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Trip Report Shrouded In A Daft Disguise *COMPLETED*

Two weeks ago today, I returned home from the most surreal Disney vacation I have ever experienced.

During my last visit in February, I couldn’t have imagined having to wear a face mask and have my temperature taken before being allowed into a park. “Social distancing” wasn’t part of my vocabulary. Hand sanitizer was something I carried in a little bottle in my purse, not something in giant containers at the entrance/exit of every attraction.

No park hopping? No Fastpasses? No FIREWORKS :jawdrop: ?!! Not even on my radar screen.

Like a bolt out of the blue, the pandemic struck and life was dramatically altered. For everyone. And there is no Magic Mirror to tell us when it will be over. For me the pandemic has been a reminder to take nothing for granted ~ and that there can still be joy in the darkest days.

My name is Tuvalu and I have been a WDW annual passholder for nearly 25 years. I was raised on Disney and so were my children. The parks have always been my “escape” from real life. Could they still be an “escape” in the midst of a pandemic? After months of quarantine, I was ready to find out.

My daughter Em was my travel buddy. My husband Woody had reservations, but not for our safety. He was concerned we’d struggle with the restrictions and disappointment with all the changes. He wanted us to come back happy and wasn’t sure we would. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure we would either. After much research and due diligence, Em and I felt prepared to embark on a vacation with few expectations.

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Full disclosure ~ I‘ve wrestled with writing a report of our trip. The pandemic and subsequent events have caused much division on this Disney fan forum. I’ve always considered the trip reports section to be a “safe space” and hope it stays that way. My goal is to provide entertainment to the reader, nothing more.

With that in mind.....

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Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
I always take pictures of hotel rooms. It helps me remember the places I’ve stayed. I also enjoy looking at room pictures as it satisfies my curiosity. Thus I always post pics of my resort room in my TRs in case there’s someone else out there like me ~ and I’ve happily discovered @Nunu shares my room pic passion!

For you, @Nunu (and anyone else who cares :hilarious:.)

Boulder Ridge one bedroom living area

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The sofa opens into a queen bed. There is storage in the coffee table. The round table on the left seats two.

There is more seating at the bar below (chairs not pictured). The fully equipped kitchen has everything you need to prepare meals. (Something I did once, years ago, in a Boardwalk Villa...to this day my children still give me grief about it. “Why do we have to eat home cooked food on vacation??!!“)

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Coffee pot pic for my friend @riverside.

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The bedroom has a king bed, dresser and a large flat screen TV. (And my favorite feature ~ a ceiling fan!)

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From the bedroom you can see into the split bathroom. The shutters close for privacy.

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Sink and jetted tub on one side....

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....large stall shower, toilet and another sink on the other.

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Toiletries were individual size (no large pumps in the shower.)

Not pictured is the placard describing all the “enhanced cleaning” the room received. (I want to know why the rooms aren’t always cleaned that way. :bored: ) All literature ~ and pillows that would normally be on the sofa and chairs ~ have been removed. No sofa pillows made it difficult to be comfortable while sitting or reclining, as the sofa is very sturdy and has no “give” in the cushions. I ended up putting extra bed pillows on the sofa for comfort.

The TV remotes were sealed for our protection.

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And the extra blanket pouch in the closet was sealed with a zip tie, which had to be cut off in order to access the blanket.

It wasn’t until I climbed into bed later that I discovered how heavily bleached the sheets were ~ the pillowcases smelled of Clorox. While not an offensive smell, it doesn’t exactly lull a person to sleep. (“Should have brought your pillow from home,” Em gloated while clutching hers.)

The room had a pretty view. We were mere steps from the quiet pool.

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Em relaxed on our patio before we headed off to dinner.

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LF85

Well-Known Member
Sunday, con’t

Our bus was waiting for us when we got to the gate and we had a private ride back to WL. Grading Disney transport today ~ A+!

We unloaded the car and made the short walk to Boulder Ridge.

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What a warm welcome! :cautious:

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I had been in this building once before, during the holiday season. The Christmas tree nearly filled the lobby and was centered where the bird cage is now.

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There is a separate room off the lobby where Walt’s backyard trains are displayed.

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Our room was on the first floor, no need to use the elevator. Was it all the way down the end of the hall?

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Nope! I was standing in front of our door when I took this picture (intending to show off the “hidden Mickeys.”) Room 1533 was the first room in the complex. We couldn’t have asked for a more convenient location.
(Jealous @Matt and Kelly ? ;) )

The Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorites..
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
On the bus ride back from MK, Em booked our dinner reservation.

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We had a Whispering Canyon ADR later in the week (which we canceled) but had a hankering for barbecue tonight.

It was our first time checking in online at a Disney table service restaurant. I understand the reason for “less contact” protocols during a pandemic, but I fear some of the less/no “personal contact” changes may stay permanent. Interactions with hosts and other staff make a dining experience full. Waiting for a “your table is ready” text without having been acknowledged or greeted by an actual person is sterile.

Of course masks plus face shields doesn’t exactly scream, “So glad you’re here!” It is off-putting in a restaurant and took some getting used to for me. The double layer of protection makes it very hard to hear your server unless they speak up. Again this is not a criticism as it is a necessary measure for now.

The next photo taken from our table makes the place appear busier than it actually was.

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In fact the restaurant was eerily quiet. There were none of the usual shenanigans ~ no loud kvetching between the servers, no stick pony races, no “We need ketchup!!” ~ the atmosphere was very subdued.

The menu was accessed by scanning the QR code with your phone. A disposable paper menu was available upon request.

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We didn’t need a menu anyway. We knew what we were here for.

The unbelievable Pulled Pork Nachos!

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Though the nachos are considered an appetizer, Em and I both had an order as our entrée. So good....and filling!

As we were finishing, Em mentioned that she was thinking of having soft serve from Roaring Fork for dessert rather than our usual lava cake.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “We can have Roaring Fork soft serve any day this week but we can only have lava cake here.”

Sometimes the Mom is smarter than the kid.

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Rich chocolatety heaven....warm caked paired with cold ice cream....I enjoyed this even more than the nachos and we *almost* couldn’t eat it all.

It was the right choice on so many levels. We meandered down to Roaring Fork afterwards and discovered the soft serve machine behind closed doors....where it remained all week.

While it was odd not to have the option to return to MK (or worse ~ no fireworks from our balcony!) we felt no guilt in turning in early. This was going to be a truly relaxing vacation.
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
Sunday, con’t

Once Goofy’s cavalcade passed we continued our stroll down Main Street. The next image made Em very, very sad.

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There’d be no All American Sundae this trip. The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor was CLOSED.

Looking back the way we came.

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We stopped for more PP pics near the castle. (@lindawdw we did not get our pics in front of the train station.)

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Cindy’s abode looks quite different than when we last saw it.

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We didn’t love it.....but we also didn’t hate it.

The pink is better in person (and 1000x better than the Pepto Bismol shade of 1996/97) and the gold accents definitely make the castle more regal.

But the bluish purple turrets? 😖 The sun needs to fade that color fast!!
I meant to say train station🤣 So glad you were able to get a nice PP pic in front of the castle although the new paint colors aren't my favorite look for it! You got a great location for your room at BRV!!! We've only stayed there once and got a room that was at the very end of that hallway but on the 4th floor. We were just happy that we were on the lake side! Your nachos and lava cake looks so delicious. It sounds like you had the perfect first day in our "Happy Place"! :)
 
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k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
It wasn’t until I climbed into bed later that I discovered how heavily bleached the sheets were ~ the pillowcases smelled of Clorox. While not an offensive smell, it doesn’t exactly lull a person to sleep. (“Should have brought your pillow from home,” Em gloated while clutching hers.)

Yikes...I can't stomach the smell of bleach. 🤢 Looks like I'm bringing my own pillow!
 

amjt660

Well-Known Member
Hello Tu
I am glad you decided to write this one up for all of us to enjoy (and of course also great for you to relive all the great moments as you compile your thoughts)

Not sure if I am the only one (probably I am) that expected Mickey and Minnie at the gate to be wearing masks!!!
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but I fear some of the less/no “personal contact” changes may stay permanent. Interactions with hosts and other staff make a dining experience full. Waiting for a “your table is ready” text without having been acknowledged or greeted by an actual person is sterile.
I hear you on this one - not only does it take away the personal touch it is also could result in less staff required.

Loving it so far

Max
 

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wlodge_man

Member
I forgot to mention that the first CM we saw on Disney property.....driving a bus.....had his face mask pulled down past his chin. I assume that the bus was empty, but it was very poor show to anyone on the road who could see him. He was stopped at a light and it would have been easy to take his picture. Em and I just chuckled at the irony and continued on our way.

Our original reservation was for a standard room at the Wilderness Lodge. When I read that the non-DVC side of the Lodge would not be reopening, I spent three hours on hold waiting to speak to a CM about alternate accommodations. I hoped we'd be moved to a Copper Creek villa on the opposite side of the Lodge, but the CM said there was no availability. However she was able to upgrade us to a one bedroom villa at Boulder Ridge (which is adjacent to the Lodge.)

I was hoping to receive a "room ready" text before our arrival, but since official check-in is at 4 pm I knew it was a long shot. No text. We parked and went into the main building to use the restroom before embarking on our first adventure.

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I posted the following picture in my "No Trip" TR back on April 29 and used it for encouragement that I would return someday, even if I didn't know when.

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Eighty-one days later here I was!! :inlove:

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I had my suspicions that one of the reasons the "regular" side of the Lodge wasn't open was to begin room refurbishments that were supposed to happen over two years ago. Black tarps on the upper floors indicated I might be right.

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With less demand for rooms, it makes sense to get the refurb done now.

The Mercantile was one way in and one way out. We noticed that was protocol for gift shops.

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I shed a little tear when I saw the Lodge!
 

93boomer

Well-Known Member
On the bus ride back from MK, Em booked our dinner reservation.

View attachment 490315

We had a Whispering Canyon ADR later in the week (which we canceled) but had a hankering for barbecue tonight.

It was our first time checking in online at a Disney table service restaurant. I understand the reason for “less contact” protocols during a pandemic, but I fear some of the less/no “personal contact” changes may stay permanent. Interactions with hosts and other staff make a dining experience full. Waiting for a “your table is ready” text without having been acknowledged or greeted by an actual person is sterile.

Of course masks plus face shields doesn’t exactly scream, “So glad you’re here!” It is off-putting in a restaurant and took some getting used to for me. The double layer of protection makes it very hard to hear your server unless they speak up. Again this is not a criticism as it is a necessary measure for now.

The next photo taken from our table makes the place appear busier than it actually was.

View attachment 490311

In fact the restaurant was eerily quiet. There were none of the usual shenanigans ~ no loud kvetching between the servers, no stick pony races, no “We need ketchup!!” ~ the atmosphere was very subdued.

The menu was accessed by scanning the QR code with your phone. A disposable paper menu was available upon request.

View attachment 490312

We didn’t need a menu anyway. We knew what we were here for.

The unbelievable Pulled Pork Nachos!

View attachment 490313

Though the nachos are considered an appetizer, Em and I both had an order as our entrée. So good....and filling!

As we were finishing, Em mentioned that she was thinking of having soft serve from Roaring Fork for dessert rather than our usual lava cake.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “We can have Roaring Fork soft serve any day this week but we can only have lava cake here.”

Sometimes the Mom is smarter than the kid.

View attachment 490314

Rich chocolatety heaven....warm caked paired with cold ice cream....I enjoyed this even more than the nachos and we *almost* couldn’t eat it all.

It was the right choice on so many levels. We meandered down to Roaring Fork afterwards and discovered the soft serve machine behind closed doors....where it remained all week.

While it was odd not to have the option to return to MK (or worse ~ no fireworks from our balcony!) we felt no guilt in turning in early. This was going to be a truly relaxing vacation.
Got that daughter “jab” in, I see!🤣🤣
 

tinker-ella

Member
Your photos are gorgeous, but make me sad to see the park so empty. As much as we complain about the crowds, it's always been our happy Place. Thanks for sharing.
 

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