Visiting Disney during COVID

Visiting Disney World During COVID

Have you thought about visiting Disney World during COVID? After a lot of research and careful consideration, we decided to give it a try. It ended up being a wonderful, but different, Disney experience, so I thought I’d share some information and tips to help anyone else planning a trip.

Please note that rules and the pandemic situation are constantly changing, so you may experience some differences during your visit.

Differences in the Parks

We visited all four parks on our recent visit and even though things were different, we still had a great time!

Wear your masks at Disney World

The most important difference is that you need to have a park pass to enter a park. So, before you go, purchase tickets and then use My Disney Experience to book a park pass for the park you want to visit. You won’t be able to enter the park without the park pass – even if you have a valid ticket.

Right now, Fast Passes are also not available. That does mean that some of the more popular rides may have long lines. We did wait about an hour for some of our favorites. The best way to get around the long lines is to get to the park early (as in before it opens) and hit the newer rides first. We found we could successfully ride 3-5 rides in the first hour and a half of our visit before the lines got crazy.

You’ll have to wear a mask all day. The only exception is if you are eating or drinking while stationary. So no wandering around Epcot with a drink in hand, sipping as you walk. Even though it was HOT (in the 90’s most days), none of us found it difficult to wear the mask. Some days we had it on from 8 AM until 8 PM with no issues. There were signs scattered throughout the parks as well as frequent announcements reminding guests of the policies.

Signs at Disney

Before entering the park, you’ll undergo a temperature screening (this also happens if you go to Disney Springs). Instead of a full bag check, everyone goes through a screening device. We also just scanned our magic bands to get into the park instead of using the fingerprint screening.

Right now there aren’t parades or fireworks at the parks, but you will get to see random character “mini-parades.” At Animal Kingdom, they go through on a boat regularly and at the other parks, a few characters will come out at a time either walking or in small vehicles.

Characters at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Dining is a little more challenging. For counter service, you’ll need to scan the menu and order via the My Disney Experience app. With table service, we found it useful to have dining reservations or at least be willing to wait a few hours before eating.

The lines look really long as Disney has marked them off in six foot sections to allow for social distancing. However, we found that the times stated were accurate (or in some cases less time than posted).

Line markers at Disney World

Even though the parks are not at full capacity, they DO feel crowded. So, if you aren’t comfortable with large crowds, don’t go. We felt the safety measures Disney put into place were excellent but there were still times we ended up leaving an area of a park (or even the park itself) because it just felt like there were too many people.

Disney was still crowded

Differences in the Hotels

While at Walt Disney World, we stayed at two different Disney properties, the new Riviera and Boardwalk. We had a great experience at both places.

Instead of checking in at the front desk, Disney encourages you to do online checkin via the My Disney Experience App. We did that both times and were able to go directly to our room. It was very easy.

Elevators had signs posted asking that either four single people or one party ride. We were a party of four so just rode the elevators on our own each time. Everyone was very gracious about waiting if necessary.

Disney Fun

Masks were to be worn at all times unless you were in your room. Even at the pool, we wore our mask down there and only removed it when we were sitting on our chairs or actually in the water.

We did notice that there weren’t really bell hops readily available, and in the past we’d never been allowed to use the carts to move luggage ourselves, but on this trip we were able to use them.

In Conclusion

This Disney trip was definitely different, but once we arrived at the Disney “bubble” overall we felt very safe. Most people were following the rules (we did see a few masks being worn improperly but that was definitely the exception), and guests still seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The parks close earlier than normal and most open later, so in some ways, it was a more relaxing Disney vacation. We spent less time actually in the parks and more time relaxing in our room which was different.

WE love Disney

Lines looked long but overall moved fairly quickly and efficiently. We definitely waited longer than we had on other trips, but with the distancing, it felt fine.

We didn’t visit anyplace while we were in Orlando outside of Disney World, so I can’t comment on how the rest of the area is handling the pandemic. I didn’t love being in the airport and the plane itself definitely felt crowded, so in the future, I’d probably prefer to drive.

Would I go again? Absolutely!

Are you looking for more information on Disney? Here are a few favorite and useful posts:

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Is it still possible to enjoy a trip to Disney World during COVID? We tested it out and although it was a different trip, it was still fun! Learn what to expect (and some tips to make your trip better)! #disney #travelplanning #disneyplanning
Is it still possible to enjoy a trip to Disney World during COVID? We tested it out and although it was a different trip, it was still fun! Learn what to expect (and some tips to make your trip better)! #disney #travelplanning #disneyplanning

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36 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I would be ready to join the crowds just yet but I’m happy to see they are implementing so many protocols throughout every aspect of the park.

  2. Wow, the park did look crowded from your picture. Glad you went and had fun. We were supposed to go in January, but my family is not comfortable. BTW did you know the troll at Finland Pavilion has it’s own ig account?

    1. Yes, we’ve already decided no Spring Break for sure – if it was this busy now … I didn’t know that about the Troll – I’m totally looking it up!

  3. Bummer that the parks are crowded! I usually park hop if it is too crowded at one park but you do not have an option to do that right now. Still looks like you had so much fun!

    1. That was a big bummer. Same for eating – we like to park hop over to Epcot and that wasn’t possible. It WAS still fun though – we just enjoyed it in a different way than normal.

  4. Love that you showed how you can still enjoy time at Disney while complying with safety guidelines. Definitely helps manage expectations for those planning to visit.

    1. I love seeing all the precautions they are taking to me sure everyone stays safe. Is it less crowded or about the same?

  5. I love the realistic view of Disney visits right now. I think I am going to wait but if I lived closer I would visit.

  6. Looks like they’ve done a good job putting safety measures in place while still letting people have fun! I had some friends go last week too, and they also commented that it was a lot more crowded than expected. I guess Disney is doing the best they can considering the circumstances. (I wish they would prorate their tickets though– yeah right!).

  7. Thanks for posting! I have been wondering what it’s like at Disney! I hope the California Disney opens soon

  8. My sister and her family just returned from the Disney parks and Universal Studios. Their original trip in March got cancelled so they were grateful to get to go and had a wonderful time!

  9. So glad to have read this! I was literally researching a Disney trip just yesterday. I also had heard that the parks are “secretly” opening up to an hour early right now. That helps too!

    1. Yes, they are, so definitely get there early. The one exception for us was Animal Kingdom, it opened right at 9:00 the day we went.

  10. Very interesting to read how things are at Disney during this crazy time. It’s wonderful that they are implementing all these safety measures. Looks like you still had a fun time, which is great! πŸ™‚

  11. I appreciate all the safety precautions Disney is putting into place. Park hopping is one thing I miss. We are annual pass holders and with that perk no longer available, it takes away a lot of the value.

    1. I do agree with that – it was so hard not to just go over to Epcot to grab something yummy for lunch or dinner like we usually do.

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