Disney 2020 – Magic Kingdom, Day 2

Our second day at Magic Kingdom was even MORE epic than the first.  We had a blast going on repeat rides (3 times in a row for Splash Mountain and 4 times for Space Mountain), walked on to Peter Pan (that never happens!) and rode everything we wanted to except Big Thunder Mountain (it was closed all day).

The crowds were even fewer than our first day at Magic Kingdom and everything was open except Big Thunder and the People Mover.  Some shops are closed, but trust me, there are plenty of places to buy Disney goodies!!!!

Here are some pictures from our day!

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Headed into the park with “The Child” – whom I keep calling Baby Yoda – but Char has named him “Tiki”.

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I love the thin crowds!!.

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Dole Whip….So good!!!

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This is the “opening” crowd!

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I have never seen Cinderella Castle so empty!

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A character “experience” with Captain Jack Sparrow!

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Mid day – around 1pm….where are the people???

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A late afternoon storm starts to clear out the park even more.

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Not many people left on Main Street.

 

Disney 2020 – EPCOT

The older I get, the more I love EPCOT!  On Wednesday, we got to experience a day at EPCOT like no other I have ever seen or will probably ever see again!  To attend the International Food & Wine Festival with so few people was indescribable!  We had a wonderful time!  We even got to experience character encounters “COVID” style!

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We have been at EPCOT during a number of their festivals; The Art Festival, The Flower and Garden Festival and now The International Food & Wine Festival.  I have to say I have found them to all be rather similar, but special experiences none-the-less.  They are worth the extra effort to attend during these events.

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EPCOT is undergoing a massive overhaul.  I was surprised by how much was closed off, but other than the flow of traffic being interrupted, I didn’t find it terribly inconvenient at all.  I cannot wait to see all the magic the imagineers have in store for us at EPCOT gets a face-lift and new feel!!!  I mean – the crowds were so thin, the re-routing caused by the updates was barely noticed!

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In addition to a new entrance before Spaceship Earth (and a revamped Spaceship Earth experience) and the entire courtyard after Spaceship Earth getting completely redone, we are anticipating a new Remy ride (similar to the one in Disneyland Paris – which is EPIC) and new “neighborhoods” being created in the areas around The Land, The Living Seas and over near Mission Space.  The re-imagining is extensive and will give EPCOT the edge it has been lacking for a while.

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We had a wonderful time!!  We also wore some pretty spectacular shirts this day – ones we made – and they were so well received that even the ladies working at the Italy pavilion thought they were amazing and voted us having the “best shirts”.  There were cool!

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EPCOT has always been one of my faves and with all the new goings on there, it is sure to be one of yours!

 

 

Disney 2020 – Magic Kingdom

Well, what can I say?  Magic Kingdom has always been my favorite park – I mean, it IS the happiest place on earth.  Today, it was EPIC!

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I knew the minute the monorail arrived we were going to have the best.day.ever!

We hit all the major rides except Big Thunder Mountain (it was closed for cleaning when we were in that area) and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – but we are luckily going to Magic Kingdom on Thursday and those will be our top priority!

People keep asking, “What is not open?”.  Well, ALMOST everything IS open!  The only ride I have noticed that is not open so far is the People Mover in Tomorrowland.  There are not as many snack stations open and some of the smaller stores are closed, but we have not had to search for snacks, drinks or souvenirs at all!

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All of the rides close on a rotating schedule for cleaning, so occasionally a ride will be shut down when you want to go on it but it isn’t closed for long.

There are sanitation stations EVERYWHERE, everyone is masked, each and every ride queue is comfortably distanced, there are fabulous pop up parades and musical performances and not having to dodge people left and right or get run over by strollers or scooters was priceless!

The truth is, this is the most perfect, magical time to be at Disney.  Never again will there be so few visitors and this is such a gift!!!  We have done Disney’s special events in the past (Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and also a Disney Vacation Club Members Only event) and there are FAR FEWER people here now then there were during those events!  We are loving every steamy minute of this experience!!!

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This is how I felt ALL day!!!!

Stick around because tomorrow is EPCOT!!  EPCOT is experiencing so many changes right now, but I know we can count on some great rides, short lines and the International Food and Wine Festival!!!  My dream come true!!!!

 

 

Disney 2020 – Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios – generally my least favorite Disney park as I think it has been lacking in previous years….Disney has obviously thought so as well and over the past 5ish years has added not only “Toy Story Land” but recently opened “Galaxy’s Edge”, the new Star Wars land and also right before COVID hit, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad!  These new additions have really kicked up Hollywood Studio’s attendance (even today at opening was pretty busy) and added a much needed boost to this slumping park.

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This is “busy” as we first enter the park.

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As the day goes on, not so busy – this is at 11am.

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1:20pm and the coast is pretty clear!!!

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Great crowds today at Hollywood Studios!

We arrived and parked at Hollywood Studios around 9:20am – the official opening time for the park is 10am but getting there early allowed us to get through the health screening, security check and park gates by 9:30am and head straight towards Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad.  We were cruising in the line and by 10am, we entered the virtual queue for Star Wars; Rise of the Resistance.  Our time for that ride was approximately 2pm, so we had time to not only ride Mickey and Minnie, but also Toy Story Mania, Slinky Dog Dash, Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Roller coaster, have lunch and then venture over to Smugglers Run BEFORE our numbers came up for the virtual queue.

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A great example of the physical distanced queues in line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster.

The crowds were a bit heavier in the morning, but as the day went on, crowds thinned and we had a fabulous time exploring Galaxy’s Edge!  It was WAY bigger than I imagined it and the theme imagineering is incredible!!!!

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Inside the Millennium Falcon

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Smugglers Run ride queue…cool stuff to look at!

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Are we, or aren’t we smiling?

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Another cool view from the Smugglers Run queue.

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Some things at Disney ARE different – there aren’t any parades, per se – but we were right in the middle of a pop up parade with Mickey, Pluto, Minnie and Daisy walking down the street! We could never have gotten this close under normal circumstances!

We decided to head back to our resort for a refresh time and left the park around 4:30pm.  Some of us swam, I did dishes and laundry (totally my choice) and got ready for our dinner reservation back at Hollywood Studios at the Sci-Fi Dine-In – one of our favorite places to eat!!!!

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Dusk at Hollywood Studios!

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We love the Sci-Fi!!!

The park was so cool at night – because of the limited park hours, we won’t see as much after dark during this trip, so we scheduled our dinner late so we could see the park at closing!  It was an amazing Day 2.  Check in tomorrow for Magic Kingdom!!!!

Disney 2020 -Our arrival and Animal Kingdom Bonus Day

Sunday – our arrival was great!  We picked up our rental, drove to a Walmart 3 minutes from the Animal Kingdom Resort and picked up our food we had ordered earlier in the week (BEST grocery pick up ever!) and arrived at our resort.  Our room was not ready yet (it was only 1:30pm) but the kind folks at Kidani Village brought our luggage in and stored our cold food for us!  How many times can I say we love Disney!

We hoped back in the car and drove 5 minutes to Animal Kingdom for our Bonus day…a few hours in the park on arrival or departure day that are pure joy because there is no plan!!!!

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We walked right into the health check, got our temps taken and then through a metal detector and two out of three of us with backpacks got snagged for a bag check.

EVERYONE was wearing a mask and I seriously only saw a handful of people not wearing their correctly.  There are hand sanitizing stations everywhere you turn and physical distancing measures everywhere you look!  Disney has done a great job from what I see so far!!!

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Kilimanjaro Safaris loading area.

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Taking pictures on the move is tough, but I wanted to show you the distancing measures on Flight of Passage.

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The queue at Expedition Everest

Then we were off!!!  We hit Pandora land and Flight of Passage, had one of the most up-close encounters with giraffes, rhinos and a sassy ostrich I have ever has on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride and had a blast on Everest!  The longest we waited was at Flight of Passage and that was MAYBE 30 minutes!

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“Africa” at about 2:30pm on Sunday

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The park was dead!  I am in heaven!!!  BEST TRIP EVER!!!!!

Disney 2020 – The Airport Experience.

The adventure has begun!!!   Sunday we were up at 3:30am to drive to Boston.  To say we were bright eyed and bushy tailed might be an exaggeration, but we were ready to go!!!!  We snuggled the animals goodbye (we have an amazing lady that stays at our house and watches the animals while we are away that was arriving in daylight morning) and jumped in the car.  Off we went.

Sometimes we do take the bus to the airport (C&J is our local bus) but yesterday was supposed to be their first day back up and running and with 5 people traveling, it was more cost effective for us to drive ourselves to Pre-flight and shuttle in.

The shuttle ride was efficient and safe.  The red curtains add a little fun to the trip.

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The Airport – Boston

Boston Logan was a breeze because it is still a ghost town.  This summer I have been in Terminals A and B and they are the same crowd wise from what I have seen.  When we brought my daughter to the airport July 1st to fly to Washington state to see grandparents, it wasn’t any different.  There are very few flights happening and many of the shops and such are closed.  This means you have to be extra prepared with TSA approved snacks and such, but it also means fewer people to dodge and very short lines!

The waiting areas are well maintained, very clean (I’ve never seen cleaner bathrooms anywhere) and physical distancing is encouraged by taping off certain seats in the waiting areas for one person, two people and small groups that might be traveling together.  EVERYONE was masked and overall, I had no trouble feeling safe.

The Flight – Delta

I have flown a few airlines in my days….and Delta is on the top of that list.  Note, I fly economy – not first class (someday, maybe once!), so my assessment is the treatment of us regular folk:)  Seriously, though – I love Delta domestically and internationally and will choose them above all others if they are an option!  Yesterday’s flight solidified my experience with them even more!

Because we were a unit of 5 people, we sat together (Char, myself and her friend to 3 seats, Kelly and Kelton to 2 seats behind us- I moved across the aisle from the girls once seated and no one was there).  Family units DO sit together, but otherwise, strict physical distancing is in effect and maybe 30% of the plane was booked.  Best flight ever!!!

We were offered a personal cleaning wipe when we got on board and were told the strict cleaning protocols provided by Delta (very impressive), all the onboard attendants were kind, courteous, helpful and masked properly, and halfway through our flight we were offered a small sealed bag with more sanitation gel, a bag of cheezits, a granola bar and a small water.   I cannot imagine being in a space where I would have felt safer with strangers around me.

The Airport – Orlando

Our arrival was hairy!  Not the flight part – that was great – but the walking off the plane to so many people in one place part.  Really, it was just because there was a plane boarding and it looked like a pretty full flight so there were a lot of people that were NOT physical distancing, but after we held our breath, kept our head down, and dodged the people, all was smooth sailing!  hahahaha

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Orlando Airport

Really – is wasn’t that bad, but so different than what we have been used to!  We headed out to were we thought we collected our car – which has changed because of COVID – so you know – it is always good to pack extra patience!

Off we headed for our Disney adventure!  Check back in for our Bonus day at Animal Kingdom!!!

Celebration at Sea – Cadiz, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal

Our last two stops on our amazing Mediterranean journey.  In Cadiz, the kids stayed on board the Anthem while Kelly and I did a little exploring!  It was a windy day but we found time to sit and enjoy fabulous churros and hot chocolate!

 

Our last stop was Lisbon, Portugal!  We didn’t know what to expect in Lisbon but LOVED every inch of this hilly city!  We explored Jeronimos Monastery, Castelo de Sao Jorge, learned about the cork industry a bit (you can find anything and EVERYTHING made from cork in Lisbon) and marveled at this beautiful bitter sweet last stop of our adventure!

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One of my favorite all time pictures!

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Jeronimos Monastery

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The courtyard of the Monastery

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Char and Sable being sassy.

 

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Beautiful crucifix at the Monastery.

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We found some beautiful peacocks on the way up the hill towards the Castelo.

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Castelo de Sao Jorge

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We loved the coloring on this fellow!

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My princess of the Castelo walls.

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Making the Anthem of the Seas our home for 16 days was an amazing way to see the Med and I recommend it to everyone!!!

Social Distancing – Day 155

Coronacation continues…how surreal this summer is.  I keep thinking of the Bananarama song Cruel Summer.  It seems to fit.

It hasn’t all been cruel, of course – and I like to focus on the positive – so I’ll tell you what we have been doing since June 24th!

Gardening – lots and lots of gardening!   It amazes me every time I have a garden how quickly vegetables (and weeds) grow!  We have had a great harvest in green beans, zucchini, lettuce galore and I feel like we will be soon overrun with cucumbers!  My tomatoes are coming along nicely as well!

As for the rest of the garden – some things are doing great – I need to harvest my lavender soon but it has been so hot out in the mornings that I want to wait.  Speaking of hot – I think we have had a REAL summer here!  Super-hot days – we have had our pool heater off for almost a month and still the pool is 91 degrees!

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Exploring at home.  Hamilton House, South Berwick, Maine

We were able to do our annual camping trip to Long Lake.  I treasure this week long vacation every year and this year was no different!  We enjoyed great family time, amazing food, fabulous weather, tons of boating (skiing, tubing and trips to town for ice cream) and made memories to last a lifetime and hold us over until next year!!!

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Our home away from home.

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Two tubes, twice the fun!

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Pine Island, Long Lake.

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Storm closing in.

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What 17 year old boys do early in the morning.

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We made some cool masks!

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Drive-bys with the Songo River Queen.

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Making new friends!

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The 2020 crew – I love these people!!!

It’s been 155 days in some type of isolation because or COVID-19.  Boy, this world is a weird place!  My daughter starts high school in September.  My son begins his senior year and in a week we are going to be in Disney.  Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in this strange season is a challenge, but still this point on our timeline has offered us quiet times of contemplation and opportunities to do something new.  Let’s see what good can come out of this cruel summer.

Celebration at Sea – Malaga, Spain

I fell in love with Spain in Malaga.  That should be a song….but it happened!!

Malaga is a gorgeous Mediterranean city with large seaside pedestrian ways, a state of the art cruise ship port, magnificent history and a liveliness that features flare, fun and fantasy.  It was hands down a wonderful surprise and I cannot wait to go back!

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Such beautiful architecture!

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The gardens we saw everywhere were stunning!

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I love these trees with purple/blue flowers!

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We did our first Segway tour!

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In Europe, I guess they believe that an 8 year old is able to safely ride a Segway!

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My people on a gorgeous old walkway!

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In Malaga, the fortress/castle is call Alcabaza. It was STUNNING!

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The walls of Alcabaza

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Gardens of Alcabaza.

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Arab influences can be seen all over this beautiful city.

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My beauty.

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Stunning view from the fortress walls.

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Our ship in the distance.

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