Disney – The New Normal

The newly painted Castle at Magic Kingdom

There is no better way to get information than through first-hand experience. That’s why I’m sharing my experience with you! My July 2020 trip to Walt Disney World in Florida was just weeks after the re-opening. My trip allowed me to experience their “new normal” in all 4 theme parks. Let me start off by saying Disney has done – and will keep doing – a fantastic job to keep everyone safe and feeling secure. Not ONE time did I ever feel uncomfortable or feel I made the wrong decision by going. Below are my tips and opinions on visiting the most magical place on earth in what can only be called the most unusual travel time in the world. First off, the question everyone dying to hear the answer:

Is the heat unbearable with a mask on!?

I’m not going to lie… it was HOT and something I had to get used to. The first day was definitely the slowest and hardest day for us (I went with a group of my closest girlfriends), which we planned on purpose because we knew we would need a lot of breaks. It was an adjustment wearing our mask non-stop in very hot temperatures (the hottest day reached 102 degrees). The saving grace for the day was an hour break at a relaxation station with plenty of water. My suggestion for getting used to wearing a mask all day while in the parks, would be to begin at home. Wear masks even when outside if you haven’t been. Then, pick a park for your first day that you think you can accomplish everything you set out to do in a shorter amount of time. We chose Epcot. This way you will become familiar with wearing a mask while still feeling like you didn’t miss anything. It does take time to get used to the mask, but don’t be discouraged – by day 4, I felt like a pro wearing the mask in the heat!

Tip: Bring a cooling mask and make sure it is cool on your neck or head all day. Also, if you stick your damp mask in a bag and place in resort fridge the night before, it seemed to stay cooler longer.
Animal Kingdom Crowd level
How were the crowds?

The crowd level was so low that it helped with waiting times for each ride and allowed for easy social distancing. If you have experienced Disney parks before, even on low-traffic times, the parks seemed empty comparatively speaking.  The only time I felt I saw a true crowd was right when the parks were opening, as people were lined up for temperature checks… 6-feet apart of course! Once inside, the crowds dispersed and went in any number of directions.

How were the ride/attraction lines?

A true misconception people have from looking at pictures is the lines. For example, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (one of the newest rides) was one of the longest lines I have seen in a while, even pre-pandemic. A cast member recommended we wait it out since in reality, the line seemed longer than it actually was due to 6-feet social distancing. We were so glad we did because at most it took us 20 minutes to get through the line (we rode it twice since it was so empty).

Tip: If you are a true Disney fanatic like I am, I truly feel like this is the best time to go. Less time waiting in lines (if there even WAS a wait, it was approximately 10 to 20 minutes per ride/attraction) freed up time to see and experience a lot more of each park.
Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars Land
How were the Disney Cast Members?

The cast members were nothing short of amazing! They all did a great job making sure everyone was 6-feet apart at all times, that masks were always worn PROPERLY while still managing to bring smiles and true Disney magic to guests’ faces! If someone had their mask under their nose a Disney Cast Member would kindly remind them about the proper way to wear the mask while in Disney. I even overheard someone speaking to a little girl, saying “you’ll need to pull your mask over your nose Princess” and the little girl giggled and did as she was asked.

We know how clean Walt Disney World is on any given day, but what additional cleaning procedures were done?

Because I always viewed Disney as being so clean to begin with, having additional cleaning protocols in place seemed like it would be hard to accomplish. But, as expected, Disney delivered. They would stop the rides for cleaning procedures for guest safety and you would always see cast members out and about cleaning and sanitizing. Additionally, there are sanitation stations in place at almost every corner. I brought so much hand sanitizer with me, but barely used it because of all of the automatic dispensers Disney had in place ALL over the parks and resorts.

New way to see the characters and music in Animal Kingdom!
Did they truly try to make it as close to a contact-less vacation as possible?

We went directly to our room and checked in virtually. At entrances, there was some contact with cast members, but it was done safely and securely. We scanned our own Magic Bands for contact-less entry into the parks. We paid everything virtually through the My Disney Experience app. The menus at the restaurants were either digital or able to be thrown away after each use. The quick-service restaurants all were mobile-order enabled. They wouldn’t let you inside the restaurant until your food was prepared and ready. Once the app told you it was ready, you were allowed in to pick up your food and take a seat. Of course, all dining seating was properly spaced 6-feet away from everyone else.

How was the park-to-resort and resort-to-park transportation?

Transportation was definitely different, but still very efficient for transporting large numbers of guests. The buses were more spread out timing wise, but seemed to have back-up buses in case one was full. It seemed as though they added more buses to each resort to accommodate the limited capacities for proper social distancing. There was one minor hiccup we had in traveling from our resort directly to another resort for a dining reservation, but was resolved timely by a cast member who went above and beyond to get us back to our resort.

Overall, the magic is still there!

I was thrilled with my experience at all the Disney parks and resorts we visited. I hope my experience helps you to understand what a visit to the NEW Disney experience is all about. When you’re ready to get back to the Magic of Disney, we have many options to chose, from individual packages to bundled charter trips. Contact your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor to start planning your next Disney vacation. You’ll be glad you did!

All-Inclusive Resorts Make Vacations Easy

All-inclusive resort with pool and beach
When you consider your next vacation, don’t forget about all-inclusive resorts. No matter how you say it – the works, the whole nine, the full monty, the whole shebang – that’s what you’ll get with an all-inclusive resort. Ask anyone who’s been to one and they can’t stop raving about it.
Here are a few reasons we can’t get enough of an all-inclusive vacation.

Leave the wallet at home (well, OK maybe not literally)

It’s rare to go on a vacation knowing exactly how much you’re going to spend. When you book an all-inclusive Apple Vacation with Boscov’s Travel, everything’s included so you know you’re within budget from the moment you leave.
Family of four on pool floats in the middle of a pool

Everything but the kitchen sink (yup, yet another way to say you want it all)

It’s in the name. All included means just that – from the flights and transfers to the resort, hotel accommodations to the daily entertainment, all meals and open bar, and any number of activities, it’s all one price. What could be simpler?
Pool side restaurant and grill

So many choices

With so many options including destinations, price points, and activities, it’s important to think about ways to narrow down your selection. Our suggestion is to start with your traveling party. Are you taking the family, is it a girls or guys getaway, or are you looking for a couples-only resort? Are you looking for fun around every corner with endless activities, or are you looking to relax and escape to a retreat? The following guide can help you zoom in on what will work best.
– If you’re looking for family-friendly resorts: Sunscape ($), Now ($), Dreams ($$)
– If you’re looking for adults and couples only + parties around every corner: Riu Palace ($$), Breathless ($$)
– If you’re looking for couples only + relaxation: Secrets ($$), Zoetry ($$$)
Couple relaxing pool side being served cocktails

Optional adventures abound!

Want to see more than just the resort? Sign up for optional excursions before you go with your Boscov’s Travel Advisor or at the resort with a dedicated AMResort representative. Here are just a few things to see and do in some of our favorite destinations:
Cancun, Mexico:
– Submarine ride to see one of the longest reefs in the world
– Swim with dolphins and meet a manatee
– Take a private fishing charter and cheers with included beer
– Explore Tulum’s ancient Mayan temples
– Zipline through the jungle
– Enjoy a leisurely afternoon on a catamaran
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic:
– Take to the high seas on a real life pirate ship and enjoy a show with your favorite scalawags
– Savor the scenery on a dinner cruise
– Learn about the culture on a heritage trip to an artisan village, cigar rolling factory and more
– Dance the night away in a cave converted to a discotheque
– Ride a horse through the countryside
– Take a trip to a private snorkeling and swimming spot
Montego Bay, Jamaica:
– Wade in the luminous lagoon, one of the most famous glowing lagoons
– Take an ATV adventure through the jungle
– Tee off at an 18-hole championship course
– Horseback ride in the water
– Ride down the shore on a river tube ride
– Bathe in a beautiful waterfall
Couple on bright colored hobie cat

What to bring?

– Sunscreen! The Caribbean is full of sunny days so be sure to pack a (Banana) boat-load! Of course if you do forget the lotion, you can always purchase at the resort gift shop…but expect to pay a premium.
– Your favorite sun hat (did we mention the sun?!)
– A copy of your booking – this will help ease the check-in process
– Break out your brightest, loudest, most fun beach towel! The resort will always have towels for you to use but if you want to find your chair easily, it’s best to mark with the your towel
– Dollar bills. Though you don’t need to, you may want to tip your favorite bartender or the helpful service staff. Perhaps you’ll want to enjoy a massage at the spa or go on an excursion, so having a few extra dollars isn’t a bad idea. Of course, none of these are required.
– Some dress-to-impress attire. Most resorts have specialty dining restaurants where you can enjoy French, Italian or Thai cuisine. Often resorts require nicer attire when dining at these special restaurants. If you prefer to stay casual, you can always hit the buffet or beach-side grills.
So who’s ready to go? You can learn more about all-inclusive vacation options on our website, and when you’re ready to travel, contact your local Boscov’s Travel office and make an appointment to talk to one of our all-inclusive specialists. Let us help make your dream vacation a reality.

Get away from it all with Royal Caribbean at the Perfect Day at CocoCay

Looking to plan a fun-in-the-sun vacation with something for everyone can be a challenge – someone wants to relax on the beach, someone else wants the thrills of a water park, and someone else wants to cruise around and check out exciting new ports. Royal Caribbean could be the answer you’re looking for. CocoCay, the new vibrant and picturesque Royal Caribbean private island located in the Bahamas, adds in the beach and fun to an already exciting cruise itinerary.

So what is CocoCay?

CocoCay is Royal Caribbean’s private island opened in 2019 designed with something for everyone. With their slogan “Perfect Day at CocoCay” it seems to be one of the best places to go, right? With 13 water slides, a 1,600 foot long zip-line, a tethered helium balloon ride, a swim up bar, private floating cabanas, and snorkeling, there is so much to choose from! A piece of paradise, this is the perfect place to relax, recharge, or thrill.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the best things this private island in the Bahamas has to offer

DareDevil’s Peak – The tallest water slide in North America sits at approximately 135 feet high! This slide calls to anyone not afraid of heights that wants to be a dare devil and get the thrill of a lifetime! This comes with the charge of water park admission.

Wave pool – Even in the middle of the Caribbean, you can safely enjoy the waves in the largest wave pool in the Caribbean at CocoCay Thrill water park. There is an admission to the park but the admission has a lot to offer in this water park.

Up, Up, and Away – Taller than the Statue of Liberty, this tethered helium balloon flies small groups 450 feet above the island where you can have breathtaking views of the whole island for a charge.

Splash Summit – Boasting over 1,600 feet of water slides, here you can find multi-rider slides, slides like The Slingshot, and The Twister. Although there is a fee for this activity, it is a great place for your group.

Captain Jack’s – A full-service restaurant with a full bar and live music. This is the only restaurant on the island that comes with a price but well worth it!

Oasis Lagoon – The largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas, this is a complimentary lagoon to everyone at the island.

Chill Island – If you want complete chill, this is where you want to be. A place where you sit back and enjoy the beach laced in beautiful white sand and blue water, take in the sun and just relax! It’s the perfect spot to set up a “home base” for those that want to take off to the thrills for a bit.

Splash Away Bay – Described as the perfect place for kids, this has fountains and buckets for kids to enjoy – complimentary of course.

Skipper Grill – Satisfy your building appetite with complimentary sandwiches, salads, tacos, guacamole, BBQ chicken and so much more!

South Beach – If you’re in the mood for physical activity, this is the area to go. Located on the South Beach part of the island, grab a partner and enjoy volleyball, paddle boarding and basketball.

Chill Grill – A complimentary grill with some fresh bites like tacos and BBQ chicken on the go, Chill Grill is known for its laid back vibes. With a beer station where you can grab a drink yourself (additional cost), this is the place to make a pit stop!

This gives you an overview of the endless possibilities at the Perfect Day at CocoCay! Check out this video and we think you’ll be hooked. Talk to a Boscov’s Travel Advisor to see how you can experience your Perfect Day at CocoCay in the future. We cannot wait to hear about it!

Multi-Generational Family Vacations

We want to offer up some inspirational options for when the time comes that we can all ‘B’ Together again.

Multi-generational family vacations can produce happiness long after your vacation is over. You’ll create and cherish memories for a lifetime, which will become stories for generations to come. These popular vacations not only will bring a family closer together, but it is also one of the top vacation plans we are asked about. Whether you come from a huge family or a smaller but tight knit family, multi-generation vacations can be some of the best vacations of your life! Here, we suggest some destinations that will fulfill everyone’s interests.

Walt Disney World

Being huge Walt Disney World fans, this is one of our favorite multi-generational vacations. The cast and crew at Disney really do bring the magic when it comes to vacations, for both kids and adults alike. They help everyone and anyone when it comes to situations and experiences. From going with grandparents, to aunts, uncles, and cousins, you really have so much to do here! The food, the atmosphere, the memories! Once Disney opens again, this….is the place to be for some true magic for the young and the young-at-heart.

A Beach in the States (Florida or California)

This suggestion is nice if you want something relaxing but maybe you do not have a lot of vacation time from work — or a passport. The beaches in Florida and California are beautiful, so you can’t go wrong here! What’s nice about this vacation option is when seeking accommodations, you can get your own space as individual family units and everyone can meet up during the day. Mealtime can also be fun, with each family unit taking turns hosting dinners for everyone. This option is such a fun vacation, and for some, only a short drive or plane ride away.

Mexico and the Caribbean

Looking for something more tropical and exotic? Our recommendation would be to stay at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or an island in the Caribbean once these areas open up again. The benefit of an all-inclusive resort is that they are budget friendly since you pay for everything ahead of time. There are any number of locations for any budget and you won’t have to argue about whose turn it is to pay for dinner, drinks or experiences! This option is also great for families who want full-on relaxation 24/7. Sit by the beach, eat, and drink whatever and whenever you want and everyone can make their own schedules. You cannot really go wrong here.

Europe

If members of your family are full of adventure and are seeking that once-in-a-lifetime vacation, Europe is top of the list. While this trip will require a lot of planning once Europe destinations are active again, our Travel Advisors can help you plan every detail. Maybe you want to head back to your family roots and learn more about your family heritage.

Ocean Cruises

Similar to an all-inclusive, cruising offers just a little more movement when it comes to relaxing.  While operations are paused right now, cruises offer options to have exciting excursions added-on at each destination you visit making it more of an “adventure” vacation. This vacation option might be the easiest one for families of all different age groups when it comes to “things to do”. The kids will never go bored with all the planned activities on board while the adults enjoy wine tasting, adult-only areas of the ship, casinos, entertainment shows, and much more! Plus, it could be a great compromise if some in your family want an all-inclusive experience and others want to cruise, this option can give you both.

With so many vacation options available, we hope this helps you determine the best destination or type of vacation that works best for your multi-generational family when the time is right. If you need help planning or have any questions, our expert Travel Advisors are available to assist plan your perfect family getaway.