Know Before you Go: Disney during the Pandemic
Planning a Disney vacation can seem like a part-time job. There are so many things that are changing daily during this Pandemic. Trying to figure out where to eat, what park to visit, what resort to stay at, etc. As always; if you need help we are here! Here are some quick tips to help you in that process.
The number one thing you need to know is that due to the park capacity limits, Disney is now doing park reservations to help keep track. Each day that you plan on visiting the park, you must have an active park reservation for everyone in your party. Once you have a valid ticket linked to your my Disney experience account, you will be able to make a park reservation for one park per day. You must have this completed prior to arriving at the park. Reservations are limited and subject to availability and are not guaranteed until a reservation is finalized.
Guests who purchased a ticket or annual pass with Park Hopper benefits are now able to visit more than one park per day after 2 PM. Learn more about the Park Hopper option. A park reservation must be made for each day of entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will be required to make a park reservation for each date of your visit. We highly recommend that you make your park reservation as soon as you complete your ticket purchase, as availability can change until the reservation is finalized. If you need to modify your reservation, please visit My Plans to cancel your reservation. Then, book a new reservation (subject to availability).Steps for Park reservations below:
Step 1: Confirm Your Admission Is Linked to Your Disney Account: To get started, you’ll need valid park admission that’s linked to your Disney account.
Step 2: Create Your Party: When you begin to make a park reservation, you’ll be prompted to create your party from your Family & Friends list.
Step 3: Select a Date and Park: Choose the date and the theme park that you’d like to visit from the available reservations.
Step 4: Review and Confirm Your Plans: Carefully review and confirm your selected park and date.
MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE APP
The My Disney Experience app has really evolved over time and has become an integral part of your vacation. The guests before the shutdown were using the app for mobile ordering, online check-ins, maps, checking bus times, and even unlocking resort doors. Since the reopening, the My Disney Experience app has become even more essential to a Disney Vacation. This app is now needed throughout to order quick service, check in to table service, open your resort door, get a Rise of Resistance boarding pass, and so much more. The app holds so much information that is important to spend some time making sure you have it downloaded and have played around with it a little prior to heading down.
Check Park Hours
Before heading down to Walt Disney World, make sure you check park hours. Disney has greatly adjusted park hours since reopening in order to help space out crowds in the mornings. The four main parks have staggered opening times often from 8 am to 11 am with Animal Kingdom opening early and Epcot opening last. Also, check those closing times. The parks aren’t staying open late into the night anymore. Instead, parks are closing anywhere from 5 to 9 on most days. Make sure you are aware so you plan accordingly.
Park Hopping is Modified
Park hopping can be a great way to visit a couple of parks in one day; however, this option is slightly different than what we are used to. Guests who have a park hopper option on their ticket, are able to park hop after 2 pm, and only if they visited the park, they held a park pass for earlier in the day. This can greatly change your strategy when it comes to park hopping. With limited hours and the new restrictions, you will have to be creative when it comes to hopping. Consider hopping from Hollywood Studios to Epcot using the Skyliner to make hopping faster.
Character Experiences Are Different
Before you go it is important to know that you won’t be getting hugs from your favorite characters this time around. Although characters seem to be out and around more than normal, the interactions are from a distance. Guests can’t meet characters one on one right now due to physical distancing. Instead, guests can see their favorite characters in cavalcades or hanging out in the parks like at the train station in Magic Kingdom or the gazebos in Epcot. Even though these experiences are different, they are definitely not any less magical.
Things Might Take Longer
The free transportation at Walt Disney World is something that we absolutely love. We are grateful that someone else will drive us around from park to park, or a Skyliner will fly us over to our next destination. Before you head to Walt Disney World, make sure you are aware that transportation might take longer than expected due to health and safety guidelines. Buses, monorails, and Skyliners are only seating a limited number of groups meaning that you might have to wait for a few buses before you catch your ride. Disney has been great at getting lots of buses going at park opening and closing, but be prepared to wait for a little before heading to the park or back to your resort.
Character Dining Is Back but not exactly the same
Along with adjusted character meet and greets came the change to character dining. We are excited that guests can still eat with their favorite characters at Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace, and Minnie’s Hollywood and Dine even if the experience is different. Characters will meet guests from a distance as they enjoy their delicious meals. Even though you can’t get an autograph, the characters come by enough that you can snag that selfie.
Think Ahead for Food
Disney is requiring that all guests use the My Disney Experience app when it comes to eating in the parks and resorts. For quick-service locations, guests are asked to mobile order and for table-service guests are asked to use the app for check-in. Because of both of these requirements, you will want to plan ahead for your dining. If you want to have a sit-down meal, these can be booked 60 days prior to check-in. If your party is more of a grab and go family, consider ordering your food earlier than you want to eat. Disney only has a limited number of pick-up times for each dining location so if you wait until 12:30 to order lunch from Woody’s Lunch Box, you might not have a pickup time until later in the day. You can order food as soon as the restaurant opens so if you know where what and when you plan to eat, get that order in early.
Overall the changes have made Disney an extremely safe place to visit during the Pandemic if you choose to. We hope these quick tips help you prepare for your Walt Disney World Vacation. Have a magical time!
If you have any questions or would like to quote a Disney Vacation for your family, please don't hesitate to reach out!