It has been a little while since we gave a travel update and lots of exciting things are happening. On travel talk this month, we want to talk about the return to travel in a few key areas—domestic theme park travel, Caribbean/Mexico all-inclusive options, and cruising.
Domestic Theme Park Travel
Universal Orlando and Hollywood, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland are back and in almost full swing. Pretty much all social distancing, health screenings, and mask-wearing guidelines are removed for both indoors and outdoors. Most of the plexiglass dividers are taken down or are being taken down. Attractions are filled to capacity without rows or skipped seats which is great for wait times.
We have also seen the return of more restaurants such as ‘Ohana, Tusker House, and Cape May Cafe to name a few. Restaurants that are traditionally buffet options are serving an all you care to eat meal served family-style at the table. Although there are still some restaurants that have not reopened, we are hopeful they are coming soon. City Walk and Disney Springs have lots of stores, restaurants, and experiences to enjoy.
Animal Kingdom Lodge was recently given a reopening date of August 26th. We are waiting on some All-Star Resorts and Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter. The Disney resorts at Disneyland and the Universal Studios Orlando Resorts are all open or have upcoming opening dates.
At Disney, the Food and Wine Festival is starting earlier than ever on July 15th. Halloween festivities start early with a new after-hours event called Boo Bash. Fireworks are back as of July 1st at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and it was announced that on October 1st three new shows will debut. The Magic Kingdom has “Disney Enchantment” and Epcot debuts “Harmonious” along with a new attraction in France called Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. There is also a new daytime show at Animal Kingdom called “Disney KiteTails”. This is all part of the 18-month long 50th Anniversary Celebration of Magic Kingdom.
Universal Orlando opened a brand new roller coaster called the Velocicoaster. Halloween Horror Nights tickets are on sale for the event taking place in September and October. They are in full swing with dining plans, express passes, park to park tickets, and Volcano Bay opening. There are so many great things to enjoy at Universal Orlando and the best option if you are still looking to plan a vacation for this summer.
Mexico/Caribbean All-Inclusive Travel
There are great choices for Mexico and Caribbean travel if you have a passport that is ready to go. I and other agents from Magical Memory Planners have traveled to Jamaica, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic recently so we have all the information on these destinations. Although requirements can change, at this point none of these locations require vaccinations to travel. In some cases, you don’t need to test before leaving the U.S. and this makes for very easy travel.
At this time, everyone over two years of age needs to test to fly home. The resorts we work with take care of it quickly and easily and the test is complementary. It takes no more than a half-hour out of your vacation to get your testing done and you are all set. Dreams Resorts and Beaches are great all-inclusive options for families. If you are looking for a couples getaway, you will love Secrets or Sandals. At the resort, you may only have to wear a mask when going into a shop or restaurant, but most of the time you can enjoy the beach, pool, sun, and sand without it. These resorts have amazing safety protocols and go above and beyond to make your stay the best experience.
Excursions and the spas are amazing as well. We enjoyed parasailing, dune buggy rides, and deep-sea fishing during our vacations.
Cruising starts resuming from the U.S. this summer. Cruise lines are confirming the protocols and most cruise lines confirm that all crew members are vaccinated. Certain itineraries starting this summer will require vaccines for adults, but moving forward there will be options for both vaccinated and nonvaccinated travelers. Vaccinated adults have the most opportunities onboard while those that are not vaccinated have to follow specific health and safety measures. Some protocols vary by departure port.
Cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, are sharing their upgraded systems such as 100% fresh filtered air and medical-grade cleaning standards throughout their ships. They upgraded medical facilities and have a plan to get you home safely if you test positive. Best of all, they have the Cruise with Confidence Program that offers the flexibility of taking a future cruise credit if you cancel up to 48 hours before sailing.
We are excited to see the return of cruising and are watching as the first ships start sailing in July.