When planning our family Walt Disney World vacation, I was skeptical on if we should wait until all the experiences were back – fireworks, parades, more dining locations, FastPass+, etc. I even had people asking why we would pay full price when the full experience isn’t there. Luckily, I didn’t listen.
We decided to take our kids to Magic Kingdom for a day during our extended family trip to Florida because they needed a break after the crazy school year they had with masks and COVID tests. It turned out to be just the trip we needed.
I was worried about having to wait in lines all day and not having a strategy of what ride to do when, but it turned out to be so much less stressful without FastPasses. We were able to get on many rides without a long wait, but the best was being able to just go to whatever ride we were all feeling next without the agenda. While the parade and fireworks were surely missed, not stopping rides early to stake out a good spot for each allowed us to get more rides in that we might have otherwise skipped.
Speaking of parades, the character cavalcades were a great option to substitute. My daughter was so excited to see all of her favorite princesses on one float. It was always a nice surprise to see the different character cavalcades go around as we relaxed in the hub grass to avoid some mid-day lines. I should note though, we were planning to have the younger two nap while we watch for the cavalcades, but the excess noise and music made us throw that plan out the window. If you have little ones who still nap, the back of the Storybook Circus area that’s not currently in use is the best quiet spot for a stroller nap at this time.
As I mentioned, this trip was our first with extended family – my parents, sister, and brother-in-law came as well. This turned out to be a great time to go with a larger group. We didn’t have to worry about getting FastPasses or reservations for a group of nine but still were able to get on rides without long waits. While the reduced dining options were disappointing, we were able to easily agree on where to eat and mobile order ahead of time. We didn’t have to stick to a plan and were able to get in what everyone wanted to do.
As luck would have it, the indoor facemask restrictions were lifted a week after we left, and now fireworks are coming back next month. Was I disappointed that these changes were made after our trip? Sure, but I don’t regret our timing. We enjoyed the smaller crowds with limited capacity and had great weather going early in the summer.
We will plan another Disney trip with our kids to experience what we didn’t this trip eventually, but there’s things that I hope stay the same, like the relaxing nature of the trip. Overall, this was a magical trip at a time when we all needed the magic most of all.
Sara is a Marketing Specialist by day, but her true passion is writing. She's been a freelance writer for 11 years and uses that side hustle money for traveling with her husband and three young children.