Traveling during the pandemic

(Photo special to the Leader Herald)

Trip to Disney World easier with planning, following rules


Thinking of going to Walt Disney World in 2021?

We just went and there are some things you should know before you put up the big bucks for the trip.

Not everything is open. Most are, but not everything.

Since the parks re-opened this past July, after the closures due to the pandemic, things haven’t been the same, just like here at home. Disney has enacted multitudes of rules and strategies to keep people safe from the Covid-19 virus.

Unlike most of Florida, masks are mandatory at all hotels, public areas, parks, and rides. You are only allowed to take your mask off while sitting at a restaurant to eat and drink or at a “relaxation zone” where you can sit down and rest and enjoy a snack. Now, this may seem like a lot, but in reality, guests at the parks are sitting down everywhere with a snack in their hand and their masks off. People also are pulling their masks down to eat and drink while in line for rides, it’s just something you need to be smart about and know the rules before going. Listen to the cast members there.

Many cast members at the park have had extreme encounters with rude guests not wanting to follow the rules. It’s not the cast members’ rules, remember, they have to wear a mask just like everyone else, so don’t yell or be mean to them. If you want to go, know you must wear a mask and know there are plenty of areas to take them off.

Disney is also doing temperature checks with all guests entering any of their parks or shopping areas.

It’s a simple procedure, you walk through a tent, get your temperature taken, and then move on. If your temperature is too high, you get a chance to cool off, but if it’s still too high you will not be allowed entry to the park.

Entry to the parks is also being done with reservations. You must purchase your tickets either on the Disney website or by phone application to pick the dates you plan to go to each park. With Disney limiting capacity (around 70%) some parks reach capacity and tickets won’t be available to that park, so plan early and book early. The same is recommended for where you want to eat. Book your meals at the restaurants as early as you can, you don’t want to be there and not have a place to eat.

If you want to ride the new Star Wars ride, it’s not that easy, check out one of the numerous YouTube videos about getting onto it. It requires extra planning and getting up very early.

The parks are full of spring break guests. It looked like a normal day at the parks except that everyone was wearing masks. Social distancing is pretty much non-existent in most areas of Disney due to the high crowd levels. Most rides have plexiglass barriers in the ride queues and on the actual rides to separate guest groups, but other than that groups are pretty much shoulder to shoulder with little kids touching everything and most guests doing the same.

Disney has hand sanitizer stations everywhere.. If you concerned about the virus and catching it, I recommend only going if you 100% vaccinated. Disney’s steps to keep people from catching the virus seem to contradict with their huge crowd levels and the amount of non-mask zones, as well as their ride lines.

Our group was fully vaccinated on our trip and we enjoyed it, with a bit of stress from walking around on hot days with a mask on for hours. We averaged eight miles a day walking at the parks.

If you go: book early, plan, plan, plan, be vaccinated, and if you have small children maybe wait until the parks are back to normal.

We saw many parents stressing out with their crying children waiting in long lines with masks on. Also, don’t be upset with the Covid-19 rules.

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