Traveling Away the Cabin Fever Blues With a Florida Staycation, as Major Resort Destinations Reopen
Updated: Jun 21, 2020
Floridians love to travel in a state that was tailor made to be out and about. After months of lockdowns and quarantines, everyone is probably suffering from a bit of cabin fever and are ready to venture out, maybe closer to home at first in order to test the waters.
After months of lockdown and probably a little cabin fever, Floridians are ready to travel again as lockdowns end and major resort destinations begin to reopen. While it is generally considered safe to fly again with mandatory masks, enhanced airport and aircraft sanitary measures, modified onboard food and beverage procedures and capacity restrictions, Floridians benefit from dozens of great “staycation” travel options close to home. On June 5th, Universal Studios Orlando Resort reopened to the general public and Sea World (Orlando) and Busch Gardens (Tampa) began welcoming guests again on June 11, 2020. Disney Springs is also open and Disney Vacation Club properties at Walt Disney World and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen to Members and Guests on June 22nd. Those yearning for the magic of Walt Disney World theme parks will have to wait awhile longer with the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Parks opening on July 11th, followed by Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15, 2020.
Whether you are from South, Central or Northern Florida, you are never more than a few hours drive or very short flight away from world-class vacation destinations. For those who would like to avoid a several hour drive, great airfares are also available. For example, at the time of writing (Saturday June 20, 2020), we found that guests could book a roundtrip flight on Southwest Airlines with a Wanna Get Away® fare between Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Orlando International Airport for $149. In this example we selected a departure date of July 15th (the date Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopen) and a return date of July 22, 2020. Naturally, airfares are updated in real time and subject to change, so the cited example represents a snapshot in time and may be unavailable in the future. On Spirit Airlines, a roundtrip standard “Bare Fare” was only $50.38. Keep in mind that the Spirit Airlines fare cited only includes one personal item such as a laptop or purse measuring less than 18”x 14”x 8”, while checked or carry-on baggage may be purchased for a fee of $30 and up depending on weight. On the other hand, Southwest Airlines allows two checked bags (up to 50 lbs. each) and one standard carry-on bag, plus one personal item at no extra charge.
Floridians also have access to an unparalleled number of options for accommodations from hotels to rental properties and longer-term stay properties. While there is nothing like staying on-property at a major resort, travelers wishing to visit numerous attractions, especially over a longer period, can benefit from setting up their temporary “home away from home” at a central location. This is especially important when the global COVID-19 pandemic remains a concern and restaurants are practicing social-distancing and often require reservations. The theme parks are doing an excellent job with measures such as temperature checks, capacity limitations, contactless entry, smartphone menu ordering and restaurant reservations. However, it remains up to individuals and families to take personal responsibility to limit social contact, even when visiting popular attractions and will be in contact with large crowds.
One option we like, especially for families, are properties especially designed for longer term stays such as the U.S. hotel chain Extended Stay America (ESA), which has over 600 pet-friendly locations throughout the U.S. ESA locations provide a home away from home, which can be booked by the day, week or even month. Extended Stay America guests will enjoy a spacious suite with a fully equipped kitchen, free wi-fi, flat screen TV with premium channels, free grab-and-go breakfast and on-site laundry facilities. ESA has eight hotels within ten miles of the Walt Disney World Resort, with the closest property (Extended Stay America – Orlando – Lake Buena Vista) located only 2.3 miles from the resort. Having a fully equipped kitchen is especially nice during these unprecedented times when restaurants have to operate with limited capacity, therefore resulting in longer wait times, especially in busy tourism centers like the Greater Orlando area. Whether you are planning a Florida “staycation” in Orlando or anywhere in the U.S., ESA suites will allow you to prepare meals for your family, while you enjoy traveling, while still practicing social-distancing and minimize public contact.
Source(s) Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Sea World Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Extended Stay America