If you are a Disney fan who has been wanting a Disney World fix, but driving is out of the question for you, you may be a little hesitant to fly — I know I was. When it comes to not just flying, but visiting the Disney Parks during a pandemic, it’s really all about your comfort level — so let’s see what it’s really like to hop on a plane to Orlando International Airport (MCO) right now.
When I was deciding whether or not I should come to Orlando to be in Florida and visit Disney World again, I had a few factors I had to think about, namely, “How comfortable am I with this?” and “Who will I affect when I return?” Luckily, I will be quarantining alone once I head back home, so that was not an issue, and I decided that, for me, I had enough reasons to go.
One of the more nerve-wracking thing about traveling right now is flying, and it is important to note that this experience will be different for everyone — especially depending on their airline. For me, I flew from Toronto (YYZ) to Orlando (MCO) with Air Canada. And yes, I came from Canada! Although the land borders are currently closed, Canadians can fly to America as they normally do, but must undergo a 14-day quarantine upon return. Americans, however, cannot do the same.
There are no Canadian airlines that are currently social distancing, but considering that an Orlando flight is not the hottest ticket from Canada at the moment, I was hopeful I would get a socially distanced seat. And, I did! Although the flight was more full than I expected (especially considering how much of a ghost town the airport was), I had an aisle seat with no one on either side of me.
When flying, of course you need a mask on at all times and, if you want to feel a little more comfortable in terms of safety, I saw many flyers double masking (including myself) or also using a face shield. I brought disinfectant wipes to do some double duty in terms of sanitizing my seat. For my flight, there were no snacks or food service. However we did receive complimentary water bottles, hand sanitizers, and masks.
During the flight it was interesting to feel like I was doing something kind of normal during a time when things are otherwise so crazy. Seeing others wearing MagicBands on their wrists and tell me they were heading to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was almost comforting for this Disney lover to know that others were returning to the Magic Kingdom — but also still a little scary. I felt very safe and like my space was respected by all — until the end.
You know when your flight lands and the seat belt sign finally goes off, and everyone tries to rush for the door even though the tunnel hasn’t even been connected yet? Well that still seemed to happen, with guests bunching together in the aisle, almost not letting me out of my seat. Fortunately, I was towards the front of the plane, so I got out quickly.
Once I was at MCO things got a little more crowded. Although I was still distanced, there were a lot more people and I felt the desire to get my luggage as soon as possible. We’re talking around noon on a Tuesday, so not really a typical travel time. I didn’t use the Magical Express, but if you have or plan to, Inside the Magic has confirmed with Disney World that strict social distancing is being enforced.
I personally have not yet had to fly home just yet, but another ITM reporter who recently visited Orlando International Airport on her way home on a busy Friday afternoon noticed that TSA agents were not enforcing social distancing. They even asked another woman to step behind her as she was passing through the scanner, with only about a 6-inch gap between the two travelers. It may have been the fact that Friday afternoons are popular fly times, but it seems that flying from MCO may be a busier experience than your home airport.
Again, this was my experience coming in, and I am not advocating whether or not to fly out to Disney World during this crazy time or not — that choice will always be up to you! But if you do decide to visit, please make sure you do it safely.
Would you considering flying to Disney World?
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Inside the Magic overall.