a boarding group that was.

After that stress, we headed down to the Boardwalk Bakery to grab some breakfast snacks to hold people over until lunch and also snagged some refillable cups for the week. After eating the snacks and drinking some drinks, everyone was ready to head over to Hollywood Studios (surprisingly earlier than I anticipated us leaving, which was exciting!) We used the walkway between Hollywood Studios and the Boardwalk (the main reason we picked this hotel) and got in to Hollywood Studios right around 8:10 I believe.

Excitement was filling all of us to the maximum! I didn't realize just how magical it would still feel being in the parks and really just a slice of heaven away from the craziness of the world. The best part was the fact that they still had Christmas decorations up so the parks were beautiful! We headed straight to Slinky Dog Dash as that is a fan favorite for those who have already rode it and now is a family favorite as well. The line was minimal - maybe 5 minutes, so that was a great way to start off the vacation. You can probably hear the excitement in our voices as we ride the ride, I didn't quite realize how loud I was being while recording but I am not too sorry about it 😅 (skip ahead a few minutes in the video if you don't want to hear it) After Slinky Dog, we decided to test our gaming skills at Toy Story Midway Mania. Much to my surprise I got best of the car, hour and day (since the park hadn't technically opened yet lol) This was a great start to our first park day - and the park hadn't technically opened yet!

 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
Chapter 3: Boarding Groups and Rope Dropping Toy Story Land

Our first park day of this trip and boy did it start out stressful! We had our alarms set for 6:30 and I was up and showered before those even went off. I think I was more nervous than excited at this point as the time was ticking down for a boarding group. This will be my first time trying to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance and I hadn’t done ANY research, which obviously was my fault. We aren't a huge Star Wars family (aside from my sister) but I knew this ride had all sorts of hype around it which was why I really wanted one! 7:00 am rolled around and Clint and I both tried to get a boarding group for the family and Clint was successful! He snagged us boarding group 27, which I didn't realize at the time how great of a boarding group that was.

After that stress, we headed down to the Boardwalk Bakery to grab some breakfast snacks to hold people over until lunch and also snagged some refillable cups for the week. After eating the snacks and drinking some drinks, everyone was ready to head over to Hollywood Studios (surprisingly earlier than I anticipated us leaving, which was exciting!) We used the walkway between Hollywood Studios and the Boardwalk (the main reason we picked this hotel) and got in to Hollywood Studios right around 8:10 I believe.

Excitement was filling all of us to the maximum! I didn't realize just how magical it would still feel being in the parks and really just a slice of heaven away from the craziness of the world. The best part was the fact that they still had Christmas decorations up so the parks were beautiful! We headed straight to Slinky Dog Dash as that is a fan favorite for those who have already rode it and now is a family favorite as well. The line was minimal - maybe 5 minutes, so that was a great way to start off the vacation. You can probably hear the excitement in our voices as we ride the ride, I didn't quite realize how loud I was being while recording but I am not too sorry about it 😅 (skip ahead a few minutes in the video if you don't want to hear it) After Slinky Dog, we decided to test our gaming skills at Toy Story Midway Mania. Much to my surprise I got best of the car, hour and day (since the park hadn't technically opened yet lol) This was a great start to our first park day - and the park hadn't technically opened yet!

What a nice brother you are to let everyone sleep while you go get breakfast! My brother would never do that for me!! Will your mom adopt me? :p

I caught from the video that you worked at Disney, and maybe I just missed it, but I didn't catch where it was you worked. That must make it feel a bit different for you! Were you with the college program?
 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
What a nice brother you are to let everyone sleep while you go get breakfast! My brother would never do that for me!! Will your mom adopt me? :p

I caught from the video that you worked at Disney, and maybe I just missed it, but I didn't catch where it was you worked. That must make it feel a bit different for you! Were you with the college program?
Haha, I did it more for myself because I knew that if everyone else woke up as early as I did then we would have some crabby campers come 11:00am LOL! Omg of course, everyone is welcome in this family!

Yes! I was apart of the College Program back in 2016 - I worked on Sunset Boulevard for merchandise. I used to be a Sweet Spells worker when that was still there so I got to make all the fun candy apples and treats :) I also worked in those stores along Sunset as well!
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
Haha, I did it more for myself because I knew that if everyone else woke up as early as I did then we would have some crabby campers come 11:00am LOL! Omg of course, everyone is welcome in this family!

Yes! I was apart of the College Program back in 2016 - I worked on Sunset Boulevard for merchandise. I used to be a Sweet Spells worker when that was still there so I got to make all the fun candy apples and treats :) I also worked in those stores along Sunset as well!
I still think you are a nice brother! We went in 2019 with my brother, his husband, and their daughter. My brother is NOT an early riser and he tends to be chronically late. There were a couple of mornings where we just agreed to meet up later so that my crew didn't have to miss out on things. We did a lot of breakfast ADRs and such and his...didn't. When they got to the park, they'd send us a message to find out where we were and then we'd get together wherever it was convenient. My brother is also really crabby until he's had his coffee in the morning. His husband is much more sociable in the morning.:D And my niece has WAAAAAY too much energy early in the morning. But I don't think any of us ever even thought to call the others' room and ask if we could bring anything from the QS or market for breakfast. We just did our own thing!
 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Chapter 4: 1st Time On Mickey And Minnie's Railway AND At Galaxy's Edge

This was about to be a bunch of first for everyone in the group, not just for the first timer! We were not sure what at all to expect from Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway as none of us had done any research or spoiled the ride from videos online. The line didn't seem super long at all and we figured it would be a long line all day since it was the newest ride in the park. We waited maybe 20 minutes for the train and then we saw how cute the ride vehicles were and we just new it was going to be a good time. It was a hit for everyone in the group and we really couldn't wait to go on it again!

After getting off Mickey and Minnie's the park was officially open and the crowds were starting to flow in. The app said we had about 35 minutes until our boarding group was called se we walked over to Sunset Boulevard to check out Tower of Terror and see how long that wait was. To our surprise, it was already super long - about wrapped to the Fantasmic queue area with a posted 75 minute wait. We weren't sure how the boarding groups worked (as in if you get a boarding time slot or had to go right away) so we decided to skip Tower of Terror for now and head over to Galaxy's Edge to check out the land as a whole and kill some time before Rise of the Resistance.

None of us had been to Galaxy's Edge yet, nor are huge Star Wars fans, but we were still excited to see everything that they land had to offer. We were blown away at just the huge size of the area and all the details that were everywhere in this land! There is seriously so much to just look at and I am sure there are a ton of little gems from the Star Wars series just sprinkled throughout the area. After about 10 minutes of roaming around Galaxy's Edge, the time had came and our boarding group was called! Excitement was radiating through us all as we just knew this ride was going to be amazing no matter what it was.

 

NotZacHoward

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Chapter 5: Rise of the Resistance And Food!

The time has finally come - all the stress of getting the board group is about to be tested to see if it was worth it. Our boarding group was called!! I think the time was around 10:45 and we had boarding group 27 - in case anyone was curious about how long we had to wait. We headed over to Rise of the Resistance, scanned in and walked through the very very incredible queue line. Honestly, for me, the ride started as soon as you scanned your magic band for your boarding group! It just was all so well done and so many things to look at with so many noises happening around us as well. We had minimal wait to actually start the experience, maybe 10 minutes which was a lot better than what it looked like earlier. I won’t spoil anything (and you can skip to 14:48 in the video to not spoil anything) but the ride was definitely worth the stress of getting a boarding group AND even exceed expectations - and that’s coming from non Star Wars fans. There is just so much happening at all times and so much to see and do that its hard to really take it all in on just one ride. If you can, you MUST try out that ride, truly incredible.
After that, we were super hungry, it had been a while since we all woke up and we were on the go go go all morning. We decided to mobile order from the ABC Commissary as the menu looked good for everyone. Mobile Ordering was super fast and efficient, this was our first time ever doing it and we were highly pleased with the experience. We placed our order on our phone and we were called within about 10 minutes that our food was ready, so a super quick experience for us (and this was consistent with the whole week pretty much). We got a few of the buffalo chicken grilled cheeses, a California chicken sandwich, shrimp curry and the plant based burger for Jakey. This was such a nice time to just relax and take our masks off, be off our feet and just enjoy sitting down in some air conditioning while replenishing with food, water and some caffeine. The food from ABC Commissary was miles better than what any of us remember - honestly one of the best quick service places we ate at all week! We all left super pleased with our meals and ready to take on the rest of the day because it was only about 12:30 by this time!

 

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