Our family of four stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort in October 2020 for 5 nights. We visited Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios during our stay. (Noticeably missing is EPCOT, which I’m bummed that we missed out on some of the Food & Wine Festival treats, however we opted to take a rest day since we knew the temperatures would be hot while we were there.) We went into it with an open mind and came away pleasantly surprised by how natural a number of the changes felt. We also felt like we could take trips to Walt Disney World like this for years, if need be, and our family would not have issue with the current COVID protocols in place.
We were excited to be back at our happy place in October 2020! It was our first return visit since the onset of COVID-19 and some of the procedural changes that have happened since then, so things did look a bit different from our February 2020 trip. We are sharing our daily vlogs on YouTube, so you can see first hand what it is like at Walt Disney World right now. Let me highlight some of the changes – and what I thought of them – below!
So first things first, Disney can keep the social distancing markers in lines as long as they want! Having someone right up behind me encroaching on my personal space is one of my pet peeves – and social distancing in all of the lines was one of my favorite things about this trip. There are a few points to mention though:
- Social distancing will make the lines look SCARY long. It is because of the 6 feet of distance between parties, and we found the lines moved quite quicker. Most rides we went on, the waiting time ended up being less than what was depicted on the sign at the entrance or app. Your results may vary, especially as we move into the busy holiday time of year.
- Just because the lines are on the ground, doesn’t mean that people follow them in ALL instances. We found that people that were there during our trip were fairly respectable of them. For the occasional party that has lost track that they are getting too close, politely asking them to move slightly seemed to work each time.
Masks are mandatory for both Cast Members and Guests on Disney property right now. Some friends I’ve helped plan trips recently are dismayed by this, “but Florida….” – no, Florida. Disney is its own location, its own rules. Plan to wear a mask, and bring extra changes during your stay. We brought disposable masks and found them to be quite comfortable throughout the day. A number of times we even remarked that we forgot we were wearing the masks. Just make sure you have plenty on hand to change them out frequently.
Mobile Ordering Encouraged
We had used mobile ordering before, but it really wasn’t our “go to” option. Not so on this trip. Mobile ordering is encouraged so that you have a contactless transaction and we quite enjoyed getting used to using it on this trip as well. By the end of the week, I felt like I had the system down pat… so I guess it is time to plan another trip to put those new skills to use!
A few tips: If you’re ordering at your resort, for say breakfast or dinner… put the order in while you’re still at your room, and then submit the order (the “I’m Here” button, because I mean… technically you should be close) as you are walking to the food court area. We found this yielded the best results in receiving our food quickly. Sometimes, especially at the end of the evening since the parks all close earlier than usual, the food area at the resorts at backed up. I found that in the evenings, having a dining reservation at a sit down restaurant is what worked best for us.
Resorts – Some Limited Openings
From the time we reserved our trip to the time we left was a much shorter time length than usual, so we were working with an even limited amount of openings for resort options. Luckily for us, we had been wanting to do a stay at Pop Century, to be able to compare and contrast this resort with others we had stayed at (more on that coming soon!) and it had openings during the time that we wanted to travel. Looking ahead to when our next trip may be, there are more resort options opening up, however keep in mind that you will need to check the Walt Disney World website to see if your resort of choice is opening during your preferred travel dates.
Overall, we had a great time and the magic is still there. We felt good about the different precautions in place while waiting in lines for rides and at Disney owned restaurants. Keeping in mind that we had essentially been at home prior to this trip, both working at home and the kids virtual schooling – this was a big step out for our family.
We loved some of the changes – both the character calvacades (pop up character experiences!) and social distancing in lines could stay for an indefinite amount of time, and these would be benefit to our family. Other protocols like wearing a mask were something extra to pack and plan for, but were not fun inhibiting parts of the trip.
I will get more in-depth on some of the planning differences in a future blog and vlog, but we did find this trip to be easy to plan, easy to complete with short notice, and also fairly comfortable to “go with the flow” a bit more while we were there. With shorter line waits, we didn’t feel like we missed FastPass+ opportunities.
We felt socially distanced a majority of the time while we were on our trip, and it is something that we would consider doing again! Let me know if you have any questions about current procedures at Walt Disney World, and make sure to check their website for the most up to date information!
Watch our Fall 2020 Walt Disney World vacation videos on this playlist:
** This is not a sponsored post. Information accurate as of October 2020, please check website for current conditions. All opinions are my own.