Visiting Disney World in 2020? Here is What You Need To Know
Before I get into the questions I have been asked, if you're like me and absolutely love taking pictures at Disney, this is your moment. You won't believe the pictures I got, photos I've never been able to take without at least 30 people in them if not more. It was like being in the park before anyone else was allowed in and being told be free, take whatever pictures you want. Amazing.
Enough about the empty photos, seriously though can't wait to share on my Instagram, let's get down to business.
Did we feel safe at Disney?
100% yes! Even prior to 2020, Disney Parks have always been clean and well run. I was curious to see how they would top themselves when it came to 2020 precautions. We saw more CMs than ever before out cleaning and wiping down high touch areas.
Bathrooms were still sparkling clean (the Tangled restrooms are still the best ever!), and there was hand sanitizer everywhere. Every. Where. You know how there are trashcans at every point you might even think about throwing trash away? It's like that but with touchless hand sanitizer.
There are also mobile hand washing stations located in the parks for when you aren't close to a bathroom but want to wash your hands- it me.
I brought my own hand sanitizer and wipes, like I always did before but rarely even had to use them. In fact the only time I needed to use my own sanitizer was when I wanted to be triple sure everyone was clean before eating. I'm extra I know.
Read more about what I bring to the parks each day and grab my free printable checklist before your next trip: What To Pack In Your Disney World Day Bag
Busses and monorail loadings are the same. You are asked how many in your party, told where to sit, and that is your spot, safely distance from others. The Skyliner is loading one family per gondola and it is still the fastest transportation in the parks!
Shoutout to ALL the Cast Members for being your same cheerful selves and keeping all the mask wearing in order. I watched, with delight I won't lie, as CM's would correct the few people I saw wearing their masks incorrectly. It made me smile and I made sure to thank all of the ones I saw, and all those cleaning for doing their best to keep everyone safe and happy. Now if all stores could have face mask enforcers I might not get anxiety over going out. Just saying.
What kind of mask is best for Disney?
Speaking of masks, this might be the next most important question. It's hot in Florida and you have to wear a mask. And not just any mask, a good one that actually covers your nose and chin. I'm not going to say it wasn't hot wearing a mask all day at Disney World. However, when the real feel was 115 degrees we were going to sweat with or without a mask on. I'm sweating just thinking about it.
Our family opted for cloth face masks. I few that I had ordered as well as the cute ones Disney sells like this Baby Yoda mask. The thing with disposable masks is that once they get wet with sweat, so what 5 seconds outside in the sun?, they can stick to your face. Gross. The cloth ones at least didn't stick to my face and thanks to breaks, we only needed one mask per day per family member.
Because I'm extra, I brought sandwich bags, labeled, for each of us to put our masks in when we weren't wearing them.
Disney World Relaxation Station Locations
Lucky for us and everyone visiting the parks, Disney has relaxation stations setup throughout each park. These relaxation stations are places where you can take your mask off and let your face breathe a little. There is one inside station per park and outside locations per park as well. With it being so hot we chose the inside ones.
Magic Kingdom Locations:
- Pete's Silly Sideshow (inside)
- Golden Oak Outpost (outside, limited covering/shade)
- Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant (outside, fully covered)
Animal Kingdom Locations:
- Pizzafari (inside)
- In Asia across from UP! A Great Bird Adventure (outside, fully covered)
Hollywood Studios Locations:
- Star Wars Launch Bay (inside)
- Galaxy's Edge next to Rise of the Resistance (outside, partially covered)
- Akershus (inside)
- United Kingdom next to Rose & Crown (outside, partially covered)
- Future World between Mission: SPACE and Test Track (outside, partially covered)
FastPasses, Rider Swap, and Wait Times
Currently, Disney is not allowing FastPasses or Park Hopping during 2020. They are using the FastPass lanes to help socially distance the lines. Park Hopping is something we typically love to do. But with the adjusted operating hours and suspended nighttime offerings, it wasn't missed. I was shocked by that too, trust me!
Although Rider Swap is not something we have used recently, I did see it happening. So no worries for parents of littles who aren't quite big enough for those bigger coasters, you can still ride.
Queue Lines were spaced out and sectioned off so that you were at least 6 ft from others and in some cases more. If the lines were tight, like inside Space Mountain, plexiglass barriers are in place to separate you from the people next to you in line. On rides where they have more space in the lines, markers are laid out to allow massive amounts of space between you and the people in the part of the line next to you, as you can see in the picture below.
And speaking of plexiglass and dividing people up, Disney has implemented lower ride loadings and dividers between parties. On Pirates of the Caribbean, one group can sit in the front row and another in the back, no in between. Over on Soarin' and Star Tours, seat sections are blocked off with barriers as well, with Star Tours not seating each row.
Wait Times!! All the exclamation points for that. If you're a Disney regular you know what a low wait time is and what is average for the parks during any given time. Wait times were practically non-existent compared to what I'm use to.
Example: Splash Mountain in the heat of a Summer day should be well over 80 minutes. When we were there in August, the max I saw was 40, and that was after we had already ridden it 3x because we got there at park opening.
The only ride I saw with a consistent wait time of 60 minutes (but never longer) was Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. And that might seem like a lot but remember it's the newest ride on property, that is actually nothing. Rise of the Resistance is still utilizing boarding groups that you get through the virtual queue. The virtual queue is currently open at 10am and 2pm. You must be in the park in order to join.
Wait times were so low we rode everything at least 2 times. Even the line for Starbucks wasn't long and that's about as uncommon as getting group 1 on Rise.
The best tips I can give you is one, stay at one of the Disney resorts and utilize their transportation to the parks. Busses, Skyliner, and Monorail begin running 45 minutes prior to park opening. Two, if you arrive at the parks right when they open you can easily walk on most rides.
Character Experiences in 2020 at Walt Disney World
I'm a character kinda Disney girl. I will stand in line to hug Mickey and Minnie, or to laugh with Gaston. Unfortunately, in order to keep everyone healthy and safe those types of interactions are suspended right now. Bummer I know. But Disney being Disney, has done their best to still create magical character moments, even if you can't give each other a real hug!
Throughout the day at each park look for character cavalcades and other special appearances. My son's favorite character Stitch, strolled out onto the Tomorrowland Stage and he was able to communicate with him with gestures and even get an adorable picture. It wasn't a hug but it put a big smile on my child's face and mine.
I loved seeing Merida and Gaston out on their horses. Gaston was yelling at people to take his picture or wave at him. It was hilarious. Winnie the Pooh has been seen looking for bugs to catch in Epcot, while friends from the Donald's Dino-Bash have danced their way down river in Animal Kingdom, waving to guests as they go.
Garden Grill and Topolino's Terrace are currently offering character meals. Beast is also still strolling through the dining room at Be Our Guest during dinner, but photo opportunities are not available at this time.
Of all the places I've been to since this all began I felt the safest and least anxious at Disney. I managed to take some amazing pictures of some of my favorite spots in the park. Amazing because barely anyone was in them, if at all. Also we did go ahead with the Memory Maker, because one day when this is far behind us these pictures are going to be stuff for the history books. Life during 2020, it was definitely interesting! Also it's awesome getting photo pass photos with hardly anyone in them.
Not crowded, super low wait times, and the magic we all need right now. Thank you Disney for a week of much needed fun! We will see you real soon!
Mulan Movie Review
Mulan (2020) follows the story of Hua Mulan, the oldest daughter of Hua Zhou who is better at handling a sword than being a proper housewife. When the Emperor decrees that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Mulan steps in to take the place of her injured father. Being that no woman is allowed to be in the army, Mulan must masquerade as a man which has consequences on her abilities to use her chi.
During training she learns what it takes to be a warrior from Commander Tung and her fellow recruits. Before their training is complete, they are called into battle against Bori Khan and the witch Xianniang. This conflict forces Mulan to confront her own lies and decide once and for all if she is willing to sacrifice it all to save China and her family's honor.
Mulan 2020 pulled inspiration from both The Ballad of Mulan and the classic Disney animated film. There are just enough nods to the original to make diehard Disney fans, like myself, happy while bringing enough new material to the screen to make this Mulan feel original.
Visually, this film is gorgeous. From the bright colors of the costumes to the breathtaking sights of China's mainland, you really can get lost in the details. Overall, the cinematography brings something new to the table for these live action remakes while still being pure Disney magic.
(Note: this movie was filmed in New Zealand and China)
Viewers can easily get swept up in the fight scene choreography, swearing they are watching a classic martial arts film and not a movie based on Disney animation. Yifei Liu maneuvers through those moments in a graceful and powerful way. Donnie Yen also proves how the
force chi is with him when he demonstrates to awestruck recruits tactics that are precise, and effortless.
After watching this, I am even more excited for Shang-Chi. Not that I had my doubts, but now I've seen that my confidence in their ability to produce a martial arts is well placed.
Mulan showcases girl power and individuality, lighting a fire within even the youngest viewers. She is poised and sharp, much like her father's sword. She shows us the way to following our own paths and not ones laid out for us by others. Mulan is not a perfect hero and her flaws are our own. But like Mulan, it is what we do with those flaws and our strengths that set us apart from others.
The reasons you loved the original are present in this film, even if Mushu and Li Shang are not. Li Shang's character is present as a combination of Commander Tung and Honghui. The former being her teacher and the latter her awkward friend/possible love interest in the future. Mushu however is not to be found, unless you count the statues of dragons surrounding the Emperor and a few dishonors. I thought I would miss him, but it turns out you can have a Mulan movie without Mushu.
My only real complaint I have is not being able to see this on the big screen. Those beautifully choreographed fight scenes deserve to be seen in IMAX. In fact, if Disney decides to release it further down the road in theaters (when this current nightmare is long gone) I would pay to watch it.
Mulan continues to teach us to be true to ourselves, and by doing so unlocking the power within. When we stand for what is right and protect those who cannot protect themselves, we can all be as heroic as Hua Mulan. I believe there is a Hua Mulan in all of us, just waiting for the opportunity to come out.
Is Mulan safe for kids?
Mulan is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence. This is a movie about a war hero after all. Taking it out of animation and making it real is bound to raise the gravitas of those action scenes we all watched as children.
There is death, with a lot of sword fighting and arrows flying. However, Marvel Studios films have shown more in their PG-13 outings. Nudity is implied when one character drops his towel to Mulan's disgust and when she takes her solo night swim alone to clean herself up. Nothing is seen however and both echo the original animation.
Aside from the violence and suggestion of nudity, there are no bad words or blood and gore. If your children have watched other movies- like any of the MCU titles, they should be fine watching Mulan.
Download your free Mulan activity packet
Is Mulan worth paying for?
Short answer: yes. I paid the $29.99 for premier access for Mulan and I would do it again if I had to. If you are a Disney+ subscriber, your rental of Mulan is with you as long as you have the service. Yes it is coming to Disney+ in December, “free” with your monthly service but why wait?
Long answer: yes. Thirty bucks is barely scratching the surface of what it costs to watch a movie around here. Matinee for two people on any screen that is better than a normal one would run us at least $20 and that's at the “cheap” theater before my husband buys his popcorn and drink. And that's only for one showing, not as many as you want wherever you want. And since this is also a film for the kids to see, $20 is non-existent and we would easily fly pass $30 after it is all said and done.
Mulan is streaming now on Disney+ Premier Access. Runtime is 115 minutes and it is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence.
We love movie Easter eggs aka hidden references around here, and although Mulan was a fresh take on a classic Disney film, it did not disappoint when it came to nostalgia. From Shanghai Disney to A Girl Worth Fighting For, these Mulan easter eggsnare sure to make you smile. Lets get down to business and find all those Mulan Easter eggs you may have missed!
All The Mulan Easter Eggs You May Have Missed
Cue the Disney music and the opening credits. But look closely because that isn't Cinderella's Castle, it is actually the Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland.
Before you start looking, no Mushu does not appear in this movie. You can however find Dragon Statues surrounding the Emperor.
Young Mulan accidentally breaks the wing off of the Phoenix statue. Mushu broke the stone dragon in the original Mulan.
Bori Khan resembles Shan Yu in that he has scars on his face that mimic the drawing of Shan.
Xianniang transforms into a hawk. In the cartoon, a hawk was the pet of Shan Yu.
Mulan's horse is black with white on his nose, just like Khan in the animated film.
Listen for “Honor to us All” instrumental playing in the background when she is getting ready to go to The Matchmaker.
Hidden Mickey: Xiu is wearing her hair up in buns to The Matchmaker, they look like Mickey ears.
During the scene with The Matchmaker, there is an issue with the tea cups and The Matchmaker ends up falling over. This is a callback to the scene in the animated film.
Mulan's outfit in this scene including the hair clip and the extra long sleeves also mirrors the original.
She leaves that same hair clip when she decides to join the army on her father's behalf.
Cri-Kee didn't make it into this version either but she does meet Cricket whom tells her he is a good luck charm.
Li Shang is also not in the film but his character is split between Commander Tung and Honghui.
Mulan has to deal with an awkward towel drop, this time in the barracks instead of the water.
It's not disgrace on your cow but Sergeant Qiang does tell the recruits “Disgrace for you. Disgrace for your family. Disgrace for your village. Disgrace for your country”
read more: Mulan Movie Review
One of the songs missing from this one is “I'll Make a Man Out Of You.” Sergeant Qiang tells the newbies that “We're going to make men out of every single one of you.”
The training montage has a lot of callbacks to the animation, including shooting arrows, standing in awe of Commander Tung's skills with a staff, and carrying water up the hill.
Ling unrolls a scroll with a painting of his match, this is from the animated scene in “A Girl Worth Fighting For.”
The conversation about what type of women they all want references the song “A Girl Worth Fighting For.” Po doesn't care about looks, only what she cooks like. Mulan as Hua Jun speaks of a woman who is courageous, funny, and smart.
Mulan waits until night to bathe alone in the water. But just like in the original, someone shows up for a chat. She undresses by a magnolia tree.
Reflection plays, for the first time, in the background while she practices at night, showing flashbacks to when she was younger. It continues to play as she climbs the mountainside.
Her finally reaching the shrine references her getting to the top of the pole to retrieve the arrow.
During the same scene Reflection plays, Commander Tung says “tranquil as a forest, but on fire within.” This is a direct line from “I'll Make a Man Out Of You.”
The avalanche happened in the original film.
When she sheds Hua Jun and no longer is lying about who she is Reflection plays again as she rides to meet the army. This also is her Phoenix moment. She is reborn.
Her ride, along with the powerful orchestration callbacks another Disney classic- The Lion King when Simba returns home.
Mulan fights Bori Khan on the roof which mirrors her fight with Shan Yu.
Fireworks going off at the end, although this time not set off by Mushu. However there is a dragon seen during the party.
Ming-Na Wen! If you didn't yell out when you saw her at the end introducing Mulan we cannot be friends. If you are uncultured in the ways of Disney royalty, Ming-Na is the original voice of Mulan.
Michaela Zee, Ming-Na Wen's daughter also made a cameo in the same scene. She is the girl in the crowd shown after Mulan declines the Emperor's offer.
Ming-Na's dress also resembles the animated Mulan's green dress she wears before going to The Matchmaker.
Honghui and Mulan have an awkward goodbye. This is keeping with Li Shang's general awkwardness when it came to his feelings for Mulan. The only thing missing was a “you fight good” statement and grandma asking if he wants to stay forever.
Ming-Na wasn't the only Disney veteran. Jason Scott Lee (Bori Khan) voiced David in Lilo & Stitch and played Mowgli in the 1994 The Jungle Book.
Donnie Yen (Commander Tung) also played one of my favorite characters in Rogue One, Chirrut Imwe.
The One and Only Ivan Review
“Hi I'm Ivan.” The film starts out with Ivan introducing himself and his home, a circus located at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan lives there along with the older elephant Stella, dog Snickers, chicken Henrietta, rabbit Murphy, seal Frankie, and parrot Thelma. He seems pretty content with his lot in life, he is the star of the show and doesn't dream about what his life was like before humans entered it.
That all starts to change when along with his best friend, a stray dog named Bob, begins telling stories to the newest member of the Big Top family, a young elephant named Ruby. At first he doesn't remember much of his childhood but those memories come flooding back. When they do and as he watches Mack (his owner and the ringmaster) train Ruby for the ring, he begins to reevaluate what his life has become and what exactly he wants for himself and all of his animal friends.
read more: What to binge on Disney+ Right Now
At only 94 minutes. The One and Only Ivan is ideal for a family movie night, especially with children who cannot sit through longer films. With adorable animals on the screen, humor, and some action, it will easily grab and hold the attention of even the youngest viewers.
Visually, Ivan is grounded in a realistic landscape. A far cry from Tim Burton's Dumbo, the Big Top Mall gives off a lates 80s early 90s feel. Complete with an original gameboy and cameras with actual film in them. The realism of the setting aides in the audience's connection with the story. It looks like what we readers of the book have conjured up in our heads.
In Ivan, the animals talk in an expressive way that reminds me of Disney's most recent live-action animal movie, Lady and The Tramp. Those expressions help the audience get involved emotionally as the story unfolds. And get emotional you will. The One and Only Ivan brought tears to all of our eyes, no surprise there with me though. I'm an animal lover and any animal movie gets me right in heart.
I think a big part of the connectivity is owed to the stellar voice cast of Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Chaka Khan, Mike White, Ron Funches, and Phillipa Soo. They brought light, love, humor, and depth to their roles.
Unlike other circus/animal movies, the main human character isn't some evil brute that needs to learn his lesson by getting a swift kick in the rear. Bryan Cranston's character of Mack comes off mostly as a nice guy who genuinely cares for his animals. There is one scene, when Mack is training Ruby for the circus, where his frustrations come through however they do not show him being abusive or hurting her in any way. Cranston is able to switch effortlessly from over the top Ringmaster to business man to “parent” to all these animals.
Ivan explores how animals should be treated, proving once again that creatures of all shapes and sizes deserve to be treated with respect all without being heavy handed.
The One and Only Ivan is an entertaining, heartfelt family movie. Fans of the book will love seeing one of their favorite stories come to life. Newcomers to Ivan's story will be enchanted by it and eager to learn more. You will walk away from this one remembering the importance of true friendship, especially in hard times and that kindness will be there when you need it most.
It might have you or your children looking for ways to free the animals on their next trip to a zoo. While I don't recommend you opening cages, if your children are interested in learning more about gorillas, download this free The One and Only Ivan Activity Packet.
The One and Only Ivan Post Credit Scene
Stay through the credits to see footage of the real Ivan, a mid-credit, and post credit scene that are too cute to miss.
The One and Only Ivan is now streaming on Disney+ and is rated PG for mild thematic elements.
Thank you to Funko for sending us the game. All opinions are our own. Affiliate links below.
Something Wild Game Review
Something Wild puts a new twist on family game nights with six different Disney-themed sets featuring adorable figures of our favorite characters. The more sets you collect the more fun there is to be had by the whole fam!
This isn't your typical set-making card game. Power cards add in a fun twist as do the Pops which aren't just adorable they can help you win the game too. Play numbered and colored character cards to make sets and runs. Score a set to snag the character figure's special power. The first player to score three powers wins the game.
The Disney kid in me loves that the game cards feature a ton of my favorite Disney characters including including Princess Jasmine, Donald Duck, Buzz Lightyear, and Minnie Mouse. And as a collector of all things Funko, these figurines have the same attention to detail as the large Pops.
The game is simple to set up and the directions easy to follow. Rounds can end quickly or go on for a bit, depending on your luck. We've finished a round in as little as 5 minutes while others lasted 15. Either way, we had a lot of laughs and some quality family time. Win-win!
We have had a lot of fun playing this game already, adding in the second deck just made it sweeter. Currently I am the reigning champion but the kids are determined to oust me next game night. Good luck kiddos, this mama plays to win!
Where to buy Something Wild from Funko Games
Something Wild is recommend for ages 6+ and allows for up to 4 players per game. Pop figures and decks available right now include: Ariel, Woody, Mickey Mouse, Maleficent, Genie, and Jack Skellington.