Planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation during these times can be difficult, and sometimes scary — but fear not because we are here to help!
With the newly implemented Disney Park Pass reservation system, dining reservations only being open 60 days ahead of time rather than 180 days, and the temporary elimination of FastPass+, many Guests have questions surrounding what the current protocols are, what is currently suspended, and what is still happening.
Well, we decided to put together a complete FAQ guide to help answer some of your biggest concerns when planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation during these times. Here are your burning questions answered!
Wearing Face Masks at Disney World
When Walt Disney World first reopened in July 2020, the Florida resort implemented a number of safety protocols in order to keep Guests and Cast Members safe during this ongoing pandemic. One of these protocols includes the requirement of wearing a proper face covering on property, unless actively eating and drinking while stationary.
Just a few days ago, Disney updated their face covering policy for both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort to include the rules for “transparent windows” on face coverings. Additionally, the Disney Resorts stated that even those who have been vaccinated for the virus must still wear a face mask when on Disney property — at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort (and even at Aulani in Hawaii).
Disney World’s Face Mask Policy
The official Disney World face mask policy reads:
Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.
All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) 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
At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.
Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.
Face coverings may have an integrated transparent plastic panel to aid in viewing the wearer’s mouth. These face coverings must:
- Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching
- Meet all face covering requirements listed above
- The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.
When Will Disney World Stop Requiring Face Masks?
At this time, Walt Disney World has not announced a specific date of when they plan to lift this requirement, however, we suspect it to be in place for quite some time based on CDC guidelines during this pandemic. Despite the COVID-19 vaccine currently being rolled out, Disney has already stated that even those who have been vaccinated must continue to wear a proper face covering while on Walt Disney World property, so we expect face masks to continue to be required and enforced for the foreseeable future.
Inside the Magic will continue to update you on Disney World’s face mask policy as we get information. For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and face masks, visit the official website for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Walt Disney World Restaurants
Another one of those changes that Disney World implemented when they reopened in July included the suspension of character meet and greets and traditional character dining. Additionally, not all of the quick service locations or table service restaurants reopened at the Resort.
But, as the phased reopening at Disney World continues, the theme parks and resorts are continuing to make modifications, including slowly bringing back some of character dining experiences to select restaurants as well as reopen other select locations around property for dining experiences.
When Will Additional Restaurants Open?
At this time, Disney World has not announced that any additional restaurants would reopen, however, as we continue to see the Florida resort slowly start to bring back some character dining experiences at select locations, we suspect them to also reopen other dining locations, including quick-service and table-service restaurants.
Inside the Magic will continue to update you on Disney World’s open restaurant locations as we get information.
What Are the Best Outdoor Dining Locations at Disney World?
With the current pandemic, outdoor dining is becoming the new norm. So what locations on Walt Disney World property are perfect for outdoor dining?
From Aloha Isle at Magic Kingdom to Baseline Tap House at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are actually quite a number of options for those looking for outdoor dining at Walt Disney World. Check out our complete guide to the outdoor dining locations here.
A ticketed event at Walt Disney World is an event that happens after park hours that requires Guests to purchase a special ticket in order to attend. These events cannot be attended with a normal theme park ticket — Guests must purchase a separate ticket in order to attend one of these events.
In 2020, Walt Disney World Resort had to make the difficult decision to cancel many of its after-hours and ticketed events, including the Magic Kingdom events like Villains After Hours, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. But, with the recent announcement of a ticketed event coming to Disney California Adventure very soon, many Disney World fans are wondering if Walt Disney World Resort will also bring back ticketed events in 2021.
At this time, Disney World has not announced if they would be bringing back ticketed events in 2021, however, we do think that this is possible. You can read more about how we think Walt Disney World Resort could bring back ticketed events this year by clicking our article here.
Disney World 50th Anniversary
Walt Disney World is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! At this time, not many details have been released surrounding what the theme parks plan for this milestone celebration. However, Jeff Vahle, President of Walt Disney World, did reveal a small tidbit of information to get Guests excited, saying that Cast Members who “make the Disney magic come alive for millions of Guests every year” will be at the “heart of the parks’ momentum around the milestone.”
With the 50th anniversary this year, we expect Walt Disney World Resort to bring some celebrations to the theme park surrounding this milestone, but please keep in mind that Walt Disney World has not yet confirmed anything for this anniversary. Inside the Magic will continue to update you as we get information.
Experiences at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Did you know that you can build your very own lightsaber at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Despite the current changes at Disney World due to the pandemic, Savi’s Workshop on Batuu is currently accepting reservations for all of you travelers! Additionally, Guests can build Legacy Lightsabers at Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities.
And if you are looking to build your very own droid, Droid Depot, also located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, allows Guests to build their very own droid to go on adventures with. For more information, visit our website here.
Best Way to Book a Disney World Vacation
If you want to visit Walt Disney World on your next family vacation, but aren’t sure where to begin planning — we highly suggest working with a certified Travel Agent! Our friends over at Academy Travel are experienced, knowledgeable, and will be with you every step of the way when planning your magical Walt Disney World vacation.
Founded in 1996, Academy Travel is celebrating over 20 years in business and as the original “Disney Exclusive” travel agency. Academy Travel has earned the highest designation that Disney can bestow upon a travel agency, EarMarked Diamond!
Academy Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and has been designated as a Diamond EarMarked Travel Agency specializing in Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
If you are planning to visit a public place, such as Walt Disney World Resort, during this pandemic, please remember to practice safety and health protocols in order to keep yourself and others safe during this time. Keep your distance from other Guests, wear your appropriate face coverings at all required times, wash your hands often, try to use paperless payment methods, and cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.