Quantcast Three-part Trip Report - Part 2 - Oct 4-12, 2020
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    San Antonio, TX
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    Default Three-part Trip Report - Part 2 - Oct 4-12, 2020

    Part 2 - Disney Springs
    Same preface as Part 1
    Party of two – Me and DH

    We think it’s important to understand all the variables for proper context as we report. So, here’s a few details:
    1) We drove to WDW from our home in San Antonio – I10 for a long time, and that introduced some problems for us that we’ll talk about later
    a. So we didn’t have to rely on Disney Transportation

    2) We are healthy 50-year-olds – no comorbidity issues or metabolic syndrome conditions that would increase our Covid risk

    3) We (I in particular) were not conditioned to wearing masks for long periods of time – I’ve been working from home and we haven’t gone out much beyond groceries and local restaurants.

    4) One of us has a host of food allergies/sensitivities that make eating at any restaurant difficult if not risky
    a. Disney typically accommodates this well…but there were some complications

    Disney Springs has been in a such a state of change and growth, there were new things to see just since we were there last December.

    On our first day to Disney Springs, we chose to take a Disney bus instead of drive ourselves. That worked well enough. It was early in the week, and we were still stunned by the lack of people at AKL-Jambo house. We might have waited 15 minutes at the bus stop and there were only 2 other “groups” on the bus with us. Screening / temperature check was easy – no lines at all. This would really be the first time during the pandemic that I had to wear a mask for any length of time. It was unseasonably hot that week, which doesn’t bother me, but the humidity did make for a moist mask pretty quickly. I had no issues breathing and adjusted to it pretty well. I did choose to leave my glasses off most of the time. I only need them to read, so DH just read menus for me. Forced me to ignore my phone most of the time. That was a side benefit 😊 I could never get the mask and glasses adjusted to prevent them fogging up – just wasn’t worth it.

    We had a list of must finds for kids and grandkids right away and set about locating them to take any pressure of the rest of the trip. A Mulan (live-action) costume for our granddaughter, a Spiderman (Miles Morales specifically) costume for our grandson, and a Jedi cloak for our son-in-law. Since we’re trying to convince him to take a Disney trip with us, we will pretty much lure him in with anything LOL. We snagged everything we wanted right away on our first day. The stores are VERY low on small masks for girls. We had no problems finding Medium and Large in any style, but little princess masks were elusive, everywhere.

    Since we didn’t have any dining reservations for the day, we did start exploring the mobile ordering and Dining Availability on MDX. We ended up finding a hearty nosh at B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co kiosk. It was really good and filling for a quick bite. I had the New York Pastrami Reuben and DH had the Bratwurst Sausage – completely safe for allergies. Both came with a small bag of chips. Again, there was no line, light crowds and we sat quietly for a while at the tables by the water. Later that evening we used MDX Dining Availability to reserve a late meal at Planet Hollywood. That worked nicely and we hadn’t been there in years. The server and the chefs took the food allergies seriously and prepared a modified version of a chicken and pasta dish, tossed with light olive oil and garlic versus the normal sauce. The bartender also made a stellar Old Fashioned. We walked around the mostly empty restaurant at the end of the night, admired the memorabilia and sang Sweet Caroline with Neil Diamond on the big screen.

    Our second evening at Disney Springs was our one ADR with friends from San Antonio who happened to be there at the same time. We chose Raglan Road, and to be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. Raglan Road is one of our favorites. We visit every trip. We were a party of 7, and they seated us in front the main stage. They had live music entertainment – they were fabulous as is typical there. They also had 3 Irish dancers – that’s a few fewer than normal. I think some tables had been removed to create some social distancing, but it was busy and full. Good energy. My disappointment was the menu. It was quite limited, and it was clear they weren’t cooking at the same level as usual. The food wasn’t “bad”, but it wasn’t up to standards. They also took food allergies seriously and prepared a safe meal to accommodate, but it was a burger and fries. Most other dishes were clearly pre-prepped. I recognize that businesses have to make compromises to stay viable through this, so I get it. Doesn’t mean there wasn’t some disappointment. This is where we also learned another Covid lesson. We asked the server to take a photo of our group with one of our phones, and she was not comfortable with that – touching our stuff. I felt bad for asking, I didn’t even think about it. She did ask her manager and he came over and took the picture for us. Just be cognizant of that issue if you find yourself wanting someone (not a photo pass photographer) to snap photo for you.

    That night, we started to notice an uptick in the crowd and as the evening got later, and alcohol was flowing we started to see the carelessness about masks and social distancing. Groups of people stopping randomly in walkways is more than annoying now, it creates pinch points in flow where people cannot socially distance themselves. It got to a point of discomfort for us, so we left a little earlier than we might have otherwise. Too many people without the right level of diligence and consideration render all the best intended protocols useless. I’ll emphasize, this was much more of a problem when the parks closed early, and people started piling into Disney Springs to finish out their day.

    The shops are nice at Disney Springs, but largely not for me. I’m just not into jewelry, purses, or clothes that much. But I’m weird. There were a few new things to note. The Coca-Cola Store is worth a visit. If you’re into Coke “stuff” at all, it’s a must see. The store was amazing. For those of you who miss the Ice Station Cool / Club Cool location in EPCOT, where you could taste the different sodas of the world, you can get a flight of at least some of those at the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar. Also, if applicable to you, the DVC discounts were available at every store we visited including Columbia and Under Armour. This was not the norm in previous years. The discounts were significant as well. In some cases, 30%. Maybe that’s just due to the current circumstances, but it was a nice surprise. I love looking at the art, we always make a visit to the Christmas Shoppe, and the Co-op. During our visits to Disney Springs early in our trip, we could come and go freely into any store without waiting. As the week went on, the crowds increased and that’s when we encountered the lines. On our last visit, we ended up in a queue to get into World of Disney that extended to places unknown. It moved well, but we were in line for probably 30 minutes. Due to the crowd levels and where there was reasonable space to queue people, they will move the entrance. This occurred at World of Disney and the Christmas Shoppe for us. It can be a bit confusing and frustrating. It’s literally a moving target.

    Getting a late lunch at Disney Springs on our last day was quite the adventure. Keeping in mind the food allergies – if you read the first report, you’ll know that tomato is the most complicated – we looked at Polite Pig. While “barbecue” places can be risky, they often smoke the meat and add sauce later. We usually can do okay a good bbq restaurant. So, of course we ask before we ordered and were offered a couple of clean options, no sauces or marinades used. Perfect. We order and take a seat outside to wait, as they will bring the food to you. It is also a Bourbon bar, and so I had a fabulous Old Fashion here too 😉. One of wait staff approached the table, concerned about our allergy and choice of food. His name was Danny and he saved DH from getting very sick – Bless him! The chef we talked to didn’t think about the tomato powder in the rub that they literally put on everything before it’s smoked. Suddenly their menu became very limited. Danny had worked in the kitchen for a long time and new everything about every ingredient. He caught the error. They made a nice grilled chicken sandwich for DH with the toppings he wanted and we had their Hop Salt Pretzel. All delicious. I had the Smoked Chicken Salad Wrap, also recommend. I got my Ghiradelli’s treat later that evening, but we were ready to get out by 7:30ish. The crowd certainly didn’t feel like “limited capacity” at all, and there were too many people clearly frustrated by masks or just didn’t care enough to wear them properly. (I don’t think they’re supposed to look like a chin strap)

    With the crowd levels, I think Disney is finding itself in a conflicted position. There were enough people at Downtown Disney to warrant opening every restaurant and store to full capacity. By allowing that many people, limiting the places they can go, and then extending queues to try and accommodate social distancing, they are actually creating a bigger crowd problem. There are no easy answers here. It’s uncharted waters, but I think it is nearly time for something to give.
    First Trip - January 2003

    Kidani Village - AKL
    Bay Lake Tower
    Riviera Resort

    VMK - QueenThump & BrerFan

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  4. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Thanks for the update - glad you were able to avoid an allergic reaction to food!! We've been to Disney Springs a few times in the last few months. Each time we've gone, we've driven ourselves over and have typically gone in late morning or early afternoon. We did not spent a lot of time there and did takeout service only - bringing our food back to our resort to dine there. During our time there, the crowds were manageable and most people were correctly following the mask mandate.
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    [email protected]

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Thanks for the report. All great observations

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Ontario, Canada
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    Thanks for sharing, I am so glad Danny saved DH from a reaction.
    Heather aka ibelieveindisneymagic
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning, Nightlife, Shopping & Waterparks, Collectibles

    Engaged at the castle!
    My Disney Home is POFQ

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Great insight! I'm enjoying your reports.

    *Disneyland Paris Hotel
    *Grand Floridian
    *Disneyland Hotel
    *Boardwalk Inn *Bay Lake Tower
    *Contemporary *Old Key West
    *Polynesian Resort *Animal Kingdom Lodge
    * Port Orleans French Quarter
    * Fort Wilderness
    *Art of Animation * Pop Century
    * All Star Movies, Music & Sports

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