It’s no secret: trips to Walt Disney World look different now than they did just a few months ago. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting people all around the world, Disney is doing everything they can to lower risks for guests while still trying to provide a magical experience. If you’re planning a trip to the Most Magical Place on Earth soon, you may need to adjust your packing list. Here are five things to add to your Disney packing list, in no particular order.
Walt Disney World requires all guests ages two and older to wear a snug-fitting mask with ear ties in order to visit the theme parks or Disney Springs. Disney has modified their mask requirements a couple of times since the parks reopened, so for the most up to date requirements, be sure to visit the Walt Disney World website. However, the most recent requirements for masks are that they 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
Our family tried both reusable cotton masks and disposable medical masks. We had the best luck with cotton masks while touring the parks. The cotton masks felt a little more breathable. We also packed several extra masks in our park bag. This way, we could swap them out if they got wet.
Walt Disney World has hand sanitizing machines as well as hand washing stations throughout each of the theme parks. However, guests may feel more comfortable bringing their own bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. While we felt safe with the sanitation measures across the parks, we did use sanitizing wipes on some rides. Specifically, when boarding rides like Toy Story Mania, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and Tomorrowland Speedway, we wiped them down with the wipes upon fastening our seat belts. We were also careful to use hand sanitizer prior to boarding and upon exiting the rides. A word of caution, though! The hand sanitizer starts to leave a filmy residue on your hands after a while. Be sure to also use the hand washing stations when needed.
Walt Disney World has implemented a temperature screening to enter any of the theme parks, Disney Springs or table service dining locations. If a guest registers a temperature higher than 100.4 degrees, he or she will be taken to a cool-down area and reassessed. If a guest maintains a temperature of 100.4 or higher, he or she will be denied entry.
Our family visited toward the end of July, which is a very hot time to visit Florida. Even with the high temperatures outside, we never needed to visit a cool-down area after the screening. During one check, my husband’s forehead temperature registered high, so they immediately retook it behind his ear. This reading was normal. However, some guests do get overheated walking up to the entrances and need some time to cool off. The easiest way to make sure you don’t have a temperature prior to heading to the parks is to add a thermometer to your Disney packing list. If in doubt, check your temperature prior to leaving your room.
Wearing masks while walking around the parks in the Florida sun can cause guests to become dehydrated. It’s harder to walk and sip water throughout the day when wearing masks. Therefore, it’s even more important to make a point of taking hydration breaks throughout the day. Walt Disney World has several Relaxation Zones throughout the parks where guests can remove their masks and drink some water.
Our family brought our own water bottles into the parks and refilled them throughout the day with free ice water from quick service locations. We also brought Gatorade chews along with Powerade Sports Drinks to replenish electrolytes. Adding powdered drink mixes to the ice water may also motivate kids to stay hydrated.
In an effort to promote physical distancing, Walt Disney World is encouraging guests to pay for food and merchandise with contactless payment. This could be through the use of the My Disney Experience app, through Disney gift cards, with your MagicBand, or even by setting up ApplePay on an iPhone. One of our favorite updates to the My Disney Experience app is the ability to pay for quick service orders with a gift card! It is surprisingly easy to shift to this contactless payment option.
Our family primarily used the mobile order feature and opted to pay for our food with a Disney gift card. When shopping, we would charge our purchases to our MagicBands and then use a gift card at the resort’s front desk to pay our balance. One important note: cash tips are still accepted and appreciated, especially for those who handle baggage, like Bell Services and Magical Express drivers.
Have you visited Walt Disney World since they reopened? Is there anything else guests should add to their Disney packing list to make their stay more enjoyable? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!
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When I am not teaching or running one of our three kids to their activities, sports and clubs, our family can be found lounging by the pool at the Polynesian (our DVC home resort) or riding People Mover in Magic Kingdom.