How I Will Approach My Next Disney Visit
In Disney I trust.
I’m like many of you reading this. I’m a diehard Disney fan who has been thrown for a loop by the Coronavirus pandemic.
I desperately want to visit Walt Disney World later this year. I miss a lot of wonderful parts of a Disney trip.
Still, I don’t want to be an idiot during the pandemic.
Here’s how I will approach my next Disney vacation.
Alternative Travel Plans
We looooove Magical Express. I don’t feel like my Disney trip has begun until I board the bus that takes me straight to my hotel.
Alas, we live close enough to Walt Disney World that we’ll probably drive this time. I recognize that this option isn’t for everyone.
Also, we haven’t decided for sure yet. I have friends who travel for work, and I’m polling them for airport/airplane feedback whenever possible.
The recent reports of full flights stress me out. I don’t like those during a regular flight, much less during a pandemic.
So, we plan to drive. It’s a decision everyone must make for themselves.
Look, we’re not like many Walt Disney World tourists. We’ve visited twice since Halloween.
Over the past few years, my wife and I have spent the equivalent of three months in Orlando. So, we don’t have the same needs as most guests.
We’ve already discussed how differently we’ll approach this trip.
Our plan is to have no expectations. Merely being in the Disney Bubble is enough. Anything else that we get to do is a bonus.
We trust Disney to provide an overwhelming number of amenities to entertain us during the trip.
After all, most guests only participate in a tiny fraction of the available amenities at the parks and resorts.
During our next visit, we’ll embrace the chaos a bit and relish in unplanned activities.
Many Disney fans complain that the parks require too much planning now.
So, the Coronavirus safety measures provide a rare opportunity to go back to the more randomized park visits of yore.
More Hotel Time
I’ve recommended resort hopping on several occasions.
I love Disney resorts, which have become my home away from home. And each time I visit one, I spend a few hours a trip exploring.
Even after years of vacations, we’re still discovering new parts of the resort campuses.
Disney hotels feature spectacular restaurants, breathtaking views, and gorgeous pools.
While some features won’t be available during the pandemic, Disney has confirmed available amenities.
Suffice to say that there is plenty enough for us. In fact, I’ll likely try a few amenities that I’ve never done before.
This trip will focus on exploration more than usual.
Stronger Health Measures
No, I’m not talking about Disney here. I mean the steps that I’ll take.
As much as people discuss personal responsibility, I’m alarmed by how many folks expect Disney to do the heavy lifting on pandemic measures.
I’ll take a different approach.
I will pack cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer.
When I get to the resort, I’ll wipe down high contact spots like the remote control and pantry handles.
As I explore the parks, I’ll clean my hands frequently.
Disney’s neither my parent nor my babysitter.
The company isn’t responsible for my health, even though I believe that its approach is commendable.
Instead, the onus is on me to think about ways to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. And I will take it seriously.
In truth, I’ve done this once already. During our late-January trip, we took the steps I’ve listed here.
The process isn’t complicated, and it has proved reassuring, too.
Plenty of Shopping
By my count, four different walls of our house consist almost entirely of Disney merchandise.
We’re hoarders, and we’re addicted to Disney.
In fact, we put up multiple Christmas trees each year. One of them consists entirely of Disney ornaments.
So, yes. There will be shopping on the next trip.
However, we’ll do things a bit differently. Before now, I would have grabbed any item I liked and inspected it carefully.
Disney hates when people do that now.
Merchandise is unfortunately subject to constant contact, which makes it somewhat of a risk during the pandemic.
I plan to evaluate my goods from a safe distance. If I decide later that I don’t like it, I can always return it.
By the way, this suggestion ties together with the previous one. I’ll do much of my shopping at the resort.
Since Disney isn’t offering hotel delivery right now, I’ll try to buy most of my merchandise where I’m already staying.
I’m actively excited about this one. I’m old enough to remember the previous FastPass system.
The paper system provided diehard Disney fans with an opportunity to schedule several attractions simultaneously.
The FastPass+/MyMagic system isn’t as generous. It’s locked guests at a maximum of three FastPasses at any time.
Once guests use those, they can only add one at a time.
With virtual queuing, Disney may alter the rules a bit. It’s entirely possible that the virtual queuing system will allow multiple “FastPasses” again.
Yes, the FastPass system that we know is out of commission for now.
I don’t know what else to call the process of claiming a spot in a virtual line queue, though.
At a minimum, I’ll get to skip one line almost entirely whenever I want by acquiring a digital FastPass.
Also, as an early adopter, I can’t wait to try the next generation of Disney line management processes.
Yes, I’m a nerd.
I’m already wearing a face mask whenever I go outside. And I live in a place that’s frequently hotter than Florida.
The funny aspect of people protesting face masks is that we already wear shirts and pants outside. We do that for the same reason.
We’re honoring the social contract by not running around in our underpants.
So, I don’t have a problem wearing a mask all day at Walt Disney World.
Having said that, I wouldn’t say that I’m thrilled by the idea, either.
Every piece of clothing we wear turns up the temperature a bit. It’s why we prefer layers in colder climates and bathing suits at beaches.
When I wear something around my face, I’m gonna feel hot pretty quickly. And I’m gonna get a super-weird tan, too.
What I’m saying is that wearing a mask isn’t ideal. I plan to take several extended breaks to avoid the process as much as possible.
In fact, I’ll probably spend some time at bars even though I’m not a drinker.
This trip will require some improvising to account for the oddity of face masks.
Single Park Approach
Here’s the big one for us. We’re Park Hoppers. I mean, we took the concept to its logical extreme.
We’ve visited at least three parks on four out of our last eight park days.
In fact, we’ve done four parks in one day in calendar 2020.
So, the thought of spending an entire day at one park doesn’t really work for us.
Alas, Disney’s making the rules right now, and the company wants to give everyone a fair shake.
Even though we’re annual passholders, we’re not guaranteed to visit one park on a given day. We’re definitely not Park Hopping.
As such, this change will require a different sort of planning for us. And I’m looking forward to the new challenge.
We’ve taken a hit-and-run approach to many recent park visits. We’ll need to slow down and approach a single park more methodically.
For this reason, our next Disney trip will be one of the most novel visits we’ve ever had.
By slowing things down, we’ll get to appreciate more at the park we visit that day.
Different Dining Approach
We’re ardent proponents of character meals and Table Service restaurants in general.
When we dine, we take our time and savor our meals. In fact, we ordinarily do appetizers and desserts, making our meals at least three courses.
This time, we’re going to change the process.
We can’t do character meals, as Disney has temporarily shut down all of them but one at Topolino’s Terrace.
We’re also leaning toward Quick Service meals. The appeal of them is Mobile Ordering, which offers contactless purchase/payment.
Plus, many Quick Service restaurants feature outdoor dining areas, which the CDC indicates are safer.
Even when the Quick Service establishments are indoors, we still have the option to grab-and-go.
We simply order our food via My Disney Experience and then pick it up at the eatery. Then, we can take it and sit down wherever we want.
This approach somewhat flies in the face of the extended breaks I mentioned.
So, we’ll need to snack more and take other kinds of breaks.
Overall, these changes seem significant. In reality, we’re still having the time of our lives at Walt Disney World, though.
Who wouldn’t happily do that right now after spending months stuck at home?