Breaking News from Walt Disney World and Disneyland
Beginning Friday, July 31st, face coverings will once again be required for all guests 2+ at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Guests will be required, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings in all indoor locations and upon entering and throughout all attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, including shuttles, buses, monorails and at Disney Skyliner. Disney's official statement is below.
"We are adapting our health and safety guidelines based on guidance from health and government officials, and will require Cast Members and Guests ages 2 and up, to wear face coverings in all indoor locations at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort beginning Friday, July 30, regardless of vaccination status. At Walt Disney World Resort, this includes upon entering and throughout all attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, including shuttles, buses, monorails and at Disney Skyliner."
I strongly recommend checking both Walt Disney World and Disneyland's "Know Before You Go" sections often, as information continues to be updated. Stay tuned for more travel updates.
I shared about People Eaters as a "Travel Tip Tuesday" across social media yesterday, but I got tons of questions and "aha" moments in my DMs, so I've decided to let this post live in blog infamy!
You’ve probably seen photos or videos of long lines at Disney parks. (And some of those lines look loooooooong, I know!) Many people want to blame those lines on the fact that FastPasses won't return. Really, though, there aren’t enough “People Eaters” around!
So what is a People Eater? (No, I don't mean the one-eyed, one-horned flying kind!) People Eaters are shows, meet & greets, offerings, etc. that would typically attract thousands of people daily. Since most People Eaters aren’t currently open, those crowds are all in ride queues.
Don’t let the lines scare you, though! Disney Cast Members are working hard to keep the lines running smoothly. During my last several trips, our wait times were actually shorter than what was listed most of the time.
See what I packed for a June 2021 trip here.
My clients all receive park touring tips to help beat the crowds and tour like a pro! I offer planning services for both clients who book through me, as well as clients who book on their own.
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There were some MAJOR announcements made by Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort yesterday! Both parks have relaxed their face covering policy, effective today. (5/15/21) In addition, temperature checks are no longer happening before park entry. You can check out some of the information listed on their websites below.
As you can see, face coverings are still required in queues, on rides, and in any indoor areas. Please also take extra precautions by using hand sanitizer and distancing when possible to keep your family safe and healthy!
With the constantly changing requirements, continue to check Walt Disney World's "Know Before You Go" and Universal's reopening guidelines frequently so that you're as prepared as possible.
Of course, I've been in contact with my currently booked clients who are in the parks or are traveling in the next few weeks, as these vacations are most directly impacted at this time. To be added to my client list, contact me!
I recently had the opportunity to visit Universal Orlando Resort to experience their health and safety measures in place firsthand! From hand sanitizer to face coverings to physical distancing...here's the real scoop!
Guests and team members are required to wear face coverings, plain and simple. Everyone, ages 2+, needs to wear a face covering that covers your nose, mouth, and chin. They must be secured with ear loops or be secured around your head. This means that, unlike Disney, Universal does allow neck gaiters. Bandanas are not permitted. On our trip, we noticed mask compliance 99% of the time. (A woman in line for Hagrid's removed hers multiple times while in line, as well as for the duration of the ride. She was stopped after the end of the ride by a Team Member. Cameras are everywhere.) Of course, removing face coverings is allowed while eating/drinking, as long as you're stationary and distanced from others. There are also relaxation areas, where mask breaks are permitted. (Find my face coverings infographic here!)
Temperature checks are performed daily, and corresponding colored wristbands are issued upon completion of that temperature check. One of the absolute best perks to staying on-site at a Universal Orlando Resort Hotel (we stayed at Endless Summer - Surfside Inn and Suites) was the fact that we were able to have our temperature checked at the hotel, rather than at the parks. This saved us a ton of time! Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater after 3 checks would be asked to seek medical attention and get medical clearance prior to being permitted to enter. I encourage all clients to pack a thermometer to keep in the room. That way, if anyone does register a fever, it isn't a surprise and you can seek medical attention immediately.
On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I had the opportunity to experience the enhanced health and safety measures in place. From face coverings to physical distancing and everything in between, here is everything that you need to know about the phased reopening and the truth about what all of that really feels like!
I can say, without a doubt, that I saw countless Cast Members continuously cleaning high-touch areas throughout our entire stay. Handrails, ride vehicles, elevators, tables, and more were constantly cleaned and disinfected. Additionally, we noticed hand sanitizer and hand washing stations everywhere we looked at Disney Resort hotels, as well as in the parks.
Physical distancing was easy to maintain throughout the Resort hotels and the parks. Signage and ground markings were abundant and easy to follow. We did notice excellent compliance with guests following these. Physical barriers are in place where physical distancing isn't possible. This includes areas around cash registers or hotel desks. Cashless payments are preferred throughout hotels and parks.
Catching a wave...in Orlando? I had the opportunity to stay at Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites at Universal Orlando Resort in December! This value resort has totally stolen my heart! It's part of the Endless Summer Resort, with Dockside Inn and Suites rounding out the complex.
Upon arriving at Surfside, I immediately noticed the health and safety measures being taken to keep everyone safe. (More on that later!) The front desk was staffed, but distanced, and I did not have to wait for a team member to greet me. We received our keys, and headed straight to the Vacation Planning Desk to grab our tickets.
We stayed in a Standard 2 Queen room. One thing that I really loved about the elevators is that, to get to guest floors, you had to scan your room key before the elevator took you to your room. Elevators were also limited to just your travel party, so no sharing a small space with strangers! Our room was spacious and clean. One touch that I really loved was the bottle of hand sanitizer in our room. While I had multiple bottles that we'd packed, I definitely took this one as a souvenir! (And may have already used it once or twice since then!) The resort also features 2 bedroom suites, which is a fantastic option for larger parties or for families who prefer to spread out a bit!
A video of our room tour can be found on IGTV. Watch that here!
Surfside featured a few different dining options that we experienced: Starbucks, Beach Break Cafe, Sand Bar, and resort pizza delivery. Starbucks was located in the lobby, and had your traditional Starbucks fare. Beach Break Cafe was the quick-service location. We ordered two burgers and fries. This was socially distanced, fast, and the food was fresh. That evening, we stopped in at the Sand Bar, which is the pool bar. Seats were distanced, service was fast and friendly, and drink prices were very reasonable. Later in the evening, we ordered pizza delivery from the resort. We had a gluten-free cheese pizza, fruit & cheese appetizer, and two (GIANT) waters. Again, the food was fresh and delicious, and service was much faster than we expected!
Health and Safety
The health and safety guidelines at Universal Orlando were unparalleled. At our resort, we noticed hand sanitizer stations near the front desk, Vacation Planning Desk, near every entrance/exit, and at elevator bays. We also noticed social distancing markers and signage throughout the resort. One feature that I loved was having our temperature checked at the resort before heading to the parks. Guests were issued a colored wristband daily after their temperature screening. (Colors changed by the day.) These wristbands are required for entering the parks, and saved tons of time at park arrival time since we already had this done! We never had to wait in a line for a temperature check. The shuttle (which we also never waited for!) had assigned seating areas for each party to encourage social distancing. Face coverings, of course, are required unless you are actively eating and drinking in a stationary location.
*Please note: temperature checks were phased out as of May 19th, 2021 and Face Coverings were not required indoors or outdoors for vaccinated travelers as of May 29th, 2021.
My overall experience at Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites was FANTASTIC. I would recommend Endless Summer to any clients visiting Universal Orlando Resort. It's a fantastic budget-friendly option without feeling like a "value" resort. Remember, any stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel includes Early Park Admission, free shuttles, resort-wide charging privileges, complimentary merchandise delivery to hotel, and Club-to-Club access at CityWalk!
Click here for more information or to book your next stay at Universal Orlando Resort!
As someone with a bona fide fear of heights, I had my reservations about using Disney's Skyliner. After experiencing it firsthand, here are 5 quick tips for anyone planning a trip on Disney's aerial gondola transportation system.
1) It Connects A LOT of Walt Disney World
The Skyliner conveniently connects Disney's Hollywood Studios and EPCOT to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, and Disney's Riviera Resort. Plus, anyone staying or visiting Disney's BoardWalk, Yacht Club, or Beach Club Resorts can easily walk over and hop on at EPCOT's International Gateway.
2) It Moves Quickly
With so much of Walt Disney World being connected, you might expect that this mode of transportation is slow. It's actually quite the opposite! The gondolas slow down at stations for loading (or pause temporarily to allow guests on scooters and wheelchairs to board) so it's continually loading, much like many of your favorite Disney rides. This allows for any lines to move very quickly, even if they look long.
Calypso music and island life...in Walt Disney World? You heard that right! We had the opportunity to stay at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort recently, and I couldn't have been happier with our stay!
We opted to check in on My Disney Experience ahead of time, so we were able to bypass the front desk and had our room number texted right to us before we even arrived! The front desk was available and staffed should anyone need any assistance, but we were able to stay a little more distanced and skip this part.
We were in the Jamaica section in building 41. I had requested a room near bus and Skyliner transportation and we were very pleased with the location of these. It was a short walk to both a bus stop and the main Skyliner hub. (We didn't utilize the buses while we were in Walt Disney World this time around, since we were staying for such a short time. However, this would have been incredibly convenient. We did use the Skyliner multiple times, and I was thrilled at how convenient it was!) Our room was a standard 5th sleeper room. It was spacious, clean, and comfortable. We had 2 queen beds, a 5th pull down single sleeper bed, mini-fridge, and seating area. It was more than enough space for us and would fit a family of 4 or 5 comfortably.
Let's cut right to the chase: a private VIP tour is a better value than ever.
"A VIP tour? Value????? Are you crazy?" (You already know how I feel about the stark difference between value and cheap.) Pricing on VIP tours varies by time of year, whether you add additional hours, etc., so COST can vary significantly. Today, though, we're talking VALUE
Value #1: Park-Hopping
There is no park hopping allowed in Walt Disney World right now, and it's not coming back anytime soon. The ONLY way to park hop for the foreseeable future is to take a VIP tour.
Park touring is going to be quite different for a while. Here are 5 items that I've added to my clients' packing checklists for 2021 and 2022 vacations!
1. Face Coverings
Simply put, if you want to tour the parks, you'll need a mask or another type of face covering for everyone ages 2+ in your party. I highly recommend packing at least 2 per person per day in your park bag. Unexpected rainstorms, water rides, and sweat will make wearing the same mask for an entire day pretty miserable. Having an extra will ensure that you and your family have extras in case any masks are lost or damaged. You'll likely be able to purchase these in the parks, but I highly doubt you'll want to keep shelling out cash every time you need a spare mask! These disposable masks on Amazon are a great value! For more tips about masks, be sure to follow these tips. For mask-wearing advice for kids, click here!
2. Ziploc Bags
I've long been including gallon size bags on my lists for wet clothes and for keeping items safe on water rides, but stick some sandwich bags in there, too. Why? Those face coverings from #1, of course! You'll be able to take them off while you eat, but what do you do with those masks then? You won't want to stick them in a purse or park bag! Grab a few sandwich-sized bags to stick your masks in while you dine. An assorted pack of Ziplocs is the way to go!
3. Hand Sanitizer
Okay, so this is another one that I always recommend, but this is now an absolute MUST HAVE in your park bag for obvious reasons! Grab these Purell travel sized options that you can attach to a bag or purse so that you don't have to go digging for it every time. There will be increased sanitizer stations throughout the park, but it never hurts to have your own! (Plus, Universal's hand sanitizer smells a little rough. You'll want your own, trust me.)
4. Disinfecting Wipes
While the parks and resorts have absolutely stepped up their game in terms of disinfecting surfaces, you can never be too careful! Grab a travel-size of Clorox wipes and wipe down tables, etc. before you sit down! I also recommend doing this with your tray table on planes or even wiping down high touch areas in your hotel room.
5. Portable Charger
It's more important than ever to have a charged phone in the parks. Not only can you check your My Disney Experience or Universal Orlando app for reservations or virtual queues, you'll also need to use it for mobile food ordering, looking up menus, and for constantly updated information. This rose gold beauty is the one that I have, and I can't recommend it enough!
My clients all receive a full custom packing checklist. If you're ready for more travel and packing tips, contact me to get more information!