Staying at a Disney Resort When the Theme Parks Were CLOSED
You know those Disney trips where you’re running a million miles an hour, off to the parks and all over the property, and you’re discussing with your family “okay next trip we need to actually enjoy the resort more!”
Well, on this trip, that’s exactly what we did.
Since opening its gates in 1971, Walt Disney World has never closed for more than a few days at a time. When COVID-19 came around in this unpredictable year of 2020, the Disney Parks worldwide experienced their longest span of being closed in theme park history!
We had the chance to kick off a road trip at our favorite place on earth – Walt Disney World! This was right during the first phases of reopening, post-COVID closures. At this point in time, this opening was for resorts only. The theme parks were closed, only Disney Vacation Club members were able to book resort reservations, and Guest attendance was extremely low. This obscure set of circumstances gave us nothing but time to fully immerse ourselves in our resort stay!
Traveling during a pandemic looks very different than traveling in the past. With safety as our main focus, we took great precautions by abiding by these rules throughout our entire trip:
- Wearing Masks
- Constantly Using Hand Sanitizer
- Staying 6+ Feet Away from Others
- Choosing Locations based on Crowd Levels/The Business’ Implemented Precautions (Disney did a great job at this!)
- Spending Limited Time in Public (2-4 Hours Max)
If you do choose to travel during a pandemic, I highly suggest taking similar actions and discussing a game plan with your travel partners. Be as safe, mindful, and aware as possible!
With all that being said, we had our safety intentions set and were ready to be reunited with a dose of magic!
Our resorts of choice for this trip were Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!
We stayed in Deluxe Studios at both resorts, and here are some photos of what they looked like:
The most unique part of this trip was how empty the resorts felt. Take a look at these lobbies that are usually jam-packed with people:
We kept ourselves quite entertained and socially distant while living our days at a luxuriously slow pace. (as far as Disney vacations go, anyway) Taking a walk on the path by the Garden Suites at the Contemporary was one of my favorite moments. Since these are not Disney Vacation Club units, they were all closed still. The chairs from the porches were inside the rooms, the beds were stripped, and there wasn’t a soul in sight. It was a little eerie! (but definitely socially distant)
Other leisurely resort activities we took part in were:
- Enjoying the gorgeous views from our balconies
- Wandering around deserted (but open) areas of the resort, like the boat dock at Wilderness Lodge! (there were so many empty benches and quiet areas!)
- Checking out the Resort Pools
- Watching Hamilton on Disney+ which was released on July 3rd!
- And we spent quality time with the Disney Resort TV music loops and, of course, my girl Stacey!
When there are no theme parks to go to, the main highlight of staying at Disney is eating! As far as reopening procedures, the restaurants had QR codes you could scan to check-in. There were also QR codes and/or paper menus for ordering. You are allowed to take your masks off while you’re seated/eating/drinking.
At the time, we were unable to make dining reservations online. However, once we checked in to the resorts, we were able to go to Concierge to secure dining reservations!
We got to enjoy some really delicious (resort only) options:
Geyser Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge where we ordered the Bison Burger and Salmon Salad.
Whispering Canyon at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge where we ordered the Carnivore Skillet and the Lighter Side Skillet. (with extra Mickey Waffles)
The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where we ordered the Seared Gnocchi and the Herb-Roasted Chicken Breast.
And lastly, Sanaa located in Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
As you can see, even without having the theme parks open, we were still so happy and fulfilled during our stay. It was such an interesting experience seeing Walt Disney World this way and I will never forget it!
Make sure to sign up for The Road Jess Traveled email list by entering your email address below, follow me on Instagram to stay connected in real-time @JessicaFaye508, and stay tuned for more blog posts about the rest of our East Coast Road trip!
And If you enjoyed reading this post and would like to see more, click on the link below to watch the vlog! That way you can see the trip in action!
Until next time… 🙂