Doing Disney During Covid

Edited: September 17, 2020, 10:42 AM

Long time reader, first time I have had something to report on. I just returned from several days in Central Florida and a visit to WDW with my girlfriend and her 12-year old daughter. I am from the Miami area, but my girlfriend is from Mexico and did fly to MIA for the trip. I however can't comment on how things are at Orando International. She tells me the airport in Miami was empty but safety protocols were being enforced. I had been reading about the parks and the safety protocols, and frankly, the deals were tempting. We stayed off site at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress; the hotel was excellent with mask enforcement and extremely clean. Our first park was Magic Kingdom on a Friday. I could tell this would be a different visit when we parked nearly right next to the Ticket And Transportation Center. As we lined up for the Monorail, I immediately noticed the stickers on the ground to enforce social distancing. These stickers are everywhere, from the queues to the walkways. There are no Fastpass reservations right now (another reason I chose to make the trip) everyone is equal. You do have to make a reservation for the park you wish to visit, but this was easily done using the app. I won't go ride by ride, but we managed to get on nearly every ride in the park, except for Dumbo, Hall Of Presidents and Barnstormer and that was pretty much by choice. The longest wait we had was for the Mine Train and that was listed at 45-minutes and we were on in about 30-minutes. On some rides like Splash Mountain and Pirates we were given our own boat. Everything else was well spaced out. A word about masks, Disney is not playing around. If you are moving and do not have it on, expect to be approached. This also goes for wearing masks improperly, if it's not over your nose, you will be called out. Also make sure you are prepared to pay for food and merchandise without cash. I used Apple Pay for all of it through the Disney app and there are plenty of Cast Members who can explain how it works. I actually preferred this method. Our second day was spent at Animal Kingdom, it was a Saturday so the crowd level seemed a bit higher, but I noticed everyone rush for Pandora pushing times for the Avatar rides over an hour. We went right and hit Dinosaur for a 5 minute wait, and Everest was about 20-minutes. Kali Rapids was a walk on and the Safari was about a 10-minute wait. Pandora was the most crowded, but even so it was 55-minutes to get on Flight Of Passage. We chose to skip Navi River. I would tell anyone who is comfortable with the safety protocols and would like to enjoy what I call the old school Disney experience to look into booking a trip, but only if you are comfortable. We never felt uneasy at either park, and everyone we were around was following the rules. One last impression, the people working in the hospitality industry in and around Orlando truly looked and acted happy to be back at work doing what they do. Disney always has top notch customer service, but this seemed to be above and beyond. That comes from a die-hard Universal fan who actually used the cancellation of HHN this year to make a different sort of fall getaway.

Replies (3)

Edited: September 17, 2020, 9:33 AM

Great write-up Chris. I visited WDW for the first time since February on Tuesday. I chose Epcot as my first port-of-call, mainly for the 2020 passholder pins becoming available for the Food & Wine festival. It was nice not to have to hit the park on the day of release to get them, I will admit.

Epcot opened at 11am, and I rolled up in the parking lot around 11:30 to find myself being parked just a few rows back from the entrance. Even when I left at just after 1:15pm there were only a handful of cars parked the other side of the stream/hedge line, so for those who know Epcot, you can see just how quiet it was.

It was surreal in reality, even with the F&W festival in full swing, the world showcase area was a 50/50 split between being absolutely deserted and a gathering of people around their favourite food booths. Even then it was no problem just to step up the pace and move right by. Everyone was complying with the mask and social distancing rules, so it felt very safe.

Test track seemed to max out at a 30min wait, and mission space orange was only 5mins. Green was a walk on (or that's what I assumed as there was no time posted) I didn't go to see Soarin, but all the other rides were posted at 5mins.

I just did my usual walk round, which culminated in a stroll round the temporary Mouse Gear. In one door and out the other with plenty of arrows and markings pointing to the exit. I got my pins, and headed out. A lot of the walkways are blocked off, but the directional markings are well placed to get you to your intended destination.

All in all an excellent day. The only disappointment was the fish 'n chip shop not being open ... :(

From Epcot I headed to SeaWorld, to get my $50 for being a platinum pass member. Their temperature check is via heat sensing cameras as you walk thru the tent. Can't understand why the other parks haven't adopted this method. I don't even know how to describe how empty the park was on a Tuesday afternoon around 2pm ?? Suffice to say there was no problem with social distancing, apart from dodging the employees, who seemed to outnumber the guests by 10 to 1 ... !!! Although come October SeaWorld is back to closing on a Tuesday and Thursday, and you can see why.

With me having the opportunity to visit the parks in mid-week now, I see no reason why I would ever want to go at weekends again, so while the restrictions are in place, it seems as if I'm going to be enjoying very quiet parks for the foreseeable future. Which is good, and bad, for many different reasons.

Next up is Animal Kingdom on the 24th, and then after that, MK & DHS, so looking forward to seeing the Halloween decorations at the MK when I go.

September 17, 2020, 11:10 AM

Thanks Mako, good information from you as well. Now if I could only figure out how to make my picture not be sideways...

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