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Your Next Disney World Vacation Might Actually Be a Vacation

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We finally have some news about when Walt Disney World will begin their theme park (starting July 11) and resort (starting June 22) reopening. Along with those critical dates, we also have a bit more information on what the initial phases of reopening will look like.

Exploring Fort Wilderness can be a great way to relax.

At least at the beginning, there will fewer activities that draw stagnant crowds. This means no parades or fireworks and limited character greetings. Guest capacity will be reduced (you’ll need a reservation to get into a theme park), meaning fewer lines and shorter wait times. It’s likely that you’ll be able to get through all the available park attractions, even multiple times, in a single day, or even part of a day.

Additionally, park hours are changing. Epcot is starting out opening the entire park at 11:00 a.m., rather than its usual 9:00 a.m. for the Future World attractions. Even with Extra Magic Hours, the Magic Kingdom will be closing at 9:00 p.m. at first, a contrast to the usual post-midnight closings during the summer.

All of this means that there will simply be fewer things to do in the theme parks and less time available to spend there.

It’s a truism that many guests complain about needing a vacation from their Disney World vacation. If you were in pre-COVID kamikaze theme park mode, you may have found yourself up for rope drop in the wee hours of the morning and then running straight through until the Kiss Goodnight. During a long trip to WDW in February 2020, I averaged over nine miles a day of walking, trying to work in all the available activities. With the new hours, required park reservations, and reduced number of attractions, that ride-or-die, I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead mode of WDW touring simply won’t be possible for a while.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing. A formerly hectic Disney World vacation will look a little more like a relaxing Disney Cruise Line vacation, where you have some structured activities, along with lots of time to just chill.

For example, on a Disney Cruise Line sea day, my family will typically go to some of the planned events like onboard classes or entertainment, but we also spend lots of time reading books on our stateroom verandah, playing board games, watching movies, napping, and generally being lazy. While we are more active with touring during shore days, we tend to leave DCL vacations relaxed and refreshed. This is not always the case with our Walt Disney World vacations.

If you are planning a Disney World vacation this summer, you will likely have more down time than previous trips. I encourage you to think of that time as a gift – a way to reset the former frenzied mode of touring. Consider ways to build more relaxation into your vacation: sit by the pool and read a novel, take a leisurely bike ride around Fort Wilderness, play card games with your family, or take a boat ride on Bay Lake.

The slow restart may be just be the vacation your vacation needs.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

14 thoughts on “Your Next Disney World Vacation Might Actually Be a Vacation

  • I understand your point but understand mine if I want to go every single day or once a week and I’m part of the first 3000 people in line I should not have fear of being denied entrance. , If you’re going to treat me like Black out days don’t expect me to pay platinum prices bottom line

  • Phil, they will honor their end of the contract, particularly the fine print. If you read the fine print when you buy any Disney annual pass, you’ll see that it notes that admission is subject to park capacity. So, legally, Disney’s in the clear telling annual passholders who don’t make the capacity cut in an advance reservation that they can’t use their pass that day.

  • skull can someone explain to me what’s going to happen to the people who have Platinum passes and can’t even use them for what they paid for our going to be restricted and blocked out that makes no sense our kids lost half the summer as it is and then the other half is going to have restrictions they better plan on adding a few months on the back end of our passes. they need to honor their contract just like we would have to honor those when they take our payments out.

  • We were scheduled for the week of July24 to Aug 01 this year an are going to wait an go next year. We want to get the full experience of Disney. We don’t want to miss out on any if at all possible. There are 16 coming an we all decided to wait. My grandkids are not to happy but it is what it is. Hopefully we can go next year about the same time. Not to happy about having to maybe pay more if the price goes up for next year but that’s what they said we would have to do. We bought out tickets in March of this year. Still waiting for them to post prices for next year so we can fix our vacation for then. We are coming from good OL KENTUCKY an BELIEVE ME WE CAN’T HARDLY WAIT….SEE YOU SOON DISNEY WORLD…..THE SMITHS, SIZEMORES,WAGNER FAMILIES.

  • Excellent points Leslie and I agree 100%.
    Our trip is planned Ed for July 21-28 and if we decide to take it, it will definitely be a whole different type of Disney trip.

  • As we cancelled our plans for a Disney trip this summer, I wonder what it will be like for the summer of 2021 in late August.

  • I think any update to the planning tools would be a 100% guess right now. Disney hasn’t said how many people are getting in, and we don’t know how many staff will be working the attractions. Also, opening this late in the day is highly unusual, if not unprecedented (no idea honestly). Unfortunately for those going right when the parks reopen, they’ll just have to do their best. That said, if Shanghai is any indication, the line waits should be pretty low across the board. I agree with Erin. I think those going need to go in with the mindset that we may do a few things, but perhaps we can actually just relax on our WDW vacation for a change. In my opinion, this is not the time for the once in a lifetime trip or even the once every few years trip.

  • Reduced FOMO, Fear of missing out

  • Not only anxious about crowd calendars, but even with smaller crowds, planning will still be necessary, so when will the planning tools be updated?

  • We are planning a vacation at the end of August with very low expectations. A few hours in the park most days would be nice, some dining, lots of time in our room with a nice view.

  • I am anxious to see the crowd calendars updated on TP for our July 21-28 dates.

  • Do you really think there will be shorter lines? If park capacity is reduced 50%, but then ride capacity is reduced 50%, won’t that equal the same amount of wait time? Or depending how long it takes to wipe down the seats between rides, maybe even longer?

  • And if Disney finds higher guest satisfaction in their surveys, don’t be surprised if the future of Disney is “less is more”


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