It is summer vacation season and after being locked up for months, you might feel the need to get away but before you book a trip to Disney World or other crowded resort, there are many things to consider. If you’re not comfortable getting on a plane at the moment, do you pack everyone up in your SUV and head out on a road trip? Perhaps you consider flying still the best way to travel as you get to your destination quickly.
Before you take out your carryon bag for a short trip or start packing for a weeklong vacation that was a year in the making, do your homework. There is still a level of risk when you travel that you have to feel comfortable with until a vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available. Your main concern, no matter how you get to your destination, will be the crowds that you will encounter on public transportation, at your hotel and at the resorts themselves. Also keep in mind that if you are headed to Disney World during summer and even into fall, Florida is hot, has high humidity, periods of rain almost daily and it is also hurricane season. If you struggle with wearing a face mask in the heat, you should probably postpone your trip because everyone 2 and older will be required to keep a mask on for hours each day at the resort. If you think your young children won’t be happy wearing a mask all day, definitely postpone your plans.
If you decide to fly, each airport and each airline has a slightly different approach to keeping passengers safe while on the ground and in the air. Orlando International Airport personnel are wearing face masks and passengers are encouraged to as well. LAX Airport requires that everyone inside the terminal wear face masks and has hand sanitizer stations throughout their terminals. At JFK Airport, face masks are required for everyone in the terminals and on its public conveyances and has hand sanitizing stations everywhere. At Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, operated by the City of Atlanta, they strongly encourage masks and hand sanitizer can be purchased at most of the newsstands throughout the airport.
Atlanta’s home based airline, Delta, says customers will not be allowed to board planes without wearing a mask. It also requires masks at check in counters, boarding gate areas and on the jet bridges. Customers that don’t comply with wearing a mask in flight “risk future flight privileges with the airline”. United passengers that do not follow the mask requirement will lose their travel privileges “for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.” American Airlines said it will deny boarding to customers who don’t comply with its mask requirement and “may also deny future travel” for customers who refuse to wear a face covering. JetBlue customers must wear face coverings during check in, boarding, in flight, and deplaning. Southwest Airlines requires face masks at the airport and while traveling.
American as well as United Airlines have decided to start filling their planes to capacity while others are limiting bookings to create space between passengers. With that in mind, I would suggest each person carry their own small bottle of hand sanitizer and definitely plan on having a face mask readily available.
As of now, Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks will begin a phased reopening on July 11—with EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopening on July 15. A lot of changes are planned and a visit now will be unlike any previous visits you might have experienced as there will be limits on capacity, no parades, fireworks or greetings from Disney characters. With so many changes happening that you will need to know before you plan a visit, you need to check out Disney’s site, as not everything will be open, including some of their hotels, and FastPass, Extra Magic Hours and Park Hopper have been cancelled.
At the present time, you can’t make new hotel reservations at Disney World resort hotels (other than Disney Vacation Club members) and you can’t change current reservations, other than to cancel them. You also need to reconfirm your bookings within seven days of arrival so that Disney knows you actually intend to continue with your plans.
If you are planning to drive to Disney World, self parking will be available for hotel guests for a fee. At the present time, valet parking will not be available but you could check before you start your trip for any changes.
Disney will still provide complimentary round trip motor coach transfers between the Orlando International Airport and certain of Walt Disney World Resort hotels. It includes having your luggage picked up at baggage claim for you if you travel domestically and then the luggage will be delivered straight to your hotel room. It is a very good service if your family will be traveling with lots of bags.
After being locked up for months, you might feel that a trip is needed for your and your family’s well being but before you book and start your trip to Disney World or any other crowded summer resort, you should take a realistic look at all the pros and cons of a family vacation right now. Whether you are thinking of taking a road trip in the family car, where you have more control over your environment, or you feel that a few short hours on a plane is worth getting to a holiday destination quickly, you must be diligent with keeping you and your family healthy.
If you want that once in a lifetime trip, postponing your trip might be the right decision. It seems that everyone I know is of the same mind and that is, to plan now but travel later. If you do decide to fly somewhere this summer or a trip to Disney World or other resort is a “must”, plan ahead. Before you leave your home, you might want to check everyone’s temperature, as it would certainly be a sham to get to your destination and be told you won’t be admitted. Also wear the best masks you have, sanitize your hands and all the surfaces around you and keep up with social distancing as best you can.