Today we received some of the most anticipated updates as it pertains to Walt Disney World, mainly the Park Reservation System. I promise to condense this down as much as possible, but let's just jump right into the details.
EXISTING TICKET HOLDERS
If you are thinking about a Walt Disney World trip in 2021, please let your Travel Professional know as soon as possible. With the current reservation setup and resort availability, we will want to get you reserved as soon as possible when the window opens so you don't have to stress! Our professionals are on top of all the updates and are prepared to handle your vacation plans.
Stay tuned into the RTR Travel Blog as we do have some more WDW updates to share, but we wanted to get this one out first to help aid our 2020 Walt Disney World clients!
As more businesses begin opening in the United States, we are also seeing some of our favorite islands and resorts beginning to open too! This week we received important information from our partners at Sandals in regards to their opening plan throughout the Caribbean. It's important to note that all of these dates are subject to change, so please verify with your Travel Professional when beginning to plan your next big adventure!
Let's run down the islands and resorts so that we can start planning your great summer or fall esacape!
Antigua - Island reopened to Tourism on June 4th
Sandals Grand Antigua - Open Now!
Jamaica - Island reopens to Tourism on June 16th
Sandals Montego Bay - Opens June 16th
Sandals Royal Caribbean - Opens July 2nd
Sandals Negril - Opens August 7th
Sandals Ochi - Opens September 3rd
Sandals South Coast - Opens October 1st
Sandals Royal Plantation - Opens October 8th
Bahamas - Island Reopens to Tourism on July 2nd
Sandals Emerald Bay - Opens July 2nd
Sandals Royal Bahamian - Opens November 1st
Saint Lucia - Island Reopens to Tourism on July 7h
Sandals Grande St. Lucian - Opens July 7th
Sandals Regency La Toc - Opens July 14th
Sandals Halcyon Beach - Opens November 1st
Grenada - Island Reopens to Tourism on July 7th
Sandals Grenada - Opens July 7th
Barbados - TBD on date for Reopening to Tourism
Sandals Barbados - Open TBD
Sandals Royal Barbados - Open TBD
There is still time to take that romantic getaway with your partner this year! Remember the Caribbean is Calling Your Name and Road to Relaxation Travel can plan your Next Big Getaway!! Your Travel Professional is up to date on all the entry requirements for each island along with any resort specific procedures. We are always here to ensure we put the Relaxation back into your Vacation!
Universal Orlando opened to onsite guests and Annual Passholders (with reservations) on June 3rd & June 4th! We headed down to Florida on the 3rd to check into Hard Rock Hotel and see what was happening here at Universal! We arrived at Hard Rock Hotel and were immediately impressed with all the safety measures Universal is taking to keep their guests safe. Here are some of things they are doing:
Our experience has been absolutely amazing. Team Members are friendly and cheerful as usual. Everyone has been really helpful and polite even when they have to remind us to wear our masks or to social distance. There has been very little inconvenience in all of the changes.
We do have the Unlimited Express due to staying at one of the Premier Onsite Hotels. I feel like this is even more important than during previous visits. Many attractions only have the option for a Virtual Line or an Express Pass. Having the Express Pass keeps us from having to be on our Universal App throughout the day trying to get an Express Pass.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure does now have a virtual line. This is a nice change from when the parks were open previously. It still does not have an Express Pass.
There has been lots of concern about wearing face coverings in the parks. Honestly, it is hot at times. And some of my masks were itchy at times. However most of the time, it is simply not a big deal. We saw many children wearing masks throughout the parks and we did not witness one meltdown. We met one mother and daughter who had a different mask themed for each land in the parks. There were so many creative masks including three versions sold by Universal. Personally I took two face coverings each day. I took a neck gaiter and a mask. I really liked wearing the neck gaiter on the attractions as I didn't have any concerns about it flying off. However every once in awhile I wanted to switch out to a mask just to have a different fabric on my face.
Lockers are in use for many rides and the lines there with the social distancing and sanitizing can get long. That was probably the largest hiccup I saw at Universal. As always, we recommend doing Universal without a bag, if at all possible, to best utilize your time.
Overall, we are extremely impressed with how Universal is protecting their guests. We are enjoying our visit and haven't found much hassle in the new procedures at all. If you are ready to travel, let your Road To Relaxation Travel know. Universal Orlando would be a good place to start!
Yesterday we listened in to Walt Disney World's presentation for their proposed re-opening that was given to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. This might be the most excited we have been in months! After the presentation was given, the Task Force voted to have the plan proceed to the Orange County Mayor and ultimately on to the Governor of Florida for final approval. Once final approval is received, they are proposing to open beginning on July 11th. Now, let's dive into the details as we know there are a lot of excited people that have been anxiously awaiting this news, including your favorite Travel Professionals!
The plan presented to Task Force focuses on a phased approach to park opening by first opening Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11th, followed by Hollywood Studios and Epcot on July 15th. There are a lot of other notable items in the proposal including:
The biggest item that was announced was in order to aid in the reduction of capacity at the Theme Parks, they will be implementing a Theme Park Reservation System. I’m sure you have questions and what we can tell you now is there will be more to come on how this system will work. Your Travel Professional will be on top of the changes so that they can help navigate these new waters.
There are items coming out daily on changes that will affect how you experience Walt Disney World in the future. Our recommendation is to take it all in stride and as your trusted advisor, your Travel Professional will be there the entire way.
If you have ever been on the fence about utilizing our services, we can say now more than ever this, no cost to you, service will be priceless! Some people are so excited to head to Disney even with all the restrictions (that would be us!), however this might not be the best time for a Walt Disney World vacation for all of our clients. We understand that completely and are still able to help you with many other destinations. We are excited that Walt Disney World is coming back online and look forward to helping you in the future wherever you may decide to travel!
Source: Walt Disney World Theme Parks Re-Opening, 5/27/2020
Today we sat in on the live broadcast of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, and were able to listen to the presentation given by Universal Orlando on their proposed reopening of their theme parks. The Task Force approved the measures presented and it now goes to the Governor of Florida for his approval. If approved, then Universal Orlando can begin implementing their plan.
The plan that was presented by Universal Orlando to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force builds off the successful opening of City Walk to begin the transition for the parks. Currently the proposal is to open the parks to the general public on June 5th. In the period from June 1st to June 4th they have trial runs that will occur to test the measures that have been implemented. We obtained a copy of the "COVID-19 RE-OPENING PLAN, Phase 2" and have noted a few highlights below:
We are extremely excited that the first step has been taken. Our Travel Professionals are well versed in all things Universal Orlando and are here to help you plan your next big adventure!
Source: COVID-19 RE-OPENING PLAN, Phase 2, 5/21/2020
As travel professionals, part of our job is to experience different resorts, cruise ships, and vacation destinations first-hand so that we can bring that experience back to our clients. Sometimes this happens in the form of personal vacations, familiarization trips, site inspections, and ship tours.
Recently, I had the opportunity to tour FOUR cruise ships over a span of seven days. One of the perks of living near several major cruise ports in the Northeast is that I often get to visit cruise ships for the day, see staterooms, eat lunch in the main dining room, and chat with the staff about their favorite things on-board.
First up... The Carnival Sunrise!
The Sunrise recently underwent a MASSIVE renovation - taking her from the old, worn out Triumph to the shiny, new Sunrise. The Sunrise will be sailing out of Manhattan for part of the year, making her a great new addition to the area.
I visited the Sunrise on a rainy, dreary Monday. My first impression was that all of the common areas we went through looked BEAUTIFUL. The ship looked modern and the staterooms were bright, but small. In fact, the Sunrise was the smallest of the four ships I saw. For our clients who love to sail Carnival and want to experience sailing out of NYC, the Sunrise is the perfect option!
Next... Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas!
Adventure of the Seas is a small ship, that sails part time out of Cape Liberty, NJ. My first impression was that Royal Caribbean really knows what they are doing with their interior spaces. It felt familiar, even though I hadn't been on this particular class of Royal Caribbean ship before! The one downside was that the staterooms hallways are very narrow and have an outdated color scheme.
I cannot wait to see what the Adventure of the Seas looks like after she has been Royal Amplified in 2021!
Third... Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas!
Anthem of the Seas was the ship I was most excited to see, and she did not disappoint! I was excited to explore a Quantum Class ship for the first time. Anthem of the Seas currently sails year round out of Cape Liberty, NJ and starting next year will move to Europe for the summer and back to NJ for the fall/winter.
I absolutely LOVED the indoor areas on this ship; from the adult-only solarium, to the kids club areas in Adventure Ocean, to the indoor pool with a rectractable roof, to Seaplex, which is a multipurpose space that houses a variety of activities like basketball, rollerskating, trapeze classes, and bumper cars! My favorite area on the ship is the Two70 theater, the ship's hub of entertainment that can transform with the touch of a button for different shows and experiences. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience a Quantum class ship with your family, you absolutely should consider it!
And finally... Celebrity Summit!
I have never stepped foot onboard a Celebrity ship before, and was particularly excited for the Summit because of the extensive renovation she had just underwent. The Summit felt like the most upscale of the ships I toured and the newly renovated spaces were all bright and modern.
What stood out to me the most were the exclusive areas for Suite class guests! The Retreat sundeck had beautiful lounge chairs, day beds, and plunge pools. I would want to stay there ALL day. The Summit is a great escape for those seeking a little more of a high-end cruise experience out of the NY/NJ area
So, four ships and a LOT of flights of stairs later, what did I learn?
- There is a ship for absolutely everyone leaving out of the NY/NJ area.
- Smaller ships can have JUST as much to do as larger ones!
- I still have YET to have a bad meal on-board a ship inspection.
- It is impossible to see an entire ship in a few hours, regardless of size!
- And finally... I really need more comfortable shoes!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.