Trip Report Well, I guess this is happening... July 12-28 Trip Report - Pre, Live, and Post

Hello and welcome to another Brifraz trip report. If you traveled with us before you know how it usually works - a brief pre-trip outline of plans, lots of live trip reporting, then after the trip some poorly completed scattered posts to try to wrap things up. Well, I'm doing a legit pre-trip this time. Why? Because there are some issues right now. Maybe you didn't realize that?

Which means I'm going to lead off this thread by opening it up to the debate. It's my thraed and I'm okay with that. A little debate will keep things lively - now I'm not talking about something like the thousand plus pages of debate on the mask/precautions/COVID threads, but a little discussion is totally fine and all opinions are welcome. Now, let me be clear I'm not asking I 'what you would do?' But, after reading things below, I welcome opinions on 'what do you think we would or should do.'

Obviously, you can't get into those kinds of discussions without knowing who we are and what we are all about. Here goes. Feel free to steal our identities if you need to.
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Our crew is a trio. Two nearly-50 year old adults and a 16 year old rising senior in High School. The two adults are high school teachers and have been since the 1990s. Obviously that means our only potential vacation times are summer and Christmas. Two teacher salaries have by no means made us rich, but we prioritize travel. We feel it 'broadens the mind' even if it is somewhere we've been before - always trying new experiences and interacting with new people (heck, we've driven across the USA 3 times and Canada once). You can see in my signature, we head to WDW often and try very hard to make each trip unique in different ways. We had trips in December (with extended family) and January (as leader of over 100 high school kids plus families) and were planning a summer totally away from the World. We had a vague plan to travel to Europe for a few weeks driving through multiple countries. It was going to be the last big family trip before our daughter goes to college. But we just couldn't afford it - there was just no way to make it work. Since we are DVC and have some family-owned timeshare, we can stay at WDW (or that area) for pretty much nothing more than our expected annual fees and we drive from Maryland, so transportation is pretty cheap. Airfare and hotels around Europe was cost prohibitive. Our daughter already has a senior Disney trip planned with friends for next summer and we were possibly doing a couple trip as well, so buying an AP for late this summer through early next summer is also an expense that we expected (although we didn't expect it until next year). Thus, some time in late January, we decided that we would do some smaller trips (including college visits) around the country and then spend a week at WDW.

Sadly, the smaller trips are pretty much all gone due to the current health crisis. But our WDW trip is not until mid-July, so it might still be happening. Health-wise we are all in pretty good shape. Sure, we've got the usual little things that tend to happen as you get close to 50, but nothing that makes our immune systems compromised and certainly nothing that puts us in a higher risk group. As a pair of high school teachers, we get exposed to pretty much every bug that shows up in our communities and in general we weather things pretty successfully. Our daughter currently works at the local grocery store which similarly puts her 'in harm's way' on a regular basis. While the concern over the coronavirus is certainly in our minds, we also are used to taking precautions and have very little innate fear of getting sick. We also have no problem wearing masks or taking other preventative measures if we are traveling.

Why would we even consider still heading to WDW? Well, just like everyone, the past couple months have been tough for us (obviously, far less difficult than for many). We have been relearning how to do our jobs, we've had to cancel 11 major shows/performances (we both teach performing arts), and we're facing the prospect of our jobs/roles changing dramatically in a few months. Our daughter has (again, obviously) missed out on a number of usual things for HS Juniors and is quite concerned about the prospect of her Senior year being very altered. The stress and uncertainty of these things makes the idea of ANY kind of escapism very appealing - even if it is limited and changed from our usual expectations.

There's a little background on us and some elements of where we are coming from with this (possible) trip. For the sake of discussion, let's assume that WDW will be relatively fully open by mid-July, but with significant precautionary measures in place. I'll be back soon with some of our thoughts on the trip and what we might or might not be planning and doing if it happens.
 

LF85

Well-Known Member
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Love your trip reports.. I wouldn’t go just because I couldn’t handle wearing a mask in that heat. Good luck!
 

RememberWhen

Well-Known Member
I can’t really say what you would do, though I get a “let’s do this!” vibe from your post. We had a trip planned early July with my 69 year old parents and young kiddos. We were still planning to go until our cruise was canceled. I was surprised how relieved I was. Also sad, but not crushed.
Are you staying DVC? When is your use year? When do you need to cancel to get your points back? Those are the questions that would impact my decision.
It’s a weird, hard time. Hope you all are doing ok and that you’re able to make the right decision for your family.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Love your trip reports.. I wouldn’t go just because I couldn’t handle wearing a mask in that heat. Good luck!

Thanks for the compliment. I'm certainly no fan of wearing a mask, but... in terms of dealing with heat, I taught for 18 years in a high school classroom with no AC and a wall of southeast facing windows. The room regularly got up over 100 degrees and I wore dress shirt and slacks with a tie. I'd drop a few pounds each day from sweating, which was pretty nice!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I can’t really say what you would do, though I get a “let’s do this!” vibe from your post. We had a trip planned early July with my 69 year old parents and young kiddos. We were still planning to go until our cruise was canceled. I was surprised how relieved I was. Also sad, but not crushed.
Are you staying DVC? When is your use year? When do you need to cancel to get your points back? Those are the questions that would impact my decision.
It’s a weird, hard time. Hope you all are doing ok and that you’re able to make the right decision for your family.

We are on the fence of 'let's do this' enthusiasm and 'I don't trust the average person' paranoia. And, it is a weird time for sure. Generally we just do what we want to do and deal with anything that may come of it - but this time I am looking for some feedback and people's thoughts.

We are staying half off-site in a family timeshare and half at Old Key West on points. Not sure exactly when we would have to cancel by and I know that they have been helping DVC people out with things quite a bit as needed - that's a call I dread making. And, to be honest, I think there's a chance we would still go and just stay in the hotel if Disney doesn't cancel us and we are too wary of the parks. Really just don't know right now!
 

Plowboy

Well-Known Member
Mrs. P and I share the thought in your thread title. I hope for you and your family's sake it all works out and you have a safe and joyous trip.

As background, we had to cancel our April trip which we booked as a 40th anniversary trip and also a way to get more bang for the buck out of the annual passes we purchased last September. (It was the first and probably last time we'll do the A/P thing. I think we got caught up in the moment and since we live in California, we can't just pop down there for a long weekend like some others can).

We also have a trip scheduled for late September prior to the expiration of the aforementioned passes. Having already struck out on one trip, the prospect of having another trip cancelled would really suck. We are watching daily what happens with the opening of Disney Springs and heard yesterday that Universal is about to open in a couple of weeks (I think). We also have heard about people not adhering to the mask requirements. We've heard that once inside people take the masks down and just walk around with drink in hand (therefore meeting the letter of the rule). If they don't like the rules just stay away, don't ruin it for others.

Don't get me wrong, the prospect of wearing a mask all day isn't our first choice, but if we want to go then we need to follow the rules. If you can't follow the rules then don't go. The other thing we're unsure of is how reduced capacity will be handled. How do you get to be in the "25 or 50%" that are allowed in? Being we're A/P holders but not from Florida, what bearing does that have? So many questions that have yet to be publicly addressed.

Because our trip isn't for another 3-1/2 months I'm sure much of this will eventually be addressed, but I can't help but wonder what the experience will be like. We want to go to the Biergarten and Boma. We want to go to F&W and go to the concerts. In reality what we want and what we get could be 2 totally different things.
 
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brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Mrs. P and I share the thought in your thread title. I hope for you and your family's sake it all works out and you have a safe and joyous trip.

As background, we had to cancel our April trip which we booked as a 40th anniversary trip and a also a way to get more bang for the buck out of the annual passes we purchased last September. (It was the first and probably last time we'll do the A/P thing. I think we got caught up in the moment and since we live in California, we can't just pop down there for a long weekend like some others can).

Thanks. We hope it works out as well... I think that's what we are hoping at this point! We live in Maryland, so it's a 13 hour drive down to WDW and this was to be our first visit on new AP (bought, but not redeemed so they can just be held onto if we have to cancel)

We also have a trip scheduled for late September prior to the expiration of the aforementioned passes. Having already struck out on one trip, the prospect of having another trip cancelled would really suck. We are watching daily what happens with the opening of Disney Springs and heard yesterday that Universal is about to open in a couple of weeks (I think). We also have heard about people not adhering to the mask requirements. We've heard that once inside people take the masks down and just walk around with drink in hand (therefore meeting the letter of the rule). If they don't like the rules just stay away, don't ruin it for others.

Don't get me wrong, the prospect of wearing a mask all day isn't our first choice, but if we want to go then we need to follow the rules. If you can't follow the rules then don't go. The other thing we're unsure of is how reduced capacity will be handled. How do you get to be in the "25 or 50%" that are allowed in? Being we're A/P holders but not from Florida, what bearing does that have? So many questions that have yet to be publicly addressed.

Agreed on the mask comments. Not ideal, but we will do it if we need to. @MeffysMom (my wife) has been sewing some nice cloth masks for us to use and they just so happen to mainly have Disney fabric. We are also quite concerned about the reduced capacity plans, which are compounded even more since we have a split stay off-site and with DVC.

Because our trip isn't for another 3-1/2 months I'm sure much of this will eventually be addressed, but I can't help but wonder what the experience will be like. We want to go to the Biergarten and Boma. We want to go to F&W and go to the concerts. In reality what we want and what we get could be 2 totally different things.

We have similar plans for the summer, including Hoop-De-Doo (which we have never done in 30+ trips) and some character meals. And who knows what entertainment things will be happening if/when we can go. You can't always get what you want, but...if you try sometimes, you just might find... you get what you need!
 

MickeyCB

Well-Known Member
I hope you get to have your trip!
My feelings are there is no real decrease in the virus at this point. You're at the same risk you were a few months ago.
(And I definitely think unless this virus is seasonal, which it does not appear to be, that with everything opening up there will be a surge in cases).
But, we are all going to have to venture out at some point. If everyone would go out, wear the mask, sanitize the hands, social distance, etc. etc., our risks are probably less than when all of this started and no one knew what to do.
I think as annoying as it will be right now with the masks and all, it will probably be (till a treatment or vaccine are available), the safest time to go. Everyone and most institutions are at highest alert right now, with the most safeguards in place.
We have a trip planned for October and I don't think much is going to change by then as far as the safeguards, unless a treatment or vaccine become available by magic.
 

slipperalwaysfits

Well-Known Member
I adore your family reports! We are hoping to go at Thanksgiving, but like you, we need a lot of questions publicly answered before we plunk down all the money. As your quote below so beautifully suggests, I'm not expecting WDW to be like past trips at all, but I know we'd have a wonderful time....if we are allowed in (referring to limited capacity, etc). We're definitely staying on property and plan to wear masks...I feel like a LOT can change in six months, though. July is a bit sooner.

You can't always get what you want, but...if you try sometimes, you just might find... you get what you need!
 

MissViv

Well-Known Member
July is pretty brutal. Had to go for a wedding a couple of years ago in July and parks were too hot during the day, evenings were okay. But, I do understand being teachers and having to go when you can.

Hope you get to go and have fun. You should be able to enjoy your DVC rental.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I hope you get to have your trip!
My feelings are there is no real decrease in the virus at this point. You're at the same risk you were a few months ago.
(And I definitely think unless this virus is seasonal, which it does not appear to be, that with everything opening up there will be a surge in cases).
But, we are all going to have to venture out at some point. If everyone would go out, wear the mask, sanitize the hands, social distance, etc. etc., our risks are probably less than when all of this started and no one knew what to do.
I think as annoying as it will be right now with the masks and all, it will probably be (till a treatment or vaccine are available), the safest time to go. Everyone and most institutions are at highest alert right now, with the most safeguards in place.
We have a trip planned for October and I don't think much is going to change by then as far as the safeguards, unless a treatment or vaccine become available by magic.

Thanks. I definitely agree with the last sentiment - everyone is on high alert and the most safeguards are in place. Thus, it is (theoretically at least) less risk than it was a few months ago. If we can and do go, we certainly will be wearing masks, washing (and sanitizing) hands, and keeping our distance. Tomorrow morning we will be booking FP+ for the on-site portion of our trip. Odd to plan days and rides without having really any idea if the parks will even be open!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
July is pretty brutal. Had to go for a wedding a couple of years ago in July and parks were too hot during the day, evenings were okay. But, I do understand being teachers and having to go when you can.

Hope you get to go and have fun. You should be able to enjoy your DVC rental.

Yeah, we've dealt with the heat of July quite a few times. In addition to just being teachers, I teach camps during the summer (generally August, but sometimes June/July as well) and we both teach AP classes, so we do summer institutes. We are basically boxed into July or Christmas with the occasional other Easter or August possibility. Crazy as it is, we have done a few long weekends but the exhaustion level of those trips is pretty extreme!

We are just a few short years from retirement and barring unforeseen circumstances (yeah, like that phrase is even allowed anymore) we plan to move to Florida after we retire. Might as well get used to the summer heat, right? ;)
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
As mentioned above, tomorrow is our 60-day for the DVC portion of our proposed visit. The plan is to have a split stay with 6 nights at a timeshare offsite and then 3 nights at Old Key West. So, we will be booking the last four days of our trip FP+ tomorrow morning. With no clue about what might be going on at the resort... if it is even open... and if we go... we are just booking what we want, regardless of anything! And fully expecting that to change.

Our first onsite day we are planning to do a morning at Animal Kingdom, with some late morning/early afternoon FP+. Hoping to score Flight of Passage, and then also get the Safari and Everest. In the evening we have Hoop Dee Doo reservations, which are totally going to happen, right? Believe it or not, with over 30 trips to WDW, I have never seen Hoop Dee Doo! And I suspect there's a good chance that streak will continue.

Day two onsite is planned for all things Hollywood Studios. We actually have Oga's Cantina booked both in the mid-morning and late evening. Not that we expect to be in the park all day, but who knows! Anyway, we hope to get Rise of the Resistance boarding passes when we get into the park. We might ride Millennium Falcon if the line isn't too long (or if single rider is even a thing). But our FP+ are hopefully going to get us MIckey's Railroad and Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror.

Our third day onsite is tentatively another Animal Kingdom morning. I know it seems odd to have two AK days out of 4 days onsite, but we have lots of MK and Epcot planned during the first half of the visit. We will likely try for the exit same FP+ as day one onsite. Hoping that we get Flight of Passage for at least one of the days!!

On check out day, we like to try to sleep in a little (even though we almost never do) and most times we make sure to have the last day be at Magic Kingdom. And this trip is no exception and we hope to get FP+ for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear. Only because we hope to get FP+ for the other side of the park on other days!

Just two months from this possible trip, we are all getting a bit more nervous about things. And with more free time than usual, we are reading WAY too much on this (and other) boards. Ack.
 

ELeigh

Well-Known Member
Just two months from this possible trip, we are all getting a bit more nervous about things. And with more free time than usual, we are reading WAY too much on this (and other) boards. Ack.
I think anyone planning a trip anytime soon is feeling this way. There is so much speculation about park opening date, what parks will be like and who will be allowed in. Until we get more answers I think it puts everyone on edge but it sounds like you guys have a great attitude about possible restrictions and will have fun either way. Fingers crossed for you guys that the parks are open, I think you have a good shot at it!
 

SandiSmiles

Member
Hi! I could be wrong, but I think you can book your fast passes now for your earlier offsite days since your 60 day onsite window has opened. It's worth a try, right?

I also live in Maryland (Harford County) and went to WDW & UO last March since my son's high school band was performing at UO. We had 15 family members come along for the trip! He graduated last year and plays sax and was in jazz band. Jazz band was probably my favorite part of his senior year!! His band director is an awesome guy and a beloved member of our community - I bet your community feels the same way about you and your wife!

I always enjoy your trip reports!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I think anyone planning a trip anytime soon is feeling this way. There is so much speculation about park opening date, what parks will be like and who will be allowed in. Until we get more answers I think it puts everyone on edge but it sounds like you guys have a great attitude about possible restrictions and will have fun either way. Fingers crossed for you guys that the parks are open, I think you have a good shot at it!

Well, we should know something tomorrow morning. We aren't really on edge too much, just a bit anxious. Now... if you want to talk about us being on edge, we can talk about plans for going back to high school this fall! Got all the fingers and toes crossed for that.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hi! I could be wrong, but I think you can book your fast passes now for your earlier offsite days since your 60 day onsite window has opened. It's worth a try, right?

I also live in Maryland (Harford County) and went to WDW & UO last March since my son's high school band was performing at UO. We had 15 family members come along for the trip! He graduated last year and plays sax and was in jazz band. Jazz band was probably my favorite part of his senior year!! His band director is an awesome guy and a beloved member of our community - I bet your community feels the same way about you and your wife!

I always enjoy your trip reports!

Unfortunately we can only book at 60 days for the day we arrive and 10 days following, so the 6 days prior aren't available for us to book until the 30 day window. But, heck, all the big ticket things were not available this morning for our on-site dates anyway!

I have a feeling that I know who your band director is (and possibly have worked with him on some things). Jazz band is one of my favorite things to teach. A few years ago they took it out of the school day, which ended up being a blessing for the kids. We had been running each year with about 18-22 in the jazz band as a class - now that it's after school, I've got 50 and we have split into two jazz bands. It's a bit more work for me, but the involvement of so many kids makes it worthwhile!
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So with today's news, still not sure of anything... new questions have arisen

-we have Annual Passes, but they are not activated yet (no new ticket media is being sold)?
-during the first 5 days/nights that we are offsite, will we still have a chance of access to a park (we have dining and activity reservations during this time)?
-reserving a park for each day - will having a tour/activity/dining reservation lock you into that park or will we all be up at 7am one morning fighting over access to each park (we've got MK photo sessions one day and Keys to the Kingdom one day, and the events listed below, too)?
-we kind of are assuming that our Cirque du Soliel reservation is going to be cancelled, but what about Hoop dee Doo? Or Circle of Flavors: Harambe Nights (our other big 'event' reservations this trip)?
-we tend to be morning and night park people, with an afternoon break... will this be impacted by the park 'reservation' for each day?

But perhaps most importantly... will the bar at Rose and Crown and Gurgling Suitcase at OKW be open to chill out in????

BTW, didn't get any of our top picks with the FP+ the other morning, but did get most of our second/third picks.
 

brifraz

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Well, I suppose all those preceding questions are now totally moot. Looks like everything that everyone has booked is now off the books. Obviously, hoping that if we still go we can get some of those experiences back and some of the dining re-secured. We expect the photo sessions to likely survive the purge and hopefully we will be able to secure them again. Not quite so confident that Keys to the Kingdom will actually happen. Feeling pretty confident that the Harambe Nights dinner event is not going to happen. Hoop-de-doo?

Not really big fans of the park hours and reservations, either. We are morning and night people, get up very early and hit the park for a few hours, then relax in the room and head back around dinner time. Is that going to be possible with daily park reservations? Obviously we hope so, but are waiting like everyone else for more details.

The other side of things is that now EVERY other thing we had planned for the Spring and Summer is cancelled. We really need some kind of escape. 80 straight days of all three of us on our computers for the majority of the day with two of us trying to teach subject areas that don't really work very well remotely and one finishing up 3 AP courses and wondering if her senior year is going to happen even remotely like she had hoped/planned.

Much as the current situation makes Disney somewhat less appealing, we don't have much else in the way of options right now. Having driven across America multiple times, we know that there aren't a whole lot of places we'd like to spend 10 days (and with DVC and our other time share, no place with rooms as 'cheap') other than Disney - even a reduced shell of the normal Disney.

Going to be a rough and far too long time until we know what is actually going to be happening...
 

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