The biggest question since the COVID-19 pandemic is, “should I cancel my 2021 Disney Vacation”. We have a lot of opinions on this and wanted to share them.
It is June 15th at the time of writing this article. We are forming our opinion based on the information that has been released. At the time of this writing, Disney Parks have not opened yet. Universal Orlando has opened, and we have seen how that theme park implemented many of the same safety procedures that Disney has announced. We will update this article as more information comes out.
Disney World Reopening Changes
With the reopening of the Disney World parks, there are many changes that will be happening. Each of these will affect your visit.
- No Park Hopping
- Park Reservations
- No Fast Passes
- Limited Hotel Offerings
- Mask Required (2 years old and up)
- No Dining Reservations
- 6 Foot Spacing
- No Fireworks
- No Parades
- No Meet and Greets
- No Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Park Entry & Park Hopping
One of the best parts about Walt Disney World is the ability to change your plans based on weather or based on how you are feeling that day. Beyond that, being able to change to a different park half-way through the day.
With the new changes, you will be required to have a park reservation in order to enter a park. Details are still scarce on how this system will work. Disney has stated that a hotel reservation will not guarantee the ability for a park reservation.
Furthermore, you also will not be able to park hop. Park hopping is one of the best parts about Walt Disney World. With the amazing Disney Transportation, you can easily leave one park and visit another. Due to the reservation system, Disney is not allowing park hopping. Once you’re in a park, that is your park for that day.
Limited Hotel Offerings and No Dining Reservations
Walt Disney World has many choices when it comes to a resort stay. You have different levels of hotels to choose from all with different amenities and price points. During this time, Disney has limited their offerings of hotels to choose from. You may not be able to pick the resort you want to stay in.
Dining reservations are also a must when at Walt Disney World. There are many amazing places to eat on property and at the different resorts around Disney. These fill up quick and often you have to make a reservation. During this time, Disney World is not doing dining reservations. This will make planning your day much more difficult and you may not be able to dine at your dream restaurant.
6 Foot Social Distancing and Masks Required
While the parks have not opened yet, we have been able to see how this works at Disney Springs and also at Universal Orlando. Through the queue lines, there are markers every 6 feet. Maintaining this distance requires a lot of attention as you must seek out these markers on the ground throughout the line.
The social distancing extends into the ride as well. Sometimes, this may mean you get a ride vehicle completely to yourself. For other types of rides, this may mean skipping rows. This does make the rides more enjoyable as you are more spaced out. This lowers the capacity of the ride which will increase the wait times.
Social distancing will also hurt the theming of a ride. At Disney, the ride experience starts well before you board the ride vehicle. This happens through preshows and even experiences inside the queue line. This means some preshows will not be able to take place due to the limited size of some rooms. For example, the elevator in the Haunted Mansion.
Masks are required at Walt Disney World and must be worn everywhere unless you are sitting down to eat. Even children over the age of 2 years old are expected to wear a mask. Florida gets very hot and humid in the summer and these masks can become uncomfortable, for some, unbearable.
Masks seem to be the biggest complaint we have seen across different online forms and while walking around Disney Springs.
No Parades, No Fireworks, No Meet and Greets
When you watch a video or commercial on Walt Disney World, you will always see that only a small amount of time is actually focused on the rides. Most of what makes Disney magical is all the parades, characters, magical moments and the firework shows.
Due to the COVID-19 safety measures, Disney has stopped all of these. This is to limit the amount of people gathering in one spot. In our opinion, this essentially makes Disney just another theme park.
Should You Cancel Your 2021 Disney Vacation?
What makes Walt Disney World the most magical place on earth is the experiences. You can visit any Six Flags theme park to get some rides and thrills in, however, Disney takes it to the next level. You are immersed in a new world with so many experiences to take in.
Disney World will not be the same magical place it was prior to COVID-19. Disney World is not a cheap vacation and many families have to save for years to visit. Your experience will be severely diminished and in our opinion, will not be worth the high cost of a vacation.
Our advice is to continue to save and postpone your trip till 2022 once these restrictions lift. Walt Disney World will come back more magical than ever and you can have the full Walt Disney World magical experience.
Returning Visitors, Locals or Annual Passholders
If you are a local or Disney World Annual Passholder, then coming out to the parks after they open may still be something to do in 2020. It is unknown what the crowd levels will be, and the Disney crowd calendars will be wildly inaccurate. Our experience at Universal Orlando over the past 2 weeks has been great. Most rides are walk on wait times with the longest wait being only 20 minutes.
This could be a time to come and enjoy empty parks. If you want that perfect Disney photograph, you might be able to capture a shot of the castle with very few crowds in it.
We love Walt Disney World, and we love inviting our out-of-town friends to come and enjoy in the magic we get to experience weekly being local Annual Passholders. Due to the measures put in place, we don’t want friends spending hard-earned money, during a time of record unemployment, on a mediocre experience.
If you want to enjoy the full experience, take an extra year and come back. Walt Disney World will be here waiting and will be better than ever.
What are your thoughts? Will you be postponing your trip or still coming to Walt Disney World this year? What factored into your decision? Please post down in the comments. We would love to learn more about what others are doing.