Is It Worth Going to Disney World Right Now?: Okay, to start off this article is purely opinion. Most of the time, I like my articles to be based on facts, and then I will give my opinions towards the end. I will try to follow the same formula with this post too. But I do understand that this is a strange world we live in right now, and everyone’s circumstance is very different.
All that to say….
We just got home from Disney World after not being there for a VERY LONG TIME. If you know me, I am always either at Disney, or in the midst of planning my next Disney trip. In typical times, I feel like I am not in Disney enough. Between personal circumstances and the year that 2020 gave us, we have not been to Disney World for about a year and a half- and that’s CRAZY to me!
So, about a week and a half ago, after canceling and rescheduling 4 (or was it 5?) times, we FINALLY made it to Disney World! My following posts will be more detailed about what we did and my reviews on things. This post will strictly be about if it is worth going to Disney World right now.
Before we go into that, let’s start off by what was different in Disney World then what we are typically used too-
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Is going to Disney World right now worth it?
We stayed at multiple resorts during the 10 days we were there: Caribbean Beach, Pop Century, Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village, and Art of Animation. (We wanted to make up for lost time, but that’s a whole other blog post!). The cast members are really on top of the cleaning! While we were at the pool (which was extremely empty by the way), Castmembers were constantly cleaning handrails, chairs, and any other touchpoints. I was interested to see if the cleaning would be different between the three different levels of resorts that we stayed in (Value, Moderate, and Deluxe), but the cleaning was great at all of them!
The only time we went to the parks was when we were staying at Pop Century. So this info might only pertain to that-
The way they handled the bus situation was amazing! First, the parks have staggering start times. For example, Animal Kingdom would open at 8, Magic Kingdom would open at 9, Hollywood Studios would open at 10, and Epcot would open at 11. (These opening times could change at any time, this was just our experience. So before you head to WDW, please check for correct opening times). To me, it seems like the busses were really on top of getting people to the parks quickly. While at our bus stop waiting to get to Magic Kingdom for rope drop, bus after bus for Magic Kingdom would appear. Even though there was a long line waiting to get on the busses, we didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes to get on.
Also, they greatly limited the number of people on the busses. You and your family were always guaranteed a seat which was really nice; especially after a long day in the parks. They even had dividers between seats! You really did feel like you had your own personal space; which is sometimes hard to come by while at Walt Disney World.
Hand Sanitizing and Hand Washing
At the parks, there were handwashing and sanitation stations everywhere. There were hand sanitizers right before you got on a ride and right after you got off. We made sure to use them every time. We also observed that most park-goers did seem to use them also.
While waiting in a line for a ride, or waiting in line to get your food, there are markings on the floor to aid with social distancing. These markers seem to be at least 6 feet apart, if not more. It depended on how the queue was set up for the ride. But we never felt like the markers were too close. If there was a queue that had a zigzag type line that you had to walk right next to other park goers, then there was plexiglass that would separate you from them.
Wearing a Mask
Something that I was worried about was the mask-wearing. Let me first state that I am 100% for mask-wearing. The thing is, I am home most of the time so I don’t have to wear my mask that often. When I do go out, it’s only for a short amount of time. I never had to wear my mask all day. That being said; that is one of the reasons why we canceled our August trip. We were afraid that wearing a mask in the hot Florida sun would be too much for us cold-loving New Englanders.
When this whole pandemic started, Disney released some masks that I was so excited about. We bought a BUNCH but ended up hating them. My sister gave us some Disney masks for Christmas. I realized Disney remade them with new material and they are sooo comfortable! These new masks are not only highly suggested by myself, but other Disney World park lovers too! I also suggest buying them from your local Disney store, or even online here because they are a lot cheaper there than they are in Disney World. We were able to wear them all day for 10 days straight and they were super comfortable!
Disney World is also pretty strict with their mask rules, which I greatly appreciate! A castmember will remind you to wear it correctly if you are not doing so. The only time you are allowed to take it off in the parks if you are eating and drinking while stationary. No drinking your Joffery’s while walking through the park. They also go have some “relaxation” areas that you can go in to and take your mask off if you feel like you need a break.
Nighttime Entertainment, Parades, and Characters
Unfortunately, Disney World is not currently having any of its nighttime entertainment, parades, castle shows, or character meet and greets. This was probably the biggest disappointment for our trip. I do understand why they are not having those right now. There would be no way for Disney to control those crowds and keep people distanced from each other. And with meet and greets, Disney is trying its best to protect everyone, especially their castmembers. Back in the resorts, they actually had a showing of Happily Ever After on the tv at night time! If you want to watch it and sob along with me, click here!
On the bright side, they have lots of “pop up” mini parades, or cavalcades, around the parks! We really enjoyed this! These cavalcades typically have one float and some characters on foot or horseback. I personally think that one of the best parts of these mini parades is that you never know when they will happen. This makes it feel like an extra dose of magic in your day! They happen multiple times a day and in every park (Animal Kingdom actually has them in the river on boats!). You are guaranteed to see some during your trip!
There are a few character dining options available (to see what is currently available, click here) If you want to guarantee seeing your favorite character, this might be a good option for you. We ate at Toppolino’s Terrace for breakfast. While we were excited to be able to see Mickey and friends, it just wasn’t that same character experience we were used to. We did have a great time, but it was a little sad not being able to interact with the characters and just seeing them from afar.
If you can stay at a resort that has the new Skyliner (Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, or Riviera), I highly suggest it! Not only is it a super convenient way to get to Hollywood Studios and Epcot all the time, but during this weird session we are in, it just feels a lot safer. Disney will only put one traveling party in there at a time. This way you won’t be crammed in there with strangers.
If you are watching a show ( like Frozen Sing-Along, Carousel of Progress, etc.), every other row is blocked off to aid with social distancing. I personally love this because my son can now finally see the shows without someone sitting right in front of him! They also block off seats in the open rows too so that you will not sit next to anyone that isn’t in your party.
For this trip, we mostly ate at quick-service restaurants. We found that the variety was very much lacking during this trip. The menus seemed to be cut down to just a few items at each place.
Also, the dining plan is currently not available. Although I am a die-hard dining plan fan, I am glad that we did not get it this trip because of how lacking the menus were for the quick service restaurants.
Right now, Disney World currently is not using their FastPass system. This is because in order to social distance, they are using their normal queue AND their Fastpass queue for the regular line. At first, I was pretty bummed about this. But we actually had a great time with crowds and short lines that the Fastpass system wasn’t needed for us. This is probably because of the time of year we went, plus just the overall fewer people traveling.
Sidenote: once Fastpasses come back, here is a great post to help you learn all about them and the best tips and tricks!
Is going to Disney World right now worth it?
So, to answer your question: is it worth going to Disney World right now? My answer is, maybe!
If this is your first trip to Disney World, or you only go once every 5 or more years, then I would say no, it’s not worth it. I would wait until next year when (hopefully) things are better. If this is your first trip, you won’t get photos of your family with smiling faces! Your little ones can’t hug Mickey! You won’t get to see the AMAZING Disney World fireworks! It’s just not the same Disney World that we all know and love. I would hate for first-timers not to get the magical trip they have been hoping and dreaming about.
Now, if you are a Disney fanatic like me and go at least once a year, then I say go for it! It is worth going to Disney World right now. Just understand things aren’t the same. I talked to my son about the changes before we left. I wanted him to understand that things will be different. He understood and wanted to go anyway. Well, we had an absolute blast! I don’t regret going at all. It was honestly one of our best trips ever!
Have you been to Disney World since it’s reopening? If so, what did you think- is it worth going to Disney World right now.? If you haven’t, are you going to go some time this year and have questions? Let me know in the comments down below!
Disclaimer: Please follow your state’s travel guidelines. When we came back from our trip, we quarantined and tested. Be safe!