We made it to the Polynesian Villas after what seemed like the longest Magical Express Ride ever despite the bus being half full. Our room was ready when we got there at noon, which wasn’t shocking since there probably haven’t been too many guests before us at this point. We are in a studio in Moorea and have a beautiful view of the castle, the lake, the monorail, the boats, Space Mountain, and basically just everything magical and Disney-esque you could want to wake up to. It is quite a long walk from the main hotel and pool area though, which you really feel in this scorching heat. It’s a bit quicker to walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to access the monorail that way, so that’s what we’ve been doing.
The room has a few small signs of extra cleaning due to the pandemic. First there’s a literal sign explaining the areas of “enhanced cleaning” and then the only other obvious thing to me is that the remote control is in a plastic wrap. I’m not sure if the Polynesian studios used to have ceramic mugs and real silverware, but all of that is disposable currently. I’d be curious to see what is in the one bedrooms and bigger at the other resorts. The bathroom soaps and shampoos are all the small bottles you can take home, but it looks like they always had those here.
Everyone at the resort has been wearing masks everywhere indoors and out, with the exception of the pool areas and the beach at night when everyone was far apart. The pool was pretty busy even at 8:30 last night when we walked by. It closed at 9pm. All of the areas were open, even the splash pad area, which makes me happy because splash pads have been closed near us in NJ, which I don’t really get because chlorine should really be killing the virus I think, right? Who knows, but I’m happy my kiddo can cool off somewhere fun here.
So now for Magic Kingdom! We headed over there via the Transportation and Ticket Center. They did our temperature check at the TTC. They do it at each of the monorail resorts too, similar to bag screenings, so you can skip it outside of MK’s main entrance. We were boiling hot from walking around a lot, and our temperature screenings were fine, so external temperature really doesn’t seem to affect it. There was no line, we just walked right through and straight up to the monorail, which was super empty. The new dividers on the monorail help so you aren’t back to back with strangers. At one point during the day we literally were the only people on the entire monorail train. Things are just so empty right now. They are clearly very prepared for much larger crowds though, as they have markings 6 feet apart on every walkway leading up to the monorail and park entrances and whatnot.
No issues activating our annual passes at guest services at MK. I was a little worried about this for a couple reasons. I saw that there were long lines the day the park opened, which was not the case when we went. All the windows were open and we waited about 2 minutes before being helped. I was also worried about showing my NJ ID when activating my annual pass, which I realized was silly because they would have no idea how long I had been in Florida or if I came straight from NJ or whatnot, so I was just being paranoid. Happy to report there were no issues. I also will have to post further detail about getting my DVC Gold Pass at some point, but that’s not super relevant right now (although this was my first time as a grown up, haha). No annual pass for my 2 year old who is 3 days shy of his 3rd birthday (win!!). Woot woot!
Entered the park and got a pink circle and a “welcome home!” (That’s a DVC thing that happens on occasion and is cute). No finger scan obviously. Immediately there was one of those character cavalcade things they’ve been talking about. If I’m honest, it was a little depressing because I was all pumped and like “let’s go see eeyore!!” and was ready to run after the float, until I realized no one else was headed that way at all. Everyone was kind of ignoring the float/characters. It wasn’t the enthusiasm/craze you see for a parade or a character meet and greet. Later we saw several more of these cavalcades and there was more enthusiasm for the princesses and for mickey’s float, but still just a bit lackluster compared to the fanfare for the parades, but I guess that is the point. They are trying to avoid crowding. They are succeeding at that for sure. They still have songs and dancing, so I shed a tear, but that is pretty common from me in Disney World.
We had lunch at Starlight Cafe and rode Pirates of the Caribbean, and then went back to the hotel for a nap (kiddo is only 2 after all) because it was scorching hot out. Then we came back to the park for the last hour before it closed and we were able to get on 5 rides in the last hour of the day because there were literally no lines. I checked wait times earlier in the day and saw that Mine Train peaked at about 20 minutes and Space Mountain was around 10 minutes. We walked right onto Pirates, the Speedway, Dumbo (twice…. yay?), Small World, and … Peter freaking Pan. We walked onto Peter Pan! That can’t be a thing. I just can’t comprehend that. I would have liked to do Jungle Cruise but it was a 20 minute wait earlier in the day when my son was desperately needing a nap and then when we came back he apparently needed to ride Dumbo twice. We will try on Tuesday! By the way, there are hand sanitizers EVERYWHERE, and they are always full. I’m actually a bit intrigued. It’s one of those Disney mysteries. How do they always keep the hand sanitizers full? That doesn’t seem to happen anywhere else in the world. They have hand sanitizers at the entrance and exit to all rides and restaurants, as well as all forms of transportation at a minimum.
When we were on Small World we were able to see a cast member quickly spraying down boats after people got off. It seemed super efficient and I realized they could quickly spray a boat and then have that one run empty for a lap to dry off with minimal line interruption.
One quick note about our lunch at Starlight Cafe… we did a mobile order, which I’ve been a fan of since it was introduced, but you should note that we wouldn’t have even been allowed in without a mobile order. We actually had to wait outside until our order was ready. We couldn’t go in and find a table and sit and wait for our food. They had lots of tables marked off as unavailable due to social distancing which was good. Indoor dining makes me a bit uncomfortable since it’s not allowed in NJ and I understand the logic. That being said, we needed every air conditioning break and mask break we could get given that it was 95 degrees and humid out. We were in and out pretty quick, given the mobile ordering, and it didn’t feel crowded at all.
Other quick notes from the first day: I tested the gaiter rule and got told I needed a regular mask pretty quickly (the temperature screening lady at TTC told me no gaiters allowed), also my two year old got away with no mask outside pretty freely. He was only told by one cast member (the same lady at TTC) that he needed a face covering when he was taking a mask break and having a snack. In general he has been wearing his mask great, but I give him generous breaks outside in the stroller while he is drinking or eating snacks (he always wears masks properly indoors). If he is walking around I figure he clearly is old enough/mature enough to be wearing his mask, but in the stroller he gets his breaks and I just make sure he is holding his cup or a snack in case anyone judges us. If anyone wants to debate me on it, I’d get into the research I’ve read about transmission rates between people walking past each other being next to nothing to begin with, not to mention him being 3 feet below everyone else, but I really don’t want to get into that negativity when it comes to the most magical place on Earth. Suffice it to say, we are keeping our distance from everyone at all times anyway!
Will update with our day at Animal Kingdom tomorrow (and our breakfast at Topolinos, yay).