Over Thanksgiving break, we decided to venture to Orlando for our first family Disney trip. We were so excited to surprise the boys and had a blast with a countdown leading up to the vacation. The anticipation and excitement leading up to the trip was magical and sweet- and a very special memory for all of us. One thing I want to mention, we are not a “Disney” family… this was our first time and we were skeptical…
Read on to see the good, the bad, and the magical.
We decided to only commit to two theme park days, and it turned out to be a great decision. We figured if we loved it, we could always go back and do the other parks another time. Our itinerary was:
Saturday: Travel Day from Atlanta to Nearby Family Beach House (approx 6.5 hour drive)
Sunday: Head to resort for early check-in- Resort Day! (approx 1.5 hour drive)
Monday: Disney Day!
Tuesday: Hollywood Studios Day!
Wednesday: Resort morning until late check out
Growing up in South Florida, we went to Disney as a family several times since we were only a couple hours away. But other than those visits when I was young, the only Disney experience I had as an adult was when we did the Disney Half Marathon (two years) before we had kids. I just wasn’t sure if we would enjoy it… and let’s be honest- it is expensive so other vacations always seemed to take precedent.
OUR DISNEY EXPERIENCE || DISNEY AT CHRISTMAS!
One thing I didn’t consider when booking our trip over Thanksgiving was that the park would be decked out for Christmas. Let’s just say I was excited when I realized this!
- The weather in late November in Orlando is perfect! It was cool in the mornings and comfortable all day.
- I had ZERO expectations. I mean ZERO. I figured if we came and rode a few rides and saw Mickey- we would all go home happy. (I highly recommend taking this approach vs. stressing out about every little detail!)
- Because it was a holiday week, even with lower capacity due to the pandemic, it was busy and the lines were long.
- Big fan of the Disney Christmas decor! Apparently it is even more magical in non-Covid times, but it still felt very festive and special.
OUR DISNEY EXPERIENCE || THE RIDES & LINES
- Because of Covid, the capacity at the park is reduced. While I didn’t have much to compare it to, it did feel very manageable to maneuver around the park.
- There were no fast passes being offered so this allowed us to be flexible all day. One perk is that because of Covid, each family got to ride the rides practically by themselves (this is also a bad, read on below)
- At ages 9 and 6- we could ride every single thing in Disney!
- Because there were no fast passes, the lines were long. Not only in length- imagine every family standing 6 feet apart! – but also in time. They did move fast, but due to Covid- as I mentioned above- they couldn’t pack the rides full. For example- we had the entire boat to ourselves for It’s a Small World and Space Mountain. So where they would have probably put 12 people, it was only 4. This was a wonderful experience once you were on the rides, but it definitely made the lines long.
- So it turns out my oldest was not a big fan of roller coasters. I am sure this will change as he gets older- and we *probably* should not have started with Space Mountain! He was a trooper and rode them all, thankful he stuck it out.
The Magical: Seriously- is there anything better than Space Mountain or Splash Mountain? It was so much fun to experience these rides with the kids and I was very nostalgic the whole day.
OUR DISNEY EXPERIENCE || DAY TWO at HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
- Because of Covid, they are not offering park hopper passes so we had to commit to the exact parks we wanted on exact days beforehad. When we decided to head to Disney, we were only able to get Disney and Epcot as Hollywood Studios was already at full capacity. However, a few days before I checked online and was able to swap our Epcot day to Hollywood Studios!
- Our youngest is a huge Star Wars fan so this was all for him!
- The weather was PERFECT both days!
- Honestly, we were kind of over the line waiting by the second day. I think we ended up doing three rides and then all decided to cut the day short and head back to the resort. But that is also probably because the resort was AMAZING- you can catch up on that HERE. As I mentioned above, I had ZERO expectations so this approach did not bother me at all.
- Our boys enjoyed the Star Wars area and I was blown away by just how cool it all was. A highlight was seeing some Storm Troopers in action as we waited in a line.
One more tip- even with the boys ages 9 and 6 we brought a big jogging stroller and it was the BEST DECISION! I packed a small cooler with snacks and drinks and included lots of fun treats and candy. This was KEY for the boys while we waited in lines so they could sit and chill and pass the time.
Obviously, we are not Disney professionals but I hope you still got a few little helpful tidbits here on visiting Disney during Covid. Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Orlando. The weather was PERFECT and we found it to be just the right thing for our family for a few days before Thanksgiving.
One more note- although our trip was pretty straightforward- we used Amanda over at Dixie Delights/Glass Slipper Concierge to help us plan our trip. I would highly recommend reaching out to her to help!
Catch up on all things DISNEY:
MAGICAL MONDAY || We Are Disney Bound!
MAGICAL MONDAY || Our Disney Experience
MAGICAL MONDAY || Disney – What We Wore