When coronavirus first swept the globe in early 2020, we watched as our most cherished and time-honored institutions shut down one by one. It didn’t take long before the Walt Disney Company closed its theme parks in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Such a thing had only been done a few times before, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy and September 11th, 2001.
Most Disney parks remain closed to this day due to COVID-19, but the company’s premier property, The Walt Disney World Resort located outside Orlando, Florida, reopened earlier this summer. The company had to implement dozens of protocol changes and practically rewrite the parks’ management program.
Those visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth, especially if going with their families, need to be ready for the different experience that lies ahead. Here are some fundamental tips for those visiting Disney World during COVID-19:
Planning your trip to Disney World with plenty of time to spare has been the recommended approach for decades. In the age of COVID-19, one cannot count on having access to the parks without buying tickets ahead of time. While Disney refuses to reveal the exact figure, the company continues to limit the maximum capacity of guests allowed in their parks at any given time. In other words, tickets are limited, so make reservations ahead of time.
Whether reusable or disposable, make sure to bring plenty of masks for you and your family to wear. That’s because, except for when eating in a stationary position, everyone must wear a face mask at Disney World at all times. Pack plenty of hand sanitizer too. Don’t forget the standard prep either; cooling fans and towels are essential for hot days, while CBD oil tinctures are great for recovering sore muscles and achy joints resulting from walking around Schlepcot all day.
Follow the Rules
As previously mentioned, everyone must wear a face mask at Disney World, no exceptions. What’s more, masks must be worn above the nose at all times. Cast Members are instructed to enforce mask-wearing across the board. Simply put, make sure to wear your mask at all times. Furthermore, ride queues now include social distancing markers every six feet, on which guests are expected to stand while waiting in line. Failure to do so will result in a scolding from a Cast Member, and who wants that?
Take Your Time
Disney World operates without park hoppers or fast pass lines during COVID-19. Rather than look at the situation as a waste of time and money, consider seeing it as an opportunity to enjoy the parks at your own pace. It’s like a trip back in time to the way things operated in the 1970s and 80s, where you spent the entire day at one park and waited in the same lines as everyone else. Except, you know, everyone is wearing masks and staying six feet apart.
Watch Your Kids
Again, this is a piece of advice that applies no matter when you’re visiting Disney World. Keep your kids close and make sure they’re abiding by the health and safety protocols being implemented by the company and enforced by Cast Members. Remind your children about the importance of maintaining good hygiene, especially keeping their hands away from their mouths at all times.
Wash Your Hands
We’re once more hammering away at something that should already be common sense. But just in case you didn’t get the memo, washing your hands is incredibly vital to limiting the spread of infectious disease. Doing so will be especially important during your visit to Disney World, where your path and the paths of your family members will cross with thousands of other people from all over the place.
Appreciate the Moment
Visiting Disney World during the COVID-19 pandemic is finding yourself in a unique time and place. Photos and videos of life during lockdown will be making the highlight reel of history. The bizarre visual of your family gathered in front of Cinderella’s Castle or Spaceship Earth – all wearing masks with their Mickey ears – will be especially notable treasure decades in the future. With this in mind, do your best to appreciate the moment, since it (thankfully) won’t be here forever.
Life as we know it changed abruptly thanks to COVID-19, including the shutting down of dozens of things we took for granted. Though closed initially, Disney World has reopened, making it possible for families like yours to visit. With that said, things have changed and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.