When visiting Walt Disney World during the Covid Pandemic the question on everyone’s mind is Should You Visit Walt Disney World This Year? While your answer here is yours and yours alone, we wanted to break down what a Disney Vacation in 2021 looks like. So that you can make your Best Choice for you and your family. Here are all the things to consider if you’re hoping to visit Walt Disney World in a year or two.
Should You Visit Walt Disney World This Year?
Let us be honest here. This question can only be answered by you. But, the fact that you’ve shown up here means you’re trying to consider your options. And whether or not a Disney Vacation this year or next may be worth it for you and your family. So, here are all our thoughts based on what we know is happening in the parks through this time. Be sure to click through the links we share here for extra details. Here are 13 things to consider to help you answer this question.
What Does a Walt Disney World Vacation Mean For You?
So, when we talk about Walt Disney World or any Disney Park, there is an element of magic and wonder that makes a Disney Vacation SPECIAL. It’s something you can’t find on that trip to Italy, or road trip to Colorado, right? Being lovers of all things Disney, we revel in the nighttime fireworks shows and the lazy afternoons lounging on the Magic Kingdom hub grass in the plaza garden. We adore the fun parades and nighttime events and parties and strolling the park while sipping our coffee. We can’t get enough of the EPCOT Festivals that happen throughout the year and for us, a Walt Disney World Vacation is all these things.
What is a Disney Vacation for you? Is it just about riding the most rides? Eating the most Disney Snacks you can find? Do you go regularly or annually? Or is this you very first Disney trip? Get clear about what Disney means to you. And this slew of Hard Truths will be easier to identify something that is OK, or something is a Deal Breaker.
Will the Cost of Disney in 2021 Be Worth the Visit?
As we dive in here it’s important to note that a TON of things are no longer happening in 2021 so far. We’ve outlined everything in our What’s Changing at Walt Disney World post, but in short there are no parades, no fireworks, no character meet and greets, and no dining plan among other things. There are also shorter hours at Disney Parks , limited park hopper and limited transportation. Will your “Expensive” Disney Vacation still be worth it to you without these things? Again, this decision is yours and yours alone, but for us these are some of the things that make Disney magical. And sorta worth the high price tag. Will you be OK spending 4K on a Disney vacation that doesn’t have these things?
Will This Be Your FIRST Visit to Walt Disney World?
For this question, we’re gonna give you our honest opinion. If you have been saving up to go to Walt Disney World for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, or if this will be your very first Disney Vacation, then we’d recommend AGAINST visiting this year. Why? Because much like all the things that make Disney magical, a First Disney Vacation is supposed to hit you in the heart. Your first step into Magic Kingdom should have you in tears. Your first fireworks show, parade, and your first stroll through Epcot sipping something sweet are all important milestones. These will undoubtedly be overshadowed by the reality of the situation at present.
Because you know what’s not magical? Wearing masks indoors, no parades, and limited Disney Snack availability. For these reasons we’d say if you’re asking yourself “should we visit Walt Disney World this year” and it was going to be your first impression of the Most Magical Place on Earth… then she’s just not dressed for it this year. Give her some space to figure things out and perhaps next year or the year after she’ll be back in her Sunday best with more Disney magic and dressed to impress…like usual. Maybe save a little more money and plan on a longer trip next time.
Are You OK with LESS Time in the Parks?
If you have little kids, then you’re probably used to shortening your days in the parks. But, if you’re used to longer days, then the Shorter Park Hours will be a rude awakening. If you thought fitting everything into a 9am- 11pm day was tough, try to fit it into a 10am- 8pm day. Keep in mind though that shorter days may not necessarily be a bad thing! Because there is so much less to do!!! Your main activities in the parks right now are riding rides, and eating. That’s pretty much it. Every once in a while there is a character cavalcade. But for the most part your day can be spent riding and re-riding your favorite rides. And that may not take more 10 hours. So it’s your call.
Will You Miss the Fireworks, Shows, and Parties?
If you think most of this trip will involve you saying ” I’m so sad we can’t see Happily Ever After.” then maybe reconsider visiting. A Disney Vacation is supposed to be amazing! And taking a vacation to be painfully aware of everything you can’t do, won’t feel much like a happy vacation. If you were always more about the rides anyway! Then this may not be an issue for you!
Do You Mind Waiting in Lines? Or Not?
So in a strange turn of events, the removal of FastPasses hasn’t been felt as strongly as we assumed it would. Mainly because the capacity for Walt Disney World is soooo low right now, that you’re not fighting with tens of thousands of guests to get on your favorite rides. In fact many rides have had no line at all! And Flight of Passage, which is a regular 2-3 hour wait, was down to 45 minutes this week. And most people are fine standing in a line that long. That said, if you are all about the rides and just want to go get your fill, then this year and next may be a good option for you.
Are you Comfortable Riding Disney Buses, Monorail, Skyliner?
Disney Transportation is an essential part of every Disney World vacation. That said, are you comfortable using the buses, monorail, skyline? Or would you rather just bring your own car? We’ve talked about the reasons you may want to consider just driving to Walt Disney World anyway. But getting a handle on your preferences for this element of your trip is important if you’re considering a 2021 vacation.
Without Character Meet and Greets Can You Still Have Fun?
Character Meet and Greets at Walt Disney World are a way of life for many. If you need a character meet and greet as part of your Disney vacation, ask yourself if a distanced experience is OK instead. So far, characters have been part of character cavalcades like the ones this past Christmas through the park, and intermittently available in other cases. Just something to be aware of.
It’s All About the Rides, A lot of Them!
Can you do 25 rides in one day? You bet. The only thing really available is rides. So if you are simply going to Walt Disney World to get your fill of riding and re-riding your favorite rides, then this may be the year for you! With fewer people in the parks, and less to do, its the best time to indulge in any rides you choose! Over and over again. Flight of Passage is at 30 minute wait times on heavy days, and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is seeing 20 minute waits.
Are you OK Missing Out on Your Favorite Restaurants?
While we were able to find a spot at Sanaa, our beloved Ohana will still be closed on our next trip. In fact many of our favorite restaurants will still be closed. And with Be Our Guest only serving the Prix Fixe menu at both lunch and dinner, we may not be visiting that restaurant either! That said, while sad, this isn’t a dealbreaker for us, but it may be for you. So double-check your favorite restaurants before you go so you can keep your expectations in check. And remember, advanced dining reservations should be made 60 days in advance.
Will you Feel Safe at Walt Disney World?
And now for the big question that should really be your only question when considering a trip to Walt Disney World. Will you feel safe? If you’re still asking ” should we visit Walt Disney World this year “, then it pays, literally, to give your safety and well-being some airtime. If this vacation will be stressful for you then save your vacation for another time. Walt Disney World really is doing everything in their power to keep the place clean, encourage physical distancing and put the safety of guests and cast members at the top of the priority list. But nothing is foolproof.
Should You Visit Walt Disney World in 2021?
Hopefully, this post has given you some clarity on what to expect if you’re traveling to Walt Disney World in 2021. There are still many many changes in play for the 50th Anniversary and all those construction projects still on the docket. Stay tuned on the blog and sign up for our newsletter to keep in the know as things change.
Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.