Bad idea turned best experience: Traveling to Walt Disney World during a pandemic

Bad idea turned best experience: Traveling to Walt Disney World during a pandemic

Lauren Adamski

Whether you have had to cancel important events, work extra hours, get laid off or say goodbye to family members, the pandemic has hindered the normalcy of almost everyone’s life. One business giant whose livelihood has been majorly disrupted by the pandemic is Disney. After four months of closing down their theme parks, Disney reopened their parks on July 11, hoping to attract visitors and revenue. My family decided to go to Disney on July 17, a week after the parks had reopened. The question is, was it the right decision to go to Disney even though friends and family were cautioning us not to.

It is a bad idea to go to Disney during a pandemic because…

many experiences are closed and you are not getting what you paid for. Indiana Jones, the Lion King, and other in-park performances were closed, but that did not take away from the overall experience at Disney. Visiting Disney during the pandemic was still a pleasant experience despite these in-park performances being closed. Shows such as the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular required close contact between performers, creating an unsafe work environment for the actors during the pandemic. Although this thrilling experience is definitely one to witness, my family and I had already watched the performance on our previous Disney trip in 2013, and that was not a deciding factor in determining whether or not we should go on our trip.
On the flip side, there are 163 combined attractions and shows between the four theme parks. Out of these 163 attractions, only 12 of the attractions were closed, meaning 92.6% of the parks were open. Given that most of the experiences were available, our trip was a good idea and worth our money. By choosing to focus on all there is to experience in the parks, the closed experiences become vague objects in the background.

It is a bad idea to go to Disney during a pandemic because…

it’s hot at Disney in July and wearing a mask is uncomfortable. Yes, masks are not very comfortable, but they are becoming a part of everyone’s daily lives and we must adapt. Wearing a mask was not fun and magnified the humidity, but Disney did all they could to ensure that visitors were comfortable and happy.
To ensure comfort, Disney had many fans running throughout the park. There were designated areas, often non-operating restaurants, where visitors could go inside the air conditioned building, take a mask break and cool off before venturing back into the parks. By offering several unique amenities in the parks, visitors could be comfortable while wearing masks.

     It is a bad idea to go to Disney during a pandemic because…

the dining plan that is normally offered was unavailable, meaning all visitors had to buy their food a la carte. While they discontinued the dining plan during the time we attended Disney, we received 35% off of our room for the inconvenience. Our family calculated and we saved money by only purchasing food when needed rather than receiving a set amount of food items through a meal plan.

 It is a bad idea to go to Disney during a pandemic because…

it is unsafe to travel until an effective vaccine is produced and the virus is under control.
While there are more risks to traveling during a pandemic, Disney provided an extremely safe environment where the pandemic was not on the front of anyone’s mind. My family and I, along with Disney, took every precaution to be safe when traveling about the premises. On the Magical Express, they spaced us with at least two rows in between each family, and on the monorail, there were dividers put up in each car to block airflow and they only allowed one family per car.
Besides transportation, Disney significantly decreased the number of people allowed in the parks by requiring people to stay on site or be an annual pass holder in order to access the parks. Park-goers also had to reserve their ticket for a specific park, several weeks in advance. One Disney employee told my family that normally Magic Kingdom can see up to 108,000 people, but they were only allowing 10,000 people in the parks while we were there. Disney was holding tight to their policies by only allowing 10% capacity into their parks.

Going to Disney during a pandemic was the best experience because…
Going to Disney was a risky decision that brought out judgement from many people. Many people second guessed us when we shared our summer plans. Others shook their heads in disapproval. Despite the criticism from others, going to Disney was a very good experience. Between minimal wait times, discounted food, and low crowds, going to Disney was worth all the risks.