With many of our 2020 vacations derailed, some of you might be planning to make up those missed memories over the warmer months at Walt Disney World. For those who are headed to the parks, here are five mistakes you don't want to make when planning your revamped, COVID-friendly return to the magic.
Underestimating Table Service Lunches
Admittedly, I am more of a spontaneous eater when visiting the Disney parks, but in pandemic conditions and hot weather, it can be easy to overheat when out and about. Be sure to add in a few table service meals for lunch in the hottest part of the day so you can enjoy the air-conditioned comfort and recoup some of your energy. Even though masks are required when you aren't actively eating or drinking, you don't want to underestimate the restorative power of shade, cool air, and someone bringing you a cold drink.
Not Taking Advantage of Water Parks
They've become something many of us have forgotten about over the years; fixated on the four main parks in Walt Disney World, Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, are often overlooked when we plan out our time on vacation. Over the warmer months, these two locations are a fantastic way to spend the day, providing a much-needed break from the heat, as well as your masks in certain areas.
Blizzard Beach reopened earlier this month, and Typhoon Lagoon is expected to open in time for the summer months.
Being Underprepared for Lines Without FastPass
There are pros and cons to the lack of FastPass in the parks, but one thing to keep in mind is that you will not have those three E-ticket attractions tucked up your sleeve. Preparing to wait in line is part of the Disney experience, but when you are used to skating through those multi-hour wait times using the FP+ system, you might not be adequately prepared to wait in an outdoor queue for long periods of time. The usual recommendations are imperative and shouldn't need to be said, but some always need reminding just the same.
Take a hat, always carry water with you, wear sunscreen and bring a travel-sized version with you so you can reapply during the day.
Expecting Too Much from Children
Early mornings, late nights, hot temperatures, and the added exhaustion of COVID measures add up to a big ask of children, both younger and older ones. I'm sure there will be some readers already planning out their 'my kids can last all day' comebacks, and you are probably quite right. It will be different for everyone. However, having realistic expectations is so important, considering the added challenges that are in effect at the moment.
Taking breaks is one thing, but be sure to watch for the signs that a meltdown is on the horizon for them and you. Pressing on in the interest of ticking all the planned boxes won't leave you with the memories you were hoping for. If you are looking for a break but hoping not to leave the park just yet, try booking in some of those table service lunches. Some locations, such as Coral Reef, have a relaxed, darker decor that can be quite calming for kids that need a reset.
Not Taking Advantage of a Dreams Unlimited Travel Agent
Yep, I whole-heartedly suggest that you contact Dreams Unlimited Travel to help you with your travel plans. With everything changing at a moment's notice, they are available to help you keep track of everything and be ready to zig when Disney zags. While you are enjoying the countdown to fabulous, fun days ahead, they are there to keep an eye on your plans, adjusting as needed, and contacting you with anything you need to know. These guys are experts, and most importantly, they have a passion for Disney so strong they will look after your vacation as if it were their own.
I am truly happy for those of you with summer plans of Disney days, and jealous in equal parts. Being Australian, I am confined to my island for the moment, dreaming of the days when I can hear that enticing music and see the sights of the place I love so much. Stay safe and enjoy the planning!
Feature photo credit: Michelle Perrin-Crawford