Heading to Disney World now that it is open? If so, we’re guessing you already know what kinds of changes to expect. However, you may not have addressed this topic with your little ones just yet. If this is the case, having such discussions is something you’ll probably want to do sooner rather than later.
Sure, changes due to a pandemic isn’t the most fun topic to cover when preparing for a vacation. Still, if you skip the conversations and dive right in, your kid might just be left feeling confused and disappointed in their Disney World experience. On the other hand, if you go ahead and talk about what to expect and make preparations at home, your little ones will be ready to jump into the new Disney World and embrace it for what it is. Here are some things we recommend doing to get the kids ready for a Disney World vacation post-quarantine.
1. Shop for Masks and Hand Sanitizer Together
Two things you’ll be doing a lot of in the parks are wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer. Talk to your kids about this and help make it a fun and exciting experience by letting them pick out a mask with a favorite character on it, as well as their favorite scent of hand sanitizer or small bottles with characters on them.
2. Practice Good Handwashing Technique
Besides sanitizing your hands, you should also be doing regular soap-and-water washing sessions. Fortunately, there are plenty of restrooms in every park, making it easy to stop in and do this throughout the day. Of course, washing is pointless if it isn’t done right. Therefore, it’s a good idea to practice handwashing technique before leaving home. Show your kids how to wash the fronts and backs of their hands, between their fingers, and under their nails. Remind them to wash for 20 seconds, and teach them to sing a song or count in order to know they’ve been scrubbing that long.
3. Discuss Social Distancing Beforehand
The idea of social distancing will seem absolutely crazy to many kids. Therefore, it’s a good idea to introduce this idea and practice distancing from others at home before you go. Try making it a game in which everyone has to stay 6 feet away from one another while setting the table and preparing dinner. This can get pretty silly and is likely to end in giggles, but it’ll also help get the idea across. If you have very young children and aren’t sure they’ll be able to distance themselves effectively, we recommend packing a stroller for them to ride in. This will remove the need for them to distance themselves, as you will be in control of the stroller.
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4. Set New Expectations
If your child has been to Disney World before, or even if they’ve never been but have been dreaming and planning for years, it’s important that they know things are different at this time. Make sure your kids are aware that fireworks and parades aren’t going to be happening, and give them a heads-up that character meets aren’t an option at this time (though you will likely see some characters wandering through the parks). Without doing this, you run the risk of extreme disappointment that could ruin an entire day or even the whole trip. It’s much better to get the disappointment out of the way at home so you can fully enjoy your trip.
5. Replace Old Favorites
Is there something in particular that your child was really looking forward to but is now impossible due to the changes Disney has made? It might help your child to replace that experience with something else. Have a little one who was really looking forward to a visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? Plan a hotel room makeover instead! Is your tiny Disney fan sad about a canceled character dining experience? Try snagging a reservation at Topolino’s Terrace, where a modified character breakfast is still available.
6. Help Them Through Fears
All of the big changes might be frightening to young children, especially if they don’t fully understand why they are being made. Be sure to explain the reasons behind the big changes in a way that your child can understand, but also let them know the people at Disney will be doing everything they can to keep everyone safe. You can also explain that you will be doing your own part to keep your family safe as well by washing hands regularly and social distancing. Allowing your kids to express their fears and helping them talk through these feelings will help tremendously with making them comfortable during the trip so they can feel the Disney magic.