Since Disney World reopened after COVID we’ve been there documenting the policy changes, crowds, and more. As of February 2022, Disney World is almost the same place it was pre-pandemic. This article highlights the handful of remaining ways Disney World is different in 2022 to help you prepare for your vacation.
I am in no way an expert on COVID-19. There is an inherent risk of getting sick when you no longer follow a stay-at-home order. This is information I have compiled in my attempt to make travel decisions for my family at this time. Please consult a healthcare professional with specific questions about your or your family’s potential risks and health.
Disney World After COVID Reopening: The Good
Streamlined Security at Disney World After COVID Reopening
One of the best things at Disney World post-COVID reopening is the streamlined security screening. Instead of security combing through each and every guest bag, guests walk through a security checkpoint screening device. This new procedure makes security lines a thing of the past.
Here are a couple of important tips to make security a breeze. Guests should remove umbrellas and hard sided eyeglass cases from their bag before reaching security. Hold these items out straight out in front of you and then walk through the screener.
If you have a Droid Depot Astromech these need additional security screening. BB units must be inspected and removed from carrying bags. Security also asks to open BB unit bodies and inspect the motivator mechanism.
People With Food Allergies Can Still Get A Consultation
Disney World is encouraging, and often mandating, mobile ordering at quick service restaurants. Mobile ordering is super convenient for most guests, but since Elizabeth has an unusual food allergy I was nervous about the process.
Quick service restaurants have added an allergy-friendly section to mobile ordering. The menus now show options for guests with common food allergies like gluten, egg, fish/shellfish, milk, peanut/tree nut, and soy. If you have one of these food allergies you can order from the mobile ordering system.
Guests with less common or multiple food allergies can request a chef consultation. The chef and trained allergy consultants helped us find safe options during our quick service meals.
Disney Cast Members
The cast members we met on these trips are just as wonderful as they have always been despite their jobs becoming much harder. Cast members have a lot more responsibilities, plus are in full costumes, masks, and often face shields which I imagine is uncomfortable.
Even in the challenging post-COVID environment, cast members we met went above and beyond to make our park days and hotel stay wonderful. We made sure to thank every cast member during our trip for making our day special.
Park Hopping Has Returned
Starting January 1, 2021 Disney World reinstated park hopping. Although there are new rules and restrictions on moving from park to park, having the ability to park hop made our trip feel more like normal.
Disney World After COVID Reopening: The Bad
People Forget How To Social Distance Without Floor Markings
Plastic dividers and floor markings help people maintain social distancing at Disney World. We found that when there were visible floor markings guests did an excellent job maintaining distance. Unfortunately, now that the markers are removed people reverted to old habits and crowd you in line.
The Disney World Park Reservation System
Initially implemented to help Disney World manage reopening crowd levels, Josh D’Amaro, Disney Parks Chairman, believes the park reservation system is here to stay.
It is increasingly common to find days where Disney World has zero park reservation availability. This means if you haven’t reserved park days well in advance you are barred from park entry. No park reservation availability also means no switching from one park reservation to another if you change your mind.
Disney World Reduced Park Hours
Disney World has reduced hours after reopening. These shortened park hours make it more difficult for guests to get the full Disney experience. The good news is as the parks get busier, hours are getting extended. However, park hours are only changing about 2 weeks before arrival and aren’t guaranteed.
Families with small kids who need a midday break will find it nearly impossible to get back to some parks before closing. These short park hours combined with Disney World park reservations makes visiting Disney less flexible.
Crowds Are Extremely High at Disney World
Capacity is no longer reduced at Disney World, and people are excited to visit. It seems a combination of new Disney fans planning Disney World vacations plus a backlog of guests who rescheduled trips are filling the parks.
Reduced Food and Shopping Options At Disney World
Just like reduced park hours, many shops and restaurants are closed at Disney World after COVID reopening. This is mostly a minor inconvenience, but we had a couple disappointing experiences because of the limitations.
For example, since Elizabeth has a food allergy we often stick to places and foods we’ve vetted. I didn’t realize that if a restaurant was open they usually offered a limited menu. This meant many safe favorites didn’t exist and we were left scrambling to find an alternative.
Wearing Masks Is Challenging For Some
As of February 17, 2022, Disney World has changed their mask policy. Masks are optional indoor for vaccinated guests.
However, all guests age 2 years and older must wear masks for Disney World transportation like Disney World buses, the Disney Skyliner, and monorail.
We tested seven different masks during our Disney World visits. Here’s are pros and cons of each type plus general Disney World mask tips.
Disney World After COVID Reopening: The Ugly
Other Disney World Guests
The only ugly thing we’ve experienced at Disney World after COVID reopening is other guests. So much of your experience right now relies on other guests being respectful to others
We’ve seen a lot of guests cutting lines, being verbally abusive to cast members, and generally behaving in a negative way. I’m hoping that this guest behavior improves since it negatively impacts the overall joy of Disney World.
Disney World After COVID Reopening Final Thoughts
Disney World is now almost back to normal now that parades, character meet and greets, and fireworks have returned. Some Disney World reopening changes, like streamlined security have been good long term changes. However, other policies like the Disney World park reservation system just make Disney World vacation planning a little more complicated.
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