We Ventured to Epcot!

We Ventured to Epcot!

We ventured to Epcot today!

We thought about it for a while once we knew it was opening back up. We researched it by reading reviews, blogs, FB posts, etc. about what it was like in the various parks. Two  weeks ago we made our reservations for 8/4 knowing that at anytime should we feel uncomfortable about going we could back out.  

So this morning we headed out wondering exactly what we would encounter. We had in the back of our mind that at any time we felt it was too busy, too risky and too uncomfortable we would just turn around and head home.  Even if it meant that when we walked in the gate and we felt anything not right we were outta there!

We were greeted at the parking gate by the attendant with both a mask and face shield.  Cars were even being parked social distant from each other! It was nice to get out of the car and not have someone barreling in next to you. No trams were running. In and out of the park traffic was in 2 different directions. Cast members were standing outside of the park checking masks.  We even encountered one gentleman wearing a mask with a filter on it that he could not enter the park with that type of mask on. We had our temps taken before security and at security they do not even touch your bag.  They ask you to remove umbrellas and water bottles.  As we entered through the Passholder gate there were no fingerprints scans and I was even reminded that my mask had slipped below my nose a bit. 

Once inside the park we were amazed at how deserted it was!

We then headed Mouse Gear. As we passed Spaceship Earth there was only a 5 min. wait time, with markers on the ground spacing the folks waiting in line.  

As we entered Mouse Gear there obviously is a limit on the number of shoppers allowed as there was a cast member counting folks as they came in.  There are reminders everywhere to “keep the magic alive” by social distancing, wearing your mask and limiting handling the merchandise.  

There were times we needed to make sure we were keeping our distance, but it really was not any different than being in a grocery store.  In fact, I think at any one given time there may be more people in Walmart in one aisle that there were in Mouse Gear. 

Baby Yoda was keeping watch!

So we continued our trek around the park anxious to see what was open and what was not.  There were the normal booths for the Food and Wine festival, but just not the hype and excitement of being there in the midst of one of the biggest festivals. The main shops were open, but many shops in the different lands around the World Showcase were not.  The Fish and Chip shop in England was closed as was the pub section of Crown and Rose- which is sad because it is our favorite spot for a cold Guinness.  But, it is also VERY hard to social distance in there.  France was practically empty.  The shops were closed, the main restaurant closed but the ice-cream shop and bakery were open.  It was pretty sporadic like this throughout the park.  

Our choice for lunch was the Smokehouse over in the U.S. section.  No walk up ordering, but only order on your mobile.  One way in and one way out.  Social distancing required while waiting for your food and our cast member there was gracious enough to let us wait inside in the a.c.!  It was remarkably very well planned but also remarkably very empty.

As we continued our walk we saw no line at all at the Margarita stand in Mexico.  That is a first!  It was time for a Margarita and cerveza.  Does anyone know how hard it is to walk with a beer or margarita in your hand and not try to drink from it while wearing a mask.  We decided we needed to stop to finish our drinks and as we stood as a socially distanced table we noticed a lady walking by eating her Dole whip sans mask.  One of the cast members from the nearby Festival Market Place booth very nicely came over and asked her to go over to one of the table to finish her treat.  No walking and eating and drinking without your mask on.  

It was an interesting day.  No shows, no entertainment, not all food and drink places open and no crowds.

I will say we were surprised.  Pleasantly surprised at the care that has been taken to assure everyone’s well being.  Surprised at how we actually missed the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the energy that it brings when you are there.  It’s still a happy place, but now a very subdued happy place.

We are so glad we ventured there.  We felt safe at all times.  Would we go again.  Maybe not it the near future.  Oh- and if anyone is wondering.  It was hot, hot, hot walking around with a mask on!!!!  

Whoa!

Whoa!

FL thunderstorms and lightening are frightening. Last night we experienced it first had as a bolt of lightening and ginormous clap of thunder hit at the same time plunging us into darkness. After we picked ourselves up off the floor, changed our pants (lol) we discovered our entire block was out. Jon found the top of the Street light across the street in our yard, gigantic pieces of glass from the globe everywhere and the post base basically shattered with blocks of concrete blown into the street! The transformer next door was mushroomed with oil seeping  out. So here we were at midnight standing in the rain with no lights, no a.c. drinking an evening libation with our neighbors and mulling over the power of that storm. Who ever said life is boring?

Congratulations Hollywood Studios

Congratulations Hollywood Studios

30 years ago on May 1 Hollywood Studios, then known as MGM, opened its doors! That year our 8 y.o. son whose birthday just happens to be on May 1 requested that we add MGM to our annual FL trip. So we thought it fitting that this year my husband and I celebrate his birthday again at Hollywood Studios!

So Just a few thoughts from the day

  1. Since we knew we were going to go back to Epcot at the end of the day to catch the Herman’s Hermits concert we decided to park there and walk to Hollywood Studios. For those that just walking the park is difficult, this might not be the best idea. If you’re not familiar with going back and forth between the parks you first need to go into Epcot and exit back behind the UK in the World Showcase. The walk takes you along the Boardwalk area of the parks, which is interesting because there are several restaurants and shops there. Plus, it is actually a nice quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the parks. You’ll walk about a mile along a wonderful walkway next to the waterway. It brings you right to the front entrance of Hollywood Studios.
  2. We knew we wanted to eat at least one meal at each park. The lounge at the Brown Derby had over an hour wait, despite several empty tables. We tend to stay away from the sit down restaurants since they are a little too pricey for us. Pizza Rizzo is closed- not sure for how long. The ABC Commissary is our default place to eat but we wanted to try something different. Try the Backlot Express. I had a delightful grilled chicken sandwich with fries and my husband had chicken strips with coleslaw. We each had a wonderful cold beer. There is both inside and outside seating. We chose the outside seating on the lower level, which was very crowded and hard to talk since the noise from the Indiana Jones ride filtered over. Just a tip- try the upper level outside seating if you can get a table. It’s a little less crowded and noisy.
  3. When a park is having a major celebration be prepared for longer than normal lines, especially where they are selling commemorative merchandise. As passholders there was a commemorative 30 year pin available. But, there were only 1000 available. Of course, they were sold out by the time we got there. There isn’t a separate line either for just passholders so you’ll end up waiting with the general public, which at one time the wait was over 2 hours. We decided not to wait because we were really only interested in the pin. But, we could see inside the shop and it was jammed packed. Thoughts- if you are claustrophobic at all you may want to rethink going in the shop. But, hey if you are really wanting that commemorative merchandise then go for it! For us, the memories of being there 30 years ago celebrating our son’s birthday was enough!
  4. This is the day to check out the other parks as they will not be as busy! Epcot was absolutely perfect. We actually even scored a FastPass for the Frozen Ever After ride, which is almost impossible to do. Once in the FastPass line at 4:10 pm we walked right on. We got into the Herman’s Hermit’s concert at the last minute, albeit SRO. But, there have been times they do not admit anyone else at all to the concerts. We hardly had any wait at all at the Liberty Inn Tavern for a quick dinner, which by the way was wonderful. We both had an absolutely delightful Fried Chicken Sandwich. Walking around the park was wonderful, there was breathing room and totally enjoyable. Quite a switch from other times we have been there. We also heard from one of the Cast Members that Magic Kingdom was not uber crowded either. I knew we should’ve gone over for a Hot Fudge Sunday in Fantasyland. But, a great Pineapple Soft Serve at Epcot did the trick.