So you want to go to Walt Disney World? That’s great. We fully support that decision. We just did it and had a great time. There are a lot of bloggers and vloggers and news outlets talking about going to Walt Disney World, but no one is talking about the challenges of going to Walt Disney World right now.
That’s all about to change. That is exactly what we are going to talk about in this post.
We aren’t trying to dissuade you from visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth. In fact, we want to do the opposite. For those who are considering a trip, we want to encourage you to trust Disney and the incredible measures they have gone to ensure your health and safety as well as the health and safety of the Walt Disney World castmembers.
There has not been one positive case of COVID-19 linked to Walt Disney World since the theme parks reopening. Disney has gone above and beyond with health and safety precautions laid out by the state to ensure physical distancing, provide sanitation measures and more.
In addition to the health and safety measures, park and resort hopping is discouraged, limited dining is available and park hours are restricted.
So, with all the changes to the theme parks and Walt Disney World property as a whole, what were the things that really stuck out to us as challenging?
Let’s jump in!
Let’s just get this one out of the way. The masks are rough. They aren’t fun. We aren’t complaining because we are fine with wearing them. It’s what we have to do to visit Walt Disney World right now and we are happy to comply. That doesn’t mean we like it. The masks in humidity, for hours and hours with no reprieve are hard.
If you are planning your first or only trip to Walt Disney World, we encourage you to wait until masks are no longer required. It makes for a better all around experience. They aren’t the end of the world and there are things that are far more uncomfortable…like being on a ventilator, but from a first world perspective, masks aren’t fun and they aren’t magical. That’s just the reality.
The masks that are being sold at Walt Disney World and on ShopDisney are comfortable and breathable and we recommend them. The single use masks also work well. Just know that you are going to be wearing this mask all day and you want to make sure you pack enough masks so that you have at least one per day and a few backups in case one gets really dirty or wet.
One of the things we preach to anyone planning a trip to Disney or just a day in Disney is hydration. We couldn’t imagine going to a park or anywhere without water. We take water everywhere. Disney or not, water is an accessory.
I am used to standing in line and drinking my water bottle throughout the line. We take a 32 ounce insulated water bottle with us every day in the parks. Typically, that bottle is filled about a dozen times. On our most recent trip, we didn’t hydrate nearly enough and we paid for it.
There were multiple reasons why hydration lagged. The masks make it difficult to hydrate while following the rules. You can only remove your mask and consume beverages or eat while stationary. So, if we have our bottle out, we can only drink water when the line wasn’t moving.
Fortunately for our wait times but unfortunately for our hydration, the lines rarely stopped moving long enough to get a good drink in without holding up the line.
Be purposeful about your hydration. Before you get in line, get your bottle out and remove your mask to hydrate every time you are stationary in line. Every time you take a break, hydrate. It’s so important, especially in the humidity and the heat.
Also… hydrate means water. Not soda, not diet soda, not juice, not tea, not a coffee, not a smoothie, not a sugary slush drink. Water. Make sure you are being conscious of your hydration because the masks and the no removing of the masks while walkin present a roadblock for it. Even with a mask, hydration is key.
Limited Quick Service Dining Options
This was something we knew would be an issue when we were not in the parks. What we weren’t prepared for were insane lines inside the parks especially at Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom only had a few quick service locations open and the lines for those locations, Sleepy Hollow, Main Street Bakery (Starbucks) and Gaston’s Tavern had lines longer than the longest attractions.
Several places did offer Mobile Order. But none of the mobile order locations opened until 10 a.m. for Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Cafe and 10:30 for the rest. So, the only option for rope droppers, which, because the park hours were limited were most park goers, was to wait in line.
Bryson waited in line for Gaston’s Tavern. In the time he waited, I rode, Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan’s Flight and got photos with three photo pass photographers. That’s insane.
We understand why Mobile Order is not at all quick service dining locations in the parks yet but we don’t understand why there aren’t any offered at Disney’s hub park for rope drop.
Be prepared and perhaps eat something on the way or at least have a snack to tide you over so you aren’t wasting that much time first thing in the morning in a food or drink line.
Lines For Merchandise Locations
We have always wandered in and out of merchandise locations throughout the day at the parks. We found that we really didn’t do much shopping at all on our recent trip. We went to World of Disney once to meet up with friends. The line was about 15 minutes long to get in and that was the most shopping we did the entire trip.
The lines at Magic Kingdom to get into the Emporium were insane especially at the end of the night. If you are wanting to do shopping while at the parks, we recommend, Animal Kingdom, Epcot or Hollywood Studios. The line for World of Disney wasn’t crazy, it moved quickly and that is of course, the most comprehensive collection of Disney merchandise.
We realized prior to the trip that we were going to have to wait in lines. Without FastPass this was obvious. We didn’t think the longest lines would be for quick service food and merchandise but here we are.
Without additional mobile ordering opened at locations especially at rope drop and with continued limited capacity in merchandise locations and other indoor shops, these lines will continue as Disney works to comply with their own physical distancing rules.
Single Park Days
Unless you are a seasoned Disney adventurer, this might not affect you. We are not single park people. We like to start at one park and sometimes conquer two or even three a day.
We will rope drop at one park, say Hollywood Studios, get our FastPasses done and enjoy our coffee, catch a show then zip over via The Skyliner to Epcot, enjoy some food booths, the Disney Vacation Club Lounge, Spaceship Earth and Living With the Land. Then we might Minnie Van back to our resort for a couple hours, hit the pool, change and then head out to Magic Kingdom for the night.
That’s how we like to do Disney. Obviously, that isn’t possible right now. We firmly believe that park hopping will return in the new year and we are elated at that prospect.
At the same time, we understand why Disney has things organized the way that they do right now. We get it and we respect it. It does pose a challenge for us veteran Disney adventurers though because it means we have to do a lot more planning than we typically do.
We have to have more dining reservations planned. With the park reservations, we can’t just hop over to a different park for dinner. If we don’t have a park reservation at that park, we can’t get in. Not all restaurants are open either so dining availability is limited. We are finding that we need more dining reservations than we typically would.
We are also not taking as long of a break mid-day because the park hours are limited so we want to spend as much time in possible in the parks.
Those are some of the challenges that we noticed and experienced on our recent trip to Walt Disney World. Pack your patience and enjoy the parks and the time for what it is because there was a time not long ago when we didn’t know when we would get back to Walt Disney World and when the magic would return.