Going to Universal Orlando and Disney during covid.

This year has been crazy. I had so many plans for this page, we had our beautiful daughter and then shortly afterwards Covid happened and everything turned on its head. Hopefully all of my old readers didn’t run away and still are here to support us, and if you’re new here welcome!

Recently we were blessed with a chance to go and stay at the Caribe Royale Hotel in Orlando for a weekend with out the kids. It was fabulous and I miss the peace and quiet. While here we visited a theme parks. Universal and Disney were closed during the pandemic but now open with moderations, safety precautions and rules. So I just wanted to go over what we thought and give you a little idea of what you could go through while at the parks.

Universal Orlando

We spent the morning at Universal and leaving around 12 Pm because of the crowd. By 11 every ride had a wait over 75 minutes and it was just jammed packed and it wasn’t worth it to us to wait in a line that long. We did ride Jimmy Fallons Ride through New York, Men in Black, The Simpsons and The Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure.

Masks

Everyone is to wear a mask from ages 3 and up. Per the Universal website you must wear a mask that covers over your nose and secures under your chin. However gaiters have been allowed through the temperature screenings. They just can’t be make shift gaiters such as bandanas. We all had gaiters and were told at the gate that they were fine to wear through out the parks as ling as we follow social dismantling guidelines. All masks must be worn at all times unless actively eating or drinking, or you are in the U- Rest area, which a place you can take your mask off and take a breath. But please make sure to still social distance.

Temperature Screenings

Before entering the area for security checks you must get a temperature screening. The Universal Orlando website states,

“Temperature checks will be required upon arrival, and guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater will not be admitted.”

https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us/plan-your-visit/safety-faqs

Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer is givin every where through the park, before you get on the ride, before you sit down to eat and some before you walk in to stores.

Excuse my husbands face, He doesn’t know how to smile.

Social Distancing

Universal does have markings on the ground 6 ft away from each other that you must follow while waiting for shows, in lines at stores, lines for food, and waiting for rides. Universal is doing the virtual lines for some rides, and ordering your food at sit down restaurants through the Universal Orlando app. Make sure to download the app prior visiting and make sure to pick your Virtual times early in the morning, especially for Hagrids Magical Creature Ride. For us by 10:15 AM there was no more rides available for the day. So just check right in the morning or when you arrive.

Disney

We unfortunately did not go into the parks them selves but we did explore Disney Springs which has the same rules and protocalls as the parks.

MASKS

Everyone ages 2 and up must wear a mask. Only masks that go over your nose and secure under your chin are a loud. Gaiters (masks that cover your neck) are not prohibited through out Disney Springs and Walt Disney World, so they won’t let you through the temperature screening if it is a gaiter. Make sure to bring the proper mask, You must Wear them at all times, unless you are actively eating or drinking. There are Cast members walking around and saying something if your mask was not on and if given a problem will escort you out of Disney Springs if must be.

Temp Screening

After parking in the garage you will have to go through a temperature screening. Per the Walt Disney World guide lines they state,

“Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.”

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/

Hand sanitizer

Everywhere. Walk in a store, hand sanitizer. Go to the bathroom soap and hand sanitizer. I honestly laughed and thought no wonder why the world ran out the Theme parks took it all. But just be pre pared for dry hands by the end of the end.

Social Distancing

We didn’t walk through he Parks but Disney Springs did have you waiting outside stores in line to make sure the stores wouldn’t over flow with guests. We got there around 8:30 and most of the restaurants were at capacity and closing. We ended up eating at Earl of Sandwich and going through one or two store before finally leaving after being disappointed. Disney is keeping up with their earlier protocols and staying at the lower capacity.

All in all Disney was very strict while Universal was more lose with the safety protocols. Use your best judge meant when going to the parks, if you don’t feel safe going to the parks because of the potential of getting Covid please don’t stress your self out and stay home until you feel it is safe for you and your family. Use your best judgement.

Thanks for reading, We hope you have a magical day!

Staying in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

For our Honeymoon My husband an I wanted to do something fun and different, we were thinking about going to Disney for a whole week, then we thought about going to Universal for four days, but one day James came home and told me about going to Tennessee. He said one of his co-workers had gone there and that it was beautiful and they loved it. We looked into it and ultimately we decided this was the place to go, I noticed while looking on Pinterest of things to do, there wasn’t really anything on Pigeon Forge and more about Gatlinburg, so I thought I’d write a few our favorite things we did and where we stayed just in case someone needed some ideas like we did!

So here are some of our favorite things we did and where we stayed here in Pidgeon Forge, Tennessee!

Places to Stay

Obviously, this is a tourist area so there are many hotels to stay in down the main road to everything and all within 5 minutes of pretty much anything you want to do, But we stayed at one of the cabins from Cabins for You and it was by far such a better experience I believe then if we would have stayed in a hotel, We were in the cabin Hooked on Love and it was so adorable! One bedroom with an upstairs game room, it could sleep up to four with the couch in the large living room, a fireplace, and an outdoor hot tub overlooking to a beautiful view of the mountains. James and I would come back from going to a few museums and hop in the hot tub and eat dinner and just relax and watch the sun go down, It was perfect!

Places to eat

My first tip to you is when you go to Pigeon Forge and are staying in the cabins, go to the grocery store and buy food, like cereal, some snacks, and some quick dinner meals you can throw in the microwave or oven. It will save you a lot of time and money so that you don’t have to eat out for every meal and can spend more time doing other things like hikes or museums. When we did go out and eat, we avoided fast food and chain restaurants we know that we have back in Florida so we were getting something new when we went out to eat!

The first restaurant we went to was Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, and oh my gosh talk about some comfort food! It was so delicious, it’s family style eating so that means that you pay one price per person and you all basically share but it’s endless food and you can keep refilling your dishes So it’s definitely worth it. Our main dishes were The Best Ever Southern Fried Chicken, and the Chicken Fried Pork Chop. With the sides of Creamed Potatoes, Creamed Corn, Baked Mac and Cheese, and White rice. The Creamed Potatoes were my favorite along with the Baked Mac and Cheese. There is also a beautiful view from inside the restaurant looking out into the mountains.

The other place we went to was Fuddruckers, it was okay. Just an average burger place and is a chain restaurant but we had never been there so we wanted to try it.

Things We Didn’t Do

There was a lot we actually didn’t get to do because we ran out of time or it just didn’t seem that appealing to us, so here is a quick list of fun things to do if you got the time!

Things We Did

We had so much fun, we mostly went to Museums and they were all a blast. Our First stop was “The Island in Pigeon Forge”. It was 10 Minutes from our cabin and had a lot of things to do while you are there, LIke Eat at “Pauls Deen’s Kitchen”, and try some delicious moonshine at Ole Smoky Moonshine, where you can try 15 different kinds of moonshine for $5 a person. I personally do not like the taste of Moonshine, but James tried all of them and liked pretty much every single one.

We went on the Wheel that was on the island and had one of the most amazing views of Pigeon Forge. It was pretty expensive  ( about $15 per person ) for a ride on a Ferris Wheel but the view was worth it especially during a sunset, and we were on for a good 20-25 minutes.

Our Frist Museums we went to was Alcatraz East Crime Museum,  Where you go through to read and learn about the different criminals who went to Alcatraz and what they did, back to Bonnie and Clyde, and Ted Bundy,. Honestly, this was one of James favorite Museums being in Law Enforcement this type of stuff has always interested him. There was also an awesome tribute to fallen officers and the fallen Heros and Victims of 9/11 which was both beautifully done.

The Hollywood Wax Museum was up next and it was a lot of fun. As you can tell James had a blast with all the celebrities they had on show, and this is only a few pictures of what happened. We even got the ” VIP Tour” and went all the way to the top by the gorilla and got another beautiful view of Pigeon Forge.

 

Because we got the VIP Tour at Hollywood Wax Museum, Castle of Chaos passes came with it and I have to say I hated it. I will never bring my kids there, and if you don’t like Haunted houses, or Zombies I wouldn’t even waste the money or time. The only “childlike” thing was the Maze of Mirrors and that was it. Again I didn’t like it because I do not like Horror that much and I have horrible anxiety when it comes to stuff like that.

Our Last Day and our last Museum was the Titanic Museum there was no picture taking beside one room in the building but I do have to say it is amazing. The things they have found and the stories you hear about are just breathtaking. When you walk in you are handed a card with a passengers name on it, it tells the class you were in and a little bit about your self. You find our your fate near the end of the museum and also a beautiful memorial wall.

Our Tips to a great time!

  • Go in an off month, where school is still in session and there are no breaks. We went in April and I feel like we had Pigeon Forge to ourselves.
  • Wake up early and go first things when the Museums open.
  • Get a Cabin definitely worth it.
  • Don’t go to Chain Businesses you can go to when you are home! Explore and eat at different Resturants.
  • Definitely, use the coupon books your hotel or cabin employees give you. it could save you a few bucks here and there.

Pigeon Forge was the best honeymoon for us, we loved every second we were there and can’t wait to go back with our kids and explore some more places with them! I hope this has helped you in any way! If you feel we missed something you did in Pigeon Forge write it in the comments and let us know how your trip went!

Future of Epcot Rides

Over this past weekend was the D23 Expo which was at Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The D23 Expo is basically a Disney geeks dream from upcoming Disney store products coming out to new information about Disney parks updates!

Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts released some exciting news for Epcot over the weekend. The first thing he talked about was a new ride that is inspired from Disney’s popular movie Ratatouille! Race through Gusteaus five star restaurant to try to get to safety, all at the size of Remy from the movie! How awesome does that sound! This attraction is going to be past the Eiffel Tower in the France Pavilion of the World Showcase! We’ve got some Concept art from Disney, and from the looks of it , its going to be amazing!

rat2340987FIPhoto from Disney Parks Blog

Another awesome announcement is of another attraction in Future World in Epcot, it is the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, it’s inspired by the space world of Guardians of the Galaxy! The ride is suppose to go with the concept for future world of space travel! How freaking awesome is that? Becoming a huge GOTG fan the whole family is sure to love this ride! This new attraction will take the place of Universe of Energy that’s closing this year on August 13th. Sad to see it go, but so excited for this new ride and adventure coming to us here at Walt Disney World.

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Photo by: Disney Parks Blog

All of this is said to be done by or before Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021! This is just a small snip bit of what is to come to the parks! Stay tuned for more information of whats coming to Florida! What do you think? Leave a comment below and let us know!

 

Fastpass must haves at Disney World

Disney has had this awesome idea where you can by pass the long stand by line and get on the ride faster, it’s called the Fastpass.. Say it with me … Oooooohhhh, Ahhhhh. It is quite awesome , especially when the line is two hours long during the summer months.

In Disney World you can set up your Fastpass on the “My Disney Experience App” if you have your ticket or pass. You can schedule up to 30 days ahead with your ticket, or pass, or if you book a Disney resort you can book your Fastpass up to 60 days ahead of time. You can add up to 3 Fastpass experence’s on the app, then when you complete all of them, you can add 3 more and so on.  Here are the Fastpass must have’s.

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Magic Kingdom

  • Space Mountain
  • 7 Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Splash Mountain
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Jungle Cruiseronald-yang-21762

Epcot

  • Test Track
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Soarin’

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Hollywood Studios

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

 

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Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden mountain
  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris

 

If you have the Park Hopper option you can not have one Fastpass from Magic Kingdom and one from Epcot. You must complete or cancel the Fastpasses you have set up to use it for another park. Fastpasses are life savors especially when you have little ones who hate standing in long rides.

Have you use Fastpasses? What are your feelings about it? Leave a comment down below and let me know!

 

Maui’s in a Disney Park!

Okay Okay so he’s in Shanghai Disney Resort, but its a start right? The Demi God of the wind and sea from the movie Moana that came out in 2016, was pictured by Insatgram user Jessiiieowl. She stated on her post that Maui and the Chiefs Daughter Moana was in the new Summer Blast Castle Show in front of the beautiful Enchanted Storybook Castle.

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Photo Taken By: Jessiiieowl

 

There is no update on the Shanghai Disney Resort page if he will become a regular Character meet at the new park that opened up in June 2016. It is stated that the Stage show “Golden Fairytale Fare” that the Summer Blast Castle took the place of is currently undergoing maintenance.  There is also no update from Disney if Maui will becoming to the states at Disneyland Resort in Califormnia, or Walt Disney World in Orlando anytime soon.

We definitely have our fingers crossed that the Hero to all will becoming state side soon!  Do you like our Disney News Updates? Let us know, leave a comment below!

Jessica

Celebrating fourth of July at Disneyland Resort.

If you are a local or are on vacation in Disneyland Resort in California make sure to check out the awesome entertainment coming from now until July 3rd, just to celebrate what an amazing country we live in. Straight from the source over at Disney Parks Blog, there are going to be many performances all over Disneyland. Including some awesome proformeces by the 300th and 119st Army Band,  United States National Guard, and the United States Air Force Honor Guard!

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Here is the entertainment step up from now until July 3rd, from Disney Parks Blog.

June 28 – July 1: The United States Air Force Honor Guard out of Washington, D.C.

July 2: The United States Army National Guard Band

  • Disneyland park pre-parade – 4:10 p.m.

July 3: The 191st and the 300th Army Bands

  • Downtown Disney District main stage – Ongoing performances from 9:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
  • Disneyland park pre-parade – 4:10 p.m.

 

It’s sure to be a amazing site to see at the parks! If you like more Disney Parks news and details leave a comment, let me know what you think!

 

Jessica

Conformation on Disney’s Hall of Presidents.

After months of questioning from guests regarding Disney World’s “Hall of President” after the 2016 election of now President Trump, Disney has released that the 45th President will have a speaking roll in the attraction, like the last 3 presidents before him. To what extent of how long/ Big of a roll he has is still unanswered by Disney insiders. .

hall-of-presidents-gallery04How ever the attraction was suppose to open this year mid-summer, the timing has now changed. Disney did release that the 20-25 minute running show will open again late in the year of 2017, and that it is still undergoing a huge refurbishment.

When President Trump won the election there was much controversy over the fact that he might speak. It had become such a big deal that multiple petitions of the president not even be in the show had arose. Despite the petitions Disney did decide to keep with the tradition and let him speak.

Please keep comments civil, this is not a website for political or debates. 

Thanks for reading.

Jessica

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10 Disney Gear must haves

Being an Annual Passholder at Walt Disney World for the last 3 years as helped me get what gear I need for our trips to the happiest place on earth down pact. I’d thought i’d share what I bring to the parks with you!

Blogging disclosure: Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com.  Raising Lost Boys earns a few cents of the dollar if you the readers purchase the items I recommend. Thanks so much for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!  Hat: GlitterWhipCO. Mickey Tape Pin: YesPleaseDisneyShop Shirt: Lularoe

 

10. Backpack/ Diaper bag

 

JanSport just came out with a new collection of Disney backpacks! Which makes it perfect for school and for the parks, also JanSport is always good qauilty so I know it last through our trips.  For our family of four we Bring our backpack and put all of our essentials in it, like wipes, diapers, extra clothes, snaks, and wallets.

9. Water Bottles

Did you know if you walk up to any quick service food station and ask for a cup of water they will give you ice water completely free, no purchase necessary, there are also tons of water fountains that have ice cold water.  We always bring our water bottles,  if we see a water fountain we just fill our bottles up and move along. Helps keep us hydrated during the day and no kids are upset because they need a drink, plus it saves so much money.

8. Magic Bands

Magic Bands are a defiant must have. They are what gets you In the parks, in your Disney Resorts if you’re staying on site, paying for your food, and also saves all those magical pictures you take with the photopass photographers all over the parks! You can customize them with a Magic Band skin or get one with designs on them already, And for the fancy laddies out there, there’s a Dooney & Bourke Magic band. You can also put on little “Charms” to personalize for each person for your family.

7. Ponchos

It’s Florida, and I have lived here my whole life and still can not explain to you why one minute its sunny and hot to a complete down pour, there is no predicting it ever! So having a poncho is nice to have as well. Just in case its starts randomly raining, or they can be used on rides like Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom , or Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom.

6. Autograph Book

If you love charcters then you will need a Autograph book. When the kids (or your self ) go and meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and even Peter Pan you want to be prepared and have them sign it so you can have that souvenir. One year we too a blank picture mat and had them sign that, then put a picture of us in the middle and it now hangs in our kitchen.

 


5. Portable chargers

Now if you take a lot of pictures with your phone this is a must have. Your phone will die if you use it all day, and then what? So what we use is a portable phone charger. Now Disney has put the portable chargers stations by Fuel Rod in the parks, and resorts. There is a one time fee of $30, and when its dead you can keep it and charge it your self or switch it out for a new one at one of the kiosks. They come with the Fuel Rod, and charge cord for either Apple, and Androids users. It provides up to 8 hours of talk time or up to 4 hours of mobile tablet usage. My dad found out about these and loved it.

4. Family Shirts

Our last trip there was at one time 14 of us, see our trip tips for large families here. So having a large party we decided to have matching family shirts for everyday we went. My mother and I made them ourselves so super simple, or you can also find a Etsy shop who sells them, but making them your self is a fun family thing to do before the trip!

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3. Comfy Shoes

This ones if you don’t want your feet to hurt by the end of the day. Disney did collaborate with Vans and Keds to make some cute shoes, and if I know I’m going to be there all day I put some gel inserts in them.

2. Sunglasses/ Sunblock

That sun is horrible, so many people get sunburn while at the parks. Having a baby I have to bring the best sunscreen out there for babies/kids. Having some simple sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun too. During the summer its so hot, and sunny its best to be prepared.

1. Mickey Ears/ Hat

Obviously having Mickey ears is a must have, I mean you’re at Disney! There are so many kinds of ears! I never leave the house with out my ears, and a hat for James.

Thats what you can find with us when we go to the Disney parks. What do you bring with you when going to the parks? Leave us your must haves down below! Thanks for reading!

Jessica

Disney’s ‘Ohana Resturant Breakfast Review

Disney is known for their characters dinning experiences all over the Parks and Disney Destinations. You can eat with anyone from Pooh and Tigger at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom, Mickey, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy at Chef Mickey in the Contemporary  Resort , and even Cinderella and Her Prince Charming at the Royal Table in Magic Kingdom. This year I was lucky to eat breakfast with Lilo and Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto at ‘Ohana in the Polynesian Resort with my family! Here’s my review for the Character Breakfast.

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First off after a long morning of waiting in the bus line at the All-Star Sports Resort for an hour we finally had to take 2 Monorails over and made it to the beautiful Polynesian Resort. Take the bus to the Magic Kingdom ticket and car center, then hop on to the Monorail to Magic Kingdom, then jump on the Resort Monorail. When we got there they were a little behind and we were a little late, so it worked out for the both the hostess and our party of 10.

When we were seated our waitress Laura came and immediately said hello and told us that at ‘Ohana we are all cousins, family. Our Waitress and my mother got along great because both women had children who are Autistic so they instantly clicked!

You can chose between what assorted drinks they have or you can drink the delicious tropical drink they provide as part of the “family-style” dinning.

“family-style” dinning to us was perfect for our large party, basically its all you can eat for the whole family, so once you are done with one tray they bring out another. The menu for breakfast is short and sweet, and quickly served minutes after you are seated. Here’s the Menu.

Hua Paka (Scrambled Eggs),  Uala Kahiki (Fried Potatoes), Pua’a (Pork), and of course Mickey-shaped Waffles.

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 They also have Assorted Breakfast Breads (The bread was amazing)  and Seasonal Fruit.

Obviously you are not eating 5 star breakfast meals, but the food was quite filling for our trip to Animal Kingdom later on. The potato or “Uala Kahiki” were by far the best, they had a wonderful seasoning to them and were done. They serve the eggs scrambled which to me is how I like my eggs, but on the down side they were not fully cooked and a little soggy.

How character dinning works is while you’re eating the characters (in this case Lilo and Stitch, and Pluto) come to each table and take pictures and sign autographs. Now each character stay for around 5 minutes at each table, so if you want pictures you better be quick. Sometimes if you are there for a while you’ll see them twice. They also do a dance line and collect kids from their chairs and have them go around the restaurant with the characters and dance and have a little fun

The only thing I don’t like about character dinning is how fast they come and go, now i do understand they have to keep going to keep the pace up, but sometimes you want to play around with them and interact more then just a picture and autograph and bam their gone. Also another reason is because its so fast pace , its a tad bit crazy and unorganized at times, everyone’s standing up trying to get pictures with the characters. We had a photographer come and say we were next for Stitch to come see our family and then Pluto came up and Stitch completely skipped over our table.

Out of a rate scale of 5 , I’d have to give breakfast at ‘Ohana around a 3. They food wasn’t amazing but filling and endless. The characters were great for the 5 minutes we did get to interact and take photos with them. Id still do it all over gain just to see the look on my sons face when he saw Mickey.

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Thanks for reading! Whats your favorite character dinning experience ? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Jessica !

School is fast approaching! Check out these awesome Disney Backpacks by Jansport!

Click on a picture below to find out where to get one!