Op Ed: Is it worth it to go to Walt Disney World during COVID-19?

going to walt disney world balloons wayne
going to walt disney world balloons wayne

disney world packing

Let’s be clear… I love Disney World. I love it! I have been 27 times. There were times that I went 4 or 5 times during the course of one calendar year. We are Disney people. But I have to be honest. I would NOT go to Walt Disney World during this time.

I’m guessing if you’re reading this right now you are trying to make a decision for yourself and your family about whether you should go. I suppose if I had an annual pass and Disney was just an hour down the street maybe I would think differently, but for anyone having to hop a plane, I’m not so sure. Let me be clear, this isn’t about whether you should go… go if you want to, but it is a question of is it WORTH THE DOLLARS to go during this time.

My answer? NO. So let me walk you through some of my reasons why I’ll postpone until 2021 or later.

REDUCTION OF HOURS – The announcement that WDW would be cutting back opening hours was the nail in the coffin for me even considering heading down to Florida. Here’s why… they’re not cutting the PRICE of that ticket to reflect hours lost. So that means every hour you ARE in the park costs you more since tickets are “for the day”. I understand why, from a business standpoint, they’re doing that. No reason to pay so many staff for the hours if people aren’t packed in, but this just feels really wrong to me. I keep thinking about the people who are going for their first time and have no clue how much they’re missing just by having an extra 2-3 hours cut from the day. Most days when my family and I go to a Disney Park we are there from park opening (usually around 9 am) until close (post-fireworks, normally close to 10 pm, and if there are extra magic hours there’s even more). On any given “normal” day you’re getting a solid 11 hours.  If you haven’t seen the newly revised hours you’ll see its MUCH less.

Disney’s revised hours as of 9/28/20:

Magic Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. = 9 hours (plus Extra Magic Hours if you’re on Property)

Epcot: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. = 8 hours

Hollywood Studios: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. = 9 hours

Animal Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. = 8 hours

Some parks are also updating their Saturday hours but it’s for specific dates.

DISNEY IS ABOUT MORE THAN RIDES – I like rides ok. I get that for SOME people all you really care about is riding rides, but for me, Disney is about the rides + character interactions + parades + fireworks. For people who are insane “riders” I suppose this COVID time is not so bad, because you were there for the rides anyway, but for me. Definitely NOT. Currently, there are no character meals, no character greetings, no fireworks, no traditional parades. I can’t get autographs with the rare character I’ve not yet “collected”. I can’t get pictures with my children with characters they have never met. Regardless, I am still paying the full ticket price even though I’m not getting any of those things. For me personally, if I just wanted rides I would go to a six-flags at half the price of a typical Disney ticket. If I’m going to pay that kind of money I want a full experience, not just rides. So for me, this means that I will wait until Disney returns those experiences to their ticket price.

NO CHARACTER MEALS  – One of my absolute favorite things at Walt Disney World is Character meals. It’s such a great way to do two things at one time. Being able to eat and have characters come around and sign autographs and get pictures is just a huge part of the Disney Experience. It’s never been about the FOOD at these meals. Sure, the food is good and it fills me up, but its the combination of the characters and the food that makes these events such a MAGICAL part of the Disney experience. So the fact that it’s not available during COVID is a major bummer for me.

Regarding Annual Passhoulders & Florida Residents

I think that for those people who are “regular attenders” at Walt Disney World that the changes are not that bad. I mean, they’re probably done with most character meals and character greetings at this point and are there for the ambiance and the rides. I get that those who are “regulars” won’t feel the same way as those people who save up all year (or years) for their Disney Vacay. Just wanted to make sure I clarified that.

Disney World is an experience like no other, but when I compare what is part “normal” Disney experience verse what is available during this COVID time it simply isn’t “worth it” to me. Sure, the lines are short, but for me the Disney experience is about so much more than rides.

And that’s MY opinion (still)!


Op Ed: Is it worth it to go to Walt Disney World during COVID-19? 1

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Kristin S
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