5 Tips for Visiting Disney during Covid:
Every time one of those Disney commercials comes on my kids stop everything they are doing. They stare at the TV, mouth open, watching it until the end. “We can’t go there, Vera,” Alec our oldest tells his baby sister. “It’s because of the virus.” Vera doesn’t understand that yet. She just sees Mickey and Minnie and smiles from ear to ear. “Casa Mickey, Mommy,” Spanish for Mickey’s house and my heart breaks.
It had been months of that before we finally worked up the courage (and the patience) to say we were going to try taking them. Vera’s second birthday was coming up and I know that age is just such a magical age at Disney. We packed them in the car the day after her birthday celebration and they napped the whole way up. They woke up minutes before arriving and when they saw the giant Mickey and Minnie at the entrance we knew without a doubt it was worth every effort.
We went to Magic Kingdom on a Monday and Hollywood Studious on a Tuesday and we thought we were definitely going to beat the crowds. But in February, when the weather tends to be pretty close to perfect in Florida, there was definitely no beating of any crowds. The parks although they are running at 35% capacity still seem full. There are no fast passes, character meet and greets, parades or fireworks shows. The parks close early and the lines are socially distanced and long. Masks are enforced at all times for children 2 years old and up and they definitely walk around asking how old they are if they are not wearing it. But still, I’d be lying if I didn’t say nothing beats Disney Magic.
Overall, we felt safe. They are doing a great job at making sure everyone is following guidelines. My kids were happy to just visit. Here are 5 things I learned while I was there:
- Character Dining: This made the world of difference for us with the limited character appearances this was definitely where the kids got the most “Disney Magic.” I was lucky enough to score 3 character dining experiences: A Breakfast at Topolinos, an early dinner at Be our Guest where the Beast made several appearances and Lunch at Minnie’s Hollywood and Vine. And no, I didn’t book them crazy in advance. I use the My Disney app and I check repeatedly for cancellations and move around our times until I get as close to the desired time as possible. If there is nothing, I keep trying, it doesn’t always work but a good majority of the time it does. When you stay on property you do get priority access to reservations though, so I’m not sure if that also played a part in my luck. My girl April at Y’all Travel can also help with that, if you are having trouble.
- Get creative for line waits: My only advice is snacks and random “jump on the line” games. Disney has line marks on the ground to mark your 6 feet distance from other guests. They make you feel safe but the lines for the rides are long. We made up a game of racing to the next line and jumping on it when the line moved forward and that worked for a little…and then we also carried the kids. A LOT. My kids are thankfully still within the ages (and weight range) to be okay with that, I can’t say the same for our backs. To be honest, I’m not sure I would go back unless fast pass returns or because I’m celebrating a special occasion — in our case it was Vera’s birthday and watching their reactions was 100% worth it.
- Extra Masks: We sat down to eat and couldn’t find my mask. It was a black disposable one (which by the way I found was the lightest and most comfortable) and it probably got caught in a napkin when we sat down for dinner. I had to walk back to my room with a napkin tied over my nose. Yes. I am serious. Pause for a moment and imagine how ridiculous I looked. Fast forward to the park. Alec, removed it to drink water as we were walking and also somehow managed to lose his mask. Learn from my mistakes. Bring extra masks.
- Watch out for Character Calvacades: We saw 2 of them while were at Magic Kingdom. Tinkerbell came by on a float in front of the castle somewhere around 10am and Goofy came by near Frontierland around 12pm. I’m not sure if they repeat the same times or locations but it’s a start.
- Embrace the Photo Ops: Disney Cast members are not allowed to take your picture. They are limiting the hand to hand contact and pictures are only taken by their designated photographers. Masks are enforced even during pictures. And since everyone is kind of keeping their distance, it’s possible someone will volunteer but it’s definitely harder to get a family pic. That being said, it’s still possible to take nice pics using their designated photographers. We took ours as we exited the park and there was barely any line. We made the best of it by facing away from the camera and even took one facing it with our mask — embracing that “time in our lives that we went to Disney during a pandemic.”
In addition to all of this I would add to watch the weather. I personally can’t imagine wearing my mask in the dead heat of Florida Summer, but then again I also personally hate going to Disney during that time with or without masks anyway. The best weather months to visit Disney are definitely from October to early May, right before the heat and humidity really set in.
Lastly, have fun. I selfishly love going to Disney (even if my Husband hates every minute of it) but it’s really for the kids. And trust me when I say, they truly did NOT care whether they were wearing a mask or if they had to keep their distance. They were just happy to be there.
Now every time we see the commercials Alec says “Mommy, remember your guys took us there?” And they both smile from ear to ear.
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