The boys and I still woke up early so that they could attend their “live” classes. We snacked on the donuts that we picked up yesterday from pinkbox. Everyone’s favorite was the DoughCro (a croissant/donut). Ben had taken a vacation day, so he finally got to sleep in.
Today was pool day! We were all excited to go swimming. The pool opened at 9:00 am and was operating at 50% capacity due to COVID restrictions. Once capacity was reached, there was a waiting line to get in. If you leave the pool area and it is at capacity, you would need to wait in the line to get back in. However, if you book a cabana, then you can come and go all day long. Masks were also required in the pool area unless in the pool, eating/drinking, or going directly into/out of the pool. There were staff members at exits with disposable masks for people as well. I did see a few stop people who were just walking around or sitting on chairs and give them masks to wear.
We had reserved a cabana for the day on the Mandalay Bay Beach lazy river. Ben had always wanted to try a cabana and it definitely helped with social distancing. The boys also still had school so it gave them a place to do their school work in the morning. Although we had prepaid, you still had to check into the cabana by 11:00am or give them a call to let them know you were going to be later. We packed up, checked out of the hotel room, and headed down to the pool area a little before 9:00. We brought the boys’ computers and the hotspot so they could continue with their classes.
We chose a cabana on the end to help with even more social distancing. The cabana had a loveseat, a table and two chairs, TV, towels, 2 inner tubes, a mini fridge with included Pepsi/Diet Pepsi/water/bucket of ice, 2 lounge chairs under an umbrella, and a safe. Food and beverage service was available for an extra charge.
Tipping and charges were a little different than what I was expecting. There was the cabana charge and the cabana host tipping option (they were the ones in the blue shirts). We didn’t really interact with them much. One person showed us to our cabana and another replaced the waters in the fridge towards the end of the day. The people in red were the food and beverage servers and were a separate charge and tip. We saw our server multiple times during the day, as she checked in on us quite frequently. She was very friendly. We ordered a frozen drink (Miami Vice 22 oz, souvenir plastic cup, $28) and an order of chips and guacamole ($11, way over priced for the amount we actually got). The drink was very tasty! The guacamole was good, a little spicy, but the chips seemed a little stale.
The main pool area had a walk up food/drink service as well, but it looked like the same menu.
There were a few restrooms around the different areas, but not specifically changing rooms that I could see. There was an outdoor shower area to rinse off the sand from the beach. The entry walkway also had a beach shop, but it had very limited gear. I had not not been paying attention when I packed my swimsuit and accidentally grabbed two bottoms. I stopped in the beach shop to see if they had any bathing suit tops. It only had tiny bikini tops and small one-piece suits, no larger swim tops/shirts. (Seriously, I tried on a top and there was no way I could swim and stay in it. I ended up just using my swim skirt bottoms with my bra and top.) Video: Walking Around The Mandalay Bay Beach pool area.
The lazy river was also operating at 50% capacity. When we got there in the morning, there wasn’t a line to get in, but towards the afternoon it got crowded and you did have to wait in line. There were times it was just a sea of people floating past us, so we took a dip in the Wave Pool to avoid any crowds. NOTE: You can also bring your own inner tubes for the lazy river as long as they are round, no rafts. There is a fill up station near the lazy river entrance. Video: Traveling Along The Mandalay Bay Beach Lazy River.
The lazy river was a decent temperature. It was a little cool when you first got in, but I quickly adjusted so it wasn’t bad at all. The Wave Pool was freezing. It would have been really funny to watch everyone’s faces as they got in the water, but I’m pretty sure I had the same “Holy Cow, this is cold” look on my face.
NOTE: The walkways are very slippery if they are wet or even just walking with wet feet! Go slow. The Wave Pool also goes off every 90 seconds, I believe.