What it’s really like to visit Disney World during the pandemic

What it’s really like to visit Disney World during the pandemic

Recently I returned to Disney World for a family vacation. Since we had already experienced the magic we didn’t mind the mask policy or certain attractions and experiences being closed. Thats including the huge remodeling and construction going on around all Walt Disney Property.

(These are my personal views and experiences.)

So what’s Different?

Reduced capacity: Honesty so amazing to be able to walk around without crowds or waiting long periods of time for rides. We rode Flight of passage with a wait time of 10 minutes, let’s  be real, the wait time was actually how long it took to travel to the ride going through the line. Once off, we actually had the option of riding again through the fast pass line, we totally did! Fast Pass is not available at this time but in my opinion was not needed as wait times were low and lines were not long because of capacity reduction at the parks.

Health and Safety Protocols: Face Coverings are required and enforced without exceptions. Only certain Face coverings are being accepted at park entry so be sure to read “Know Before you Go” on the Disney website. Among the non accepted face coverings are Neck Gators and anything with valves or mesh. Many Cast members also wear face shields in addition to their face coverings. Guests are also permitted to wear a face shield in addition to, but not instead of a face covering. A constant but lovely health and safety audio message will remind you throughout the park to please maintain a physical distance and wear a face covering. If you forget or don’t have an approved face covering, there are vending machines before park entry available with disposable masks for about $2 each.

 I can not stress this enough, I hope and wish Disney Parks decide to keep some of those hand sanitizer stations and hand washing stations after things get better. Just like Trash Cans, hand sanitation stations were placed almost everywhere you looked, before ride lines, during ride lines, after ride lines, food stations, etc. Basically anywhere there was a kiosk, food, ride, rest area, store or popular area for photos. They were all automatic which meant no need to touch anything. Adding onto this, The hand washing stations around the park were amazing, you just had to pump the water out with your shoe and soap and paper towels were provided in the same area. Trash cans were also propped open so you don’t have to worry about touching them.

I did not personally experience sanitation of rides but I have heard and read they sanitize them several times during the day, possibly every hour. I did however experience cast members sanitizing the rails, fences, tables, walls and counters several times. Plexiglass was placed in front of cast member ride operating areas, in ride boats or vehicles and merchandise stores when paying. Most rides had spacing between families/ guests, unless it could have plexiglass between seats. Busses were also divided and had barriers between certain seats. Six feet distancing stickers and guidelines were placed everywhere on the floor to guide you and keep everyone safe.

When purchasing food at a kiosk at EPCOT, tables and outdoor seating are placed nearby with distance being practiced between guest. You may remove your mask to eat at on of these designated areas but not walk around while eating. There were also “rest areas” or “relaxation stations”  where you may temporarily remove your face covering. 

Menus were brought to you at restaurants as a paper with a QR code you can scan and view on your phone. It is also available through the My Disney Experience app. Beverage and self serve items have been modified, a Cast member will serve your drinks or hand you prepackaged condiments. We found this being done at Disney Springs as well, which follow the same rules as the parks. Utensil dispensers are also available to keep everyone safe and distanced.

Modified Entertainment: Although character experiences were very much missed, You can still see your favorite friends from a physical distance! Pooh can be seen catching butterflies, Joy can be seen jumping around enthusiastically and you can find other characters greeting and dancing when entering Magic Kingdom. I also did happen to catch a glimpse of Jack Sparrow having physically distanced photo ops with guests across from where I was standing at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

No more fireworks or spectacular shows. Happily Ever After was deeply missed, the lights, the fireworks, everyone cheering (or in my case crying) all of it. I did also experience my birthday celebration and with this my cast member friends wished me birthday wishes everywhere and even got a mickey cupcake! I was advised however they are not able to sing or gather in groups so it was a modified celebration. At EPCOT during the Festival of Arts there were a couple of performances from the Voices of Liberty and more at the showcase plaza stage. Clever photo ops and the sidewalk chalk art were still available to take photos at as well as meeting and greeting artists.

Park Entry: Before entering the park, you go trough a tent so that they may check your temperature, after you are approved you proceed to a bag check. You walk through metal detectors and they instruct you to hold out umbrellas, portable chargers and other items in front if you, out of your bags. Once you pass, you then go to the park entry and scan your magic band without having to use your finger. Park Reservations are required for entry even if you have tickets. You can easily reserve through the My Disney Experience app. Park hopping is now available as an option but only After 2 PM and having already successfully reserved and entered a first park the same day. No reservation is required for the second park entry as long as you have qualified park hopper entry. For more up to date information on Park Hopping visit the Disney Park Pass website.

Conclusion: I felt very safe to be at Walt Disney World Parks, including Disney Springs. Probably more so than my own hometown. Cast members and guests all followed physical distancing and wore face coverings, constant sanitation and not many, if at all, crowds. I do recommend experiencing a day at Disney World if you can, I would go again on a weekday if I could, and ride Rise of the Resistance and eat a mickey pretzel. However, I don’t recommend you travel if it is your first time or if it is anyone in your party’s first time going to the parks as it is not the full magical experience. 2022 will be the year of new rides, the 50th celebration and more amazing experiences and would be a great alternative. Hope you have a magical day and remember to be kind to the Cast Members creating magic at the parks if you happen to go!

Disclosure: As travel reopens it is suggested that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidelines and research local/ state restrictions before booking your next trip. Please refer to the official Walt Disney World website for up to date information on health and safety requirements. Any and all opinions are my own, no compensation was received for this post. However please note that some of the links in this post may be or are affiliated links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase using my link.

For more up to date information please visit “Know Before you Go” and the official Walt Disney World Resort website.

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