Trip Report Mask up for the August Alternate 2020 Trip

Hello friends! My husband and I just got back about a week ago from our WDW trip, it was strange, hot, fun, and in a way unexpected. I'll start with some quick details:

Who: Me (Am) and my husband (Brad)
When: August 6-20, 2020
Resort: Pop Century (was scheduled for All Star Sports)

Let me explain my title a little: We were scheduled to travel to WDW in June the 21st through July 5. It was going to be epic.....we would be there over our birthdays, 15th wedding anniversary, and had a couple of Magic meetups planned. That trip didn't happen. While planning our trips at home I always come up with some sort of title for our trips to give it a little excitement. Well, shortly after the shut down in March, about 2 weeks after the parks closed I had a feeling that my June trip wouldn't happen so hubs and I looked at the calendar and figured out a date when we could go to WDW, we had to plan around some of his church activities (all got cancelled) and a girls trip to California for me (cancelled too). So in late March I booked a two week stay at the Sports. But all while planning including the frustrating day in June to get park reservations and the day I cancelled June/July I was never able to build up much excitement for this August trip. So I always stayed labeled in my planning things as the August Alternate trip, how generic! So I had hope that the trip would happen but I was convinced something would happen and we wouldn't be able to go.

Fast forward to the first week of August, days before leaving. I get an email from my boss (principal) asking what my travel dates to Florida were so they could be consistent on teachers traveling and returning back to work. My return date was 4 days before I would start back to work for inservice so no time to quarantine if he asked me to! Ugh! I couldn't lie to my boss and I couldn't ignore his email. Well he didn't ask me to quarantine but he did ask that I get a Covid test upon my return and then quarantine if needed or until my results came back. He asked if I wanted to come in an work a day so that if something happened I would have had time to work to get my classroom ready and he said I could bank it as a day worked so I wouldn't have to use a day if I did quarantine. So that's what I did. In a way it was surreal to be back working in my room, which was the day before we left for WDW. As I was working in my room that day I had a flash, the last day I worked a full day in my classroom was before I went to WDW in March! Whoa! So with a fully day of work banked, suitcases packed, it looked like our Alternate trip was really happening!

*Spoiler alert: my Covid test came back negative, it was probably too early to take it when I came back but it satisfied my boss. Also neither of us have had any symptoms of Covid upon return so looks like we might have stayed safe.

Okay, let's begin......

August 6, 2020

Our flight out of Minneapolis left at 8:20 am so our plan was to wake up around 4 am get ready and drive to the airport. Who sleeps before a trip! We were up around 3am but we didn't leave until around 4:15am. I got a great parking deal at a Park n Fly for our two week park that was like $7 a day so much cheaper than the small airport lot at $15 a day! Does anyone remember the old WDW information station that used to play the song "I'm Going to Disney World"? I have that song and usually play it on the way to the airport and I played it as we pulled into the Park N Fly lot. I didn't play it before I didn't want to jinx us!

The airport was really strange, usually it is such a hub bub of activity but today it was so strange because there weren't many people. Security was a walk up and we were through in less than 2 minutes! We got breakfast at the Caribou Coffee near our gate and spent time just relaxing in our masks waiting. Our flight was on Delta and they did a great job on the flight. When we boarded we were handed wipes to wipe our area, they reminded people about masks, and during flight we were handed a snack pack in a plastic bag with water,chocolate covered pretzels, cheez-its, napkin and hand sanitizer. The middle seat was empty so we had our own row and Brad watched Star Wars something and I watched the Downton Abbey movie (I'd rewatched the series before leaving so this pleased me to rewatch movie too).

The airport in Minneapolis.
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Flights on time, and plane is here! It's happening! It's really happening!
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Waiting at the gate
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On the plane, looking out! Different from my last flight in March. No snow on the ground this time!
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Ready for flight!
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And we've made it to Orlando!!! Again the airport was pretty empty and we had to retrieve our own luggage this time.
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And here we are at Magical Express, not too many people in line. I think when we came in March this is where we started our line up to check in.
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There was a sign that said our wait could be an hour and the ME agent said that too but from check in to the bus pulling away it was less than 20 minutes which is shorter than some of the pre-Covid trips we have had.
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Coming up: arrival at WDW and will there be tears?
 

93boomer

Well-Known Member
Sorry I filled up your box!😉😊I had to catch-up. 🤣
Wow great job Brad! Boarding group 10!
It took 3 tries until we got group 42! It was worth the wait 😆
We never got on MMRR. Too long a wait in that heat at 90-105 mts.😩
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
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I know there are alot of star war fans, and that area must be alot of fun for them. I do want to try the ROTR sometime because it looks fantastic!
Hope your school year is going okay? There are cases of covid at our schools, but no plans to shut anything down yet. We are doing hybrid, and it is very difficult for the teachers, let alone the kids. I really feel sorry for them with all the extra planning they have to do. Our district has given them Wednesday off from in school or online school so they can set up lessons, troubleshoot. Also no learning for the kids either, which is not going to help!
Can't wait for the rest of your trip report:)

School is busy, I wish we had Wednesdays or something as a day to focus on virtual learners. It just gets so hectic teaching both in class and virtual at the same time. Plus we have a new student, a boy who only speaks Spanish. He has been put in our classes with no support for us or for him. We as a small school that doesn't have an ELL program and the administrators don't seem to care, so that is my biggest frustration. I have some basic Spanish skills but not enough to teach him adequately. I'll try to add more to the report soon!!
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
Sorry I filled up your box!😉😊I had to catch-up. 🤣
Wow great job Brad! Boarding group 10!
It took 3 tries until we got group 42! It was worth the wait 😆
We never got on MMRR. Too long a wait in that heat at 90-105 mts.😩

You never got on Mickeys!? That's a shame, I kind of like it better than Rise. We only went on Mickey's right at open (before it really opened) and at close that's when it wasn't super long for the lines.
 

Swissmiss

Premium Member
School is busy, I wish we had Wednesdays or something as a day to focus on virtual learners. It just gets so hectic teaching both in class and virtual at the same time. Plus we have a new student, a boy who only speaks Spanish. He has been put in our classes with no support for us or for him. We as a small school that doesn't have an ELL program and the administrators don't seem to care, so that is my biggest frustration. I have some basic Spanish skills but not enough to teach him adequately. I'll try to add more to the report soon!!

Sounds like you are doing an amazing job despite the circumstances - the kids are lucky to have you! 😊
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 10, 2020

Still at Hollywood Studios and completing our mission for the Rebel on Rise. It was time for lunch and we decided we wanted burgers so we did the mobile order for Backlot Express. The food wasn't that great, the cheese for the fries was really the bright spot of the meal. Probably should have gone to PizzaRizzo. Then we decided to check out the Mickey Shorts Theater and the short was entertaining but I was in love with the chairs! The Mickey short was cute and provided a nice air conditioned break.

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Took a little tour around the Galaxy at Star Tours.
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Outside the Mickey Shorts theater were some fun photo opportunities based on the short.
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We both wanted some ice cream but our first choice was not an option. Our first choice would have been a chocolate peanut butter milkshake from the Tune In lounge but that was closed so B went off in search of Mickey bars. I waited on this bench, when he went off in search of Mickey bars it was shady, but shortly after he left me it was not any more. There was shade nearby but not at the bench. Oh well, it had a nice view. It took him awhile to find some and ended up going to a cart that was near the exit of Mickey's Runaway Railway. But they were delicious!
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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 10, 2020

Right about the same time Brad returned with the ice cream a cavalcade started to go by. So I did wait to eat my ice cream until it had passed. It was fun to see and a little better than a parade since no wait time for it is involved.

After our ice cream we headed out for a nap back at the Pop and I found Stacy deep in the channel mix (73 maybe). It was nice to watch but also sad to see what isn't around anymore.

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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 10 , 2020

After our refreshing nap at the Pop we returned to Hollywood Studios and our first stop was Tower of Terror. I hoped this ride on it would rekindle my love for it. I did enjoy it and it would still go on my WDW Top Ten but it still isn't as exciting as it used to be. :(

After Tower we did have time for something else before dinner and we thought about Rockin' Roller Coaster but the wait was posted around 30 minutes. But the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy was about to start and we had never done it so we decided to give it a go. Now, during the time between the end of March to the day before we left for our trip we watched at least one (usually more) attraction from either WDW, Disneyland or Disneyland Paris on YouTube and we watched this Lightning McQueen show and we were like "meh" so we weren't expecting much. Well turns out we were impressed with it, the show was a lot better in person. We thought it was really cute and just the right length to keep us entertained. Maybe we liked it because watching it on YouTube had set the bar low, but we liked it.

After Lightning McQueen it was time to check in for dinner at Mama Melrose. We were looking forward to this dinner a lot, especially after our craptastic lunch.


We were always in awe when we saw the streets so empty.
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I thought this was cute, but alas it was a child's shirt.
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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 10, 2020

Dinner at Mama's did not disappoint. We both got the steak with the special mac and cheese! So good. The restaurant was Covid busy but we didn't have anyone really nearby until the end.

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After dinner we went for a flight on the Millennium Falcon. B said he was going to be something other than pilot this time but when the time came he was a pilot.

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After our coaxium delivery we went for some drinks at Oga's. I got a late reservation so we could linger a bit after park close. Our tables ended up being in the far corner of the place, I guess they realized we were riff raff and kept us secluded.

So cool to get some empty area pictures here!
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We got the Fuzzy Tauntaun (with straw) and let our mouths get a little numb. And our favorite the Skyhopper. Round two was another Skyhopper and a Gold Squadron beer.
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Since we hadn't been able to see R3X from our table we headed over to get a quick pic before leaving.
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The plan after leaving was to linger and get some good "night" pictures and linger. Well.....
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 10, 2020

Well when we left Oga's we noticed the sky didn't look great but the emptiness of SWGE was so tempting for pictures. We did see a little lightning and we weren't too concerned for awhile around the time of our Falcon pictures it was getting darker, more lightning, some sprinkles, and more lighting (I know I already typed that but at this point the hair on our arms was standing on end with the static in the air).

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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 10, 2020

While the emptiness of the area was awesome and the lightning was cool to watch it started to get a little scary. I kind of wanted to get a cool lightning picture but I also didn't want to get struck by lightning and die. By the time we left SWGE we were very concerned with the lightning we saw and started hightailing it to the exit. We saw and heard some very scary thunder and lightning. And probably about that time we were leaving or had just left was the lightning strike that hit Rise of Resistance and kept it down for the whole next day!


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Disappointed in this picture but I took it on the go after a big clap of thunder.
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Parts of the sky looked super ominous but others not so much. Weird.
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Tried zooming in but the dark and a cell phone camera makes it grainy.
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Up next: August 11 and fun at AK!
 

93boomer

Well-Known Member
August 10, 2020

Still at Hollywood Studios and completing our mission for the Rebel on Rise. It was time for lunch and we decided we wanted burgers so we did the mobile order for Backlot Express. The food wasn't that great, the cheese for the fries was really the bright spot of the meal. Probably should have gone to PizzaRizzo. Then we decided to check out the Mickey Shorts Theater and the short was entertaining but I was in love with the chairs! The Mickey short was cute and provided a nice air conditioned break.

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Took a little tour around the Galaxy at Star Tours.
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Outside the Mickey Shorts theater were some fun photo opportunities based on the short.
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We both wanted some ice cream but our first choice was not an option. Our first choice would have been a chocolate peanut butter milkshake from the Tune In lounge but that was closed so B went off in search of Mickey bars. I waited on this bench, when he went off in search of Mickey bars it was shady, but shortly after he left me it was not any more. There was shade nearby but not at the bench. Oh well, it had a nice view. It took him awhile to find some and ended up going to a cart that was near the exit of Mickey's Runaway Railway. But they were delicious!
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We don’t like those burgers there either.
And we sat on those same benches!! We ran out of shade too.
Yayyy mission accomplished! Mickey bars!😉
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
We don’t like those burgers there either.
And we sat on those same benches!! We ran out of shade too.
Yayyy mission accomplished! Mickey bars!😉

We hadn't eat there in years and didn't remember their food being that bad. I know a lot of people give PizzaRizzo a bad rap but honestly their pizza is better than the Backlot. And I read today that WDW is cutting hours on PizzaRizzo and adding hours to Backlot and that is a mistake.
 

ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 11, 2020

Animal Kingdom day! It was dark when we got to the bus stop but nice and sunny by the time our AK bus came. We thought it was cool that it was AK themed as well. When we got to the Tree of Life area it was lined with custodial staff cheering and welcoming us back, it was fun to see but a little embarrassing too like when the crew cheers our entry unto a Disney cruise ship.

The walk to Everest was totally empty. I think one pair passed us. The emptiness made for a lovely walk in the morning.

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Keeping the distance!
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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
Original Poster
August 11, 2020

When we got to Everest there was only one other couple and the queue wasn't open yet so I wandered the area and took advantage of the morning light and the empty areas to explore the little details. It was beautiful. In total I took 5 turns on Everest with it just being a walk on, B did 3 with rests in between. One time I even had the whole train to myself.
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Me and all my friends ready to meet the Yeti!
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