This post is an update to a previous post. WHY? Because we just got back from Walt Disney World and want to share with you our experience. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of this post, you will see that I was there in October 2019. What a difference one year makes! Who would have thought that we would still be dealing with Covid-19. You can travel and you can go to Walt Disney World – safely! Today, let’s focus on how to navigate Disney World safely in 2020. And be sure to listen to what I had to say on The Curious Cowgirl podcast about our trip.
The original post below at the bottom of this page (published on November 7, 2019) focused on the Top 5 reasons to travel to Walt Disney World in the FALL. All of those reasons still hold true. But how does it differ now that we live in a Covid-19 world? Walt Disney World has done an incredible job reopening while keeping safety a top priority. Today’s pictures and travel tips will focus solely on what the requirements are NOW to go to Disney World. Please be sure to watch this Instagram Stories highlight that I saved detailing all of our experiences. Sometimes it helps to see it in video.
While I’m at it, kudos to Southwest Airlines for also putting safety as a top priority! There is an Instagram Story highlight to show you our experience flying the non-stop route from Dallas to Orlando and back. Be sure to click here to see what great fares they have during their Wanna Get Away promotion. Also, they just announced some new routes. Dallas to Telluride (Montrose), Palm Springs and Miami to name a few. The Southwest Airlines Promise details exactly what they are doing from check-in to deplaning to ensure your well-being.
If you have never been to Walt Disney World, you might want to read some of my other blog posts before reading this one. This post is solely focusing on the changes Disney World has implemented during Covid-19. Here is the post on how to combine Walt Disney World + a Disney Cruise. Another blog post details our experience in December 2019 when Rise of the Resistance first opened. You can find numerous blog posts on my site. Just put ‘Disney’ in the search bar and they will pull up. On average, I go twice a year.
Are you wondering if the Disney parks are still as wonderful as in the past? Absolutely! You will still find Halloween-themed merchandise, the parks decked out for the fall holidays, popular fall treats and more. This is what Disney does best and you won’t be disappointed. Now, here is what is different…
How to navigate Disney World safely in 2020 | What To Know
1. WDW has detailed everything they are doing on this page to navigate the pandemic safely. Read through it thoroughly before you book your trip. As with any trip you plan, check the website prior to your departure for any updates/changes.
2. You will be required to wear a face mask at all times (ages 2 and up). And they enforce it! Make sure you bring several with you and that they are comfortable. We found that the cloth face masks you can purchase on the Shop Disney site to be the best. We are wearing adult size XL (pictured above). They come in various sizes. Click HERE to shop. Even if you are not planning a trip to WDW, these are super cute and make great gifts! All Disney cast members wear face masks too and in some instances they wear a face mask and a shield.
3. Reduced capacity and social distancing EVERYWHERE! This goes for all four theme parks and Disney Resorts. You will social distance in ride lines, dining experiences and all Disney transportation. At this time, the water parks remain closed. There is no room service at The Contemporary Resort where we stayed. This is to reduce the amount of human contact.
4. Limited attendance. All guests are required to make advance ticket purchases AND reservations. This is how they manage the daily cap per park. There is no park hopping. You can visit one park at a time. Limited attendance doesn’t mean there won’t be a wait for rides. With the Fast Pass system suspended, everyone will wait in the same line – socially distanced six feet apart. The lines will look long but it’s really because the people are spaced out. The longest line we had was 35 minutes. Also, Extra Disney Magic hours have been suspended due to operating at a reduced capacity.
5. Temperature checks are required and done at the entry of each theme park. This is mandatory.
6. The only time you can remove your face mask is to eat or swim. We made our Disney dining reservations at as many table service locations as we could ahead of time on the My Disney Experience app. This ensured that we could enjoy a full service meal in an air conditioned space while relaxing. On this trip we enjoyed The Hollywood Brown Derby and California Grill. The rest of the time we would grab snacks and of course we got a Dole Whip! The app and Disney magic band is used for everything from food orders, park entry, opening your Disney Resort room door, cashless payments and more. This helps minimize contact and maintain physical distance.
7. Hand Sanitizer is everywhere throughout the theme parks, Disney transportation stations and Disney Resorts. It operates with a motion sensor so no one is touching the dispenser. Smart! You will find them at the beginning and end of every ride, front of the parks and randomly placed for your convenience. There must be thousands of them.
8. WDW has increased the cleaning and disinfecting protocols and we found everything to be very clean. They are doing an incredible job!
9. All Disney parades, character greetings, character dining experiences and firework shows are paused. Why? This helps prevent people from gathering to watch something at a designated time. Basically, it prevents crowds. Instead you will see Disney characters pop up randomly in various locations. Disney Cavalcades have replaced parades. They are a group of performers and one float with characters that come by at non-designated times. I found this system to be refreshing!
9. Be prepared to go at a slower pace due to the new protocols – it ensures everyones safety. It reminds me of many years ago before the Fast Pass system was implemented and you could just swipe in to everything. Be patient – things take longer.
10. Things change all the time. Check the Walt Disney World website often for updates and specials. To my knowledge, park tickets and accommodations are the same price. However, WDW is offering a special deal right now. Click HERE for the details.
Pete and I had a great time and felt very safe. We would absolutely do this trip again. We have no problems with travel during Covid-19 and have already taken several trips. As always, be safe and follow CDC guidelines. We do! If you want to hear the conversation I had with Mary on The Curious Cowgirl Podcast about this trip, click HERE.
xoxo – Tanya
P.S. If you are wondering why I am tan, I always get a custom spray tan from Whitney at GLOWW before I travel.
photo: Pete Foster
shop the post
pin this image
Thank you to Walt Disney World and Southwest Airlines for partnering with me on this post. All selections and opinions are my own.
Top 5 Reasons to travel to Walt Disney World in the FALL
*This post was published on November 7, 2019
By now you should know that I’m a kid at heart and LOVE Walt Disney World, In fact, I love all things Disney! So it should be no surprise to you that when given the opportunity to explore Disney World this October, The Curious Cowgirl and I were more than eager to see what’s new during the fall season. Pumpkins, villains and new rides, oh my!
If you have been with me for the last year or so, you know that Pete and I enjoyed a wonderful Disney Cruise to Alaska in June. It was truly spectacular and we can’t wait to cruise with them again. I also went to Walt Disney World twice in 2018 to cover Walt Disney World Resorts and then later to discover the Christmas Holidays. That’s just official business. I bet Pete and I have been over 7 times with our children over the last 25 years. WHY? Because it’s the happiest place on earth! Well and it’s a guaranteed special vacation that always offers something new. That is what is so great about Disney. They are constantly updating, retooling and reinventing themselves.
This was not a press trip, my dear friend and fellow blogger Mary Meier-Evans just decided we needed to go and check out what’s new. You can see her blog post about our recent trip here. She is such a wonderful writer and has a totally different perspective from me. Which makes us great travel buddies and blogger friends. We love this trip as a girls trip but you can certainly go with your children and/or grandchildren. There’s something for everyone!
Below I am going to list my Top 5 Reasons to travel to Walt Disney World in the fall. I am also linking you to everything I packed and wore for this trip. I don’t dress up for Disney and like to be casual and comfortable. Also, Shop Disney is a great site to shop online before your departure so that you have a few things before you get there. If you want wonderful shopping while there, head over to Disney Springs for shopping, dining and more.
What’s your favorite Disney memory? TODAY is a great day to leave a comment on the blog. Simply answer the question and you might get a surprise (hint, hint).
xoxo – Tanya
Top 5 Reasons to travel to Walt Disney World in the FALL
1. Less Crowded: This is a no-brainer. Fall months are the perfect months for the Disney parks. Since school is in session, it will be much less crowded. Be careful though, many children get a few days off for Fall Break and some even get a full week. Check the Disney calendar to check park hours too.
2. There is always something NEW: I mention that because one of the reasons I was excited to go is because Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is now open! This new land inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios is like nothing you have ever seen before. We were transformed! I rode the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride and truly felt like I was a part of the movie. It’s so well done! There is no fast-pass for this ride so just prepare to wait. It’s worth it! Be sure to check out the gift shop and make sure to purchase a water or Coke product. The branding and details are like nothing you have ever seen. NOTE: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance ride is set to open on December 5! Additionally, EPCOT is going through a huge transition. We got a little sneak peek and I can tell you it will be spectacular!
3. Mild Weather: Orlando is always humid – there’s no getting around that. But in the fall months the heat has broken and it’s simply warm. I would say it was around 75 degrees daily. When it was overcast it was delightful! For the most part, its shorts and short sleeve tops. Maybe something a little warmer for the nighttime like a denim jacket.
4. Fall holiday decor & events: No one dresses up a place like Walt Disney World does. Pumpkins were everywhere and fall was in full swing at every park. Plus, the parades and firework shows even incorporate the fall and Halloween season. Everything is a bit spooktacular! We got to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which means the Magic Kingdom is open only to those who purchase this special ticket. The park stays open until midnight and offers treats that are special for just that event! For example, the villeins are out during the month of October to add to the spooky ambiance! Right now, you can start enjoying Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I highly recommend the special events.
5. Walt Disney World Resorts: I still think this is the best way to completely immerse yourself and enjoy the full Disney experience! There are so many onsite properties to chose from (over 25) and the transportation systems are clean, easy to navigate and the best way to maximize your time. Plus staying at a WDW Resort has so many added benefits like Extra Magic Hours, FastPass+ Planning, complimentary Magic Bands, complimentary transportation, themed hotel rooms and Disney Dining Plans. Also, be sure to check out the Walt Disney World Special Events page. There are literally hundreds of special opportunities to make your trip spectacular!