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Thread: The Trip Right Before Corona - a WDW Trip Report

  1. #1

    The Trip Right Before Corona - a WDW Trip Report

    I've been putting this off long enough, so I guess it's time for a trip report from my March 2020 adventure. I need to start by saying that I've never been less prepared for a Disney trip. And that's all due to a little medical adventure I had about a week before I was scheduled to start.

    I was at work, overseeing a video conference in the 150 seat auditorium where I usually work. About an hour into the event I started having some chest pains. I've had this before, and it always goes away in an hour or so. So I just ignored it. Then I started getting dizzy. I told my co-workers over the communication headset that I was feeling lousy, and if it got worse someone would need to come back to the control room and take over for me. One of them contacted my boss, who contacted the onsite nurse, who then called paramedics and an ambulance. I was still downplaying the whole thing, and was going to refuse any serious treatment. But then the paramedics hooked me up and found that I was running a heart rate of 180, so I gave in and let them take me out on a gurney. I stayed 1 night in the hospital, and while they medicated the problems away (high heart rate and afib, which basically means the heart isn't beating properly), they never did come up with a cause as to why this happened. But they started me on blood thinners, high cholesterol meds, high blood sugar meds - I'm now taking 8 different perscription drugs every day! The problem hasn't repeated, but the combination of new drugs and the total stoppage of any exercise before a WDW trip left me totally worn out right at the start. And by the end of my first 1/2 a day I was completely pooped, and my funky right foot and increasingly bad left knee had me wobbling around like a really old person. So from a physical standpoint, this wasn't the greatest of trips.

    Enough of all that bummer stuff! Thursday March 12 was the beginning of this trip. A nice flight on American and a decent rental car from Payless (with XM Radio!) and it was off on the Greenway to the World. Hotel this time was the Art of Animation Resort, a nice value resort but nothing special (at least not for me). First stop - Epcot -

    I had a FP+ for Spaceship Earth which worked out nicely. I had time to stop at the new Epcot Experience display in the Oddyssey (very well done!), and then a FP+ for Frozen. Time now to hoof it up to the American pavilion for some tunes from the Voices of Liberty, enjoying the smokey meat smell from the new Smokehouse -

    This was one of the rare times when The American Adventure didn't start right after the VoL, but instead had a wait of about 30 minutes. I didn't feel like waiting, and knew I could see the show later in the trip (which as events unfolded didn't happen), so I started the trek back down the west side, stopping as always in the France wine kiosk for a tasty glass -

    Dinner this first night was at the Coral Reef, starting with the shrimp appetizer -

    ... and a pretty good steak from a seafood restaurant -

    Time for some tasty martinis from the Rose & Crown, and then outside for my 2nd time ever seeing Epcot Forever. I didn't have the energy to do my standard walk around the World Showcase, so I just sat down in front of the Canada pavilion and waited for the crowd to thin out before schlumping out to my car and back to the hotel. A decent but tiring first day.

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

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  3. #2
    Friday, March 13 -

    Today was Magic Kingdom Early Entry, and I was there for opening at 8am -

    I headed for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, as I wasn't able to get a FP+ for a time I liked. The line was only about 20 minutes long, so not bad. A ride with Pooh and I was off to my first FP+ of the day - Big Thunder. Then it was back across the park (man, my wheels were barking!) to a FP+ for Pan, a showing of Mickey's Philharmagic, a showing of The Hall of Presidents, and then a walk-in lunch at Liberty Tree, starting of course with the clam chowder -

    ... followed by the amazing pot roast -

    ... and then finished off by the unforgettable Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake -

    A great lunch, and totally unexpected since I didn't have a rez. After lunch it was time for my last FP+, on Pirates, and then back to the room for a well deserved rest.
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  4. #3
    Friday, March 13 cont. -

    I knew I would need some easy time about this point in the trip, so the only thing on my sked-oo-ley was dinner at Toledo -

    I began with the same appetizer I had last time - the Rioja-braised Chorizo -

    I changed up the entree and had the Hanger Steak with crushed new potatoes, salsa verde, greens, charred peppers, yellow peppers and field onions -

    I don't know where all that stuff was, but that was the description. And for dessert, another change - the Classic Crema Catalana, with Valencia orange & chocolate tuile -

    This is the second time I've had lunch here, and both times were totally stellar! Back to my room for an early night.
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  5. #4
    Saturday, March 14 -

    We'd been hearing rumors all week about WDW shutting down, and today it became official - WDW parks would be closed as of midnight tomorrow (Sunday, 3/14). I wasn't scheduled to leave till late afternoon on Monday, so this was gonna screw me out of about 1/2 a day. So I'd better make today and tomorrow count. Today started at DAK with early entry. I headed to Pandora to do the Na'vi River Journey (I'm still a little bit too chunky for Flight of Passage). Then it was over to Everest (man, that's a long walk!) for 3 rides on Expedition: Everest, one of those rides being a FP+ ride. My next FP+ was on Dinosaur, and then it was my favorite lunch at Flame Tree. No surprises - ribs and lemonade -

    I took in a showing of Finding Nemo, then a showing of Tough To Be a Bug, and it's now time for my final FP+ of the day on Kilimanjaro Safaris -

    And that was it for the morning.

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  6. #5
    Saturday, March 14 cont. -

    Before leaving for the evening I took a few snaps of the hotel decor -

    This was my last night in Epcot, with dinner at Via Napoli -

    I started with the always tasty Arancini, fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and meat ragu -

    ... and then, as usual, the margherita pizza with sausage and pepperoni (sorry, no pic - guess I musta been HUNGRY!). A walk around to the Rose & Crown for a couple of martinis, and then I skipped the fireworks and headed to bed (old and tired as I am!).
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  7. #6
    Sunday, March 15 -

    With the closing later today, this was my last day in WDW for this trip (and as it is turning out, for quite a while!). I headed for the Studios, starting very early with the hopes of getting a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. I spent about 30 minutes waiting in line for the new Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, waiting with everyone else with phone in hand, waiting for the official park opening. Right when the opening announcement started I began pushing buttons, only to end up the Boarding Group 95! So I gave up on the plan to see this amazing new ride. The Runaway Railway was pretty awesome, though, and I was very glad I got to see it. I did a once around Galaxy's Edge -

    ... and did a single rider for Smuggler's Run. NEVER AGAIN! We were on a dark, concrete stairway for about 30 minutes. I'd much rather be standing in a moving line with stuff to look at.

    I wandered through Toy Story Land, but by now all the lines were pretty long -

    I had a FP+ for the Little Mermaid, and then it was over to Star Tours for my 2nd FP+. I had time before lunch to see the always enjoyable Beauty & the Beast show -

    Lunch was at Sci Fi - nothing special, but fun atmosphere. I even got to see a clip of my cousin, the captain in Plan Nine From Outer Space (his big claim to fame!). After lunch was a sleepy showing of the Muppets, and then back to my room.
    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  8. #7
    Sunday, March 15 -

    Dinner tonight was at Narcoosee's, with plans of heading into the MK for fireworks after -

    Appetizer was a tasty shrimp cocktail -

    Followed by a yummy surf & turf -

    As I was waiting for a Monorail to take me to the MK (and a tiring visit of pushing and shoving to see Happily Ever After), I got the bright idea to change it up and head up to the California Grill -

    ... where I had some great martinis at the bar from bartender Ray, and then HEA out on the balcony -

    This was followed by a much easier trip to my car and back to my room for one more time.

    And sadly, that was all for this trip. I spent most of the Monday morning in my room, watching about 8 Big Bang reruns, till it was time to head to a very crowded airport -

    ... and home. The shortened visit combined with my crummy physical state made this a pretty sucky trip. Hopefully things will be back to running by the end of September, and I'll have more time to work out (well, walk a bit more) and be in better shape for my next visit. Thanks for reading.

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  9. #8

    Great trip report Dan. You are so lucky that you were able to visit the parks before they closed. Did the mood in the parks seem different?

  10. #9

    Well, I'm kinda self-centered, not paying much attention to those around me. But there was plenty of chatter all week, so I'm guessing that most people knew that closing was coming.

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  11. #10

    Nice report (as always), Dan!

    I have to agree on the Single Rider line for Smuggler's Run. I don't know if the lines became much worse once RotR opened, but back in early October, it was pretty reasonable for standby on Smuggler's Run most of the time (I rode I think 6 or 7 times (only one was single rider), and maybe the worst case was an hour from getting on line to being off the ride, most were probably only 35-40 minutes). The single rider line also doesn't support the interactive games you can play on the Play Disney app, since as you progress through the lines, the game tracks your location so it can ask you questions about things around you. I had Hondo type to me many times "if you are not in these 3 places, I don't know where you are" (being in that dark concrete stairwell is not one of the options! )

    Also, most times as a single rider I found you will be assigned to one of the Engineer seats in the 3rd row unless you swap with someone (even if you are not in the single rider line, as a single who waited in the main queue, you still may be filling out the last seat in the cabin most times). I don't know if it's a hard "rule" here or not, but I always assume single rider lines are not really supposed to be allowed to ask for any special seat (similar to how you are not supposed to be able to ask for the front car if you enter via the Everest Single Rider line). By waiting in the regular queue, it's normal to ask to wait a few minutes so you can be assigned somewhere other than the rear seat. Once I realized this trend, I got to experience I think 5 of the 6 seats this way (including both pilot seats! ) by waiting in the main queue and politely asking to wait so I could get anything other than Engineer. Not gonna lie, as a huge Star Wars fan since I was a kid (when the originals came out), pulling the hyperdrive lever at the appropriate time was an amazing thing!

    Last thought here: I know it's not a short walk, but your Pan FP+ after Big Thunder could have been worse... imagine if it was Space Mountain or Buzz! Those are REALLY way across the park, probably the worst case long walk from BT.


  12. #11
    Registered User ericles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Maryland's Eastern Shore

    Thanks Dan, I know folks appreciate your reports! Hope you are feeling better!

  13. #12

    Feeling much better. Back to work 2 or 3 days a week. Sucks to be needed!

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  14. #13

    As always, enjoyed your trip report and pictures. Glad you are feeling better.

    Past Trips: 2006-POR; 2008-POP; 2009-CBR; 2010-VB/AKV Kidani; 2010-BLT; 2011-BWV; 2011-AKV Kidani; 2013-BCV/BLT; 2014-AKL Jambo (Concierge); 2015-SSR/OKW; 2016 BCV/AKV Kidani; 2018 BWV; 2019 Mar-BLT/Sept-AKV Jambo

  15. #14

    Thanks for the report and giving us our much needed dose of Disney!

    Missing Disneyland, but looking forward to Disney World!



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