This past week, I traveled to Walt Disney World with a few members of my Bridal Party for a Disney Bachelorette party. My fiance, Pat, and I are getting married in October aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic – as long as our sailing does not get canceled of course! We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that we can safely celebrate with our families at that time.
But whether or not we get married on land or at sea, I got to have an incredible Bachelorette Party at Disney World thanks to my family and friends.
Day 1 – Travel Day to Disney
Traveling from New Jersey in February is always a gamble. My sister, Robin (Maid of Honor) had scheduled our flight to leave in the evening, but once we saw the forecast was calling for snow all day, we knew we had to get out earlier if possible. We were able to change our flight to leaving New Jersey at 6 AM and arrived in sunny Florida around 8:30 AM.
Thankfully, I was able to work from my brother, Ian (Bridal Bro), and sister-in-law, Lauren’s (Bride Squad) home, as I hadn’t planned to take the day off work.
At the end of the work day, we all piled into the car and made our way to Disney’s Old Key West where we would be spending the next 6 nights. My parents are Disney Vacation Club Members and Old Key West has been our “home resort” since 1998, so we have lots of fond memories of OKW.
TRAVEL TIP: Order your magic bands as far out as possible. We ordered ours within the timeframe that Disney requires, but delays with the mail affected us getting our magic bands. They arrived two days after we left for Walt Disney World. The front desk at your resort will provide you cards for your stay, rather than giving you other magic bands. Not a big deal, but you lose the ease of just tapping the magic band.
After checking in and getting settled, we made our way to Disney Springs for some dinner. When you enter Disney Springs, all guests are required to go through temperature check and security.
TRAVEL TIP: I would highly suggest giving yourself some extra time when arriving at Disney Springs, as this process was a bit backed up due to the number of people who were there that night.
Once inside Disney Springs, we got dinner at one of our favorite quick service locations there – Blaze. My sister is allergic to gluten and Blaze does an excellent job at ensuring there is no cross contamination of the food. If you’re heading to Disney with someone who has an allergy, you can check out my full guide that I put together when I was eating gluten free.
After having dinner at Blaze, we walked to World of Disney to try to find Disney nuiMOs. We’ve quickly become obsessed with these little cuties and I wanted to grab a couple of the spirit jerseys for my Minnie Mouse and Daisy.
TRAVEL TIP: Disney Springs was super busy both times we visited (Thursday night and Saturday morning). If you can plan a day to visit Disney Springs during the weekday in the morning, that will probably be your best bet for beating the crowds.
We made our way back to the room at OKW and I took a bath in the in-room whirlpool. It’s one of the many perks of staying at a DVC resort! While I was relaxing, Robin, Ian, and Lauren, decorated the villa to celebrate!
Day 2 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Robin and I got up extra early to try to get a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. At 7 AM we both logged onto our My Disney Experience app, but neither of us had any luck getting a boarding pass. Oh well – we knew that we were able to try again at 1 PM as long as we were in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which we would be.
Lauren dropped Robin and I off at DHS around 8:30 AM and we made our way to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which unfortunately was temporarily unavailable. We walked to Galaxy’s Edge and got in line for Smuggler’s Run. I’ve done Smuggler’s Run in both DHS and Disneyland, but this would be Robin’s first time. We waited about 20 minutes and got to ride as pilots – a big plus, as Robin has motion sickness and doesn’t usually do simulator rides, but wanted to try it!
Robin said she liked the ride and thought it was well themed, but wouldn’t be running to do it again any time soon.
Next, we walked through Galaxy’s Edge and grabbed one of our favorite treats, blue milk. We were able to exit in Toy Story Land and find a quiet spot to enjoy our milk.
The park was getting very busy by this time, so we walked around and checked out some of the shops on Sunset Blvd.
For lunch, we utilized Mobile Order (required at quick service locations) and ordered our lunch at Woody’s Lunchbox in Toy Story Land. It seems like we were lucky to get a spot, as I’ve heard that Woody’s Lunchbox is a popular lunch spot that fills up quickly.
The food was really great and a bit different than the typical quick service offerings. I got a turkey sandwich and Robin was able to get a gluten free grilled cheese.
After lunch we decided we would just walk around the park and maybe grab a drink, as we wanted to try to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance at 1 PM. As we were walking, we saw that people were starting to line up for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway even though it wasn’t open yet. The cast member said we could get in line, but he didn’t know when the attraction would be opening. We figured we weren’t doing anything else so might as well!
We wound up waiting for about 35 minutes before boarding the attraction. This was our first time riding and we LOVED it – the theming technology, and how cute it was! As Great Movie Ride fans, it takes us a lot to say that too!
In the last room of the attraction, the ride stopped and we were evacuated by two cast members. If you’re a Disney nerd like me, you know how exciting it was to be “evaced.” At the exit of the ride, we were given fast passes to any ride in the park other than Rise of the Resistance.
By this time, it was just about 1 PM and of course the skies opened and it poured. We ran under an overhang and waited for 1 PM to try to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass.
Success! Robin grabbed one for both of us – boarding group 100. While we waited to be called, we used our fast pass on Toy Story Mania and then grabbed a drink and relaxed on the upstairs patio in Pizzerizzo.
Robin decided she wouldn’t go on Rise of the Resistance because I hadn’t been on it before and she wanted me to tell her is she could handle it – spoiler, people with motion sickness should probably pass this one.
I went on by myself and really enjoyed it. As a Star Wars fan I felt totally immersed in the world of Star Wars and loved the whole story line. 10/10 recommend to anyone visiting the park who can handle the varied motion of the ride (I won’t say any more because I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t experienced it yet).
We had hit all the rides we wanted to by now, so we exited the park and took a few loops on the Skyliner, stopping at Art of Animation and Pop Century to check out their shops. I was so excited to find that Pop Century had nuiMO clothing and picked up the Rapunzel outfit I had been searching for!
For dinner, we went off-property to one of our favorite restaurants, Bartaco. We also stopped for some Twistee-Treat to end the night.
Day 3 – Disney Springs Brunch & Resort Hopping
On Saturday, we slept in and slowly made our way to Disney Springs for our reservation at Wine Bar George. This was the first time I ate at Wine Bar George and will definitely be returning. Their Dole Whip mimosa was so good and I’m still dreaming about those mac and cheese bites!
After brunch, we stopped at a few local places that I had been wanting to visit, including Foxtail Coffee Co. and Adjectives in Winter Garden. We didn’t have much planned this day, so it was nice to just come up with plans as we went.
TRAVEL TIP: If you have a car, take a day to explore outside of Walt Disney World property. Central Florida has a ton of small shops and local eateries that are worth the ride! Let me know in the comments below if you’re interested in me doing a blog on some of the must-see’s in the area.
For dinner we made our way back to Disney and grabbed a quick bite at Geyser Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. If you haven’t noticed yet, we basically just move from meal to meal on our trips and love it!
Once we finished dinner, we went around to the monorail resorts and took the walk from the Polynesian to Magic Kingdom. This was the first time I visited that the path was open and I really enjoyed walking.
Day 4 – Magic Kingdom
We left for Magic Kingdom around 9 AM, as we wanted to avoid the initial rush into the parks. We parked at the Ticket and Transportation Center and walked to Magic Kingdom using the new path.
TRAVEL TIP: If you don’t mind the extra steps, you can walk from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Magic Kingdom using the new path. It is about 1.5 miles and a great way to social distance.
There wasn’t a ton that we wanted to do in Magic Kingdom, so we decided to grab some goodies from Starbucks and hang out on the hub grass. It was such a nice place to hang out and watch the character cavalcades come by. While we were there we saw all of the Fab Five plus Winnie the Pooh Bear and friends, the Princesses, and Tinker Bell.
We only did one attraction while at Magic Kingdom, since the crowds were actually pretty crazy that day. I wanted to wait in line for Astro Orbiter because it’s the only attraction at WDW that I had never been on – I know, crazy! I think because my family always visited in August we didn’t want to wait in the heat. It was actually pretty thrilling considering it’s the same type of ride as Dumbo.
In the morning we had snagged as reservation for Tony’s Town Square Restaurant at 3:30 PM. We figured it would be a great outdoor option. When we got into the park in the morning, we had made a quick stop at Tony’s to request an outdoor table, as we weren’t comfortable eating indoors. The cast member told us that we would have to request at the time of check-in.
When we came back for our reservation, we asked for an outdoor table and they told us that it was too cold outside for the patio to be open. Thankfully, we were able to cancel our reservation with no charge. We quickly thought of another option and decided to head to Fort Wilderness via the boats to grab some to-go from PJ’s Southern Takeout.
This wound up being the best idea! I hadn’t eaten at PJ’s before, so I got to check another restaurant off my list and enjoy a super chill dinner right by the water. After dinner, we made our way to the Tri Circle D Ranch Stables and got a tour of the stable, meeting all of the horses! Can you say “best day ever”?!
TRAVEL TIP: Visit Fort Wilderness. Fort Wilderness is like a vacation spot in and of itself and you can easily spend a few hours exploring all there is to offer. I’ve visited a number of times, but never brought my bike, so I’ll definitely need to do that at some point to explore even more!
Day 4 – EPCOT
Monday was the last day of the 2021 International Festival of the Arts at EPCOT. I was so happy that we were able to visit, as I’ve been every year since it began other than one. It’s by far my favorite festival and 2021 didn’t disappoint.
We got to EPCOT right around opening at 11 AM and made our way past The Seas with Nemo and Friends to do the Paint-by-Number Expression Section mural. Because it was the last day of the festival we got to paint seven boxes – usually you will paint three to four.
After adding to the mural, which was Mary Blair themed, we headed to World Showcase to attempt to drink around the world. Here’s how I did…
- Canada – Weihenstephaner Beer
- United Kingdom – “Carl Combo” – if you don’t know who Carl at Rose & Crown is, you’re not spending enough time bar hopping in Disney!
- France – Champagne
- Morocco –
- Japan – Haiku Beer
- America –
- Italy – Italian Mineral Water (yup, I needed to hydrate and this looked so good, so I’m counting it!)
- Germany – Shofferhoffer Beer
- China – Jasmine Beer
- Norway –
- Mexico –
- OTHER – Sparkle beer from POP Eats
So, yeah, I didn’t drink around the world. But for an almost 28 year old who usually drinks tea while others are drinking liquor, I was pretty proud of myself! Most importantly, we had SO much fun! We picked up some snacks along the way including a beignet at France and sushi in Japan. We also enjoyed taking it slow and walking through each of the country pavilions and the festival booths.
For dinner we planned to eat at one of my favorite spots, Spice Road Table in Morocco. Unfortunately, when we were seated and saw the new menu, we realized that they were not offering full dinners any longer. In the past, Morocco had been managed by an outside company, however, several moths ago Disney took over management and made some changes to the food offerings. Fingers crossed that the current menu is a temporary change and they will bring back the full menu, as it was one of the best at Walt Disney World. However, if you’re looking for lounge style food and drinks, I’d still recommend it, as we did grab a few appetizers to share and they were very yummy.
TRAVEL TIP: If you can, try to attend the festivals on Mondays during the day. Crowds are much lighter, allowing you to experience more.
We left the park after our appetizers in Morocco and had a quiet night in the room watching TV and playing Disney Heads Up.
Day 5 – Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is quickly moving up on my park rankings. In the past, I hadn’t really enjoyed Animal Kingdom as much, but never knew why. With the addition of Pandora and just spending more time there, I’ve become quite a fan!
We got to the park just before 11 AM and were already hungry, so we headed right for Satuli Canteen in Pandora to grab some lunch. We love Satuli Canteen and they handled the mobile ordering and crowd control very well.
TRAVEL TIP: To avoid the crowds at quick service locations, eat at off times – 11 AM – 11:45 AM and after 2 PM for lunch.
With the new regulations added to ensure social distancing, Disney has added virtual walk-up lists for many of the full-service restaurants and lounges. After our early lunch, we put our names on the walk-up list for Nomad Lounge and were told we’d have about an hour wait. The cast member told us to stay close, as we had to get back within ten minutes of receiving the notification that our table was ready.
While we waited for our table, we walked through the shops that flank that Tree of Life. I’m not sure why, but Animal Kingdom has some of the best shopping. I always seem to find something different at Animal Kingdom that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
I picked up two more Disney nuiMOs because I’m literally obsessed and added Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to my collection. We still had some time before our table was going to be ready so we walked through some of the animal observation paths by the Tree of Life.
Nomad Lounge is by far my favorite lounge at Walt Disney World. The food, drinks, and ambience are exceptional and I could probably sit there all day if they let me! Since character interactions have been adapted to ensure social distancing, there are several boats that carry Disney characters like Chip and Dale, Minnie and Mickey, Pocahontas, and more throughout the waterways of Animal Kingdom. Nomad Lounge is a prime viewing location to spot all of the boats.
After Nomad Lounge, which we spent a lot of time at, we drove over to Hollywood Studios to ride the Skyliner for a bit. We took the full loop, stopping at Disney’s Riviera Resort for some Cold Brew coffee. After exploring Riviera for a bit, we decided to make dinner in the room and had an at-home spa night that Lauren put together. She did such a good job! She gave everyone a bath bomb from Basin and had DIY face masks we all used. We ended the night playing Disney Cards Against Humanity – definitely not a family game, but we were crying laughing!
Day 6 – Resort Hopping & Travel Day
The last day of a Disney vacation always makes me so emotional. I’m sure many of you can relate to the feeling you get knowing you have to leave your home-away-from-home. I don’t have another trip planned just yet, but I know that’s I will be back to Florida pretty soon for some personal reasons.
We didn’t have park reservations for today and it was just Robin and I, so we decided to walk around Disney’s Boardwalk and, you guessed it, ride the Skyliner. The Skyliner may be my new favorite Disney form of transportation – especially now that all parties get their own Skyliner!
For lunch, we stopped at Disney’s Riviera Resort and ate at Primo Piatto. We brought our food to Bar Riva, where we grabbed a drink. I’m not sure if you’re really supposed to bring your food to Bar Riva, but the cast member was very kind to us and gave us plates and silverware to enjoy our lunch.
After lunch we headed off property and explored a little more in the area, stopping for some Starbucks before we had to head to the airport to travel back to New Jersey.
Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World During COVID
Below are a few tips for visiting Walt Disney World during COVID-19. Remember that visiting any theme parks or public locations does mean you are opening yourself up to the risk of catching COVID-19. My tips below are based on my own level of comfort. I encourage you to discuss plans with your whole party before deciding how you will handle certain situations.
- Plan what park you will visit in advance and get your park reservation for all members of your party at the same time. Disney is now requiring park reservations for all guests and parks are at limited capacity. In order to enter you will need a park reservation for all members of your party.
- Think about dining ahead of time. To assist with social distancing, quick service restaurants are requiring guests to order through the My Disney Experience app. This is super easy to do, but there are a limited number of people who can order within a given time. If you want to get eat at a specific time at a specific restaurant, I highly recommend scheduling ahead of time. Additionally, most full-service restaurants are not accepting advanced dining reservations as they did in the past. Instead, there are QR codes posted outside of the restaurant that you can scan and add your party to a Walk-Up List. If you want to try to get on the walk-up list, be sure to walk by the location and scan the QR code ahead of time, so that you can keep an eye on the wait time.
- Consider different forms of transportation that what you might have usually depended on. In the past, I always took the monorail to Magic Kingdom. However, I found that the ferry is MUCH faster right now and you also have the option to walk from the Ticket and Transportation Center to Magic Kingdom. Both of these options cut down on the number of people we were in close proximity to.
- Plan meals at resorts and have a resort hopping day. It’s a bit more difficult to resort hop with the added restrictions, but if you are a resort guest and have a mobile order for food at the resort you’re visiting, you will most likely be allowed to enter. For example, we grabbed a snack at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, so we were able to park there. From Boardwalk, we were able to visit Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, the Swan and Dolphin Resorts, and had access to all of the resorts on the Skyliner by getting on at the EPCOT stop. This was a great way to spend a day that we didn’t have park reservations and was a nice break from the crowds
- Be prepared for crowds. Even though the parks are at limited capacity, crowd control and distribution is very different. You’ll see many lines outside of the usual queue areas because of the need for additional room for social distancing. At first I was struck by the “new normal,” but I got used to it very quickly.
- Manage your expectations. We had an incredible time on our trip, but there are a lot of pieces of the Disney experience that are a little different. As long as you go into your trip with the mindset that this is a new experience, you’ll have a great time!