Trip Report Trip Report Sept 19-23

Hey everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster here! I’ve been obsessing over this forum leading up to our trip and it’s helped me a ton, so I wanted to post our experience for anyone contemplating on making a trip! My name is Erica and my husband and I made our first trip together to WDW in 2016 and have been itching to go back. My husband turns 30 this week so we figured what better way to celebrate! After reading about how quiet the park was after reopening, we wanted to take advantage. I will admit, in the weeks leading up to our trip I was getting pretty nervous reading about how much larger the crowds had gotten and how much the wait times were increasing, and it almost made us second guess our trip. But we figured we would make the best of it because Disney is Disney! We also planned to go Sun-Tues to hopefully avoid some crowds during the week. Here’s a play by play of each day we had!

We arrived Saturday, Sept 19 around 530 and checked into Pop. Easy check in, went straight to our room with no problem. The recent room renovation is nice! Simple and clean, lots of nice storage. After we checked in, here’s where our night unfortunately took a turn for the worst. We quickly dropped off our stuff and freshened up to meet my sister (who lives outside of Orlando) at Raglan road in Disney springs. We left with what I thought was enough time (30 mins early) but boy, was I wrong. We pulled up towards Disney springs to the worst traffic I’ve ever seen (and this says a lot growing on on Long Island, NY) It was 630 and our resy was at 645. We were at a stand still grid lock with nowhere to go. As the time passed we saw each sign change to “green parking closed” “orange parking closed” and then finally, “Disney springs at capacity.” We obviously just forgot about our resy at this point and met up somewhere else after another 30+ minutes to just get the heck out of there. Super stressful and I’m still not really sure why it was as crazy as it was. And super bummed we didn’t make it to raglan road! In hindsight, I wish we had just ubered there instead of drove ourselves, but it is what it is. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend going to Disney springs on a sat night based on my experience because it was absolutely crazy!

Today (Sun, Sept 20) was Hollywood studios day so we were ready early with one goal in mind! (To get a boarding group of course!) The park “opened” at 10 so we wanted to be right at the gate around 9 (or at least as early as we could). The problem though, was that the skyliner from pop didn’t technically leave till 9, but we figured we would see what we could do. We walked towards the sky liner at 8 and there was already a line (although we were near the front!) We waited until about 830 when it started to get a little windy and the skyliner seemed to be stopping and going, so we decided to just get an Uber. I knew if we got to HS too early we wouldn’t be allowed in, so we decided to Uber to boardwalk and walk over. Everything worked out perfectly and we were right at the gate at 9 on the dot. I will say, ironically, the people who were behind us on line at the skyliner somehow ended up behind us again at the gate, so I guess the skyliner left earlier than posted with no problems! They let us in around 9:10 and we went straight to mickey and minnie’s runaway railway. On and off the ride by 930. (Which I was thrilled about because I knew the wait times were posting about 90 mins everyday the week leading up to our trip!) We thought about hopping in another line but we didn’t want to risk being somewhere with bad service to get in the virtual cue. We sat down outside of sci fi and waited it out. 959 came around and my husband started refreshing the virtual cue in the app (he force pulled down), quickly hit join group when the button popped up, selected all at the top and then hit next... and we got in boarding group 2!!! We were so so elated and headed right over! It was phenomenal and I’m so glad we got in!

The rest of the day was spent riding rides and enjoying all the blue milk at milk stand in galaxy’s edge (it’s soo good!) Here's the posted wait times from today and how long we actually waited- mid way mania- posted 40 mins, 15 min wait, aliens- posted 20 mins, 10 min wait, star tours- posted 30 mins, 20 min wait, smugglers run- posted 75 mins, 25-30 min wait (we also rode this again about 15 mins before park close and it was a walk on), slinky dog- posted 50 mins, 25 min wait (we rode this 2 more times back to back walk on about 30 mins before park close), Muppets- posted 15 mins, 20 min wait, tower of terror- posted 45 mins, 25 min wait, Aerosmith- posted 50 mins, 25 min wait. And.... I think that covers them all!! After our long day of rides we got dinner at sci fi (we just love a good theme restaurant!) and called it a day. All in all we had a great day. I missed the shows, but I liked not feeling like I had to plan when I’d be squeezing in each show and fast pass. Highly recommend the Ronto wrap in galaxy’s edge and blue milk at milk stand! So so good! Overall, the park was “crowded” but never unmanageable and I imagine much emptier than peak summer and holiday months. After 2ish the park cleared out a good bit. The wait times weren’t bad and everyone mostly kept their distance. I’d say maybe at one ride the people behind us were getting a little too close, but other than that, no issues! Hand sanitizer everywhere (although I’d say close to 50% were empty, which was fine as we had our own) and good mask wearing across the board. Here’s to Epcot tomorrow!
 
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pkkurz

Member
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Hey everyone! Long time lurker, first time poster here! I’ve been obsessing over this forum leading up to our trip and it’s helped me a ton, so I wanted to post our experience for anyone contemplating on making a trip! My name is Erica and my husband and I made our first trip together to WDW in 2016 and have been itching to go back. My husband turns 30 this week so we figured what better way to celebrate! After reading about how quiet the park was after reopening, we wanted to take advantage. I will admit, in the weeks leading up to our trip I was getting pretty nervous reading about how much larger the crowds had gotten and how much the wait times were increasing, and it almost made us second guess our trip. But we figured we would make the best of it because Disney is Disney! We also planned to go Sun-Tues to hopefully avoid some crowds during the week. Here’s a play by play of each day we had!

We arrived Saturday, Sept 19 around 530 and checked into Pop. Easy check in, went straight to our room with no problem. The recent room renovation is nice! Simple and clean, lots of nice storage. After we checked in, here’s where our night unfortunately took a turn for the worst. We quickly dropped off our stuff and freshened up to meet my sister (who lives outside of Orlando) at Raglan road in Disney springs. We left with what I thought was enough time (30 mins early) but boy, was I wrong. We pulled up towards Disney springs to the worst traffic I’ve ever seen (and this says a lot growing on on Long Island, NY) It was 630 and our resy was at 645. We were at a stand still grid lock with nowhere to go. As the time passed we saw each sign change to “green parking closed” “orange parking closed” and then finally, “Disney springs at capacity.” We obviously just forgot about our resy at this point and met up somewhere else after another 30+ minutes to just get the heck out of there. Super stressful and I’m still not really sure why it was as crazy as it was. And super bummed we didn’t make it to raglan road! In hindsight, I wish we had just ubered there instead of drove ourselves, but it is what it is. Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend going to Disney springs on a sat night based on my experience because it was absolutely crazy!

Today (Sun, Sept 20) was Hollywood studios day so we were ready early with one goal in mind! (To get a boarding group of course!) The park “opened” at 10 so we wanted to be right at the gate around 9 (or at least as early as we could). The problem though, was that the skyliner from pop didn’t technically leave till 9, but we figured we would see what we could do. We walked towards the sky liner at 8 and there was already a line (although we were near the front!) We waited until about 830 when it started to get a little windy and the skyliner seemed to be stopping and going, so we decided to just get an Uber. I knew if we got to HS too early we wouldn’t be allowed in, so we decided to Uber to boardwalk and walk over. Everything worked out perfectly and we were right at the gate at 9 on the dot. I will say, ironically, the people who were behind us on line at the skyliner somehow ended up behind us again at the gate, so I guess the skyliner left earlier than posted with no problems! They let us in around 9:10 and we went straight to mickey and minnie’s runaway. On and off the ride by 930. (Which I was thrilled about because I knew the wait times were posting about 90 mins everyday the week leading up to our trip!) We thought about hopping in another line but we didn’t want to risk being somewhere with bad service to get in the virtual cue. We sat down outside of sci fi and waited it out. 959 came around and my husband started refreshing the virtual cue in the app (force pull down)- he quickly hit join group, selected all at the top and then hit next, and we got in boarding group 2!! We were so elated and headed right over! It was phenomenal and I’m so glad we got in! The rest of the day was spent riding rides and enjoying all the blue milk at milk stand in galaxy’s edge (it’s soo good!) Heres the posted wait times from today and how long we actually waited- mid way mania- posted 40 mins, 15 min wait, aliens- posted 20 mins, 10 min wait, star tours- posted 30 mins, 20 min wait, smugglers run- posted 75 mins, 25-30 min wait (we also rode this again about 15 mins before park close and it was a walk on), slinky dog- posted 50 mins, 25 min wait (we rode this 2 more times back to back walk on about 30 mins before park close), muppets- posted 15 mins, 20 min wait, tower of terror- posted 45 mins, 25 min wait, Aerosmith- posted 50 mins, 25 min wait. And I think that covers them all!! After our long day of rides we got dinner at sci fi (we just love a good theme restaurant!) and called it a day. All in all we had a great day. I missed the shows, but I liked not feeling like I had to plan when I’d be squeezing in each show and fast pass. Highly recommend the ronto wrap in galaxy’s edge and blue milk at milk stand! So so good! Overall, the park was “crowded” but never unmanageable and I imagine much emptier than peak summer and holiday months. After 2ish the park cleared out a good bit. The wait times weren’t bad and everyone mostly kept their distance. I’d say maybe at one ride the people behind us were getting a little close, but other than that, no issues! Hand sanitizer everywhere (although I’d say close to 50% were empty, which was fine as we had our own) and good mask wearing across the board. Here’s to Epcot tomorrow!
Thanks for sharing. We arrive next week and were wondering about “current” experience with the reports of increasing crowd levels. We will be following along.
 

lilmzkitty

New Member
Thanks for sharing. We arrive next week and were wondering about “current” experience with the reports of increasing crowd levels. We will be following along.

We will also be there next week and have been nervous about the increased times and the seemingly larger crowds. Still sounds manageable. Staying at Pop and decided to make a breakfast reservation at Boardwalk so we can walk over to HS. I figure I would save myself stressing over getting in on time.
 

Ebropez

Member
Original Poster
We will also be there next week and have been nervous about the increased times and the seemingly larger crowds. Still sounds manageable. Staying at Pop and decided to make a breakfast reservation at Boardwalk so we can walk over to HS. I figure I would save myself stressing over getting in on time.
I definitely recommend doing an Uber to boardwalk for both HS and Epcot. We did the Skyliner from pop to Epcot this morning and it took a longgg time. Still got to the park around 1050 (after walking to get on line at the sky liner at 930) but an Uber would have been much quicker!
 

Cetta

Well-Known Member
YAY!!! so happy you got a boarding group! We will be there Friday and I have been planning all along to Uber to Boardwalk to get something at the Boardwalk Bakery and then walk over to Hollywood Studios. Glad to see it worked out for you!
 

Ebropez

Member
Original Poster
Monday (9/21) was Epcot day! We got in line at the skyliner around 930 for an Epcot opening at 11. We weren’t sure what time Epcot opens it’s gates but we wanted to get there as early as we could! We got on the skyliner from pop around 940 to transfer at Caribbean beach, where we then waited till about 1030 to catch the skyliner to Epcot (We wish we had just done an Uber and walked from boardwalk! The skyliner from Caribbean to Epcot didn’t start till 1030 so we were kind of stuck there for a little bit). We eventually walked in at world showcase around 1050. We headed to future world knocking out test track and soarin with walk ons. We then headed to the world showcase and did frozen (posted 35 min wait, 15-20 min wait) and then we ate our way around the world, which was so much fun! We probably got a little bit of something from almost every booth and were so full by the end of the night, thankfully we didn’t have a dinner resy till 9!

Our favorites were the the pork slider at Hawaii and impossible burger slider from earth eats. The slushie from France was a little too sweet but the mimosas at simmering sips were delicious! There was also delicious cider in the world showplace and huge cake pops! The pumpkin macaroon ice cream sandwich tucked away at France was delicious too. Before the night ended we did a few more rides, spaceship earth, the land and gran fiesta tour, all walk ons (gran fiesta was actually about a 10 min wait because they were deep cleaning the boat right before we got on). After that, it was around 6 and we headed back to pop to relax for a little before our resy at 9 at Sanaa! The skyliner back was super easy and quick, took maybe 15 minutes total, much easier than the morning.

At 8, we headed to Animal kingdom lodge (such a beautiful resort, would love to stay here one day!) and checked in using the app. We were quickly seated (early!) and had the most amazing dinner. The bread service really is as good as it’s talked up to be. After a filling and delicious dinner we headed back and crashed before our last day at magical kingdom! Overall, we had a great day at Epcot. I will say, future world is definitely due for a facelift, so I was happy to see all the construction going on, despite how unappealing it may have looked. World showcase was great as always. Crowd wise, I would say it was similar to low season crowds, not empty but not super crowded. We waited about 10 minutes for a few booths but not all. The showplace building was a nice break from the hustle and bustle and had some great food and drink options. Mask wearing in the hot weather wasn’t too bad; we honestly didn’t notice it much by the end of the day. (I highly recommend the masks on kitsch online are super breathable and light!) Here’s to our last day at Magic Kingdom!
 
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Ebropez

Member
Original Poster
Some pics from our day at Epcot!
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Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Premium Member
Following. Like everyone else I am curious to see what the crowds/mask compliance/distancing are really like nowadays.

What a cute nail polish color btw.
 

Ebropez

Member
Original Poster
And finally, our last day at magic kingdom! (Tues 9/22). We were up early and decided to get a Lyft over to the contemporary and then walk over, because the bus line at pop was looking kinda crazy around 730. We got to the contemporary at 8, walked right over and were met with a temperature screening before waiting in a short line before security. We were among the first group through and walked into the park at 820! Took in Main Street and the castle briefly before making a b line for mine train- waited about 5 mins then headed to big thunder- 5 min wait here, attempted splash but it was having some issues, so we headed to pirates and waited about 5 mins here. All in all, we got 3 big rides done by 915! The parks were pretty quiet at this point so we enjoyed taking it all in.

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Our walk in

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Quick picture before heading to mine train

We then tried splash again but it was still having issues so we headed to fantasyland and knocked out small world and Peter Pan- small world was a 5 min wait and Peter Pan about a 10 min wait, we were having a great start to our day! We headed to space mountain (our favorite!) and waited about 10-15 mins. At this point, we got in most of our favorites and decided to take a more relaxed pace. It was around 1045 so we headed to get a Mickey pretzel for my husband (his favorite) and then sleepy hollow because I wanted to try the Pumpkin spice mickey waffle sundae! Ironically enough this was probably our longest wait of the day at about 30 mins. We caught a cavalcade here while waiting, which was super cute! I will say, social distancing seems to go out the window when these go by. My husband and I made sure to just stand back and had plenty of room, but people definitely crowd at the front (see pics below!). I see how these are better than the full blown parades from a crowd perspective though, because the crowd dissipated pretty much as quickly as it gathered, much different than the camp outs that happen with parades.

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In a short line waiting for our Mickey pretzel! (This was around 1045, was pretty empty by the castle!)


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Crowd gathering for the cavalcade while waiting in line at Sleepy Hollow- we were able to keep our distance by just hanging back a bit

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This was probably the one 'crowd' that we encountered with the exception of when we were leaving MK for the day

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Pumpkin spice mickey waffle sundae from sleepy hollow

After our sundae (which was good but nothing really too special), we knocked out a few more rides (Haunted mansion, Splash, Hall of presidents because it’s my husbands favorite, and then did Space again). I’d say we waited no more than 15 mins for splash, haunted and space- wait times were posted at about 35 mins. We then saw another cavalcade and got some dole whips! We ate wayyy too much sugar this day but when in Rome, right?! haha The cavalcades come out beside splash which seems to be a good place to catch them as it’s not too crowded. We then got the special Halloween burger at cosmic rays, it was good although a little bit cold, and the Cheshire Cat tail which was delicious!

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Another cavalcade!

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Mickey Monster Mash burger from Cosmic Rays

I think we did space for a 3rd time after this, then Country bear jamboree and Little mermaid, all about 15 min waits. I was determined to catch the Halloween cavalcade with Jack Skellington, so we took a little rest break seated on a curb on Main Street near the castle. Sure enough, it came out about 15 mins later! The crowds weren’t too bad here where we were, which was nice! We headed to Ye Olde Christmas Shop and got a few ornaments (the 2020 ones are BOGO, I guess everyone is really trying to be done with 2020 haha) and we actually caught another cavalcade through the window!

(see next post for more pics and a continuation of our day!)
 
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Ebropez

Member
Original Poster
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Caught another through the window at Christmas shop!

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We finally caught the cavalcade! It wasn't too crowded at all where we were

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Definitely more crowded the further down Main street you went but not bad! We were so happy to see this cavalcade!

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Caught this right before the cavalcade, loved the spontaneity of all of this!

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I think it was about 5 at this point so we headed to Pirates and splash to close out the night! 15ish minute waits each and then sadly it was 6! We were pretty exhausted by this point so as sad as we were to leave, we were ready (how do people do this for a week straight?!) We were satisfied with our day in MK overall- while we didn’t get in every single ride, we did all the rides that we wanted to, got some good treats and went at a more “leisure pace” (which is hard for us as we are big planners!). It was pretty crowded heading out of the park at the end of the night, as everyone was leaving at once, so we hung back for a little. We actually got on line for the emporium which was a short like 5 min wait, before heading out. Overall, crowds felt a little bit higher than I was hoping for on a weekday with reduced capacity but I think it’s all about perspective. While the crowds weren’t like the ghost town Disney was seeing just a few weeks ago, the wait times were short if you just planned your day right. I never felt like I had people on top of me except for maybe once or twice on line, leaving at the end of the day, and for one cavalcade which I was able to distance myself from. I definitely felt a little sad at the end of the day leaving so early with the sun still out shining brightly, wishing we were staying into the night for fireworks. After heading out we caught the bus back to pop, after maybe a 10 mins wait tops- not bad at all and everyone was very spaced out on the buses. Disney is definitely doing a good job with their distancing procedures. We headed back to rest for a little before our 9 PM dinner resy at Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera, which was an absolutely amazing meal.

More on our last night and check out day tomorrow :)
 

Tink86

Member
Thank you, nice little trip report! So, they are sending around pieces of the parades at a time and calling it a cavalcade???
 

Ebropez

Member
Original Poster
Last night and check out day! (Tues-Weds Sept 22-23)

After heading out of MK, we caught the bus back to pop, which was maybe a 10 min wait tops- not bad at all and everyone was very spaced out on the buses. Disney is definitely doing a good job with their distancing procedures. We headed back to rest for a little before our 9 PM dinner resy at Topolino’s terrace in the Riviera. When we were ready, we took the skyliner over at around 815ish, which is so peaceful at night! We were seated right around 9 after waiting on the rooftop terrace, which was beautiful and had an amazing breeze.

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View from the rooftop terrace, beautiful!


Dinner was aaaamazing. My husband and I are lucky to live in a foodie city (Charleston, SC) and can honestly say this food topped some of our favorite hometown places. We split a bottle of rose, got the beet salad to start with, my husband got the fillet, which he said was possibly one of the best steaks he’s ever had, and I had the linguine scampi. Our waiter brought out champagne and a little treat for my husband to celebrate his 30th birthday, which was very sweet. By the end of the meal we were stuffed and ready to head back. We caught an Uber back and crashed hard for our last night! The Riviera is beautiful and based on our meal at Topolinos, I highly highly recommend it. Best meal of our trip!

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Beets barigoule starter

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Filet migon and linguine scampi, so so delicious!

On our last day, we drove over to the Yacht club for breakfast at Ale and compass. Breakfast here was also delicious. I got the chocolate cherry waffles which were soooo good, maybe a touch too sweet/decadent but delicious, and my husband got the American breakfast and French press coffee which he said was amazing. (The coffee was Organic Peru Alto Mayo which I immediately ordered a bag of when we got home, it was so smooth!) Overall, I feel like this place is a bit of a 'hidden gem' for breakfast as I really don’t hear too many people mention it. The prices were pretty good by Disney standards, the portions were big, and the food was great! After breakfast, it was back on the road to head home to Charleston! :(

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My final impression of our trip is that Disney is doing a great job given the current circumstances. I did miss the shows and missed the little breaks in the day that the shows, especially at HS, provide. Galaxy’s edge definitely made up for that though and was the highlight of our trip. If I’m honest, a bit of that “magic” seemed to be missing but, the spontaneity of the cavalcades definitely was a nice touch that mostly made up for it. Mask wearing was good across the board, I can probably count on one hand how many times I saw poor mask wearing. Sanitizing was okay, about half of the sanitizer dispensers were empty but I carried some attached to my bag so I just used that throughout the day. Distancing in the lines and plexiglass in the cues was great; I wouldn’t hate if it always stayed like that with the distancing haha. I truly felt 'safer' at WDW than I do everyday at work working directly with my patients day in and day out. All of our food truly was spectacular, which was an expected surprise for us. We tried so many new places and look forward to trying even more on our next trip! Ronto roasters, the booths at food and wine, Sanaa and Topolinos all were excellent. These times are strange for sure but it was nice to escape for a short trip. We're supposed to be heading to DL/DCA for my birthday in March which I already have a countdown going for! I'm excited to compare it to WDW. Looking forward to continuing to read all of your trip reports! -Erica :)

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