Before You Book A Trip To Disney World

Mickey Mouse At Epcot

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.

Walt Disney World Resorts
Greetings From Mickey At Walt Disney World Resort

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.

Disney's monorail
Walt Disney World Resort Monorail

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.

Disneyi's Boardwalk Resort
The Pool Area At Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

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.

beauty and the beast
Disney’s Beauty And The Beast

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.

 

 

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52 thoughts on “Before You Book A Trip To Disney World

  1. Travel does not appeal to any of my family right now, especially plane travel…so sad…The gulf coast where we have a house is experiencing record breaking rentals as people are so weary of staying at home and wanting fresh air and sunshine. No masks or social distancing, and it’s no wonder the cases are spiking in Alabama. We are enjoying cooking out and swimming at home, and going out in the boat safely, simple pleasures…
    Jenna

    1. Hi Jenna, I don’t know of anyone so far that has a desire to travel. Well that isn’t true, we all wish we could but know it isn’t worth the risk right now. You have two lovely homes where you can safely get together with your family and that is wonderful.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, we were supposed to have gone on another cruise, this time starting in Barcelona. When we saw all the news about all the passengers stranded on the ships, we cancelled immediately. Now, we couldn’t get into any of the EU countries if we wanted to.

      1. That would be no fun whatsoever!
        I do hope you get to go back to Barcelona soon. Perhaps it would be nice to meet you both there for lunch one day, when things return to normal…

    1. Hi Mandy, As you could see from the photo, ours are but it appears there really isn’t much social distancing going on so we won’t be flying anytime soon. Thank you for your wish and stay safe as well.

  2. I would love to go to Europe but as Americans we are not allowed to go at this moment. Right now we are staying home and at our cabin. The beaches are packed with people and nobody seems to be concerned about catching the virus.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, it is the same on our side of the country as well. I can’t believe that there are so many irresponsible people who don’t seem to care about anyone or anything other than having fun at our expense. This will be the first time in many years that we won’t be going to Germany this fall. I keep getting lovely notes from all our favorite hotels but as you said, we couldn’t go if we wanted to.

  3. Good post with lots to think about. We’ve given up on travel until there’s a vaccine — we canceled our trip for this year. Alas. 😦 Hope we can take one next June, but we’ll see.

    1. Thank you John, I wanted to let people know that before they do take a trip to any popular resort like Disney World, they really need to think of all the pros and cons. I know a lot of us had plans to cruise, go to Europe or take a cross country vacation but the risks are high right now.

  4. Thanks for the rundown, interesting and a little appalling that they plan to open in the middle of a pandemic.

    None of the folks I know are planning trips until a vaccine is available. And I understand that American Airlines and United are packing them in. It’s not possible to socially distance.

    1. I agree with you about everything Liz. From what I’ve seen, it really is almost impossible to do social distancing when flying and especially at resorts like Disney World.

  5. This blog contains a lot of great advice, thank you. My days of going to Disney are long behind me, thank goodness because it’s out of control expensive! We will not travel by plane this year, we’ve decided to take the wait and see approach, let the second wave come and go.

    1. Thank you Eva, I appreciate your nice compliment. I know that over the summer parents and grandparents like to take their children on a family vacation but this year it would be very risky. We are only two hours away from Disney and have gone to Epcot’s wonderful Flower Show and still want to attend their Food and Wine event someday but we won’t be going anywhere until after there is a vaccine.

    1. We are with you as far as travel plans Penny. We are just 2 hours away for Orlando and have gone to Disney’s Epcot in the middle of the week in February and March so that we avoid all the crowds. I can’t imagine how crowded it is during the summer when children are out of school.

  6. Karen, all good advice. We booked and then canceled a week in Jekyll Island due to a recent increase in the number of cases on the island. What seemed acceptable quickly turned to concern as restaurants began to close their doors again. Patience and good research are key right now. As they say – know before you go!

    1. I totally agree with you Suzanne about the “know before you go”. Everyone we know have cancelled or postponed their trips for the foreseeable future. I think it is going to be a wait and see for a lot of people.

    1. Hi Larry, I was wondering if you would be taking a trip in your RV close by. The nice thing is you have such a wonderful spot on the water that staying home is not a problem.

  7. This is really thorough, Karen — thanks. We are not going anywhere — probably not for more than a year, or until there is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s just a short time in the greater scheme of things, and it will keep us safe. Take good care.

    1. Thank you for the compliment David, I’m hoping people that read this post will give some real thought before going ahead with travel plans to crowded resorts. I’ve yet to even venture to a grocery store so you know we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 😊

  8. The travel industry will need to plan for survival without us in the mix. 🙂 Are there places we long to visit – sure. Are we getting on a packed plane and heading to a destination with hordes of people – no. We’re going to stay right here in NH, hang around, and work on plans to avoid boredom on a regular basis. 🙂 You will find this interesting – C&J Bus Lines still hasn’t opened up any service and there is only one train per day. It is certainly strange to drive by the Bus Terminal parking lots and see them empty, but I think that’s a pretty good gauge on how people really aren’t traveling like before. Stay well, your numbers are certainly climbing off the chart.

    1. Hi Judy, I sounds like you are being very wise. If you want to get out of the house, there are many pretty back roads right around you. You could take a ride for an hour or two just for a change of scenery without even getting out of the car. We used to do that a lot when we lived in Danville. I did find it very interesting about the Bus not opening up yet. It used to be so busy with people going back and forth to the airports.

    1. Hi Amelia, I think if anyone is serious about keeping people safe, it would be Disney but like you I wouldn’t go. It would be just too many people to take a chance with your health. Especially with Florida’s heat…can you imagine walking around for hours with face masks on.

  9. An old saying states that one should always be aware what is possible, and also know what is impossible – but most of all one should know the difference between the two. With the worst days of the pandemic still ahead in the States, however sorry one feels for the travel industries, surely one can wait a year or two to travel safely and have fun without fear !! A SAFE and EFFECTIVE vaccine is as yet far away. With a huge variety of worthwhile and fun uses for each day passing I cannot understand why one should even think of planning to become part of a second or third wave !! Like SARS, Ebola and other unfortunate crises this will slowly die down if one does not ‘struggle’ so much . . .

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Eha. I totally agree with you, travel plans have been put on hold for us and all of our friends. What is scary though is watching the news and seeing so many people partying at the beaches and parks. My first adventure to the grocery store is still a long ways off.

  10. Oh my, that doesn’t sound like a Disney vacation at all! I just don’t think it would be worth it, unfortunately. I hate to see resorts suffer, I’m not prepared to take any chances…

    1. Hi Dana, I believe that anyone who has younger children should definitely postpone their trip. I think they would be very disappointed to not be able to do so many things that make Disney a special place. I really can’t imagine spending hours wearing a face mask either, especially in the summer heat.

    1. Thank you Mary, I hope the post has people thinking about visiting a crowded resort any time soon…I think postponing a vacation is the prudent thing to do for the near future anyway.

    1. Hi Diane, You, me and most of the people I know are of the same mind. What is worrying though, is seeing the news with the large crowds at the beaches and parks.

      1. I agree but we will see the numbers go up soon from it. My parents are moving here from Florida and I am picking them up at the airport. You know I will wear a mask in the car home and while I help them set up their house for the first 2 weeks.

  11. What you seem to be saying is that organised fun has been cancelled, Karen. For how long, we don’t know.. For a while I thought you were going to explain that the Disney characters would wear masks, but if there are no parades it’s really not worth calling it Disney, is it? I’m grateful that my own visit was long ago, when we could enjoy the magic.

    1. It is definitely going to be different Jo. No parades, no fireworks and a lot of modified experiences and new ways of doing things at Disney World during the pandemic. I would postpone a trip but I hope the people that decide to go are aware of the changes and new rules, patient, flexible and very cautious. Disney characters and actors, like the two I captured in my photos, will now all being wearing masks and staying at a distance so it may not be quite as “magical” for the little ones.

  12. No plane trips for us in the near future, but hopefully someday! I’m glad the airlines are doing what they can, but we’re driving to Wisconsin for a low key getaway this summer (and even that make me a bit nervous!).

  13. Plane trips are not really optimal at this time and nor is making your kids wear a mask in 90 degree weather while baking in line in the sun waiting for your ride to start. Might try some other drive get away to the parks or camping instead. The kids love that too.

  14. I’ve postponed some trips because of the virus—it just seems like a good idea right now. I’ve been to Disneyland, but not Disney World–definitely want to go when travel gets a little safer!

  15. I don’t think I’ll be going to Disney World any time soon, let alone stepping foot on to an airplane. But at least I can experience some of the magic of the Magic Kingdom through your fun photos. 😉

  16. My sister did a drive trip to the Finger Lakes in New York and I’d feel safer with a more open area, non-flying vacation. Now that destination is out though as New York is requiring 14 day quarantines for our state.

  17. Thank you for a very interesting and timely post, and very well researched. As a Canadian, I’m only willing to travel locally at the moment. The border between Canada and the US remains closed, and our four Maritime provinces have joined into a “bubble” that other Canadians cannot visit for the time being.

    While I’m glad that some restrictions have been easing, I’m wary of finding myself in crowded situations where I can’t control the space around me. I wear a mask, but prefer to do that in combination with distancing. My best friend and I meet somewhere in Canada each year, but we had to cancel our plans to meet in Victoria in June. I also cancelled my annual 9-hour road trip to visit a friend at her cottage on the north shore of Lake Huron.

    Recently, however, I was fortunate to be able to book a rental RV and an available campsite at one of our provincial parks, and enjoyed a three-day getaway. And I’ve just been lucky enough again to book a week in September at the cottage I’ve stayed in on Lake Huron for many years. Travel is taking on new meaning, with health safety a prime consideration. Whatever you choose to do this summer and fall, I hope you enjoy it! Here’s to your continued good health.

  18. As much as we LOVE Disney Parks, it just not safe or even smart to go any time soon, especially in this heat. We hope things will be different next year, and after they find a vaccination for this virus. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

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