Making Minimizing Germs Fun For Kids at Walt Disney World
By now, even hermits and people with their heads stuck in the sand have heard of the coronavirus pandemic that has seemingly swept the globe and affected just about every country on the face of the earth. Disney World was, of course, affected—to the point the parks closed for four months—and now that the parks are open, there are reminders everywhere that the virus has tried its best to stop the magic—hand sanitizer around every corner, as well as hand-washing stations and constant reminders from Cast Members to “pull up your mask please” and “please stand on these physically-distanced numbers.” And now, bringing kids to the parks can be stressful as we try to keep them germ-free and safe in a place where there’s so much they want to touch and hold. Here are a few ways to make it fun for kids to minimize their exposure to germs.
6. Purchase fun Disney masks before your trip.
When planning your trip to the parks with your kids, visit Shop Disney’s website and purchase Disney character-themed masks for the whole family. The selection includes classic Disney characters, Star Wars-themed prints and even Baby Yoda from Disney+’s The Mandalorian. If you don’t have time to purchase masks beforehand, you can still buy them in the parks, but the selection can be picked over at times.
5. Bubbles to help with physically distancing.
If your kids are young enough, bubbles solve any chaos. They can also be helpful with physical distancing. Bring bubbles and when you are in a queue and waiting to move to the next “marker,” ask your little ones to blow bubbles (not directly at others, of course) and see if their bubbles can make it past the next marker on the ground.
4. Who can spot the characters first?
Purchase an inexpensive souvenir from the parks and tell the kids about it. Explain to them that characters may pop up anytime in the form of cavalcades, etc. Who can spot the characters first? Which one will see the cavalcade approaching first? At the end of the day, whoever spotted the most characters FIRST earns the new souvenir.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one of the most powerful weapons we have against the coronavirus is hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Encourage your kids to wash their hands not only before and after eating, after using the restroom and after touching frequently-touched surfaces, but also intermittently throughout the day. Set a reminder alarm on your phone or your Fitbit, etc., that reminds the whole family to wash their hands. You can even bring soap in Disney-themed soap dispensers and use Disney-themed hand sanitizers. Bring little rewards with you to “hand” out after hand-washing. (No pun intended.)
2. Let them help with mobile orders.
When you’re placing a mobile order for pick-up at a quick-service venue, allow your little ones to look at the menu with you and, if they’re old enough, to pick what they’d like to eat. You can also order the kids’ beverages in the cute souvenir sippers that most quick-service restaurants offer. While waiting for your order number to be called, blow bubbles, play a guessing game or take turns asking questions about your favorite things at Disney World.
1. Let them pick the park.
If your kids are used to park hopping, they may be disappointed to find that they can’t do that during the pandemic. And since reservations are mandatory for each day you’re in the parks, you can let the kids pick the park each day (well in advance, mind you, so the parks haven’t already reached capacity for the day). Or write the names of the parks on separate pieces of paper and draw from a hat to see which park you’ll be visiting on each day!
I am a writer and a Mom to four children and two baby shih-tzus. My first experience with the Magic was in 1988, when my parents surprised my brother and me with a visit to Walt Disney World after a short trip to see friends in Georgia. I still hum the tune played during the Main Street Electrical Parade and remember the feeling of excitement from my very first visit. I introduced my husband to the Magic several years ago, and we take our children to the parks every time we can. No matter how many times I visit Walt Disney World, it seems it’s not enough! The ever-changing experience only gets better with each trip, and I’m thrilled to share the Magic with others, as well as some of the tips and tricks to getting the most out of the Magic with each visit!