Seven Fabulous Reasons Why Disney Trips Are Better Right Now
Confession: I’m one of those people who hasn’t set foot inside a restaurant since the pandemic began.
I also conscientiously objected against haircuts for the body of 2020. I finally got a trim last week, and I felt so guilty that I tipped more than 100 percent.
That poor hairstylist worked hard to get rid of all the excess hair I had on my head.
So, I’m someone who has taken Coronavirus seriously. Yet, I’m happily traveling to Disney in a couple of weeks…and again in three months.
I’m finally ready to explain why I’m so excited about the trip(s). Here are seven reasons why Disney trips are better right now.
No Planning Necessary
Are you like me? Do you book Advanced Dining Reservations when your 180-day window opens?
Have you scheduled your hotel reservations long before that?
I’m someone who uses calendars and automated reminders to prepare for the perfect Disney trip.
I don’t even think of myself as a control freak as a rule, but I take Disney seriously.
The current situation has forced me to plan a different kind of trip. I don’t have firm plans for where I will eat several meals, and I have no FastPasses.
I mean, Disney doesn’t even offer FastPasses during the pandemic. It’s first-come, first-served on every attraction.
So, these trips will work like throwbacks to the 1990s, when I just showed up at a theme park and did whatever.
That sort of spontaneity has gotten lost over the years, as Disney has done more to control crowd behavior. I suddenly realize how much I’ve missed it.
Rope Drop (Mostly) Isn’t Required
I treat the start of a Disney day like Olympians treat the starter pistol at a race.
I assume the position and am ready to spring out of the blocks, flying past the competition to get in line first.
Well, that’s kind of a pointless pursuit during the pandemic. Social distancing measures mean that I’m not getting close to anybody anyway.
People will cut me a wide berth, giving me plenty of room to roam wherever I’m headed.
Also, there’s not much of a competitive advantage in arriving at the parks early…with one exception.
When guests visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they do need to be inside the park in time to grab a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Beyond that, you shouldn’t feel the onus to arrive at Rope Drop. It entirely depends on your schedule and plans for the day. However…
Park Hours Save Us from Ourselves
Your arrival time does depend on how long you intend to stay. Disney has recently expanded operating hours at some of its parks.
Overall, park hours remain lower than at any time in recent memory. I view that as a huge positive, but you should remember it.
When you arrive late, you’ll have less time to spend in the parks. You’ll still get a lot done, but you should understand that seconds count at Disney these days.
What I love about the shortened operating hours comes down to personal stupidity.
When I’m at Disney, I’m on the go, no matter how reckless the pace is.
I use a Fitbit, and I’ve had trips where 30,000 daily steps marked my lowest total. I’ve reached 36,000 before. That’s 18 miles of walking!
So, when a park only opens for eight-to-ten hours, Disney’s doing me a favor. I’ll have to slow down and move less.
Weirdly, when I’m at a Disney theme park, I’m on the clock, trying to jam in as much as possible.
This trip, I’ll act calmer and saner, a welcome change for my traveling party. In truth, they may not even recognize me.
Okay, you’ve probably heard that crowds were non-existent in July and August but started to creep up over the past six weeks.
That’s undoubtedly true, but don’t let this information mislead you. Parks are still less crowded than you’ll ever see them again.
Disney continues to limit capacity, with experts guessing that crowds max out at 40-65 percent.
Yes, that’s a significant variance, but you get the point. Disney parks remain at least one-third less crowded than usual, possibly more than half.
So, you’ll have more room to move and less time spent waiting in lines.
Also, you’ll feel like you have the run of the parks, giving you better photo ops.
I mean, have you ever taken a picture of Main Street, U.S.A. when it wasn’t packed with people? Well, now’s your chance!
Cavalcades Are Awesome
I think most of us love Disney parades and character performances, but we know that they come with some aggravation.
Since lots of people rush to these events, they’re overly crowded and sometimes contentious.
When I talk to frequent Disney visitors, we share war stories about wounds we’ve received from runaway strollers and Electric Conveyance Vehicles.
Shins get bruised, knees get popped, and toes get broken. It happens.
During the pandemic, Disney has replaced parades with Cavalcades, unannounced shows featuring your favorite Disney characters.
Since these events occur randomly, crowds don’t form the way they would for a regularly scheduled parade.
Plus, the appearances remain random, too. You never know who will show up for the next Cavalcade or what outfit they’ll wear, either.
The mystery adds to the suspense, and the lack of crowds means that you’ll lock eyes with your favorites. They may even send a special message just to you!
Disney Has Emphasized Mobile Ordering
When Disney announced Mobile Ordering in 2017, it didn’t add all possible restaurants.
Instead, Disney phased in the park eateries over a couple of years. Then, it added some restaurants at Disney hotels.
At the start of 2020, which seems like forever ago, many popular establishments didn’t participate in the Mobile Ordering program.
After Coronavirus closed the parks, Disney changed everything.
The company emphasizes online transactions that don’t require personal interactions. And that’s the strong suit of Mobile Ordering.
So, Disney has added virtually all open restaurants to the service.
Also, some Table Service restaurants now offer Mobile Ordering as an option. And the ones that don’t have it use QR codes to streamline meals.
Getting food at Disney is easier than ever before, meaning you’ll have more free time for the rest of your vacation activities.
This one’s been a significant sticking point for my family for years. I’m grateful that Disney has finally committed to more efficient meals.
This reason may seem ridiculous, but I firmly believe that it’s important.
Coronavirus has forced Disney to sanitize its parks more than ever before.
Hand sanitizer and hand wash stations are seemingly everywhere, and cast members wipe down high-traffic spaces with robust cleaning solutions.
What does this mean for guests? Well, it’s a positive for reasons beyond a safe environment during a pandemic.
Nobody ever likes to think about it, but places with thousands of daily visitors also host billions of germs. Human bodies are disgusting.
So, we’re always awash in potential infections whenever we go to the mall or a sporting event or a movie theater.
Theme parks qualify under this umbrella as well. However, Disney’s dedication toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 comes with a hidden benefit.
You’re much less likely to catch a cold (or whatever else) at the parks.
I’m someone who gets sick a lot, and it’s a running joke with my wife that I’ll be sick for a week after a theme park visit. It’s also based in truth.
I don’t have that fear this trip because I know that all the germs are gonna be dead. Disney’s not messing around with Coronavirus.
My sincere hope is that the parks maintain these hand sanitizer and hand wash stations after the pandemic ends.
I’d like Disney to use those powerful cleaning solutions from now on, as well. The parks are healthier than ever during a pandemic. That’s remarkable.