Ten Do’s and Don’ts at Disney Right Now
You have plenty on your mind as you plan your Disney vacation.
Even longtime Disney visitors have felt somewhat overwhelmed by the 2020 park situation.
So, this discussion will include basics for first-time visitors but also some pandemic-related advice, too.
Here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts at Walt Disney World right now.
Do Start Early
This fall, Disney parks operate either eight or nine hours daily.
Due to the lack of crowds, you’ll still have plenty of time to do everything you have on your Disney checklist.
Still, you don’t want to waste your time. When you’re at the parks, you’re on the clock.
You should arrive early and plan to stay until closing. As an FYI, Disney sometimes allows guests to enter the parks before they’re officially open.
When you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll enjoy the run of the place.
Use these opportunities to prioritize the attractions you expect to have the longest lines.
Don’t Leave during the Park Day
This statement ties into the last one. During a typical year, I’d suggest that you leave the parks to enjoy some downtime.
You can go somewhere to eat lunch or go to your Disney resort for a swim.
These ideas work when the park is open 12+ hours. When it closes early, you’ll waste too much time on transportation and walking back and forth.
My suggestion is that you study the park hours and plan your day around being there the entire time.
Do Have a Plan
Remember how I just mentioned your Disney checklist? You should have one.
With Park Hopping off the table in 2020, you should approach each park tactically. You want to do everything.
We’re talking about the rides with the longest waits in ordinary circumstances.
At Magic Kingdom, that means Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight.
At EPCOT, any visit without Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After means disappointment.
Similarly, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’re there for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars stuff.
Finally, you may think that you won’t have time for Avatar Flight of Passage, but I’m here to tell you that Pandora’s lines have never been shorter.
You have a real chance to enjoy the most incredible park day ever. So, take a moment to consider what you need to do to make it happen.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
Even though “crowd” is a relative term at the moment, the standard Disney strategies still apply.
When you follow everyone else, all of them will get ahead of you in line. That’s never good on a regular day. At a Disney park in 2020, it’s madness.
Follow the long-forgotten wisdom of Fleetwood Mac and go your own way.
In my experience, cookie-cutter itineraries lead to frustration. It’s when you do your own thing that you develop new traditions for your family.
Do Remain Flexible
Walt Disney World is less predictable than any time I can ever remember, and that’s a good thing.
You never know when a Cavalcade will drive or sail by your party. Similarly, you also have no idea when one of your favorite rides might have no line whatsoever.
You should keep your My Disney Experience app in hand whenever you’re standing in line. Use it to scout what’s available.
When you notice a ride you desire is at 20 minutes or less, you should prioritize that…unless you see several rides that way, which is possible.
Seriously, you’re visiting Disney at a time when wait-times are the shortest anyone can ever recall. Take advantage of that by remaining flexible.
Don’t Wait in the Longest Line
With park hours limited during the pandemic, you’ll waste too much time waiting in long lines.
Unless you’re trying to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you should set some hard limits on how long you’re willing to wait.
After looking at a lot of recent data at Thrill Data, I’d suggest an upper limit of 30 minutes for everything but the major attractions I’ve already listed.
Do Use Mobile Ordering
I felt this way three years ago when Disney introduced Mobile Ordering.
During the pandemic, it’s common sense. You don’t want to interact with cast members or stand in lines needlessly.
With Mobile Ordering, you can pick a restaurant, order your food just the way you want it, and then pay for it in My Disney Experience.
I’d go so far as to say that you should choose your restaurant based on whether it’s participating in Mobile Ordering.
Don’t Dine Inside
I’m going to be a bit hypocritical here, as I have Advanced Dining Reservations for a pair of indoor restaurants next month.
Having said that, we usually eat at least two of these per day during our Disney trips.
During this visit, we’ll only eat inside about 20 percent of the time.
Yes, the reason why is the pandemic.
Disney’s better at safety measures than anyone else on the planet. Still, we view it as a risk we’re not interested in taking a lot.
If you disagree, I respect that. If you’re on the fence, feel free to use me as an excuse to talk friends out of dining inside.
Do Bring Your Phone
Remember how I said to keep My Disney Experience at the ready? You can’t do that without your phone.
There’s an interesting generational divide on the subject of cellphones, as some older Disney fans hate the omnipresence of these devices at the parks.
Anyone under the age of 30 would need surgery to have their phone physically separated from their hand.
So, this advice caters more to the older crowd. Disney has integrated My Disney Experience into most aspects of the park.
You can get by without using it on some stuff, but I’ve already mentioned a couple of ways you’ll need it. There are many more.
Just accept that phones are a necessary evil if you’re philosophically opposed to them.
Don’t Forget a Battery Charger
I’m an evangelist for My Disney Experience, the greatest theme park app ever invented.
However, even I must admit that the app drains a cellphone battery like an insatiable vampire.
Seriously, we’ve entered the parks with a full battery and started sweating our charge by 1 PM. Of course, we’re iPhone users, and their batteries are worse.
We’ve long since adopted a policy of carrying a charger with us. We have some that could power a boat for a day, but we usually leave those at the hotel.
Instead, we’ve found over the years that the best solution is a small charger that fits in any purse or pocket without causing aggravation.
FuelRods are perfect for this, at least theoretically. If you already signed up, swaps are free, but the chargers are a bit lacking.
We use Anker PowerCore 5000 batteries, as I’m an Anker evangelist, too.
By the way, I have one final Do and Don’t that I didn’t include in my counting.
DO use a Disney travel agent like the experts at MickeyTravels. You won’t pay a dime for their services, and you stand to save a LOT of money!
DON’T sweat the small stuff. Sure, Disney’s different right now, and it won’t be perfect. After you leave, you’ll only remember the magic, though!
Feature Image Rights: Kent Phillips