Walt Disney World has been reopened for business since July. While the super sparse attendance of those early days is long gone, there are other bright spots that make for a favorable travel situation for some guests. And of course, 2020 being 2020 there are also a number of drawbacks to Disney World travel. We’re here to break down the Pros and Cons, to help you come up with the course of action that’s best for you and your family.
- Attendance caps are in place. While the socially distanced queues may make the WDW walkways feel packed, Disney is, in fact, limiting attendance to about 35% of capacity. This is particularly good news for guests planning to visit over the winter holidays, a time when 100% capacity is the norm. If you’ve ever been at the parks when they were full, you’ll understand that 35% capacity is comparatively a very light crowd.
- You know you’ll be able to get into the park in advance. A corollary of the above point is that during some holiday weeks the parks might be so crowded that they temporarily stop admitting more guests. For example, you might have your heart set on New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom, but be prevented from entering (even with a valid park ticket) if the crowds are too heavy. With the current park pass system in place, you have a real reservation to get into the park.
- There are plenty of hotel deals to be found. Disney is trying hard to attract guests, discounting many hotel stays in early 2021 from 10-35%. If you’re willing to stay off-site or roll the dice on a Priceline deal, you can save significantly more than that.
- There are unique experiences. Sure, some old favorite Disney experiences are currently on hiatus, but there are also new activities that have come to fill in the gaps. Character cavalcades are one example of a lovely addition to the parks – a quick burst of fun without the need to plan or wait for it.
- Disney is taking COVID precautions seriously. Disney has instituted strict cleaning and social distancing protocols throughout the parks and resorts. They’ve upped their already sound cleaning game. And masks are mandated everywhere. We’ve done our own counts and found that full mask compliance at Disney World is greater than 95%. Depending on where you’re coming from, that might make WDW a significantly safer spot than the supermarket in your hometown.
- You might enjoy that some experiences are missing. For example, lots of folks bemoan the loss of evening Magic Kingdom fireworks, but if you’re someone with sensory issues that are exacerbated by the cacophony and flashing lights, you might welcome a reprieve from the melee.
- Mental health boost. If Disney is your happy place and you’ve been struggling with mental health issues during the pandemic, a park-induced blast of serotonin could be a life saver.
- Um, COVID. The Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread full force. For many folks, that alone is reason to pause any travel right now. Seriously, if you or your loved ones are immunocompromised, older than 60, or have any other medical contraindication, PLEASE avoid the parks until at least the summer when you, and much of the rest of the population, are vaccinated
- You absolutely have to wear a mask. For many folks, this is a real pro of Disney travel, but if you’re someone who finds mask troublesome, then now is not the time to visit. If you can’t stomach having masks in your photos, then skip this trip.
- Some activities are missing. Evening fireworks at Magic Kingdom, character meet & greets, Disney’s All-Star Sports resort, and Victoria & Albert’s restaurant are just a few of the things at Walt Disney World that are not currently operational. If you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or if these omissions will make or break your visit, then you may want to postpone your trip for a year.
- There are no FastPasses. The lack of FastPasses means that you can’t, say, plan to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the afternoon without a wait; it’s simply not possible. Some minor attractions rarely have significant lines.
- Mental health challenges. If you’re someone who likes routine and knowing what to expect, or who finds worry about potential illness as troublesome as the illness itself, then going to Disney World during COVID could be more stress than it’s worth.
Only you can make the right choice for your personal situation. If you do decide to visit Walt Disney World as the pandemic continues, Touring Plans can help by reducing your time waiting in lines, helping you score difficult meal reservations, and by helping you find the best hotel room in your budget.
Let us know what you think the pros and cons of WDW are right now.