Disney World Short Stories

Disney World Opening Under Covid-19

A Short Story • September 2020

For a couple of reasons we spent a few days, just after Labor Day, at Walt Disney World. We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House, one of our favorite WDW resorts. At the time we made our reservation we checked restaurants through MyDisney account to confirm that the ones we were interested in were open. The site did not say anything about closures and the reservation link was working, so we assumed that we were good to go.

Cars and buses busy dropping off guests
The lonely lifeguard

Checking in was the first shock. The front desk was empty and we had to go to the twin resort, Kidani Village to check in. Returning to Jambo House we soon learned that every restaurant was closed. Even the pool snack bar. The only restaurant that was open was back at Kidani Village and reservations were completely booked for at least the next five days. If we were going to eat at all it would require a trip to Disney Springs about six miles away. W also learned that even though the resort was full up over Labor Day the restaurants had still been closed. Also closed were the arcade, game room and the resort shops but the swimming pool was open.

Jambo House lobby
A busy afternoon at the boardwalk

Often we go to WDW to just lay back and decompress and on this occasion that was pretty much all we could do. To get into a park you needed a reservation ahead of time and a number of entertainment options around WDW were also closed. The good news was that Disney Springs (WDW’s restaurant and shopping venue) was mostly open and parking was plentiful with the garages less than half full. We went over to the Boardwalk Resort and the boardwalk was also mostly empty with limited food availability.

Morning fog out on the savannah

All in all we still had a good time. We spent time at the pool and hot tubs, went over to take a look at the new DVC Riviera Resort, rode the Disney Skyliner cable cars and shopped and ate at Disney Springs.

Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby in the afternoon

Staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge did have the feel of the resort in the movie The Shinning though. Really odd walking through a completely empty great reception hall and around an empty pool. On the positive side people criticize my photographs for being devoid of people – no problem taking those this time…

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