Who would have thought even just 6 months ago that we would still be facing ever-changing requirements to travel?
Even as sailings get canceled, masks are required just about every where you go and COVID tests are being required to leave and return to your home state, it is absolutely possible to travel safely IF- and only IF – you feel ready.
If you have been following this blog, you know that I have visited a few different destinations since July. Each time I have traveled I chose to test before and after and also self-quarantined. Now, that is no longer a choice, but a requirement in most states.
The great thing about that is that testing is much more accessible than it was initially and in many places, it is free! Orlando now has several testing sites to make it convenient to fly home knowing you are negative.
The Walt Disney World Resort is currently offering Free Rapid Testing.
The Maingate Complex Testing Site is run by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. It is walk-up only so there are no appointments. Hours are from 8AM to 5PM daily. Depending on when you visit, your wait time could exceed 2 hours, so I recommend going as close to your departure as possible, but not on a Park day.
This is state run and funded. So no cost. No insurance needed.
Another great option is the onsite Rapid Testing at Orlando International Airport. Appointments are accepted for this option and there is a $65 fee. As with the Disney testing, you will have your results within minutes!
Orlando is full of testing sites throughout the area. Some are free and some are not. If you are visiting Universal Resorts, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove or another destination, just be sure to check for the closest site. You can drive or Uber/Lyft to whichever site works best for you.
I always provide a list of testing sites to my clients prior to travel so that they don’t have to worry about figuring that out once they arrive.
As far as the parks themselves, not much has changed from my previous blog post. Masks are still required. Social distancing continues and hand sanitizer/hand washing stations are readily accessible.
At Walt Disney World, temperature checks take place prior to entering the parks and Disney Springs. When visiting Universal, your temperature is checked daily at your resort and you are given a wrist band to show you have been checked. If you are ticket only, your temperature is checked at security before entering.
The nice thing is that while the parks continue to operate at reduced capacity, many of the experiences that guests look forward to are back or scheduled to return in the near future.
Universal has brought back its popular Nighttime Cinematic Spectacular and it is just as amazing as ever!
Disney World has added new dining and shopping options. On my last visit, I visited a few of these new spots. I think my new favorite has to be the cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse! These half pound cookies are out of this world!
I also enjoyed a visit to the new M & M Store and Everglazed, a gourmet doughnut shop.
One great way to not only take your trip to the next level, but also reduce your time standing in lines or navigating crowds, is to add a VIP Experience at Universal Studios.
The Experience includes breakfast and lunch and gives you behind the scenes and front of the line access. Your private tour guide works with you to create the experience you want on a private tour. The non-private tour has a more set itinerary, but your guide will definitely ask for input.
Throughout our 8 hour tour, we rode every single ride in the park, toured the Mardi Gras Tribute Store, enjoyed two delicious meals and learned a lot.
The highlight for me was riding Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure twice – with zero wait! Amazing!
There is no doubt that travel looks different right now, but it is absolutely possible to do it if you want to. Using a travel professional is more important now than it has ever been. There have been so many horror stories about people being left at the airport without proper documentation needed to visit a particular island. People are spending hours on hold trying to change reservations or get refunds. Requirements and guidelines for testing and return to your home state continue to change.
Reach out to me for assistance with navigating all of these changes.