**New Updates as of October 12**
Our team of MMPs have been taking turns going back to Walt Disney World since the reopening and have all the details of what to expect during your visit. We’d love to help you book your Disney vacation this year. If you are missing the magic, it’s a great opportunity to add some magic to your life and visit Walt Disney World!
Watch our playlist to see all the scenes from the reopening. You can also listen to our podcast to get our tips for planning your visit. Keep in mind that the experiences in the parks are changing regularly with new opportunities opening and crowds increasing and fluctuating. Information in our videos is accurate as of the recording of the video. We will continue to update this post with new information as we learn more.
We are so excited to see the Walt Disney World Resort start their phased reopening. As we head back to the parks, there will be some changes and we want to be sure you know about the changes that are being implemented at this time.
Planning Your Trip
Now when planning your trip, the first step after booking and linking to My Disney Experience is to get your park passes. Guests for 2020 and 2021 (at this time) need to make park reservations via the park pass system.
Dining reservations can be made 60 days before travel. It is very important to make reservations as we are not sure how much walk-up availability there will be.
FastPasses, extra magic hours, and park hopping are not currently available so that needs to be taken into consideration as you plan your vacation days. The expertise of a travel planner becomes even more important to help you navigate these changes and plan your days.
For 2021 travel, MagicBands are no longer complimentary. You can use MagicBands from previous trips, purchase discounted MagicBands, or use the My Disney Experience app. You can also get RFID enabled cards at check-in if needed.
After final payment and at least 3 days before you leave for Walt Disney World, complete the online check-in for your hotel so you can go directly to your room and skip the front desk. You will be notified of your room number and location when it is ready. You can use your MagicBand or phone to enter your room.
Don’t forget to pack plenty of face coverings, hand sanitizer, and probably a portable charger as you will be using your phone and the My Disney Experience app more. Having and using the My Disney Experience app during travel is more important than ever. The app has lots of great features to use during your trip to help reduce contact and save time.
Traveling to Walt Disney World
Magical Express is still a transportation option if you fly into Orlando International (MCO) Airport, but works a little different now. You do not receive the yellow luggage tags and are responsible for your own luggage. After arrival at MCO, you proceed to your airline’s baggage claim to retrieve your luggage. This is on Level 2 on Side A or B depending on your airline. If you are on Side A, go back to Level 3, cross over to Side B, and take the elevator down to Level 1. If you are on Side B already, you can take the elevator down to Level 1 and proceed to Magical Express. Magical Express is still located on Side B, Level 1. Be sure to have your MagicBands and face coverings in your carry-on so you are ready to go right to your resort.
If you drive to Walt Disney World, the parking fees are still in place. There are options for assistance with luggage, but you will not be accompanied to your room with your luggage.
If you did the online check-in which is highly recommended, you can skip the front desk and will receive an alert when your room is ready. In the meantime, you can leave luggage with bell services and start having fun on your vacation.
While on Walt Disney World Property
While you are at your hotel, Disney Springs, or the theme parks, you will see a lot of signage with reminders of the safety measures in place including face coverings, hand washing, temperature checks, and social distancing. You will also see the enhanced cleaning measures they have put into effect.
Face coverings are required for everyone ages 2 and up. Keep in mind, face coverings need to have ear loops or ties to secure them. Gators are not allowed at this time. Face coverings can get hot and yucky over the course of the trip so bring extras and have extras in your park bag in case you lose one on the go.
When arriving at the parks or Disney Springs you go through an enhanced screening process. First, your temperature is checked and then you proceed through security. Keep in mind you will now take most of your items through security to reduce contact. Throughout the property are markers to help you maintain your social distancing while in line for attractions, restaurants, and transportation. There are also a lot of clear physical barriers to help promote distancing.
The My Disney Experience app allows you to mobile order at quick-service dining locations (Mobile Order Demo), check-in for table service dining (Check-In Demo), see attraction wait times, and chat with a cast member if you have questions. All of these options help to limit contact and save you time. Keep in mind all guests are using mobile order so it can get busy. We recommend ordering your food about a half hour before you arrive at the restaurant. Once your food is ready you will be able to go right in to pick up food.
Walt Disney World Resorts have limited services to rooms (every other day), chairs arranged at pool areas to accommodate social distancing, and plenty of reminders for facial coverings, hand washing, and social distancing.
No contact payment options are also strongly encouraged. Credit cards, Disney gift cards, MagicBands (charge to room), Apple Pay, and other similar apps are all options. If you arrive with cash, you can purchase Disney gift cards on the property. You must pay with credit/debit card or Disney Gift Card when doing mobile order.
Relaxation Stations are available in all the parks. This is an area where once seated, you can take off your face covering and relax. Some are outside and covered while others are inside and air-conditioned. This is a great location for children to take a nap, adults to take a break from walking, etc. These are not locations that sell food.
In some ways, the magic looks a little different. Instead of characters to run up and hug, there are cavalcades where you can view your favorite characters, wave and say hi, and even grab a selfie. At a few of the character dining locations that are open (and more are opening), you will be able to see your friends with physical distancing and get a souvenir card with autographs on it.
One Magical Day
We spent one magical day at Magic Kingdom after the reopening. In our podcast, we give you a firsthand look at what Disney is doing to keep guests safe, park changes, and tips for planning your visit. This visit took place in July 2020 so the information is accurate as of that date. Keep in mind some of the crowd levels and attractions that are open may have changed.
Book Your Disney Vacation
We are excited to see the parks reopen and can’t wait to be back in the Magic again. We love working with our clients to help them through these new procedures and be sure they are up-to-date as things continue to change.
There is still availability for 2020, but now is a great time to book for 2021 and get your park passes. One of the best and up-to-date resources is the Know Before You Go section on the Disney website. There are details on the website about each resort, when they open, services offered, and much more. We are always happy to help our clients with all of their questions as well.