June 10, 2020 Update
Here are our latest updates.
Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando is now open! Universal Studios Orlando started their phased reopening as of June 5. Things are a little different than usual, but can still be a great experience. Here are some of the very important “know before you go” items.
- Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay are open.
- Everyone needs to wear a mask so be sure to bring one from home.
- Temperature checks each day upon arrival or before leaving your resort.
- Team members provide hand sanitizer for guests to use before and after each ride.
- Guests are required to social distance throughout the park using markings on the ground.
- Park occupancy is limited BUT guests staying in an on-site hotel are guaranteed entrance.
- There is an increase in cleaning around the parks, attractions, restaurants, and other areas.
- There are many virtual line options.
- Those staying at a Premier hotel still have access to Unlimited Express Pass.
- Many contactless pay options are available through the Universal Orlando App.
- There are some great options for character photo ops that include social distancing.
- There are procedures for cleaning lockers, but it is recommended you bring as little as possible into the park.
- A majority of the rides are open although some attractions or entertainment may be limited.
We highly recommend staying on-site at a Universal Resort. This ensures you have park entrance (with a ticket of course), early park entry, no hassles with parking, and a great resort experience. All the hotels, except Portofino Bay and Endless Summer, are currently open. Although you can’t pool hop at this time, most of the services at the resorts are up and running. You don’t have to wear a mask at the pool and the pool chairs are spaced apart to socially distance families from each other. Water taxis, buses, and of course the walking paths are all available to get to and from the parks.
In summary, have a mask, download the app to your phone, and be flexible. You can still have a great vacation! We are currently able to book travel to Universal and recommend staying on-site for entrance to the parks. For the best updates on their policies, visit the Universal Safety Hub.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World Resort is scheduled to have a phased opening beginning July 11. There is a lot being worked on during the next few weeks. The current opening plans are still subject to change as the opening is a little while away. Things will also look different with masks and social distancing needed. Here is what we know so far.
- Guests will need park admission AND a park reservation to get into the parks. Those with existing reservations will get the first opportunity to make their park reservations.
- At this time all dining reservations are cancelled. This doesn’t mean there will never be dining again, but at this time they need to be sure the dining experiences follow the guidelines. We are waiting for more information.
- All experiences are cancelled. These include the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot, and dessert parties to name a few. Some of these may come back sooner than others depending on the nature of the experience. More information will be coming.
- FastPasses are cancelled. Park occupancy will be low so that is a great thing. In order to provide for social distancing, Disney is using both the standby and FastPass queue.
- As part of a phased reopening, the resorts will also open in phases. Currently, DVC Resorts and Fort Wilderness will open June 22. We don’t have information on other resort opening dates. Rest assured that Disney will work with you if you have a reservation at another resort. No details on this process have been released yet.
- Most transportation will be running. Buses are available to Disney Springs and after the parks open, monorails and boats will also run. Disney’s Magical Express will still provide transportation from the airport. Minnie Vans are not available.
- The My Disney Experience App is a great tool to use to continue with the social distancing and “no touch” experience. You can use the app to mobile order food and pay right in the app.
At this time, Disney is working out the many details of reopening, and therefore, we currently cannot book new Disney World trips or modify existing ones. More information is sure to come. I have “faith, trust, and pixie dust” that Disney is planning for some magical moments when they reopen. We will continue to update you as new information comes available. You can also get accurate information at the Disney Parks Blog.
Cruises are still on a temporary pause. Carnival currently expects to start with a few ships/ports in August, but other cruise lines have not made such announcements. Canada extended its port closure to cruise ships through October 31, 2020, so we are seeing some more of the New England and Alaskan cruises cancel for fall. We are still selling cruises in 2021 and beyond, but don’t have a definitive cruise restart date.
Mexico and the Caribbean are also mixed. Each country has its own procedure for reopening travel. We do see many resorts reopening now and in the summer. Resorts are sharing their enhanced cleaning procedures. Travel is dependent on both the U.S. travel requirements and the destination country requirements. These are best handled on an individual basis. There is also an enormous backup on passport processing so if you need a new or renewed passport (don’t forget the 6-month validity rules) then you may not be able to travel.
Real ID was expected to be required starting October 1, 2020. Due to the closure of many facilities, this requirement has been extended to October 1, 2021. You can read more about this at https://www.tsa.gov/real-id.
We Are Here to Help
While we are super excited about the announcements of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and other Orlando theme parks reopening in the coming months, we understand it comes with a lot of new policies and procedures. In some cases, the new information leads to more questions than answers. We are also aware that some of the changes are exciting and some may be disappointing. Lastly, keep in mind that the situation is still continuing to change and evolve and the policies put in place for opening may be different by the time your trip takes place.
First, we want to thank you for trusting us with your reservation in the first place and your amazing patience through this difficult situation.
Second, we ask for your continued patience as we work through the information and confirm with the correct sources to be sure we are getting you the most accurate information. Keep in mind that since policies and procedures are not permanent it may be best to “wait and see” if your vacation is planned for August and beyond.
Lastly, we promise to continue to work harder than ever to advocate for you, answer your questions, and take care of you. It is our goal for you to have the most magical, memory-making vacation as possible and that hasn’t changed. We are working very hard to keep you updated and help you navigate this new territory.
Thank you again for working with us and we appreciate all those that have sent encouraging messages to us. You are the reason we do what we do. Your referrals and positive reviews are always valuable, but especially now in this ever-changing landscape. THANK YOU!!
March 20, 2020 Update
In light of all the news and information, we wanted to share with you a few things.
We are working very hard and keeping up with all the announcements that are changing by the minute. We are working very closely with clients that are traveling in March specifically, as their trips are affected first.
For travel in April and beyond we will be looking for updates and touching base on specifics that affect your trips. You are welcome to reach out to us via email and we will get back to you as quickly as possible. In some cases, we may not have the answers yet as the situation is still changing.
Many destinations are offering waived cancellation penalties and making it possible to move vacations to a later date. We will discuss your options with you.
Please know a few things:
- We care about your family and your travel plans. We will keep you informed of the options as your trip approaches and take care of changes and cancellations for you.
- We don’t go on rumors and hearsay. We get official information from the sources. Sometimes that means you hear something on social media that we have not shared yet.
- We are getting the details and facts together for you.
Thank you for your patience with us as we work really hard on this for you.
You don’t have to call and deal with the hold times. We will take care of that. Give us a call or an email and we will get back to you and keep you updated. Many of these changes do have to be made by phone though, so keep that in mind since it will take us time to complete them. We ARE working on it.
Take a deep breath and do what you can to stay healthy. We will get through this together.
Thank you for your support.