Disney Halloween? Nope, it’s just the “Get me out of my apartment / TW site” trip. Let’s call it what I called it in my notes - 2020 DISNEY COVID GETAWAY (with pumpkin flavored snacks).
Yes, food that I didn’t have to shop, store, prep, and clean up. Let’s do this.
Typically, we have been going to WDW for a Halloween party vacation for the last (5) years. It was fun to plan, fun to execute, and I’m a sucker for lights and all things Disney. My hubby (DH) is a Halloween fan, so it was like the marriage of two lovely ideals in one fantastic (sometimes expensive) getaway. But it was our new thing, and we loved it. Started bringing in HHN, all the fun of safe and scary, with some HP on the side (just whatever is available at HHN - no daytime visit for us yet).
We’re pooh sized, and Disney is more Pooh friendly.
THIS YEAR - 2020 - was supposed to be our ABD (Adventures by Disney) trip to Disneyland (never been), with the tour including Hollywood, the Disney Studios, and THE MUPPETS!!! I had capped it off with a Disney Cruise (because we’d be in the west coast, why not), and we were super excited for this trip that COVID kinda knocked off the radar. (wahh-wahh). Oh well, we have our health, and ABD will be there for another first adventure in the future.
So we put a FLA trip on the books with Jet Blue in September JUST IN CASE we could get some Halloween Magic into our lives. As it inched closer, even though we didn’t want to wear masks in the Florida heat with NO MNSSHP and NO HHN’s available, we started talking about maybe keeping our flights and maybe going just to get out of town.
Maybe… I mean, is it safe?
People on YOUTUBE were all over the place with their Disney experiences, but SO MANY were saying how empty the parks were, and how much fun it was to just walk on rides. We were giddy like kids at the thought of short lines. No parades? No FP+? No fireworks? Well… maybe it would still be fun, right?
We both are fortunate to have jobs, and to work from home (our little apartment), but it’s a LITTLE APARTMENT. Our adult son has moved in with us, and we have a dog and two cats. We’re all in the same space all the time, for like 6-months. Our son (DS) lives on Xbox, goes to virtual community college, and works at CARMAX. But it felt like he was always home, always on the Xbox or headphones talking to someone.
My DH is in teleconference meetings for 75% of his day. He’s, um, not quiet.
I have a job that is more computer based, but I’m great with people and the new tech (Office 365), as I’m an early adapter. Once I’m in, I’m IN… so that’s why I’ve fallen in love with Disney trip planning. But when it comes to work, I prefer quiet. Let’s just say I go through a lot of earplugs during a week.
(as I type this, my DH is being SUPER LOUD on a call with work, and the DS is too… and our animals are all in my space… all over the meow-ma (my nickname at home - lol).
Here’s DH in his “office” (aka - the bedroom) with one of our furbots - it’s Loki-dog.
Here is the puppy in my “office”
And the fight for space is getting real in the bedroom too… meet Fiona and Lucy
Our ABD/CA trip evaporated, our flights were getting closer, and we had to make a decision. Our PPE game is STRONG, so we thought heck with it, let’s take advantage of the AP room sale and use our AP to get away for a little bit.
Touring Plans, help me pick a room!
Due to work being busy, DH had to work for (2) of the work days of our planned getaway. We got a room at the CBR September 18 - 26, because I knew it was on the Skyliner, had a lot of space between hotel rooms, had pretty good wifi and a table in the room, and we had stayed there in 2017 during the Hurricane for a couple of days. We knew what to expect, but we weren’t sure which “island” to request.
Via TOURING PLANS, I requested ARUBA, room similar to 5541 (building 55, close to the SKYLINER in the Riviera Resort, which I wanted to tour). I thought I’d get to walk over, have an espresso or ride the skyliner to DHS and walk around Batuu during DH’s Mon/Tue workday time.
I picked the online check-in, and we ended up with Martinique, building 24, room 2459. At first I was disappointed, but heads-up, Martinique is BETTER. It’s the first stop on the bus route (aka - you’ll get a seat), it’s still close to the Riviera (walk on over), the Skyliner, and pretty close to the food court / main building.
It was also near the bus stop, and a quiet pool with a washer/dryer. That’s pretty important since the parks close so early - yay pool and washer access?
Ooops, I’m getting ahead of myself…
2020 DFB halloween treats.pdf (947.5 KB)
DH was in charge of figuring out where the Halloween treats were located, and the PDF helped. More on that in a future report on the flavors of fall from Disney.
With the DFB halloween treats guide in hand, we packed a couple of bags really quickly, placed an order for our Owner’s Locker, and went to the airport. We live near DC, and had JetBlue tickets, so we packed a BUNCH of PPE, hand sanitizer, masks, the works.
JetBlue had changed our flights MULTIPLE times. Turns out, due to the pandemic, they only had one flight out to MCO (non-stop), one flight back to DC, and only four days of the week.
Lesson #1 - check your flights, your seats, etc, early and often
I was able to align the hotel and flights 96 hours before the trip. If you knew me, that’s way too unplanned of a trip. I didn’t follow any plan for packing our suitcases. I just picked out (5) days of clothes for us each, some light toiletries, work stuff, and my Nintendo switch (which I only used on the plane, if you can believe it… sorry Animal Crossing Island).
I thought heck, I knew enough about Disney, we could wing it! You can walk on rides practically, right?
Lesson #2 - no, not really… ride lines are long (more on that in another post).
And it’s Food and Wine, so between that and the multiple restaurants at Disney, we’ll just figure out food on the fly!
Lesson #3 - if it’s an important dining experience to you, like Oga’s Cantina, you’re not going to just breeze into a reservation under COVID reduced seating and dining availability. Just not-gonna-happen.
We went to the airport, and for our midday flight, it was a ghost town. Literally, check it out…
We got our PPE out, went to the bathroom and drank all the drinks, snacked all the snacks, BEFORE we got onto the plane. We didn’t want to be eating and drinking in the tube of a plane when we were covered in all the PPE. It was new, different, and too much to think about.
If you’re like me, and you drink liquid pretty much all the time, get a drink with a straw to enjoy on the plane. You can sip under the mask without exposing yourself too much if that’s a concern.
JetBlue was really great! They had these sanitizing packs before you got onto the plane. Each kit had (2) clorox-type wipes, (2) hand sanitizer packs, and it was compact and not stinky. We each grabbed a couple (because we were nervous… you only really need one each) on the way into the plane.
They board from the back to the front, and right now, they are maybe at 50% capacity? No issues finding overhead luggage space. They staggered the groups on the plane, so that kinda the reason flights were challenging to rebook on my end. However, it turned out GREAT once onboard. We felt pretty comfortable.
We put on our face shields in addition to the masks, just for the plane portion. It made us feel more comfortable, even though it was stuffy. You should bring more than you need, and test it out before you get into the travel portion. It’s just a good idea.
In preparation for the trip, we had been testing out masks while walking in the A/C mall, because we wanted the best case scenario to see how we felt with each type of mask. We had an easier time with the disposable, blue and white face masks for day-to-day wear. They were the coolest of all the types of masks we tried, but there are various types of even these disposable masks. You should test a variety, and then get at least one mask per person, per day, plus some extra. You’re gonna want extra, because they can break, get wet, get lost, get dirty, etc.
We also had a bunch of bath and body works hand sanitizer. We easily went through at least one of those a day… get more than you think you need, lol.
Here’s a pic of us on the plane.
We arrived at MCO around 6pm. Parks? Almost all closed… lol. It was Friday, and we worked that morning, so we just planned on going to the hotel. We grabbed a LYFT from the app, after a quick credit card update, and were at CBR within 20 minutes - no real traffic. They had us checked in, and we were able to just go to the room. However, we stopped by the front desk, because they had our last-minute magic bands waiting for us.
The store at the resort looked a bit crowded… I felt the COVID anxiety coming on. We had agreed that if either of us felt uncomfortable, we wouldn’t expose ourselves to it. In reality, it wasn’t crowded, I just saw the social distancing line waiting to pay, and I was a bit nervous. My DH saw it, and we nodded, and went to Bell Services to get our stuff delivered to the room.
Bring cash for tips - and these employees need and deserve your generous tips, and are super friendly!
They delivered us in a van with our luggage and our purple Owner’s Locker box to the room. Yay! We loved the CBR Bell Services guy (Ali), and he was super strong and sweet. We were in excellent hands.
HEADS UP - CBR doesn’t have any elevators. If they give you a room on the second floor, pay for bell services to bring your stuff upstairs. You’re on vacation, go for it!
The one thing I read in another review, somewhere, is that I should bite the bullet and pay for the new Walmart unlimited delivery service. I could order drinks (Florida is hot, drinks are expensive) for the room, some snacks, and have it delivered. Maybe some wine for me to enjoy in the room, or at the pool after the parks. I had ordered it for delivery earlier in the day, and hoped it would be at the resort when we arrived.
Lesson #4 - Walmart Delivery is GREAT! Bell Services will gather the bags and hold them for you, and deliver them to your room when you are back “home” and call for delivery - yay!
Lesson #5 - About Walmart Delivery - Don’t order alcohol unless you are available to meet the driver (to show your ID), or they will RETURN THE ENTIRE DELIVERY TO WALMART AND CANCEL YOUR ORDER - boo!
So no drinks, no bug spray, no sunscreen, etc… but it’s Disney, we’ll figure it out! I went online, put in the order again WITHOUT the booze, and planned to get it on Saturday during our lunch nap break the next day.
So the travel down was easy, and getting there without a plan (but with a ton of prior knowledge about services available) made it easier to roll with the punches. Heck, the room is super-sanitized before you get there, and it even has shampoo, body gel/soap, and conditioner ready to go. We could go one day without sunscreen… it’s just a few hours. I could buy some in the park even!
Well, I’m going to wrap up this part of the trip report. It’s long enough… for now LOL.
Any questions so far (yes, it’s a little all over the place, apologies), please ask away.
Your Disney lovin pal,
~ Imaginette ~