Planning a Disney World vacation is always something that takes some organization and looking ahead, but that’s even more true now in 2020. With a number of restrictions and regulations in place regarding Disney World planning during COVID-19, you want to know what to expect if you’re looking to go to the parks anytime soon (honestly, any time in 2020 or even the first half of 2021).
Even if you’ve been to Disney a number of times in the past, you still want to be aware of the new policies in place. It’s a lot to keep track of, so I’ve tried to compile some of the most important changes into this blog post below.
If you are planning a trip during this time period, I’ve also created a series of 20+ printables specifically designed for Walt Disney World planning during COVID-19. It includes planning worksheets, itineraries, lists of open restaurants and attractions in each park, and more. This is my first foray into selling on Etsy and making printables, so if you have any suggestions or any other printables you’d like to see please let me know!
Keep in mind that the items below are just for the foreseeable future – I am confident that almost all of these things will be back to normal in due time, even if it takes a year or two.
Visiting the Parks
- Parks pass system. This is the biggest thing you need to know about – in order to enter a theme park, you must not only have a valid ticket but also a park pass entry. You can book your park passes as soon as you purchase tickets by using Disney’s online park pass reservation system. Without a reservation you will not be allowed in the theme park, even if you have a ticket.
- No park hopping. For the time being, you are limited to 1 park per day.
- No fastpasses. Fastpass+ will not be used as of right now, with everyone going through the standby queue.
- Not all attractions are available. Not all attractions are running in each park, and almost all shows are closed.
- Park hours are adjusted. Check for the latest hours, but most parks close earlier than usual or open later than is typical.
- Extra magic hours discontinued. Resort guests will not have the advantage of extra magic hours right now.
- No nighttime shows. Evening fireworks, parades, and nighttime spectaculars are not currently happening.
- Water parks not open. No re-opening date has been given for Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach.
- No character meet and greets. Characters may be seen at certain times throughout the parks, but they will not be holding meet and greets or posing for photos.
- Dining reservations can be made 60 days before your trip. Previously it was 180 days, but this has been changed for the time being.
- Not all restaurants are open. Certain locations in each park will remain closed.
- Menus are different and limited. Most restaurants have adjusted their menus to a smaller, more concise offering of dishes.
- No buffets. Table service meals are served either plated or family style.
- Most character meals are gone. There are still two locations doing a modified character experience where the characters walk through the restaurant, but you do not get to do a meet and greet or photos with them.
- No dining plans. Dining plans are not currently being sold as part of Disney packages for 2020.
- Mobile check in at table service. Instead of heading to the host stand when you arrive, you can do mobile check in on My Disney Experience.
- Mobile ordering encouraged. When dining at counter service restaurants, mobile ordering is the preferred method.
- Not all resorts open in 2020. Some have opening dates throughout the fall, others do not yet have an opening date.
- Increased cleaning. Common areas will be cleaned more often and rooms will undergo thorough cleanings between parties. Cleaning service during your stay can be declined.
- Pools at reduced capacity. Many pools will still be open, but the number of people at the pool may be limited.
- Get your own luggage. If you are using Disney’s Magical Express service from the airport, they will no longer retrieve your luggage for you and bring it to your room. You must go to the baggage claim and get your luggage yourself. They will be able to stow it underneath the bus for you.
- Minnie Vans unavailable. No word on when this service might return.
- Physical distancing required on all public transportation. Buses, monorail, etc. will be marked with physical distancing stickers.
- Face coverings required. Guests 2 and up are required to wear face coverings at all times at Disney, unless they are seated at a table dining, swimming, or in their own hotel room.
- Temperature screenings will be done. These occur at the entrance to every theme park.
Are you doing any Disney World planning during COVID-19? If not, what are some printables you might like to see for future planning purposes?