After almost 4 months of being shut down, Disney has finally opened up its parks to the public, igniting a massive backlash and stirring up a fierce debate in America.
Some scream at Disney for being so reckless to reopen with surging COVID-19 cases in Florida, while others criticize the new mandates such as forcing toddlers to wear masks.
But in between the polarization of both extremes is the truth. There are actually some huge benefits of the “new normal” at Disney World – but there are also some mandates that are just not sustainable.
So if you’re considering booking a trip to Disney World this summer, here’s the lowdown on what you’ll need to know.
Make Sure Your Smartphone Is Charged
Disney is doing everything they can to reduce touchpoints, and many restaurants require you to order and pay for your food ahead of time on your phone.
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, you won’t even be allowed to enter and pickup your food until it’s ready – so plan accordingly.
For sit-down restaurants, gone are the days of browsing through a printed menu – now you scan a QR code to pull up the menu to choose what you want to eat.
The younger generation may love the new technology, but grandpa and grandma may have a tough time adjusting to the new norm.
Disney is also encouraging guests to use credit cards instead of cash.
Toddlers In Masks
We get it, Disney wants to keep everyone safe – but forcing 2-year old kids to wear masks?
Disney insists they’ll enforce their mask policy…
… but how realistic is it to expect a toddler to keep a mask over their nose and mouth for 8-10 hours at an amusement park – in the scorching heat?
Not going to happen.
And even for us big kids, wearing a mask in the hot Florida sun is enough to make us think twice before booking a Disney vacation.
Masks are miserable. The Florida heat is unbearable.
Combine both together?
Huge Advantage For Last Minute Planners
Before COVID-19, planning a trip to Disney was something you started to plan up to a year in advance, at least.
To experience the best of Disney, you had to figure out a serious strategy – from booking your resort, to determining which theme parks you wanted to visit – along with the millions of other people from all around the world doing the same thing.
And if you wanted to get into a favorite restaurant, you’d have to make reservations up to 180 days in advance!
Not to mention the whole FastPass+ ride reservation system which might get you a spot on your favorite ride, if you signed up early enough.
But now, Disney has done away with FastPass+ and you get to wait in line the old-fashioned way (while socially distancing of course).
The good news is, instead of waiting hours to ride Space Mountain, you can practically walk right on.
Some rides have a bit longer wait time, but nothing like a typical summer day at Disney World.
Realistically, you could easily plan a trip to Disney with minimal effort – although advanced reservations are required.
It May Not Be As Magical
Don’t expect Disney to be what it was.
It might be annoying to wait to get your temperature checked before you enter the park and being blasted with signs reminding you to “socially distance,” as if you could forget.
And while you might not get to enjoy watching a long parade down Main Street with your favorite characters, you might grow to appreciate seeing them pop up sporadically around the park.
There’s definitely an eerie feeling seeing Disney so empty, but who knows, you might enjoy the experience of having almost the entire park to yourself.
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