Three things you need to know before returning to Disney World

Both solo and with my young family in tow, returning to Disney World was just as magical as ever! Walt Disney World is doing a fantastic job of protecting the magic, Cast Members, and guests. I hope you find my tips and advice helpful. I’d like first to offer a brief overview of what things are like across Disney property.

Safety While Returning to Walt Disney World

Temperature Check at Magic Kingdom
Temperature Check at Magic Kingdom

In the Disney Resorts, theme parks, and Disney transportation, you will see magical reminders to help keep everyone safe. Disney management seemed to take a tip out of Walt’s playbook. The placement of hand sanitizing and handwashing stations are just right. Walt’s theory was to space garbage cans every 30 feet to keep guests from tossing trash on the ground. The same seems to go for the current day hand sanitizing and handwashing stations.

The hand sanitizer locations dot the exit and entrance of every ride. You can even find some inside ride experiences where there is an indoor queue. While on Rise of the Resistance, one of the First Order officers reminded us to sanitize our hands before going into our cell. In pure Disney style, he did so without breaking character or taking guests out of the experience. The guests I spoke to around us agreed it was quite witty.

Safety Reminders  - Returning to Disney World
Disney Safety Reminders throughout the resorts.

In addition to hand sanitizer, you will see plenty of handwashing stations. You will also hear Cast Member’s offering friendly verbal reminders to guests who may not wear their face covering correctly. If you consume food or drink, you must sit in one place, socially distanced from other guests. A frequent overhead announcement reminds everyone to wear face-covering except while eating or drinking while remaining stationary. 

Disney In-Room Sanitation Procedures and Remote Cleaning Returning to Disney World
Disney In-Room Sanitation Procedures and Remote Cleaning

Food and Drink (& the not so secret ice water) 

Things have changed but are still very much the same. Returning to Disney World should require some preplanning. Possibly more critical now more than ever, even for a veteran Disney vacationer. 

If you haven’t had a chance to read about my socially distanced character dining experience head over this way!

Starbucks in Epcot just before World Showcase
Starbucks in Epcot just before World Showcase

One tip that so many of us Disney goers are excited to share. Guests may receive free ice water at all Disney quick-service dining locations throughout the resorts and theme parks.

Quick service locations have grab and go as well as hot food options. You can find many Disneyfied items such as oversized character-themed cupcakes or Mickey-shaped brownies. Not all quick service locations are available right now. For those that are, guests are to preorder using the MyDisneyExperience mobile app. If a guest has special dietary needs or needs ice water, walk up and let a Cast Member know. Each location will have an iPad wielding Cast Member ready to help! Be sure to know which quick service locations are available if you depend on them as you tour the parks.

Disney's Boardwalk Pizza Box
Disney’s Boardwalk Pizza Box

One significant change with food and drink at Disney is the plentiful availability of restaurant reservations. Some restaurants may experience a limited menu. Be sure to check the Disney World website and locate Dining: Know Before You Go. Each restaurant is using QR codes for guests to scan with the camera on your smartphone. Then Disney pushes a link to your phone so that you may view the menu online.  

Location of Relaxation Stations

There are several unopened quick service and table service venues that have repurposed themselves into relaxation stations. The location of the stations is throughout each park, but not all areas are air-conditioned. Some relaxation stations can be in direct sunlight with little shade due to the positioning of the sun. 

Relaxation Station Petes Silly Sideshow
Relaxation Station Petes Silly Sideshow

Knowing where to fall back from sudden rain and heat while remaining socially distant can be tricky—thwarted with limitations days of running into a gift shop aren’t as they once were. Closed shops, mixed with capacity restriction, stores can be a challenge for herds of folks to retreat.

Remember those last-minute available restaurant reservations? Now’s your chance to take a weather advantage. We recommend a good weather app to use each evening to rearrange the next day’s meals to avoid rainstorms.

Face Coverings 

Disney is making a point to call face mask “face covering” so tiny guests don’t get confused with costumes.

While we were there, clients and followers messaged, texted, emailed, and commented on social posts. Many of those messages surrounded face coverings. Were we hot under our face coverings? Did the kids complain about wearing face coverings? Did guests comply with Disney’s face covering policy? 

Toy Story Land Face Coverings Returning to Disney World
Wearing Face Coverings at Toy Story Land in July.

After two weeks at the Most Magical Place on earth, I can say it’s hot, but it’s not unbearable. 

First, Disney has a zero-tolerance policy regarding face coverings. Any person over the age of 2 must wear a face covering at all times. Everywhere, all the time. There is no disability pass. There is no exception. Disney 

Second, we tried many face coverings from Etsy, Disney Store, disposable, thin, thick; you name it. Disposable is our number one go-to choice. By the end of the week, our daughter preferred her Disney Store face covering. That was because the disposable face-covering was making her ears sore. I go over this more in my video above. 

Want my most fabulous tips with face coverings? Once you decide which face-covering works best for you, pack as many face coverings as you pack underwear. You will sweat, a lot. The last thing you want to do is wear the same face-covering for several days in a row. Returning to Walt Disney World does not have to be stressful! Be sure to read the types of face coverings allowable before you start buying different kinds. Disney: At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, and face coverings containing valves, mesh material, or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.

Should you decide your family is returning to Walt Disney World, now is a great time to visit. If you are uncertain, use this time to research. You will be better prepared when you head back to the magic! Join our Disney Planning Group on Facebook to keep up with all the latest news.

Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson

Helping others experience Disney magic is a dream come true. My team at Mouse Class Travel allows me to realize my dream and share it with more guests than I could have ever imagined possible. Let us help you create and test run your plans before you arrive. Once you are on Disney property, we stay with you, so you never have to feel lost or unsure. You focus on building memories and leave the heavy lifting to us!

3 Comments

  1. Avatar Christy on August 2, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    We’re going in November and I plan on taking 3 masks for each day (Disney, Vera Bradley, and disposable). I also plan on taking enough wipes for my airplane seat (to and from), cleaning my room, each time I sit down for a meal, and each ride (I counted how many rides were listed in the MDE). And more hand sanitizer than I think I will need (1 bath and body works pocket bac per day). Excessive? Maybe but everything including my clothes (I’m taking 1 set of clothes per day) and toiletries fit in 1 spinner carry-on.

    • Lisa Thompson Lisa Thompson on August 2, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      Hey Christy! I’m right there with yah when it comes to packing cleaning products (and antibacterial wipes for inside the parks!). To help keep up with the latest rides and experiences, follow this link. Scroll down to the bottom and select the blue hyperlink under each theme park. Disney will update this in real-time so you can keep track of available experiences. Have a great trip! https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/parks/

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