Planning a Walt Disney World trip any time of year is exciting, and can take some work! Visiting Walt Disney World as the parks reopen takes some careful planning and preparation. It also takes a shift in mindset! I am excited to share practical tips with you today while you plan to visit the Walt Disney World Parks during reopening!
With so much experience planning Disney trip after Disney trip, I have a good idea of how we like to “do Disney”. I don’t know about you, but all of my planning and mindset toward our upcoming trip came to a screeching halt when the parks shut down due to the pandemic. My months of perfectly planned ADRs, saving for those special experiences like dessert parties and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and even if the parks were going to open for our July trip all seemed to be dangling in front of me with uncertainty and frustration. And to be honest, disappointment! After a few months of patience and waiting, the countdown is back on. But, this is going to be unlike any of our previous Mommy & Me trips!
We all know the safety procedures in place for the reopening of the Disney Parks and resorts. Masks are required, social distancing signs are up everywhere, and some of our favorite experiences have been modified to make sure everyone is safe. So how does one plan a Walt Disney World trip under the pandemic circumstances? Is the magic there? How are you going to wear a face mask all.day.long? How will I manage without a hug from Mickey? Let’s dive into some tips for visiting Walt Disney World during Reopening!
First, mindset is key.
Instead of wallowing about what you are missing, or not having that Pinterest perfect vacation, a shift in mindset is first and foremost. Whether it’s your 5th or 15th Walt Disney World trip, how can you focus on what you can have instead of what you can’t? For us, that means trying some restaurants we have never enjoyed before, as well as having a ride-focused vacation!
Take this time to book some table service dining that is new to you.
We fill our Disney itinerary with at least one character dining experience a day. We absolutely love them! But, I also love Via Napoli, and have missed it on our last two trips because we had character dining booked. Now is my chance to revisit! Also, the parks are closing earlier than in the past. This is a great opportunity to head to Disney Springs for a meal. We rarely make it to Disney Springs, and this is a great time to do so!
Don’t make a mid-day pool break a priority.
Normally, I am a HUGE advocate of this! We work it into our touring plan for sure, as a midday break is key to having a good day for our family. However, while the park hours are limited and we are only allowed one park per day, it’s not a huge priority for us. While the parks are open on limited hours, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of as much park time as possible. This then allows you to enjoy the pool in the evening! Or, if you are visiting EPCOT, you can get some pool time in during the morning since the park doesn’t open until 11AM. Attraction waits do tend to be very low right now due to lower capacity. You could easily work in a pool break, but I am not sure I’d make it a “must” everyday.
Choose your Disney Resort wisely.
My top suggestions for resorts are Caribbean Beach, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Pop Century. Why these? These resorts all have great dining experiences, they put you in proximity to easily get to other resorts for more meal options, and they offer alternative forms of transportation to the parks. With each resort having limited dining options, you may get tired of them! So with these resorts, you can easily Skyline, walk, or monorail to a neighboring resort to eat. Secondly, these resorts are in good proximity to the parks. Each of these resorts offers great theming, pools, and an overall great experience for your trip.
Learn how to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation.
I personally love the Disney Park Pass Reservation System. It is so easy! The interface is very similar to the previous Fastpass selection process. You are simply telling Disney which park you will be visiting which day of your trip. You can enter anytime during the posted park hours if you have a reservation for that day. You can also leave and come back to that same park in the same day! You cannot enter a park without a park pass reservation.
Pack multiple masks per person per day.
Masks work differently for everyone, so take what works for you. Plan to change your mask after lunch, or in the early afternoon. It may be sweaty, or perhaps you want a fresh one for afternoon photos. Consider taking disposable masks to wear on attractions where you may get wet. Having several per person per day is a good rule of thumb. There are so many cute Disney masks to purchase, or you can even purchase them from shopDisney or in the parks!
Mobile order is your friend!
Mobile order had moved to the top of my “best things Disney has ever done” list after our trip last summer. We used it all.the.time! As you visit Walt Disney World during these reopening months, Disney’s Quick Service Dining locations require guests to mobile order. Guests are not allowed inside without proof of mobile order. You can play around with the mobile order function on MDE from home…just don’t confirm your order :). Guests can also pay with a Disney gift card via mobile order, which is a nice change. Previously you had to pay with a CC.
Enjoy the offerings that Walt Disney World DOES have right now.
Characters are making appearances in the parks. They are popping out to play in EPCOT gardens, taking socially distant selfies with guests, and even floating around Magic Kingdom on their parade floats during the character cavalcades. So much fun! These random experiences are well received by current guests. While we love an up close meet and greet with our favorite princesses, seeing them in the parks can be time consuming. Your family can enjoy some of the most popular attractions several times. Previously, we had to carefully plan our FPP on both Magic Kingdom days to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train so we could ride twice in our trip. Slinky Dog Dash was a one and done with Fastpass only. Now, low wait times and lower crowd capacity are both allowing guests to enjoy these, and other headliner attractions, several times in one day!
Allow yourself a little extra time for transportation.
Disney is running their transportation with limited passengers to assure distancing. So even though that bus to EPCOT from the Poly looks empty, it doesn’t mean it’s not at capacity. Wait times for transportation can be a tad longer than usual, so bear this in mind when heading to the parks in the mornings. Similarly, plan a meal at park close to enjoy an emptier park in the evening, and so you don’t have to rely on a busy resort QS location upon returning to your resort.
Keep an eye on the Know Before You Go site on the Walt Disney World page. This is the most up to date of all the offerings at Walt Disney World, and is updated constantly.
Disney World may look a little different, but with the right mindset and helpful tips, you can still have a magical vacation! Will you be visiting Walt Disney World this year?