I’m sure you already know this since I’ve posted all our vlogs and talked about it numerous times on social media but we had a Disney World vacation this year! We got back from our trip about three weeks ago now. I wanted to share all our photos and talk a little bit more about going to Disney during a pandemic.
DAY ONE: TRAVEL DAY
We woke up around 6:00am to head to Detroit from Grand Rapids. Its about a 2.5 hour drive. We chose to do this instead of flying out of our local airport, so we wouldn’t have a layover. With four kids, a layover seemed like more work and would possibly take longer than just driving the 2.5 hours.
I was really nervous about the entire airport situation. This was my kids first time going on a plane, so I had no idea how they would act or how the process would go. Luckily, the airport was basically empty! We got through security within 4 minutes. We ate breakfast and hung out for awhile until it was time to board the plane. They were all SO excited to be riding in a plane. I think the older girls were more nervous than excited, they just didn’t want to admit it. The entire journey was amazing. The kids were patient, well-behaved and made it so easy for us.
In Orlando, we had to catch the Magical Express to the resort. If staying at one of Disney’s resorts, they provide FREE transportation to and from the airport. We prefer to stay on site so we can stay in the Disney bubble. We don’t like to rent a car or deal with any of that. It feels more like a vacation when we are immersed in all things Disney (same goes for when we go to Universal too).
We had initially booked a stay at Art of Animation in a Lion King suite. I was really excited because if you’ve seen pictures of this resort, it’s theming is amazing for young kids! Sadly, we found out that AoA wouldn’t be opening due to COVID during our stay. Disney upgraded us to a two-bedroom villa at Old Key West Resort. I was SHOOK. OKW is a resort we would probably never choose to stay at because it’s simply way out of our budget. Honestly that upgrade alone made me think our Disney COVID trip was going to be worth it.
I didn’t take many good pictures of the inside, but I give a full room tour on our vlog (keep scrolling)! This place was MASSIVE. I mean two bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge closets, full laundry room, full kitchen, private patio.. I could go on and on. Since we had this amazing kitchen, we got to order our groceries for the week. We got frozen pizzas, quick meals, snacks, my coffee essentials, our favorite drinks, alcohol, basically everything we use at home. This saved us so much money on food!! We were feeling very spoiled. The resort had four pools, even though we only used two of them. It’s also home to a Disney hidden gem – Olivia’s Cafe.
After getting all settled, we decided to go explore the resort. We found one of the pools right across the street from our villa. Since we didn’t plan to go swimming and were the only people there, we let the kids jump in in their PJs! I wish I could rewind time and go back to this night. There’s honestly nothing better than the first day of vacation. The relief of getting there safely, the anticipation of the days ahead, the kids’ excitement… the best. Even with all the travel, it was a fun day!
DAY TWO: MAGIC KINGDOM
Our first full day in Orlando was spent at Magic Kingdom! I was looking forward to showing Harper and Mason the castle they see so often on TV (McKenzie and Kasey have been to Disney before). Since we didn’t rent a car we relied on the Disney transportation to get us where we needed to go. Old Key West has many bus stops throughout the resort. We learned that if you get to the bus stop an hour before the park opens, it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to Magic Kingdom, and they will allow you to enter the park before it officially opens! We did this the first day and sure enough – we were at MK around 8:15 when opening time was 9:00. This allowed us to get on so many rides and even get our ONCE IN A LIFETIME castle picture with no one around!
I’m sure people are wondering so I’ll talk about it now..
The masks. Yes it was a bummer having to wear masks BUT we knew that going into this. We knew this was going to be a different kind of Disney trip and we accepted that. My kids wear masks all day at school and have had a lot of practice wearing them. They didn’t complain ONCE about them. Even on this first day when it was the hottest of our entire trip.
I can honestly say that I felt more protected at Disney than at our grocery store. They enforced masks strictly and had everyone standing 6 ft. apart in lines (which I LOVED!!). They had hand sanitizer before and after every ride. They even stopped the rides every 30 minutes to disinfect them all. There were so many safety measures put into place and it was very much appreciated.
They weren’t having their normal parades or firework shows but they did have these “cavalcades”. Basically a mini parade at random. They did this so people wouldn’t group together waiting for a parade. The first one we got to see was a Nightmare Before Christmas!
They also didn’t have regular character meet and greets. At random, characters would come out and you could visit from a distance! There were lots of times we were the only one around the characters so the kids got a lot of attention! How cute is Stitch?!
The girls were most excited about riding Space Mountain again! This was one Harper and Mason couldn’t ride – actually I think the only ride at MK they couldn’t. Whats nice is that we can utilize child swap. One of us waited in line with the girls and rode it. Then when we were done, the other person could go to the front of the line with the girls again. The girls got to ride all the “big” rides twice in a row!
Like I said, this day was HOT. We didn’t rent a stroller for Harper and Mason because we thought they would be okay without it. We decided every day after that we were going to rent one – haha.
We did all the rides in Magic Kingdom by 2:30pm! So we decided to cancel our dining reservation we had at 5:00 and order something at our resort. As we were leaving the park, it started DOWN POURING!! We were drenched but it was also kind of fun! Harper and Mason were jumping in puddles and we were running down Main Street, USA with almost no one else around! How many chances do you get to do that?!
Luckily we had that full laundry set up so I could dry our shoes!
We had a really successful first day at the parks! I was so happy with the low wait times and the not crowded atmosphere. It was nice to take your time and get through everything without running around to all your fast pass reservations. Don’t get me wrong, I was bummed about not having the firework show, which usually has me bawling like a baby. We will be back though. 🙂
I think the kids were pretty tired after the first day too…
I’ll be posting PART TWO of our trip soon!
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