Disney World during the Covid-19 pandemic can best be described as Magic in a Mask. All the magic you’d expect from Disney, but with a pandemic twist, so to speak.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to return to Walt Disney World for the first time since the pandemic started. As I recall, I was actually scheduled to go to Disney the very week the lockdown started and was super bummed to have had to cancel that trip. Who would’ve thought an entire year would go by before I’d get to return!
Anyway, like most people, I was concerned about the safety protocols they’ve taken to protect their guests. I mean, the happiest place on earth, but also usually a pretty crowded space. I’d heard a lot of about the fact that Disney had taken many steps to keep guests as safe as possible, but I had to see for myself.
So here’s a guide to what I’ve observed regarding Disney’s COVID protocols and rules.
1. First (and most obvious), face masks are required in all public places for guests 2+, even if you’ve been vaccinated (like me).
*Note: as of my last day there, however, Disney did lift this one protocol to allow for guests to temporarily remove masks for photos in stationery locations. This was actually quite a relief, otherwise all of our photos would’ve been hiding our happy smiles.
2. Temp checks also happen at the park gates. Disney has partnered with an external company called Advent Health who administers these for each guest entering the park.
3. The face mask rule also does not apply in dining areas, but seating at restaurants is at limited capacity and mobile ordering is now a thing. As you approach most restaurants, you’ll find a QR code or instruction to place your order via your mobile app and you get notified once your meal is ready. This helps eliminate lines in restaurants. Plus, there’s no eating or drinking while walking since you are unmasked.
4. Your My Disney Experience App becomes your best friend because it’s a total necessity for your hotel check in, park and ride reservations, ordering food, and more! We were able to do just about everything through the app and it was perfect.
5. Disney Parks aren’t nearly as crowded as you’re used to! There’s a strict limit of 35% capacity at each park!
What’s really different is the fact that you literally have to reserve your visit to each park each day, even with the Park Hopper Pass. So, whereas you used to be able to just go on from say, Epcot to Animal Kingdom, you now have to change your reservation via the website or app and whether or not you can switch parks is based on availability.
6. Parking lot shuttles no longer run due to the pandemic. However, before you panic about long walks to the park, know that with 35% capacity, parking is an absolute breeze! What a treat to be able to easily find your car at Disney World!
7. Yes, the lines on rides look super long, but it’s only because parties must stay 6 feet apart. Wait times aren’t too bad. Check the app for the most accurate info!
8. Speaking of lines on rides, in addition to the social distancing, some of the wrap around lines have separators between rows to further protect guests from exposure.
9. Character visits definitely don’t look the same, unfortunately. While they still do make their magical appearances, they are usually behind a fence or distanced to where you can no longer hug and stand next to for pictures. Story of this pandemic-no hugs! 🙁
10. Finally, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort, it’s a totally in online and go straight to your room! Oh and you use your app to unlock your room doors! You can also opt out of daily housekeeping and they’ve taken quite a few extra steps to ensure that everything is sanitized. Not only rooms, but things like the remote control and extra pillows/blankets are sanitized for guests.
Moral of the story – traveling during a pandemic can be scary, but it’s good to see that Disney Parks are doing their part in establishing good safety protocols while making sure guests still have that magical experience …albeit in a mask! 🙂
Any questions about the new COVID-19 safety protocols at Disney? Share your comments below and I’ll try to get those answers for you!
Disclosure: This trip was hosted/sponsored by TravelingMom & Disney. As always, all opinions are mine alone.