• Nicole Ashley

Walt Disney World Resorts During Covid


Today's blog is sponsored by Castle Escapes Travel! Please learn more information about this magical travel agency will be at the end of the post!

If you follow me on social media you'll might have seen that I recently took a trip to Walt Disney World. Since March I have been dreaming of getting back to my happy place and it was finally time! With COVID and so much uncertainty in the world today, it was a tough decision on wether to keep our family vacation or postpone. After doing much research and following along on Disneys social media platforms we decided to go.


It was a long welcomed treat to be back at Disney World, It left me with hope and the feeling that things are finally getting back to normal... My goal for this blog is to put you at ease and help you get back to your "home" no matter what resort that is! So in this blog I will be chatting about the health and safety measures I witnessed and experienced at the Walt Disney World Resorts.


Today I will be focusing on what you can expect at your Disney Resort. Stay tuned next week where I will discuss and layout what the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom & EPCOT are offering and how they are executing their safety measures. So let's begin!!!



Magical Express

If you are flying into MCO and staying at a Disney resort, you can take advantage of their free transportation system called Magical Express. After you retrieve you bags, follow the signs to Disney's Magical Express. There is a cast member waiting for you in a plexiglass booth. You will also find a hand sanitizer station there. You scan your Magic Band and they tell you which aisle is designated for your resort. There are social distance markings on the floor so you never come in contact with someone not in your group, you will also find hand sanitizing stations here as well. When your bus arrives the bus driver will take your bags and tell you what aisle your family will sit in. You will be seated safely and socially distanced from the other parties. Our bus was practically empty there was one other single rider and one other family of 2. When we got off the bus a bellhop was waiting for us to take care of bags. Magical Express is a safe, super simple, no hassle way to start your vacation.

Check In

I was fortunate enough to spend a week on Walt Disney World property at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Upon returning to Disney many questions were running through my head, Will it be safe? Will the magic still be alive with all of these changes? What will the resorts actually look like? I can assure you that the magic is still very much alive and from the moment you step onto Disney property you will feel like your right back home.


I checked into the Villa's at the Grand Floridian using the My Disney Experience App. I was able to start my online check-in prior to my arrival and they notified me when my room was ready. If you haven't used the app yet and, it's very simple. If you have linked your reservation to your account you will start by scrolling to your plans and click begin check in and following the steps. When the room is ready they will give you your room number so there is no need to stop at the front desk. All you will need is your magic band to get into the room. If you didn't order your magic bands in time and dont have them no worries! You can also get into your room using the My Disney Experience App. At any time you can stop by the front desk and pick up your complimentary magic bands. This was a great way to start the vacation, a smooth and efficient transition into the room. This is part of Disney's limited contact options. No waiting in the main lobby or chatting with a front desk cast member. Cast member are available if you need them, but this was a great start to minimize interactions.


The Main Lobby

When you first enter the main lobby of the Grand Floridian Villa's you'll see some informational signs to ensure you feel safe during your stay. At each entrance and exit there are reminders to do your part and wear masks while on property. They have also placed an abundance of automatic hand sanitizers for your connivence throughout the resort. If you need to speak to cast members there are plexiglass dividers set up wether its at the registers when shopping, paying for food or chatting with the front desk. There are also as six feet markers incase their happens to be a lines at any of these places. If your heading upstairs next to the elevators they even had specific sanitizers for the metal surfaces.


The Rooms

Lets me start this by saying how absolutely beautiful the Grand Floridians Villa's are. This was my first time staying at a these villa's and they did not disappoint! When I walked into the room the first thing I noticed was a frame on the table which indicated all of the enhanced cleaning that housekeeping took to make sure the suite was in tip top shape.

On the frame it marked 11 spots that the cast members made sure were extra magical. Here is what was on the list: Door Handles, Light switches and controls, Closet amenities, Beverage area, Bathroom amenities, Thermostat and Electrical Controls, Bedding, Electronic devices, Hard Surface and flooring and finally cleaned and wrapped amenities.



We had brought wipes and our own cleaning supples just in case, but it was evident that the cast members went above and beyond to make sure the room was taken care of and sanitized properly. I appreciated the extra touches Disney provided like wrapping the remotes in plastic and sealing them with a sticker that marked it clean. There were also hand sanitizers in the room as well as paper towels.


The Resort

Typically when I'm on a Disney vacation, I am ALL about the parks, the resorts are just a place to lay my head. We were lucky enough to spend times in the park as well as taking in everything the resort has to offer, so I was able to experience the social distancing protocols that were in place at the resort pool and dining areas. Lets start with the pool!


Pool

The Grand Floridan had the Villa's pool open at the resort since the other half of the resort was sectioned off for the NBA players. As soon as you open the gate to the pool area you will see a sign that asks guest to not move the chairs or tables for they are already marked six feet apart. The lounge chairs and tables were sanitized regularly. Cast members did regular walk throughs of the area and checked in on guests. They also stated that when you are ready to leave the pool area please turn down your lounge chair, this notified cast members and guests that those chairs needed to be sanitized for the next guest. Masks were not required while sitting at the pool, however if you walk over to the pool bar or go to speak any cast member you are asked to please place it on, I also think that is just the polite thing to do! Social distancing markers were placed by the pool bar and even placed up the steps if you decided to use the pools slide. Luckily the week I was there it seemed like we had the resort to ourself and weren't in close quarters with too many other guests at the pool, there was even a day we had the entire pool to ourselves! Baskets were out for used towels and life vests and hand sanitizing stations can be seen throughout the pool area. If you want a closer look at the pool check out my tiktok which talks more about the pool and social distancing, click here!


Resturants

Next up, my favorite part of any Disney vacation the food! At the resort I ate at all three locations which include both the table service and quick service. Here is a break down of how social distancing went down at both!


The quick service at the Grand Floridian is called Gasparilla Island Grill. We ate here a number of times throughout our stay. At Gasparilla's they highly encourage you to mobile order upon arriving. You can mobile order through the My Disney Experience app, it is super simple to do, the only hard part about it is picking what yummy food you want to try!

If you are un sure on how to mobile order a cast member will assist you or you can walk in and they will take your order in person. I definitely recommend the mobile ordering, we were able to order while walking over and it would be ready by the time we got there, it is a great way to save some time on your vacation. When your food is ready you will be notified through the app and able to walk up to the counter to pick up your food (dont forget your mask!) Once you pick a seat you may take your mask off and dig in! Disney is now pre packaging all of your food and condiments, so when you open up your bag you'll see packages with napkins, forks, condiments everything you'll need to enjoy your meal. This is done so there is no crowding at the condiment section and ensures that not everyone is touching everything! One more thing is the drink situation! If you purchased a refillable resort mug for your stay you just need to walk up to the drink station which and show your mug and a cast member will assist you in getting a drink. They will hand you a cup with your drink of choice, they will not touch the mug. You can get an idea of what this looks like as well from another one of my TikTok's, click here!




The Grand Floridian Cafe is the table service at the Grand Floridian and we stopped to eat here as well. Reservations are highly recommended but walk ins are accepted. You can make a reservation on the My Disney Experience App. Make sure your party is all together before checking in and now you can check in online through the app, you dont need to see the host you will get a text when your table is ready! Once your table is ready they will take your temperature before you go in. When seated you can take your mask off. The servers do have masks and face shields on. They aren't using conventional menus instead you'll get a tiny piece of paper with a QR scan code, you'll need to open your camera app and click the link to see the menu. From there everything is the same, use that code to go back and look for desserts or anything else you might like to order. Tables are socially distanced and reservations are limited since they have a minimum of how many guests they can accept right now.


Finally, The Enchanted Rose Lounge. This Lounge is inspired by Beauty and the Beast and although reservations are recommended you can walk into the lounge at any time. Enchanted Rose opens at 4PM every day and features signature cocktails and entrees. This was my first time grabbing a drink here and I was absolutely in LOVE. They had the same protocols in place as the other two dining locations, online menu's, socially distant tables and chairs and you must put your face mask on while leaving your seat. Besides that sit back, relax and be their guest! You can see more about the Enchanted Rose Lounge on my TikTok !


This Friday I will be releasing a Room Tour Video on my YouTube! Make sure your subscribed and turn on post notifications to see first hand everything I was spoke about in this blog!



I truly hope this blog helped put your mind at ease and encourages you to get back to your happy place. I promise that Disney will go above and beyond to make sure your family feels safe when staying at their resorts and traveling back to the parks. I will be releasing more vlogs and blogs about my experiences this past trip so make sure you subscribe to my website and social media channels so you dont miss a thing!



If you are ready to start planning and get back to the parks you should consider Castle Escape Travels. This travel agency is a small business who specializes in Disney Vacations. They will make sure to fulfill your vision by customizing a personalized and detailed vacation itinerary. Castle Escapes takes the time to find you the perfect package that will fit your budget and the best part is their prices are the same as suppliers, but they offer extra assistance and support at no extra charge that no other website can offer. With a team of four highly trained specialist and not to mention Disney fanatics, they understand the ins and outs of what goes into a Disney Vacation and how to make the most of yours! You can contact them today to get a free quote for your next vacation. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook!



So continue to explore my friends and have a magical day!

-Nicole Ashley


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