My take on Disney World coming out of a Pandemic
Face coverings are no longer required for vaccinated guests except for Disney transportation. Cast members in most outdoor venues no longer are required to wear them as well.
Wow, did this make a huge difference. I have gotten used to reading people’s eyes, but seeing the expression on a person’s face when they experience the magic of this place was priceless.
Many guests ask if they are patrolling kids under 12 and asking them to put masks on. We saw very few kids with masks on, so I would assume they are not.
The walk-up availability feature on the app introduced when the parks re-opened last summer is one of those things coming out of COVID that I genuinely like. You can search dining availability by hitting “now”, and it will pull up the walk-up list with availability.
We were able to do Le Cellier with a 5-minute wait for lunch. We were in Italy, and as we started walking towards the restaurant, I got notification our table was ready. Chef Mickey was available one day for dinner with a 10-minute wait. And, as I write this, there are many options, including the newly re-opened Tusker House with a 25-minute wait. If you search for dining reservations for these places, there is no availability, so this leads me to believe they are holding back some tables for these walk-ups.
We did have some team members walk up to places that did not have reservations or walk-up availability. It was hit or miss, but they could get seats at some of those locations with neither a reservation nor being on a walk-up list.
You can opt-out of cleaning or have it every other day. We were there for six nights, so we opted for it. The first time they came in, we didn’t even know at first they had been there as they did not make the bed. However, we had fresh towels and restocked toiletries and coffee.
Magic mobile was recently introduced as an option to enter the parks with your tickets on the app. It is also supposed to open your room. After trying it on both an Iphone12 and an Android platform, we found it lacking consistency and grabbed an old magic band out of our car to use for things like opening the fitness center door, opening the gate at the parking lot, and our room. Magic mobile did not work to open the fitness center or the gate at the parking lot and was hit or miss with our room. It worked well to enter the park turnstiles.
We experienced the newly re-opened Tusker House and were pleased with the ongoing character rotations. When Topolino’s first opened, I was surprised at how much I liked the new contactless character experiences. Pre-pandemic, the characters came around to the tables, signed autographs and took pictures. It was nice but super slow! It could take up to two hours to attend one of these dining venues to see all characters. Typically, there are four characters at these venues, so there is a lot of downtime. Now, they are continually entering the dining rooms, making distanced interactions with everyone, posing, and will take distanced selfies. I know I may be in the minority, but I hope they keep a little of this as we head into our new world of travel to Disney. As a result, more people will experience these dining experiences, and a guest will have more time for other things within the parks and resorts.
Character Meet n Greets
Like the character dining, Disney has gotten creative in popping characters throughout the parks, whether that is a cavalcade or Joy popping around a tree to wave at guests, Pooh chasing butterflies in a garden, Mary Poppins on a path in Epcot posing for distance photos. Even as an adult, I find myself with a big grin when these unexpected meetings occur. We were amazed when an RV pulled up to the Yacht Club, and Goofy and Pluto popped out. They hung out on the upper level of the lobby interacting with guests and taking distanced photos.
Bottom line, Disney is evolving, coming to life even more, and we could not be happier. We would love to help you plan a magical vacation. If you do not have an Ears of Experience Mouse Expert, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for expert guidance in navigating a Disney vacation.