Top 20 Walt Disney World Must-Do’s During This Phased Reopening

Splash Mountain
Photo Credit: Matthew Cooper (

Walt Disney World opened to guests in 2020 with a phased reopening.  Even in 2021 the parks remain in a phased reopening as some experiences haven’t opened yet to guests.  Although that might mean your vacation looks a little different, it will still be just as magical.  We have the top 20 must-do’s right now at Walt Disney World during this phased reopening.

1. Visit the Resorts

During this phased reopening, the park hours have been shortened slightly to allow for more cleaning procedures to be in place.  Because of this, one of the great things to do right now is to take time at the resorts.  If you are staying at a Disney resort, take time to walk around and take pictures.  Breath in the details and unique aspects of the resort or consider visiting other resorts in the area to see what they have to offer.  This is a great way to determine where your next stay will be.

Disney’s Yacht Club – Photo Credit: Matthew Cooper (

2. Pool Time

Along with hanging out at the resort, is hanging out at the pool.  Disney pools are top of the line with amazing theming, fun activities and space for the whole family to have a great time.  Consider an evening swim or take an afternoon break to enjoy the pool during the heat of the day.  No matter when you take a dip, pool time is a must do when on vacation at Walt Disney World.

3. Movie Under the Stars

Another fun event offered at Disney resorts is Movies Under the Stars.  Most evenings, Disney resorts will offer a movie outside under the stars.  Grab your favorite snack and head out to watch a movie together.  It is so much fun to be under the stars, watching a Disney movie while at Disney!

4. Ride the Mountains

When visiting Magic Kingdom, make sure that you ride all of the mountains.  Taking on the mountain challenge is a must do while visiting.  Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are fun, exciting and thrilling rides that everyone should experience while in Disney.  From a ride through space to the wildest ride in the wilderness, these mountains are sure to be a family favorite.

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5. Minnie’s Seasonal Dine

In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Minnie is greeting guests at her very own dining event.  Guests can now dine at Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine.  Here guests can enjoy both lunch or supper while Minnie and friends greet guests in their adorable holiday outfits.  This is a fun, festive way to see characters during this phased reopening.

6. Enjoy Breakfast with Mickey and Friends

Over at Disney’s Riviera, guests can enjoy breakfast with Mickey and friends at Topolino’s Terrace.  This unique dining experience features Mickey and friends in their artistic costumes.  Mickey is a painter, Minnie a poet, Daisy a dancer and Donald a sculptor.  Each costume is unique and the character interaction, although from a distance, is wonderful.  This dining experience was a must do prior to shut-down and continues to be during the phased reopening.

Credit: Disney (Topolino’s Terrace)

7. Dine at Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey’s is an iconic dining experience at Walt Disney World.  This location typically features Mickey and his friends, a huge buffet all while the monorail takes guests to and from the Magic Kingdom.  Although Mickey and friends won’t be available for another month, this meal is still a must do.  The new way of getting food is great and the atmosphere is still full of magic.

8. Ride the Classics

Walt Disney World is full of classic rides that bring the movies to life.  Make sure when you are visiting that you take time to ride these and enjoy the magic that they bring.  Fly with Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle, soar with Dumbo, sing with it’s a Small World or take a buggy ride through the Haunted Mansion.  These great attractions are must dos and can be enjoyed even during this reopening stage.

9. Enjoy the Festival

Even though the parks might look a little different, we are excited that EPCOT is still having their festivals. Festivals take place almost every day of the year at EPCOT. Each Festival matches the time/season currently being celebrated. With Festivals guests can enjoy drinks and small plates throughout the countries.  These festivals are must do as they allow guests to try many different foods, drinks and treats from around the world all while enjoying the atmosphere of Epcot.

Credit: Disney

10. Play Mini-golf 

Disney has some great mini-golf courses on property that offer anywhere from easy to challenging options.  This is a great way to still have the Disney magic during the day but save on a park ticket or remove yourself from the park crowds.  Right now, Disney only has one of the courses opened at a time, so make sure to double check prior to heading over.

11. Pick Up Your Clubs

If you are looking for a unique way to see Disney, consider picking up your clubs and playing a round at one of Disney’s golf courses.  These three courses are beautiful and offer a great way to see the resort property from a different point of view.  Make sure you call for a tee time prior to heading over to make sure there is a spot available.

12. Frozen Ever After

In Epcot, make sure you take a ride with Elsa and Anna on Frozen Ever After.  This ride takes guests into the movie where these two sisters, and their friends, work together to save their kingdom.  This dark, water ride is a fun ride through the story of Frozen with a few hidden surprises along the way.

13. Soar on Soarin

Make sure to head over the The Land Pavilion and take a flight on Soarin’.  This ride not only flys guests to different parts of the world, but brings in the sense to make one truly feel like they are visiting these places in real life.  It is a top experience in Epcot that you can enjoy now.

14. Enjoy the Cavalcades

Even though Disney isn’t doing the parade at the Magic Kingdom right now, they are providing mini-character parades at each of the four parks and they are absolutely fantastic.  No matter what park you are visiting, you will have the opportunity to catch some of your favorite characters throughout the day as they take a ride through the park. These mini parades are such an amazing way to see the characters without having to find a spot in the heat of the day.  We love the randomness of the magic they bring and believe that seeing these is a must do right now in Disney.

15. Ride a Boat

When visiting the Magic Kingdom two of the top rides are Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise.  Both of these truly Disney rides can still be done during the phased reopening.  Enjoy a few puns on Jungle Cruise or look for treasure on Pirates of the Caribbean.  We believe that these two rides are top notch in Disney right now.

Credit: Disney

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16. Random Character Interactions 

During this reopening period, Disney has modified how guests interact and meet characters.  The typical meet and greets aren’t happening; however, we believe the random interactions are a must see right now.  Our favorite characters during this reopening time is in Epcot with Joy and Winnie the Pooh.  These two adorable friends can be found playing in the grassy area near the Imagination Pavilion.  From Pooh searching for honey to Joy practicing dance, these moments are truly magical.  Keep your eyes open in each of the parks as you never know when these characters will pop up. 

17. Disney’s Skyliner

Disney’s newest mode of transportation is the skyliner that takes guests to and from Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This is a must-do experience at Walt Disney World right now.  Even if these two parks aren’t on your plans, we highly recommend a trip on the skyliner.  Head to Disney’s Riviera or Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for a dinner, drink or a walk.  It is such a breathtaking sight to see the Walt Disney World Resort from high above.

18. Flight of Passage

Over in Animal Kingdom, guests will want to take a ride on the back of a Banshee.  Flight of Passage will allow guests to fly, dip and soar through the world of Avatar all while on the back of a Banshee.  Flight of Passage is a breathtaking ride that brings all the senses together to create a one-of-a-kind adventure.

19. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

The newest attraction can be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.  This is one of the top things to do right now when visiting Walt Disney World.  This new ride not only is the first ride featuring Mickey Mouse, but it also uses brand new technology.  Guests become part of the story as Mickey and friends try to find their way out of a jam.

20. Rise of the Resistance

Rise of the Resistance is also located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is a must do attraction.  This attraction brings guests into the story as they truly experience Star Wars like never before.  From new ride vehicles to new technology, Rise of the Resistance will take your breath away with all it has to offer.  Don’t forget that right now, guests can access a boarding pass prior to entering the park.  

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World has many must do experiences right now even during the phased reopening.  From characters to rides to resorts and food, there is still so much to see and do in Walt Disney World.  If you are heading down for a vacation, make sure you try these top 20 must dos!

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.