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How to Visit Disney World: A Detailed Travel Guide

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Despite the pandemic’s best efforts to dampen our spirits, the most magical place on earth is just as magical in 2021. So whether you’ve been jonesing for your next Disney fix or this is your first time to visit Disney World, our guide is here to help.

The success of your Disney World trip depends on getting organized before you go. This has always been the case, but it’s particularly true now there are new Covid restrictions in place. We’re covering everything you need to know to make the most of your vacation.

What’s on Offer on a Disney World Vacation?

Walt Disney World Resort is actually made up of four separate theme parks and two water parks. These include:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Hollywood Studios
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Typhoon Lagoon
  • Blizzard Beach

There’s also Disney Springs — a huge entertainment, dining, and shopping district where you’ll find just about anything you need, as well as more than 20 themed hotels on site.

At the time of writing, all four theme parks are open, as well as Disney Springs and Blizzard Beach. Typhoon Lagoon remains closed with no current scheduled date for opening.

Where Should I Stay When Visiting Disney World?

We’d almost always recommend staying within the Walt Disney World Resort. This is because you’ll save yourself so much time traveling, which means more time spent having an amazing experience in the theme parks instead of stuck in a car.

There’s another reason we recommend staying within the resort and it’s the sheer amount of choice. As we mentioned above, Disney has more than 20 themed hotels available to pick from, from lodges to villas to beach clubs on offer.

At the time of writing, all bar four of the accommodation options are open. Hotels closed include:

  • Beach Club Resort
  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Boardwalk Inn
  • Polynesian Village Resort

While they are closed, they’re all scheduled to open around the beginning of summer 2021 and are taking reservations, so if you’re not heading on your Disney World trip until then you could still stay there.

If your heart is set on a vacation sooner, you can look at some other popular Disney vacation options such as Disney Vacation Club. This timeshare-style membership program offers great deals on Disney hotels exclusively, such as DVC Bay Lake Tower.

When Should I Visit Disney World?

If you’ve not yet picked a time of year to visit Disney World, no worries! Once you’ve factored in when you can take time away from your own work, school, or other commitments, you may still be left with a lot of dates to pick from.

One thing you should take into consideration when picking dates is the amazing exclusive events on offer throughout the year. Epcot in particular has an Arts Festival January through February, a Flower and Garden Festival March through July, and a Food and Wine Festival August through November.

Outside of Epcot, there are usually Halloween celebrations throughout October and Christmas celebrations throughout December. This includes special decorations, parades, fireworks, and merchandise. 

2021 is a very special year because Walt Disney World will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary from October 1st. This celebration is planned to last all the way through until 2023 and we can’t wait to see what the resort comes up with!

Weather-wise, if you want to avoid the Florida heat, you’re best off going to Disney between January and May. The rest of the year will see you needing to pack the sunblock. 

Of course, if you’re heading in the summer, expect bigger crowds and longer queues as these are peak times.

Disney World Tickets

There are lots of park ticket options available for Disney World, so you’ll need to decide in advance how long you want to spend in each park. You can opt for day or partial day tickets for each park, park hopper tickets, and flexible multi-park tickets.

You’ll also need to have park reservations for the day alongside any of these ticket options. These have been introduced as part of Covid guidelines.

This doesn’t cost you any extra, it’s only used so Disney can keep track of guests and keep everyone as safe as possible. It’s very easy and you’ll be given a guide on how to do this when you book.

In general, you’ll want to put aside at least a day for each of the parks. Though you could easily spend a couple of days in any of them, especially if you’ve never been before.

My Disney Experience App

Another big change to help keep guests safer is the My Disney Experience App. You’ll need this helpful, free app on your phone for when you visit.

You can use it to do a whole host of things you can no longer do when you arrive. This includes making reservations at restaurants and experiences.

They’ve also changed the way the FastPass system works. So if you’re wanting to use these to skip the lines, you’ll need to make time slot reservations in advance, which you can do through the mobile app.

Other Covid Guidelines to Consider

You should also be aware there are some more Covid guidelines to consider. You’ll need to wear a mask at all times indoors. This applies to anyone over the age of 2.

Outdoors, you can remove masks except for when queueing, in theatres, or on transport. You’ll also need a contactless form of payment as the park isn’t accepting cash.

You’ll need a park reservation to visit any of the parks, except the water parks. However, you should also be aware there is a capacity limit for the water parks currently so social distancing guidelines can be followed. 

Have a Magical Time

2021 is a great year to visit Disney World. While it’s not quite the same as it was, the Covid guidelines will barely affect your trip. Plus, this might be the shortest you ever see the queues thanks to capacity limits and social distancing!

We’ve got lots more travel advice for Disney and Florida available on our blog.

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