8 Things You Need to Know if You’re Visiting Disney World Now!

All four theme parks at Walt Disney World are officially open to the public!

Cinderella Castle

We’ve been in the parks tracking enhanced health and safety protocols, attraction updates, new character experiences, and pretty much everything else. The AllEars team gathered up a list of our best tips if you’re heading to Disney World in the near future!

The new changes may feel a little overwhelming, as the theme parks aren’t quite the same as we left them and there are a lot of new things to be aware of. We wanted to compile a  short list of helpful tips to know before you head back to the Most Magical Place on Earth.

Spaceship Earth

You’ll Need to Plan — But Differently.

Visiting Disney World under the new conditions can still be fun! You just have to plan around the new policies and expect the experience to be different than previous visits. FastPass+ is unavailable so there is less planning around ride reservations and more planning around wait times. Virtual Queues are used, but only for long gift shop waits and Rise of the Resistance.

Rise of the Resistance

Read more about planning a Disney World trip in 2020 here!

Dining is a Very Different Experience

For Table Service dining, Advanced Dining Reservations can still be difficult to reserve because restaurants are currently at 50% capacity. While crowds are lower, so is the amount of available space at each restaurant. Mobile Ordering is encouraged at all Quick Service locations and guests are usually asked to wait outside until their meals are prepared.

Be Our Guest with Limited Capacity

Half of the tables are marked as unavailable to enforce physical distancing and limit the capacity. Lastly, menus are limited at most Disney restaurants. This is due to distribution shortages and to allow the kitchen staff to more easily distance themselves from one and other. There is still a lot of good food to enjoy and the limited capacity hasn’t affected our experience overall.

Mobile Ordering Pick-Up Stations

Read more about the new dining experience at Disney World here!

Character Experiences are an Unexpected Delight

We were surprised by the creative ways Disney let us meet our favorite characters. Joy frolicking through the grass and Pooh traipsing around with a butterfly net was incredibly adorable at EPCOT. We also loved Pocahantas, Timon and Pumbaa, and Rafiki parading around on a riverboat in Animal Kingdom.

Timon and Rafiki!

Here’s EVERY single character you’ll find in a reopened Disney World!

Plan for All the Transportation Changes!

There have been quite a few adjustments to the transportation systems at Disney World. The monorails, busses, boats are running with modified health and safety protocols. Resort monorails on a limited schedule for hotel guests and the monorail that transports guests between EPCOT and Magic Kingdom are currently unavailable. Also, the walkways between Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Ticket and Transportation Center are closed until 8:30AM. All of these changes can increase travel time to the parks.

Monorail Line Distancing

Read more about our experience on all of the different Disney World transportation here!

Expect Longer Travel Times

Speaking of! Wait times may be lower for attractions, but travel time to the parks has increased quite a bit. Buses have limited capacity so you may have to wait for a few busses before it’s your turn to board. Monorails are seating one travel group per cabin, which increases waits for everyone. Trams are not currently operating so you will need to count for the time it takes to walk to the entrance too. That said, there are lower crowd levels so you hopefully won’t be parked too far away!

Transportation & Ticket Center with Physical Distance Markers

Click here for more on the transportation at a reopened Disney World!

Expect More Vacation Downtime

Wait times and crowds are VERY low right now. We’re used to seeing HUGE wait times for Flight of Passage and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The lines have been considerably lower since the parks re-opened. We’re talkin’ 5-minute wait for Flight of Passage. You should expect to accomplish more attractions than you normally would at Disney World. Also, shows and parades are not currently operating so you have less to do in the parks. Make a plan for dinner at Disney Springs!

Hollywood Studios Crowds

Click here to read more about the relaxation stations at Disney World!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Can Be an Exception to the Rule

The lines can still be considerably longer at Hollywood Studios despite absurdly low wait times everywhere else. This park has brand new rides like Rise of the Resistance, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Guests are still having a hard time getting boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

The park also has fewer rides and shows like Fantasmic!, Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! are currently down. This means there are fewer places for guests to go during the day.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Read more about our experience with lower capacity on Rise of the Resistance!

The Magic is Still Alive

Your experience may differ from previous visits, but Cast Members are still brightening our day with magical moments. One of our favorite memories is when we re-entered Animal Kingdom for the first time in months. The Cast Member who greeted us was holding a cardboard Mickey smile in front of her mask. It was just a little way for her to greet us with a warm “smile” as we made our way inside.

Cast Members Welcoming Guests Back to EPCOT!

The best thing you can do is expect things won’t be quite the same as before. While there are a lot of differences at the newly reopened parks, there are still a lot of things to enjoy about Disney World!

Read more on our thoughts for whether Disney World is still “fun” right now here!

Do you have any tips for visiting Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

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2 Replies to “8 Things You Need to Know if You’re Visiting Disney World Now!”

  1. It’s good to know that Disneyland transportation services are now adopting modified safety protocols so passengers wouldn’t need to worry too much. I’m planning to take my nephew to Disneyland for his birthday next year. Hopefully, the pandemic has somewhat receded by then.

  2. Folks,
    We just returned from a 6 days trip to what used to be the Happiest Place on Earth. Needless to say, the Happiest has been replaced with realism. The sight of everyone walking around with a mask and cast members watching everyone from proper mask wearing, is not the definition of Happy or a vacation. You never feel relaxed due to everyone and everything constantly telling you to protect yourself. I was hoping for a feeling of security away from the daily COVID drama. This did not occur and maybe it cannot occur.
    Let’s be real, half the MK park is closed, that is counting all possible venues, stores, etc. Over half of EPCOT is closed, Only the film is open at China. Over half of AK is closed and the same for HS.
    Almost every restaurant is utilizing On Line Ordering. Not a bad supplement but not a good primary method for food retail.
    Normal traffic flow through any store, ride, restaurant is now directed. Which often makes you feel out of place and corrections will follow in quick order from the Disney employees. This does not feel comforting in any fashion at all. You find yourself looking around all the time to ensure you are doing what is correct instead of taking in the excitement.
    We stayed at the Riviera, very nice hotel. Downside, Mousekeeping is non existent, no matter how many calls and requests you make.
    The Skyliner closes at any hint of bad weather. This is central Florida in the summer!!! So, the Skyliner was closed often. Again, we were at the Riviera, the main method of travel to the resort from EPCOT would be….you got it, the Skyliner. The secondary method of travel to the resort is a bus. So, now realize how far it is from the Skyliner to the EPCOT Bus terminals, keep in mind the center of EPCOT is also in a full scale rentivation, oh the joy.
    You guys know the rest; no ParkHopper, Limited Park hours (no night time hours at any park), no fireworks of any type, and so on…..all this at full price for us normal guest.
    Upside, the lines were short and the parks were almost empty, which seems nice until you realize you can finish a park in half a day. Without ParkHopping, our options fade away.
    There will be many who dislike and disagree, but this is not Disney. This is not even Disney lite. There are no good words for this experience.
    Disney set the bar folks, this experience does not even come close to Disney.
    This trip felt like a very bad 6 Flags or horrible Universal trip; so, there is no Disney at this Disney, minus the name, for this life long fan.
    But, do not take my word….go. It is wonderful to see the parks but this is not a Disney Experience.