Walt Disney World is open! Hooray! But hang on… we are still in the middle of a pandemic. As a Travel Agent, the number one question I am getting right now is, “Should we cancel our Walt Disney World vacation?” My answer? It’s not that simple.
There are a lot of things to consider when making a decision about travel right now. Especially to Florida where new COVID-19 cases are rising every day! Here are a few of the questions you should ask yourself before making a final decision about cancelling Walt Disney World.
UPDATE: Walt Disney World has continued to update health and safety protocols as more people have gained access to the COVID-19 vaccine. For the latest information, please visit Walt Disney World’s “Know Before You Go” page.
Is Anyone In My Family at Increased Risk?
The first thing that you need to consider is if anyone in your family or friends are at an increased risk for getting sick. Or to be more specific – at risk for getting severely sick! EVERYONE is at risk for getting COVID.
Florida is currently a hot spot for COVID-19 with new cases increasing each day. For up to date information, please visit the Florida Department of Health website.
Walt Disney World has updated the terms and conditions for visiting to include a statement that guests understand that by visiting, they are potentially exposing themselves to the virus.They want there to be no confusion – by visiting Walt Disney World, you ARE putting yourself at risk.
Does My State Have Travel Restrictions Or Quarantines?
Many states now have travel restrictions to and from Florida. Florida also has restrictions in place for people traveling from many states. These restrictions may include quarantines, self-monitoring, and paperwork. Some states are enforcing these with hefty fines! For example, in Connecticut where I live, I would need to quarantine for 14 days in Florida, and then another 14 days when I got home. How are they enforcing it? There is paperwork required at the airport and hefty fines for non-compliance.
When you were trying to figure out how much your vacation was going to cost you, I bet you didn’t factor in potential fines!
Will I Be Able to Wear A Mask All Day?
Effective May 15, 2021, Walt Disney World has updated their mask policy. Guests are no longer required to wear masks in most outdoor locations. Guests 2 and up are still required to wear masks in and on attractions, in line for attractions, when entering and exiting attractions and theaters, and indoors. To view the updated policy, visit Walt Disney World’s Know Before You Go page.
Ok, so you have made your peace with the potential exposure AND the travel restrictions. “I NEED my Disney fix!”, you think to yourself. I get it! I really do. The next question to ask yourself is, “Can I wear a mask all day? Can my kids?!”
Walt Disney World is requiring face masks for all guests over the age of two. And they have very strict specifications of what constitutes a face mask! From the Walt Disney World website:
“Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.
All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
- Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
- Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.
Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.
The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.”
Read that again. And again. You may only remove your mask when eating or drinking and even then YOU MUST BE STANDING STILL. No sipping your drink while you wander over to Tower of Terror. No strolling along enjoying a Mickey Bar! Oh, and the masks have to be worn while on rides, too.
Don’t forget to consider the fact that it is August. It is going to be 90+ degrees, with high humidity, and the potential for thunderstorms pretty much every day! Wet masks are no fun so if you DO go, be sure to bring extras.
Is This Our First Trip to Walt Disney World?
If this is going to be your first trip to Walt Disney World, I can almost guarantee you had a vision in your head of what that would look like. Photos with Mickey, afternoons at the resort pool, amazing meals with the Princesses, finishing the day with fireworks… You had every moment planned to perfection!
Walt Disney World is open, yes. But many of our usual favorite things are not. Parades, shows, and fireworks are currently closed. Character meals are limited and involve extensive social distancing. Some attractions are closed, as are many shops and restaurants.
I’m not even going to pretend not to have an opinion on this one. If this was supposed to be your first trip to Walt Disney World – don’t go. Wait until things have stabilized a bit and we know more about what our “new normal” will be.
Did We Plan This Trip For A Specific Resort/Ride/Event?
If this won’t be your first trip to Walt Disney World, then there is a good chance that you planned this trip FOR something. Maybe it was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (cancelled), maybe it was to stay at Disney’s Beach Club (closed with no reopening date announced), maybe it was to ride Primeval Whirl (yeah, bad news about that one…). Many events have been cancelled or altered. Not all of Walt Disney World’s resorts have reopened. And many attractions have been shut down, and new attractions have been cancelled or postponed. Park Pass reservations are required to visit a theme park each day.
Be sure that the thing you were hoping to see will still be available if you go!
The best advice I can give you as to whether or not you should cancel your Walt Disney World trip is to make an informed decision based on facts. Do your research, consider the facts carefully, and make the right decision for your family. Personally, I will be waiting a while before I return. Will you still go? Let us know in the comments what you decided and why!
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