We’ve officially gone to Disney World twice since the start of COVID.
The first time was back in December when things were first starting to open up and the second was for Carter’s birthday and the two experiences were very different.
Back in December things were very strict. Disney had teams of people walking around to make sure no one removed their masks under any circumstances, including taking photos outside. Rides were sanitized after each use too, which caused longer wait times and even Disney Springs had a security checkpoint installed.
Nowadays, there isn’t even social distancing in lines. Inside or outside.
Things now are very relaxed in comparison, which, depending on how you feel about the matter, could be a good thing or a bad thing. Disney is really trusting people to wear their masks indoors and sanitize and wash their hands as much as possible. It’s more of an honor system right now.
(Note that masks are not currently required outside, including rides that take place outside.)
I know families who won’t go to Disney right now because of the pandemic and families who won’t go until mask mandates are completely lifted. Regardless of your stance, I wanted to let you know what our experience in Disney World was like this go-around.
For us, the biggest bummer is the lack of character interaction, to be honest.
It’s not whether or not we have to wear a mask indoors. It’s seeing Mickey Mouse pass by my 2-year-old daughter without her being able to give him a hug after she’s waited patiently for so long to get to see him. She’s obsessed with Mickey and Minnie currently and after traveling all the way from Texas to Florida, taking a plane, train, boat, and car to get there and then for her to not even be able to get a photo with him… that broke my heart. She didn’t express her disappointment but she didn’t have to because it was written all over her face.
Cavalcades are cute but you wait for them to get to you and characters pass by in 15 seconds and it feels really anticlimactic. I miss the magical Disney parades with wonderful themes and you could see character after character and the magic built as opposed to fizzling out too quickly. I miss the fun music pumping out of the speakers as you waved to Mickey making his way down Main Street while eating a mouse-shaped treat.
These were all things I took for granted in the past because I would go to Disney for my own entertainment before we had kids. I didn’t care if I saw any characters while I was there because I went for the thrill rides.
But my little girls still believe in Magic and to them, Mickey and Minnie are real-life characters who really didn’t pay any attention to them.
Do you guys remember being a little kid and your favorite princess stopped to talk to you? They wanted to know your name and give you their autograph and take a photo with you. How special did that make you feel?
There are currently some dining reservations that do give you the opportunity to meet characters while remaining socially distant so if you’re going with little ones, try your best to get those but beware, they go really fast. There are also some spots in the park where characters will appear but it’s not scheduled so it’s really a luck of the draw situation.
With that being said, there’s still plenty of magic.
Fireworks are back and BOY, the girls loved them. Somehow Carter even fell asleep mid-firework show, which is quite impressive if you ask me.
Disney World is currently celebrating their 50th anniversary all year long so there’s tons of new shows and rides opening to commemorate the event so if you have the chance to go, you should take it.
At the end of the day, Disney is truly the most magical place on Earth and we could all use some magic these days.