Safe. Did we feel safe traveling to Disney World during COVID? It’s the number one question on everyone’s mind. Let’s get right to the answer. Yes, overall we felt safe traveling to Disney World during this unique time. Now, that we got that completed, we wanted to share our experience in the form of a trip review. Not just any trip review, but a DVC Duo style trip review. This article will be the first of a multiple part series where we’ll be breaking down different aspects of our trip as it relates to COVID. Today we will be focusing on the trip down to Florida. Let’s pack those bags, we’ve got a flight to catch!
The Prep Work
Every Disney World trip involves a little prep work. This time around the prep work wasn’t our traditional FastPass selections and booking of special events, instead, it was face coverings and cleaning essentials. The number one question we had before traveling to Disney World was, what is the best face covering for the Florida heat? After tons of Googling and research, we decided to bring down a couple of options, the first being the traditional disposable face covering and the second being a reusable pleated face covering with adjustable elastic earloops and nose wire.
Overall, we found the reusable face covering to be the most comfortable. Especially, the adjustable earloops as they didn’t “tug” on our ears. The exact model we used can be found here. We used the disposable face coverings for the gym and going for jogs. Our biggest recommendation is to find a face covering that fits you correctly and test it out at home by wearing it for longer periods of time.
Beyond the face coverings, we brought our own travel-size hand sanitizer for our backpacks. Other guests brought wipes for wiping down their plane seats and hotel rooms.
Traveling to Disney World has two options, flying or driving. Based on where we live, flying was the best option for us. Off to the airport, we went. For our flight down to Orlando, we chose to fly Southwest Airlines and connected through Baltimore, MD. All the airports we flew through required face coverings to be worn while at the airport unless you were actively eating or drinking. The only exception was security, where you have to remove your mask for the TSA agent to validate your ID.
Overall, at the airport, we felt very safe. We found all the airports we flew through to have lower crowd levels. The one exception would be the Baltimore, MD airport where it did feel “more busy” as Southwest is using it as one of its main hubs. Never unsafe, just more people than we expected.
Boarding the plane Southwest has shifted from large group boarding to groups of 10 at a time. This made it super easy. We did notice the procedure varied from airport to airport. Some airports we’re asking everyone to stay seated until their group of 10 was called and others asked the 10 to line up. In our experience, having people stay seated definitely worked better and we decided to stay seated until our group was called for all our flights.
Once onboard passengers had the option of a window or aisle seat. At this time Southwest is not letting anyone sit in the middle seat unless you’re all part of the same group. Can you say plenty of elbow room! Everyone is required to wear a face-covering through the duration of the flight unless they are actively eating or drinking. From what we could tell, everyone followed this request. Once airborne, flight attendants limited the number of interactions with passengers, as service is only water and a snack. The only time it felt a little “iffy” was deplaning. We noticed one flight requested everyone stay seated until the row in front of you departed, while other flights did not make this announcement. If the announcement was not made, a lot of people fell into old habits when deplaning.
For all the details on how Southwest is handling physical distancing and airplane safety please reference the following link.
Off To Disney World
Arriving in Orlando you’ll have a variety of choices on how to get to your resort. We chose the Magical Express. While the Magical Express is operating, there are a few changes to the system. The biggest change is the luggage. Traditionally, Disney will collect your luggage and deliver it to your hotel room. At the moment, this service has been suspended and Disney asks guests to pick up their luggage at baggage claim.
After collecting our belongings we headed for our motorcoach. When checking in the Magical Express the attendant assigned us seats on the bus. They are grouping people based on your resort drop off order, with the last resort drop-off being at the back of the bus. It should be noted that the Magical Express is grouping resorts differently right now due to lower guest volumes. Most Magical Express trips will stop at four resorts. Stepping onto the bus we noticed there were no numbers for our seats. It definitely created a little confusion for everyone, however, everyone resolved the issue by spacing themselves out from one another.
One thing to note is Disney is stating the Magical Express can take longer than normal with wait times up to 90 minutes. We didn’t have to wait more than 20 minutes. We landed at 11:30 am est. However, we do know that Disney has reduced the number of trips per day, and depending on the time of day you arrive you could have a longer wait.
Overall, we felt safe. While nothing can ever be 100% perfect, we would say for the most part traveling to Disney World via plane was 92% perfect. We never felt compromised or concerned whether we were at the airport, on the plane, or riding on the Magical Express. Everyone traveling was doing everything they could to keep physical distancing and be considerate to other travelers. We did it, part one is in the books. The next stop on our DVC Duo trip review is to the resort!
If you have any questions about our experience traveling to Disney World during COVID, please feel free to reach out. We’re more than happy to provide as much insight as we can.
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