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Dec. 15, 2020

Thankful for Disney

Thankful for Disney

Duane and Lori Willey return Home to Disney for Thanksgiving and discuss the changes from August to the Fall with our Podcast. Duane celebrates a huge personal goal as Lori almost summons Lord Voldemort. A great episode with great friends!

Transcript
Marc Valentine:

Disney Live podcast is brought to you by traveling with Lissy. You can find them over at travelingwihtlissy.com. Well listen is there to help you plan your dream vacation, whether that's Disney universal or another destination. Leave the details to Melissa and enjoy the beauty of your destination without the hassle of the planning. Most of you may be asking why to book with a Disney travel agent. Why not? Traveling with Lizzy will actually save you money by always price monitoring and applying deals or promotions to your reservation. They are the ones that are staying on hold for hours so that you don't have to. It's a common misconception that using a travel agent costs more, they are completely free to use. That's right folks, they are completely free. Disney pays them to take care of your every travel need. And they're also there to deal with any problem that may arise while you're visiting the parks. So instead of spending your valuable time at the front desk, you could be in the parks with your family while Melissa is on the phone dealing with any problem. Interested in a free quote, head over to www.travelingwithlissy.com and let Melissa help you start planning your dream vacation today. Again, that's www.travelingwithlissy.com Hello, everybody. And welcome back to Disney life podcast. Thank you so much for being a part of our Disney lives. I am your host, Marc Valentine. And if this is your first time joining us here at Disney life, welcome home. If you're returning guests to the show, thank you so much for your continued support. We really appreciate our audience. Thank you so much for all the love that you show us on our socials. It really has been an amazing, amazing run here. And we really appreciate and love our fans. Once again, you can find us over at www.disneylifepodcast.com On that one site, we have all of our different directories, check out our blog, leave us a rating and review. And of course, subscribe to the show so that you get our new episode every single Wednesday. We have a really fun episode today and I have a chance to welcome back two my dearest friends who just got back from a trip to Walt Disney World. They went for the Thanksgiving break. And so I told them before they even left, they said, Hey guys, you are on a mission, because we have not been to parks since August. And we have john Hinson who does go and we have a lot of friends who go on a regular basis. But I said for for those of us who are out of state, I really want you to pay attention to some stuff and really do like a lot of recon work, take some really good notes, take some amazing photos. And then I just want to circle up so that we can give you the listeners an idea of how things have really changed since our first broadcast, which was in August. And you know, for those of you who have been with us since the beginning and it was me and just a headset. You know, my very first podcast was inspired by my trip, my wife and I took immediately really after reopening and the first podcast I talked about so many of the differences that had been put in place. So I asked Dwayne Willie and Laurie Willie to come back to the show to sit down with us. And Lorie made a trip. Oddly enough at the same exact time that I did pretty much in August, we did not know each other at that point. We became fast friends as a result of the podcast, but we really we had a very similar experience when we went in August. So I said you know Laurie, I want to take some time today. Circle, you know, circle up and give our listeners an idea of what has changed and what what you've noticed, has changed. Friends of the show amazing friends of the show admins of our Facebook group. two wonderful friends of mine, Dwayne Laurie, welcome Disney Life podcast. Thank you so much for always for living your best Disney life with us. It's such important having guys back welcome.

Duane Willey:

Thank you for having us. Yeah, we appreciate it.

Marc Valentine:

So I mean, first things first, I which is a really silly question, because I know I know the answer to it. How is the trip?

Laurie Willey:

Fantastic. Yeah,

Duane Willey:

it was awesome.

Laurie Willey:

It was pretty epic.

Marc Valentine:

Did anyone cry?

Laurie Willey:

Not me. I cried last trip.

Marc Valentine:

I don't know that. I know you did.

Duane Willey:

I don't think I cried. But I I had some moments where I just got quiet and kind of took it in. And I told Laurie I said there was a few moments even while we were all together that I didn't leave them but I just kind of got still and just took a second. You know and just looked around to see and try to soak everything in. You know, I just wanted that feeling.

Marc Valentine:

Because this was your first time back you did not travel with with the family back in August. This was this was your first time back Since reopening,

Duane Willey:

yeah, yeah, so it was, it was a it was good to be home for sure.

Laurie Willey:

We tried to let him lead the way with the plans and all the ride choices.

Marc Valentine:

We've tried. So we've talked about this before. He and I are kindred spirits, so I would wake up. The funny thing is, so I would wake up, I'm an early riser. Bella also gets up very earlier. But it would be like 530 and six in the morning, I would look at the clock. And I'm like, I know what Dwayne's showering right now he's getting ready. And I knew I could find him on the socials at 6am. Because I knew he was sitting in the room, sneakers on dressed ready to go waiting for all of you to get ready, I'd like Duane's ready to go. So I would reach out on the social sure as heck sure as anything.

Laurie Willey:

I want to give myself a lot of credit here because I knew I did not want to be the reason that for any way shape, or form, that he would miss anything. So I'm up like every day at like 530 I was the first one up now he's already on his phone and ready to go. But I'm the first one up because I know it takes me the longest to get ready. And I did not want to be the person holding everybody back. And the reason his trip wouldn't be everything it needed to.

Marc Valentine:

So I'm I am totally ridiculous to like I'm making fun of myself. Because I get up so incredibly early. And Linda will look at me and go Where are you going? Nothing. There's no parks open yet. You can't rope drop anything. Like why are you awake? And I? I can't help it. I just get so I'm so excited that I'm at Disney. that I that I cannot sleep. And it's true. And I do I do. Linda I she listens to the show every single week. I'm sorry, this is my Sorry, my public apology to you to the to the many people who will listen to this. I'm sorry that I drive you crazy. It's acknowledged, I just you have to love me, I can't help it. I can't help it. Duane understands the emotions. It's like a kid at Christmas time that feeling that you got when you were like Christmas Eve and you couldn't sleep. That's how I get at Disney but in reverse. You know, I'll sleep that night. Because I'm so exhausted from walking the 12 or 13 miles a day. But then you wake up at 530 in the morning, and you just want to go You can't wait to do it again. Your body's like, Okay, I'm recharged. Let's run. Let's run again.

Duane Willey:

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, we found ourselves doing that. And then because we're trying to get to the parks early, and because things are different. And like if you're taking the bus, you got to get in line earlier for the bus because there's less people on the bus, you know, we're sending one person, or you know, my daughter or myself or somebody getting in line ahead of everybody else while everybody else is getting coffee or getting juice or whatever having breakfast, so that we're ready to get on one of the first buses, or we did the same thing with the skyliner you know not to jump too far ahead. But like if you are going somewhere on the skyliner for instance, we'll talk about Hollywood studios, you want to get in line, probably 45 minutes to an hour ahead of when the skyliner is going to start. Because we stayed at pop century, I was in line most days between eight and 815 skyliners not supposed to really open till nine. I will say that probably a lot of times it was more like 845 850 that they would go ahead and start running it ahead of schedule. But I was in line at eight or 815. And there's people in front of me. And by the time they started it, there would be a line all the way across the bridge there at hourglass lake all the way down probably two or three buildings long. You know, with everybody six feet apart, you know and these lines just to get on the skyliner

Marc Valentine:

did that line go all the way to like the hippie dippie pool. For the skyliner

Duane Willey:

it turned I'm trying to think so

Marc Valentine:

It turned by that first building?

Duane Willey:

it did and then went down towards like the bowling pin buildings and stuff. Okay,

Marc Valentine:

so what what decade Did you guys stay in

Laurie Willey:

60s.

Marc Valentine:

I love the 60s. I love the 60s.

Laurie Willey:

If you book a preferred pool view room. The preferred point of view rooms are the ones that go down that center section of the 60s. So you will be guaranteed a great spot for your dining options and to get on the skyline or quick access to bus is quick too as well

Marc Valentine:

during my solo trip, and it was the first time that I stayed at pop. We are it's always been our mission. We want to try every single resort. So I went and I told them I'm going to scout out Pop century because it was close on the skyliner. Same thing. And I got in that day. And I just by I just by chance I happen to ask if they had any rooms that were close to the main main building. I didn't even realize I was getting Disney Magic at that time. Like I didn't realize that they upgraded. They essentially they upgraded me for free because I didn't realize I got a preferred room. And then the second or third time that we would go and we stayed a pop. And I asked if they had that they said Yeah, we do. But those are, those are preferred and upgraded rooms. They really are amazing. Like they make that much of a difference. I'm a sucker for some people don't mind the walks. But I'm a sucker for I love being where the action is. I like being by the food court when it comes to the budget places. I like being in that that first building like way even AOA, when we stay at Art of Animation. I tell people I know I know the theming is in the other rooms are great, but I just want to be in the NEMO suites because I want to be right behind that first, that first building, I want to be behind them and build

Laurie Willey:

if you're like me, though, like I like all the action. I love it. It is a necessity for me to reduce as much walking in the resort area so that I can save my feet for these parks because 20 to 30,000 steps a day when we're in the parks and I get really awful blisters. It's terrible. And so I have to like take my feet up and all that jazz. So adding that little bit of extra, you know, comfort to wear a room is important for me to be able to make it through these marathon trips.

Marc Valentine:

Yeah, I mean, that's it's a priority for for us to like at the end of the day, the last thing you want is walk really far. That's that's actually why so we wound up we stayed at Port Orleans, Riverside, and we splurged for one of the princess rooms.

Duane Willey:

Yeah.

Marc Valentine:

And people were like, Oh, you know, why did you do that? I was like, I just did not want to walk port Orleans is gigantic. And I do not want to walk or take a shuttle at the end of the day. I just wanted to get I wanted to get to the room. And I wanted to get there real fast. That's always a priority for us as well, that when we when we get to a hotel, I don't want to be walking through the hotel. I want to save those steps, for park specifically so for this was your first time on

Duane Willey:

it was mine. Yeah, yeah, it was actually I guess it the skyliner was Laurie stew because she's been but she didn't stay at a skyliner Resort. So it was actually one of the fun things we did. And in fact, you and I talked about this and actually did a live video on Facebook from the skyliner. That day, we flew in. And we actually stayed the first day at Caribbean beach, because we wanted to experience that resort. Lori wanted to get some pictures and video, we wanted to check out the Caribbean Beach Resort, we also wanted to check out the Riviera resort, so that we could see those things, experience them be so Laurie could help her clients and customers and things like that have video. So what we did, you know, we did those things, and then her and I just the two of us with no place to go. We went and got on the skyliner. And we rode we rode the skyliner, you know, to Epcot, and we rode it, you know just kind of rode it around, and took some video and did a live video and just talked and kind of got the feel for how it worked. So that when we were on our trip, we knew we could cruise right through it.

Marc Valentine:

I I love it, it's um, it's it's obviously it's a mode of transportation. But I suppose it's just such a relaxing part of the trip and of the day to just get in the skyliner. And there were there were times again during my solo trip, where I just spent time riding it for pleasure for fun, not going anywhere, or you know, needing to do anything just riding and this is obviously pre COVID but sometimes the other fun with it too. And as a solo travelers, you sometimes you get into conversations with people that were in the in the car with you, it's just a neat, it's a neat addition. I would like to see I know it's not gonna happen given their their financial constraints right now and they just have other priorities. But I would love to see the skyliner expanded to other other resorts you know, become become a part of their transportation plan moving forward, it really makes a difference. And I tell people pop I love pop. But now with the sky liner, it really is a game changer for that resort. It kind of makes that our go to budget resort because of the skyline or being right there. We love We love Art of Animation as well.

Duane Willey:

We do too, but we like to stay at the suites when we go there. So it's not too much on the value plan.

Marc Valentine:

We do the same thing we again we stay at the Nemo suite. And at that point when you're once you're doing that you're you're basically at a moderate at a moderate to you know let's let's be honest in some regards. depending on the time of year you go, you're at a moderate slash Deluxe level of spending at that point. And then we do say, Hey, listen, unless we really just want the theming of AOA. Let's get contemporary. Let's get because we're suckers for Port Orleans. I love. I love port Orleans, Riverside. Yeah. Number one for us.

Duane Willey:

We love them both. We actually stayed. We did, or we they 10 or 11 days Laurie, at Port Orleans, Riverside in a princess suite. Same reason we wanted to be closed, didn't want to have to deal with all that. And our ours was right, you know, there's that bridge that goes across. Yeah, bang, and we were on the end. You know, and it was so nice. So we love that Laurie and I also had a fantastic stay at Port Orleans French Quarter. And we loved it. Actually, it was a it was at Christmas time. And it is beautiful. at Christmas. I'm looking forward to when both of both of those resorts reopen

Marc Valentine:

in terms of offerings, what what were the big, most noticeable things that were absent in August that it was an immediate difference that you said in terms of offerings in terms of things that you could see that were absent, notably absent from August. What could you see now coming in November, you're like it's back. I can feel that again. Because there were a lot of there were a lot of food and dining options that were missing.

Laurie Willey:

Yeah, I would say they've definitely upped their dining game, they've opened some new locations Cinderella's royal table is back. And you know, a few of those very quintessential Disney, you know, moments are back for people. And I think that's really important. Because when you take your kids and you want them to have, it's not every family's experience on Disney as a part of their every year, sometimes it's every other year, sometimes it's every five years. And for some it's a once in a lifetime thing. So they want to make sure that their kids and their families are getting these very important Disney experiences. So places like Cinderella's royal table opening back up is huge. And I applaud Disney for finding ways to get those character experiences without becoming an issue with COVID related things. But I would say, you know, dining is definitely definitely improved. I think the biggest difference you see now between August is really the crowd level has definitely come up. And I think for a lot of people that might seem a little bit scary because you you're walking in and you're like, well I don't have Fastpass. How am I gonna get through these lines? Disney is still doing an incredible job at managing their crowds. And making sure that social distancing is adhere to as much as possible. I mean, this trip for us was actually a dual Park trip. So we did another large park before we went into Disney, and we definitely feel it.

Marc Valentine:

Yeah, we can say what it is. It's not like Voldemort Here

Laurie Willey:

Universal was wonderful, but I do think that Disney has a little bit of the upper hand in their crowd management. And so even though we're seeing those bumped up and spiked numbers in crowds, you're still getting the Disney treatment where they're taking the extra steps to ensure that they manage it well.

Marc Valentine:

Yes, I've just I'm cracking myself up here. It's like do we say Universal on a Disney Podcast. Like the the Voldemort's of the Parks. well let's not talk about that please... I'm not I'm not averse to talking about another park here. I mean, I so like I I have not gone to Universal but that's not because I loathe universal it's just Bella is listen I we've talked about this I haven't tough enough time getting her on rockin' roller coaster and there's a lot of big rides there. I just don't want to waste it you know, none of these parks are are inexpensive. So I don't want to waste the money go to the park and not be able to get her and there's a lot of thrill rides at Universal and not you know to get my money's worth of going. Plus she does not know she doesn't know what Harry Potter is yet we we've kind of like set goals for introducing those books and starting her when her reading level is appropriate for those books. And I don't want to show her the movies and ruin the books. So once she's like into Harry Potter it's it's a must do for us so I don't want people to think to listen to this and we're going to get like hate mail and people like you know Mark your real like parks snob you should go to Universal. Oh, I don't guys I'm cool with universal like there's no beef. We have no beef with Universal at all. And I think it's cool i i someday I aspire to go there. And to check it all out, I just want to make sure that when I do that it's just such a good decision for our family.

Laurie Willey:

We had a wonderful time there. Uh, one of the perks about universal right now is they are still giving their diamond plan as an option to purchase. So universal is a great option if people are looking for that.

Marc Valentine:

You know, I talked about this with the wolf and Wookie, we really do not. I do not think that the dining plan is that far away anymore? I do not. I

Laurie Willey:

can't wait. I hope so.

Marc Valentine:

I love it too. I don't think it's that far away. You, you could not offer the dining plan. Because there were not enough offerings for people to find value in it. Disney for all of the things that people will say Disney. When they have things there's generally there's very good value in what you buy, you feel that there's great worth in the purchases that you make. So with the return of Park hopping, which I think not only was the limited offerings, but the lack of Park hopping really made the dining plan impossible, because how can you tell people you're on a dining plan, but you can't go to the other parks to eat. So essentially, you're restricted to what you can eat, where you can eat, you know, when you can eat. And the fact that that now has been lifted, I think is going to be a major step towards that. And I think if I had to guess, I would guess you're probably going to see fastpasses reintroduced at some point, midwinter or whatever, whatever comes back. Because at that point, and I think a lot of this, again, not to get political with that will coincide with the vaccine and a lot of people returning back to life as normal. I think Disney is going to have to start to ease up some of those other things and return to like business as usual. But I don't I don't think that we're that far away from the dining plan.

Laurie Willey:

I did notice a lot more of Disney. Like if a ride got shut down. We were on in the line for roller coaster. And we waited for a while. And the ride just was not opening. And so they came through and if you wanted to leave they offered your family a Fastpass. So I've actually started kind of implementing some of those procedures already. So I'm right there with you. I'm really hoping that they bring back those things that really help everybody settle into their trip a little better.

Marc Valentine:

I feel like too many people don't give Disney enough credit for opening in a safe manner in the midst of this terrible pandemic. And I know I know, that becomes a subject of massive debate depends on you know who you're talking to. But when I look at this feat, I mean, like it's been a Herculean effort to open up. Theres the plane... the By the way, we're filming this at the at the airport, because we're about to

Duane Willey:

we're going back forget it, let's just go

Marc Valentine:

Just going right back to many people don't give them credit. It's it's been a Herculean effort to one open. And like when you think about just the very nature of what theme parks are is massive amounts of people all crowded into a place. And they were able to socially distance to keep guests safe. If there had been outbreaks as a result of Disney parks. Trust me, you would have heard it by now.

Duane Willey:

Yes, absolutely

Marc Valentine:

You would have heard it because everybody's always after that Disney money. Let's face it. So first, I said the first case that you get that's like a really bad instance of of a failure of the system. Someone's going to go straight after that Disney money. Yeah. And like they've been open for a long time. They're doing an amazing job I continue to tell people is like I felt safer at Disney than I had in a lot of other public places since August.

Duane Willey:

So very true. I felt the same way. And of course, like you said, I hadn't been there. And you know, when Lori and yourself were there back in August, and the crowds were miniscule, and you guys we're walking on to everything. Now, you know, it's a 35%. And, you know, it's an it's like, we had we were having a conversation with Bonnie. And he was saying, you know, what people don't really understand is they think well, it's 35% of what it usually is. This time of year. Well, no, it's at 35% of capacity for the capacity is Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day. Those capacities. It's up to 35% of that so so a lot of people but I never felt like they didn't have it under control. I mean, if somebody didn't have their mask on, I never saw anybody get out of line but they immediately sir If you could get it over your nose or Ma'am, you know, please, you know, please stop to drink your drink, you know, in stationary or whatever. It was very kind, very Disney, like very professional. But we're, you know, just following the rules. Here's the rules that we've set, here's how we can have the magic. So let's all just work together to have it. And to me, I felt completely safe, even with the increased crowds. And to be honest, you know, I like I said, I've kind of wrote down some of the things but we still I rode a huge number of rides

Marc Valentine:

my list guy made a list.

Duane Willey:

Oh, yeah, that's surprising right. But I mean, we like let me just give you one day, for instance. Okay. Uh, let's talk about Magic Kingdom. Okay. There's lots of things to ride at Magic Kingdom, obviously. And we've talked about being ride people at Magic Kingdom. We rode. I had counted it earlier. I believe that day, we wrote 17 rides that day, and had three meals. Well, we did. We did two quick service meals. But But we sat in the restaurant, took our time took a break. We did it mid morning. We did it mid afternoon. And then we had dinner at night, you know, at Liberty tree? Which, wow, was it amazing. Just to get that out there on the open. Our experience at Liberty tree was so great, which we've been lots of times before. But our experience the other Saturday night, at Liberty tree was amazing. Our food was amazing. Our service was amazing. We just had a great meal and time. But my point was, even with the higher crowds, even with what looked like incredibly long lines, you know, and you have to get your mind right, when you see a line that you're used to seeing. And knowing that oh my gosh, if that lines there, this is a two hour wait. Well, no, it's not. It's 40 minutes. You know what I mean? And a lot of times, we also found and you're hearing this with a lot of vloggers and streamers and different things. I would say on average, if the line says an hour, it's probably more like 45 or 50 minutes. If it says 45 minutes, it's more like 30 if it says 30 it's more like 20 if it says 15 it's probably walk on you know. And

Marc Valentine:

so what were the what were the rides that what were the rides, it's that were still like really low traffic rides? Um,

Duane Willey:

it's a really, it just depends, um, because like, actually, we got on pirates Believe it or not a couple of times really quick. You know,

Laurie Willey:

It kinda depends when you catch them.

Duane Willey:

Yeah, it really does. It really does. And Mark we did too proud. You know what we did, right? We came in, we went left to go straight to the back. We rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. And as soon as we got off Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, we were gonna ride splash, right? However, splash was being delayed. But you're so you're so gonna be proud of us. So what did we do? I got back on Big Thunder Mountain Road. There we go. We rode it again. So then when we got off of it, my son was like, Dad, I'm getting in line for splash. Right. So he had jumped in line. We're all trying to figure out what we want to ride while we're waiting. So then, Lori says she jumped in line. Brady loves pirates. So me and Brady and Mackenzie. We went over rode pirates came back. Lori took one for the team on that one. And then we and then we jumped on Splash Mountain. So like 30 minutes after the park it opened. Literally, we had ridden Big Thunder Mountain twice, Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Marc Valentine:

I love it.

Duane Willey:

Like boom, just like that.

Marc Valentine:

That's a strategy. And if it hadn't been delayed, you probably you probably would have gotten again, two or three mountains like right out of the way.

Duane Willey:

Oh yeah.

Marc Valentine:

You get your you get your mountain pin before

like 10:

10am always. You know? Yeah. And then and then your galactic hero. So it's, you know if I can get Linda, I know if I can get Linda. He's got his arms up. He sent me the button. Because he got his galactic hero pin...

Duane Willey:

I was so happy. Yeah, I just don't know how happy I was.

Marc Valentine:

I Oh, I know. I know. It's a must do for me. I have to rock the pin.

Laurie Willey:

I'm It's still a bucket list for me,

Marc Valentine:

john. Well, John's going to we're working on we're working on YouTube right now. JOHN is going to get some ride footage from Buzz Lightyear. We're going to put together a walkthrough for people to get them that galactic hero, we're not the only ones. But I would like to think that we'll we'll be able to do with our sense of humor and charm when we when we put up our our version of how to how to maximize and get that that galactic hero pin. But I had, I always have to do that I have to do, I have to do Big Thunder and splash two of my three mountains. If Linda's not fighting me that day, nine times out of 10 it's always Big Thunder splash pirates. But if Linda's not fighting me, and she gives into my ride, add, we do run over to tomorrow land and then I boom, bang out my mountains. And then I get my galactic hero pin. And then I get myself a little churro and some chicken nuggies just like baby yoda, just like baby yoda. So though it's I've, you know, I've heard from so many people, the lines are deceptive, that the wait times are not are not the same. Did you feel? So the one thing that I really felt Laurie was missing in August was you had the main dining locations, but even some of the dining locations were out what were like, what were like the snack locations like because there were no spring rolls. A lot of the carts were closed. It was the major dining places were open. But like the other places it kind of felt like it ghost town. You just saw one cart after another shuttered. Not Not a lot of like little extras in terms of food and drink items. Has that changed a lot because they that those things bring the park to life. For me. Our art is like the little buzz of the crowd around like the spring roll cart or around. You know, like there's a line for churros. Have they have they restored a lot of that stuff? Or is it still missing?

Laurie Willey:

They have just done a good job at just placing them strategically, I think. And some of the carts are open, there's still a lot that's close. But then you have things in places like Gaston's that has opened back up to my great joy and happiness. Woody's lunchbox is back, which is one of my favorites. Love, love, love. And there's just in general there, it's I wouldn't say that it's a massive amount of new things that have opened up. But there's crowd favorites that have come back like Gaston's and Woody's lunchbox that I think have made such a huge difference in people being able to get those things that they're used to getting those enormous cinnamon rolls that that our girls got while we were gone. And you know those totchos that I could just cry over at Woody's lunchbox, there's just some of those favorites that are back. And it just makes a big difference when when everybody is just looking for that one more inch of normal in the time that we're in right now. That when Disney adds those things, I think it just it goes a little goes a long way.

Duane Willey:

Yeah, the spring rolls are back. Yes, I will say that because our girls and we say our girls, my daughter and her best friend were with us, obviously. So they were our girls. And they got spring rolls and the way I understand that I could be wrong is primarily they're open on the weekends with us being there on Thanksgiving Day. The things that were normally only opened on weekends or also opened Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You know, there was a few more things closed monday and tuesday wednesday than there was you know, later in the week. But Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, most all those kind of things were open. I would say a large number of the popcorn stands were open partially because they're trying to sell popcorn buckets, which I had to get the White Christmas tree pop popcorn bucket you know the you know, obviously and so I got that, but most of the popcorn trucks were open. We didn't get it churro. We got the spring rolls like Laurie said we did Gaston's and got the cinnamon roll. We went to the Pinocchio house in Magic Kingdom. I just told you we did Liberty tree we did sci fi at Hollywood Studios. We did the Regal Eagle Yeah, we did that in EPCOT. So you know we hit a bunch and they even and hit some of the girls hit some of the places and you know in the world showcase and different things. So you know, I think a lot of it is coming back and she would know better like I said, but it's it's trying and even since I guess you know, there's been an announcement even since we returned home, I guess Crystal Palace and what was the other one? There's a couple that are opening up I know Crystal Palace is one of them.

Marc Valentine:

No, it's it's really nice to see the return of a lot of that stuff. So one thing you said in there which I want to get to is my new favorite Park which is Hollywood Studios. I thought the crowds were high. In August, it was the one park that there was no noticeable difference to me. In terms of crowds. How were the crowds over at Hollywood? Laurie did... Were they like was it worse than August because August, August was packed.

Laurie Willey:

Now I actually actually felt like Hollywood was a little better. On the days that we were there. I did feel like the other parks had kind of picked up a good bit from from what August was, but overall, I felt like Hollywood had kind of kind of stayed the same.

Marc Valentine:

Animal Kingdom was dead when we were there in August. I mean, it was absolutely dead. We could have we could have written Everest back to back to back to like, we wouldn't have we would not have had to get off Everest. No one was on it, which was like, the craziest experience. And Pandora was a walk on. And they asked you if like when you were walking instead of going down the steps if you wanted to just come back in? Because there was no one there.

Laurie Willey:

Yeah, it was. It was not like that. We were there. It was, it was pretty busy. Of course, we were there on Thanksgiving Day. So you know, it's high crowd, holiday traffic. So so it definitely picked up and of course, it didn't help for us that Everest was down half the day when we got there. So by the time we got to Everest, we were waiting just a little bit, but it still wasn't really bad. We still got to ride it several times.

Duane Willey:

Yeah, we still rode it three times. Well,

Marc Valentine:

what was your go to dining for that? That day?

Duane Willey:

Satuli canteen?

Laurie Willey:

Yes. We did the cheeseburger pads. Yeah.

Duane Willey:

Which I liked. I never had them. So I was like, everybody's talked about them. We got to get them.

Marc Valentine:

It's a polarizing dining option. It's if people like the texture of the pods, they love them. They like them. Some people don't like that. They don't like that doughy dumpling like texture to to the item. First,

Laurie Willey:

I ate them. I still like them. But I had to get used to it.

Marc Valentine:

is the first bite if you're if it's not you if you're texturally kind of challenged but it's a tough it's a tough first bite. I will tell I will tell you that. But the taste of them is very it's very good. But the presentation of the food in in that canteen is is pretty out it's outrageous. I like the presentation of the food at both of the sci fi locations at you know and and Pandora and over and galaxies edge. docking bay dining is one of my favorite quick services and all of the parks because of the presentation. And the way they've kind of you know, you know that you're eating a short rib. It's a beef rib, but the way they kind of present it and the way it looks with with the rest of the side dishes. It looks otherworldly. It's really cool. It's really really cool. It

Duane Willey:

looks a little scary.

Marc Valentine:

It looks a little scary. And and my way my wife got the blueberry muffin, she takes a bite of it and it had I don't know if it was cayenne pepper or something. But it tastes and presents like a blueberry muffin on the first bite. And then the heat kicks in like midway through your second bite of it. And you can feel it in your nasal cavity. You feel the burn of the pepper. She's like this blueberry muffins hot and, like, hot. I take a bite of like, this is outstanding. It's like It's like something out of Wonka. You know where you know, you're biting into like the snozzberries taste like snozzberries you but it's a blueberry muffin. But it's not it seems like it tastes like a Cayeene pepper. Yeah, but I love um, yeah, I was living vicariously through your your trip. It was so funny. We were supposed to, you know, I told you guys this, but we were supposed to go for Thanksgiving and we wound up. We wound up canceling our trip because of the geographic location that we live in. But I mean, I'm glad I'm glad that we did. We're being we're playing by the rules. And, you know, we're treating this seriously. And I told them I said this. The sad thing is I feel like if we we would have been just as safe if there is anywhere else but we you know, we we played by the rules. And and I I know it's not also I know it's not going anywhere. So I know that I'll be I'll be parks bound not not before long. Well, what would you say was the best experience from this last trip? Like what was your biggest takeaway? That's a tough one. Yeah. Is it because it was a great trip?

Duane Willey:

It was a you know, I'll get personal here for a second. Okay. One moment that I will never forget, was for me, and I don't know that I've even told you this. You know, I've been losing weight and trying to get myself back in shape. And the last time we were at Animal Kingdom, and we went to ride flay the past The it wouldn't lock on me because of my size. So I wasn't able to ride it. And, you know, one of the things during this weight loss journey was, you know, that was a goal, I'm gonna ride flight of passage, this next time that I'm there, I'm gonna ride it, gonna get my weight down, I'm gonna get my size down. Not just for that reason, obviously, I want to be healthy, and back the weight I'm supposed to be. But that was one of the reasons it was a goal. And that day, we sat down, and you know, they, they start getting everything ready. And they, it comes up on your back, and it comes up on the back of your legs, which, surprisingly enough, well, that was one of the problems I had was actually my legs were so big that I couldn't get it to lock on one of my legs last time. And so anyhow, you know, sat down, and when you hurt when you hear it, click in click, and Lori looked at me, and she knew, and I literally just like I did a few minutes ago, I put the arms in the air, and I was like, you know, I was like I did it, you know?

Laurie Willey:

So, because I do think I almost teared on that one. So maybe I lied when I said I didn't cry this trip.

Marc Valentine:

Yeah, that had to feel great. I mean, just from a goal like from from setting that goal from yourself and then had to actualize it in that moment. And and it was it's obviously it's tied to something that's, that's a love of yours, you know? Yeah. So

Duane Willey:

that was a big moment.

Marc Valentine:

That's, that's amazing. Dude, that's an amazing story.

Duane Willey:

Yeah, that was a moment that for me. And I'll tell you another another thing. Of course, you know, you've had Bonnie cribs on the show. Before and Bonnie and I have been great friends. For two years now. We've been great friends. What most people didn't know until this trip, Bonnie and I had never met face to face. We had talked on the phone. We have emailed, we have texts, we have messaged we facetimed we've, we've done all kinds of things, but it never met face to face. And Bonnie and I got to meet face to face. And we spent pretty much two, two full days together in the parks, you know, where he just went on every ride with us. He went to eat with us. He spent the days with us. And I think that was that was a lot of fun. Because you know him and I really kind of bonded but he he's a great guy. And my kids love him. You know, and he gets along great with Laurie and but my son Brady just thought he was the coolest. And you know, and my daughter, Mackenzie, she loves Bonnie. And you know, they both got to do live videos with him on the Facebook groups, you know, which they thought was super fun. And it was, you know, Bonnie and I did live videos. I thought it was fun. We had a good time. Yeah. So you know, there's that's another thing for me that was, you know, a memorable part of the trip. And the last thing I'm giving you all kinds. And then the last thing was obviously, we got the ride Rise of the resistance twice,

Marc Valentine:

twice.

Duane Willey:

Yeah, two different days, we went two different days. But we got the ride it twice, which was pretty epic.

Marc Valentine:

How is the new procedure? Because I haven't had a chance to book it from the comfort of my hotel room yet.

Laurie Willey:

It's really easy.

Marc Valentine:

Yeah,

Laurie Willey:

it's really easy. But I will say this, I've seen a couple of people even today saying I didn't get to get on. One of the things that we did to try to ensure that we got on to the ride was we would actually get up. And we would go out into like the main area where the pool is. And we would definitely make sure that everybody that was supposed to be in our group was was right on our phones. But we also would take our phones off of the hotel's Wi Fi. So we were on our cell service. And we just kind of chose different spots. And we just, well, some of us would refresh and some of us would only go into the app right on time. So we tried a few ways to do that. And I think Disney is just one of those places that if you'll put a little bit of planning into it and prepare yourself to know what you need to do beforehand. It just increases the value of what you get out of your trip.

Marc Valentine:

So duane any any regrets for Rise of the resistance of where it fell on thrill rides after after having gone through it.

Duane Willey:

No, I can't. I mean, I don't remember where it where it finally landed. I loved it. You know, great, but I mean, we've talked and even even today, you know, as we're taping this today is what I always deemed thrill ride Thursday. And you know, I know the show is going to come out on Wednesday so it'll be the day after for ya. It's But it's still for me it's probably still it's Everest and rockin roller coaster as far as thrill rides they're my two favorites and I love you know I love the two of them obviously I love tower terror I love rise of the resistance flight a passage I mean there's so many great rides, they're different.

Marc Valentine:

I know

Duane Willey:

theyre really different you know,

Marc Valentine:

I I don't know why rock and roller coasters it's it has such a special place in my heart because it was it was like the final frontier for me that ride. That was it like that was that was me thoroughly conquering every through ride in the park. And I don't know why I waited till the end for that one, but I did maybe because it inverted and I was just terrified of the inversion. Yeah, but when I did that, and I love and I didn't just like I didn't endure it, but I loved

Duane Willey:

I loved seeing you picture Today it. It was the most liberating feeling to my soul of like 40,4 years of like worrying abou something that was so stupid t be like, I'm free. I'm free o this albatross. I lov rollercoasters like I love them

Laurie Willey:

it's also Disney's niche where they know how to make it a full sensory experience. So here you are going upside down or inverted and it's set to the soundtrack of your lifetime with

Duane Willey:

love in an elevator. Dude looks like a lady.

Marc Valentine:

Did you hear Ryan Gorman's story? That he as a kid? How crazy was that story?

Duane Willey:

Where he ran into Steven Tyler

Marc Valentine:

in a sundress.

Duane Willey:

That was awesome.

Marc Valentine:

Then we laughed hysterically. We're like well, so dude literally looked like a lady when you ran into Steven Tyler. Yeah, it was like it was Steven Tyler It was 100% Steven Tyler because you I use like I know. Steven Tyler is not an unremarkable person. You know when you run into Steven Tyler Absolutely. That's like when I so when I was a little kid. I ran into Hulk Hogan on a beach. You know, when you run into Hulk Hogan? It's, it's unmistakable. No. Now you know who he is. And as a kid, I was like seven years old when I met Hulk Hogan on the beach in Florida. It was it was you would have thought that I had met. Like, like Jesus Himself. You know, walking on the beach with the footprints. It was like, Yeah, no, I met I met Hulk I met Hulkamania ran wild on me. So, guys, I love I love having you on. And I love I love one. I love living vicariously through your trip because I was missing home. And I knew that I should have been there for Thanksgiving. It's a bucket list item of ours to eat at Liberty tree on Thanksgiving, and we'll do it someday. I'm not. I'm not sad. Because I know it's gonna it's gonna happen. But I did want to have you guys back on and that's the thing is I love about this is to check in from time to time to see what's changed in parks. And we had an episode that was really just about the park for after COVID. And, you know, obviously it is it's sort of irrelevant. Now. It's it's a part of history of the show. But it's none none of the stuff that's on like the first two episodes. Well, not none of it, some of it is still very much in effect, but a lot of it has changed. So I love getting you guys on to just share with the audience some stuff that has changed. And we have people that you know, are constantly looking to know is this a good time to go is, you know, what am I going to get in terms of my value? So this was I thought it was a really helpful episode. But I just love this being here for you to extend the Disney feels because we all know it's you that Disney blues are real. You know once you board that tragical Express for the next few days you feel it. But another cool thing and a plug to you guys and just like props to you guys. There they are. So we're we're in family game night. And I get a text from both Laurie and Dwayne that they say we're about to board the tragical express or no, we're on the tragical Express right now. We're

Duane Willey:

playing we're playing family game night on the tragical Express,

Marc Valentine:

and they were playing it, they're playing it so that was awesome. So it's pretty cool. I I dug that Very much so. But that guys, thank you for coming. It's never it's never goodbye with us. We have we have a lot of exciting stuff to in the month of December and some really big, really big happenings today that I'm just gonna I'm just gonna tease to say we had Disney so Disney life podcast, we have some really big stuff. The family got together today. Dwayne Lori, Matt, Melissa, john, and some and some new family members, and some new family members, which is, which is the big, which is part of the big surprise

Laurie Willey:

and we're so excited.

Marc Valentine:

We're really excited that all of this is it's going to go into effect in 2021, which is going to be a really amazing, amazing year for what we've got planned for the podcast. But but but more, and it's a joke. But wait, there's more. And so today was a really, really wonderful pow wow and I can't wait. We're going to obviously be teasing this a whole lot more as December comes. And then a formal announcement, which is going to be coming out on our, on our on our channel on our socials, which is the best place to connect with all of us in person, and to live, you know, your best Disney life with us and to connect with Dwayne and Laurie. And we have amazing travel agents who are there to to price out a trip and to give you you know, an idea of your dream family vacation. We have photographers that are in the group that you can book an amazing family session with john Hinson. We have incredible podcasters that are there that just would love to talk your ear off about anything, anything. So you know, join us over on our social join us over at Disney life podcast. Check us out on Instagram at Disney life podcast, become part of the conversation and live your best Disney life with us. Guys, thank you so much for joining us, ladies and gentlemen at home. Thank you for your constant support of the show. It is truly appreciated. Thanksgiving was a really amazing month for me just being really thankful for all of the gifts that God has given me in my life. And that's really continuing into December. And again, stay tuned. We have amazing big news. Have a great week. I hope that it is filled with faith, trust, and pixie dust. We'll see you real soon. Whether you're coming to Florida to visit Disney or the beach, Hinson photography specializes in vacation portraits for families and couples, a souvenir that you'll never forget. Visit www.hinsonphotography.com or c ll 3864788099 to learn more bout booking vacation portr its with Hinson photo raphy that's www.hinsonpho ography.com