Trip Report Shrouded In A Daft Disguise ~ PART TU

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
Thursday, con’t

Something Em and I found ourselves doing a lot this trip was waving and nodding at Cast Members. Since they couldn't see us smiling (or any other facial expressions for that matter) it was the only way for us to communicate. We appreciated their waves to us and our nods conveyed that we understood any instructions given to us (such as, "Row 4.")

We made sure to speak to the CMs in the stores, many of whom weren't busy and were clearly seeking interaction with guests.

"Let's browse the shops," Em suggested. We didn't intend to buy anything (since nothing could be shipped back to the resort) but I did purchase a Pixar mask since I thought it was adorable. I heeded the counsel of all the reviews I'd read and bought size Large, and I still had to stretch out the straps (eventually replacing them at home with more comfy straps.)

We happened upon the Disney Junior cavalcade near the front of the park.

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The music for this one is a tad repetitive, but the target market is preschoolers, so....;)

Em and I were debating heading out of the park when we received notification that our Boarding Group was called!!

"Let's do it!" I declared. No sense passing up an opportunity to experience Disney's #1 experience.

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Please don't take the following as a complaint, just a surprise observation. After scanning into RotR, we have always walked the queue without having to stop until we reach the first preshow. Having read lots of reports about long waits in the queue, I knew we'd been fortunate to breeze right through. Yet I admit I was taken aback today when almost 30 minutes passed before we got to the preshow.

And it wasn't a pleasant 30 minutes. The largish group ahead of us did not maintain physical distance nor did all keep their masks pulled up. Their sense of entitlement was apparent in their conversation. We couldn't wait to be rid of them. (Thankfully we did not share a preshow room with them.)

Give us Stormtroopers over obnoxious people any day!

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Plus we have a transport vehicle to get us to safety!

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We defeated Kylo (in A mode. 😁 Never have had to settle for B mode.)
 

lindawdw

Well-Known Member
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I've thought about the poor CM's working in the gift shops too since they're not allowing purchases to be sent to the resorts. It's got to be such a long and boring day for most of them with not as many guests shopping now. I will make a point of going in to talk with them on my next trip. Sorry you got stuck with that obnoxious group in the boarding are of ROTR.:rolleyes: Glad you didn't have to ride with them at least!
 
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Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
Em and I did not mind hanging back in the park to ride RotR. It was worth the risk of being late for our dinner ADR. But we hadn't factored in the extra time we had to wait for Rise, and there was no way (short of hyperspeed) we were going to make it.

We canceled our Kona reservation but decided to go to the Polynesian Village anyway.

Gate 36??!! The furthest bus stop from the entrance. Those guests staying at the Poly certainly got the shaft!
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On the bus we mobile ordered from Capt. Cooks. (We were prepared now!)

Asian Rice Noodles with Chicken. This was in my Top 3 meals of our vacation.

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Em devoured her Parmesan Black Pepper Chicken Wings (and a side of mac and cheese.)

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Who knows why I am pointing? 😁

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Dinner would have been perfection had we been able to conclude it with an Island Sunset. (The drink, not an actual sunset.)

But Tambu Lounge was shuttered!! :arghh:

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Instead we went out to the monorail platform for transport to MK.

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We had our own car. Note the "safety partition." (Yeah no germs are gonna get through that gap! :rolleyes: )

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It was raining when we arrived at MK so we bypassed the boat to WL in favor of the bus.

And this is when the bus luck we'd had all week came to a screeching halt. It was a little past 7 pm. MK closed at 7 pm. Typically there are lots of buses around at closing to shuttle guests back to their resorts. But even if there had been only one bus available for WL, round-trip to the Lodge and back is less than 15 minutes (including drop off.)

So why did we have to wait 35 minutes for the bus to arrive?

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And the story's not over.

The driver gets off the bus and boards the family of 4 ahead of us in line. As he does, an ECV pulls up into the loading zone. Rather than continue to load us and the other guests who have been waiting forever, the driver announces he has to load the EVC next. (Why???!! He watched it pull up just like the rest of us did!!) Driver gets back on the bus to don his face shield before he can load the ECV. Meanwhile the other 8 members of ECV driver's party arrive, and they all get to board before any of us do!! Even worse ~ buses now have limited seating and not all of us in line were going to make it onboard.

It had now been 45 minutes since Em and I had gotten to the gate and I was fuming. "If we don't make it on to this bus...." I muttered under my breath.

We did. But the folks behind us did not. They truly got the shaft.

Em and I decided not to let the bus debacle ruin our otherwise fantastic day. (But you can tell I'm still *hot* about it! 🤣 )
 

slipperalwaysfits

Well-Known Member
And they have iPads to assist guests. Ordering at the counter is a "last resort' option.

The ipads make me feel better, in case my app goes down when I'm trying to order.

The music for this one is a tad repetitive, but the target market is preschoolers, so.
Don't you miss the days of all those preschool repetitive songs stuck in your brain? :geek::geek::geek::geek::cautious:

Who knows why I am pointing?

YOUR SIGN!!! To be fair, Rarotonga was also the name of a tribe on Survivor one season, but they film in the South Pacific, so it makes sense. :jawdrop::geek:


Note the "safety partition." (Yeah no germs are gonna get through that gap!

Seriously, I understand the partitions and the plexiglass in lines but the partition here, in a rectangle where the virus is airborne? I'm not so sure it makes sense...if they are high enough, they might make sense at restaurants and definitely in lines but...

Em and I decided not to let the bus debacle ruin our otherwise fantastic day. (But you can tell I'm still *hot* about it

Sheeesh:bored::bored::cautious::cautious: This sucks even in the best of times! My FIL had an ECV but we knew if there were others in line, there was no way we were getting on that bus. Ayiyi. I'm glad you guys made it but waiting 45 minutes is absolutely forever!! Super weird they didn't have extra buses running after park close...
 

Songbird76

Well-Known Member
Technology can be great, but it isn’t the “be all and end all” and I personally find it annoying that so many businesses and organizations think that EVERYONE is “connected” with the newest technology - which isn’t true.

More and more frequently events I attend will send an email saying “join our FB group for up to date information“. Or a business won‘t have a “traditional“ website but only FB. I’m not on FB, Instagram, Twitter or anything else (— nor do I want to be -, but it is becoming exceedingly difficult to maintain this stance.
I hear you. I don't have instagram at all and I have a twitter account that I've used all of like 3 times. I do have facebook because it's the easiest way to keep in touch with my family and friends back home. But I wondered this back when someone else mentioned that with sit down restaurants only have mobile check in....no counter. How will foreign guests without phones that work in the US be able to check in? Last Summer, we had to check in and just wait near the podium because they couldn't call us when our table was ready. We had no number that worked in the US. So if you check in and they call you or text you to tell you your table is ready, that won't work for a lot of international guests. And not everyone has a smart phone anyway! Just like not everyone has a credit card. You can't book without a credit card! I understand it being easier if people have those things, but they need to allow for the few who don't.
 

Minnesota disney fan

Well-Known Member
Technology can be great, but it isn’t the “be all and end all” and I personally find it annoying that so many businesses and organizations think that EVERYONE is “connected” with the newest technology - which isn’t true.

More and more frequently events I attend will send an email saying “join our FB group for up to date information“. Or a business won‘t have a “traditional“ website but only FB. I’m not on FB, Instagram, Twitter or anything else (— nor do I want to be -, but it is becoming exceedingly difficult to maintain this stance.

I agree:) I am not a luddite, but personally don't want to be connected all the time. I tried a smart phone one time because everyone had one............but I found it irritating to keep looking at it, setting it on the table at restaurants, checking several times a day. That's not what I'm used to, so I got rid of it. I am much happier this way, but doubt if there are too many out there who feel this way.
When my old flip phone finally quits, I am not going to get any other phone. I have a land line. If someone wants to talk with me, they can call on my land line phone or leave a message. I only got one because of where I live and the severe cold weather we get, but I don't go out in that kind of weather now. I do have a laptop and my husband has a kindle. We just don't want to be tied down by phones. Our generation didn't have them and we don't feel the need for them.
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
Door Nazis at WDW? I never would have thought such a thing would be happening. I'm old school and appreciate the interaction with cast members at WDW, but a door nazi telling me i'm not allowed entry without mobile order would put a sour taste in my mouth. We all spend enough time on our devices at WDW as it is for ADRs FP, etc. This just adds another layer of stress for some people. Hope this changes before too long.
Couldn't agree with you more, Neil. It was so un-Disneylike.

OMgosh! We are really in trouble on our next visit! You see, I don't have a smart phone and husband doesn't have a cell phone at all.
I hope we don't get yelled at trying to order.
There was no need for that CM to yell at people. A stunt like that can ruin your experience. I'm glad the manager helped you out:)
If you visit during the current restrictions, practice your sad doe-eyes look as you explain you don't have a smartphone. I'm sure someone will help you out.
I am certain the current protocols and the push to mobile order are all pandemic related and will cease once the pandemic is over.

I've thought about the poor CM's working in the gift shops too since they're not allowing purchases to be sent to the resorts. It's got to be such a long and boring day for most of them with not as many gifts shopping now. I will make a point of going in to talk with them on my next trip.
The store CMs will appreciate your kindness, Linda.

My three year old would collapse in awe to see Doc McStuffins in this car! Super cute.
My two and three year old grands would have no clue! :joyfull: Ducktales, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are their jam.

Island Sunset is my favorite drink on property! So sad you weren’t able to get it!
So were we!!
 

Minnesota disney fan

Well-Known Member
Couldn't agree with you more, Neil. It was so un-Disneylike.


If you visit during the current restrictions, practice your sad doe-eyes look as you explain you don't have a smartphone. I'm sure someone will help you out.
I am certain the current protocols and the push to mobile order are all pandemic related and will cease once the pandemic is over.


The store CMs will appreciate your kindness, Linda.


My two and three year old grands would have no clue! :joyfull: Ducktales, Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are their jam.


So were we!!
LOL, I'll try to practice my sad doe eyed look, but that only works on my kids! I hope you are right about it being mostly for the virus.
 
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