The past few days, I’ve been in the Disney World parks since they officially reopened and have learned a ton about their dynamics. Have things in the parks changed? Yes, there’s a new Disney normal. Are the parks crowded? But, apart from these questions, the real question is, “Should I visit Disney World this year?” Here’s how to decide.
1. Would This Year’s Visit Be Your First Visit to Walt Disney World?
If this year was going to be your family’s first trip to Walt Disney World, my answer would be to wait. Several things are missing from the parks including parades, shows, and fireworks this year. If you haven’t seen them, you should definitely consider planning a vacation for a different time.
But, for folks that have been several times, like me and my family, it’s not a big deal to not have rides, parades, and shows.
I’ve seen loads of Annual Passholders in the parks this week, and I can only assume that it’s because they feel they’re still getting their money’s worth. For my family, simply standing in the middle of a Disney park and people watching is satisfying.
2. Would You Mind Shorter Park Hours?
If you won’t mind shorter park days, then you may want to consider it. If you like to spend 12+ hours a day in the parks, you may want to hold off.
At Magic Kingdom, the park has been closing at 7pm each night, similar to a hard ticket event or Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party night. Again, for me it’s not a deal breaker. But, if you want the most bang for your buck by spending a ton of hours in the park, consider putting off your trip.
3. Do You Mind Wearing a Mask for Hours Straight?
I just returned from the parks and, yes, I wore a mask everyday, apart from eating and drinking. I kept my mask on for rides and attractions and, yes, it was sweaty.
But having a sweaty lower face is worth it if it stops germs and viruses. Try out a few styles before you visit to see which one works for you and is the most comfortable.
Want the scoop on what to pack in your Disney park bag, especially for this year and next? Here are 10 new things to pack in your Disney park bag for 2020 and 2021.
4. How Much Will You Miss Fastpasses?
Since Disney World reopened, there are no Fastpasses for rides and attractions. But, that’s not a bad thing, honestly, During my visit, even the more popular rides had lower wait times. For example, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Magic Kingdom can get into the double digits for its standby queue.
I watched the wait times during out visit and the queue never got past 30 minutes. I’m not saying it will be that way all of the time, but it is worth noting.
5. Are You Comfortable Riding on Disney Transportation with Folks You Don’t Know?
When we visited, for Magic Kingdom’s first official opening day (not counting Annual Passholders or castmember previews), we took the monorail from Transportation & Ticket Center to the park. And, during that time, we rode with someone not from our family. It turns out it was Demi from The Disney Kitchen (her YouTube channel is awesome!), but it is worth mentioning.
There are partitions in between seats on the monorail but the cars themselves have none. Of course, it’s the proper distance between those seats. We stayed in our seat, didn’t move about, and had a pleasant ride. It was a definite change from the oftentimes jam packed rides we’ve experienced in the past.
6. Are You Cool Not Having Character Meet and Greets?
The new normal in Walt Disney World parks include not having the opportunity to meet Disney Princesses and characters. Instead, you’ll find them at a safe distance from guests and on cavalcades, aka, single floats through Frontierland to Main Street U.S.A.
Personally, I don’t mind it a bit. I can still take photos of them (there were several at Crystal Palace to wave at) and I found the characters and princesses on the cavalcade floats were far more interactive than in regular parades.
In a Nutshell
So, should I visit Disney World this year? If you can handle all of the above and are in good health, you may want to consider it. Of course, it goes without saying that if you have any questions, talk to your doctor. Weigh your, and you family’s, risks. And please, stay safe.