Mickey, Masks, Magic and More! Visiting Walt Disney World during a global pandemic.

Are you thinking of visiting the Mouse in his House but are still not sure about traveling to the most magical place on earth during a pandemic? Disney has set the bar for creating a safe environment for your family to vacation while still creating the magic that is its signature. As a Travel Advisor who specializes in Disney Destinations, I have personally traveled since the reopening and have outlined some of the key safety elements as well as recommendations that will make a Walt Disney World vacation a safe option for your family. All it takes is a little faith, hope, pixie dust, and a mask and away we go!

Location, Location, Location!
Oh, I know what you are going to say, “we just sleep there.” However, if there is ever a time to upgrade your location, it is now. Not only do the deluxe resorts provide the best Disney has to offer for accommodations and amenities, but their location can also make the difference between magic and havoc. Whether it’s an EPCOT resort that is a hop, skip and jump away from the park’s World Showcase, a Skyliner away from Hollywood Studios, or a monorail resort that makes commuting to the Magic Kingdom a breeze, having several modes of transportation to get you and your family around the World is key! Also prioritizing those resorts that offer a walking option provides you with a little more alone time as you go the distance to your resort! Regardless of what resort where you decide to rest your head in, you can guarantee that your room will be so impeccably clean that even your TV remote control will be in its own sterile environment.

Mickey is a safety guy!
Disney has put many health and safety measures in place since their reopening in July to protect you, other guests, and Cast Members. These new procedures are so perfectly integrated and flawlessly managed into your day that they do not take away from your overall vacation experience. All of these processes will become second nature by the end of your first day!

From the start of your vacation planning experience, the most noticeable of these changes is the reduced capacity. Through the use of the Disney Park Pass Reservation system, a reservation will need to be made through Disney’s My Disney Experience app for park entry. As Disney states in their “Know Before You Go” guidelines, these new protocols help manage attendance and promote physical distancing.

Another change that you will notice upon arrival to the theme parks and Disney Springs are the temperature screening stations. This is a touch-free process completed by an AdventHealth Specialist. The temperature check is fast and efficient. Even at times when there are lines of guests waiting to be checked, they tend to move quickly so that you can get to the Magic!

Other measures include enhanced cleaning, reduced contact by cashless transactions, and physical distancing by markers and attraction partition screens. These physical distancing markers tend to make you feel like a Monopoly playing piece but after a while, you tend to get the hang of it.

Dinner is served!
Disney has made dining easy peasy with mobile ordering which allows for touch-free service and better social distancing in their quick service dining restaurants. For sit down dining venues, reservations are required and can be made 60 days prior to your arrival date via the My Disney Experience app! Even check-in is now through the app so it is best to be familiar with it the process prior to your arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort. Again cashless transactions will limit contact and are completed through the My Disney Experience app.

There’s a masked smile in there!
Well, masks are the fashion statement these days and Disney is no different! They are required for everyone ages two and up in every part of the “World”. Even though you may think, “well I can’t see my children’s smiles”, they are there and you will find that your children will handle the mask-wearing perfectly! If you are thinking that now may not be the time to go due to this reason, masks are not going away any time soon. However, there are some places that you can remove your mask. These locations include while you are actively eating or drinking while sitting at a table in a restaurant, inside your room, and at the pool. There are also designated “Relaxation Stations” throughout the theme parks where you can take a short mask

Whistle while you work and sanitize!
Disney is known for its sparkling clean walkways, attractions, and hotel rooms but they have even managed to kick that up a notch! Everywhere, and I emphasize everywhere, Disney Cast Members are picking up, shining up, and sanitizing. Everything from sidewalks to attraction seats to handrails is continuously being wiped down. Disney even intermittently pauses attractions to give them a deep clean throughout the day. Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the parks at the entrances and exits to all attractions. In addition to these hand sanitizing stations, hand washing stations are located all over the park.

Waving at your favorite friends…from afar!
Even though opportunities to see your favorite friends are a bit different these days, there are many aspects of the new Character’s interactions that I absolutely love. Since parades draw in crowds, Disney has reimagined this experience to Character Cavalcades. These spontaneous character promenades pop up with some of your favorite Disney Pals throughout the day. Throughout the Fall and the Holiday season, these delightful processions were themed with adorable costumes and music making them a must-see event in your daily schedule.

Some of the popular Character Dining experiences such as Chef Mickey, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Hollywood and Vine have re-emerged and again with positive differences. Despite not being able to be within close contact with the Characters, they are still able to visit your table from a distance allowing your family to enjoy their company and take photos. They do not sign autograph books but I found the experience to be less stressful and far more interactive than pre-pandemic experiences. The Characters travel through their rotation several times giving more opportunities for photos while your family can actually enjoy their meal. You can wave and interact from a safe distance without having to quickly grab your camera, arrange your children and shove a Mickey Waffle in your mouth. These changes provide a less intrusive and relaxing environment that everyone (including the adults) can enjoy.
As you can tell, many aspects of a Disney vacation are different now however the Magic is still there! The smell of popcorn still lingers on Main Street, the castle still shines bright in a new shade of pink, and the screams of delight still fill the air. So when you are ready to travel again, Walt Disney World is ready to welcome you safely with all of its charms and some new ones too! Because isn’t it nice that in these crazy of days to know that you can escape to where Magic Carpets Fly, Pirates and Princesses Promenade and Magic still lives!