After a long Spring and Summer in 2020, a lot of people were anxious to get out of their homes and try to get back to a somewhat normal lifestyle, while still being safe. Personally, for my family, we exhausted all of the local attractions and things to do. Once Disney opened in July everyone was curious to see how they would deal with Covid.
Is It Safe To Go To Disney World During COVID?
This is 100% a decision that you have to make for your family and your situation. For my family, we had booked a trip to Disney back in January of 2020 before the world stopped. Until the parks reopened in July we were not sure if we were going to be able to keep our trip that was scheduled for November or not, we basically wanted to wait and see how things went.
Long story short, we did end up going in November 2020 and we felt totally safe. The cast members did a fantastic job at cleaning the rides, wiping down handrails everywhere, and helping with crowd control.
This is the first trip that we have taken in the last 10 years that myself or my family, have not come home with a head cold or the flu. That to me means that Disney is doing the right thing to keep their guests safe.
I can’t say the same for my local grocery stores and big-box retailer. I never see them clean a single thing. So if you ask me for my opinion, I would say a resounding YES! It is safe to go to Disney during Covid and you shouldn’t feel the need to cancel your trip!
What Are The Rules At Disney World During COVID?
While on Disney property they ask that you wear a face-covering that covers your mouth and nose and is secured with ear loops or is secured around your head. They do not allow neck gaters, bandanas, or scarves as face coverings.
They will also take your temperature before entering each park or Disney springs. While in the theme parks you have to be stationary while eating or drinking. They do not allow eating or drinking in lines for rides. They have 6-foot ground markers in the lines for rides to space out each traveling party.
Have There Been Any Confirmed Cases At Disney World?
This is a big question that everyone is curious about. While it is difficult to know about guest exposures, I would think that it would make the news if there was an outbreak with guests traveling to Disney. The information that we were able to find was in relation to the cast members.
The Times quotes Eric Clinton, the president of UNITE HERE Local 362, which represents around 8,000 ride operators and custodians, “We’ve had very few (positive covid-19 cases), and none, as far as we can tell have been from work-related exposure.”Source: DisInsider
What Is The Park Capacity During COVID?
When the parks opened in July 2020 the capacity was limited to 25%. Disney doesn’t openly state what each parks total capacity is but the rumored max capacity at the Magic Kingdom pre-covid was allegedly 100,000 guests. In past years during Christmas time, that park would often close due to reaching capacity, and you would see pictures of guests being shoulder to shoulder.
After running the parks at 25% they eased into allowing 35% capacity and it is now rumored to be allowing around 45% of their max capacity. Now it should be noted that if you look at the park pass availability calendar, it doesn’t appear that they are reaching that every day at every park.
Hollywood Studios seems to be the only park that you can have a hard time getting a pass for but we have also seen that once 2 pm comes around you are able to hop to it.
What Is Disney’s Cancellation Policy During COVID?
Because of Covid, Disney has had to make some changes to its cancellation policy. As it stands at the time of writing this for any guests arriving through April 30, 2021, Disney has waived any of their regular change fees or cancellation fees for reservations up to the check-in date.
It is unknown if they will extend that date as they have in the past. It is nice for families to have this option because things will always come up and knowing that you can get a total refund for a trip that you have to cancel is nice.
Can You Leave And Reenter Disney World During COVID?
The quick answer is yes, you can come and go from the park as you would have before covid. There are a few new restrictions though. You have to have a park pass for the park that you want to go to for the day. Again, you can go in and out of that park as many time as you want throuout the day. Now that park hopping is available again, if you have a park hopper ticket, after 2pm you can hop to another park that has availability.
There are a few ways that you can check on availability before leaving your original park. you can call the Park Hopper phone number (407-560-5000) or you can go out to the bus station and find the bus for the park that you want to go to. There will be a cast member there to check on availability.
Lastly, you can drive yourself to another park and you would have to wait until getting to the park to find out if there is availability. Personally, I would call the number. I feel that it’s the most effective way to find availability without having to even go out to the busses.
Does Disney World Have COVID-19 Testing?
There is not a testing site on Disney property for guests. In the Orlando area, there are testing sites available for travelers. The most convenient one is probably the one that recently opened at Orlando International Airport.
Can You Meet Characters At Disney World During COVID?
Characters are still around at Disney World. The way that you meet them has changed though. For us having a daughter who has already been in the princess stage and is older now, we are loving the new way to see characters. There are not any regular meet and greets anymore. You don’t stand in line and wait to get a picture and autograph. The characters are scattered in different locations around the parks for socially distant meet and greets.
Magic Kingdom – Cavalcades roam around the park with assorted characters thouout the day. Characters also are randomly at the train station to wave and greet guests.
Epcot – Pooh and Joy are taking turns in the grassy area near Innovations and Cavalcades parade thru the world showcase with the princesses and the fab 5.
Hollywood Studios – Here you will find 3 different motorcades with your favorite pals. They are Disney Junior, Mickey & Friends and Pixel Pals.
Animal Kingdom – Your favorite characters, Minnie Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pocahontas, and friends make appearances on Flotillas on the waterways of the Discovery River.
Can You Resort Hop At Disney World During COVID?
Yes, you can resort hop. When everything first opened up they really wanted to keep it to only that resort’s guests, but now if you are staying anywhere on property you can easily go to other resorts using Disney transportation.
If you are driving your own car though, the security guards will require to see proof of a dining reservation before they will let you into the parking lot. This is meant to try and keep the resorts from being overly busy with non resort guests.
How Busy Is Disney World Really During COVID?
With limited capacity, the crowds are much much lighter than in years past. Typically we like to travel to Disney in the January, February, and March time frame. One of the reasons is because in normal times the crowds are much lighter.
This year we went in November and we found that the crowds were similar or a touch lighter than when we would typically go in the winter months. In the past, with fast passes in place, we would have typical wait times of 30-45 minutes for a ride in the stand by line.
This last year in November we never had a line more than 30 minutes. Wait times were listed at times at 40 – 50 minutes however we found that wait times were typically half of the times listed. A lot of the estimated wait times are trying to take into effect the 6-foot social distancing in lines and I’m sure it makes it tough to estimate how long the line really is.
A perfect example is we wanted to ride Soarin in Epcot a second time and the wait said 55 minutes, my husband said no thanks but my daughter and I decided to try it. I set a timer and we were loading in the ride 15 minutes later.
If you make the decision to go to Disney with Covid going on you can still have just as Magical of a time as you would have in the past. Yes, the masks suck, there is no way to sugar coat that. Just take advantage of the mask break areas and you should be fine.
As long as you are OK with some things looking a bit different than the last time you went then you are sure to have a fantastic vacation. I know my family is eagerly looking forward to our next trip coming up soon!