What’s Happening in Disney World?
The Parks Have Reopened! 40 Quick Notes to Know Before You Head to Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is open! We were fortunate to visit all four parks a couple of times each. After receiving multiple questions from friends and family, we’ve decided to share 40 quick notes you should know before you head back to the most magical place on earth. A LOT has changed. Change is OK… but it’s change you should know. So, here we go! 40 quick notes coming your way!
Make a Park Pass Reservation ASAP
Now that Walt Disney World has reopened, guests need a Disney Park Pass Reservation to enter one of the four parks. You can show up the gate all you want, but unless you have a Park Pass Reservation for that select day and park, you aren’t getting in. A valid ticket is required to make a Park Pass Reservation on Disney’s website.
Nope – No Park Hopping – Park hopping is a big nope right now! Since you must have a Park Pass Reservation for one park per day, you won’t be able to spend the morning at Magic Kingdom and enjoy a dinner in EPCOT for example.
One park per day.
Make Dining Reservations ASAP
With Disney’s limited capacity, a table-service dining reservation can be difficult to snag since space is limited with social distancing. Currently, guests can make dining reservations 60 days in advance. Want to eat at a table-service reservation? Make a reservation.
Bring Hand Sanitizing Wipes & Liquid
Disney has hand sanitizing stations spread throughout the parks and resorts. We still recommend bringing your own however so you can use wipes and/or liquid whenever you need it without looking for a sanitizing station.
Cell Phone POWER!
Update your phone, purchase a battery backup, and plug in whenever possible. You’ll be using your phone more now than ever with the importance of the My Disney Experience App.
Touchless Temperature Checks, Security & Admission
Hands off! There are three stages to entering each park. First – touchless temperature checks on your forehead.
Second – walk through security with no in depth bag checks as before.
Third – admission is a simple MagicBand or ticket tap. No more finger scan. Totally touchless!
Don’t Bother with a Metal Bottles or Umbrellas
The only hiccups with the new security scanners is that they do not like larger metal objects like metal water bottles, metal spray cans (like sunscreen), or umbrellas. If you really want to bring an umbrella, simply hold it out in front of you as you walk through the scanner.
Prepare for SEVERAL Breaks
It’s HOT. Masks aren’t easy, especially when it’s hot. Plan for several breaks to make your day much more enjoyable.
This was important before the parks closed, and is just as important now as ever with the parks reopened. Drink up on that H2O.
Dine in Large Restaurants
If you’re looking for the best social distancing options while dining, seek out larger restaurants. Some of the smaller restaurants on property can feel like there are too many people in one condensed space. If the restaurant felt tight before COVID, it will feel extra tight now even with social distancing measures in place.
Eat Outside When Possible
We know air-conditioning is paramount, but if you’re looking for the safest possible way to dine, outside is recommended simply because you’re not sharing the same circulated air. Several quick-service restaurants have outdoor seating in shade so you can dine while taking a break from the direct heat.
Remain Stationary While Eating
As much as we’re used to eating and drinking on the go, Disney now requires guests remain stationary while eating or drinking. If your mask is off to snack, you’ll need to stay put. No more strolling around EPCOT’s World Showcase with eating and drinking on the move.
Pay Attention to Ground Markers and Social Distancing
Disney has ground markers everywhere it seems. While it’s easy to get distracted by a good conversation or the social media on your phone, look down and follow the ground markers to keep social distancing in mind.
Get Used to Mobile Ordering
If you didn’t use Mobile Ordering before the parks closed, you’ll be using it now that they are reopen! Many of the quick-service locations will not allow guests to go in until they can show their Mobile Order is ready. Seriously, they aren’t playing! Download the MyDisneyExperience App and get ready to Mobile Order.
Many Food Kiosk/Carts are Closed
If you have a favorite snack kiosk in one of the parks, don’t be surprised to find it closed. Several of the small kiosks/carts are currently closed leaving guests will less snack options. If you’re looking for something quick, bring your own snacks and/or plan for Mobile Ordering.
Pre-Shows are Mostly Gone
Are you an attraction pre-show fan? Sorry to report, most attraction pre-shows have been removed and are simply queues to walk through. No more Tower of Terror Twilight show in the library, no more stretching room in the Haunted Mansion, no more trouble from Goofy with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway… and the list goes on. Don’t count on your pre-show to be available.
Masks Cause Glasses to Fog Up
Wear glasses? You’ll want to invest in a mask with metal nose clip to help prevent your glasses from fogging up. The masks sold at Disney don’t have this so when we went on rides that required glasses (like Toy Story Mania) every breath we took fogged up the glasses making it hard to see.
Stay a Marker Back from Large Groups
Ride queues have ground markers for each party to stand on 6 feet apart. We did notice however that larger families/group stretched way past their ground marker. Look for situations like this and stand one marker back from the one it looks like you should be standing on. These markers are great guides but don’t stand on one if it makes you feel like you are simply right with the large group that is overflowing their marker.
No FastPass – but FP Queues are Open
Yes, FastPasses are currently obsolete. The FP queues are however still open. They are used for guests with the DAS (Disability Access Service) pass. You may also be given a FastPass if you were removed from a broken-down attraction or had a special situation along those lines.
Rise is Still a Virtual Queue
The most popular attraction in all of Walt Disney World, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still a virtual queue! Disney now offers three select times throughout the day to attempt to join a boarding group for this attraction. And yes, even with limited guests in the parks, the boarding groups do fill to capacity.
No Parades but Mini Cavalcades
Sorry, no parades – but Disney does now have super cute cavalcades which tend to be one or two floats or cars with characters. These cavalcades are not scheduled. It simply allows for moment of “hey, look!” and it’s gone before you know it.
Some Shows are Available… Well, Kind Of
There are some shows Disney is trying to offer such as a rendition of UP! The Great Bird Adventure or the Droid Depot introduction. You may get hints of the “show” feel but overall, the classic Festival of the Lion King and other shows simply aren’t available.
Don’t Go For “Entertainment”
Not only are parades gone, but you won’t see any fireworks either. Plus, while Disney is trying to allow for cute, sudden Character moments such as Winnie the Pooh trying to catch butterflies… it’s really not the same as the old character meet and greet.
The Two A’s – Attractions and Atmosphere
Go to Disney for the two A’s! You can ride attractions galore with mostly low wait times. You can also still experience the Disney atmosphere with the music, key snacks, and happy Cast Members.