The Parks Have Reopened! 40 Quick Notes to Know Before You Head to Walt Disney World

four disney world theme parks
Credit: Disney Parks

Walt Disney World is open! We were fortunate to visit all four parks a couple of times each. After receiving multiple questions from friends and family, we’ve decided to share 40 quick notes you should know before you head back to the most magical place on earth. A LOT has changed. Change is OK… but it’s change you should know. So, here we go! 40 quick notes coming your way!

1. Make a Park Pass Reservation ASAP

Now that Walt Disney World has reopened, guests need a Disney Park Pass Reservation to enter one of the four parks. You can show up the gate all you want, but unless you have a Park Pass Reservation for that select day and park, you aren’t getting in. A valid ticket is required to make a Park Pass Reservation on Disney’s website.

2. Nope – No Park Hopping

Park hopping is a big nope right now! Since you must have a Park Pass Reservation for one park per day, you won’t be able to spend the morning at Magic Kingdom and enjoy a dinner in EPCOT for example. One park per day.

3. Make Dining Reservations ASAP

With Disney’s limited capacity, a table-service dining reservation can be difficult to snag since space is limited with social distancing. Currently, guests can make dining reservations 60 days in advance. Want to eat at a table-service reservation? Make a reservation.

Credit: Disney (Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater)

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!


4. Bring Hand Sanitizing Wipes & Liquid

Disney has hand sanitizing stations spread throughout the parks and resorts. We still recommend bringing your own however so you can use wipes and/or liquid whenever you need it without looking for a sanitizing station.

5. Cell Phone POWER!

Update your phone, purchase a battery backup, and plug in whenever possible. You’ll be using your phone more now than ever with the importance of the My Disney Experience App.

6. Touchless Temperature Checks, Security & Admission

Hands off! There are three stages to entering each park. First – touchless temperature checks on your forehead. Second – walk through security with no in depth bag checks as before. Third – admission is a simple MagicBand or ticket tap. No more finger scan. Totally touchless!

7. Don’t Bother with a Metal Bottles or Umbrellas

The only hiccups with the new security scanners is that they do not like larger metal objects like metal water bottles, metal spray cans (like sunscreen), or umbrellas. If you really want to bring an umbrella, simply hold it out in front of you as you walk through the scanner.

8. Prepare for SEVERAL Breaks

It’s HOT. Masks aren’t easy, especially when it’s hot. Plan for several breaks to make your day much more enjoyable.

9. Stay Hydrated

This was important before the parks closed, and is just as important now as ever with the parks reopened. Drink up on that H2O.

10. Dine in Large Restaurants

If you’re looking for the best social distancing options while dining, seek out larger restaurants. Some of the smaller restaurants on property can feel like there are too many people in one condensed space. If the restaurant felt tight before COVID, it will feel extra tight now even with social distancing measures in place.

11. Eat Outside When Possible

We know air-conditioning is paramount, but if you’re looking for the safest possible way to dine, outside is recommended simply because you’re not sharing the same circulated air. Several quick-service restaurants have outdoor seating in shade so you can dine while taking a break from the direct heat.

12. Remain Stationary While Eating

As much as we’re used to eating and drinking on the go, Disney now requires guests remain stationary while eating or drinking. If your mask is off to snack, you’ll need to stay put. No more strolling around EPCOT’s World Showcase with eating and drinking on the move.  

13. Pay Attention to Ground Markers and Social Distancing

Disney has ground markers everywhere it seems. While it’s easy to get distracted by a good conversation or the social media on your phone, look down and follow the ground markers to keep social distancing in mind.

14. Get Used to Mobile Ordering

If you didn’t use Mobile Ordering before the parks closed, you’ll be using it now that they are reopen! Many of the quick-service locations will not allow guests to go in until they can show their Mobile Order is ready. Seriously, they aren’t playing! Download the MyDisneyExperience App and get ready to Mobile Order.

15. Many Food Kiosk/Carts are Closed

If you have a favorite snack kiosk in one of the parks, don’t be surprised to find it closed. Several of the small kiosks/carts are currently closed leaving guests will less snack options. If you’re looking for something quick, bring your own snacks and/or plan for Mobile Ordering.

16. Pre-Shows are Mostly Gone

Are you an attraction pre-show fan? Sorry to report, most attraction pre-shows have been removed and are simply queues to walk through. No more Tower of Terror Twilight show in the library, no more stretching room in the Haunted Mansion, no more trouble from Goofy with Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway… and the list goes on. Don’t count on your pre-show to be available.

17. Masks Cause Glasses to Fog Up

Wear glasses? You’ll want to invest in a mask with metal nose clip to help prevent your glasses from fogging up. The masks sold at Disney don’t have this so when we went on rides that required glasses (like Toy Story Mania) every breath we took fogged up the glasses making it hard to see.

18. Stay a Marker Back from Large Groups

Ride queues have ground markers for each party to stand on 6 feet apart. We did notice however that larger families/group stretched way past their ground marker. Look for situations like this and stand one marker back from the one it looks like you should be standing on. These markers are great guides but don’t stand on one if it makes you feel like you are simply right with the large group that is overflowing their marker.

19. No FastPass – but FP Queues are Open

Yes, FastPasses are currently obsolete. The FP queues are however still open. They are used for guests with the DAS (Disability Access Service) pass. You may also be given a FastPass if you were removed from a broken-down attraction or had a special situation along those lines.

20. Rise is Still a Virtual Queue

The most popular attraction in all of Walt Disney World, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is still a virtual queue! Disney now offers two select times throughout the day to attempt to join a boarding group for this attraction. And yes, even with limited guests in the parks, the boarding groups do fill to capacity.

21. No Parades but Mini Cavalcades

Sorry, no parades – but Disney does now have super cute cavalcades which tend to be one or two floats or cars with characters. These cavalcades are not scheduled. It simply allows for moment of “hey, look!” and it’s gone before you know it.

22. Some Shows are Available… Well, Kind Of

There are some shows Disney is trying to offer such as a rendition of UP! The Great Bird Adventure or the Droid Depot introduction. You may get hints of the “show” feel but overall, the classic Festival of the Lion King and other shows simply aren’t available.

23. Don’t Go For “Entertainment”

Not only are parades gone, but you won’t see any fireworks either. Plus, while Disney is trying to allow for cute, sudden Character moments such as Winnie the Pooh trying to catch butterflies… it’s really not the same as the old character meet and greet.

24. The Two A’s – Attractions and Atmosphere

Go to Disney for the two A’s! You can ride attractions galore with mostly low wait times. You can also still experience the Disney atmosphere with the music, key snacks, and happy Cast Members.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!


25. Seek out Leisure Resort Pools

Staying at a Disney resort? Seek out the least busy, leisure pools instead of the feature pool. While there is an attempt to social distance at the popular resort pools, see if your resort has a leisure pool that may be less crowded.

Disney’s BoardWalk Pool

26. Bring Lysol Spray for the Resort Room

Want to keep your resort room as clean as possible from whatever you drag in from the day? Bring along a can of Lysol spray and use regularly on your park bag, hats, glasses, MagicBands, shoes and more.

27. Keep your Shoes at the Door

Shoes are dirty and one of the most germ filled items you’ll bring back to your resort with you! Set up a spot to leave your shoes at the door and never track through your resort room with them.

28. Bring SEVERAL Masks

Bring several masks along for each person in your family. We couldn’t believe how many times we were ready for a fresh mask after a sweaty day in the park. Bring several and wash the ones you have, if not disposable, regularly.

29. Disney Doesn’t Sell XL Masks in Stores

The Disney masks you’ll find in the resorts and at the parks are super cute, but they run small. While on property, Disney sells small, medium, and large. We found the adult men in our party really needed XL and couldn’t even get the large around their ears. Buy from ShopDisney before your trip or bring your own L/XL masks.

30. Leave your Mask on while Riding Attractions

Simple enough… leave your mask on. Initially, Disney did allow guests to remove masks on Kilimanjaro Safaris, but this isn’t the case any longer. Leave your mask on as Disney is always watching!

31. Be Mindful of Masks with Cast Members

It’s tempting to take off your mask the moment you sit down to order food at a restaurant. It is however respectful to be mindful of Cast Members. Leave your mask on while speaking to a Cast Member for your order. Same goes for things like parking toll booth Cast Members or when MouseKeeping delivers fresh towels to your door. Be mindful of Cast Members.

32. Speak Up Respectfully & Use Your Hands

One thing we noticed with our visits is that it’s sometimes hard to understand someone when they don’t speak up in a mask. You can no longer read lips! So, for example, when a Cast Members asks how many people are in your party, you may want to speak up and use your hands to show them how many. It’s the little things that go a long way.

33. Masks Stay ON for PhotoPass

Looking for that magical shot in front of the newly renovated Cinderella Castle? Keep in mind, Disney requires masks to stay ON for PhotoPass photos. Hey, at least you’ll have a photo from this interesting time!  

34. PhotoPass Cast Cannot Hold Your Phone

And sorry, PhotoPass Cast are no longer allowed to hold your phone and take a picture for you.

35. PhotoPass Ride Photos are Delayed

More so than usual, the PhotoPass ride photos are coming through super delayed. Word is Disney is screening each photo to ensure guests have not removed their masks. Expect several days before seeing a ride photo appear on your My Disney Experience App.

36. Avoid Entrance Crowds if Possible

Looking to avoid the biggest crowds of the day? Arrive to the park an hour past the scheduled opening time. You’ll feel like you’re walking into a deserted park!

37. Follow the Rules and Listen to Cast Members

Simple enough, right? This one hasn’t changed and if anything is more crucial now than ever.

38. Wouldn’t Recommend it for First Timers

In all honestly, we just wouldn’t. You’re missing out on a LOT. It’s still a great place to be, but we’d say save your money and come when the entertainment side of Disney is back up and running!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!


39. Don’t Feel Comfortable – Leave

Trust your gut instinct. If you feel like a situation just isn’t right such as it being too crowded… leave! We personally did this in a couple of situations and are thankful we did. Do what is best for you and your family.

40. Have Fun!

This will be a different experience from any other Walt Disney World vacation you’ve experienced. Take it slow. Pack your patience. Enjoy a historic Disney experience unlike ever before!

There you have our 40 quick notes to know before you go! Have you been to the parks since they reopened? Any notes you would add?

About Jamie Sylvester

I'm a Disney nerd! A kid at heart who loves the magic and memories of Walt Disney World. I follow all things Disney and enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways, and geek out over the planning of such events. My goal is to experience as many Disney desserts and cocktails as possible! Married to another Disney nerd and blessed with a daughter and son, we thoroughly enjoy the magic at Disney and are here to help others experience the magic as well.