We have covered Fort Wilderness and Disney World each year for the last four years. Our family spent three straight winter breaks at Fort Wilderness, and then last year we mixed it up and stayed at Wilderness Lodge. We love camping at Disney World, and we love the resort hotel experience as well. I think it’s fair to say that we are Disney nuts!
Unfortunately we decided to cancel our Disney World trip this year. But we still wanted to cover it on the podcast and see how they are operating during the pandemic. Is the experience just as magical? What is open and what is closed? Is it even safe to camp there and visit the parks? We needed to find out so we decided to invite our friends Lauren and Johann Schnell on to the podcast! They are both awesome people and they are both certified Disney nuts!. Thankfully they have the answers to all of these questions and more.
To listen to our interview with Johann and Lauren please click on the media player above or subscribe to the RV Atlas wherever you get your podcasts!
Camping at Disney World (Fort Wilderness)
When it comes to camping at Disney World, Fort Wilderness is the only show in town if you ask us. The Fort is on Disney property and is considered to be a Disney “Resort.” Johann and Laura were very happy with the OVERALL experience at Fort Wilderness. Lauren works in the medical field and she felt very good about Disney’s strict masking policy. She said she would not have camped at the Fort if that wasn’t the case. Food options at the Fort are very limited. Much more so than at the resorts. It seems like Disney understands that RV owners can make their own food back at their rigs and is relying on them to do so without complaint. Sadly, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is closed and the cast members and staff have been laid off, But rumors are swirling that Disney is trying to bring it back soon.
Visiting the Parks During a Pandemic
Johann and Lauren enjoyed visiting the parks but found that the quality of the experience varied from park to park. Here is a quick breakdown of how they both ranked the park experience from their favorite to least favorite.
Johann and Lauren LOVED visiting Hollywood Studios during their most recent trip. They both feel that there are a lot of great ride options at Hollywood Studios (Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog Dash and more) and most of them had reasonable wait times. There are no fast passes at any of the parks right now due to logistical reasons. But this wasn’t a problem for Johann and Lauren at all. They felt like the number of awesome rides combined with reasonable wait times might Hollywood Studies there favorite park on this trip.
2. Magic Kingdom:
Johann and Lauren both felt that the Magic Kingdom still had the magic! They think that the park held the crowds (which were capped at 25% at that time) because there are just so many rides there to choose from. Ironically, the park still looked crowded because of the required spacing on the lines. They were also lines to get in and out of the stores. Character meet and greets are cancelled for the time being. But in their place are very cool character “cavalcades” where they characters come by in mini-parade fashion to entertain guests.
3. Animal Kingdom
Johann and Lauren felt that Animal Kingdom was fine. Flight of Passage only had an hour wait which was a highlight. Otherwise, the park did feel crowded. Ordering food was problematic because many places within Animal Kingdom don’t do mobile ordering. Everest was also down on the day they visited. So that may have made other rides more crowded. Lauren also loved that characters (some rare ones too!) were riding around on boats at Animal Kingdom greeting guests. Again, this was in place of character meet and greets.
Johann and Lauren did not enjoy Epcot as much as they usually do. We think their reason why is very understandable and may even be a reason to skip Epcot until the pandemic ends. They both love walking around the “countries” in Epcot and sampling all of the good food and drinks. Our family loves doing that too. But because you can’t eat and walk around at the same time the typical Epcot experience is not really an option right now. Johann and Lauren are supportive of the masking policies–and this is the only experience that was really hampered by having to wear them.
When I asked Johann and Lauren what they missed the most, Lauren said character meet and greets. Johann said he didn’t miss anything. Because he takes his family to Disney to see their faces light up, and that’s exactly what happened on this trip. Same as it ever was.
They both would go back as soon as they can. Even during this pandemic.