I would like to preface this article with the fact that I am speaking completely from my own personal experience on this topic and with the absolute understanding that this is a very personal topic with absolutely no “right” or “wrong” answer. Every single one of us must do what is best for our own individual families and unique situations. This article is for those Disney lovers who may be on the fence on whether or not to take a trip or wait until things are back to “normal”. I am here to give my own opinion based on the multiple visits I have had since Disney World’s reopening in July. So is Disney safe to visit right now, or should you wait? Again, this is a very personal decision that every family and individual should make for themselves, and I am only here to speak from my own experience. Let’s take a look at what I’ve found.
The Safety Measures- Most of us are aware that Disney has put in a number of safety measures to ensure the safety of both guests and Cast Members. These safety measures include temperature checks upon entry into all 4 parks, mandatory face coverings worn throughout all of Walt Disney World Resort Property, social distancing, extra cleaning and sanitation, the requirement of park reservations to ensure limited park capacity, mobile ordering to limit contact, and more. I’m going to share how I felt about each of these new guidelines, and more, and go into detail about my own experiences.
Temperature Screenings and Bag Checks- Honestly, the new contactless bag check system being implemented in some of the parks was awesome and saved so much time and the temperature screening was very quick and easy. Neither of these security measures was an inconvenience.
Mandatory Face Coverings- I’ll be completely honest, in the Florida heat, the face coverings were hot. However,if you take advantage of the Relaxation Stations and air-conditioned indoor dining, even in the July heat the face coverings could easily be managed. If you are worried about keeping a face covering for a prolonged period, you’ll want to do some extra planning and be sure to book some dining reservations to cool off, as well as get to know where the relaxation stations are and take advantage of them. I’ll say this, a day in a mask at Disney is still better than a day mask free not at Disney!
Social Distancing- As someone who does not love extreme crowds or others in my personal space this was another positive for me. Having the distance markers in the line queues was great. I found that most guests (definitely not all, but most) followed the guidelines and left us our personal space. I will warn that line queues may appear much, much longer than they actually are due to social distancing so do not become discouraged! I had never in my life seen the Tower of Terror line queue go out so far into Hollywood Studios Park, and I was scared- yet the unique wait happened to be only 35 minutes and moved very fast! I found that the wait time listed on the My Disney Experience App was either very close to the actual wait time or even much longer than what the actual wait was! Looks can definitely be deceiving with the social distancing measures! Another great surprise was the socially distanced character greets .and character cavalcades! You will definitely not miss out on seeing or interacting with your favorite characters- even when socially distanced! I honestly hope the character cavalcades become a permanent thing post-COVID at Disney World.
Extra Cleaning and Sanitation- It’s no secret that Disney generally goes above and beyond. Long before COVID Disney parks had a reputation for being among the cleanest theme parks found throughout the world. This definitely remains true and has become even more true during the pandemic. There are touch-free hand sanitizer stations found at the entry and exit of every attraction, as well as throughout the parks. The attraction vehicles are being cleaned and sanitized more often, and attraction pre-shows have been temporarily suspended. I could visibly see the extra cleaning that Disney was doing during my visits. I can personally attest to the fact that Disney has stepped up their cleaning game.
Limited Capacity- I’ll again be completely honest, when I first visited the week Walt Disney World Resort theme parks reopened, the parks were practically empty. Currently, the parks are limiting capacity to 30% of what normal maximum capacity would be. While 30% may not seem like much, with no Extra Magic Hours or Fast Pass + available, you may feel like the parks are still a bit crowded. Overall, I am still finding that wait times and crowds are still only a fraction of what they were before the pandemic. Of course, this all depends on the timing of your visit. I have found that Hollywood Studios consecutively seems to be the park with the largest crowd and longest wait times. You will need to make park reservations in advance in order to be granted entry. The park pass reservation system is a way for Disney to ensure limited capacity o each park. Park hopping is currently suspended, but will return in January 2021!
Mobile Ordering- If you plan on visiting Walt Disney World in the near future, be sure to download and become familiar with the My Disney Experience App. Most quick-service dining locations are requiring guests to place a mobile order to limit contact for guests and Cast Members. I personally like to mobile order and have found it very convenient. Who wants to waste time waiting in lines for food? I will continue to utilize mobile ordering even when it isno longer required.
I hope that you take what I have found from my own personal experiences and use this information to make your own informed decision. I can assure you, the mgic is still there! If you are not comfortable visitng Disney at this time, that is also ok, the magic will stillbe there when you return.