Table of Contents
Reviewing the runDisney Princess Half Yoga Experience & Mask & Lightning Lane Updates
Reviewing the runDisney Princess Half Yoga Experience as the main topic this week.
- 5 Things We Loved About runDisney Sunrise Yoga (and 1 Thing We Hated)
- Disney Yoga Class Options Inspired By runDisney Sunrise Yoga
- Namaste! Everything We Know About runDisney’s Sunrise Yoga
We also discuss how weird it was for Patty to be at a fully mask-optional-if-you-are-vaccinated-but-no-one-is-checking Disney World (because it was weird for her- be kind!) Heads up & take a listen if wearing masks in crowded places is still important to you.
And quickly touch on the Lightning Lane and Genie+ changes that went on during a very busy President’s Day/Princess Half week.
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Music from https://filmmusic.io
“Vivacity” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com)
License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
To all who come to our happy place – welcome to the No-Guilt Disney Podcast, where we have no guilt about our love for all things Disney.
We are three Disney fangirls who probably know more about the Disney Parks than most grown women should – and we’re perfectly okay with that.
1 million gazillion percent okay with that. We love it. Disney adults. That’s us.
Yes, that’s definitely 100% me. Hello, everyone. My name is Theresa and you can find me on Twitter at @GertietheDino.
Oh, now it’s my turn! My name is Jane and you can find me on Instagram at @RealMousewifeWDW.
Hey y’all. I’m Patty Holliday from NoGuiltDisney.com and No-Guilt Travel, a travel agency that specializes in Disney and Universal vacations. You can find me on all socials at @NoGuiltLife. And you are not deceiving yourselves… There were not one, but two whole Instagram posts this week!
The crowd goes wild.
Instagram and I, over the pandemic, I didn’t have anything to post about. I also have never been the person that posts there every day, like what’s going on [in my life]. I only posted when something cool was happening, like we were going someplace or we were planning trips or that sort of thing. So I have just fallen out of the usual Instagram posting. I was looking back at it, and it looks like I’m posting every time I go to Disney and thats… it. Every now and then, [I post] my dog. You can see some of our topics for today are actually right there on that Instagram post. A couple of things to note – if I sound super tired, I am! I flew in very late last night from the Princess Half Marathon weekend. Right now, all you princesses are up and running the half marathon! Go, go, go! Run, run, run! We wanted to get this episode recorded because our schedules are all crazy, as you guys hear from us every time we record. We wanted to jump in and get this done and this was the only time that we could all three get together and have this discussion. So if I sound tired, if I sound out of it, I am. But I’m hanging in there. It’s all good things. It was because it was of course an interesting time at Walt Disney World. We’re going to talk about Princess Half Marathon Weekend a little bit, we’re going to talk about the yoga experience that was there. I will mention some things from the 5K. Mask changes, because I had a real reaction to this, and I just want to let everybody know about it in case you might possibly have the same reaction. It’s like a “prepare yourself” kind of thing, if you have any trips coming up. I think we’re going to talk a little bit about these Lightning Lane changes that were dropped this week. Does that sound like everything, ladies? Is that what we’re covering right now?
Knowing us, other things will come up. There might be a tangent along the way, but I think that’s most of what we’ve planned to talk about.
They do tend to do that. All right, let’s jump in with Princess! Let’s talk about this race weekend. As everybody knows that listens to our podcast, runDisney is one of our favorite topics. The Princess Half Marathon is actually what started it all for me. I first ran the 5K and a half marathon in 2011, so this is my favorite weekend. It also kind of ties to my birthday, so it was always a good excuse to go. That has not changed. I still use that constantly. Treat yourself! I went down this weekend and we had something new on the agenda, and that was Sunrise Yoga in front of [Cinderella] Castle. Jane and I signed up for it because, of course, we did this for you. We wanted to give you a good review and to give you some information on what to expect if you are interested in this sort of thing. Theresa, do you have any questions about this whole experience?
All of them she has all of the questions.
I do, but there’s a super long train.
Why isn’t it done yet?
Listen, at least there’s a train running somewhere. Not at Magic Kingdom.
I will say I’m really interested in these yoga events. It’s a relatively new addition to the race weekends, right?
And this wasn’t the first one? Did they have this during Marathon or Wine & Dine?
No, this was the first race weekend that they have done the sunrise yoga.
The inaugural event, if you will – which they were not calling it that. I’m wondering why they decided to do that. I wonder if we were just these test subjects out there. But they didn’t make a big deal about it being the very first one. Carissa did mention it, didn’t she, Jane? This being the very first one?
I don’t know. I was so annoyed about her presence. To be fair, I like her. I actually like her!
It’s not personal, that’s not what she means!
It’s not! I follow her on Instagram. She and her little family are super adorable and she doesn’t bother me at race weekends. I know she bothers other people, but I actually like Carissa. But, the introduction of Carissa was so built up that I was like, “Oh my god, it’s totally gonna be adorable Minnie or adorable Cinderella! They’re going to come out in their super cute yoga gear and I’m going to want it. It’s going to be partnered with Lululemon to spend $250 to buy something stupid”… And it was none of those things. It was just Carissa.
By the way, that whole build up only took maybe 30 seconds, but all of these things went through Jane’s head that fast. That she was going to watch it all and that she was going to pay for it all and she couldn’t wait to see what they were about. What they said was something along the lines of “someone special, someone who’s just as special as you are”… I don’t even know. We have it on video, though.
No one as special as Jane is. Let’s get that out there.
That is true! Also, they [said] “it’s magical” and they made it this big, whole “We’re going to welcome…!” and then it was Carissa. I literally said on video, “You have got to be joking right now”. This is why I can’t go live or be in front of a camera.
Or is it exactly why you should do that?
That’s what I said! I think I just found my first TikTok video, Jane! But at the same time, we just want to make sure everybody understands there’s no Carissa hate. It was just that we had [excitement] built up in our heads. I was doing the same thing. I expected it to be a character of some sort. I expected that we were going to get graced with somebody cute and fun to wish us well or namaste and it did not happen. What did happen is that it was just Carissa. So, Carissa comes out and says her spiel and she was great as always, so it was fine. Jane’s reaction was absolutely priceless and I about fell down because we were standing at that point, thank goodness. I mean, I can’t take you anywhere.
We had to replay the video five times.
We did, we did. So if anybody wants to see that video, we might have a special treat for you.
It’s on my Instagram.
Alright, so let’s start from your first question, and that was about transportation. Originally, when you signed up for this, Disney said you’re on your own. You have to get to the TTC by yourself, you are going to get your car there or take Uber somehow, some way. We’re not running any buses. When you get to the TTC, then we will have a check in. This yoga experience happened before any expos were open and we didn’t have to go to expo to pick anything up or to do anything [for the yoga experience]. When you got to the TTC, you got in line and they pulled you up and checked your expo pass. You did get an expo pass, you just didn’t have to go to expo. They tried to confuse everybody, but it was very simple. They just checked you off that you had signed your waiver, put a wristband on you and let you get on the ferryboat. So, that was what happened once you got to the TTC. Getting to the TTC, Jane drove me, so I had my own personal Uber, so it was very nice and easy on me. However, a couple of days before the event, runDisney did make the call to run buses. But, it was very specific bus schedule for this thing. It appeared to me like you had one shot. You needed to be at your bus stop at the very specific time that they assigned you to be there, and they were driving around one time. I was at Caribbean Beach, so they probably made one loop, picked up whoever was there at the appointed time as on the schedule, and then took them to TTC. If you missed that time, I’m assuming at that point you had to get an Uber to get yourself there. Or if you had a car, you had to drive yourself there at that point. There was transportation for this event. Currently, there is a Springtime Surprise Sunrise Yoga scheduled, [and] it is still saying no transportation. We don’t know yet if that is going to be modified, if they are also going to supply it like they did for Princess Half Marathon Weekend. I’m hoping that we get some survey that comes out after events and they ask us questions, because I will definitely advocate for transportation. I’ve already heard from some people who would love to do it and think it looks fantastic, but there’s no transportation [and] that’s a problem. I completely respect that and understand it. So, that’s how that worked. We decided that we wanted to be there early first thing, because we had in our head, like I’m sure many princesses did, that we needed to and wanted to be as close to the stage as possible for pictures, of course, but also to be able to see the instructor and that sort of thing. When we got there, we actually changed our plans and changed our minds. We actually did not push forward and we did not go all the way to the front. If we had wanted to, we were there early enough that we could have, if that any makes sense.
When you say “early enough”… we haven’t said what time the buses start in the morning. Talk about what time the actual yoga was supposed to begin, what time they would have suggested you get there and what your morning looked like.
The actual yoga experience started at 5:30 in the morning. RunDisney was very clear that you needed to be to Transportation and Ticket Center by 4:30am at the latest, and they opened check-in at 3:45am. I think they said that the parking gates at Magic Kingdom would open at 3:30am. We came through the parking gates at about 3:45am and parked our car. We were in the very closest row to walk over. They walk you through security. Because yoga is the first day of any race weekend – and it actually is before the expo – you check in at the event. At Transportation and Ticket Center, they have line setup, you had your Expo yoga pass from runDisney that they email you ahead of time, you got in line, you showed your ID, they checked you and and put a wristband on you. Then it was only by ferry, and they had a couple of ferries come over. We were on the very first ferry, so I can’t say exactly how many ferries came over. But, there was a lot of standing around by the time we got to Magic Kingdom before the event started.
Yeah, because we had in our heads [that] we wanted to make sure we got there so that we could document [the experience] and we could see how the whole thing went down, right? Because we’re here for you, dear listeners. Like Jane said, there was a lot of standing around. That’s what ended up happening for us. In hindsight, we would probably go a little bit closer to whatever their last timeframe was that we had to be at TTC. In the end for us, it just wasn’t necessary to be first. I think you could have slept in a little bit and waltzed in a little bit later and been completely totally fine. Those ferries were running like clockwork. As long as you got there by whatever time period they said was the cut off… What did we say that was? Was it 5 o’clock?
4:30am was the time you had to be at the TTC. I think maybe the last ferry probably ran over at 5am.
I think as long as you were there by 4:30 am, then you would have been fine. You did not need to be there super, super early like we were, unless it was important to you to be right up at the front. There were certainly people who were filling up those front spots right away.
I think it’s important to also talk about that it’s really not necessary to be at the front. This was the most surprising thing and one of the reasons why ultimately we wound up changing our strategy when we went in. First off, you don’t realize how many people they can actually fit in that hub. They laid out spaces for us. There’s a yoga mat laid out, there’s all this space for you to do your yoga and not touch the person next to you. It was all spread out throughout the hub [and] coming a little bit down Main Street, they had some in the hub grass area, they had it around the Partners statue. We walked around and there were very few spots that we didn’t think were great spots. It doesn’t really matter where we are. This is going to be great.
The way they had it set up was [that] the main instructor was up on the main castle stage. She was up on a riser that was high enough that even in the back, we could see her clearly, so that was not a problem. Then they also had two additional yoga instructors who are following along that were more in line with where the Partners statue is. If you’ve been there, you can see the visual there. I didn’t notice them as much as I noticed the main lady that was doing it. By the way, her name is Dana and she was amazing.
I didn’t notice them at all.
I didn’t notice them. I think they might have blended in for us from our point of view. With the other people doing yoga, we just couldn’t see them. But I think if you were closer to them, you would have obviously [seen them]. They were also up on risers a little bit, and you probably could have seen them better, but they didn’t catch our eye. We were focused directly on the castle. I think we were three yoga mat rows from the back. That’s how far back we ended up choosing to do our flow from. We ended up right in the middle. But at the very, very back, choices were made, and these choices were made, in part, because we had no idea what to expect. We didn’t know how hard this was going to be or how easy this was going to be. We didn’t want to be a distraction in case we were a total nightmare mess and really couldn’t do this. I didn’t want to be in the middle of a bunch of people who were trying to be very serious about yoga, and then there’s me and Jane flopping around and giggling and being stupid. We decided we would just take ourselves to the back. Plus, closer to the bathrooms in case we had to run, that sort of thing. We were kind of making strategic decisions here. That’s why we ended up in that back section, but we had a great view from the back. If you decide to go and do this, you can get awesome views from the sides, from the front. I mean, I don’t think there was a bad place to be. Originally, maybe we would want to be in the hub grass, because it’ll be a little softer, but I think they might have had a harder view. I don’t know that their view was as direct for the instructors, as those of us who were on the ground. That is something to keep in mind. The hub grass probably sounds like a great idea, but I’m not sure it was so great if you were more focused on needing to see the instructor as you did this.
Yeah, which brings up a really good point. When we left, we talked a lot about this event. We were very pleasantly surprised because, in case you haven’t noticed, we are not yoga people. Flexibility isn’t our thing, necessarily. We were very surprised that the instructor’s prompts were so clear that you didn’t really need to see her at all. I know that that’s the way that yoga should be, right? I’m not a yogi and all that good stuff, but I have taken yoga before. I do understand that you should be able to close your eyes and enjoy the experience and get into it and not be worried about craning your neck and putting things out of alignment to look at an instructor. I thought she broke things down so clearly that you could have never done, never seen, never done anything with yoga and walked in there and you could have followed along.
Oh, absolutely. I agree. The only yoga I’ve ever done has been following videos, I think P90X yoga videos. I only say that because I could follow those in small doses. They got kind of hard! I couldn’t do everything on those. Plus, when you’re watching a video, you can pause, or you can rewind, or you can just do the sections that you want to. I felt like this was a really welcoming, comfortable environment for yoga folks of all sizes, shapes, ages, levels. There were a ton of extra princesses – you know who you are – who showed up in costume, which was hilarious and adorable. They were so cute. Then there were people who showed up in their very serious, very comfortable yoga gear. They know what they’re doing. We’re going to follow them. In fact, the lady that was sitting right to my right, her and her husband were definitely more experienced yoga folks. I kept peepin’ over there to see. Am I doing this right? Am I in the right position? That was nice, too. I can’t speak for them, but it seemed to me that they would start [a move] and they would be beginner level, and [then] you definitely have options to extend or to make it harder, to go deeper. If you’re more flexible or if you have more experience, she would call those out and tell you to go ahead and do this if you’re comfortable with that. If you were concerned about it, or interested in it, but weren’t quite sure if it’s something that you could do, I can say everybody can do this and have this experience. Now, do you want to? Are you interested in it? Theresa, do you have any interest in doing this kind of thing?
I would say maybe. I’m also just curious, because you had mentioned that they had the mats spaced out for you. Especially for people who maybe don’t do yoga regularly, I’m curious… was there anything else that they had set up for people who might not have a mat at home or might not be familiar with it? And is there anything that they suggest that you bring?
Actually, they don’t suggest you bring anything. Just come in comfortable clothing. I can’t ever go barefoot just because of my plantar fasciitis and multiple other issues I have with my feet, so I came in sneakers. Ultimately, I did take my shoes off a little bit. Most people came in flip flops or something a little bit easy so that they could ground their feet. I think that that was a good choice, if you’re looking to go grounded [to the mat]. Eventually, I had to take off my shoes and my socks and then put them all back on later. The price of the event, which I believe was $100 – and Patty, you can check me on that – included a yoga mat with a carrier and then they placed out half-size Dasani water bottle. That was probably the most disappointing thing. Come on, guys. You could have given me the full size Dasani bottle.
Is the yoga mat yours to take after?
Okay, so that’s nice for the price.
…about the yoga mat.
I expected a little bit more from the yoga mat. I expected them to be pink. I wanted them to be princess-y. I expected them to say “runDisney”. I wanted them to be special. These were very generic plain blue yoga mats that you can get anywhere.
Nothing written on them. They were thin.
Yes. I stepped on my yoga mat to put my stuff down and took a chunk out of the yoga mat. It was so cheap. The carrier that you get does say “runDisney” on it, and that is yours to keep so we did bring it home. But Patty, you found out some information.
I think it surprised both of us. Maybe it was because of the week that I had felt and I had had leading up to yoga. I had been at Disney for two days and as I mentioned earlier, I had some feelings about the whole mask situation, which we’ll get into that in a minute. I think when I got finished with the yoga experience, I honestly had felt like I connected with my breathing, I did all the “woowoo” stuff, and I felt like I had let a lot go. As we were getting up and walking away and I’m looking back at this castle that’s lit up so beautifully and everything’s so very peaceful and I felt centered and wonderful. I mean, I’m not “woo woo” like this. I’m not that kind of person, but I really did feel it. They need to do this again. This needs to become a thing. Because, gosh, if they could even pull this off and figure out a way to offer it during regular vacation times, not just during runDisney events… like yoga Wednesday mornings in front of the castle. If it became a thing, they could make a lot of money. Just leting you know, Josh. I know you’re listening as you always do every time we drop a new episode. But that’s another way to add to the bottom line; just go tap Chapek on the shoulder and let him know we came up with a great idea. I think as a parent, particularly, when you are coming to one of these Disney vacations, you have in your head that it’s going to be one thing. And then it very often with your family turns out to be not that one thing. It’s not as smooth sailing and it’s very chaotic. A lot of people just don’t recognize that these vacations tend to be work, even if you decide to opt out of playing the Disney shenanigan games. It’s just the fact that there’s a lot of people trying to get to places in the same time. I have always wanted a vacation from my vacations, particularly when I traveled with my kids and my family. You’re just juggling a lot of balls trying to get the most out of everything that you’re doing. It’s just the the natural inclination, I think, for a lot of parents. There are ton of moms who would pay $200 to come and lay in front of the castle, and have this peaceful experience in the middle of their family vacation. I think. I could be wrong. I just really felt like they were on to something. I left feeling so good that I was ready to take on the day. Let’s go rope drop something! It just really felt great.
I do just want to go back to the yoga mat. You spoke with somebody at the Expo?
So all that being said… I had to go to Expo that afternoon, because I had to pick up my 5K bib. While I was there, the runDisney folks were standing at the table, so I walked up to them and had a chit chat about it. And I said, “Can I offer you guys some feedback about yoga?” And they were like, “Yes…?” I think they were concerned they might hear some negative stuff. I gushed and told them how wonderful we thought it was and how great it was, and yada yada yada. “Oh, that’s so good to hear. We actually have been hearing some very positive things!”, they said, “except for the yoga mat”. Ding, ding ding! I said the yoga mat was really sucky. The person that I spoke to who is a runDisney representative did follow up and say, “Oh, we are the people you need to talk about this event. We need to hear you. You just happened to walk up to the right people to tell this to.” I was like, “Wonderful. I hope you can make things happen because I think it would be a great opportunity for a lot of people to experience”. She mentioned the yoga mat and she did say it was a supply chain issue. It sounds like what they ran into possibly is either they’re not the ones they ordered, or that’s all they could get in the amount of time that they had. I’m not sure what the exact answer is or maybe they ordered these so long ago and that’s just what showed up.
That definitely happens.
Yes. I’ve learned that through Jane and her merchandising background. Sometimes you get these things from way back when. Anyway, it wasn’t what they expected either or what they wanted. Will that change in time for Springtime Surprise Yoga? I can’t say. Maybe. I’m also kind of thinking maybe they ordered everything at the same time and we’re just going to get the same blue disappointing mats for Springtime Surprise as we did for Princess.
Even if you think about what you usually pay for Disney experiences and what you can take home. A yoga mat, even a cheap one, is still 15 to 20 bucks. If you look at paying 100 bucks for the experience itself and getting the take home something that’s 20% of that price, in Disney terms that’s a good bang for your buck.
Exactly. In Disney terms. And let’s be honest, people that do these events… you’re not there for the yoga experience. You’re there [to be] in front of the castle, after hours where nobody else is there but you. The exclusive experience of being there during this time, right? You kind of pay for that, right? And that’s part of the whole package, I think. I would encourage anybody who is interested in this… maybe they’re even going to go support a runner, but they’re not a runner and they don’t want to run. You want some kind of a low impact activity to be part of, then possibly consider doing this. After I had this conversation with my friends at runDisney, I even said, “Oh, by the way, wink, wink, nudge nudge, are you going to open any additional slots for Springtime Surprise?”. And they were like, “Well, that’s not up to us. We don’t make those decisions.” And I was like, “Okay, they should if they can,” and she just kind of was like “Well, they look at how many people they had registered, and then they have to make the decision on how many people can actually fit there”. I’m thinking now that they saw what they could fit and what they could do in this space or even just the transportation concerns, there must have been a quick discussion or some conversations behind that because lo and behold, the next morning, Springtime Surprise Yoga opened back up for registration. I just looked as of this morning, which is Sunday, February 27, Springtime Surprise Yoga is available. If you are interested, you might want to hit pause on the podcast and go and get yourself registered, and then come back and join us. I do think that if you are a Disneyphile, if you’re somebody who really loves being in the parks and love soaking that in, and then also really want a calming, peaceful stretch experience, I don’t think you will be unhappy with the yoga experience. At least, neither Jane nor I was. Jane in particular can get salty about things.
Girl! I’m starting to take a little offense after the things I had to talk you down from all week long.
We’ll get there! We’ll get there! We’re going to discuss my neuroses in just a minute. . So, that is Springtime Surpirse Yoga. When we left, we got to take our mat, we got to take our little mini water bottles, and we got back on the ferry, took off and got in a car and drove away.
Around what time were you guys leaving?
I forgot a couple of very important aspects of this. We also got fireworks at the end of yoga.
And that really made my day. I feel special. They gave us special little fireworks. We got a little bit of firework action, which made me happy. We also did finally get our friend Cinderella showing up.
Cinderella did come out and say a little spiel afterwards. In hindsight, it makes more sense to bring her out at the end than at the beginning. I think so. It worked. Then as we were walking out [of] Main Street and leaving, Minnie Mouse was waving in her iridescent outfit, and she was waving to us up [on] the train station. So, we also saw Minnie. While the characters were not the primary focus, we got characters and we got fireworks. Hey, a win all around, as far as I was concerned. Jane, let’s talk about how long this took.
Timing-wise, the event itself started at 5:30am. I think originally, they may have said on the website that it takes about an hour. The yoga practice itself was actually only about 45 minutes. And to be honest, it flew by. Patty and I were like, “Wow, that went way faster than we expected”. We set up our mats in the very back of where everybody was. We chose to be there. Mostly because we wanted to be back on that first ferry. Unfortunately, I had to work that day. We’ve got to get things moving. We left pretty much as soon as it was over. We packed up, we took some photos, we walked to the end of Main Street, and got on that first ferry back to TTC. When we arrived there, it was 6:42am. I know this because somebody else asked me and I looked at my photos. Sunrise does not actually happen at this time of year. So for Princess, the technical sunrise, I believe was either seven o’clock or 7:15am. It was getting lighter, but the yoga part was actually completed in the dark. Which is why, at the end, we could still have fireworks. Now when you look because the sun actually rises behind us. If you’re looking up Main Street, you’re not facing east so the sun actually rises behind you. When you turned around, you could start to see the sky behind you getting a little bit light, that the sun was coming up. But it is not [like] the sun is going to come up over the castle and it’s going to be this beautiful, momentous [experience]. That’s not going to happen. Even with the time change of Springtime Surprise, which we walked through in another group I’m in because we’re nerdy like that… because of the sun constantly changing what time it comes up, it will still not be light out when you complete yoga. Just note that. If that’s going to be the make or break for anyone. Now, there were other people who did hang out in Magic Kingdom [to] wait to be on the later ferries. But they do try to clear that park pretty quickly because obviously they have to open the park for day guests. They do have people that are ushering you out, trying to get you to move out there. By the time we got back to TTC and took a couple pictures there, we were in the car by seven o’clock.
The sun came up but not while we were in the park. We were out of the park. Actually, right when we got off the ferry, I had Jane take one picture of me and it’s a daylight picture. So to give you an idea, that’s kind of the timeframe of it all. We were done by 7am.
Yep, absolutely. So, Patty and I were so inspired by this yoga experience that we had, that we decided we were going to commit to doing yoga once a week on Sundays. I used to do yoga on Sundays years and years ago at a studio in New York, and she always played music that reminded me of Animal Kingdom. So that was always my Sunday night zen. I would relax and pretend I was at Animal Kingdom. We’re going to do yoga on Sunday nights. Disney has a partnership with Peloton, and through Peloton they have some yoga classes that have Disney music, so we’re going to participate in that. We invite everybody here, listeners and anyone else, to participate with us. If you’d like to know more about that, you can join us in our Facebook group, which is No-Guilt Disney on Facebook and I’ll post details there. Obviously, we’re not all in a room. There will be no video. You can roll around on your floor. No one’s checking you. There’s no fireworks, Carissa is not showing up. There’s no free cheap yoga mat and you have to get your own water, but the experience is free. And the benefits are plentiful.
All true. Theresa had mentioned before – we could pull up Disney+ and have the… what is it?
The Sunrise Series. There’s two different things. There’s the Sunrise Series, and I believe they have three hour-long episodes. Sunrise in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. Then there’s also Zenimation, which has two seasons and they’re much shorter, six to eight minutes. It’s just some enjoyable sounds with some Disney animation and each one has a little bit of a theme.
That’s my favorite thing to watch when you want to take a nap. Turn on Zenimation and just lay down and you’re out in like five minutes. It’s so relaxing.
I’m thinking on my big screen, I might put the Sunrise Series or Zenimation and then I’ll just set my phone up or my laptop to watch the instructor. We are going to do yoga together apart, that kind of thing, every Sunday night. If you want to have a yoga check-in with us, come join the Facebook group and we’ll talk about it there. All right, who wants to hear my mask issues?
I mean, not me.
Let’s be fair about this. So that everybody understands where I am coming from… Theresa, you’re in a similar circumstance. Everybody generally in your area, are they still masking?
I think it’s 50-50. I’m in an area where they’ve been more lenient about who needs to wear masks. There are still some businesses that are requiring them. I know Baltimore City, they still do have their mask mandate at the time. A lot of the counties have relaxed them around the end of January. But I think I’m just in an area that you still will see more people [wearing masks] than not. I’m noticing when I’m going to the grocery store [people] are still going to be wearing their masks. And that’s kind of been throughout the entire pandemic, that’s nothing new for right now. But you’ll tend to see, even if it’s not being told explicitly [that] they have to, more people where I live are wearing them.
Okay, very similar to us too, except I’m in Northern Virginia. There’s a large area of Northern Virginia. It depends on where you are in Northern Virginia on how true this may seem to you or not. Where I live in my community, every time I go into any dining establishment, grocery store, gas station, Kohl’s, and Walmart… whenever I go into any of those places, it’s easily 90% of the folks are still wearing their masks. Now, this was before the CDC just dropped and changed everything on Friday, so I have no idea how my community is going to react to that. None of it is mandated here. Everything is just voluntary. That’s how our community is choosing to deal with the pandemic. Most of us are vaccinated, most of us are boosted out here. And in addition, most of us are wearing masks. That’s just the culture. That is what these folks in this particular bubble that I live in have been doing. Obviously, I know, because two of my very best friends live in Florida. They tell me all the time how Florida is just very different and nobody has been doing any of that business for months and months. I recognize that. I know everywhere is different. I’m not mad about it, I’m not judging it, I get it. This is just kind of my warning sign for anybody who may be coming from an area like Theresa and I, and you do decide to go down to Disney. It was just a very big shock for me to see what happened. You also have to remember – I’ve been to Walt Disney World. I think this was my sixth trip since the pandemic started. I’ve been going [down there] the entire time. And, obviously, the entire time with a small window of three months, I think last summer, they relaxed the masks at that point. But the rest of this time, everyone’s worn masks when you’re indoors [in Walt Disney World] and when you’re on buses and that sort of thing. This was my first trip, where it was completely optional for folks. This is the first time I had that experience, and I don’t really know what I expected. I didn’t go down with like a number in my head or an expectation in my head. But what I saw was definitely not what I expected and I just had a very visceral reaction to it at first, and it upset me.
Well, hold on, let’s just say that masks are now optional for people who are fully vaccinated. That is actually what the Disney rule is. Let’s just put that out there. It’s not actually optional for everyone. But –
But considering they don’t check vaccination records…
… and people are people.
It’s the honor system.
Yes. So let’s also factor in that inherent distrust of people that kicked in as well. At Walt Disney World at this time [of year], and this is February, it was a very warm week, but it’s just going to get warmer. I don’t think Florida is going to get cold again anytime soon. It’s just going to continue to get warmer. Maybe it was because of the weather. Maybe that had a lot to do with it. Or maybe this is just the way things are going. But it was miraculous [that] everyone was vaccinated at Disney World during this week . Literally everyone was. From the little four year olds who can’t be vaccinated, but obviously were, all the way up to every single adult that I saw there. I think I had in my head as a reasonable idea that there would still be a pocket of us that 30% of people would still choose to mask indoors, like in the stretching room at Haunted Mansion or while you’re waiting in the queue line of Space Mountain. I just had in my head that when you’re indoors and close to people, you should probably still wear your masks. And I did. But I was probably the 1% that did, not the 30% that I even had in my head. I just want this to be out there for anybody who is planning on going. Particularly, if you are coming from someplace where you see things differently in your everyday surroundings, this just may be a big surprise to you, or a shock or whatever you want to call it. I didn’t have a meltdown. I wasn’t screaming and yelling at people, but I was typing furiously at Jane complaining and asking, “What is going on? Why don’t people care? I can’t believe all of this!”, and I apologize that she had to hear me have my little mental breakdown. But she held my hand and got me through it, and honestly, it was fine. Truthfully – knock on all the wood right now – I feel fine. I don’t feel like I came home with COVID. But who knows, right? Because who knows. By the end of the trip, I was trying to go without the mask to see if I could get comfortable with it. Again, I’ve been doing this for two years in my area, it’s like a community thing. We all do it. I thought, hey, things have changed and things are different. We are vaccinated and I am vaccinated. If I’m going to believe in science, let’s see [how it goes]. I did take the mask off quite a bit, even indoors a few times. But there were times where I was like, “Nope, nope, nope”. Too many people. Too many people. I had to put it right back on.
The great part is you get to make the choice for you, right? No, this is a little too close quarters, so I’ll put it back on. I thought you did well, [you] got over that initial hurdle. Girl. She was counting people.
Counting people! She called me [and said], “There were five! There were only five of all these people!” and I was like, “You need to do something else because you’re standing in Disney World counting people with masks. Let’s find something else to focus on.”
And I’m not really like that, y’all! You do you, and it’s all good. I think it was just this shock and change coming to me. I also feel like anybody going down anytime soon, particularly if you do have concerns or you have littles that can’t get vaccinated yet, just so you’re aware, nobody judged me and nobody told me to take my mask off. Well, I take that back. There was one time where I was putting my mask on, and I heard someone snarkily snort and go, “Ugh. So glad we don’t have to wear those stupid masks anymore”. And I was just like, “Man…”.
Really? It would have been an improvement because I wouldn’t have to see your face.
Right? I did hear that once. But you know, you can’t control people. For the most part, I would say that was definitely more like a 50-50 proposition where there were quite a few Cast Members who are still wearing their masks for their own reasons. But when it came to guests, very, very few are wearing them. It is what it is. So you are aware that that is now the current landscape at Walt Disney World. Even if another big surge comes through, I think that genie is finally out [of the bottle]. If that also determines if you feel comfortable going to the parks or not, take that into account and make your choices as you need to. What I didn’t want was for anybody to show up and then have a completely miserable experience and not be able to handle it just because it’s not what you visualized or what you had experienced just a couple of months ago. It definitely felt different. It also didn’t help that this week was banana pants. It was completely full. There were so many people at this park the entire weekend long. It was a lot of people.
Definitely a lot of people.
And one of the results of having so many people… it seems like Disney decided to respond to that and made some changes to the Lightning Lane offerings.
Sure did. They decided that starting from February 25 and going through August 7 – I don’t know why that particular day is necessary. Why can’t it just be forever? Whatever. Frozen Ever After in EPCOT, Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway are now no longer the paid individual Lightning Lane a la carte option. They are now part of Genie+, so that $15 a day that you pay for Genie+ will now include these three rides.
It seems like right now Expedition Everest is closed for refurbishment. I feel like there’s a good chance when that comes back [at the] end of April, that one’s also probably going to get shifted to Genie+ rather than the paid Lightning Lane.
I think so, too. Folks weren’t clamoring to pay seven bucks or whatever for that one. That’s one thing about Genie+ that we can look at is that, obviously, they’re changing and they’re shifting things as needed, maybe based on what they’re seeing with the crowds. There were absolutely some “failures” this trip with Genie+. I talked to a lot of people while we were standing in line – Look at me go! I was even being social without my mask! Guys… growth. I talked to a lot of people in line who were using it for the first time and had never been to Disney World at all. They were somewhat confused by it and didn’t really love it and weren’t sure, so I talked them through a few things. The main thing that I can tell you from my own experience [is that] I was at Magic Kingdom and things were looking like by 10 o’clock [in the morning], there was “nothing left”. Well, I didn’t give up. I kept going back to it. I mean, I wasn’t constantly on my phone, but I did go back to it every now and then, and kept hunting around and looking. In the end I rode three or four things at Magic Kingdom that morning into the afternoon, including paying for Space Mountain, because I did pay for Space Mountain Lightning Lane that day. I ended up doing a bunch – Oh, wait, no! I didn’t pay for Space Mountain. That was free, wasn’t it?
I don’t know. What day did you ride it? If you rode it on Friday, then it was included. If you rode it on Thursday or Wednesday, it wasn’t included.
No, it wasn’t no. It was Tuesday. I was one of the last suckers that paid for Space Mountain. I paid for Space Mountain so that I could do Lightning Lane, and then I think I got two or three other rides there at Magic Kingdom before I called it and went back to the hotel for a little bit. But, I was able to stack four additional rides in the evening over at EPCOT that kept showing that they were out, that they didn’t have [anything] available. For example, I couldn’t find anything for Test Track earlier in the day, but by three o’clock, I was able to grab Test Track for five o’clock. What I’m saying is, even if it shows that there’s “nothing available,” don’t just close your app and never go back to it. Keep looking. If you keep hunting around and keep hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh… sometimes times will pop open for you. That’s probably the biggest tip I can give you for Genie+ is just to keep refreshing it. Alright, I think that covers everything that we wanted to talk about today.
We hope you enjoyed what you heard today. If you have any other questions about Princess yoga or what happened over Princess weekend, once we got to that recap…. You can join us in our Facebook group, No-Guilt Disney on Facebook, and you could email us at [email protected].
And make sure you join us each week on the No-Guilt Disney Podcast, because as Patty likes to say –
It’s no fun fan-girling yoga and maskless people and Lightning Lane freebies alone!
And Carissa! Because we love her!
We do love Carissa! Alright, bye y’all!
Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguiltlife.com and noguiltfangirl.com