We did it. We did Disney during a pandemic. And Finley did not even notice a difference. We noticed but it was still so magical for her. Here are my tips and tricks for traveling to Disney World during Covid.
Masks are REQUIRED for every person over 2. (We took our masks off for these photos because there was no one around us.) We flew American Airlines. We prepaid for parking at the airport and parked right next to the terminal. It’s cheaper to prepay online ahead of time! Check-in was easy and there was not a ton of people (We had an early flight). We got there very early because we were not sure how crowded it would be and what precautions were set in place). It was so easy to go through bag check and security! Once we were in we go food (many places are not open due to covid…like Starbucks) So we got Mcdonalds and ate while we waited for our flight.
Boarding was easy and our flight was FULL. They do not social distance on the place. We each had a seat so we had a row to ourselves, thankfully. Finley had no problem keeping the mask on. The flight attendants monitored the masks before take off but I did not see them monitoring during the flight. (I am sure if you had it off completely, they would say something. I have heard horror stories about them making families get off the plane.) They did not come around with snacks or drinks. Instead, we got a little bag when we boarded with a bottle of water and crackers.
Disney’s Magical Express
When we landed, we headed straight to bag claim and then to MME. This is a free service that takes you straight to your hotel! (They are discontinuing this service in 2022). Make sure you have your magic band out and ready to be scanned. They will scan only one of your parties’ bands and tell you which line to go stand-in for the bus. The bus driver will load your luggage and drive you straight to the front door of your hotel. They sat each party every other row for distancing. Definitely a service we will miss A LOT!
Pop Century Resort
This was our first time staying here! We actually got to PC before our room was ready so we left our luggage with the bell boys and we hopped on the Skyliner and checked out other resorts and has lunch at Disney Springs! (more on that later). PC in my opinion was very similar to the All-Star resorts…just more expensive. I actually prefer the All-Star rooms. However, PC has the Skyliner so we will probably only stay in resorts that have access to the Skyliner from now on!
The dining experience was…interesting. You can no longer go up and just order food. You have to order on the mobile app. This is cool because you can order while you are walking up. However, there were VERY limited options. They had the normal meal options but snacks and desserts were definitely limited.
The store and the dining hall are connected and you can not enter unless your meal is ready on the mobile app or you are looking in the store. (We would always say that we were looking in the store so we could avoid the long lines to get in. Not really cheating because we would look around until our food was ready.) Once you get in the store there is someone standing at the entrance to the dining hall and you can’t get in unless your food is ready. However, if you’re getting a drink you can go in early. So we would just go get a drink and then sit at a booth until our food was ready.
They have refillable mugs…that you can’t refill. So, for health precautions, they do not let you refill your refillable mugs. But you do get unlimited drinks. They have cast members at the drink stations pouring drinks for you. Just show them your mug and they will give you a disposable cup with your drink. Then you just pour that drink into your mug.
We loved the Skyliner! Like I said earlier, we hopped on the Skyliner the day we got there to go exploring since we did not have a park day that day. It only takes you to Epcot and HS and a few resorts. So we went to Hollywood studios…we were just testing it out. Then hopped on a bus to the Grand Floridian. (They have busses at every park that go to every resort and all the other parks). I wanted to check out the GF because had never been there…loved it! Then we took a bus to Disney Springs for lunch!
We took the Skyliner to HS on day 2 and it was great! So much faster than the busses! The line looked long but it went really fast! The great thing is that you do not have to fold up your stroller…you just roll it right on! Also, if the Skyliner is running…there will not be busses running to Epcot and HS that day. The only busses running will be to the parks that do not have the Skyliner( AK and MK). UNLESS the Skyliner is so packed….then they will call in some busses.
DS is one of our fav places! It is so nice to walk around and window shop and grab something to eat! This is also where they have their big Word Of Disney store which has everything! We also grab lunch at D-luxe burger but they have so many options! It is basically a huge outdoor mall. With Covid, there is only one entrance at most stores and one exit. Finding the one entrance at WOD was interesting. They also limit how many people are in each store at a time. The line looked so long at WOD but moved really fast! We ended our DS adventure with a cupcake from Sprinkles.
We took the bus to MK and they actually were letting people in earlier than stated. We went right through temp checks which was SO FAST, then to bag check then to the line to get in. The temp check process was so easy and so fast. They had a third-party service running it and it was so effective! And they were all so kind!
Right when you walk into the park they have characters up on the train station and they are dancing, singing, and waving to guests! It was a nice way to kick off the day since there are no character meet and greets. Finley got to wave to her fav characters and she was so happy! Next, we went to Starbucks before the line filled up. (It fills up fast and it gets so long). Then we headed straight to the castle to take some pictures. We do this early as well to avoid crowds that may accumulate later in the day.
We then headed straight for the rides because there were not a lot of people and we wanted to hit up all of the popular rides before it got too crowded. THERE ARE NO FAST PASSES! At least when we went there was not. So, it was first come first serve. We waited no longer than 5-10 minutes for most rides. We walked on to Voyage Of The Little Mermaid three times…no wait at all! We rode basically eveyrhitng we wanted to before noon.
Since there are no character meet and greets they do Character Cavalcades. These are spontaneous parades throughout the day that are not scheduled as to not draw a huge crowd. We were able to see the princess one and Finely got to see her fav princesses! They also do some dance party cavalcades with Minnie and Mickey that are fun!
We went in November and it was hot but the masks made it even hotter. At times we just needed to go sit inside because it got to be too much. They have relaxation stations throughout the park where you can go sit inside and cool off. Masks are required and they are strict on it. If it fell below Finley’s nose they would say “pull your mask up princess”. There was not a single cast member that would let it slide. They were on high alert.
We ate lunch at our fav quick service restaurant, Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe because it is fast and you have a view of the castle! We debated going back to the hotel after lunch and resting because we had ridden almost everything. We decided against it because it was so hot and we did not want to make the trek. So we stayed and then decided to leave early.
They do not do the fireworks show at the castle at this time…which is my fave show at Disney. We knew this going in though. They did do Christmas projections though which were really pretty. We then headed home early and ate dinner at the hotel.
In order to rise Rise Of The Resistance, you have to get a boarding pass beforehand. Boarding groups open up at 7:00 am the day you are going to HS. You can now reserve your BP from your hotel. You do NOT need to be in the park anymore. Ryan logged on at 6:59 (like 5 seconds before it turned 7:00) and he got boarding group 4. Useful tip: don’t get on Disney’s wifi. Ryan stepped outside of our hotel room to do it because his service wasn’t good inside the room.
We took the Skyliner to HS and got there pretty fast! Like I said before, they were letting everyone in early so we walked right through temp screening, bag checks, and ticket scan really fast. Then we headed straight for ROR. Finley was not tall enough to ride it so I stayed back with her and Ryan rode it by himself. He walked right on and did not have to wait at all.
After that, we walked onto the Alien Saucers. Mickeys Runaway Railroad was probably our longest line. It said 50 minutes but we were probably through the line and done with the ride in 40 minutes. The line looks SO LONG because of distancing. However, we really never stopped moving. It moves pretty fast. Same with Toy Story Mania and Slinky Dog.
We ate lunch at a QS restaurant and it was a nice break from the heat. We did the Disney Jr dance party and it was a nice break in the AC as well. They have Mickey, Timon, Vamperina, and Doc Mcstuffins live on stage so it was fun for her to see characters that way.
They also do Calvalcades with characters so you can see them without getting too close. That was fun but Finley didn’t understand why she couldn’t hug them. So that was hard. We left an hour before closing and had no line getting on the Skyliner. We went back to our hotel and ate pizza.
We got to Ak and Ryan ran to Flight Of Passage while Finely and I went to Starbucks. This is how we always start our day at AK. Ryan was one of the first in the park and still said the line was so long but it moved pretty fast. (Again, because of social distancing) We sat outside of Starbucks and enjoyed coffee, muffins, and OJ. Ryan text me and told me that Minnie and Mickey were heading our way on a boat Cavalcade so we ran towards the nearest lake. We caught them just in time and Finley got to wave to them. I was surprised they had a cavalcade that early in the morning! I think Pochahontas was before them and we missed that one. We did not see another cavalcade after that. So that just shows how random they are. You never know when they will be coming. (Or how early!)
AK was VERY HOT. And we were there in November. We took many breaks in the shade. We made our way through AK pretty quickly. Since there are no shows, it did not take a long time. I have always thought of AK as a 1/2 day park. We opted out of the walkthrough zoo because we have done it many times. Plus, I was pregnant and my feet were hurting. So, we did the Kilimanjaro Safari (drive though zoo) for the first time! It was a nice break from the heat and a nice break from walking. We also went on a little bus ride to Rafikias planet watch. We had never done this either! It was a nice break from the heat and from standing on the quick little bus ride. It was cool because you got to see a little behind-the-scenes of AK while on the bus! Once we got there, Finley got a book where she got to collect stickers along the way at different stands if she completed the little tasks. Tasks that involved learning about different animals. She loved this! The planet watch was inside…again, another great break from the heat!
We then headed to DinoLand U.S.A. which is a fun area for kids! We rode the TriceraTop Spin for the first time and Finley loved it! It is just like the Dumbo ride. They also have little carnival games so we played some of those. Finley won once and so did daddy! So, Finley got a little Minnie and Mickey which was the highlight of her day!
P.S. this is the stroller we use when we travel. It folds up and fits in the overhead bin on the plane! It is also easy to fold up when you get off and on the bus.
We then headed back to the hotel and had dinner there. It was a fun day but we were so hot and ready to relax.
I think I covered everything! Disney is still so magical but we said we would probably not go back until masks are no longer required or until it isn’t very hot outside! However, we are actually going back in January 2022 and even if masks are still required the weather should be perfect! So hopefully it’s more manageable! Plus, I want cute pics with no masks!