5 Tips For Planning a Visit To Disney World In 2020
This is an article dedicated to all of you die-hard Disney fans that are setting your sights on a Disney getaway this year! If you’ve got a trip scheduled in the weeks or months ahead then you’ll want to be aware that a visit to the theme parks is a bit different in the days of social distancing. CNN recently ran a piece on important tips for those visiting next year and we just had to pass them on to you (after adding in a bit of our own Disney expertise of course.) So let’s dive right in…
1. Make Getting Park Passes Your Top Priority
We’ve been talking about this ALOT lately here at MickeyBlog. This MOST important change for those planning on booking a Walt Disney World getaway even into 2021 is to get up to speed with Disney’s new Park Pass system. In these days of social distancing, Disney needs to have a better handle on who is visiting parks and when. For this reason, it is NO LONGER enough just to have a theme park ticket. In order to gain entry, guests must also make a Park Pass reservation in advance. As soon as you get your tickets and link them to your My Disney Experience account (More on that in a minute) you’ll want to use the park pass system to plot out what theme parks you are visiting during each day of your stay.
It should be noted that Park Passes to have the ability to fill up (much like getting a dining reservation) so its better to do this sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. More details about making Park Pass Reservations and checking availability in advance can be found here.
2. Get Familiar With The My Disney Experience App
Tech is king at Walt Disney World during the age of social distancing so be prepared to use it to make the most out of your Disney getaway. The first way this is done is by downloading the “My Disney Experience App” onto your smartphone and linking your Walt Disney World resort reservation. This will be your dashboard for ALL THINGS related to your Walt Disney World reservation. You’ll use it to make Park Pass reservations, dining reservations, selected MagicBands, add photo packages and so much more.
Once at the theme parks its functionality increases even more as Disney makes the move toward a more cashless theme park experience. Once you’ve arrived at Disney, your My Disney Experience account can be used to unlock your hotel room door, order food, tell you when the resort bus is coming, advise on wait times for your favorite attractions and allow you to make cashless payments at restaurants and retail locations throughout the parks.
I always advise clients to download the app as early as possible and familiarize yourself with it before heading to the parks!
3. Prioritize Those Dining Reservations
If you want to fill your Disney days with delicious dining experiences than a little forward planning goes along way. Reservations are STILL required in order to dine at table-service restaurants both inside the them parks and at the resorts. In addition, as CNN reminds us, for guests staying off-site, Disney is restricting visitation to Walt Disney World resorts to ONLY those staying at the resort and those that have a valid Table Service dining reservation.
At the moment, reservations are currently available to book 60 days in advance using the (you guessed it) My Disney Experience app. Because capacities at the restaurants have been drastically reduced to ensure social distancing, making your reservation well in advance is suggested. Guests should also note that some character dining experiences are still available at select restaurants. However, characters are no longer allowed to stop at your tables to sign autographs and post for photos. YOu must admire them from a distance. You can find out more here.
4. Choose Wisely When It Comes To Resort Hotels
Let me preface this by saying that you can visit ANY Walt Disney World resort and be guaranteed a magical time! That being said, its always good to do a bit of research. For instance, as CNN tells us, Booking accommodations at a resort that’s within walking distance of some of your favorite theme parks is always a fantastic option. Some examples are Disney’s Contemporary Resort which is a short walk away from Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk Resorts which are in close proximity to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. Disney’s Skyliner route (which opened last year) also means that some properties are a short cable car ride away from both EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. Skyliner Resorts include: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
It should be noted that not ALL Walt Disney World resorts have reopened or have availability. For 2020 this includes Disney’s All Star Resorts as well as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge just to name a few. So when researching have a couple options in mind before you go into the booking process.
5. Find Your Perfect Masks BEFORE You Visit
There was a time when as a travel advisor I was always suggesting to clients that you make sure you break-in a comfortable pair of shoes before you visit Walt Disney World to avoid those painful blisters. These days, I say the same thing about masks. Not ALL masks are created equal. Some fit too snuggly, some aren’t snug enough and some may cause irritation. That’s why it pays to put masks to the test BEFORE you visit the parks so that you aren’t suffering. With that in mind, Disney has also outlined a handful of very important guidelines that you need to follow which should inform your mask-buying process.
- Masks must go around the ears or tie behind the head.
- Scarves are not permitted
- Neck Gaiters are not permitted
- Kids ages 2 and up are required to wear masks at all times. So make sure you are stocking up for the kids as well!
AJ Wolfe who runs DisneyFoodBlog and spoke to CNN advises that guests pack two or three different masks per person to use during your trip since they’ll get sweaty, dirty and sometimes even wet on the water rides.
Other Quick Tips
Remember Not ALL Rides, Attractions and Experiences Will Be Open – As part of Disney’s phased reopening plans you parades, character meet and greets, shows and select attractions may be closed to the general public.
Consider Travel Insurance – Disney does offer trip protections which gives you extra piece of mind that you’ll get your money back in the unlikely event that you need to cancel at the last minute. During these uncertain times its worth considering.
You CAN Book for 2021 Now – If you want to visit Disney but aren’t quite ready to pack your bags, Disney is currently giving guests the option to book now for stays through the FALL of 2021.
Work With An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner – These are uncertain times, it pays to have a Disney expert in your corner. Best of all most Disney Travel Planners, like MickeyTravels will help you plan your getaway at no additional cost to you!
Please Note: For those considering a visit from out of stateFlorida still had an executive order mandating a 14-day quarantine for many travelers arriving from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Unless you plan to stay more than two weeks in Florida, a Disney World trip is not an option until this restriction is lifted.