We Went to Disney During a Pandemic...
I do want to responsibility address this prior to really sharing our time and my decision.
I fully understand the risk of Covid and I do believe everyone should be careful in terms of germs and also wearing masks. We VERY strictly quarantined to the point where I didn’t work and Noah didn’t see his dad for 5 months. However this is not how I think life should be. Florida is an anomaly in the sense that our governor doesn’t believe in Covid so he has allowed the state to be a free for all and we all have to adapt and decide how to live life safely. We wore masks, had hand sanitizer readily available, and I had a rapid test done after we came back and before seeing anyone/doing anything made sure I was negative.
Anyways on to the post... (skip this top half if you are just here for tips on navigating Disney through Covid.)
In fact, we became pass holders again.
If you have been around for a while, you will know that we are Disney fanatics! Pre Covid, Noah and I would go to Disney almost weekly-sometimes twice a week. I have some of the BEST memories there with him and he has been asking to go back and I have desperately been wanting to go back so after careful consideration and a lot of research I decided I was ready for us to go back as well.
Because of Covid, our passes were all sorts of screwed up so in order for us to be able to go to the parks again, I had to go to the ticket office in person to get them reissued. I had been putting this off for quite a while as I didn't want to take Noah until we forsure had tickets incase something had changed or we weren't able to get in due to the new Covid restrictions and policies. However a few Sundays ago, on a whim, I decided we were going to go up for the night and try our luck. I booked a last minute hotel (blessssss employee discounts), threw a bag together and we were on our way. We jammed out on the drive up, checked into the hotel and had the best movie and snuggles night complete with snacks and ice cream.
The next morning we woke up fairly early, had breakfast and then headed to Disney. We were hella early so we took a little time to take a walk around the boardwalk and the Boardwalk Resort before heading to the ticket office. Once we arrived at the ticket office we were issued new passes and in talking to the cast member I had asked how short noticed we could make passes, he had said at least 24 hours but blessss this man and acts of kindness, he worked a little Disney magic due to a little issue with another woman who was in the office, and blessed us with reservations for THAT DAY at Magic Kingdom.
Without any hesitation we RAN to our car, hopped in and headed to the park. We had the absolute BEST time, had very limited wait times , and stayed distanced and safe all day.
So the part you Disney mamas are really here for...
again, this was my first time back since Covid and things are vastly different but here are my quick tips for Disney during this time.
Do your research+plan well. Disney has moved mobile. ANYTHING you need now is in the My Disney Experience app. Park reservations, wait times, even dining. The hardest part about this past trip was since I did not properly plan, we were left with very limited options for quick and easy eating because everything requires you to order ahead now on the app or make dining reservations. The quick service kiosks you are able to order from as the day goes on but they assign you times to pick it up so sometimes it will be a 15 min. wait time and other times it could be 45+ min and that isn't ideal for little ones. Same day sit down reservations are almost unheard of so, unless you kind of plan out your day enough to know what you want to eat and when, you will be living off popcorn and mickey bars. (I mean, not the worst, right?)
No Mask, No Mickey. and they are NOT playing! Masks are required every second you are on Disney property regardless of if you are outside, social distanced, or in the bathroom. You are able to take them off to eat/drink but then they must immediately be put back on. They have increased cast members and security just to enforce this. This does apply to anyone over the age of 3. While I am pro-masks, this was a bit difficult for Noah so I did have his stroller and to give him a bit of a break I'd have him sit back in it and I'd drape a thin blanket of the top so he could take his mask off in between rides. There are also a few "relief areas" with benches that are off to the sides of the main areas where you are able to remove your mask as well.
Be Smart. Disney is still limiting capacity so if you are fortunate enough to be able to go on a weekday, go for it. They are EVEN less crowded on the week days which also means even shorter lines. Also if you go later in the day (around 3-4pm) the parks are frequently less busy as well.
It isn't the Disney you once knew. For obvious reasons, there are currently no character meetups or parades, no fireworks or dining extra experiences but it is still Disney. Some characters will do a socially distanced photo session where the kids/guests will stand on a marked spot 6-8ft away and the character will interact behind them. While there are no traditional 20-30 min parades, they are doing mini parades with 1 float with characters and then dancers/cast members on the street ways. They are still doing socially distant character dining which we will be trying on our next trip so I'll report back on that soon!
Fast passes area thing of the past. Disney is no longer doing fast passes for rides so whether you arrive for rope drop or arrive later in the day, make sure you check wait times. The Disney experience app is fairly accurate when it comes to wait times so rely on that. They space out riders for most rides and the lines are also marked for 6ft waiting spots. Lines will look at LOT longer than they are because of this.
All in all, we felt super safe while we were there as they have increased safety precautions like temperature checks, hand sanitizing stations EVERYWHERE and make sure people remain social distanced.
Stay tuned for more Disney updates as we are planning to continue going back semi regularly and relearning the best way to do Disney now!