Trip Report - Part 01 - Getting to the World (2020 September 18 - 26)

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. :upside_down_face:

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. :grimacing::rofl:

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. :pretzel::ice_cream::champagne::jack_o_lantern:

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 ~


Sounds like a great start to your trip! I’d be wanting a break, too, living and working in a small place.


Firstly, Im soooo excited for a new trip report! Im feeling the lull here. Next, we will be doing this, no DME offered at Swan. First fly in (if SW doesnt keep screwing with my flights, could drive if need be). How long did it take for lyft driver to get to airport? Should I do this in advance or after getting bags? I know this can change but Im asking around, getting the feel.


Thank you! I am loving your report! I have not read to many details about Lyft so I am interested too!


I haven’t taken Lyft in Orlando, but I have used it a lot at other airports. I would not call for the Lyft/Uber until I had my bags and was pretty close to the pick-up area. Usually you will have to wait 10 minutes or so, but on the off-chance that a driver is close, you could miss them. They will only wait a few minutes for you.

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@drvillarejos - not long at all! I prefer trying to find a ride on the fly as needed (unless it’s really an off time, like 2am on a weekday). You get better rates that way, and when you have a lot of people and/or bags, a better rate and a bigger car is a good thing. :slight_smile:

Load both UBER and LYFT into your phone, with credit card info already attached to the account.

The pick up that we always use is down in baggage claim, all the way to the left (just walk and keep walking left). There should be a sign for ride share pick up location there, I tend to sit inside, watch the app, soaking in all the A/C possible. If it’s busy, you can text your driver (aka - There are 4 of us, and I’m wearing a red tie dye shirt with glasses.

Also, in Florida, they don’t have to have a license plate on the front of the vehicles. So if one of your party knows icons and can spot the different brands of cars, that would be helpful. You can always walk to the back of the car to check, and don’t be shy. Check the name, get the plate, and if the ride is NOT what is advertised, you can request another.

I’m only saying this because we had one last trip that the driver had NO A/C on the hottest lunch/nap day. We were already misserable and wanted to sit and relax, and he asked if it was OK if he didn’t run the A/C. I said “I thought this was luxury?” I think he was an outlier trying to save a few $$$. He let us ride with the windows down.

POINT IS - you’re paying, be sure to know the product, and get what you want. Uber / Lyft is still way cheaper than renting a car to stay on property at this point.

ALSO - heads-up, the MINNIE VANS are NOT running currently. Too bad, they’re great!


You’re right, @Julianne_fki - it’s best not to call for the driver until you’re in the correct area. If they arrive, especially at the airport, and you’re not there, they will leave. Boo, not cool!

I took a LYFT to the Vineland outlets one day when DH was working, and you need to remember where they drop you off… you’ll have to find that very specific spot again to get picked up. If you plan on going to VINELAND for the DISNEY CHARACTER OUTLET, I suggest NOT going on the weekends, and getting there SUPER EARLY. I went on a Tuesday at 9:30am for a 11am opening… I’m trying to remember, but that’s definitely 90 minutes before they opened. I got on the virtual waiting list, sat in the food court in the A/C after, waiting for them to open and for me to be called via text.

People think there’s gold in them thar hills, so if that’s in your UBER/LYFT plan, GO EARLY. Oh, and bring/drink coffee, because nothing is open, not even starbucks! noooooooo lol


Oooh, yeah, I almost grabbed that deal too @drvillarejos

Enjoy the view - that new tower will be up before you know it!

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Thank you for all the info! The best!

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Im here strickly for walking to parks and upscale accommodations vs price not too much more than pop, lol. Unless I drive, than Im keeping my pop resi.

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@drvillarejos it’s a Marriott property too, right?

I read mixed reviews about the room size, and the bathroom. If you plan on staying in your room for long amounts of time (other than sleep), you might be happier at POP! If you’re the sleep and hit-the-parks kinda person, then you are going to probably be happy in either one.

POP! has really, really thin walls though… like, hear the person next door use the bathroom, hair dryer, etc, kinda thin. That’s usually not an issue unless you’re stuck in the room for a long period of time, or if you have the party-all-night kinda folks we had next door one year. They were in and out to pool hop, get drinks, and smoke in the designated area. They also enjoyed their music… but not after a certain hour.

I sure hope no one called the front desk after 10pm to ask them to turn it down… :hear_no_evil::see_no_evil::speak_no_evil:

Yes, its Marriott. Ive never stayed at Swan or Dolphin before but I have stayed at Pop twice. Pop is ok. With 4 night and 5 days, we will be at the parks alot. I figured Id like Swan better because I can walk the Epcot resorts in the evening if we get board. Its just DH and me so hotel space wont be an issue really. Cruise ship rooms are teeiny and we manage that ok. Not late night people. Other people generally dont bother us at hotels. I think I will like a short travel to the parks the best. Waiting for the buses is blah! Lol

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