Ever since Walt Disney World reopened its gates, plenty of guests have been wondering what a post -pandemic visit would be like. With a temporary normal guiding the functions of all businesses, it’s not surprising Disney is offering a modified experience. This is throwing off the expectations of more seasoned Disney visitors. Today, we’re here to help explain what’s changed, what requires extra prep work on your part, and what is undeniably still full of pixie dust.
10. Do I Need a Negative COVID19 Test Result to Enter a Park?
While Disney strongly recommends you refrain from visiting if you exhibit any COVID19 symptoms, you are not required to take a test beforehand. In addition to limiting park capacity, implementing social distancing, and requiring facial coverings, Disney also requires that you get your temperature taken to enter the park. Health care employees are stationed at all entrances and provide touchless health screenings. You must have a temperature lower than 100.4 F to enter. If not, an employee will direct you to a cooling tent and rescreening, to ensure humidity/heat isn’t the issue. All in all, this is efficient and barely adds any time to your daily park routine.
9. What Kind of Face Covering Should I Wear?
They may be controversial, but global experts and the CDC are still recommending the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID19. And since Disney has been taking a “better safe than sorry” approach to their health guidelines, face masks are required at all times on Disney property. The official policy from Disney is as follows: “Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining, swimming, or taking an outdoor photo. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing. All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
- – Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
- – Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
- – Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- – Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free”
This policy excludes the use of neck gaiters, bandanas, or any mask that contains mesh or a valve. It is our unofficial recommendation that you bring several masks per person. (They can get sweaty!) And this is not the time to push Disney’s good graces. The cast members are trained to politely, but firmly, ensure you are wearing a Disney-approved mask properly.
BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >
8. I Have a Medical Condition. Does This Make Me Exempt From Mask Wearing?
Unfortunately, no. This is due to several reasons. First of all, the ADA has stated that there isn’t a proper substitute for mask-wearing. This is because masks protect both the wearer and those they come in contact with. (Plus, asymptomatic people can still unknowingly spread the virus.) Due to safety concerns for the cast members and all guests, Disney had to take a “no tolerance” stance. At this time, Disney is recommending that any guests who can’t safely wear a mask, should postpone their trip. On a positive note, this gives us hope that masks won’t be permanent! Masks are certainly hurting profitability and Disney is a business first. So, take heart!
7. Can I Ever Take My Mask Off?
Yes! As stated prior, Disney does allow guests to take their masks off when swimming, eating/drinking while stationary, or briefly when taking an outdoor photo. While this means you can’t eat Dole Whips or Mickey Ice Cream Bars on-the-go, you can take off your mask to eat while sitting. You can also relax mask-free at any sit-down restaurant, except when you’re moving about the establishment. Additionally, Disney has several “Relaxation Stations” in all of the parks. These are designated areas that guests can get a break, with no refreshment required. (May we suggest checking out the Tomorrowland Terrace spot in the Magic Kingdom? This has a beautiful view of Cinderella Castle!) The point being, Disney does offer a reprieve from the masks and they make a bigger impact than you may think. Take advantage of them.
6. How is Disney Implementing Physical Distancing?
In addition to reducing capacity on transportation, in buildings, and the parks in general – Disney is a master at social distancing markers. You will become quickly accustomed to seeing these on the ground in every queue, from ride lines to lines for the ice cream cart. And unlike your local grocery store, you’ll find that people are much more compliant in Disney. (We’ll give Cast Members credit for this one!) Like most processes, Disney has a gift at making them run just a little bit smoother.
5. Can I Park Hop?
Yes! While park-hopping didn’t originally return, it is back in business now. Regarding new stipulations, guests can park hop starting at 2:00 p.m. each day, with an appropriate ticket. You still need a Park Pass reservation to enter the first park you attend and you must be inside that park before hopping to another. Additionally, no dining or experience reservation guarantees entrance into a second park. (Park capacity restrictions may still make entering a specific park impossible.) So, save your favorite activities for your first stop. But, yes park-hopping is back. Take advantage of it if you can and soak up as much magic as possible!
4. Can I Still See Characters?
You can! Most character meals aren’t happening and traditional meet and greets are on hold, but Disney has found other creative ways to bring familiar faces back – in a responsible way. For example, every park is having several unannounced Character Cavalcades. These are mini parades that feature several characters from Donald Duck to your favorite princesses. The lack of scheduled appearances diminishes crowds but offers great opportunities to wave at Mickey. Also, Disney has started having characters make random appearances – albeit at a six-foot distance from guests. This is another great time to chat with Princess Anna or take a socially distanced selfie. (This is surprisingly more exciting than it sounds.) In a time where Disney World was closed for months, seeing characters at any range is still heartwarming.
3. Is Everything Open Yet?
Not quite. While Disney has come so far since the pandemic first hit, there are still some hotels, attractions, shops, and dining options that have yet to reopen. (Although, some venues are reopening for peak hours or weekends.) Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive list as to what is and isn’t currently open. This is always changing. Take advantage of the guidance from your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner or search on https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/. Please note, all experiences are still listed, but the closed options are designated as “Temporarily Unavailable”. Here’s to hoping that changes sooner rather than later!
2. Can I See Any Shows?
Indeed, many shows are currently dark at Walt Disney World. Nighttime fireworks and most stage shows are suspended, but there is hope. Animal Kingdom’s the Festival of the Lion King is expected to return this summer and guests have noticed testing occurring at other venues, like the arena for Fantasmic! So, will you see any shows on your trip? It depends when you go. Even now, there are technically shows to enjoy. The Character Cavalcades are great fun and other performers (like EPCOT’s Voices of Liberty) are putting on safe, distanced performances. Plus, many of the indoor theaters that feature 3D technology or animatronics are also open to the public. Like most aspects of post-pandemic travel, it’s what you make of it.
1. Is It Still Magical?
Every guest defines their magical experience slightly differently, but we still give Disney World a ringing endorsement! Even with the temporary changes and closures, Disney is still Disney. The Cast Members are still smiling and helpful, even under a mask. The classic attractions are still charming. The food is still delicious. The speakers are still pumping out whimsical music. The gift shops are still full of irresistible purchases. In many ways, Disney World hasn’t changed a bit. And if the pandemic has affected you in any negative way, a trip to Orlando could be a balm for the soul. If traveling is at all possible, you won’t be disappointed here.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Disney directly or one of our Authorized Disney Vacation Planners at Mickey Travels. We wish you all the luck while returning to this one-of-a-kind vacation destination!