Disney World Reopening Weekend: Magic Kingdom Reopening Day

Disney World Reopening Weekend: Magic Kingdom Reopening Day.

I struggled falling asleep the night before Magic Kingdom opening day. SO. MUCH. ANTICIPATION.

You can read about my resort stay and my goal of being at Disney when it reopened here!

My real goal was to be at Magic Kingdom the MOMENT it opened. Which I realized pretty quickly was an impossible goal. Disney ain’t dumb and they were hardcore about implementing all the safety measures.

No way were they going to have a massive group of people all standing together crowding around the gates to get in. No way was my vision of Disney bringing back the park opening show and all the characters riding by on the train with fireworks in the background going to happen (for many, many reasons like the fact that the train hasn’t even been running for well over a year haha).

So I tried not to overly stress. But it’s SO HARD FOR ME yall. I just get this Disney eagerness thing. I am not always a super punctual person but when it comes to a Disney Park Day I want to BE THERE and I want to BE THERE NOW.

I opted to Drive to Magic Kingdom rather than rely on resort transportation. Obviously with the resort just opening the day prior it would probably have some struggles. I also know that just in general it’s best to drive yourself rather than use Disney transportation from the resorts to the parks. It’s just slower!

I arrived at Magic Kingdom parking lot gates at 7:23. The park opened at 9. I saw a long line waiting on the side of the road and made the call to pass by them and ask the parking lot attendant myself for the scoop. She said, “come back at 8.”

I did the turn around and sat a bit in the gas station and tried to be patient. At 7:43 I went back to the parking attendant area and they had JUST started allowing people in!

The parking situation is super annoying BUT I also “get it.” Waiting in your car to park – you’re socially distanced. If we were all allowed in and allowed to park it’d be a huge influx of people entering the park at once which is something they did NOT want happening.

I decided to splurge for the Priority Parking. It is a discounted rate as a passholder so it was $25 rather than $50 (FIFTY DOLLARS TO PARK YOUR CAR A LITTLE CLOSER. OMG).

I went for it because I wanted to be as close to the entrance as possible as to not waste precious time walking. There were no parking trams, I believe there still aren’t, so if you had to park in the back…enjoy that walk.

They were also staggering parking spaces so it was a crap shoot as to how close I’d be able to park without the priority parking pass. They are skipping every other space and then, later in the day, coming back in and filling them in (this worked to my advantage at Animal Kingdom the next day).

The temperature check was super fast, so fast that I barely even had to stop walking. The security set up was frustrating as they are doing bag check in a totally new way. Instead of placing bags down on a table and the security going through them and having you walk through the metal detector…they now have NO tables to set things down on and instead you’re supposed to walk through the security scanner with your bag.

It was so frustrating because I tried to take out a few things prior to walking through. Literally AS I was walking up they announce you have to remove your umbrella and external phone chargers. Of course that stuff is at the bottom of my bag and I had no table to set the bag on so I was holding everyone up trying to pull things out.

I finally got that handled, walked through the security scanner and SET IT OFF ANYWAY. So I’m done with taking stuff out. I’m just gonna walk on through then let them check my bag the old school way!

Next I had to decide how I wanted to go from parking TO Magic Kingdom. There are always the classic two options: Monorail or Ferry. But, at least on that day, there was also the third option of Bus.

I read on Twitter from someone that bus was the quickest option so I went that route. When I got on the bus I was assigned a seat number and there were partitions up between the sections.

I did notice right away that the friendliness of guests wasn’t gone even with all the distancing and mask wearing. I couldn’t see the people beside me very well because the partition but they were chatting with the people seated across from them who happened to be visiting Disney World FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.

I mean how nuts would that be? Apparently they had the trip booked and planned for these dates AGES ago and just decided to still come. SO crazy! We all told them they need to come back when things are back to normal for the full experience!

Once I got to the entrance it was very quick getting inside. I wonder what time they actually started allowing people in as I walked right up at 8:32 and was welcomed! It was a smooth process…they only scanned my band and did not do a finger check.

I was super happy to see that PARK MAPS are still there and still a thing! I know some theme parks went to mobile only and I’m sooooo thankful Disney isn’t one of them.

As soon as I had my band scanned I got that choked up feeling in my chest. The one where you feel like you just need to REALLY HARD cry.

I wanted to linger and soak in seeing the entrance but man I just had to RUSH to Main Street. I mean c’mon we all know THAT was what my dream was all about. All I cared about doing. The only real reason I was there. WALK DOWN MAIN STREET USA.

And yall. Pretty sure it was the best moment of my existence.

As I walked in cast members were stationed at Town Square Theater and then were literally lining the entire path of Main Street. They were clapping. They were cheering. It was pure MAGIC.

(Be sure to watch the video on this post to see it for yourself!)

I can’t even put into words the emotion I felt (and feel now just reliving it in my mind). I tried to walk slowly and really let it all resonate with me in my soul! As I walked by Town Square Theater I noticed Joe D’Amaro who is THE Chairman of Disney Parks! How awesome that he was there greeting guests along side cast members!!!

I have ZERO shame in telling yall that I cried like a baby. I had people sending me DMs saying watching my videos made them cry too. It was that amazing.

Everyone in that moment felt that joy. We were ALL in the same boat. All so thankful to be back at the place we love so very much. The cast members, the fellow guests. It was an energy unlike anything I’ve ever been part of before.

It was so incredible…that when I reached the end I opted not to focus on the new castle and instead walk back down Main Street so I could experience the entire thing again!

They were saying things like “Welcome Back!” But the ones that really got me were the “We Missed You!” “Thank You for Being Here!” “Welcome HOME!” It really got to me because those cast members were finally back to their jobs, to the jobs they love. Everyone was just so happy to have Disney World OPEN.

Who cares about the new guidelines and the annoying masks…it’s OPEN and we were all just thankful to be there!

It was neat seeing so much media there and to later see the footage they had taken when I was standing right beside them! It was an awesome moment to be part of a historic day.

Finally I allowed myself to look at Cinderella’s Castle. Gotta be honest? I was NERVOUS about how I’d feel. I loved the castle as it was! And in my mind leading up the park reopening I envisioned seeing the castle that I knew and loved. Not some new castle.

I feel like it was cruddy timing for the new paint look because with all the craziness of the pandemic we all are craving the familiar and I think everyone would have appreciated seeing the castle we KNOW rather than being introduced to something so new.

However, all my nerves quickly dissipated when I first saw the castle again. Same castle. Same emotions. Same magical feeling. Just a new look!

I’m not obsessed with the new look but I “get it” and if anything being a “Disney person” has taught me that change is constant and I know Walt was all about constantly changing things at the parks so I accept the new look and think she’s as beautiful as ever!

I took a lot of castle pics! I was pretty excited to see that the “paint by numbers” was still present too as that’s a fun little detail that will soon be covered up I’m sure!

I loved getting to walk through the castle for the first time (and glad they had it open!) and made sure to stop and take in the views of the back of the castle too. So often we’re focused on where we are headed and forget to enjoy where we just left!

Here’s a helpful before and after to compare! The center photo is the castle before-Corona πŸ™‚

I had NO plan for the day. None. I also told myself I wouldn’t feel pressure to stay until close. If I got too hot or the mask got too annoying, I could leave! I was paying a lot for the resort stay and could enjoy the pool or just having a room to myself too. I didn’t HAVE to be at MK.

But I also knew myself too well and knew I’d never leave until they kicked me out πŸ˜‰

I decided to do Peter Pan as my first ride. I have NEVER walked through the regular entrance to this ride. I should have gone slower and taken photos but people were behind me and I didn’t want to slow them up. I still went slow enough to enjoy seeing all the fun details.

If you’re a Disney regular then you know that Peter Pan is basically a ride you should never bother with unless you have a fastpass. Even then? I always tell people to skip the ride. It’s VERY short and if you’re NOT a big Disney fan then it’s nothing you’re going to really ever regret skipping.

But as a big Disney fan, I LOVE Peter Pan. DUH. Favorite moment is when the bar on the ride comes down with the pixie dust and it made my heart so happy that that detail was still occurring πŸ˜‰

Disney is NOT having cast members put the hand sanitizer directly in your hands and instead has stations at the entrances and exits of the rides. A lot of the time I forgot to even get any of it. I’m just not a germ conscious person so I’m the person that NEEDS them to physically put it in my hands or I just won’t think about it. (Ya know how “they” say that the first kid gets their pacifier sanitized if it hits the ground and that the last kid just gets it popped back in their mouths off the floor…I was the floor mom with the first kid…).

Next I decided to walk into It’s A Small World. Again ZERO wait.

I had the boat all to myself and just sat back and enjoyed hearing all the children singing πŸ˜‰

I’ve taken a few solo trips over the years and my favorite things to do while there alone are character meetings and getting photo pass photos taken. My dream Disney job is to be a photo pass photographer so I love talking to them and interacting with them and I always figure the more pics I can get, the more likely I am to really like one of them of me haha!

So I went back to the castle hub area to see if any photo pass photographers were out and they weren’t. I decided to then check out the Purple Wall. I mean if you don’t get a Purple Wall Pic were you even AT Magic Kingdom?

Um. Purple Wall area has now become creepy tunnel area. And it legit looks like you might get murdered.

I assume they made it super unattractive and super creepy to avoid people gathering there. We’ve all hung out on the rocks from time to time and I assume they wanted to avoid that? I’m also hoping maybe it was just a construction thing and next time I go back it’ll be down!

Still made the wall pic happen though…I mean of course I did πŸ˜‰

All trash cans were propped open throughout the park, which I don’t think anyone is too mad about. They also feature signage reminding about the health and safety protocol stuff.

As I headed to Buzz (a total must-do for me every visit) I did noticed the Fastpass Entrance sign and it does have my hopes up a little bit that maybe Fastpass isn’t DEAD and is instead just on a break πŸ˜‰ I know they are using the Fastpass lines for DAS, rider swap and other purposes too for now.

Saw a photo pass photographer out and about on the walkway from Tomorrowland to the hub so I went over to get my first pics in front of the new castle!

Unfortunately, you are NOT allowed to remove your mask for photos. If the mask isn’t on, your photos won’t appear in My Disney Experience. AND Photo pass photographers aren’t allowed to hold your phone for photos either so they can’t take pics on your phone for you. Super bummer on both accounts!

But I rolled with it! Lots of the photographers I met had great attitudes about everything and I loved the perspective of making it fun while capturing a snapshot in an historic world event. Lots of “point to the mask!” kinda pictures were being taken and I think that’s a great outlook. Let’s NOT normalize it. Point out that it’s a moment in time, a TEMPORARY moment in time, and capture it so guests can look back and say “man remember when we wore face masks to Disney in the middle of JULY? That was nuts!”

I will go ahead and share my outfit info too since this is the first time in this post yall can see my full outfit πŸ™‚

Headband (I have a huge head and this is awesome): Comes in a two pack with a black one too!

Mask: I had it custom made by Tiny Tales Creations and I did fabric choice 4. It’s reversible too!

Skirt: I LOVE these skirts! I own several now and they are perfect for the parks. A nice liner but not hot at all and creates a breeze πŸ™‚

White Shirt: I also love these Luxe shirts and they are my fav white t-shirt

Best Park Shoes: These are worth EVERY penny. I wear them to the parks ALL the time!

It was time for a mask break and I had a craving for the Joffrey’s donut! I’ve never gotten one by myself (they are massive) and was pretty pumped not to have to share.

I’m a total Joffrey’s fan. I’ve never had a Disney Starbucks but I LOVE me some Joffrey’s! I decided to also try their new s’mores iced coffee and did regret not getting my regular frozen coffee from there instead.

I am passionate about my loathing of paper straws and my sweet friend Tiffany hooked me up with a travel straw that attaches to my keychain! So now I’m never without one πŸ˜‰

At the time of my travels you were allowed to walk and eat and drink without a mask but now you MUST be stationary to eat or drink without your mask on. Personally that’s a bit of an #eyeroll for me but I do prefer to actually sit and eat anyway.

Part of the Disney Magic is the people watching! I enjoyed my breakfast and received a Welcome Back text from Disney πŸ˜‰ Then when I finished I happened to get up at the same time that Buzz was coming out to say hi!!!

First character sighting and it felt SO GOOD to see him! He was very energetic and took a selfie with me.

I’ve heard people say they prefer these character meets to the old way of doing them and NOPE it’s not the same. Yes I’d prefer to wait in line and HUG my favorite character rather than take a selfie from a distance and not have any real interaction (I know I’m a weird o but I also really like talking to the characters…even the ones who don’t talk back haha).

So I’m here for the character changes for now because these changes are ALLOWING there to BE characters, but I’m hopeful it’s not a “forever” thing!

I randomly went into a store and saw that they did have welcome back merch – a t-shirt that says “Together Again.” I was not about to waste any money on those shirts. I saw TONS of guests wearing them but they look so cheaply made and a cast member and I were joking around about them a bit too. Pretty weak for welcome back merchandise. They could have sold the heck out of some stuff too!!!

Speaking of merch I remembered while in the store about the whole Splash Mountain merchandise situation and figured I’d head over there. The photo pass photographer I’d met said they wouldn’t be out on Main Street until 11 or 12 so I figured I had some time until I could get a Main Street pic!

As I walked by the castle I heard familiar tunes and was SO EXCITED to see my first character cavalcade! Max was super cute and took a great pic with me!

Even just having the dancing cast members doing their thing in front of the castle felt like HOME! I DO prefer the cavalcades over regular parades. They are random so when you happen to see one it feels super special and is much more exciting than sitting around waiting in the hot sun for a float to pass by.

It is just ONE float and a few supporting cast members. It’s quick. It’s fun. I’m here for it!

I passed a photo pass photographer on my way and hopped in line. There were two of them standing there together and I overheard one telling the other to make sure to angle themselves where they would be standing far enough away from the guests having their photos taken but also far enough away from the people waiting in line. SO much for these cast members to be constantly mindful of!!!

I passed by one of the resting stations (located by Splash Mountain) and it was located in the straight up SUN. No thanks, hard pass on that!

When I got to Splash Mountain I found out the shop with the merch was closed so I decided I’d check back later (they actually were doing a virtual line for the shop but the line was down by the ride and I didn’t realize it…oops!).

Yall know I don’t do thrill rides. I’m really not into Disney FOR the rides. When I’ve visited Disney in the past by myself I often don’t ride anything, or if I do I only ride a couple things.

I’m there for the magic. The interactions. The characters. The joy. Basically a lot of what I LOVE about Disney is hindered by the current health and safety guidelines.

But there is something true about absence making the heart grow fonder. I was surprised by how badly I WANTED to ride stuff. When you literally CAN’T do something anymore you appreciate it in a whole new way and I had that feeling I used to get before we were pass holders…like I HAVE to do EVERYTHING I can while I can because it might be gone again tomorrow!

Pirates was the longest line I’d seen at that point for anything of interest to me. It was tricky to navigate the line with the social distancing spacing markers AND because Pirate’s line is pretty dang dark.

Even with being socially distanced I still chatted up other people in line #duh. I was pretty stressed about messing up the line. Because if you move forward too early then EVERYONE moves forward and you’d messed it up. Trust me though – it WILL happen to you at least once!

Plus lines are tricky now because we’re all used to just being on our phones while waiting (or distracting your kids) and just kinda shuffling forward the whole time. Now? You have to REALLY PAY ATTENTION.

I’m not saying it’s some super huge deal or a reason not to visit the parks – but it did shoot my anxiety up a bit for sure and I was very thankful not to have the kids with me because having them all stay on the line and then move at the right times would be (will be!) a LOT.

I met two other moms who were there solo that day while in line! It was fun talking to them about why we left our kids at home and what we were doing that day. Had it not been corona-Disney I would have totally asked if they wanted to hang out. I almost asked anyway but then I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable if they were trying to really maintain social distancing.

Walking through the post-ride shopping area was different too with lots of signage asking NOT to handle the merchandise. It seemed like everyone still was though. I even saw kids sword fighting like usual too and didn’t see any cast members being frustrated by it. So I think the sign is like “maybe this will prevent people from touching stuff” and not a REAL RULE exactly either.

Can’t have a blog post by Emily without a bit of TMI…but the night prior I had some signs that my period might be coming. I honestly didn’t think it was the real deal. I brought a few tampons in my bookbag and figured I’d be fine. HOLY PERIOD. It ended up being a Day 1 I gotta go to the bathroom every HOUR situation.

So fun in July. At a theme park. Right? The upside of my monthly friend showing up is that it made the mask a WHOLE lot less annoying to wear. My situation was way, way more frustrating, uncomfortable and bothersome.

I decided to go up to the Baby Care Center (located by The Plaza) as I knew they sold stuff for these situations. A downside of social distancing though is that it’s kinda hard to be DISCRETE. They only allowed one guest in at a time and a man met me and asked how he could help. Slightly awkward.

I bought two packages and they were the most expensive feminine product purchase of my LIFE (side note but I checked with the nurse station first and they only give ONE complimentary PAD, which I also took of course!). I’m SO glad I bought two because yall. These things caused me SO MUCH frustration. They should have come with an instruction manual. I could NOT figure out how to get them to work and wasted so many of them trying and failing! Why do we need travel size tampons? A regular one isn’t all that much bigger and is SO MUCH EASIER.

I decided to go ahead and head down Main Street again in hopes of catching a photo pass photographer this time! No luck but I found a super sweet Cast Member who said they would be out at noon. He was so nice and even found me later in the day and asked if I’d gotten that Castle pic!

I decided to browse the shops a bit and pick up Sorcerer Cards for the kids (if yours haven’t played – it’s awesome!). I also got to see TINK!!!!

The stores were marked with enter and exit signage which was honestly pretty annoying because they have Emporium exit WAY at the end of Main Street. Yall know that store is HUGE! They also had cast members at the entrances and exits to remind you where to go so there was no “sneaking out the entrance” situation happening.

I saw some of the Ebay scalpers leaving with their LOADS of Splash Mountain merch. And saw a guy filming a Live on FB I’m guessing. But I didn’t realize he was filming and I asked him a question about his wet towel and yall he was so rude like “I’m actually Live right now.” Oh I’m SORRY I am ACTUALLY LIVE RIGHT NOW like IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE.

I know I have my own social media presence and I get how important content is but I can’t fathom prioritizing something online over someone in person! I saw a TONNNNN of people filming and photographing and talking into their phones and cameras. Yet I still felt awkward about it. Maybe someday I’ll get over that! But it’s just WEIRD.

FINALLY the photo pass photographers were out on Main Street! I hopped in line and then proceeded to spill water all down my shirt. FAIL.

I waited a bit to try to dry it off and then just gave up and I don’t think it’s too noticeable in the pics! I stopped at every single photo pass spot for the entire length of Main Street up until I made it the castle.

I know it’s a weird thing to do. And probably seems super self-absorbed. But I would totally do the same thing with my kids if they were patient enough for it haha. I just love pictures and love photo pass photographers and wanted to make sure I had at least ONE picture I REALLY loved of me on this special day! And we all know, it often takes a billion shots to find one that we actually like of ourselves!

Winner for my fav πŸ™‚

I’m glad my timing worked out as it did because I was able to see ANOTHER Cavalcade and this time: MINNIE AND MICKEY. It was so perfect watching them pass right in front of the castle. I was a child about my waving and excitement!

I really wanted to do Tiki Room so I headed back to Adventureland and was able to walk right on as I entered right as they were seating the show. Whew it was FRUSTRATING. The room is super dark and spots were either marked with “row closed” or “not available.” I couldn’t see and was the LAST person in the room so finding a spot where I was “allowed” to sit was a STRUGGLE and I was pretty embarrassed!

I did not ride Aladdin. Something about riding that alone makes me sad because it’s a ride I LOVE doing with my kids! I did see the cast member cleaning off the ride and I will say I appreciated that the cleaning of rides was/is done as discretely as possible. Disney is trying their best to keep that magical appearance going and I appreciate it!

Jungle Cruise had a bit of a line (doesn’t it ALWAYS) but I decided to go for it as I was curious as to how the boat would be. And I mean let’s be real we alllll wanna see the backside of water πŸ˜‰

I met a “Just Tess!’ which was awesome! Usually if someone is named Tess it’s TESSA so I thought it was really neat to meet a Tess like my Tess! The boat was set up where no one sits in the middle area and there are partitions up between the seating as well as between the driver and the guests. It was SO HARD for me not to take the cast members hand when exiting!!!

Perk of being there solo – I had SO much space. I did see a family across from me and they looked beyond miserable all trying to squish in the partitioned area. I can see that being us when we have the kids along!

As I mentioned there are hand sanitizer stations set up, there are also SOME hand washing stations around the park too. I rarely saw people using them!

I decided to take a lunch break and I love Peco’s Bills (it’s a great place to save some money when eating in the parks). On my way there I saw people asking a guy for a photo. I had no clue who he was but I’m totally quick to jump on a bandwagon so I got a picture with him too and then asked the people near me who he was haha. They died that I got a pic and didn’t know! He’s Tim Tracker who is a big You Tuber. Even funnier is it’s my SECOND run-in with Tim at MK and I didn’t know who he was either time. Katie and Lindsay were actually in the back of one of his videos on our MNSSHP trip last year!

I had to do mobile ordering and man that was a HASSLE. It took FOREVER for my order to be ready and then it was still just as much as a fight as ever to actually get a table! I love the nachos and was eager to hydrate!

While I was eating I got a text from a new friend! So random but when I was at Pop Century the night prior a few of my IG followers sent me a DM telling me that “Smart Mom Plans Disney” was there too. I hadn’t heard of her before (shocker…I clearly don’t know people) but found her Instagram and watched her stories and realized we shared almost the SAME things about the resort and her vibe was very similar to mine. I also realized I’d actually “met” her earlier that evening. We’d passed each other and said hey just as like casual Disney people do πŸ˜‰

So I sent her a DM and told her what my followers had said and we ended up chatting via DM until like 11:30 and talked about maybe meeting up the next day at MK! She sent me a text when I was settling in at lunch and it was perfect timing as her crew was near Pecos Bills so they just popped on in!

We got to hang out for an hour or so and it was so fun! I don’t often get to chat with people about the business side of blogging and IG (side note but if you’re curious about what it’s like to be an “Instagram Mom” I have a whole post about it here!) and such and it was AWESOME getting to talk about those things with someone who “gets it” and especially someone who has a different perspective and spin on things than I do. We are staying in touch and hope to be combining forces on a few things soon πŸ˜‰

She was heading to her turn to shop at Splash and gave me the pointer about walking all the way down to the ride to get the virtual line. I figured why not (again, bandwagon jumper here people).

When I signed up they told me it was a THREE HOUR wait. THREE HOURS. To be allowed INTO A STORE. The entire thing is hilarious (more on that in a bit). But, duh, I joined it.

While I was at lunch I checked in on my social media. I tend not to post a ton while I’m actively in the parks. I know that it’s not the “norm” for an “influencer” to not post content all day long but if you follow me on Instagram (and I’d love it if you did!) you’ll see that I tend to sit down at certain points in my day and post lots of story slides at once. I don’t like to live on my phone. I like to just LIVE! I post when it’s convenient and doesn’t take away time from my family or from the activity we’re doing.

So anyways I noticed I had a TON of new followers and a TON of dms and TON of notifications. What the heck. Well that morning when I was on the bus on the way to MK I opened up Instagram and commented on a few of the Disney posts. I was SO PUMPED to be there and so THANKFUL they were opening that I just naturally commented on them out of my excitement.

Apparently I was the first one to comment and because of that my comment got a lot of exposure or something? I don’t understand how the Instagram algorithm works but I had NO CLUE any of this stuff was going down and I about DIED seeing some of the rude comments about me.

I will tell yall I used to get really, really hurt feelings about rude comments but being in the online world for so long as helped me develop thicker skin so this was truly FUNNY to me!

While the negative feedback was funny, the positive was SO MUCH FUN. My day went from being about just me doing my thing solo to me getting to connect to SO many new people who also love Disney! I LOVE that I got to “meet” so many new friends and many have stuck with me since too which is such a blessing πŸ™‚

After lunch I decided to hit up the relaxation station as I wanted to call Zach and fill him in on my day so far and about my awesome chat with LJ! It was shaded by that point and it was a nice spot to be mask-free. Other families were there too and there were tables spaced out as well as a cast member monitoring things and wiping things down as people left.

I decided to swap out masks at that point as I wanted to try out different ones.

I wanted to give the Disney masks a try – I’m wearing a size Adult Large. It worked well but I did prefer my mask from earlier in the day!

I had heard that the Disney ducks were really out and about and I def agree that it’s true! I saw SO MANY ducks! I decided to head back over to Fantasyland since I didn’t explore much of it that morning.

I walked right on the carousel with no wait. They assigned a number and I was able to choose a horse from that numbered row. So basically I had four horses to myself. It was quick to get ON the ride but MAN it took FOREVER to get going with it. The whole process was very slow.

Walking over to “New Fantasyland” it was a very empty park. It was weird seeing certain areas of the park COMPLETELY empty. Like truly NO PEOPLE.

I walked right on Little Mermaid. Some rides and attractions are just smoother than others with the guidelines in place. Carousel wasn’t so great, Little Mermaid was a breeze!

I also decided to ride Dumbo. I love the view on Dumbo and it wasn’t as sunny so I felt like it wouldn’t be direct sun in my face the whole time. It was a great spot to see both the castle as well as the Tron construction!

Over the time at home we tried out the Mickey Ice Cream Bars from Publix – and those ice cream sandwiches just can’t compare to the REAL DEAL.

I wanted to do Phillarmagic in honor of Britt. I did think of my sweet Britt the MOST throughout the day. I had many times where I wished I’d brought her with me. She’s def my “Disney BFF” and I knew she’d have loved many of the moments I experienced! I’m eager to bring her back ASAP!

However, Phillarmagic was a super disappointment. Again, some things are FINE during all of the changes, and some just don’t run smoothly. The wait for Phillarmagic was crazy long. Once in the holding area we were assigned a dot to stay on and then trying to find seating was again a struggle. The whole thing just took a LONG time.

A few more castle pics as I passed through to head to Fantasyland πŸ˜‰

I really wanted to ride Haunted Mansion so I hit up my favorite bathroom on the way leaving Fantasyland and then, yet again, walked right on to Haunted Mansion.

The stretch room is no longer stretching. It is just already “stretched” when we walked through the room and while I missed this element, it DID cut down on that crazy rush of people that are all congested when leaving the room and getting in the line for the attraction.

As I left Haunted Mansion I was greeted by GASTON!!! I about died! So awesome to see him riding his horse like he owns the place, which he totally does. Following Gaston was a REALLY random float of characters. Peter Pan, Alice, Pooh, Tigger, Aladdin, and Mary Poppins. SO RANDOM. It was my LEAST favorite of the character experiences at is just felt very thrown together with no real theme or purpose.

THEN I saw a boat coming by with Chip and Dale! SO ADORABLE and their little outfits were precious. I literally turned around from saying hey to them and was greeted by two of the Country Bears. They were SO cute blowing endless kisses to me!

The character surprises are SO FUN. It really brought me so much joy!

I also swapped masks again. I heard from a TON of people that the paper, disposable masks are the most comfortable. I bought this box of disposable ones and brought a few with me.

I headed back to Main Street decided to grab dinner before heading out. It looked like storms were coming in and I figured it was a good time to leave! I felt like I’d done all the things and felt content. I wished I could have seen some princesses but I felt like the characters I did see were really fun moments and I felt at peace with being back HOME!

Usually I get a Mickey Pretzel and cheese at The Launching Pad in Tomorrowland so I headed over there and it was closed. I asked multiple cast members and no one knew where I could get a pretzel. I tried by Space Mountain but that cart was also closed.

A good heads up if you’re going to the parks – bring food and have low expectations regarding the snacks and meals you love because it’s tricky to find things!

I finally found a cast member who told me to cross over the castle and hit up that snack cart for my beloved pretzel. Hey, I’m not against getting more castle pics πŸ˜‰

I also found it interesting that we all had to wear masks and there was plexiglass up everywhere yet the cast members still just hand you your food. Like they have touched everything. And since I paid with my magic band, I touched the keypad too. I’m not complaining about these things but just some of it is kinda funny to me about how hardcore some elements are and how not hardcore others are.

The rain clouds were coming in and I REALLY wanted to get my hub time in! My absolute FAVORITE spot in ALL of Magic Kingdom is the grass hub in front of the castle. The castle view. The people watching. The music. The grass. I JUST LOVE IT.

And it was a flawless moment. There was one other person in the hub area but that was it. So I happily removed my mask and enjoyed my FAVORITE Disney Snack in my FAVORITE Disney spot! PURE HEAVEN right here!

I did a little map reading while sitting and did realize they have updated the maps to include the health and safety guidelines, to show relaxation station locations and to even show Tron!

As I was finishing up and getting ready to leave the storm clouds looked darker and I felt like my timing was pretty dang perfect. But then. I got the text that my virtual spot in line was ready for me to go do the Splash Mountain shopping.

So let’s talk about Splash Mountain. I’ve NEVER ridden it. I’ve actually gotten ON the ride and then chickened out and exited before take-off (you can see that memory…my 25th birthday actually…here! SUCH a fun memory!). I have ridden the version in Disneyland (it has three smaller drops rather than one big one…you can read that post here) but not the MK version.

I do NOT really have any opinion regarding the decision to change the theming of Splash Mountain. I’m not partial to Splash Mountain because I’ve never ridden it. And I think the plans look awesome! I know that as a Disney person sometimes changes can be hard. People get attached to things they love and it’s sad to see them go or be updated or changed.

I know I’ve cried real tears myself over some of the changes at times! I think it’s been a beautiful thing to have the opportunity to learn more from others and learn different world views and perspectives and to grow as a person through listening. I also still think it’s okay for those who aren’t super pumped about the Splash Mountain change to feel sad about it. Yes, there are racist people out there who probably don’t want the ride to change due to their racist beliefs, but I don’t personally think that most of the Splash Mountain fans feel the way they do due to racial beliefs.

Even though I’m not personally invested in this whole Splash Mountain thing I HAVE found it so crazy funny that people are literally buying OUT the Splash Merch. Like the ride isn’t changing anytime soon. I’m sure Disney will keep making Splash Mountain merchandise (especially right now with it selling like wildfire).

I simply wanted to get to buy the merch because, well, everyone else was buying it. Told ya – bandwagon πŸ˜‰ People are literally filling trash bags with items to sell on Ebay. It’s CRAZY.

Tess cried real tears when I told her the plans for Splash to be reinvented because it’s her favorite ride. She loves the animals. Kids don’t know about the history. They just know things for what they are and she sees animals. Britt loves the song! Zip-pity Do Dah was her JAM when she was little!

So I figured I’d grab a few things for the kids to have the memories of what Splash Mountain was from their childhood. I’m saving them for Christmas and also am secretly hoping they will someday pay for their college educations, right?

When I got back to the store it was downpour rain. I had to wait to enter the store until enough people had left and I enjoyed joking around with the cast members about how INSANE it all was that the DAY Magic Kingdom was back opened that the longest wait was to ENTER A SHOP. So crazy!

I bought each kid a plush and Zach a coffee cup as a Christmas gift for each of them and that’s it! As I left the store it was nearing closing time and the rain was still coming down really steadily so the park was BEYOND empty.

It was pretty creepy feeling! I took my time under my little umbrella as I wasn’t in a rush. As I approached Country Bears the cast members hanging out front said they had one last showing for the evening (the park closed at 7 and it was like 6:50) so I hopped right in.

I LOVE Country Bears (if you sit and LISTEN it’s really hilarious) and it made sense to chill a minute and wait out the rain. Talk about an eerie experience…I was THE only person in the waiting area for the show.

And then. I WAS THE ONLY PERSON IN THE SHOW.

Two of THE most absolute magical moments of my LIFE: walking onto Main Street that morning and ending the night as the ONLY guest watching Country Bears.

The cast member was so sweet and offered for me to sit right up front and allowed me to take a picture with all the bears at the finale. It was SUCH a cool experience. I mean how many people can say they’ve been inside a Disney attraction COMPLETELY ALONE? So. So. Magical!

And now Country Bears has a whole new love in my heart!!!!

It couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to such a magical day. I was just so happy walking down a rainy Main Street soaking in the JOY in my HEART!

Let’s be real…living through a pandemic is NO JOKE. And I just felt completely and totally renewed after spending a day in my absolute happiest place in the entire world. My heart was overflowing.

I was very nervous leading up to this day. I wasn’t sure how emotional I’d feel. Would the changes ruin the magic for me? Would it still bring me joy? YES, it was DIFFERENT. And some of the differences straight up suck. But it’s STILL Disney. There is STILL magic. My heart was STILL filled full!!!

I stopped by and grabbed another favorite snack that just isn’t as good anywhere else – cotton candy!

Then I popped into Guest Services to get a button as I hadn’t seen anyone out with them all day. I wanted to make sure I had a pin to remember the day by! Celebrating being back HOME!

(I also got to see an Ebayer with their trash bags full of merch!)

An empty Main Street for my FULL HEART. Man though, just as proof of this emotional rollercoaster during this time…I felt SO HAPPY and then, as I left, I saw the poster being gone for Happily Ever After and it is replaced by health and safety reminders. HEART BREAKER.

My next corona-life long dream? Be at MK the night they bring back Happily Ever After πŸ˜‰ Crossing fingers I can make THAT happen!

As far as mask compliance I didn’t see a SINGLE person trying to bend the rules all day. Did I slip mine off when walking in areas where NO ONE was around? Yup. Did I occasionally slip it off during a dark ride where NO ONE was near me? Yes. Am I sure others did too? Yes.

But no one was intentionally breaking rules regarding social distancing or mask wearing when near others. I saw ONE couple have their masks off and it was when I was waiting for these pics at the front of Magic Kingdom. And they had just taken them off for a picture and put them back on as soon as a cast member said something.

Yes, the mask was ANNOYING. And HOT. But honestly and truly? Disney in JULY is MISERABLE. If I didn’t have a child with a birthday in July I’d NEVER come to the parks in July. So a mask just added one more element of misery to an already miserable situation (I mean Day 1 Period issues trumped it ALL for sure though haha).

I decided to ride the monorail back and have NEVER noticed this wait time at the monorail? Some people said it’s new and some said it’s always been there.

A big takeaway from the day is that it requires GRACE and PATIENCE to be able to enjoy the theme parks during this weird phase of life. Some stuff is confusing. Some stuff is frustrating. You just have to be patient. Have grace. Like for example…what the heck is this marking? What is this supposed to be? There weren’t many people waiting so this area wasn’t utilized.

I was seated completely alone. No fun Disney chatter with other guests for me! I did try to see some NBA players hanging out in the Bubble at the Grand Floridian and did see some guys hanging on their balconies but let’s be real…if I don’t know who “famous” Disney people are, I def don’t know NBA players haha!

On the walk back to the car I chatted with a mother and daughter duo and it again made me think of Britt. I know we’ll have PLENTY of Disney days ahead together! We saw THE most vivid rainbow I’ve EVER seen.

I’m hoping it’s representation of Walt’s promise to never shut down the parks again πŸ™‚

The preferred parking was def nice for the walk back. My feet were tired and I was ready for some CHILL time at the room!

I was just craving a sweet treat before bed and really wanted milk and cookies. A thing to be aware of if you’re staying at a Disney Resort Property (which yall know I’m not a fan of staying on property…) is that they are ONLY doing mobile orders and since the parks close pretty early the wait for mobile is LONG. I waited over 30 minutes for just milk and cookies.

I got myself a nice long shower, enjoyed my milk and cookies and ended my epically awesome day reliving the moments with everyone on Instagram!

If you stuck with me this long – thank you haha I know I just really wanted to remember every moment of this AMAZING day!

You can also read about my day at Animal Kingdom here!

Planning a trip to Disney World?

I also have a TON of other Disney posts so be sure to check out my Disney Page for more tips as well as other trip recaps. Here are some of my top Disney posts to help in your planning:

best time to visit Disney World without missing school
best age for a first visit to disney
must do moments at Disney World

A video should auto-play in this post covering all the details of my magical day!

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Love What Matters, Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, FacebookΒ and Pinterest!

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2 Comments

  1. August 21, 2020 / 9:15 pm

    Loved this post! I’m so bummed that we didn’t officially run into each other that day other than us walking by when you were doing Photo Pass down Main Street! We’ll have to meet up at the parks one of these days!

    • August 25, 2020 / 9:37 am

      Yes for SURE! We are going back Labor Day weekend πŸ™‚

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