Disney During COVID--Just As Magical!

Sunday, 18 April 2021 No comments

Yeah, so I'm a little late on this post, but here we go. lol Waylon's surprise Disney trip for his birthday was AMAZING!  (If you missed the birthday scavenger hunt I used to surprise him, you can go back and read that post here.)  I was concerned about going to Disney during COVID and missing out on the magic, but let me tell you...the magic is still there!!!

We traveled to Florida with Allegiant Air.  They have awesome direct flights to lots of our favorite, sunny places, so we fly with them often.  This wasn't the first time we have flown during COVID, but guidelines for flying are pretty much the same and we had to wear masks the whole time at the airport and while in flight.  You can lower it to eat a snack or meal, but that's about it.  The airport did offer free masks and gloves and sanitizer to everyone, which I thought was awesome and helped us feel super safe.

Okay, on to Disney and how our trip went...

1. Masks, masks, and more masks.  You do have to mask up EVERYWHERE at Disney and I felt completely safe while I was there.  Of course, that doesn't guarantee that you won't contract COVID, but I feel like they were very on top of things and doing their best to keep everyone safe.  I know they are constantly updating their guidelines and procedures as things evolve with COVID and right now you are allowed to pull your mask down for a picture.  Other than that, you are masked all the time unless you are sitting and eating (no walking and eating, but sometimes life just needs to slow down anyway).  I would also like to give a big kudos to their staff because I never once saw a cast member with their mask down....not even a nose showing!  I know that's tough, but they were amazing!  (Note: I am not guaranteeing that you won't get COVID, but I feel like Disney and their precautionary measures were on point!  Use your own judgement and do what is best for your family, as you would when traveling anywhere.)
A little rain doesn't ruin our ride on Dumbo!

2. Low Crowds.  
Crowds are low!  When we went in January, parks were only at 30% capacity (it is still only at 35% now).  When you purchase tickets,  you reserve your park days.  That may be a lot of pressure for people that operate on the fly, but I promise it's okay!  We always loosely plan our days in advance because of dining reservations anyway, so it wasn't a big issue for me and totally worth it.  We rode so many rides!  The wait time was minimal on EVERYTHING!  We rode most rides multiple times--if we enjoyed a ride, we got in line and rode it again.  I remember riding some of our favorites such as The Haunted Mansion three times (we love it!), Little Mermaid twice, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin three times, and we even rode Star Wars Millennium Falcon three times...and we got a boarding pass for the amazing Rise of the Resistance, which is like the ultimate Star Wars experience!  I can't say enough about going during this time simply because of the low crowds.  It was so nice to not be trampled on, feel like you're riding bumper cars, or constantly feel like you're racing from one thing to the next.  Relax and truly enjoy the magic!
I was so excited to be a "Galactic Hero" on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin!

3. Characters in the parks.  
One of my biggest concerns is that we would miss all things character (even at 11-years-old, Waylon gets excited and I love it!), but we still saw them plenty!  Instead of big parades, Disney is now doing lots of mini parades throughout the day.  From what I could tell, they happen on the typical parade routes (that's definitely how it was at Magic Kingdom) and we saw more characters than ever!  The day that really stood out to me was the day that we went to Hollywood Studios--we saw soooo many characters!  It just seemed like they were always randomly zooming through the parks and waving to everyone with all their fun music.  We loved it and didn't feel all the crowd anxiety you have as people gather before scheduled parades and "fight" for the perfect spots.  For us, this was so much better!

4. Dining.  My only "complaint" is that I missed the dining plan so much!  I know some people love it and some hate it, but I'm a dining plan lover.  For me, I like having it paid for in advance so it feels like I'm eating for free (leave me alone with my mind games, people😂).  I like no fuss and just scanning my Magic Band with a smile so I can go on my happy little Disney way! haha  But, I will say that I totally understand what they are doing right now to keep people safe and it didn't ruin my good time.  Quick service restaurants that are open require mobile ordering, which I had never actually used, and I kind of loved it once I adjusted to it.  You use the app (or you can walk in and order at one of their stations), put in your order, select your pickup time window, pay on the app, and the app will alert you when your order is ready.  The app will tell you where to pick up your order, someone will be at the pickup window to help you, and you simply walk away with your food!  It was actually nice once I understood the process (I'm a bit of a control freak and HAVE to know what is going on and understand why sometimes--okay most of the time!😂).  I enjoyed ordering from my room, then just going to pick it up and sitting down to eat.  No big wait in line or the fuss with checking out.
Here is Waylon with his breakfast from Topolino's Terrace, which is a table service restaurant in Riveria Resort.

5. Character Dining fun!  All character dining restaurants aren't open, but Disney is working on these experiences and opening more all the time.  The only character meal we made a reservation for (these are considered "table service" so reservations are a must to make sure you get a table) was Topolino's Terrace and it was our first time there!  We LOVED it and will always go back!  We are pretty picky eaters and breakfast proves to be one of our favorite meals always!  Their breakfast was amazing!  We saw four characters while there several times.  They didn't come directly to our table, but they were amazing at interacting with everyone from a distance!  They even stopped for pics and did cute poses.  It was great and so was the yummy food!

6. Where to stay.  We always stay on site when we go to Disney World.  I love the overall experience and convenience.  Since we fly and plan to stay on site, I never need to rent a car and we just Uber to the resort (if you fly into MCO you can take Disney's Magical Express for free).  From the resort, we always use Disney's transportation to get to the parks and any other resorts we need to go to.  We love the buses and our newest favorite way to get around is on the Disney Skyliner.  This trip was the first time we got to ride it and it was so much fun!

Riding the Skyliner to Hollywood Studios

This was our second time staying at Caribbean Beach Resort and it's definitely one of our favorites!  The last time we were there, there was a lot of construction going on and I had mixed feelings.  So I knew that it needed another chance.  We stayed in the Pirate Rooms, which are so fun!  I always love the theming and these rooms will not disappoint.  This resort is huge, so there is a lot of walking, but I feel like that should be a given when going to Disney.  The Skyliner was not far from our room (we could see it) and the pool at Caribbean Beach is my absolute favorite!  We love the two water slides and the kiddie area is the cutest!  Food options at this resort are also great and highly recommended by me!  If you haven't been to Caribbean Beach, you'll definitely want to check it out and it's also one of the most affordable moderate resorts.

Pirate Room at Caribbean Beach Resort

Pirate Room at Caribbean Beach Resort

7. Book your trip.
  I know this has been one of my longer posts and thanks for sticking with me!  If you are now all pumped for Disney and ready to book your trip, I got you!  You can book well into 2022, so there's plenty of time to book in advance and make payments (this is how I do it!).  I NEVER book a trip on my own.  USE A DISNEY PLANNER!  They are FREE for you to use (your trip does not cost extra--I promise!), and you can let them handle everything to keep you from being overwhelmed, or they can just take care of a few smaller details for you.  They know all the ins and outs of Disney and will hook you up with all the secrets, so use them for their Disney knowledge!  And if you ever have an issue while on a trip, let them know and they can take care of it for you while you continue having all the fun!  My all-time favorite Disney Planner is Ernay of Pixie Dust by Ernay.  She is the absolute best and can't be beat!  She is always on top of things and has the answers to all your Disney questions!  I promise she will not disappoint you and make your trip so smooth and magical!  And she is FREE so be sure to message her today for a FREE QUOTE if nothing else!
Click the pic to connect with Pixie Dust by Ernay!  She is the best Disney Planner around!

So, I'd give Disney during COVID a 10/10!  It was different than the experience I was used to, but just as amazing and magical!  I'm ready to start planning my next trip!

Spring Has Sprung

Sunday, 11 April 2021 No comments

Whew!  Life has been busy!  We finally got back to full time learning in person and I haven't had a chance to even look up!  It has been a wild ride these last few weeks, but it has been the best feeling ever to be back in the classroom full of students!  If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen a lot of what we have been up to, but I figured I'd give everyone an update just in case you've missed out.

Since we have been back in the classroom, we had a chance to celebrate Read Across America Week, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and now we are on Spring Break.  Told ya it's been hectic!  It's been so much fun to be able to bring out all the fun activities to do with the students.

Read Across America Week was during our first week back and things were a little thrown off by some weather issues.  Fortunately, we were able to postpone the fun during the next week and I was still able to cram in some fun activities.

The next week was St. Patrick's Day, so there was more fun to be had!  Here is a look at some of the fun activities we did this year.

This past week was the week before Easter and spring break.  My class was so hyped for Easter this year, and we made sure that we had as much fun as possible.  Here is a look at how our week went.  You can also find other fun videos on my Instagram account, including a look into our "Peep Day."

These last few weeks have felt like August in March/April.  We have had to adjust and spent lots of time going over rules and procedures while trying to continue with the things we normally do this time of year.  I plan to take time to rest up during Spring Break and be ready for the last few weeks of the school year.  We still have lots of exciting things coming up in our classroom, so stay tuned because we may just have some eggs hatching next week!