We couldn’t be more excited for the upcoming reopening of Walt Disney World Resort, after an unprecedented 4 month closure. This week, Cast Members got a special preview day at both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Here’s the inside scoop on what changes are happening!
Health & Safety Measurements
The park introduced several new policies to ensure the safety of both Cast Members and Guests. You are required to wear a face covering at all times inside the park, unless you are eating or drinking, or while in a designated “Relaxation Zone.” Relaxation Zones can be found at Tomorrowland Terrace, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and Golden Outpost. These are areas where you can remove your mask and relax.
Relaxation Station at Tomorrowland Terrace. Photo Credit: Vanessa Sipich
Cast Members reported that neck gaiters were not permitted, and you must be wearing a mask with ear loops. Temperature checks are conducted at security, and you must have a temperature below 100.4° to enter the park.
Temperature Check at TTC. Photo Credit: Vanessa Sipich
Bag checks are now low-contact. Guests must place all electronics and metal items into plastic bags, and proceed through the new security detectors with your bag on. If the alarm is set off, then a security guard will have you place all of your belongings into a bin to conduct a search. Fingerprint scans are no longer required to enter the parks.
Social distancing is strictly enforced, and there are ground markings in all line queues. Hand sanitizer is found at every turn, and they even make announcements throughout the day reminding guests to social distance and wash their hands.
Sanitizer stations and safety reminders throughout the parks. Photo Credit:Vanessa Sipich
Popular shops like The Emporium may experience a wait during busy times, as they are allowing only a fraction of the capacity of guests inside at a time. However, they have the ability to turn on a virtual queue, similar to Disney Springs. Once you get in the virtual queue, you will receive a text when it is your turn to shop! This is great because it allows guests to enjoy the park rather than waiting in line!
It may seem that with all of the safety protocols, cancelled parades and fireworks, etc, that Walt Disney World will lose some of it’s magic. But don’t worry! There’s plenty in store for you! Character Cavalcades appeared throughout the day without notice, and featured some pretty amazing surprises! The train station is closed to the public, but features different characters throughout the day, waving at guests from a safe distance.
Road to Relaxation Travel will be attending the reopening of Walt Disney World Resort next week! Stay tuned for more information on our personal experiences, as well as any updates or policy changes. What are you excited to see?
Kelly Pickle, Travel Professional with Road to Relaxation Travel
Beginning tomorrow, July 9, Walt Disney World will resume ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel bookings for 2020. Your Travel Professional will be able to book new tickets and plan future visits throughout this year at Walt Disney World Resorts!
For those looking to make their plans right away, please note that tickets and Disney Resort hotel bookings may be released at different times throughout the day tomorrow so coordinate with your RTR Travel Professional as soon as possible.
All guests with valid admission are required to make a reservation in advance for each park entry. Your Travel Professional will work with you to ensure there is park reservation availability before booking any new tickets. Reservations are limited and subject to availability. Please note that, during this phased reopening, some tickets, ticket options and Disney Resort hotels are unavailable, but there are still a variety of options to choose from.
There is so much to look forward to, with many favorite attractions and dozens of entertainment offerings, including special new character cavalcades and the Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.
If you’re wanting to visit Walt Disney World this year, we recommend reaching out to your RTR Travel Professional!!
The magic is returning to Walt Disney World, and soon, you can too! We are so excited for 2021 vacation packages to go on sale this week. Walt Disney World will look a little bit different when it reopens. We're not quite sure how long the changes will last, but we are confident that Disney will do an amazing job keeping guests safe and entertained.
If you want to visit Walt Disney World in 2021, NOW is the time to reach out to your Travel Professional! Due to the new Park Pass reservation system, you may need to be flexible with your dates in order to ensure Park Pass availability. Booking early will give you the best chance of making Park Pass reservations with ease.
A few changes to note for 2021:
- No dining plans: right now, Disney has stopped selling their dining plans. We hope to see them come back in the near future. Dining reservations are now booking 60 days prior to check in!
- Park Pass reservations: once your travel professional has made your 2021 package reservation and it has been linked to your My Disney Experience account, you will need to immediately make your Park Pass reservations. If you need some guidance on how to do that, you can read our blog post here!
We are so excited to help get our clients trips to Walt Disney World booked and planned! If you have questions, please reach out to your RTR Travel Professionals. We are hoping that additional availability for 2020 will be opening later this summer, and we will be sure to update you when we hear more!
Lauren Regan, Travel Professional with Road To Relaxation Travel
Travel planning has always been something I loved to do. I found that researching a trip and learning everything I possibly could about a destination was something that gave me immense satisfaction. However, I knew that not everyone enjoyed this aspect of traveling as much as I do.
In January 2016, I joined Road to Relaxation Travel. My goal: to make my client’s vacations as stress free as possible. I know that my clients don’t necessarily get to travel as much as they’d like to - and I want them to have the best possible experience they can.
This morning, Disney rolled out the new Disney Park Pass reservation system! If you are planning to visit Walt Disney World between July 11, 2020 and September 26, 2021, then you'll need to make a Park Pass reservation for each day you wish to visit the parks!
The process is fairly simple, but we wanted to show you guys how to make these reservations step by step so that you know what you are doing! As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to your Road to Relaxation Travel Professional! While we can't make your Park Pass reservations for you, we can try to help in any way we can!
Step 1: My Disney Experience
Make sure that your reservation is properly linked in My Disney Experience by logging in here: WDW Website Login.
Step 2: Go to the Park Pass System Page
The Park Pass System page can be found here: Disney's Park Pass System.
Or by hovering over My Disney Experience and selecting "Park Pass System"
from the drop down. When the page loads, click the "Make a Disney Park
Pass Reservation" button.
Step 3: Choose Your Travel Party
Select the people you are traveling with from the list. If you do not see
someone on here, then they have not been linked properly. Please refer to
Disney's guide on how to link family and friends here: Link Friends & Family.
Step 4: Choose a Date and Park
After you choose your travel party, you will need to choose the date and park
you want to visit. You can check park availability online prior to making
reservations here: Availability Calendar. Make sure to choose "Resort
Reservation" if you have a package!
Step 5: Confirm Park Hours
The system will ask you to choose a time. Please note that at this time, the system is only showing the park hours for the date you selected. Click the park hours and the screen will advance.
Step 6: Review Reservation & Confirm
After confirming the park hours, the screen will advance and show you the
reservation you just made. At the bottom of the screen is a checkbox to
acknowledge that you have read the terms and conditions, along with a
Covid-19 Liability Waiver.
If the system is working, the process is not difficult and doesn't take very long at all. Of course if you have any issues, let your Road To Relaxation Travel Professional know so we can assist you if possible.
Lauren Regan, Travel Professional with Road To Relaxation Travel
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.