It’s been almost six months since I dined at Shula’s Steak House at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin Resort. The first time I went was in December 2020, and the COVID restrictions were in full force. The wait staff wore masks at all times. Patrons also had to comply with the mask policy unless seated at a table. Still, impressed by the quality of service, I couldn’t wait to go back. Shula’s Steak House falls under Disney’s “Signature Dining” category and has an estimated price range of $35-$60 per person. The menu consists of a good variety of appetizers, à la carte soups, salads, and sides, and, of course, a variety of entrées, specializing in grilled steak – offering Filet Mignon to a Cowboy Ribeye, both for around $56. You will not be disappointed. If red meat isn’t your thing, they have chicken and fish dishes, and to cap off the evening, some very elegant desserts. Thirsty? How about an adult beverage? They mix some amazing crafted cocktails. I would highly recommend the Dark Cherry Smoked Manhattan… the presentation is simply exquisite.
Now that some COVID restrictions have been lifted, I wanted to return and experience any changes. When you dine at Shula’s, you are offered complimentary valet parking. When I pulled up to the front of the resort, the attendants were all still wearing masks, but guests did not have to do so. However, when you walked inside, you were required to put a mask on. So, I was without a mask from the car to the front door, but as soon as I entered, I masked up, adhering to the policy. I did notice that social distancing of any kind was not really being enforced in the lobby area. There was a lobby bar with open seating, and I saw it was quite crowded, and nobody that happened to be eating or drinking was wearing a mask, as is to be expected. However, tables and chairs and such were not spaced out.
Checking in at Shula’s was easy, and all of the hosts and wait staff were still wearing masks. I opted to wait for my table at the bar and enjoy a drink. Like before, masks are not required while seated and dining. There was a wide-open space between two parties that provided enough room to comply with the distancing requirements. This got interesting as a gentleman decided to have a seat between myself and the party next to me. The friendly bartender indicated that he had to enforce some spacing. The gentleman apologized, and I simply decided to slide my chair down a bit and acknowledged the party to my right. An individual at that party looked at me and said, “It’s all good; I’m fully vaccinated.” It was very interesting to hear someone be so free with his vaccination status. I’m not open with mine, as it’s not really anyone’s business, but I’m still trying to comply with and respect the rules that Disney has set. What if I were to say, “Well, I’m not vaccinated,” or, “Oh yeah? ME TOO!!” and then ask the gentleman who just sat down next to me his vaccine status? Depending on how someone feels about it, it might not go over too well. Our society has become wide open with this particular vaccine, and so many people are asking direct questions and even casting judgment on whether or not you have received the shot. Are we to start comparing types of vaccines now? “Hey, did you get the J&J or the Pfizer?” I don’t recall anyone asking me directly if I got my HepB or Measles vaccine taken care of. My point is, if we’re following the rules, why would someone need to declare their vaccination status or, worse yet, pry into someone’s private life and ask for theirs? Other viruses that can be much more severe and even deadly, and nobody is asking such direct questions. Sometimes, the media can be too influential, and everyone needs to stop and think things through. No matter where you stand on the issue, just do your own homework! OK… rant over…
I never felt unsafe at Shula’s. That establishment is so very clean, and the wait staff was spectacular. They made me feel like a special guest, and it was another great experience. For now, only a fraction of restrictions have been lifted; when the remaining ones will be removed, no one knows. But I can see normalcy on the horizon, and we all just need to be patient. Masks are still required, but only sometimes, and in certain situations. For me, I still plan to venture out, try new things, visit different places, and make Park Hoppin’ videos for the YouTube channel, whether or not masks are required. Hang in there, everybody, and thanks for reading!