Trip Report The Never Ending Trip Report- From a Local

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hi All!

I have flipped through many trip reports over the years but have never contributed any of my own. A little background on me: I grew up in Ohio and have lived in Florida since October 2006. I jumped at the chance for my dad to accept a job offer in Florida while I was still in high school, and WDW was a big factor in that decision. I bounced around to a few cities in Florida going through school and had an amazing job fall into my lap in - of all places - Orlando, FL. I have been an Orlando resident for 4 years and still can not get enough of the parks, living 15 minutes away. Before Covid you could find me at the parks 2-3 times a week.

I know everyone has been struggling through these past few months and missing WDW. I have started to visit Disney Springs again and figured I could continue to document the resort for those needing to see a little magic- even if it looks a bit different these days.

Below is from my last day at the parks on 3/15. I have every AP Magnet and I wasn't about to miss my last opportunity for Donald!
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MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
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Yeah! Following along and can't wait for your updates. I followed you through all 1 million pages of RotR boarding groups.
 

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Stepping back onto Property- May 19 and 20

After over 2 months being away from the parks, I dipped my toes back into not only the resorts, but society in general. City Walk was my first destination. I didn't do much, I think I was only there about an hour, but it felt so nice to walk around and be even that close to the parks (and a rollercoaster!)
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The walkways towards the back by Hard Rock and Toothsome's were incredibly quiet. It was almost eerie.
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The next day I was also feeling adventurous and went to Springs for their opening day. I went in the afternoon after work, and crowds were more busy than City Walk but the most empty I had ever seen it. Only a handful of restaurants and stores were open at this point, this was the crowd in front of Boathouse.
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The highlight of my night was being able to place a beer on a trashcan again!! A true Disney highlight.
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I spotted many vloggers recording and streaming throughout the night. Of note was Lou Mongello from WDW Radio. I had been scrolling through Facebook while sitting on a bench near Boathouse when I saw his live feed pop up of him directly in front of the location. I looked up and sure enough spotted him across the street!

I walked towards the East Side where things were suddenly much more quiet. Nearly all of those stores and restaurants were still closed. I snagged a few pictures of the night and enjoyed listening to the Springs Disney music back over on that side.

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I didn't even go into a store on either day but it felt nice to be back. I enjoyed the distanced space and chill vibe both places had, much different than normal. I will take any Disney I can get at this point, and this felt like a huge step.
 

Ayn

New Member
Thank you from Oregon. It's nice to get a real time perspective for those of us many miles away and hoping to reschedule cancelled vacation plans!
 

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the comments! I hope this helps fill your void a little. If you have any requests or specific areas you would like any feedback or reports on, let me know! Back for another (short) update!

May 22

The rain seems to like to follow me to Disney Springs, and the next few days were no exception. The benefit of this is that it scares away even more of the crowd. Many stores and restaurants were still not open at this time. I stopped at the 4 Rivers food truck over by Stitch and World of Disney for a burrito bowl. I forget to take a picture but boy did that hit the spot, this was my view as I ate.

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Every area where lines form, or there could be a line formed, is marked. Many shops that are currently closed already have markers outside the store as well as hand sanitizer waiting inside.
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Another shot of the very, very quiet evening at Springs.
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The first few days of the Disney Springs reopening were fascinating to see in person. It was familiar but not all at the same time. It was odd walking by most restaurants and stores completely closed.

Next... World of Disney and more
 
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Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Great to see you @disneygeek90 in the TR section.
Last we “spoke” you were giving me advice on how to score a later BG return time, on purpose. (I was suppose to be there 3/15 for my bday.)
So much research down the....🚽
Glad to see you are back at WDW!!! Keep the updates coming!!!
 

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Great to see you @disneygeek90 in the TR section.
Last we “spoke” you were giving me advice on how to score a later BG return time, on purpose. (I was suppose to be there 3/15 for my bday.)
So much research down the....🚽
Glad to see you are back at WDW!!! Keep the updates coming!!!
I’m so sorry about your trip!! I know you were eager for that ROTR boarding group challenge. Hopefully you’re able to reschedule as soon as it makes sense to do so.
 

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Disney Springs - May 29

Another weekend that allowed for a little Disney, and I visited for at least a little each day. This also marked the first day back in the World of Disney store and Co-Op (my favorite store in springs). But first... a temperature check.

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I walked straight over to WoD to check out the situation, I heard reports of lines and virtual queue but it wasn't really needed past the first day of open. There was indeed a wait outside, but I only waited a couple minutes until I was let in. And wow, this was a sight for sore eyes.
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I've never seen this store so empty. Not even a line at the register! There was lots of distancing happening as well as sanitizer available throughout the store.

Next I was on to Co-Op. Once again I had to wait only a few minutes outside until I was let in.
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The stores themselves felt incredibly spaced and distanced. I'd gladly wait a few minutes outside for this kind of atmosphere.

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It's still odd seeing so many with a mask, but is slowly is becoming more "normal."
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A quick snap of the temp check stations as I exited for the evening - lots of signage.
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Next: Stormtroopers!
 

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
May 30 & 31

Slowly but surely, Disney Springs has started getting a bit more life. I didn't get to Springs until 7pm or so and upon exiting the escalator the crowds were decent, but still nowhere near a typical Saturday night level and plenty of room to distance.
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They've added in a new sign/photo op by AMC for Mulan, sans an open date.
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I decided to grab a quick slice of pizza over at Pizza Ponte, near The Edison and STK. You can get one large slice for around $7, and they do give an AP discount.

I had to have a beer to go along with it. I normally enjoy pizza with crushed red pepper but their side stations were closed up and I didn't feel like bothering them for packets.
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Unfortunately, the sky opened up shortly after. I was sat outside under one of the coverings so it didn't really bother me as I ate, but I quickly realized that this wasn't a typical summer passing storm. I hung out there 30-45 mins until it lightened up at least a little and thought about going back to the car for an umbrella, but decided to bag the whole trip and just head home. This is one of the nicest parts about living so close, if the day isn't working out for whatever reason, no real loss. Tomorrow would be a new day!

I arrived back at Springs a bit earlier on Sunday, around 1:45. I was impressed to see a CM even wiping down the signage. The level of cleaning is top notch, and anywhere that people touch, or could touch, is being wiped down constantly. You can also see one of the hand washing stations at the right.
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Anyone who has been to Springs knows how congested the area near LEGO usually is.

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After making my typical lap around and over the bridge, I made my way all the way back to the other side once again. I hadn't explored much of the area past the parking garage, so I took a walk over. Most of the stores down that strip (Candy co, Star Wars, Disney Style) were still closed.

And then I heard some... mechanical voices. I looked up and finally spotted them!
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There they were, hanging out at the top of the AMC entrance, right next to Splitsville. There were so few people over there at all. Some walked by and I don't think even noticed them if they weren't talking. As some of you know, I am a huge fan of Batuu and ROTR and this was so nice to see. The troopers interacted with both each other and guests. They seemed to really like to call people out for not wearing their masks correctly 😆

There was a young boy that was awestruck by them. The storm troopers were there same old storm trooper self and interacted with him for a few moments. It was a different kind of Disney magic, but it still tugged at my heart strings to watch and was nice to feel a little bit of that magic back.
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I'd say I ended the afternoon on a high note, I had seen videos online of storm troopers out and about so I was glad I caught it in person. Overall, another great day at Disney Springs. The low crowds are very comfortable to be around and the time spent walking around and getting used to the mask outside had prepared me for my next update.... Universal Studios Reopening
 

disneygeek90

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
June 5

And we're back! For the moment that I had been waiting for since March. Universal Studios announced an opening date of June 5. While Disney is ingrained in my blood, I have enjoyed being a Universal Passholder. Shortly after I moved to Orlando I bought a pass, being only about 20 minutes away.

I actually did get an AP ticket for a June 4 preview but due to work and early closings at Universal, I wasn't able to make it. Honestly, looking at the videos and pictures from that "preview" I was glad I didn't go. It looked a bit more crowded than I expected, and due to that I thought there was no way I would be visiting opening weekend.

As I sat at home on Friday morning and afternoon (continuing my work from home), I looked on the app and was shocked at what I saw. 10-15 minute waits for most attractions. In the early afternoon I decided I was going to try and head over, if only for a little as the parks closed at 7.

I parked at 5:15, back into the Jaws parking lot!
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While I was in city walk I grabbed a virtual queue for Gringotts that started in a mere matter of minutes. The temp check and security was quick, and a few minutes later I was entering the gates.
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It was a bit of a rainy weekend and that continued for the next several days, but these crowds were amazing! Walking down the "Main Street" was nothing like a typical June day at Universal. I have to say I took several minutes walking down and just looking at everything. The buildings, the stores, the designs. I know in the grand scheme of things most people go much longer than a few months between trips. But somehow knowing that everything had been completely closed made the arrival much more emotional.
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By now, it was nearly time for my Gringotts virtual queue. I realize now that my Express after 4pm would have also worked, but there was no real difference this evening. I have never seen Diagon Alley so empty, maybe not even during horror nights. And yes, the dragon is still breathing fire!
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And I was doing it. My first ride in almost 3 months. First thing of note are these markers all throughout the queue. Neither of the preshows are operating currently, and there was literally no line as I walked straight onto the ride. From entering the queue to exiting the ride was probably about 10 minutes in total.
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After that, I continued my walk around the park, noting both the markers and the extreme lack of crowds as more rain clouds loomed in the background.
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Last fall I upgraded my AP to the top level, this includes prime parking but most importantly, express pass after 4pm. So far I am loving this perk and I hopped onto ET. Including myself, there was 3 people in my car that typically holds 12. They are completely skipping a row between parties. I sat in row 3 while two others were in row 1. They aren't taking names right now, ET just says "Goodbye Friends."
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When I got out of ET, there came the rain. It was pouring but this was my first time back in a park in months! I wasn't about to let that slow me down with a half hour left. I threw on a poncho and trudged my way to Mummy.
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The park continued to clear out as we neared park close and more rain. I used Express once again for Mummy and discovered I was the only one in the Express line. This attraction has a separate load area for Express, so I ended up having the entire car (16 people) to myself. I gotta be honest it was almost a little creepy but it was such a cool experience.

When I got off Mummy, it was 6:45 and still raining. I figured there was still time to squeeze in one more ride and walked back to MIB which was incredibly empty. Once again, markers in the queue throughout.
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I walked straight up to the loading zone and was quite literally the only person in line. So, I had another private ride of MIB before making my way out of the park. At some moments, it felt like the park was only open for me. It was truly incredible. I realized that, what I had thought would be a crowded weekend with capacity issues, was actually quite the opposite. I had planned to gauge crowd levels on the app over Saturday and Sunday and if they looked anything like today I was content on going back. Everything felt clean and controlled and I honestly felt more comfortable walking around the park than I do walking around Publix. All in all, even though it wasn't even 2 full hours, it was so good to be back.

Next: Islands of Adventure
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
You're living the life that my wife and I want to have in a few years. Work in the Orlando area, and enjoy the parks as an annual passholder. We are currently passholders for both Disney and Universal, but we live in PA about 1100 miles away. My daughter is moving to Jacksonville in a few weeks so we'll have a big excuse to visit more often.
 
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