10 Experiences We’re Missing The Most During Walt Disney World’s Phased Reopening

Walt Disney World reopened to guests in July welcoming them back to the magic.  Although we are excited to be back in the parks, there are some things we are still missing.  Here are 10 experiences we’re missing the most during this phased reopening at Walt Disney World.


Happily Ever After

1. Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After is the perfect end to a magical day at Magic Kingdom.  Right now, this evening fireworks spectacular is not being shown in order to help keep guests and cast members safe.  We greatly miss grabbing a Mickey shaped snack, finding a spot in the hub and ending our evening with fireworks, music and an unbelievable protection show.  


2. Evening Entertainment

Along with Happily Ever After, other nighttime shows also are not showing right now.  We miss finishing our night at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Fantasmic or the Star Wars fireworks.  Having a drink around the World Showcase while watching the new Epcot Forever, is something we look forward to doing again.  These nighttime shows are experiences that we miss and without them it leaves our evenings, although still magical, missing a little something. 

Boma Buffet

3. Buffets

In Disney right now, buffets are a thing of the past.  Beloved meals such as Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace, and Boma are no longer buffet style meals and we miss that option.  Buffets were a great way to experience new things while having some favorites (Mickey waffles anyone) to fall back on.  Right now, guests can eat at Chef Mickey’s but a server will bring food to them and Boma and Crystal Palace aren’t opened.  We look forward to having all the delicious foods in the future.

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4. Meet and Greets

Mickey and friends are trying to keep safe and follow social distancing rules as well making the traditional meet and greets not available to guests.  Guests can still see Mickey and friends throughout all the parks in cavalcades (small parades) or even in random spots throughout the parks, but they won’t sign autographs or stop for pictures.  We miss those magical Mickey hugs and can’t wait until they come back again.

Credit: Disney

5. No Masks

When Disney reopened, it was with a mask policy that requires all guests ages two and up to wear a mask at all times unless in a relaxation zone or stationary and eating/drinking.  Even though we have adjusted to this new policy, we miss the days of not wearing the masks.  We can’t wait to see cast members smile and to be free to eat and drink without worrying about the mask. Currently masks can be removed for outdoor photos and while eating or drinking in a stationary position. We know the masks are important, but doesn’t mean we can’t miss those times without them.

Dapper Dans

6. Entertainment

As the parks have reopened, there is less spontaneous entertainment throughout the parks.  The Main Street Quartet, Streetmosphere and other similar entertainment experiences aren’t happening and we miss it greatly.  So many of these entertainment experiences is what brings the magic to the parks.  It is fun to meet the mayor of Main Street or to see them try to film a scene on Sunset Boulevard.  Epcot is still trying to provide some entertainment in the American Gardens Theatre, but overall these small performances have been removed from the parks.  It will be great to have these shows back in the future.  

7. Epcot’s International Workers

As Epcot shut down, many of the international cast members traveled back to their home countries to be safe with loved ones.  When Epcot reopened, it was unfortunately without the majority of these cast members and they are extremely missed in the World Showcase.  We miss having conversations with people from all the different countries and learning about their culture directly from them.  We are so grateful they are safe, but we can’t wait to welcome them back to Epcot with open arms.

8. No Parades

It seems so strange to not have a parade during the day at Magic Kingdom.  Like with fireworks, Magic Kingdom seems a little different without the traditional parade each afternoon.  We miss seeing all the characters, hearing the music and watching all the amazing floats go by.  The cavalcades are great and it is a neat idea by Disney to provide some entertainment, characters and a parade-like atmosphere for guests, but we sure do miss the traditional Festival of Fantasy parade in the afternoons.

Credit: Disney

9. Special Ticket Events

Disney has recently come out with many different and unique events for guests to experience the parks and we miss these a lot.  From Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to the After Hours events at the parks, we miss having these fun, themed night time experiences.  We are hoping that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will allow us to experience this soon.

Credit: Disney

10. Tours

Something that Disney does so well is their special tours.  At each of the four parks, Disney offers unique one of a kind tours that are an experience like no other.  From up close encounters with animals to behind the scene looks at how the parks run, each tour is so special.  We miss being able to try out these different tours during our trips.  We hope that these experiences will come back soon.

We are so glad that Walt Disney World is opened and the magic is back and welcoming guests daily, but we still do miss some experiences while they continue to phase their parks back to what we would think as norm.  Until then, we will continue to enjoy the new memories and magic that we can make and strive to find new favorites.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.