Mid-October Universal Florida and WDW Post Trip Thoughts

I’ve been posting a lot of responses with a lot of my thoughts on other people’s topics but wanted to gather it all in once place from an actual computer and not my phone! :slight_smile:

  1. Both Universal and Walt Disney World were crowded and felt crowded every day we were there. The park I least felt this in was Epcot given its size and that we went on a Wednesday.

  2. Avoid weekends in Universal if possible.

  3. If you go on a weekend to Universal Express pass is necessary if it’s in your budget (or stay in Hard Rock or Royal Pacific) imho and be prepared to take social distancing risks in high congestion areas like Harry Potter world. I’d save those areas for first thing in the morning or late at night if you want to avoid the congestion. Use early entry if you have it and get there as early as possible around 7:10-7:15am for a quick run through Hagrid’s Magical Creatures if you can. If you arrive after 7:30am you may have to still wait an hour for Hagrid’s using up your entire early entry. My suggestion if you have the time is to go to the parks in the morning till lunch and leave when it’s hot and crowded around 11-11:30am for a lunch outside of the park (or catch an 11am show other than Bourne which you will wait through at least one full show for and then head out of the park at noon for lunch in a hotel or citywalk). There are lots of outdoor sit-down table options including the Cowfish and The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel if that’s important to you. Play a round of mini-golf after lunch or spend some time at your hotel if it’s nearby. Come back in the late afternoon or early evening after 4pm since the parks are open late on weekends.

  4. Try for Virtual Lines for Hagrid’s and other rides (including the Mummy on weekends) if you don’t have Express prior to the official drop times (about 10 min early).

  5. In Universal, ff you dine quick service, mobile order from your phone while in line. Once you are given an indoor table show the mobile order to a cast member in the restaurant so they can write down the number and process your order. If you’d like to dine outside, wait until your food arrives and then proceed outside with your tray. If you have more than one adult in your party send them outside to secure a table at any point once you arrive as outdoor tables are first come and do not have an official line. The Harry Potter restaurants will have long lines so avoid them on weekends if not necessary to your happiness.

  6. If you eat at the Cowfish, download the app and get on the waitlist while in the park on your way to the restaurant and request outdoor table if you’d like as that’s an option in the app.

  7. Citywalk gets crowded in the evening hours on weekends so avoid it for later dinners and eat at a hotel or do an early dinner around 5pm if you want to avoid congestion in the walkways without 6 feet of distance.

  8. If you’ve never ridden Kang & Kodos Twirl & Hurl like I hadn’t because it was a kiddie ride give it a spin. It’s different than Dumbo with you trying to aim your vehicle with the heads of the Simpsons characters which actually made it fun for my teen daughter and myself. I never noticed the scenery we were so busy trying to playing the game.

  9. Go light on the mayo on the Chicken & Waffle sandwich at Fast Food Boulevard as it makes the waffle soggy and fall apart and imo is too much. You can request modifications such as these directly with the cast member you show your mobile order too as they aren’t allowed on the mobile order itself.

  10. Don’t do too much in one day. If you’re too exhausted to pay attention to the amazing detail of attractions, rest! It’s a vacation after all! Set your expectations low and if you ride more than expected you’ll feel elated instead of disappointed if you didn’t do it all!

  11. The hand sanitizer at Universal is sticky (if you rub your hands a lot it comes off like when you were a kid and let glue dry on your hands) and it smells bad but they require you to do it. I often used my own that I had on a clip hooked onto my shorts loop or phone lanyard even after using Universal’s since they required I used theirs but mine smelled better and didn’t leave my hands sticky.

  12. If you are using your phone to do Express pass make sure when you check in to Hulk and Rip Ride Rockit to request a paper one before waiting in line for a locker (we had to back track and wait again for a locker).

  13. Wear sunscreen and good shoes!!! Bring a mini fan if you are doing middle of day touring. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. But do this when you are not walking and at least 6 feet apart from others. Even in lines I’d do this when we’d get to corners outdoors far apart from other people in line because it’s also important for your health in the heat.

  14. If someone behind you is not abiding the 6 foot rule (or to the side of you) politely ask them to please give you social distance. All people we encountered just aren’t paying attention or don’t understand the stagger of connected lines but they are very understanding of you asking. Teens included who probably think they are indesctrubile like I did waaaaaay back then. If you make it funny about you being an “old” person at higher risk this helps with positive communication. :wink: Don’t let it stress you out once you are there; just keep your mask on as much as possible, don’t touch your face and any time you ride hand sanitize.

  15. In WDW Disney generally overrepresents wait times (but if you are in line during a cleaning it will be closer to accurate so it depends on when you hit the line). Lines actually progress really quickly in the sense that you are very quickly moving except for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Rock n Roller Coaster for us. In general, look at TP predicted wait times and WDW disney predicted wait times and guestimate it’ll be somewhere in between. If you feel the line isn’t move for 10 min or so, it’s being cleaned so just rest; it’ll move quickly again shortly.

  16. In WDW, if it’s not one of the first rides of the morning ask a cast member where the start of the line is before walking to what you think is the ride entrance because it’s often far from where the usual entry is and you’ll often have to backtrack 1/4 of a mile. Lines will appear huge but it’s not as long as it looks given the social distancing.

  17. In WDW, be prepared to wait 30-45 min for most rides and an hour or so for the best rides if you don’t ride them first thing in the morning. which leads me to…

  18. Arrive an hour prior to opening because parks actually open up to an hour before the posted opening time and you can often get 1-2 rides done before the park is officially open with far shorter waits than after official opening. Due to shorter park hours the parks will be crowded off the bat at official opening and that first hour your used to get where you could get 3 rides done (maybe 4) is gone.

  19. TP’s don’t work in that they underestimate wait times most of the time and don’t account for that first hour of rides being open before the park is technically open so take it easy and adjust expectations. I adjusted for this by saying I was going to walk really slow which helped some but I did still have to give up some rides/shows in Magic Kingdom TP’s originally said I could make it through with time to spare.

  20. Try to ride rides in less shaded areas of the parks first and last when possible (like Toy Story Land in DHS).

  21. Mobile order lunch in the morning while in line or at least a couple of hours before you expect to want to eat. If you wait till you’re actually hungry you may have to wait an hour. Tap in and say you are at the restaurant 10 min or so before you are actually there (like as you finish up your last attraction and make a restroom stop before lunch) as it takes a bit for them to prepare food and then by the time you get there you won’t have to wait in the huge pile of guests who are not socially distanced to go in the restaurant. Other options include finding somewhere in the shade further from the actual restaurant entrance or browse in a shop, etc. You will get a text when your order is ready via the Disney app and can then proceed directly into the restaurant at that point. There are many quick service restaurants with outdoor seating if that’s important to you as it was to us.

  22. Table service restaurants with outdoor seating include Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom, Spice Road Table and Rose & Crown in Epcot (I think maybe Italy’s Via Napoli as well but can’t confirm?), nothing in Animal Kingdom, and nothing in DHS (though both Animal Kingdom and DHS have outdoor bars that serve table service appetizers I believe that you can just wait for). Trattoria al Forno on the Boardwalk has outdoor seating as well. To request an outdoor seat you have to do it in person, so I’d drop by prior to your reservation when possible or you may have to wait (we waited 45 min extra for that outdoor table at Trattoria al Forno). It’s first come first served or wait a long time for an outdoor table.

  23. I’d really suggest if it’s in the budget (and through David’s dvc rental we were able to get a Boardwalk Inn Studio Suite for $190/night which comes with free parking as DVC doesn’t pay parking plus you get free theme park parking as well so in reality that’s very close to what Pop Century is charging) to stay at an Epcot Resort so you can walk to DHS (and Epcot) and be one of the first in for that short wait on MMRR.

  24. To ride MMRR without a wait or a very short one, arrive around 8:30am for the 10am opening. You cannot do this with Disney transportation or parking. There are ways to get dropped off nearby using Uber/Lyft or drive and park at Epcot resort with 7am breakfast reservations at Ale &Compass or Trattoria al Forno. I read there is a gas station near DHS you can get a Lyft to that’s a shorter walk than Boardwalk. If you cannot do this, another Lines person said skip MMRR and ride it last. She said there was a 30 min wait right before the park closed.

  25. If you decide to use Disney transport I’d catch that first Disney transport to DHS so you can accomplish all of TSL or Sunset Boulevard before 10am opening. Don’t just blindly follow your touringplan to accomplish the two Sunset Boulevard attractions in the afternoon as the lines often fluctuated. I think everyone rides one and then gets in line for the other so try to be the opposite of the majority group if you can catch the pattern.

  26. Get your trigger finger ready for that 10am Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group drop. Set a timer on your phone for 9:55am and have everybody in your group try for it constantly refreshing exactly at 10am on the dot. You can try a mixture of wi-fi and data plan if you have multiple people in your party but data is probably better in our experience (I got them myself last winter but daughter beat me this time when I tried wi-fi). Sometimes wi-fi works better in the indoor queues though if you’re in line for something else when it’s 10am.

27)Don’t waste your early entry time on Millenium Falcon as it’s queue is mostly shaded. Use it on Toy Story Land or RnR which both have hot unshaded queues that wrap far away from the main entrance.

  1. WDW is especially off on their Toy Story Land wait times so don’t let long wait times scare you there.

  2. Worth repeating: wear GOOD shoes (bring blister bandaids just in case)

  3. rest some; it’s a vacation!

  4. wear sunscreen, hats & sunglasses and bring your own hand sanitizer just in case.

  5. Find a comfortable mask but also multiple layers. Do not wear gators as Disney doesn’t allow them and they are not effective though Universal allows them. Please wear them over your nose and mouth (Disney will correct you if you aren’t and Universal will too sometimes). It gives your fellow travelers a sense of peace if you follow proper mask wearing and social distancing so be respectful about other people’s stress or risk even if you aren’t personally worried about your own party.

  6. Bring ibuprofen. My previously sprained ankle flared up and multiple stores in the park were sold out of ibuprofen so bring your own or some other anti-inflammatory just in case your back, feet, etc. need it. Not to mention it’s much more expensive in the parks! We eventually stopped at Walgreens and I was able to get the longer lasting Aleve for the last half of our trip which I prefer since it’s every 8 hours.

  7. Enjoy the queues. I have never done the main queues for Peter Pan, etc or spent so much time in line before but the queues at both Universal and WDW are amazing attractions in and of themselves. Think of it that way instead of a long line.

  8. Stay healthy both mentally and physically and do what’s best for your health in both regards. Don’t judge others for their choices unless they impede on your health and then politely request them to be respectful to your needs. There are certain political issues I think compromise is not possible but most things I believe there is a middle ground and we have become far too polarized. Masks, social distancing, hand washing and not touching your face are scientifically proven to reduce risk and not it’s a political issue (whether you personally comply) but a public health one. I do understand whether or not the government sets these restrictions is political. :wink: Cabin fever is a personal mental health risk not even taking into account the risk to society’s health in keeping business closed. Even if you’re healthy and young, etc., others around you may still be trying to balance their lives and health and more at risk or have higher risk avoidance personalities. The anxiety of people not following proven medical protocols could be negative towards their mental health even if they don’t get physically sick so just be respectful and let’s all care about each other. We are all in this together and I wish people could find unity in trying to work this problem instead of polarization. I know this has nothing to do with actual Disney tips and thoughts but it nonetheless is part of traveling to Disney right now. I personally felt both extreme anxiety sitting at home the past 7 months and at people not following CDC and Disney/Universal guidelines while in the parks (though they were they minority especially in Disney). The anxieties of cabin fever vs being in a crowded place were different so I do appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house regardless. I’d like to keep that opportunity open for those of us that want it by being safe and respectful. I hesitated to add this but I think it’s important so I’m gonna leave it! :blush:

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I agree with this. And sometimes the distancing markers in the lines aren’t where you would expect…so sometime I found our group or one around us would get caught between the markers with no place to go. Most of the time a quick apology and a “oops” look would relieve the tension, and the line would correct itself in a minute. Most people understood and were happy to laugh along when there was a mistake like this made. We’re all in this together, after all.

I also agree with this very strongly. Well said.

And great summary/tips. Thank you!

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Do you think they’d be okay with me using hand wipes after their hand sanitizer has dried? Or maybe I would just want to go wash my hands or use hand wipes after getting off each ride? I don’t want them to think i’m avoiding their hand sanitizer. I just also don’t want sticky hands.

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Yes, with the social distancing in lines being hard sometimes (sometimes you cannot see where the next marker is because it’s behind a turn or it’s been ripped off). We only asked people who continually got really close to us like 1-2 feet away. If it happened once or twice we didn’t mention anything.

You have to use theirs but it did help to use mine right after with the sticky and smell.

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Bonus tip:

  • If you have littles or anyone who just can’t handle the heat or long lines and since the lines go way out the doors of the main entrance queues it is possible to take turns holding the place in line when it’s in the outdoors part or let someone take little kids to get a snack/potty or just get some shade. In addition, having less people holding your place in line makes it easier to socially distance in line if you have a large party or antsy kids as a lot of the line markers are exactly six feet apart so if you are not standing directly on them (which you can’t do with lots of people) you will be closer to other people. Make sure wherever the other people not in line are, they are waiting where they can keep an eye for when you get close to the official queue entrance or you can text them as you get close so they can hop back in before you get into the enclosed and/or indoor areas of the lines. By the time you reach this part of the line for most rides you will be waiting under 20 minutes at this point due to the social distancing unless you get stuck here during a cleaning so it won’t be too rough for small children.

I saw some parents in line for Jungle Cruise do this. Dad holds place in line while Mom takes toddler on Magic Carpets and then Mom and toddler join dad in the Jungle Cruise line. It’s sort of like the Dumbo hand off Unofficial Guides mention.

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At Universal, I took disposable non-latex gloves and put them on before the hand sanitizer. Then threw them away after the ride.

Wow, that would be great! They didn’t mind? Seems like a good solution for me to consider!

There was one time I had literally just put my own sanitizer on and was still rubbing it in when we saw them. I still had to take theirs. I don’t think they’d care if you were wearing gloves though and they def didn’t care if you put on more of your own after.

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They had no problem with it. They did insist on still applying the sanitizer. Which I don’t blame them since they don’t know that it is an unused glove. DH had bought the gloves a little small. You won’t be doing anything more fiddly than a seatbelt, so I’d go a little big. Big gloves are quicker to slip on.

There was one day that I forgot to add more gloves to our back pack, so I only had three pair and did reuse them.

They also watch that you rub in the sanitizer.

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Thanks for the details! I think I’ll bring some gloves along and see how it goes!

Nice summary!

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Thanks for taking the time to type all of that out, it’s truly appreciated.

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@jennyturin So, everyone in your group can request a BG? Did you visit recently? I read somewhere that only one person in your group can request or else you’ll receive an error message. Thoughts?

Everyone can try. Only one can succeed. But it’s better than putting all of your eggs in one basket. If one person’s phone glitches, someone else can still get it.

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What Julianne said. We just all try but only one will get all the way thru

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It sounds like they are encouraging only one person in each group to try in order to decrease the total number of people actually trying at once.

I think the new 7am thing will help with that. My kiddos would have been asleep! Haha. We just did what we did last winter and we’ve gotten one every time. I was also on WiFi and my daughter on data in case one had better signal but the moment she got in we all stopped trying and told her what to do.

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