Paddlefish: The Best Kids’ Meals at Disney Springs

We’ve eaten at MANY restaurants at Disney Springs and I can easily say, without a doubt, that the kids’ meals at Paddlefish are the absolute BEST. The variety is unmatched, the quality is exceptional, and while slightly on the pricier side outside of Disney, they’re well worth every dollar.

Thank you so much to Paddlefish for hosting us- we received a complimentary meal, but as always, all opinions are honest and my own.

Exterior of boat restaurant Paddlefish Disney Springs

Paddlefish is conveniently docked at The Landing at Disney Springs – and given that it’s shaped like a modern steamboat, there’s no missing the restaurant.

Mask bags at Paddlefish Disney Springs

Like Terralina Crafted Italian, Paddlefish gives you these cute little bags to put your mask in while you eat. There are two floors of indoor dining space as well as a rooftop level. We definitely recommend sitting outside on the rooftop deck if you can.

Smiling family on rooftop deck at Paddlefish

One of my absolute FAVORITE parts of dining at Paddlefish is the view. I mean, where else can you get a view of Disney Springs like this?! In fact, it’s the only restaurant at Disney Springs to have rooftop waterfront seating and I bet it would be absolutely magical closer to sunset.

Paddlefish Menu

Like many restaurants, Paddlefish is still using single-use menus and is operating with slightly fewer offerings – but there’s still PLENTY to choose from.

Paddlefish Children's Menu with Wikki Stix

Now, since this post is highlighting the exceptional Children’s Menu at Paddlefish, let’s start right here. In addition to having a variety of entree choices ranging from typical chicken fingers and burgers to filet and crab, kids also get a pack of Wikki Stix to play with while they wait. We’ve never played with Wikki Stix before but oh my gosh, the kids LOVED them! The wax-covered yarn strips are bendable, twistable, and stick to each other allowing for hours of play – and they kept our table quiet so I could read the menu in peace.

Appetizers at Paddlefish Disney Springs

Bowl of Clam Chowder at Paddlefish Disney Springs

We often order a couple of appetizers for the table to split and this dinner was no different. We started with a bowl of the New England Clam Chowder and it was delicious. The big kids are more of a fan of seafood than Ellie but everyone said it was some of the best clam chowder around.

Crab guacamole and sangria at Paddlefish Disney Springs

Then we moved on to the Crab Guacamole. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that I’m SUPER picky about my guac but this stuff was goooooood. Just the right combo of tomato, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime, and then covered in lump crab + the tortilla chips were covered in Tajin. Heart eyes all the way!

Executive Chef Steven Richard Paddlefish Disney Springs

Executive Chef Steven Richard stopped by the table to talk about the menu and help the kids finalize their entree selections. We chatted all things crab – like the difference between snow crab and king crab.

Paddlefish Entrees (Including Kids’ Meal Options)

Paddlefish Disney Springs Kids' Menu Salmon

Without further ado, let’s get to those kids’ meals! Lexie opted for the Fish of the Day (which was and is usually) salmon and said it was prepared perfectly. It was served with mashed potatoes and green beans and proved to be the perfect amount of food for her. While Disney kids’ meals are usually intended for the 9 and under crowd, Lexie (12) and Ben (13) had no problem ordering off of the children’s menu.

Paddlefish Disney Springs Kids' Menu Filet Skewers

The littlest kiddo ordered the Filet Skewers – what can I say, she has great taste! Perfectly medium, these skewers checked every one of her boxes: delicious, filling, and finger food!

Paddlefish Disney Springs Children's Menu Snow Crab

Rounding out the kids’ meal crew, Ben ordered the Snow Crab. It’s normally served with corn on the cob and red potatoes but he opted for fries instead of corn since braces make corn on the cob difficult to eat.

How to crack snow crab legs

Since Ben had never ordered crab before, he didn’t know how to crack the shells. Our phenomenal waitress gave him a quick lesson and then he was on his way to crab deliciousness.

Paddlefish Disney Springs Kids' Menu

These two were HAPPY campers with their menu choices. They opted for things that aren’t on a normal kids’ menu and got to pretend they were adults for the night PLUS they could eat with their hands!

Stuffed Cod at Paddlefish Disney Springs

At Chef Steven’s recommendation, I ordered the Stuffed Cod, a Paddlefish favorite. Featuring their famous shrimp and scallop cornbread stuffing, the Stuffed Cod was absolutely amazing. The flavors worked perfectly together and I’m still dreaming about the mustard cream sauce. SO GOOD!!

Nick ordered the Salmon with Miso Vinaigrette (what I was originally going to order!). With a veggie stirfry and wasabi mashed potatoes, this dish is an explosion of flavor and definitely on the spicy side. Nick and I both loved it but if you’re spice averse, I’d skip it or order regular mashed potatoes.

Dessert at Paddlefish

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae Paddlefish Disney Springs

Dessert is an important part of any vacation meal and the Paddlefish dessert options did not disappoint. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae was a fun treat. While it’s not award-worthy or anything, it was prepared well and a fine option.

Chocolate Layer Cake Paddlefish Disney Springs

The chocolate cake lovers in our group devoured the Chocolate Layer Cake with its varying chocolatey textures.

Brownie Sundae Paddlefish Disney Springs

And the Brownie Sundae was quickly gobbled up. While none of the desserts were particularly inventive, they were all solid options and a great end to a delicious meal. I’ve heard that there’s a flourless chocolate cake and key lime pie that are amazing, but they’re not back on the menu yet.

Kids' Menu Cookies and Milk Paddlefish Disney Springs

On the kids’ menu, there’s a Milk and Cookies dessert option and I honestly don’t know why this isn’t on the menu at more restaurants! Ellie LOVED her choice as well as the presentation. I mean, who doesn’t like drinking their milk out of a bottle?!

Paddlefish Physical Distancing marker

Like most restaurants we’ve encountered on Disney property, Paddlefish did a great job following the new COVID protocols. Guests were seated at tables that were spread out, physical distancing was enforced and masks were required when walking around.

View of Disney Springs from Paddlefish

TIPS FOR DINING AT PADDLEFISH DISNEY SPRINGS

  • Reservations are highly recommended- you can make them online through My Disney Experience or on OpenTable
  • Pricing is $15 to $34.99 per adult
  • Located at The Landing in Disney Springs
  • Parking is free at the Disney Springs parking garages (lime is the closest!); Resort busses and boats are available as well.

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EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

With festivals running nearly year-round, EPCOT always has something different going on. The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, which runs in January and February, is one of our favorites. Focusing on culinary, performing, and visual arts, this festival is fun for all ages!

pin image for Festival of the Arts at EPCOT featuring delicious food

This year, the International Festival of the Arts is running from January 8 – February 22, 2021. As with all festivals at EPCOT, crowds are significantly higher on weekends when locals flock to the park, so we recommend doing EPCOT during the week if you can.

Masked teens in front of Spaceship Earth at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

In 2020, the girls and I took a girls’ trip to Disney World and visited EPCOT to check out the festival. We had so much fun that this year I brought just the boys.

Masked teens with mom in front of Spaceship Earth at the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

It’s been a couple of years since the boys visited EPCOT, so in addition to the festival stuff, they wanted to hit the rides as well. We arrived before the park opened – they let people in about 45 minutes early – and after taking a few pictures, made a beeline for Test Track. With one headliner out of the way, we decided to check out the festival offerings.

Climb into a Van Gogh

One of my favorite aspects of the Festival of the Arts is the famous works of art that you can pose inside. The boys LOVED climbing into pieces that they’ve seen or learned about in school and actually becoming a part of the art – at least for long enough to take a picture!

Chalk artist creating Soul piece at Festival of the Arts

Throughout the park, there are various artists that you can watch as they create their works. We really enjoyed the chalk art and checked back on the progress several times throughout our day at EPCOT.

Masked teens looking at chalk art at FARTS

The chalk art lines the walkways and bridges before you get to World Showcase, and let me tell you, this stuff is IMPRESSIVE!

In addition to chalk art, the International Festival of the Arts is also about culinary art. Since I was traveling with three teen boys, they made it their mission to try as many things as possible.

Deconstructed BLT: Pork Belly, Soft-poached Egg, Brioche, Watercress, and Tomato Jam

DECONSTRUCTED DISH Deconstructed BLT: Crispy Pork Belly, Soft-poached Egg, Brioche, Watercress Espuma, and Tomato Jam

Overall, this one was probably a 7/10 for our crew. The flavors worked well together, but we would have liked a bit more toast for dipping in all the egg yolk!

Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped New York-style Cheesecake with Strawberries and Sugar Cookies

DECONSTRUCTED DISH Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped New York-style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries and Sugar Cookies

This was quite possibly our FAVORITE dish at Festival of the Arts and definitely a 10/10. It wasn’t too sweet, and the sugar cookies added a nice crunch. This one is perfection.

Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings of London® Chai Tea Shake with Maple Syrup garnished with a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon (non-alcoholic)

DECONSTRUCTED DISH Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings of London® Chai Tea Shake with Maple Syrup garnished with a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon (non-alcoholic)

We all really enjoyed this one, too. It’s definitely on the sweet side, given that it has maple syrup (and candied bacon), and it was a solid 8/10.

Lobster Poutine: Lobster, Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce, Pickled Jalapeños, and Citrus Cream

REFRESHMENT PORT Lobster Poutine: Lobster, Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce, Pickled Jalapeños, and Citrus Cream

This one was most definitely a 10/10. Lots of big pieces of lobster and delicious flavor combos! This was probably the most filling snack that we ordered all day, and the pickled jalapeños offered some serious spice.

Live art at Festival of the Arts

During a break from snacking, we watched this guy do this entire painting while he danced around to music. We were in awe of his ability to not only paint exceptionally but to do it while dancing around in front of an audience.

Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl

L’ART DE LA CUISINE FRANCAISE Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl

It’s melted cheese in a bread bowl, what’s not to like?! Another 10/10.

Croissant à la Truffle Noir d'Hiver: Black Winter Truffle Croissant

L’ART DE LA CUISINE FRANCAISE Croissant à la Truffle Noir d’Hiver: Black Winter Truffle Croissant

This one was a bit different, and we were most definitely split on liking it vs. not. Overall, I’d say this is a 6/10, but I think you’ll either really like it or really not; there’s not much in-between.

Three smiling teens enjoying their snacks from Festival of the Arts

They loved snacking around World Showcase on this trip. We don’t often do festival food with five kids because the cost can really add up, but since this was a special trip (and what we were there for), we tried LOTS. Instead of ordering several of each option, we ordered one of everything we tried, and there was enough for everyone to have at least a bite (but usually more) of each.

Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam

VIBRANTE & VÍVIDO: Passion Fruit Mousse with Dragon Fruit Jam

I know everyone has raved about this treat but it really fell flat for us. Even looking past the smooshed presentation of our order, there was something about the texture that none of us really enjoyed. We gave it a 4/10 overall and would not order it again.

Coconut and Passion Fruit Smoothie (non-alcoholic)

VIBRANTE & VÍVIDO: Coconut and Passion Fruit Smoothie (non-alcoholic)

The smoothie, on the other hand, was delicious! Definitely a 10/10, especially considering that you can keep the cute cup!

Blue Corn Pupusa-stuffed with Cheese and topped with Shredded Pork, Guajillo and Árbol Chile Sauce, Cabbage Slaw, and Aji Amarillo Crema

VIBRANTE & VÍVIDO: Blue Corn Pupusa-stuffed with Cheese and topped with Shredded Pork, Guajillo and Árbol Chile Sauce, Cabbage Slaw, and Aji Amarillo Crema

A little bit spicy, and a whole lotta color, this one was a 7/10 for us. The blue corn pupusa was either overcooked or kind of old because we found it difficult to cut or even chew. But the pork + slaw + sauce combo was spot on.

Donut-shaped Sushi featuring Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Cucumber and Seasame Seed over a decorated plate of Wasabi Aïoli, Sriracha, and Eel Sauce

GOSHIKI Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped Sushi featuring Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Cucumber and Seasame Seed over a decorated plate of Wasabi Aïoli, Sriracha, and Eel Sauce

Always a crowd favorite, the sushi donut did not disappoint. It was one of Lexie’s favorites last year, and the teen boy sushi lovers enjoyed it, too. This was a 10/10 for our crew.

Red Velvet Funnel Cake topped with Cream Cheese Icing and Pixie Dust

FUNNEL CAKE STAND: Red Velvet Funnel Cake topped with Cream Cheese Icing and Pixie Dust

Nick is OBSESSED with all things red velvet, so this was a must-do for him, and he LOVED it – and ate the whole thing! According to him, it was a 10/10.

Funnel Cake topped with Oreos and a Slab of Ice Cream (not a Festival exclusive)

FUNNEL CAKE STAND: Funnel Cake topped with Oreos and a Slab of Ice Cream (not a Festival exclusive)

The other two are not red velvet fans and opted to share the Cookies and Cream funnel cake which they also loved! Another 10/10 from the teen boys.

teen boy in a piece of art at the Festival of the Arts

Crossing the Delaware with General Washington – and using his phone to check for directions.

Bag of Werther's Caramel Corn from Karamell-Kuche at EPCOT

KARAMELL-KÜCHE: Caramel Corn (not a Festival treat but a must-do when we’re in EPCOT – check out more of our favorite EPCOT treats!)

Warm Brown Sugar Stuffed Pretzel with Banana Soft-Serve and Chocolate Sauce

REFRESHMENT OUTPOST: Warm Brown Sugar Stuffed Pretzel with Banana Soft-Serve and Chocolate Sauce

At this point in our walk around World Showcase, the teens were not very hungry, which is odd since that never happens at home, where they also eat constantly!. But still, they couldn’t pass the Refreshment Outpost without trying this pretzel, especially since we were all intrigued with the banana soft serve. And it’s a good thing we stopped because this treat was both decadent and delicious- another 10/10.

POP Eats: Tomato Soup with French Onion and Bacon Grilled Cheese

POP Eats: Tomato Soup with French Onion and Bacon Grilled Cheese

Another hit for our group! The sandwich was grilled perfectly, and the bacon makes the grilled cheese feel a bit more grown-up – but you know we still dipped it in the tomato soup! This was a 10/10 for us though I wish our soup had been served in the decorated can like I’ve seen elsewhere on the internet.

3D chalk art of Alice in Wonderland table

The 3D chalk art is one of the most impressive aspects of the festival. We walked by in the morning, and while we could tell it was a table, we weren’t really sure what exactly the finished product would be. And by late afternoon, it was pretty much done and very impressive. Nate Baranowski does some phenomenal work!

Chalk art at EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

While we loved snacking around World Showcase, I honestly think watching the artists and seeing the finished chalk art was one of my favorite aspects of the festival.

Masked boy standing in front of butterfly wings

Continuing with the immersive theme of the Festival of the Arts, many of the construction walls around EPCOT (and right now, there are a lot!) are wing walls. There are painted butterfly wings on the walls so that you can stand in front of them and pose for pictures.

Young girl standing in front of butterfly wings at EPCOT

They come in varying sizes, so there are butterfly wings for the little ones, too! Disclaimer: This picture was from the 2019 Festival of the Arts. Masks are currently required, even when taking photographs.

Girl painting on the paint by number mural at the EPCOT Festival of the Arts

Another favorite at the International Festival of the Arts is the giant paint by number mural. You can get a little cup of paint and a sponge brush and paint five squares of the enormous mural. Over the course of a few days, it’s fun to watch the design come together and turn into a work of art. Disclaimer: This picture was from the 2019 Festival of the Arts. Masks are currently required, even when taking photographs.

Smiling girl with the finished print at the paint by number mural at EPCOT

After you paint your squares, you get a small print (like a postcard) of the image you helped create. Disclaimer: This picture was from the 2019 Festival of the Arts. Masks are currently required, even when taking photographs.

Spaceship Earth at EPCOT at night

We stayed at EPCOT until park closing, and it was a fun day full of delicious food and beautiful art. In addition to all of the festival fun, we still managed to ride: Test Track, Mission Space, Soarin’, and Living with the Land. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to share the International Festival of the Arts with the boys this year! Have you been before?? What’s your favorite aspect??

Tony’s Town Square | Magic Kingdom

One of the oldest restaurants at Magic Kingdom, Tony’s Town Square, is located near the train station on Main Street. This turn-of-the-century trattoria features hearty Italian meals and a cute Lady and the Tramp theme. Tony's Town Square pin image

While I remember visiting as a teen, we haven’t been in 20 years, mostly due to the subpar reviews I’ve seen online and the fact that there are plenty of other places to eat at Magic Kingdom. But, the current COVID situation prompted us to finally give Tony’s a try. The main factor going for it – it’s the only table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom with outdoor seating – an absolute must for our family right now.

three teen boys sitting on terrace of restaurant on Main Street

I made a 2pm reservation so that we would get a break from the heat/humidity and our masks at the hottest part of the day. We arrived about 15 minutes early and completed mobile check-in from the My Disney Experience app. After we were all checked in I went up to the podium and requested a table outside on the terrace, and since no one was actually sitting out there (which I found shocking!), I was told it would be no problem. Five minutes later we were seated outside by ourselves in the fresh air.

Disney QR code dinner menu

Rather than using traditional menus, or disposable paper menus, you’re given a piece of paper with a QR code so that you can pull the menu up on your phone. We had several phones at our table so it was no problem to bring up the menus on all of them and share, but I could see it being an issue if you only had one phone- or even worse, no phone! I’m sure that they have traditional menus available just in case that type of situation arises.

Bread Service at Tony's Town Square

Every meal at Tony’s starts with bread service, and oh my gosh was it delicious!! The kids devoured the bread and wanted to ask for more but I opted to skip another round of bread so that they would eat their lunches.

smiling girl leaning on ledge of terrace on Main Street

Ellie had fun posing for pictures while we waited for our food. I think she really appreciated the break in the shade and the chance to be mask free for a while.

girl waving at character cavalcade Main Street Magic Kingdom

One of the best things about dining on the terrace at Tony’s Town Square is that you can watch the character cavalcades and the Main Street Marching Band coming down Main Street periodically. Plus, it’s a great spot for people-watching in general as you can watch people enter and leave the park.

Happy family around dinner table

Like all Disney restaurants, Tony’s Town Square is operating at reduced capacity. Inside the restaurant, it looked to be about half full, outside on the terrace it was just us and another party of two which was maybe 15 to 20% capacity.

Teen boy with pepperoni pizza and Mickey shirt

And now, for the food! Not surprisingly, Nick ordered the pepperoni pizza.

Disney pepperoni pizza

But surprisingly, it was actually pretty good. Overall we are not huge fans of theme park pizza, but this one seemed like decent quality and Nick gobbled it up.

Disney spaghetti and meatballs

Been ordered the spaghetti and meatballs – from the adult menu – and it was delicious. Lexie ordered the spaghetti and meatballs from the kids’ menu, but it didn’t come with very much sauce, so definitely ask for extra if your kiddo likes a lot of sauce.

girl eating pizza outdoors

As usual, Ellie ordered the kids pepperoni pizza and she enjoyed it, she gave me a bite of the crust and I thought it was good for theme park pizza.

Smiling teen with scampi pasta

Chris was more adventurous with his menu choice, and ordered the Scampi Pasta (shrimp & mussels in an herb butter sauce) which he said was absolutely delicious!

Disney tiramisu

And you can’t eat it in Italian restaurant without getting dessert but our table was split on what to order so we ended up with a few choices. First up, the tiramisu that Nick ordered and said was delicious – I didn’t even get a bite.

smiling girl with ice cream covered in Mickey sprinkles

One of the options with the kids meals at Tony’s is a cute little ice cream sundae with Mickey sprinkles. I love when dessert is included in Disney kids meals because it’s one less treat I have to pay extra for

Cannoli at Tony's Town Square

We also ordered the cannoli – sidenote, did you know that the plural is actually cannoli and the singular is cannolo?

Terrace on Main Street Magic Kingdom with smiling girl

Overall, we really enjoyed Tony’s Town Square. I wouldn’t say it’s the best food we’ve ever eaten, nor would it be my first choice table service restaurant in Magic Kingdom once this is all over, but everyone enjoyed the meal. The fact that we were able to dine outdoors and still stay in Magic Kingdom is definitely the biggest pro right now. With the limited park hours all around Walt Disney World, gone are the days where I’m willing to head to a resort in the middle of the day for a break since it eats up so much of the available park time. I’ve always felt that dining options are somewhat limited at Magic Kingdom – especially now since not everything is open – but Tony’s Town Square is somewhere that I would definitely go back to again, even once every where is open and things are back to normal.

Silly girl posing for the camera

TIPS FOR DINING AT TONY’S TOWN SQUARE

  • Reservations are required- you can make them online through My Disney Experience 60 days prior to arrival
  • Dining reservations will require valid theme park admission AND a theme park reservation
  • Located on Main Street at Magic Kingdom
  • If you’re interested in dining on the terrace, you can request outdoor seating at the podium after completing mobile check-in.

Magic Kingdom in Our Current COVID World- Is the Magic Still There?

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom reopened on July 11, 2020, following a nearly four-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were there on Reopening Day, and after mulling my thoughts about it for almost a month, I’m ready to share!

Magic Kingdom Reopening Day

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This summer we were originally planning to go on an extensive seven-week road trip of the Eastern US and Canada, but that obviously got canceled due to COVID. When Walt Disney World announced their reopening plans I quickly made hotel reservations “just in case” we decided to go and then as soon as they were released, I secured park reservations. Honestly, I went back-and-forth on the decision until a couple of days before we drove to Florida. Ultimately, I decided to go knowing that we would leave WDW if at any time I didn’t feel comfortable with the situation.

Rather than stay on site (super expensive with so many kids!!), we stayed at the nearby Marriott Harbour Lake, in a 2-bedroom villa with a full kitchen. This set-up gave us way more room to spread out as well as a kitchen where we *could have* cooked meals. We actually ate most meals in our villa, but we splurged and enjoyed take-out most days- it was a vacation after all!

Before leaving North Carolina, I explained to the kids that this trip was going to be VERY different from our usual visits to Disney since entertainment would be limited, I didn’t feel comfortable dining indoors, and everyone would need to wear a mask at all times. With cases rising in Florida and me getting more nervous as the trip got closer, we all agreed that we would give it a try and at a minimum, even if we just hung out at the hotel all day, it would be a change of scenery from our house.

Walt Disney World Where Dreams Come True Sign

I cannot begin to explain how exciting it was to drive under the Walt Disney World sign again. As an out-of-state passholder,  I obviously do not go as often as locals, but just driving under the sign feels like coming home again- and it was even more exciting following such a lengthy closure.

Magic Kingdom parking booth

On re-opening day, Magic Kingdom opened at 9am and we were in the line to get into the parking lot at around 815am. In the past couple of years, Main Street opened about an hour before the park officially opened, but that is not happening right now – hopefully, we get back to that soon. Parking was super easy- they’re alternating spaces in order to allow for distancing when you get out of your car. I hope that idea sticks around long-term because it was nice having room to get out of the car and get the stroller set up without worrying about hitting another car.

New temperature screening signage at Transportation and Ticket Center WDW

When you arrive at the Transportation and Ticket Center, new signage directs you to the temperature screening area.

Boy getting infrared temperature scan at Disney

The temperature screening is quick and painless- they use an infrared forehead thermometer and it took maybe five seconds per person- including the time to walk through the tent! The line moved quicker than I was expecting though I could see it getting bogged down a bit as capacity increases.

Masked girl getting infrared temperature scan at Disney

The girl doing ours was so sweet and explained the whole process to Ellie before she did it – even though Ellie wasn’t the least bit concerned. And yes, we still bring a double stroller even though Ellie is 6 and she’s the only one that can ride in it. The extra seat is great for carrying all of our stuff- like Clorox wipes and my camera gear!

Physically distanced monorail line at TTC

Once you are through the temperature screening and bag check, you can choose between the ferry boat and the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom. We are big monorail fans so we went with that, even though the line looked longer. The monorail queue had clear lines marking where exactly you were supposed to stand to maintain their physical distancing requirements and the area surrounding the railing was blocked off as well to ensure that there was enough distance between parties in the two lines heading up to the monorail platform.

Masked family riding monorail

Once you get to the front of the monorail line, your party is assigned a number for a corresponding section on the monorail and while we were there, only one party was assigned per side of the cabin. – there’s a vinyl divider in the middle of the monorail cabin creating two sides. Masks are required on the monorail, just like in the rest of the areas of the resort.

Magic Kingdom train station with CM cleaning railings

We made it through the tapstyles – which are no longer requiring a fingerprint scan – and headed into the park. Cast members were seen out and about sanitizing railings and that continued throughout our day at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Pooh and Friends Character Cavalcade

Characters are not at the usual meet and greet locations, but cute character cavalcades are running throughout the parks all day long. There are no posted times for these but when you hear music keep your eyes open because one will probably be coming your way soon. The character cavalcades (with the exception of the one carrying Pooh & Friends) all start in Frontierland by Splash Mountain and make their way to the hub and then down Main Street on the usual parade route.

Main Street Bakery Starbucks line and coffee + castle

Just like any day at Magic Kingdom, our first stop was the Main Street Bakery for a quick caffeine fix. The line was physically distanced, and running down the block, but it moved quickly and in an orderly fashion. There’s a CM posted of the door keeping an eye on everything and assisting with the flow of the line.

Excited girl running to Cinderella Castle

After we got our coffee, we headed down Main Street amidst light crowds and made our way to Cinderella Castle. Ellie was so excited to be “home“ she ran up the walkway towards the castle.

Selfies with masks at Cinderella Castle

It’s not a proper return to Cinderella Castle if you don’t take a few selfies!!

Masked family at Cinderella Castle

I know there has been a lot of debate about mask-wearing and if it’s still worth it to take pictures in the parks – or to have PhotoPass. For our family, it’s still important to have those pictures because it is an accurate representation of going to the parks during the COVID-19 pandemic. While I hope masks are not required forever, and it’s definitely not my preference, I still want to be able to look back on this time and have accurate pictures of what we went through.

NEW Mickey and Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom + Castle

The Mickey and Friends Cavalcade is a fun one and Mickey and Minnie are still wearing their 90th birthday outfits. I was so happy to see my fave mouse again!

Masked girl in line at Space Mountain

While I stayed in the hub area and took pictures of Cinderella Castle, the kids made their way to Space Mountain – and Ellie was finally tall enough to ride!!

Masked kids riding Space Mountain

Masks are required on the rides and I don’t see that rule going away anytime soon. It honestly didn’t seem to bother the kids at all – their masks stayed on fine on every ride that we went on all day.

Dole Whip at Aloha Isle Refreshments

We don’t usually get dole whip in Magic Kingdom (we usually get it from the Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian) but it sounded like a refreshing treat on a hot day. Mobile Order was the only way to order food so make sure that you have the My Disney Experience app set up with a payment method ahead of time.

New plastic dividers on Jungle Cruise boats

Jungle Cruise added plastic dividers on the benches in order to ensure that parties were separated from one another and they are not letting anyone sit in the center section. As could be expected, boats have way fewer people than normal, but with the limited capacity in the parks, wait times are still relatively short. We’ve always requested a seat towards the front where it is easier to hear the Jungle Cruise Skipper, and depending on the skipper that you get that is even more important with the current mask policy.

Masked girl using personal fan to stay cool at WDW

As a rule, we don’t visit Walt Disney World in the summer because it is ridiculously hot and humid. We have been in June and it was miserable, so if you would’ve told me a year ago that I would be visiting in July, I would have laughed at you. Seriously though, these personal fans were an absolute lifesaver and probably the item that I would recommend as most important for visiting the parks.

Physical distancing markers in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue

All of the ride queues are supporting these fancy new “please wait here“ markers to maintain physical distancing throughout the queue. Even with the switchbacks, we felt that the Pirates of the Caribbean line was adequately spaced and moved smoothly.

Mother and child in masks on Big Thunder

Row 15 for life!! The speed of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a great way to cool off on a hot day!

Tangled Toilets in Fantasyland of Magic Kingdom

The Tangled Toilets are one of my favorite areas in the park and I have never seen this area completely empty during the day.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue with plexiglass dividers

Next up we visited Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Plexiglass was added in the queue in order to minimize contact between people in the switchbacks in addition to the “please wait here” markers.

Disposable mask on girl

Ellie made the switch to a disposable mask before we rode and said it was much easier to breathe and wasn’t quite as hot. I definitely think disposable masks are the way to go if you’re doing the park on a hot and humid day.

Family in masks on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Like other rides, masks are required on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train- and if you take yours off during the ride, you will not be able to get your PhotoPass picture. An empty row is left between parties so the ride is definitely not running at full capacity. When we exited the ride they announced that there would be a brief delay to sanitize the cars – I’ve heard this happens roughly every two hours.

Girl in mask on carousel at Magic Kingdom

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is one of Ellie‘s favorite rides, so of course, we had to go on it- the fact that there was literally no line was just an added bonus. The rows of horses are marked with a number that is assigned to your party at the front of the line. No longer is there a mad dash to your favorite horse, you can only pick from the ones in your assigned row.

Sword in the Stone

I still let the kids try their hand at the sword in the stone, but their hands were properly sanitized afterward. Cinderella‘s ugly stepsisters were greeting/harassing guests from the back of the castle and it was absolutely hilarious. We probably stood there for about 15 minutes listening to them interact with the (minimal) crowd and this character interaction is one that I hope sticks around for a long time.

Backside of Cinderella Castle

Check out those cute kids and the back of Cinderella Castle! I love all of the gold accents on this side and the new paint job made them really pop! We walked through the castle and back down Main Street to Tony’s Town Square for an early afternoon lunch.

Enjoying pizza outdoors at Tony's Town Square

Tony’s is is the only table service restaurant at Magic Kingdom that has outdoor seating. At this point, I’m not comfortable taking masks off and dining indoors, so all of our meals on this trip were either outdoors or in our villa. We had never eaten at Tony’s before but were pleasantly surprised – make sure to check out the full review of Tony’s Town Square!

Smiling girl on the terrace of Tony's Town Square

One of the best things about sitting on the terrace at Tony’s Town Square is that you can watch all of the entertainment going down Main Street from the character cavalcades to the main street marching band.

New character interactions at Magic Kingdom

After a (spoiler alert!) delicious lunch, we walked over to the train station to check out the characters on the second floor. Oh my gosh, these characters were probably the highlight of my day! We’ve never been big on character meet and greets – the kids always preferred to use their time on rides instead of waiting in lines to awkwardly meet characters. So unless we just happened upon a character, it was it an exclusive meet and greet at an event, or it was character dining, we usually skipped meeting the characters.

COVID character interactions at Magic Kingdom

However, the interaction with the characters at Magic Kingdom right now far exceeded my expectations. Pluto played this game of blowing kisses and catching them with Ellie for a solid five minutes before Mickey jumped in on the fun and tried to steal Ellie‘s kisses. She thought it was hilarious and her laughter was infectious, passing to others as they were walking by. I would go out of my way for this type of interaction if it continues when things are back to normal.

Family in masks at Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom

As we made our way back into the heart of the park, we stopped for a quick photo in front of the castle. Never in my life have I seen Magic Kingdom this empty during the day.

Empty Haunted Mansion and Memento Mori

As is a common occurrence in the late afternoon of a summer day in Florida, gray clouds rolled in and gave way to periods of heavy rain, which quickly cleared out the park.

Teen boy in front of Haunted Mansion WDW

We rode Haunted Mansion a couple of times in the afternoon – the dark and air-conditioning were a welcome break from the weather. Masks are obviously required, and while we kept ours on, I cannot guarantee that others did the same . . .

Thumbs up from girl in mask with personal fan

During the breaks in the rain, the humidity was HIGH so our portable fans were on in full force. I honestly don’t know why we ever went to the park without them and we won’t be making that mistake again!

Empty Frontierland at Magic Kingdom

This is Frontierland over an hour before park closing. While the pictures I’ve seen more recently definitely have more people in them, I think that the last couple of hours before closing are still the least crowded of the day at every park (except for EPCOT). Most people are getting to the park first thing in the morning and because ride lines are so short, they’re able to accomplish everything that they want by afternoon and the parks are clearing out several hours before closing. The late afternoon thunderstorms are helping clear out the parks, too.

Physical distancing at Country Bear Jamboree

Country Bear Jamboree has the physical distancing thing down. Before you even enter the theater the entire process is explained – there is enough room for parties of four to sit between the “not available” markers and every other row is closed. We split into two groups since there are more than four people in our family and it worked out fine. The staggering of groups also allowed for an unobstructed view and it was the most pleasant viewing of CBJ I’ve had in years!

Teens watching Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents is one of our favorite attractions and we see it nearly every time we’re in the park. I didn’t know until this trip that the last showing is actually at park close so catching that last show is a great way to ensure you’re in the park past closing time if you’re hoping to leave after the crowds or get empty park photos.

Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom

The 7pm showing turned out to be a private affair for our group.

Physical distancing at Hall of Presidents

Like Country Bear Jamboree, Hall of Presidents has seating for parties of four in the same every other row format, and space is marked off to ensure that people are physically distanced.

Family in masks at Cinderella Castle + cloudy sky

After coming out of Hall of Presidents, we took our time walking back to Cinderella Castle and had it all to ourselves for a while. I noticed other people coming through the castle from Fantasyland (I assume from the last dinner seating at Be Our Guest) until close to 8pm.

Partners statue and Cinderella Castle at sunset

Seeing the park devoid of guests as the sun was setting was a surreal experience. We’ve been in the park countless times as the last guests, but that’s always been in darkness, in the wee hours of the morning, not at 830pm as the sun was setting.

Smiling girl with Chip & Dale statue + Cinderella Castle

We stopped for a quick picture of Ellie with the Chip & Dale statues in the hub. Sidenote: she calls them Woodnut and Chuck and I have NO CLUE why or where it came from, but it’s the cutest thing. After one of the big kids corrected her, I had to assure her that their real names are Woodnut and Chuck but they go by Chip & Dale in the parks!

Family in masks on an empty Main Street

Smiling faces on an empty Main Street– and yes, they really are smiling behind their masks because they successfully made it ALL DAY wearing masks in the heat and humidity of Florida in July. We didn’t think the masks were thaaaat bad – I mean, Florida in July is already pretty gross – but we discovered that disposable masks were much cooler than the variety of cloth/reusable ones that we brought.

Also, the kids said that it was worth it to put up with the masks/heat for Magic Kingdom but they vetoed our EPCOT day later in the week because they “didn’t think it was worth it to deal with masks just for EPCOT” (and my kids love EPCOT). I’m guessing the difference in the number of rides between MK and EPCOT was the driving factor in that decision.

Empty Main Street just after sunset

Goodnight, Magic Kingdom – Reopening Day was one for the record books. It was such a surreal experience to be back at Magic Kingdom, deep within the Disney bubble, while the rest of the world was in the midst of a pandemic. Even with all the masks, distancing requirements, and handwashing/sanitizer, visiting Magic Kingdom was easily the most normal thing our family has done in the past four months… and yet, it still felt completely weird.

Ultimately, we had a fantastic day. Lines were short, crowds were non-existent, the new character interactions were fabulous, but the whole being at Disney and immersed in magic thing is tough to reconcile with the fact that we’re in the middle of a global health crisis and things most definitely are not normal. I never felt unsafe while we were at Disney (and if I had we would have left immediately), and while the magic is still there, the magic is different.

On one hand, I can say, without a doubt that I am glad we made the drive to Florida and went to Reopening Day at Magic Kingdom. The experience is one that I will never forget and we made great memories. Even though Disney has taken lemons and made lemonade with the whole situation and the magic is definitely there, there is still something missing. My die-hard ride kids probably didn’t miss the parades, the shows, or even the fireworks, but I did. Part of the magic of Disney is from all of those extra experiences so even though the park was less crowded and wait times were low, it wasn’t the full experience.

Magic Kingdom train station at dusk

Should You Visit Disney World Right Now?

To finally answer the question that everyone has been asking, in my opinion, it depends . . .

  • If you’re a local, an annual passholder, someone who goes to WDW often, and you don’t mind that it won’t be the full Disney experience, then yes, this is a great time to go. Crowds are low- I imagine the last time they were this low was right after 9/11, wait times are short, and there are some fun new character interactions/parades.
  • If you’re planning your first trip, this will be more of a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or the extras are super important to your family, wait until at least 2021 to go. A Disney trip can be super expensive, and right now discounts are limited, there is no dining plan (the restaurants aren’t even all open!), and you have to wear a mask in the heat – it is not that same trip that you could have taken a year ago or even six months ago. Honestly, WDW will still be around in 2021, plus it will be the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom, and hopefully, things will be a heck of a lot better COVID-wise.
  • I get that not everyone is comfortable with traveling right now, and I strongly believe in the idea of doing what works for you/your family, no judgment needed. I felt comfortable with the 8-hour drive to Florida because I was driving and could completely control all of our stops- we drove through Chick-fil-A and ate in the car, and stopped at a gas station once to use the bathroom (fully masked and appropriately hand-sanitized). Personally, I’m not at the point where I would feel comfortable flying or doing a longer road trip and stopping at attractions/restaurants on the way.
  • It should go without saying, but just in case, if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-like symptoms, please stay home and quarantine.

So, have you been back to Walt Disney World?? Do you have a trip coming up soon or are you planning on waiting until 2021 (or later!) to visit?? Share your plans in the comments!

Family Dinner at Terralina Crafted Italian | Disney Springs

Conveniently located at The Landing at Disney Springs, Terralina Crafted Italian is inspired by Italy’s Lake District, and with innovative (and delicious!!) dishes from executive chef Justin Plank, there is something for everyone. Terralina has been on our list of restaurants to try at Disney Springs for a while now, and I am so glad that we finally had the chance to go- I can say, without a doubt, that Terralina Crafted Italian needs to be on your Disney food bucket list!

Kids wearing masks outside Terralina Crafted Italian

Thank you so much to Terralina Crafted Italian for hosting us- we received a complimentary meal, but as always, all opinions are honest and my own.

Exterior of Terralina Crafted Italian at Disney Springs

Due to COVID-19, my personal comfort level with dining in a restaurant has drastically changed. For our past trips to Florida, I typically sought out restaurants with indoor dining and cold AC to get us out of the Florida sun and get a break from the heat. However, with all of the unknowns surrounding COVID transmission, I am now much more comfortable with outdoor dining, even though that means no AC. With both indoor and outdoor dining options, Terralina Crafted Italian– a new to us restaurant!- proved to be the perfect choice.

When you arrive at the restaurant, they have distancing lines on the ground (even outside!) to ensure that parties stay away from each other. And as soon as you walk inside to check-in, hand sanitizer is available!

Paper bag for COVID mask at Terralina Crafted Italian

They give you a cute paper bag to store your mask which I absolutely love. I’ve seen other places that give you a plate, but I like the bags so you can store them out-of-the-way and not clutter the table.

Limited paper menu at Terralina Crafted Italian

Terralina is offering a slightly more limited menu than usual right now but there are plenty of choices to please everyone in your family. Menus are single-use paper to minimize touchpoints- and they make a great souvenir!

Plate of bruschetta at Terralina

We started our meal with the Bruschetta and it was a crowd-pleaser! The tomato, basil pesto, and shaved parmesan were the perfect complement to the crusty bread.

Outdoor patio and lakeside dining at Terralina Crafted Italian Disney Springs

Terralina has two options for outdoor dining: a covered patio, and an uncovered area right by the lake. We opted to dine lakeside and it was gorgeous! Even though the high that day was over 90°, we were all totally comfortable dining outdoors in the evening.

Smiling teens/kids enjoying a family dinner at Terralina

Smiling faces ready for a delicious dinner!

Teen boy with a plate of salmon and risotto

If there’s an interesting fish dish on the menu, that’s often what Nick will get (especially if it’s salmon!), so when he heard that the Catch of the Day was in fact salmon, I knew that was going to be his order.

Catch of the day at Terralina Crafted Italian

The salmon was cooked perfectly and served over a creamy bed of saffron risotto with blistered tomatoes and olives. I had to stop him from licking the plate clean – it was that good!

Girl with kids pepperoni pizza from Terralina

Ellie ordered the Pepperoni Pizza off of the kids’ menu and declared it some of the best she’s ever had. Due to COVID, they’re bringing grated Parmesan cheese to the table in disposable cups, which worked well for her so she could dump an entire cup on her pizza.

Teen girl with giant Italian Grinder at Terralina Crafted Italian

Lexie ordered the Italian Grinder with the housemade pecorino-truffle potato chips. She absolutely loved the sandwich but said that her meal was kind of bread-y. After eating the first half of her sandwich, she took the insides out of the second half.

Pizza of the week: Salmon at Terralina

Christopher was originally planning to order the Spicy Capicola pizza, but when he heard that the Pizza of the Week was a salmon pizza, he was intrigued. Oh my gosh, let me tell you, the salmon on this pizza was absolutely amazing- such a great combination of flavors!

Spaghetti bolognese and a glass of red wine at Terralina

I ordered one of their more traditional pasta dishes, the Spaghetti Bolognese, made with beef, pork, and pancetta meat sauce. I don’t normally order spaghetti with meat sauce at restaurants because I am partial to my own recipe, but this was amazing and I am so glad I ordered it. I couldn’t finish it so the kids passed my bowl around, gobbling up bits and pieces.

Teen boy with a giant gelato sundae at Terralina

No meal is complete without dessert so you can be sure that we ordered an assortment- it was for research, after all!

Gelato sundae with salted caramel and vanilla gelato

The Gelato Sundae traditionally comes with pistachio, chocolate, and vanilla gelato, but they were fine with the kids mixing and matching flavors (including the flavor of the day- salted caramel) to get exactly what they wanted.

Teen boy with Chocolate Paradiso cake from Terralina

As soon as Nick saw the menu, like before we even ordered dinner(!), he decided he was getting the Chocolate Paradiso cake for dessert.

Chocolate Paradiso Cake from Terralina Crafted Italian

Easily the best dessert we ordered, the Chocolate Paradiso cake is a chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache and toffee crunch served with a side of mixed berries. I am not a chocolate cake fan and even I thought this cake was amazing- it was moist, decadent, and completely delicious. Nick deemed this one his favorite cake of all time and he wants to go back again for his birthday- or figure out how to get it shipped to North Carolina!

Girl enjoying a cup of chocolate gelato at Terralina

Ellie ordered the kids chocolate gelato and thoroughly enjoyed it, and now prefers gelato to regular ice cream. Can you blame her?!

Cannoli at Terralina Crafted Italian

Overall, we had a fantastic meal at Terralina Crafted Italian and it will become a regular on our Disney Springs dining rotation. Even with the limited menu, there are still many other dishes that I would love to try, and I can’t wait to go back when they have the full menu! They normally offer cooking classes for kids and adults so once all of this COVID mess is over and done with, I hope they start back up again because that would be fun to do on an off-day from the parks.

Speaking of COVID, Terralina exceeded my expectations on that front. From the physical distancing markers, to the availability of hand sanitizer, to the single-use menus, I wasn’t concerned about our exposure. Masks are required from guests throughout Disney Springs and at Terralina, they’re required until you’re seated at your table. Every staff member we encountered at the restaurant, from the hostess to the manager, was wearing a mask the entire time we were there.

While sitting outside is where my current COVID comfort level is at, I understand that others are completely fine with indoor dining. I did take a quick walk through the dining room, and as I expected, tables are distanced, the restaurant is operating at a limited capacity, and guests and staff alike were complying with the mask policies. I cannot wait to dine indoors once this is over because the open-kitchen concept is one of my favorites.

TIPS FOR DINING AT TERRALINA CRAFTED ITALIAN

  • Reservations are highly recommended- you can make them online through My Disney Experience or on OpenTable
  • Pricing is $15 to $34.99 per adult
  • Located at The Landing in Disney Springs
  • Parking is free at the Disney Springs parking garages (lime is the closest!); Resort busses and boats are available as well.

Follow Terralina Crafted Italian on social media:
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FULL List of WDW Restaurants Open As Of September 2020

With all the news of Walt Disney World reopening in July, one of the most common questions that I’ve been asked is what restaurants will be opening inside the four parks. Reservations for table service restaurants are not yet available, but I’ll update here as soon as the information is out. Dining reservations will require valid theme park admission AND a theme park reservation. Check out the full list of restaurants opening in July down below.

wdw restaurant reopening info

Update June 29, 2020: Starting on June 30, 2020, guests who had reservations canceled by Disney from May 28 – September 2, 2020, can book new dining reservations online. Reservations can be booked up to 60 days in advance. Update July 2020: All guests can book new dining reservations online up to 60 days in advance. This post will continuously be updated as more and more restaurants reopen at WDW.

Magic Kingdom Park — Reopened July 11

  • Aloha Isle
  • Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Reopens September 24, 2020, with no princesses)
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
  • Gaston’s Tavern
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
  • Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen
  • Liberty Square Market
  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • Main Street Bakery
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
  • Pinocchio Village Haus
  • The Plaza Restaurant
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Storybook Treats
  • Sunshine Tree Terrace
  • Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
  • Westward Ho

Perkins Thai Noodles from Skipper CanteenPerkins Thai Noodles at Skipper Canteen

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park — Reopened July 11

  • Anandapur Ice Cream Truck
  • Creature Comforts
  • Dawa Bar
  • Dino-Bite Snacks
  • Flame Tree Barbecue
  • Harambe Fruit Market
  • Isle of Java
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
  • Mr. Kamal’s
  • Nomad Lounge
  • Pongu Pongu
  • Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Restaurantosaurus
  • Satu’li Canteen
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments
  • Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks
  • Tiffins Restaurant
  • Trilo-Bites
  • Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes
  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant

Pineapple Lumpia from Pongu PonguPongu Lumpia from Pongu Pongu

EPCOT — Reopened July 15

  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Choza de Margarita
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Crepes des Chefs de France
  • Fife & Drum Tavern
  • Funnel Cake
  • Garden Grill Restaurant (modified character dining)
  • Gelati
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
  • Joy of Tea
  • Kabuki Café
  • Katsura Grill
  • L’Artisan des Glaces
  • La Cantina de San Angel
  • La Cava de Tequila
  • La Hacienda de San Angel
  • The Land Cart
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
  • Les Vins des Chefs de France
  • Popcorn in Canada
  • Refreshment Outpost
  • Refreshment Port
  • Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room & Pub
  • San Angel Inn Restaurante
  • Spice Road Table
  • Sunshine Seasons
  • Tangierine Café
  • Teppan Edo
  • Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante
  • Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival kiosks
  • Traveler’s Café
  • UK Beer Cart
  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

San Angel Inn Waterside Dining in EPCOTSan Angel Inn

Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Reopened July 15

  • 50’s Prime Time Café
  • Anaheim Produce
  • Backlot Express
  • BaseLine Tap House
  • Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
  • Hollywood Scoops
  • Hollywood & Vine (reopens September 25, 2020, with modified character dining)
  • Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
  • Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
  • Milk Stand
  • Oga’s Cantina
  • Peevy’s Polar Pipeline
  • PizzeRizzo
  • Ronto Roasters
  • Rosie’s All-American Café
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
  • Sunshine Day Bar
  • The Trolley Car Café

Sci-Fi Dine In Restaurant at Disney's Hollywood StudiosSci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

Walt Disney World Dining Changes

Things will look a little different at Walt Disney World restaurants when they open back up.

  • For starters, just like everywhere else on property, masks will be required for every guest ages 2 and up. While masks are required when entering/exiting and walking around restaurants, they can obviously be removed while eating and drinking.
  • Reduced-contact menus will be available, including ones where you can scan a QR code with your mobile device.
  • Beverages that were previously self-serve will now be served by Cast Members.
  • Mobile Check-In will be utilized at table service restaurants- no need to visit the host stand!
  • Cashless payments are the preferred option, and contactless payments are available as well, including charging to your room via MagicBand.
  • Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance instead of the 180 days in advance that most people are accustomed to.

Are you planning to visit a Disney restaurant when they reopen?? Which one is first on your list??

Disney World Park Pass Reservation System

The new Disney World Park Pass Reservations System went live this morning and it was not without some serious headaches. It’s not uncommon for the WDW website to crash when new promotions are released- in fact, it’s more the norm- but I was surprised with how long it was down this morning. Luckily, around 8:30am, I was finally able to get our park reservations for our trip next month! But even now, several hours later, people are still reporting issues with getting logged in and being able to secure their Disney Park Pass.

Cinderalla Castle Park Pass

Walt Disney World is reopening in a few weeks (July 11 for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and July 15 for Hollywood Studios and EPCOT) and the new reservations system is now live. For right now, the easiest way to get park reservations is to open an Incognito (Chrome) or Private (Safari) window and go directly to this link:https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/park-reservations – you’ll likely either get this page:

Disney Parks Pass pink Cinderella Castle

Or this page:

Disney Park Pass Orbit Screen

But don’t despair, you will EVENTUALLY get into the system to get park reservations. Step one is selecting everyone that is going to be in your party- I had no problem combining annual passholders and regular ticket holders into one reservation.

Disney Parks Create Your Party

The next step is to select the date you’re interested in and then select a park. Currently (as of today, June 22, 2020), only resort guests can book reservations but that will open up to annual passholders on June 26, 2020, and existing ticket holders with no resort reservations on June 28, 2020. Park reservations will be available through September 26, 2021, based on your Walt Disney World resort hotel stay and ticket eligibility or ticket eligibility window.

Walt Disney World Reservation

Once you select a date and a park, the next step is to select a time. The only choices listed for each park are the posted hours so at least at this point, reservations are not timed.

WDW Park Reservation

Then you review and confirm your reservation, including agreeing to all of the T&C + COVID liability waiver.

Review and Confirm Disney

And finally, success and a confirmed Park Pass Reservation!!

Confirmed Disney Park Pass

The Disney Park Pass Availability page allows you to check park availability dependent on your ticket/resort standing so you will know if there are reservations available before you buy tickets. I know that there were a lot of concerns that people would have to buy tickets before having access to the system and would potentially purchase tickets for dates that no longer had availability so this should assuage some of those fears.

Disney Park Pass Availability Calendar

Are you planning to visit WDW in the next 15 months?? Did you try and book park reservations this morning- or will you be trying later on this week?? Let us know how it went for you in the comments!

2020 Disney Military Salute Discounts

Today is the day that so many in the military community have been waiting for– the 2020 Disney Military discounts were announced! For the past decade, Disney has offered fantastic discounts to those that serve our country, and while the prices certainly have gone up each and every year, these discounts are why our family is able to afford to go as often as we do. And NEW for this year, you can get a 6-Day ticket for Walt Disney World!! (updated on June 12, 2020)

2020 Disney Military Salute Update:

Disney has been strangely quiet as to what is happening with the 2020 Military Salute tickets. Unlike regular tickets, the days on the Military Salute tickets can be used throughout the whole year (from January 1- December 18) so there are MANY people that have purchased these tickets and used one or more days but still have availability- my family included! While some ITT’s were offering to refund tickets (and others were closed so there was no way to get a refund), the only word from Disney was that completely unused tickets could be applied towards the purchase of 2021 tickets.

However, today I noticed in My Disney Experience that the kids’ Military Salute tickets have been updated to an expiration date of 09/26/2021. It seems that Disney is rolling out the updates over the course of the day as not ALL of our tickets show the updated expiration date yet. Thank you, Disney, for doing the right thing and ensuring that our military families have a little more time to use their Disney tickets!

2020 Disney Military Salute Discounts

First things first, in order to purchase these tickets you must be an “Eligible Service Member”: active or retired US military (including active/retired National Guard, Reservists, US Coast Guard, Commissioned Corps of PHS and the Commissioned Corps of NOAA). Spouses and Unremarried Widows are able to use their spouse’s discounts. Valid ID is required to purchase and you can either get your tickets at Shades of Green (only WDW tickets but it’s tax-free!), your local ITT, or at the parks.

2020 WDW Military Salute Tickets

The Military Salute tickets are valid for admission from January 1, 2020 through December 18, 2020 with NO blockout dates. As usual, tickets are limited to 6 per Eligible Service Member/spouse. Unlike traditional Disney tickets, Military Salute tickets don’t expire until December 18, 2020, so you can use your days however you want throughout the year. Plus, Memory Maker is available for $98.

6-Day Military Salute Tickets

  • Park Hopper: $301 plus tax
  • Park Hopper Plus: $351 plus tax

5-Day Military Salute Tickets

  • Park Hopper: $283 plus tax
  • Park Hopper Plus: $333 plus tax

4-Day Military Salute Tickets

  • Park Hopper: $265 plus tax
  • Park Hopper Plus: $315 plus tax

Disneyland 4th of July fireworks

2020 Disneyland Military Salute Tickets

The Military Salute tickets are valid for admission from January 1, 2020 through December 18, 2020 and the ONLY blockout date is April 12, 2020 (Easter Sunday). Just like at WDW, tickets are limited to 6 per Eligible Service Member/spouse and Military Salute tickets don’t expire until December 18, 2020, so you can use your days however you want throughout the year. Plus, the Disney PhotoPass Collection is available for $49.

4-Day Military Salute Tickets

  • Park Hopper: $204 plus tax

3-Day Military Salute Tickets

  • Park Hopper: $184 plus tax

2020 Military Resort Discounts

The resort discounts at WDW and Disneyland are a great way to try out the deluxe resorts or even to save some money on your value stay! In years prior, resort discounts were a set percentage off of the rack rate but now they’re done on a sliding scale. Currently, those discounts are UP TO 30% off at Values, UP TO 35% off at Moderates, and UP TO 40% off at Deluxe resorts.

Walt Disney World

  • US military members can SAVE at most WDW resorts between January 1, 2020, and December 18, 2020 (blockout from April 5-18, 2020).
  • You must call 407-939-7825 to book (or to apply the discount to your current reservation)
  • This offer is limited and availability will go fast!

Disneyland

  • US military members can SAVE at all three Disneyland resorts between January 1, 2020, and December 17, 2020 (NO BLOCKOUTS!).
  • You must call 800-642-5392 to book (or to apply the discount to your current reservation)
  • Like at WDW, this offer is limited and availability will go fast!

So tell me, are you planning a 2020 Disney trip to take advantage of the new military deals?

Walt Disney World Reopening Plan

Have you heard the news?! After being closed for over two months, Walt Disney World announced their proposed reopening plan to the Orange County Task Force this morning and we couldn’t be more excited! As of right now, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to reopen on July 11, 2020, while EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are planning to open a few days later, on July 15, 2020.

walt disney world reopening plan

Not surprisingly, masks and temperature checks will be required. For the time being, there will be no parades, fireworks, meet & greets, playgrounds/splash pads, or really anything where crowds will form.

There will be an Advance Reservations System in place for a reservation to enter a specific theme park and info on that will be available in the future. Capacity will definitely be limited within the parks as well as for transportation systems throughout the resort.

WDW is also implementing a Social Distance Squad Cast Member position and their entire job is to remind guests to social distance. Increased hand sanitzer and hand-washing stations will be set-up throughout the parks.

DVC Resorts and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground are planning to reopen on June 22, 2020, and other resorts will likely follow.

Personal opinion time: I’m really excited that they’re opening in July and not in June like Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld. I think this gives WDW wayyyy more time to train staff, ensure that distancing can be enforced, and allows them to see how the local numbers change following the reopening of the Orlando area.

With all that info, what are your thoughts?? Are you planning a WDW trip for this summer??

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