Planning Qs for Spring Break `21

Hello everyone ! Thank you all for the wonderful, positive posts in 2020 through now. Thinking about Disney in this trying time as been a life saver for me.

We are one of those families who had booked trips in late March 2020 when WDW closed. It was an 11 person, extended family trip aged 1 to 79 with mobility and dietary restrictions. I planned our week trip down to the 15 minute interval given everyone’s needs. I cried (at the office no less) when I heard Disney shut down.

BUT…we have rebooked for March/April 2021 and we’re staying at Shades of Green. I have two questions and one info bit for the Disneyrati:

Q1: I have a Beaches & Cream reservation for a day that we’re not going to the parks. is it possible to swim at Stormalong bay since we have the reservation. The ‘official’ Disney answer is no, but I’m wondering if anyone has heard/experienced anything different.

Q2: I know that the Int’l Gateway and Main Epcot gates open ‘officially’ at the same time, but if there is an early opening, do they both open at the same time? I’m trying for Remi via Int’l Gateway, which TP says is open (?)

Q3: How much time these days should I be allocating for COVID screening/security for each park? (The time between when you arrive and when you actually get in the park.) We plan looking at the apps the night before and seeing what time they really open and arriving then, mostly via Lyft.

Q4: Any sources on COVID outbreaks (if any) at WDW? I’ve been googling, but I don’t see any transmission in the Parks data. My 80yo mom has gotten the vaccine, but the middle aged adults (I’m one!) won’t have gotten by then. (We’re in CO and have been impressed at how well they’ve been rolling it out.)

–> I learned today from Disney’s call center that Early Morning Magic Minutes won’t go into effect until October. I was hoping for spring break.

I admit planning this time around is much harder because there is little info and everything keeps changing, so I’m just doing ‘guidelines’ and we’ll hope for the best.

Many Many thanks!

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Q1 my recollection is there a separate entrance into the pool that Beaches and Cream won’t gain you access. You have to have the right hotel key or magic band I bet. It’s been a few years but I remember it being strict back then.

Q2 IG is open. I just did a solo trip and was first in line for frozen though so I do wonder if they open both at exactly the same time or maybe I had a shorter walk. For Remy it’ll def be a shorter walk from IG if it’s operating. Also I was let in a little after 10am for an 11am opening on this last trip to Epcot. I’d plan to be at each park an hour before official opening time. Because even without the early entry they are “quietly” as in not announcing it but they are opening up to an hour early. Some girls at my hotel were shocked when I told them this as they were heading to the main lobby for the airport home and a lightbulb went off for them that’s why there was already such a long line when they got there at opening.

Q3. The covid screening is super fast. You’ll be through the gates much faster than precovid when they did more bag checks in person and you had to fingerprint yourself.

Q4 I can’t give you the public info on covid but I can say this. You will be exposed but I’ve been on two trips and I wore my mask religiously, ate outside and hand sanitized a lot. This is of course anecdotal but I have not gotten sick or was asymptomatic as was my whole family with me because none of us have had symptoms. We are also not vaccinated.

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Was going to reply, but Jenny beat me to it and said everything I was going to mention. I can relate to having a Spring Break trip cancelled last March. Glad you are getting ready for a make-up trip. A lot is missing, but a lot is still there, and Spring Break should be a great time to go. Good luck with all the planning!

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We were a week at WDW the 3rd wk of December 2020. I think we ate inside at 5 or maybe 6 restaurants. Ate outside maybe twice.

This is one of the few Disney trips that I did not come home with some sort of illness. So all the protocols worked for me/us.

We used Disney transport to get to parks. For a park with an 8 am opening (AK) we’d leave for the bus stop at 6:30. Off Flight of Passage before 8 am. Love the new scanners - no more going thru bags.

Mobile order was a hard thing for us to get used to. I don’t know why we couldn’t realize at 9:30 am that we’d want to be eating by noon. And put in an order before 12.

Regarding question 1: not only do you have to use your magic band or room card to enter Stormalong Bay, there is often a guard checking you in and giving you a wristband to show you belong at the pool. I would not count on swimming there at all. Sorry to be so negative.

Wow! Thank you!! Jenny for the detailed responses, Jana for the tip about ordering HOURS before (I’ll set reminders for us! And Tall Paul for the moral support.

Snow white Doc you’re not being negative, it would be aweful for us to show up there expecting it, only to get turned away.

First long line we’d get in in the morning and I’d be passing around the phone for a lunch mobile order. :-). You can always push it out if you’re not ready for the time you picked but nice to have something on the books. Another tip is to say you’re there when you aren’t because it takes a bit to prepare your food and this way you won’t be in the pile of people waiting to get in the restaurant when it says their order is ready.

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The only thing I have to add is I have heard of one liner who tested positive after a trip to the world. That person flew in from overseas though so no way to be certain where the exposure happened.

I can tell you where I was really scared about exposure was MCO. That place was terrifying. Packed with people and so many not complying with mask rules even as they’re being announced over and over on the PA because no one enforces it. A man sitting across from had the bottom of his mask untied and the top under his nose. A woman a few seats down had a 20 min call without a mask on and rubbed her nose. People behind me taking their masks off to sneeze or cough and to rub their noses. So many people just wear a single layer gator. And most definitely not 6 feet of space to be had. Literally impossible to find it. I had neck spasms from the stress. Airports are scary places right now.

Jenny, you and I are aligned in this. I’ll feel decently safe in the Disney bubble, although acknowledge that I WILL come into contact with someone with an active infection. But airports do scare me. I’ve been on two trips since March. Now reading all the reports on air travel, so long as I’m wearing a mask*, I feel fine on an airplane, but the airports are the concern. Denver International is a huge airport with lots of space for the aerosols to move about, but I passed through Phoenix in November, a small airport with large crowds in a state where compliance is questionable. Luckily, we spent our two hour connection outside, but then we went back in and THEN our flight was delayed two hours. I expect our return trip at MCO to be like that.

  • I wear a double mask when in enclosed spaces: a surgical one with a larger tri-layered cotton mask with copper that is easy to breath through, plus a face shield (only because it reminds me not to touch my face, which I STILL do often.) I don’t eat and disinfect my hands frequently. But my son is 7 and it’s harder to get him to suffer a bit. We’ll figure it out and test upon our return!

Take care everyone and stay safe!!

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You should have seen me. I dropped my phone and wiped it with an alcohol wipe promptly. I touched the chair rail and hand sanitize immediately. Lol. I was a wreck. I have long hair so I’m often touching my face to get it out of my face so agree it’s hard. I was fine in my local airport because I was the last flight out and coming home the only flight in baggage area and our airport has higher ceilings and is cleaner. Will we ever feel normal again?

Something to consider, if you’re comfortable with hotels: for our WDW Thanksgiving trip last year, we booked a day-use room at the Hyatt Orlando Airport ($99 + taxes for 10am-6pm), which is part of the airport building itself.

Felt it was a safe environment for us to relax, do virtual school, eat, drink, have a private bathroom, etc. instead of waiting at the gate. Might be a hard-sell for a solo traveler, but worth it for a family I think. I just lumped it under my “COVID-precautions budget”, since other parts of the vacation budget were reduced (e.g. cost of the flights themselves, hotels).

Just budget enough time to get to your gate (with or without TSA Pre). We didn’t intend to wait until the last-minute, but ended up reaching the gate just as they started boarding, so we barely spent any time in the gate area :slight_smile:

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On Hyatt’s website I only could find a blurb about it in near the middle of the page:

Day Use Rooms
Recharge for a few hours between flights at MCO’s only in-airport hotel. We offer special day-use rates to enjoy hotel benefits like the pool, fitness center, restaurant, and room service without staying overnight. Day-use rooms are the perfect solution for fly-in, fly-out conferences and daytime layovers.
Hours : 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., daily, based on availability
Contact : 407 825 1234 or

But this blogger did an in-depth review of it:

It seems to be a popular option for the pre- or post-cruise folks traveling via MCO.

Also, if you don’t check out until after your plane actually takes off from MCO, you have a backup “safe space” in case of delays (as long as it doesn’t go past the 6pm day-use checkout time of course).

Oh - interesting concept.
Are you saying you still have to go through security after checking out of the hotel? It’s just a place to be for the window of time after getting to the airport, but before the security line? We don’t usually spend a lot of time at the airport before security. Especially in Orlando where the lines can be really long. If we could use the hotel after security, I’d definitely consider this.

Yes, as this hotel is not considered “air side”.

Yes. Since we had a rental car, we had to budget time for returning the car, check-in etc. So what we did was I dropped my wife + kids off at the terminal, and they went straight to the hotel, while I dealt with everything else, then I joined them in the room later.

I’ve heard that about MCO too, but part of our “COVID-precautions” strategy was also to fly during less busy times, so we flew mid-day on a Wednesday. We also had TSA Pre, so we didn’t spend much time going through security.

So for us, it ended up being more of a “somewhere to be before boarding”, but then also factoring in the time to get through security + the MCO monorail + walking to the gate.

If you want somewhere to be air side, you could also look into the airport lounges, especially if you already happen to have a premium travel credit card which gives this benefit for free. However, this won’t be a “private” option, and you’d have to pay per person.

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