Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

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Alacrity
Mike Fink Keel Boats Boatswain
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Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Alacrity » Oct Thu 15, 2020 3:54 pm

My wife (Mel) and I are just back from WDW. We headed off for the World October 8 and returned on the 14th.

We had a bit of an issue with the airline...but that seems normal these days. Well ahead of the trip they canceled the flights we had planned (early in the morning on the 9th returning late in the afternoon on the 14th). We fly out of our local regional airport (BMI), usually though Chicago (ORD) but the early flights were canceled. With the early flight we can be at the resort about 2-3pm but we arrived about 6:30pm or so. So, first day plans out the window. We had nothing definite planned other than the MK. We gave up on any dining plans that first day a while back, flights being what they are!

Checked into the Poly. We splurged on a Lake View and were in the Moorea building. Great view! We may have to spend the points again! We've come to really enjoy the Poly since it went DVC (did I mention we're DVC members?) Poly is currently open only to DVC so it was a bit more quiet there. Also, O'Hana is not open nor Trader Sam's and the Check-in is in Pago Pago due to work on the Main building. No hold ups there for us and, the Monorail was still running...it shuts down Nov 1 though.

So we ran off to Disney Springs for a bite and visited the Big Bad World Sausage Co. This is a spot we wanted to try for on the fly food. It was just OK. Service was somewhat lacking as it to some time to prepare the food. Maybe they do everything once ordered but it took a while to put together a couple Italian Sausages with Maranara. Seating was grab what you can and we found a nearby table that needed some cleaning. We tried it. Won't miss it if we don't make it there again.

Afterwards we took a walk around the shops. It was busier than we had hoped and other than masks being requires, we encountered our first post-reopening adjustment. Lines to get into the shops. World of Disney had a line at least 30 minutes long. Other places had lines also (Ghirardelli's for desert) and allowed a limited number of folks in at a time. Kinda takes the spur of the moment impulse buying out of the picture. That may be a good thing?

In the morning it was off to the Magic Kingdom. Masks required and, while were were there, they stepped it up a notch and included on signs and in announcements that folks not wearing masks properly could be asked to leave. Crowd levels were OK in the morning and we got right on Pirates and had a wait over at Haunted Mansion. In the afternoon waits got above an hour and crowds and temperatures went up. It was hot! We wandered around and grabbed a burger at Pecos Bills. We were trying to wing it food wise this trip as we never got to most of the counter service places. Now was probably not the time to work on that. All are order ahead and tables in the AC are fewer than normal due to distancing. Mel needs the AC...and a seat! An OK burger but no great happiness at the wait for the food or the seats. After lunch we decide to head back to the Poly to hit the pool and rest. Dinner from Kona to Go. Not cheap, but good.

Back to MK the next morning and we head back to the 7 Dwarves Mine Train. The line goes all the way around the mountain back to Arials. We get in line anyway. With distancing the lines look really long and...they're longer than we might like. We miss Fast Pass! But I will say they are some of the most orderly lines I've ever seen and they move pretty quick. We got in line with a 60ish minute wait that took a bit less than the hour but we got on the Mine Train. A stop by Gaston's for a snack (Cinnamon Roll) with a line out side and back toward Be our Guest (closed for breakfast. Not sure it was open at all). After we hit Under the Sea and wandered some of the shops before lunch. I too a hint from yesterday and managed to get a reservation at Tony's yesterday afternoon. So, inside and in the AC with real seats! Much better acceptance of the lunch situation. And we learned something...the blue window in Tony's has Lady and the Tramp in the alley! We had not realized that before. We can still be taught a few things I guess! After we caught Carousel of Progress and headed back to get ready for dinner.

We did go pretty light at lunch since our anniversary dinner is this eve. It is our anniversary by the way! Lucky 13 years! Dinner is Cali Grill and after resting up, cleaning up and dressing up a little, we monorail it over to the Contemporary. We're a little early so some strolling though the stores before our ride up to the top. Cali Grill is one of our faves and always good. It's also one of the places my wife refused to be proposed to by the way. I should have know better...she's afraid of heights and would not go out to the observation deck 13 years ago. So much for that plan. Probably for the best. Anyway, Sushi for me and scallops for Mel followed by the Chocolate Soufflé. Actually two deserts, the Soufflé and a really good cake from Cali Grill to celebrate our Anniversary. More desert that we needed but we are on vacation after all.

Day three is Epcot for the Food and Wine Fest. But first, Soarin'. We miss Fast Pass! But the line is not too bad and it moves fast. We also git in to Journey to imagination for our Figment fix and try for the Pixar Shorts theater. Pixar is full up and we choose not to wait so we head to Canada. We browse the stalls but we're really headed to the Skyliner! Oh, I notice the UK fish and chips is open...we'll have get that some other time! It's our first trip on The Skyliner and it's now one of Mel's favorites. I was not expecting much but I'm pleasantly surprised. It's a nice ride, reasonably cool and comfortable. We also make a stop to look around the Riviera Resort before the return trip to Epcot. The Food and Wine stands are just as good as ever...and yes, a little pricey. We hit a few and work our way around. Some of the shops and stands are still closed. It's still hot and there are some good crowds. On the way out we think about stopping at Mousegear. By the way, the main plaza, what was Communicore East and West in the day, are under construction...or deconstruction at this point. Lot's of walls up as the buildings are pulled apart. But Mousegear still has a place...and a long line. We skip it and had for the bus.

Next, we pack up. We're moving to Kidani Village. My first time at AK Lodge. Mel has stayed there some time ago so we decided to try Kidani. Today will also be our first trip to Bantu! So after dropping our bags for transfer we're off to Hollywood Studios via Uber! Our first Uber too! We've read the blogs about how to score a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance and step one is be in the park by 9:30. But busses to HS don't start running until 9:30! So we're at the HS parking lot just before it opens and we're in the park by 9:30. We stroll slowly back to Galaxy's Edge to take it in. It's well worth taking in! Especially if you're into Star Wars. Very immersive. A little before 10 we get in line for Smugglers Run. It works out well for us an as 10:00 rolls around we have a spot for Smugglers Run and can try for a boarding group. The way Rise of the Resistance works is you use the Disney app to get in a boarding group at 10am and 2pm. You have to be quick. All groups are gone in about 30 seconds. You can also standby hoping for gaps in the line. We're lucky and get boarding group 30 which should board in about 130 minutes or so. We have time for Smugglers Run (really neat!) and what Mel has been waiting for, a Ronto Wrap. Which is what we're doing for lunch. A sausage wrapped in roasted pork, wrapped in a pita topped with cole slaw. It's actually pretty good! Quick service order ahead but we get a seat! Then a little more looking around and off to our boarding for Rise. You must go to see this. It is...impressive. Wow. Have I mentioned we miss Fast Pass. We do, but we're lucky with the boarding group and it's OK. But, yeah...go see it. We shop around a bit and work out way to the front of the park. Lines are now much longer than we like (60-120mins+) and it's hot. By the way, there is a line for the market place in Bantu, four small shops. We had to leave the lone to do Rise (well worth the sacrifice) we'll learn tomorrow that nearly everything in those shops are also in the shop selling Star Wars stuff on the main street. We also hit the Skyliner again today from Hollywood this time.

Day five, our last, is back to Hollywood. We planned two days to allow two chances to get a boarding group for rise. Today, we hadn't planned it but we Uber it again. We slept in a little longer planning to get the bus and be in the park by 10. But, bus service at Kidani may need improvement. As we get out there the line stretches some way back and starts at 9:30. With distancing it's probably 3 or 4 busses worth before we even get on a bus. We choose Uber. And we get to the park about 9:30-ish...about 15 minutes later that yesterday. But what a difference 15 minutes makes. Instead of walking though the temperature line (did I mention they take your temperature before entering the parks? They do. And there is a line.) that line stretches back to the Skyliner. But it moves fast, especially once they open the other few lines! We go back to Slinky Dog this time...the line...remember lines...is back to One Man's Dream...but it moves fast. No really! We wait and while we're waiting 10:00 rolls around so we go for a boarding group. Lucky. We get group 20 this time in about 100 minutes! We also have an ADR ot Olga's Cantina...after Slinky! Which was great! Though Slinky made us late! Olga's is modeled off the cantina scene in Star Wars. We really just wanted to check it out but, with distancing and all, you can't get in without a reservation. So we have one. No food to speak of (couple of snacks) but the drinks are kinda fun. Mel has a bubbling misting thing (Carbon Freeze) and I have a Hyperdrive. Lot's of atmosphere in Olga's and we enjoy a seat in the AC and some cold drinks. You're allowed 45 minutes by the way. We give up some of our time to head to our boarding group. After Rise...wow...we come back for lunch (Ronto Wrap) and shopping. We stand in line for the Market this time and have a look around. Tip...don't bother. All the stuff is up front as mentioned. We find that out on the way out when we stop in that shop too...with no half hour wait!

Our last evening is at Kidani. We have a nice sit out in the viewing area. We have a nice chant with the Cast Members out there about the animals and various stories. We're almost late for dinner at Sanaa. Tasty and good service...in AC with seats! Very tasty!

We finish up with packing and a 6:30am Tragic Express bus back to the airport. It's early. It's dark. But the temperature, for the first time this trip, is not too bad!

I'll work in getting some pictures online!

Alacrity
Mike Fink Keel Boats Boatswain
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Alacrity » Oct Thu 15, 2020 4:00 pm

Observations:

Masks: cotton ones don't stay as dry nor dry as fast as synthetic materials.
Take along several. Carry at least two to swap as needed.

Hand sanitizer: Disney's machines, if they work, give you lots.
It also tends to be kind sticky. We brought our own which we liked better.

Lines for shopping: kinda kill the spur of the moment vacation buying.

Order ahead counter service: They really need more tables. But there are fewer to allow distancing. Look outside and all around.
Order well ahead for pickup later. Folks will still tend to crowd around the doors waiting for their order...which
they just placed.

Amy
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Amy » Oct Fri 16, 2020 8:51 am

Sounds like a good trip, despite the heat and operational changes for covid. Was it difficult being "stuck" with only one park for each day? I think that, along with dealing with the mask and heat, would be my big challenge as we almost always park hopped at least once each day.
That's pretty great you were able to get into Rise of the Resistance on both days. It really is an amazing attraction!
Are they running more buses due to keeping capacity lower? Like 2 or 3 buses right behind one another during the busy times? I can't imagine how long waits must be otherwise.
Looking forward to pictures ~ you always take such nice ones!
Happy 13th anniversary!! :D

horizons1
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by horizons1 » Oct Fri 16, 2020 12:45 pm

Great TR. Love that you rode Rise 2x and I also note you must've really liked the Ronto Wrap since you had it again on the last day!

Also, thanks for posting the general observations/tips. I think I am gonna hold out until they at least allow park hopping.
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Alacrity
Mike Fink Keel Boats Boatswain
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Alacrity » Oct Fri 16, 2020 1:27 pm

RE: Park hopping...we didn't really miss it though we probably would have hopped a day or two if it were available. With the heat we were usually ready to go back to the room/pool in the afternoon. We're also trying not to be park commandos and actually relax a bit on vaction!

RE: Busses...our only real complaint. Of course we were at Kidani which has a reputation of so so bus service. They are limiting the number of folks on a the buses and spreading folks out. We didn't notice an increase in busses however though we purposefully avoid the busiest times. Capacity at the parks is supposed to be lower so maybe that makes up for fewer people allowed on a bus.

And we did like the Ronto Wrap! It's would be more of a snack for some, rather than a meal, as it has no side. We had them for lunch though and were happy enough!

Amy
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Amy » Oct Sat 17, 2020 10:51 am

My brother and sister-in-law shared a Ronto Wrap as breakfast the day we were there ~ it wasn't huge, but they were both satisfied, though they don't eat a lot at once...

Alacrity
Mike Fink Keel Boats Boatswain
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Alacrity » Oct Tue 20, 2020 2:56 pm

We have heard that the breakfast Ronto Wraps are pretty good! We may have to seek those out next time.

Got some pics online...less than a week after the trip...pretty good for me!

Dave and Mel's 13th Anniversary 2020

Amy
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by Amy » Oct Wed 21, 2020 5:48 am

Great photos Alacrity! You did really well on the characters, you wouldn't know you weren't allowed to get close to them from your photos. Thanks so much for sharing your trip! :D

horizons1
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Re: Our October 2020 Anniversary Trip

Post by horizons1 » Oct Wed 21, 2020 12:51 pm

Fun pics. It was great seeing the country bears make a socially distant appearance.
No one's gloomy or complaining while the flatware's entertaining.
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