Offers may be subject to change without notice. Despite all the precautions we took to travel safely, I was stunned by what we experienced at the "happiest place on earth. DME must be booked in advance for all parties traveling together. Literally — your Magic Band is not only your credit card, park ticket, FastPass+ reservation, and in-park photo album rolled into one, but it also acts as your hotel room key. Travel + Leisure may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Two posts to check out if you’re interested in visiting are our Disney World Reopening Masterpost and our Disney World 2021 / 2022 Outlook post. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Park-Hopping, or visiting multiple parks in the same day, used to be a hallmark of Disney World, but such unrestricted movement is riskier during a global pandemic. Looking for smart ways to get more from life? If you are planning to visit a hotel other than your own, it is suggested to leave up to 90 minutes in order to transfer at a park location. Ticketed morning events that give guests early and private access to attractions within Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland or Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before park guests arrive, with a hot breakfast included. You can read all about visiting Disney World in the Spring in our guide. Free, Shopping. It is basically an unlimited Fastpass provided by a top-notch guide. Your next Disney getaway … The preferred and proper term for Walt Disney World park employees, regardless of job specification. Refers to Disney-operated distance events that are hosted at multiple parks. Extra Magic Hours change daily — check times guides for details — but in general, morning EMH allow for early park admission and ride access and evening EMH simply restrict ride access to resort guests, allowing non-resort guests to exit the park at their leisure. But it wasn't all bad. When logged in, guests can make FastPass+ selections, set Advance Dining Reservations, check the times of individual shows and entertainment, and find answers to most questions. My Disney Experience can also be utilized through a reliable mobile app, allowing guests to change FastPass+ reservations, locate character meet-and-greets, and monitor ride wait times on the go, as well as mobile order food and unlock one’s Walt Disney World hotel room door. The complementary system of buses, monorails, and boats transporting guests from all Walt Disney World hotel resorts to the four parks, two water parks, and entertainment facilities across … If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World in the past few years, brace yourself. Cast members will not refuse a trade based on the rarity or style of a pin; they will only decline a trade if the pin is not an official Disney pin design, or when the guest has completed the maximum of two trades per individual cast member for that day. Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. Read on: Many popular Walt Disney World attractions operate two separate lines: a standby line for guests simply entering and waiting, and a FastPass+ line, which allows guests with a “reservation” to enter the attraction more quickly. It pays—literally—to plan ahead. FastPass+ reservations are free, and only select rides offer FastPass+. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s). But it seems many people aren't afraid to visit Disney World for the holidays. A rectangular billfold available at the front of the park upon entering that provides park hours, entertainment times, ride closures, and parade details on a weekly basis. Denotes an unofficial and surprise gesture or gift bestowed upon a guest from a cast member completely at random. Each party boarding the bus is assigned a numbered seating section, and large dividers and empty seats are placed between them to ensure distance between travelers once on board. Many of the rides now have plexiglass dividers between rows that make it difficult to see the attraction, and you can't capture the smiles on your children's faces when they're behind a mask. It was quicker to pick up food with mobile ordering available, transportation ran like clockwork, and we had the pool at our hotel almost to ourselves. And there's no reason to believe the number of Disney-bound travelers won't continue to rise now that the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency-use authorization to two coronavirus vaccines, with data from Skyscanner showing a spike in flight-booking searches on November 9, the day news of Pfizer's vaccine broke — suggesting that more people were starting to plan trips again. Courtesy of Daryl Austin. This topic is temporarily impacted by the ongoing phased reopening of Walt Disney World after its extended mid-2020 closure. Marketplace boasts a range of Disney-affiliated stores, Town Center contains a collection of shops from popular designers and brands, and The Landing’s upscale waterfront area is the place to find many of Disney’s newest restaurants and signature nightlife. PhotoPass photographers can be spotted in beige vests and will scan guests’ MagicBands after taking photographs so images can be easily accessed on Disney’s PhotoPass website or on the My Disney Experience mobile app instantly. The uptick in visitors has improved Disney's revenue in the past few months, with the company's fiscal earnings reports from last quarter to the previous quarter showing that Disney World's profits increased dramatically. Chapek also told investors holiday reservations were 77% booked two weeks before Thanksgiving and that the week of Thanksgiving was, at that time, "booked close to capacity." Whether you're traveling solo or planning a family vacation, here are the 50 best places to visit in 2020. A separate and somewhat under-the-radar line offered on multiple attractions at Walt Disney World for individual guests. Courtesy of Daryl Austin. My family WILL continue to visit Disney World, even with all of the changes. Because many pins can be pricey and are collectibles, guests often trade “starter pins” instead, which come in more affordable multi-packs. Membership is limited to Florida residents, annual and seasonal passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members. For example, a guest DisneyBounding as Snow White would likely wear a red sweater, blue top, and yellow skirt, causing a vague familiarity that’s fun for others to spot in the parks. Pros of Visiting Disney World in COVID-19 Times: While going to Walt Disney World during the COVID-19 pandemic may evoke feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, it isn’t all doom and gloom – there are bright sides to visiting the parks right now. One local annual pass holder told me the park was "unrecognizable" today compared with how it appeared to her a few months ago. Not sure what either of those are? Walt Disney World currently hosts four: the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February, Star Wars Half Marathon in April, and Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November. And speaking of, with Disneyland still closed, some people who usually visit the West Coast parks may consider heading east (here is some key info you Disneyland fans need to know about visiting Disney World). Check dates of future events prior to booking or planning your trip. As of early 2019, Memory Maker costs $169 when purchased in advance (which does not include photos taken three days prior) and $199 when purchased during vacation. (For charges and other sensitive information, guests must first type in a self-created four-digit PIN, which can be set during check-in.). The DDP allows each guest a certain number of quick-service meals and/or table-service meals, along with a beverage and snack each day. Complimentary Magic Bands are given to Walt Disney World resort hotel guests either upon arrival or are mailed in advance when customized through My Disney Experience, but park guests can purchase them for $14.95. Get ready, because the landscape has changed so dramatically, that believe it or not, those practices are all stuck in the past. A representative for Disney World declined Insider's request for comment on this article. And while I never saw any measures in place to limit massive crowds of people from forming around the thruways of the parks, I rarely saw a ride queue where people weren't appropriately spaced at least 6 feet apart by adhering to markings on the ground. Account active Disney World was busier than we expected, but at least mask-wearing was encouraged throughout the parks. Spend less time getting lost in the details, and more time whizzing through the single rider line for Test Track and collecting Hidden Mickey pins. Ultimately, though, none of these upsides began to make visiting Walt Disney World during the pandemic worth the money and effort. And Disney transportation systems are sanitized frequently, according to the company's commitment to health and safety measures. I was also relieved to be in a place that enforced mask-wearing more strictly than my home state of Utah, where a surprising number of anti-maskers have driven up the number of new COVID-19 cases. The Epcot-area resorts are all located around Crescent Lake and include the … Disney World’s new health policies made us feel safe while visiting Disney World post-COVID reopening. Even if you’re a Disneyland regular, visiting the Florida parks is a whole different game. DO buy tickets up front. In recent weeks, there has been a dramatic rise in new COVID-19 cases nationwide, and Florida is among the worst-affected states in the country. When we booked the room, we were told that "enhanced cleaning" was used to "thoroughly sanitize" our room, and the resort gave us the option to opt out of housekeeping altogether during our stay or have a "light cleaning" every other day. The slow period which occurs right after Marathon weekend in early January allows for Disney to refurbish some of it’s most popular attractions. And long lines are inevitable with empty rows left on attractions to keep riders apart and Disney's FastPass system now suspended. That’s why we’re here with explanations on everything you need to know, even if you have no clue what "Frozen" is about, can’t remember which parks are in California, or simply haven’t visited EPCOT since the days of Horizons. This is crazier than a frat party!". An homage to Mickey Mouse often in the circular shape of his head with ears that are slightly obscured and often incorporated into construction of buildings, facades, and attractions. ", My wife and I frequently saw throngs of massive crowds — sometimes shoulder to shoulder — as they gathered in front of Cinderella's castle or made their way through the Magic Kingdom's meandering pathways connecting each "land" to another. I was one of them, making the decision to take my family to Disney World the week after Thanksgiving, my concerns assuaged by articles calling the Magic Kingdom crowd-free and "desolate," along with the Walt Disney Co.'s thorough health and safety commitment. A standalone mobile app that makes navigating on-site shops much easier. The level of detail at the Animal … (Note: RunDisney events often cause parks to become crowded and can limit hotel availability. New Security at Disney World. In the meantime, Disney has continued offering steep discounts to incentivize cost-conscious families like my own to travel to the area during the pandemic — a move that's paying off for the company. 2021 packages for Walt Disney World ARE NOW ON SALE through until the end of 2021. The new ways of Walt Disney World can make a vacation more enjoyable, but it’s all too easy for first-timers or former visitors to get completely overwhelmed. So you are looking at $2900-$4200 + park tickets for 7 hours of fun. People With Food Allergies Can Still Get A Consultation. The all-in-one web portal that allows Walt Disney World guests to book and manage their trip. (Note: WDW Transportation does not operate directly between resorts. To enter an attracting during Extra Magic Hours, park guests must scan their MagicBand or display a Extra Magic Hours voucher from participating hotels to prove eligibility. Each of these items needs to be linked in order to be accessed through your Magic Band, which can easily be done through My Disney Experience or with the assistance of a cast member at the hotel front desk or guest services. What to expect when traveling to Disney World in 2021. Made popular by a blog of the same name, this concept refers to park guests dressing like Disney characters by utilizing colors instead of costumes. Getting to the park early, and strategically riding popular attractions at off-peak times, we were able to ride most attractions 2 or 3 times each day. Welcome to Walt Disney World. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you up to speed. ), Credit: While Magic Bands are not necessary — all shops and restaurants take cash and credit card, room keys can be provided and FastPasses can be scanned from your park ticket — they have made visiting Walt Disney World parks more seamless than ever before. Start listening to T+L's brand new podcast, Let's Go Together! A Disney vacation package that allows guests to book hotel stays, purchase park tickets, and choose a Disney Dining Plan as one reservation. Disney’s popular timeshare-style membership program that offers apartment-style lodging and operates familiar kiosks inside parks and at hotel lobbies throughout Walt Disney World. Crowds gathered near Cinderella's castle. Gone are the days you make dining reservations for Disney World 180 days in advance (hallelujah), but you still need a plan. The greatest islands, cities, hotels, cruise lines, airports, and more — as voted by you. Guests can purchase individual images and photo gifts inside the parks or on the Disney PhotoPass website; the purchase of Memory Maker allows unlimited downloads of guest images, as well as those of family and friends. ), The author's son watched Delta's in-flight entertainment on the flight to Orlando, Florida. The process by which guests can pre-select meals at dining locations throughout Walt Disney World. A fleet of polka-dotted minivans operated by Disney cast members and bookable through the Lyft rideshare app. When entering the line, guests must inquire with a cast member about Rider Switch. Hidden Mickey pins are not sold, and can only be obtained by trading with a WDW cast member. So yes, when visiting Walt Disney World during the pandemic, the crowds are much smaller. Here’s why. 1 to 2 hours. It is Worth Visiting Disney World. To utilize the FastPass+ line, each member of a party needs to have a time-specific reservation for the individual ride. At the same event, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer acknowledged that many people flying in around the holiday were going to Disney World. The complementary system of buses, monorails, and boats transporting guests from all Walt Disney World hotel resorts to the four parks, two water parks, and entertainment facilities across the vast property. Once all three reservations have been used, guests can make additional selections one at a time (when available) in the My Disney Experience mobile app or by using the FastPass+ kiosks on site at all four parks. The area formerly known as Downtown Disney has gone through a multi-year transformation to become an entertainment, shopping, and dining district with four “neighborhoods” offering live music, interactive experiences, nightlife, and kid-friendly activities. But it seems many people aren't afraid to visit Disney World for the holidays. The umbrella term for Walt Disney World’s technologically enhanced booking options which include FastPass+, MagicBands, and My Disney Experience. We confirmed that Disney's bus would go directly to the resort without making additional stops and had masks requirements in place, as well as empty rows or plexiglass dividers to keep parties distanced. Walt Disney World typically sees the largest crowds around the Holiday Season. Visiting any of the Walt Disney World theme parks right now requires a level of patience. Journey to Pandora, the World of Avatar. The first explains what the resort is like during the reopening phase, the second discusses how we recommend you pick the time for your 2021 / 2022 Disney World trip (which we also discuss a bit here). Visiting Disney World at any time requires advanced planning but right now there are extra things to plan for and consider. Single Rider Lines are currently in operation on three rides: Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Test Track at Epcot. To mitigate safety risks on our travels, we drove ourselves to Salt Lake City's international airport and booked seats in the back of the plane, as we learned that a number of airlines — including Delta, the airline we flew with — were loading from back to front to decrease contact between passengers, and we didn't want to pass others as we boarded or be surrounded by people in the rows behind us as well. The lines for rides, restaurants, and photo ops were certainly shorter than normal times. I don't know what attendance was like the week after Thanksgiving when my family arrived, but it seemed very crowded to me. As such, we spent the majority of our vacation waiting in line, and we weren't able to experience nearly as many attractions as we have in previous visits. Disney World VIP Tours are the ultimate way to visit Disney World. 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