2020 crashed a lot of plans, but we weren’t going to let it ruin our Disney trip. We planned our trip in 2019. We were looking forward to character hugs, fireworks, and all the little extras in between. When the pandemic hit the United States and Disney World closed down, we took that as the ultimate sign: this trip wasn’t meant to be. But then, Disney World reopened with safety precautions and reduced capacity.
Should we go? Well, we did and here’s what it’s like:
Masks are required and Disney is strict about it.
If you’re two or over, a mask is required. No exceptions, no exemptions. Those with any kind of disability, breathing difficulty, or health impairment are still required to wear a mask. They make no exception for this.
You have to wear the mask at all times unless you’re stationary and consuming food/drink, or in a “relaxation” zone. You will wear your mask while waiting in line AND on the ride itself. If they see your mask pulled down, slipped below your nose, or away from your face, they will very nicely ask you to put your mask on correctly. If you don’t comply, you’ll be asked to leave.
Is it that big of a deal?
Not really. My kids wore them surprisingly well and only needed a few reminders. We got used to them. The toughest thing for us was wearing masks in Florida’s 90° heat all day. If you are going to Disney in one of the cooler months, mask wearing will be much more bearable.
Disney is cleaner than it’s ever been.
We’ve only been to Disney once before, and while it was always kept clean by hardworking cast members, it’s even cleaner now. Sanitation measures are first priority. In the resorts on property, high-touch items (such as remotes), have not only been sanitized, but also bagged.
I didn’t take a ton of pictures of the hotel room before we unpacked, but this impressed me so much I just had to take a picture. There’s nothing that makes me happier than a clean, comfortable hotel room. There was always someone constantly wiping surfaces, sweeping floors, and checking each area to ensure every part of the property was clean and sanitary.
Cavalcades are way better than parades.
OK, hear me out. I know the classic castle parade and fireworks will always be a staple in the Disney memory bank. But I still have flashbacks of trying to leave the park after that parade and fireworks show. I really dislike heavy crowding. I remember people were leaving in droves from every which way, shoulder to shoulder, grimy after being at the park all day. Maybe it didn’t bother you when you experienced it, but I hated that aspect of it so much.
Cavalcades are THE BOMB. They are basically surprise pop-up parades that have replaced the usual big fireworks display. The kids were so excited when one started coming. They always have a ton of music, dancing, and characters. We “met” all the characters from a distance. There’s no gathering, waiting on one to show up, or trying to get a good view. They just pop up, breeze through, and you feel a burst of excitement as you run into one!
But what will my pictures look like?
All of your pictures in the park, unless you’re seated and dining, will be masked. That was fine with us. This is 2020 and it’s a sign of the times. However, we always get family photos done on vacation. The good news is that we found a photographer in the area who specializes in photography in the Disney area. She was very safe, masked, and distanced. Of course, while walking around on the property, we were required to wear masks. Once we were posed and stationary, we put them in our pocket for a few photos. We love how they turned out! She was amazing with my children and we were happy to finally snap some photos without a mask.
Last advice: If you want to visit Disney, utilize a travel agent. They are free to use! (I never knew this before.) It saved us a lot of headache and we were constantly being updated and reassured on safety guidelines and policies mandated by Disney. 2020 has made everything so different and it really helped to have someone guiding us along the way. Karla Cummins, thank you for a great trip!