50 Tips for Walt Disney World with COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed how theme parks operate. We visited Walt Disney World in October and learned all about the changes in the park. Below, see 50 tips for the parks with COVID-19!

  1. Make sure you have a Park Pass to get into the park
  2. Rope drop an attraction. There are no Fastpasses, so you’ll want to get the popular rides done early
  3. Prepare for crowds. The parks may sound like they are empty, but 35% capacity means there are still thousands of people
  4. Bring a portable charger. You’ll need to use your phone to mobile order and read menus at table service restaurants
  5. Pack extra masks. When it’s hot, you’ll want to change your mask.
  6. Mobile order earlier than you think you should. We wanted to eat around noon, but the next pickup time wasn’t for almost an hour. When you start to get hungry, check the pickup windows to see when you should order.
  7. Set aside times to watch the cavalcades. We only came across 2-3 on our own, the others we had to wait for.
  8. If you have kids who want to meet characters, do a character dining. We had a great lunch at Hollywood and Vine and got some fun (distanced) interactions with the characters!
  9. Use the hand sanitzer stationed around the park. Disney has stations outside most attractions, and this is a good reminder that you need to wash your hands constantly.
  10. Utilize the relaxation stations. They are a great way to relax in a cool area and take off your mask. After a few days of walking around, you’ll want to use these!
  11. Take a drink of water before you enter the queue. You cannot eat or drink once you are in line.
  12. Plan out where to eat breakfast. We struggled to find anything to have as a “quick” breakfast in Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom since several quick service locations are closed.
  13. Don’t stress about the temperature screenings. If you show up as having a fever, you’ll be given a chance to cool down first to see if it’s related to the heat outside.
  14. Prepare to walk from parking. The trams aren’t running right now, so you’ll have a longer walk the later you arrive in the day.
  15. Lower your expectations for pin trading. Each park only has a few pin boards available, and the trading hours are limited.
  16. Book a sit-down lunch, not dinner. Early/mid afternoon is the busiest time in the parks, and nighttime empties out. Take a break from the crowds at lunch and do a quick service dinner so you have more time to do rides and attractions.
  17. Practice mask wearing with your kids before you visit. Disney is very strict on the mask policy, so you’ll want them to be accustomed to wearing a mask.
  18. If the lines are too long, take time to explore all of the details in the parks that you usually walk right past.
  19. Try new activities like Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom and the Play Disney app.
  20. If you resort hop, know that you cannot park at the resort without a dining reservation. You can park at Disney Springs for free and take any bus over.
  21. Use data, not Wifi, to get a boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance.
  22. Watch the app to make sure you don’t accidentally miss your boarding pass once your boarding group is called.
  23. Save walk-through attractions like Maharajeh Jungle Trek, Walt Disney Presents, and the Swiss Family Treehouse for the afternoon when the park is busy.
  24. Be patient in ride queues. The lines take longer because they clean the vehicles frequently.
  25. If it’s safe to do so based on their ages, put kids on the outside of the ride vehicles for a better view. The Plexiglass can lessen the experience, especially on water rides.
  26. Find the hidden characters. Joy and Pooh are in the grass by the Imagination Pavilion, Mary Poppins and Alice are in the UK Pavilion, Anna is in Norway, Stitch and Buzz are in Tomorrowland, and many more. This gives closer interaction with characters in comparison to the cavalcades.
  27. Bring sanitizing wipes. We wiped down our tables before eating (although cast members are also actively cleaning as well).
  28. Look into other activities on property that don’t include the parks. When it feels too busy for you, you’ll still have something fun planned to do.
  29. Sanitize everything when you get back to the hotel at night. Even though you are in your room, these items will pose a risk.
  30. Take a towel from your hotel room and pack it in your backpack. Use it to wipe off wet seats, save a spot for a parade, provide shade to a little one in a stroller or whatever other reason you find.
  31. If you’re walking down Main Street at Magic Kingdom and the streets seem really crowded, look at the sidewalks to see if they are less busy. People often stick to the street so the sidewalks can be a great way to get down Main Street with fewer people around you.
  32. The parks stay open later than the published closing time. The published closing time is when restaurants and line queues close, but the shops and photographers will still be out much later
  33. If you like to shop, consider visiting the shops during the first hour the parks are open for lighter crowds or during the middle of the day when you need a break from the heat. Right now the shops are very busy at night.
  34. You can cancel almost all dining reservations by midnight the night before without any penalty (though Disney officially says it’s 24 hours ahead of time).
  35. When you mobile check in for a sit-down meal, you are able to add up to 1 person to your reservation. This was a lifesaver adding my sister to a reservation when we could only get a table of 2 before.
  36. If you are celebrating a special occasion, make sure to pick up a button reflecting the celebration at your resort hotel or in the parks from Guest Services. You may receive special treatment if wearing the buttons.
  37. A sidewalk runs between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot, plus all the resorts in between. Walking from park to park takes around 30 minutes and can be faster than any other transportation between the two parks, especially with the new distanced transportation.
  38. Due to the locations of the Disney Skyliner gondola stations at Caribbean Beach and Riviera Resorts, the best sections of Caribbean Beach to request are Jamaica or Aruba–at least in terms of Skyliner access. At Art of Animation or Pop Century, Buildings 3-6 will be your best options. (Buildings 4 and 5 are preferred, which means they are closer to the food court and feature pool; buildings 3 and 6 are almost as good–without paying a premium for the location!)
  39. A great (free!) activity during the Christmas season is touring the Deluxe resorts to see their beautiful Christmas decorations and displays. Just be sure that you park at Disney Springs (free) or the Transportation and Ticket Center (costs $).
  40. Take advantage of the Bell Services at Disney hotels will store your luggage, meaning you can enjoy the parks if you arrive too early on check-in day or have a late flight out on check-out day.
  41. Photopass photographers and other cast members are not allowed to take photos of you on your camera or phone due to COVID.
  42. Attractions don’t close when the parks close, meaning that you can get in a 90-minute line at 10:59 p.m. when the parks close at 11 p.m. and be in the park well past closing. This is a great way to experience rides with perpetually long lines, like Frozen Ever After, Avatar Flight of Passage, or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train without wasting “valuable” time.
  43. The Epcot monorail is not currently running. You can take a bus directly from Magic Kingdom to Epcot as an alternative.
  44. There are currently no firework shows in the park, but the park icons have projections on them to enjoy! They also added fireworks when the projections change at Magic Kingdom. Be sure to stay into the night to experience the park in a whole new way (and head over to Pandora!).
  45. Request a free wake-up call each morning from Mickey or Stitch on the resort hotel phone. It’s better than a buzzing alarm, and it’s a cool way to wake up (it might even get your kids excited to start the day!).
  46. Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and the Hall of Presidents almost never have a long line, and are perfect shows to do at Magic Kingdom when the park gets crazy.
  47. If the Magic Kingdom is especially busy, take the monorail to Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Gasparilla Island Grill in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, or Captain Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Resort for a counter service meal.
  48. Stroller rental is still available, and you should take advantage of it. Wearing a mask can wear out a kid even more than usual.
  49. Rise of the Resistance Boarding Passes drop at 7 am and you no longer have to be in the park to get one. If you have multiple members of your party, be sure everyone tries from a different device.
  50. Understand that even though Disney is different, there is still so much Disney magic to experience!