Planning a last-minute Walt Disney World trip doesn’t have to be a stressful experience and now it is easier than ever to make a spontaneous visit to the Most Magical Place on Earth.
While choosing to travel right now still comes with risks and is a highly personal decision, Disney’s attention to detail with their strict safety measures upon reopening has given many of us the confidence to return to the magic.
Here are five of the best tips for pulling off a last-minute trip to Disney World and having a wonderful experience.
1 – Park Reservations Required- Book Yours ASAP
Disney World is limiting park capacity and requiring advance park pass reservations for each of the theme parks as part of their new safety policies. Once you have your theme park tickets, you can make your Park Pass reservations. Keep in mind that there is currently no park hopping, and you must make a park reservation for each day of your visit.
How To Make A Park Pass Reservation
- Link your park tickets/admission to your Disney account. You will need valid park admission to make a reservation.
- Create your party. Before you make a reservation, you’ll be prompted to create a party from your Family & Friends list on your account. This ensures your group has the same reservations for your trip.
- Select a date and park. Choose the date and time you’d like to visit from the available reservations.
- Review and confirm your plans. You will also be prompted to agree to a COVID-19 liability waiver.
I share more tips and advice on getting a Park Pass reservation in our Disney World tickets guide.
2 – Be Familiar with the New Safety Procedures
Disney World has implemented large safety changes to their theme parks to protect Cast Members and guests during this unusual time. Disney’s attention to detail has been excellent in this regard and you can travel with confidence knowing that Disney has gone above and beyond. Many of these safety requirements require the cooperation of guests so it’s helpful to be aware of what you can expect such as:
- Face coverings required for all guests ages two and older
- Face coverings must have ties or ear loops- no gaiters or bandanas.
- Face coverings can only be removed for dining. If eating outside at a restaurant, guests are asked to remain stationary when they remove their masks to drink or eat.
- Mask relief areas (Relaxation Area) are provided for guests to remove their masks and cool off in the air conditioning.
- Temperature screenings prior to entry.
- Guests with temperatures of 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry and those in their party will not be allowed entry either.
- Limited capacity in ride queues and social distancing markings to ensure six feet of space between separate parties.
- Plexiglass installed in ride queues, ride vehicles, dining, shopping, and other areas where social distancing is more difficult to maintain.
- Limited capacity in restaurants, shopping, and transportation to keep guests distanced.
Disney World will initially have reduced operating hours but the good news is that with such low ride wait times, guests will have plenty of time to do everything they want before the day is done.
3 – Grab Those Dining Reservations
Disney has made (temporary) changes to their dining policies to prioritize guest and Cast Member safety. Dining plans are currently suspended along with dining packages and most character dining. There are still two modified character dining experiences available in Epcot and Disney’s Riviera Resort where the characters interact with guests from a distance. Read all the info on changes in our Walt Disney World dining guide.
Due to limited capacity at restaurants, having a dining reservation is crucial for table service dining. Disney has also modified their booking policy which now allows guests to book 60 days in advance as opposed to 180 days.
You can make dining reservations online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.
4 – Rise of the Resistance- How to Use the Virtual Queue
Disney World is not currently using FastPass+ since there is no need while wait times are so low due to reduced capacity. The only exception is in the case of the popular Rise of the Resistance attraction in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Guests will be required to join a Virtual Queue using the MyDisneyExperience app to obtain a Boarding Group to ride with slots released at 10 AM and 2 PM. There are also backup groups available. Guests are only allowed to ride once per day so everyone has a fair chance to experience what has been called ‘the best ride Disney has ever built’!
This experience remains as popular as ever so if this is a priority for your group be ready to grab a spot on the app during those times. We write even more about figuring out your priorities in our last-minute Walt Disney World planning tips guide.
5 – What to Expect with Character Experiences
Character experiences have been modified to create adequate social distancing between Cast Members and guests. The good news is that Disney has pulled out all the stops and has made these modified experiences more magical than ever!
You can expect to see character cavalcades down Main Street that utilize Main Street cars, parade floats, horses, and other unique ways to bring the magic of the characters into the park at a safe distance. These typically occur every 15 minutes. In other theme parks, such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney has utilized the atmosphere of the park to bring characters to life on boats or in the case of Epcot, horse-drawn carriages with the Frozen characters.
If you feel comfortable traveling to Disney World right now, it is a great time to visit with limited waits and an atmosphere devoted to keeping the magic alive.
6 – Remember This Will Be a Unique Experience
We are still living in the middle of a pandemic and Disney has done everything they can to make sure that the parks are safe while also delivering a great experience.
It is important to take into consideration the recent changes to the Disney World events calendar as you make decisions about when to visit this year. Disney has already announced that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will not occur, and other changes could still come. With that said, this is a totally unique time to visit Walt Disney World that could be a ton of fun if you come in with the right expectations.
Thinking about a last-minute trip to Disney World now?