Hi friends! I went to Disney World for the first time this month and thought I would share my experience of what it was like to visit in 2021. Chase surprised me with the trip as my Christmas present this year since we recently watched all of the Star Wars movies from start to finish! I had never seen them all before and fell in love with the series. Disney truly is a world of its own and I’m so glad we got to experience it together even during these uncertain times. There are certainly some differences in the park from pre-covid so I am sharing an honest review of our recent trip.
Honestly, we were disappointed when we first got to the park because there was a decent amount of people in the park, but it was on a Sunday right before kids went back to school for the new year. Every blog I read and people who had recently gone said to expect around 25% capacity, but it had to be at least 50% when we were there. On Tuesday and Wednesday, there were much fewer people, so I recommend going when kids are in school if possible and during the week, which is ideal (for any trip truthfully😉).
The park did an amazing job of enforcing masks for all guests over the age of two. The only time we saw people without masks on was when they were eating and drinking off to the side or inside restaurants while seated at tables. We saw some guys attempt to eat breakfast in line for a ride one time and they quickly were kicked out of the line and told to eat somewhere else. Even when people tried to sneak masks off for photos, they were swiftly reminded to put them back on. So, yes, all our photos are with masks on so years from now we will remember what 2021 looked like (even if we want to forget, haha).
Food & Water
That leads me to my next point, which is it is more difficult to get food and water because you cannot walk around the park and eat or drink due to mask regulations. This is clearly a good rule for safety but makes eating and drinking water more of a chore than something you can do on the go or while in lines. Sadly, it seemed like a lot of food carts and stands were closed because they discourage eating in high-traffic areas. It is also harder to get free water because employees check that you did a mobile order before entering food areas. So, you can get free water but it’s discouraged without buying anything else because they are trying to limit the amount of people seated inside. Mobile ordering is convenient though because you can walk around while your food is being prepared.
Most lines for rides were 30 minutes to an hour but looked much longer than they were due to social distancing. For the most part, they had guests spread out 6 feet (or as much as possible) so lines wrapped around for miles but would move pretty quickly. A major perk was that they did not seat separate parties together (no more being crammed in next to strangers). If it was a ride that sat a lot of people they would leave the middle area open and spread out different parties. This goes for the shuttle and sky liner transportation as well, which was pretty cool. All in all, we didn’t hear as many crying children, have anyone bump into us, or smell anyone’s B.O. compared to normally visiting an amusement park, which is a definite perk of social distancing.
It is probably common knowledge to get to the parks as early as possible to beat the crowds but it can make all the difference. As well as having a plan of what rides, attractions, and food you want to try at each park because they are all SO big. The mobile app they provide is amazing because it shows wait times, mobile orders, directions, and so much more. By using that we didn’t have to ask for help or directions at all.
Animal Kingdom was by far my favorite park to visit because of the Safari ride, Mount Everest rollercoaster ride (that we rode twice), and visiting the Pandora world from Avatar (wow!). I feel like you can’t compare Epcot to the other parks because it’s so unique with all different cultures from around the world (Japan and Italy were our favorites, big surprise😉) and fewer rides. Of course, Galaxy’s Edge was super cool but packed with Star Wars fans to the point it kind of took away from the experience. Walking through Toy Story made me feel like a child and was surprisingly one of my favorites as well.
Overall I felt safe at the park because they were enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing as much as possible. The parks weren’t as empty as we expected but it wasn’t anywhere near full capacity in the summer either. Food and water can be an inconvenience but having our own space on rides and transportation was great. We had an amazing time! I hope this helps anyone wondering what our trip was like. If you do not feel comfortable traveling now the magic will still be there in the future but if you are then they are doing their best to keep you safe while still having fun.
Disney World truly is a magical place unlike any other even during some of the scariest times in our world like now. Thanks for reading!
*header image courtesy of unsplash