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Is The Magic Still There? – DVC Trip Reports

One of the most common questions we’ve seen in the DVC Fan Facebook Group over the past few weeks is what returning “home” to Walt Disney World is like in this new age. Many Disney Vacation Club Members are rightfully concerned that with many restaurants and experiences closed and social distancing measures at every turn, the magic of Disney may be lost.

With that in mind, we turned to our DVC Fan family and asked members who have visited the Walt Disney World Resort since its reopening to share a few of their thoughts and stories. We hope these stories can help you and your family make the best decision possible regarding your upcoming Disney Vacation Club trip!

Photo Credit: Heather Krieger Ross
  • “My husband, 2 kids (14 and 11) and I stayed at Kidani 7/4-7/7 in a Standard Studio (no upgrade but I got the room I requested – sent via Touring Plans). The room was pretty clean (yes, I checked for dust, like Pete, lol). No small bottles in the shower, only the pumps, but was also stocked with bar soap and lotion. The remote was in a plastic bag that we kept it in.”
  • “We spent time in the pool every day Sun-Tuesday. I never felt like the pool was overcrowded. Even at the busiest, when there was a Cast Member counting for capacity, there were still open chairs and tables and the slide had a 2-3 kid wait (the stairs to the slide had distancing markers). The trivia and games were fun and the lifeguards friendly.”
  • “There are not a lot of dining options. My kids were not interested in Sanaa’s lunch/dinner menu (and I only really like the bread service). Breakfast “quick service” was good but we noticed it was expensive – over $50 with two kid meals and no adult beverages. It was actually less to eat at Kona Table Service (which we did ok Tuesday). The breakfast was good at Sana’a, though (I had the french toast). The only “quick service” for lunch/dinner is the Maji pool bar, which closes when it rains (we learned that the hard way).”
  • “We called bell services to help with our luggage/owners locker and they came really quickly/were a great help. There is no airline checkin at the hotels yet, so we had to bring our luggage to the airport to checkin. Bell Services wasn’t sure when it would start back again.”

Heather Krieger Ross

Photo Credit: Amanda
  • “We did 1 night at riviera, 1 night at Polynesian, and 3 nights at kidani. The only reason we did this trip was because we trusted that Disney would enforce masks and social distancing.”
  • “The pools at poly and riviera were awesome. Lots of space to socially distance away from other people both in and out of the pools and splash pads. Between quiet pools and the feature pool you always had an option. At one point the riviera feature pool felt more crowded than we were comfortable with, so we moved to the splash pad or could have moved to the quiet pool. We also were happy with the food options and the lobby at these 2 locations.”
  • “The pool at kidani was much more crowded than we experienced at the other resorts. The splash pad wasn’t running (aside from the waterfall) and there was no second pool to go to when it was crowded. The chairs did not seem to be spaced out a full 6 feet either.”
  • “We did take out from Sana’a a few times and enjoyed it, but we did miss a quick service option there.”
  • “If you are concerned about crowds I’d strongly consider avoiding kidani at this time.”


Photo Credit: Melissa Sanders Lam
  • “We checked into Kidani last night. Our room is especially clean compared to previous DVC visits. The upholstery and carpet looks freshly cleaned. The hotel is quiet with only a few other people around the hallways or lobby.”
  • “Refillable mugs are available but a CM will fill them for you. I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee and savanna view.”
  • “We just spent three days at Universal’s Royal Pacific and I actually miss getting my temperature checked and getting a wrist band. It may not matter, but it was reassuring to see guests getting checked and seeing the wrist bands throughout the parks.”

-Melissa Sanders Lam

Photo Credit: Gregg Aicher
  • “All guest are very respectful with mask policy walking around resort. Everyone takes them off immediately upon entering Lava/Quiet pool. Guest are supposed to wear them walking around the pool to go to bathroom or get a drink from pool bar. That policy was not enforced and nobody I saw had mask on.”
  • “YOU WILL HAVE NO PROBLEM SOCIAL DISTANCING. This could change once the parks open. For now, there are no issues in any area of the resort. Pool has plenty of room. The kids do crowd together on splash pad. And Captain Cooks does get somewhat busy at lunch. Mobile ordering strongly encouraged and recommend. They hand you food in a bag. In and out in less than a minute.”
  • “For any resort stay please go into the stores/QS and engage the CMs. They are so happy we have returned. All of them are so upbeat but must be bored to death. I almost felt like walking around just to touch surfaces. So they could have something to do and clean afterwards. These cast members truly love WDW. It’s not just a job to them.”
  • “Lastly, our only complaint is the Lava pool closes at 9. After 9 the “quiet pool” isn’t so quiet. Every guest who doesn’t have young kids hangs there. We could hear everyone from our room in Tokelau. We had to crank up our sound machine to get kids to bed.”
  • “Anyone with upcoming resort only stays GO! Get away for a few days and enjoy the place we all love. Our kids had an amazing time without the theme parks. You forget about all the craziness that is going on right now. It has been relaxing and a great recharge all in one. Any questions feel free to ask away.”

-Gregg Aicher

Photo Credit: Todd Soren
  • “We just got home from a week split between Old Key West and Boardwalk.”
  • “The resorts felt almost deserted — but that’s not a bad thing. It was really nice to have the whole place nearly to ourselves. And it allowed us to appreciate many of the finer details that can easily go unnoticed with all the normal hustle and bustle. At Boardwalk, the boardwalk itself was empty. Rather than running around or going to Jellyrolls, we made friends with the Disney ducks!”
  • “Cast members were fantastic. They definitely seemed refreshed and eager and excited to be back — maybe even as much as we were to be there. I know there is a constant discussion about how cast members are under-paid and under-appreciated — and that may well be the case — but it’s clear to me that many of them work there because they love it and the rest doesn’t matter as much as it does to us looking in from the outside.”
  • “Now for what you’re all waiting for: face masks. We all agreed that they are not ideal, but we also all agreed that they could be a lot worse. We anticipated absolute misery, but even after six or eight hours out and about, we lived, and it was not the “worst” part of the day. In typical Disney vacation fashion, we were all limping back to the resort and couldn’t wait to lie in bed and get off our feet. At that point, very little was made of the face masks.”

-Todd Soren

Photo Credit: Lacey Tobie
  • “We (my husband, son (9), daughter (7) and nephew (6)) just arrived home from our impromptu Grand Floridian get away. The cast members were amazing as usual, friendly, kind, welcoming. We received incredible service from the bell hop to our server at the pool. The food was better than before the closing of Disney 4 months ago. Everything was fresh, cook to perfection and tasted wonderful. The chefs came out with our meals and wanted to know if everything was to our expectations. It was a once in a lifetime experience having the pool completely to ourselves on multiple occasions. The youth counselors went above and beyond to entertain and engage my children. The sanitizing and cleanliness of Disney was above and beyond our expectations. We were not required to wear masks when eating at a restaurant or on the pool deck.”
  • “Now here’s the part nobody wants to hear…wearing a mask throughout the Disney resorts, I mean a thin mask, was miserable. I am a native central Floridian. I live an hour from Disney and have visited regularly since my birth. Disney runs in my veins. I have a Minnie tattoo, absurd amount of coffee cups, t-shirts, am known as the Disney person to anyone who knows me and can tell you damn near anything about the parks here at Walt Disney Resort. I respect the requirement to wear masks to protect cast members and adhered to Disney’s rules 100% of the time. The heat index was between 104 and 109 on any given day between 11am and 3pm. Walking from our room to the car was miserable. Walking around Disney Springs with the masks felt stifling. Having to take the mask off my face to take a sip of something and then put it back on was again not something I’m use to. Trying to understand cast members and other people while wearing them was difficult. I am a smilier and I hate not having others see me smile at them because smiles are contagious. The kids were not phased by the masks in the slightest and did not complain once. After this experience, as incredible as it was, I cancelled two of the 4 upcoming trip we have in the next few months.”
  • “With all that being said, if you personally find it comfortable or are at the least use to wearing a mask in the extreme heat, you will have a once in a lifetime vacation opportunity right now. Disney is not only up to par but above and beyond in their current efforts!”

-Lacey Tobie

Thank you to all the members of our DVC Fan Community who contributed to this article and sent in these trip reports. Stay tuned to DVC Fan, the DVC Fan Facebook Group, and The DIS for more information about Walt Disney World’s reopening in the coming weeks. Also, check back for more trip reports once the theme parks reopen!

Paul Krieger

Amy and I are new Orlando, Florida residents where we live with our dogs Odie the greyhound and Hermès the Spanish galgo. We are DVC owners at Animal Kingdom Lodge, BoardWalk Villas, Grand Californian, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian, Disney World Annual Passholders, and love educating Disney Vacation Club members on how to both use and maximize the value of their DVC points!

2 thoughts on “Is The Magic Still There? – DVC Trip Reports

  • Hello, DVC Fans! We, too, have had a recent stay at WDW (6/23-29) – the week of the reopening. We (my husband, myself, our son and daughter – both young adults) enjoyed a split stay at Beach Club, Polynesian, and Copper Creek (two nights at each hotel). Knowing that activities would be limited, we wanted to experience several resorts to give variety. We were so glad that we did. This gave us the opportunity to enjoy the food and pools at several locales. This trip focused on food, golf, and the pools.

    Food – We ate at Earl of Sandwich, Chicken Guy, Beaches and Cream, D-Luxe Burger, The Wave, Homecomin’, Toppolino’s, Geyser Point, plus the various quick service locations at our hotels. The food was good everywhere, with extra cleanliness protocols and mobile order encouraged where applicable. We purchased the refillable mugs, and pleasant cast members filled a paper cup with our beverage which we then poured into our mugs. We HIGHLY recommend Toppolino’s! Everything we had was absolutely delicious (freshly made pasta, filet mignon, lamb). The atmosphere was lovely, and our server was outstanding and so knowledgeable about the food preparation.

    Golf – My husband and son enjoyed a round of golf at the Magnolia Golf Course. All four of us were able to play a round at the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course. Both of these locales had protocols in place for cleanliness and distancing.

    Pools – All the pools were great! We spent time at the quiet pool at Beach Club (Stormalong Bay was closed due to the number of life guards required, according to a cast member), but Beach Club guests were able to use the Luna Pool at Boardwalk (you know, with the clown slide). We actually like this slide, and went down it numerous times! We also enjoyed the pools at the Polynesian (love their slide also!) and at Wilderness Lodge. The recreation cast members responsible for pool games, trivia games, etc. did a good job at each hotel. The pools had plenty of people, but we never felt uncomfortable since there was room to spread out.

    A few other thoughts – Cast members were so happy to greet us and are grateful to be back at work. They were cleaning tables, hand rails, chairs, etc. on a regular basis. They are real troopers wearing their masks all day in the heat (VERY hot the week we were there). Regarding masks…yes, they’re a drag, but we just have to deal with it right now. The vast majority of people were wearing their masks properly, sometimes we saw people at Disney Springs not having their noses covered but they were probably just trying to breathe. Overall, people did try to stay out of other people’s way. In the World of Disney store, there was a cast member walking around greeting people, but he also confronted a young woman for not wearing her mask properly. He was nice but firmly said that she had two choices, either wear the mask or leave and gave the reasons for wearing masks. He did this in a nice, respectful way but got his point across.

    While this trip was different from our previous forty-something trips, we still enjoyed ourselves. Having a Dole Whip by the pool certainly says “Welcome Home!”

  • I carefully read all the vacation reports and was happy to see most of the reports were favorable. Not a 100% positive on social distancing and enforcement of masks. My major complaint with DVC is the ruling we must use our 2019 points, roll them to RCI, or lose them. Since Florida has turned into a hot spot for the virus and the resorts are just starting to openI don’t see how my vacation can possibly take place by then. We were supposed to be in Aulani in June. I am very disappointed in Disney’s lack of flexibility. Even the airlines allowed us to use our unused tickets until December 2021.

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