So you have decided that you want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth. Now what? You used to have an entire strategy around planning your Disney World visit. You'd calculate and design your stay so that you could squeeze out every ounce of magic available. These smart tactics would quickly lead you to burnout.
You'd arrive at the parks a parent who just wanted their family to have the best visit ever. But your family never understood why we HAVE to go to whichever attraction right NOW because you didn't want to miss that elusive FastPass that you woke up extra early one morning to secure. During your visit, you were a short-tempered shell of your usual self.
Disney has implemented health protection measures for its cast members and guests, which have turned these old strategies on their head. Before these measures, you would book your flights, decide which parks to visit, determine the special attractions you want to experience, and select your Fast Passes. This method no longer works. Here is the new approach for planning your Disney World visit in 2020 so you can seize the magic.
Disney has opted to pause all ticket sales to control attendance within their parks. This measure offers guests the opportunity to keep physically distant during their visit. If you have not purchased theme park admission already, you will be unable to visit Walt Disney World in 2020. That is unless Disney changes its current policy, which is always a possibility.
For those who have already purchased tickets or annual passes, Disney has announced a reservation system for entry into the parks. This reservation system—in tandem with the elimination of Extra Magic Hours and Park Hopping—will allow Disney a firm grasp on crowds and social distancing.
Once the advanced booking system becomes available, secure your park reservations based on the dates you want to visit Disney World. When you have secured your park entry days, you can begin planning your airline travel if you choose to fly in. Then you can arrange your hotel bookings.
Likely, you will not obtain park entry reservations for every day of your visit, and that is a plus. Before, it would seem that you were missing out on some of the magic if you did not jam-pack each day within the parks. At the end of your visit, you would need a vacation. As Disney is now, it will serve as an actual vacation, and those off days can be used for a pool day, shopping day, or any host of relaxing activities at your hotel.
Where to Stay in Disney World
Hotel choice used to be an easy one. You would decide if the benefits of the Disney Resort outweighed the cost, then you would choose your budget and determine which hotels had availability. Currently, many conventions in Orlando are canceled, leaving most area hotels and resort with ample availability. You can even find luxury hotels with value hotel pricing.
With a Disney Resort hotel, you still have access to Disney detail, Disney transportation, and complimentary MagicBands; however, these benefits are not as irresistible an option as they once were. Until now, the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort were substantial. With the loss of early access to FastPass and planning, extra magic hours, Disney Signature Services, and Disney dining plans, Disney has opened a host of choice to visitors as staying at a Disney Resort Hotel does not provide considerably more magic than a surrounding area hotel or a vacation home.
A Way for Disney
Releasing limited-edition merchandise at Disney resorts is a smart way for Disney to compel visitors to choose a Disney Resort hotel over a hotel in the surrounding area. This merchandise can be sold within Disney Resort hotels only to guests currently checked in. Presently, limited-edition merchandise is being released on ShopDisney.com, and the virtual queue continues to be circumvented by bots, which makes it difficult for collectors to purchase directly through Disney.
Getting to Walt Disney World
Decide how comfortable you are with traveling by air. Presently airfares are at a nadir. If you have decided to stay at a Disney Resort, Disney's Magical Express will collect you and your family from the Orlando International Airport. Disney and many area hotels provide transportation to Disney Parks, so you won't have to worry about getting around once you arrive.
If you prefer to make it a road trip, you will have more flexibility if you weren't able to secure park reservations for all days of your visit. On your non-park days, you will have more freedom to get around town if you choose to leave your hotel.
My Disney Experience App
Download the My Disney Experience App. No, seriously, if you haven't already, download t
his app. This app is essential now that Disney will roll out additional virtual queues.
Many Disney lovers have expressed that much of Disney's magic will be gone because of Disney's health and safety measures; as the character meet and greets, parades and special experiences will not be available. I disagree with this summation. Much of the magic of Disney that was missing before can now be found. Thin crowds will provide the ability to soak in more of the detail of your experience during your visit.
Think of every complaint that you had about Disney over the past year. When I do this, much of what I was upset about has been eliminated with the new capacity limits. I no longer have to complain that I NEVER get a Flight of Passage FastPass, and I don't have to worry about rushing to Hollywood Studios to secure a virtual space for Rise of the Resistance.
Many have said to hold your next visit to Disney World to 2021 for the 50th anniversary. I will visit then too, but for now, I will soak in all the magic available while the crowds are minimal.
All photos are credited to Disney Parks.