Are you waiting for Disney vacations to be normal again before booking a trip? I get it. We are all so very desperate for normal after this past year. Let’s take a look at this question and how to best predict your experience.
First, let’s consider at what we mean by normal. I’m the first to hate the term “new normal” but I think it’s worth remembering that some things are permanent changes, and that permanent changes have been happening forever.
For example: If you visit Disney World in 2022, you will no longer have Disney’s Magical Express take you to your resort. That change is a done deal. We already know it’s not coming back. (No worries, we have great alternates for you).
Or, we can look to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World and see that when they bring this program back, the plan has changed. No longer do we have rotating days and morning and evening hours. Instead, we have daily early starts for onsite guests, at every park.
And we can look to some attractions that have permanently closed over the last year. Primeval Whirl, for example, one of my kids’ favorites, is gone forever.
But it’s also true that changes like this have happened long before Covid. Favorite rides have been closed forever many times to make way for new attractions. Programs like Extra Magic Hours have started and stopped. The parks evolve over time.
So let’s look at some of the things people are looking for with a “normal” park experience.
We want to ride all the rides. No problem here – the rides are open and just as fun as ever.
We want to eat in themed restaurants. Got it, let’s do it. Sooooo many of the restaurants are open as usual.
We want to see characters at meals. Ok! While there are less total options right now, there are absolutely character meals open. Do you need to hug the characters? If not, these will still please you and your kids just the same.
We want parades. Sure! While they don’t currently offer 1 longggg parade mid-day, Disney does offer many small parades called cavalcades all day long. These include lots of different floats and characters, and many clients have returned saying they loves these even more than the traditional parade.
We want a great resort and awesome pool time. Great, most resorts are open with just a few left to open (most of which open this spring and summer). Pools are open – jump in and have a blast!
What we’re left with is 3 main things that some will need for it to feel normal:
No social distancing.
And I’ll be honest – I can’t predict this any better than anyone in charge. I tend to be a very optimistic person, so I’d like to think sooner than later. But I can’t know that and neither can you.
I can’t pretend to know what your family finds fun. But for many families, it’s possible that fully normal isn’t required to have fun. Hear me out.
During all that we went through in the last year, did you ever go to a zoo or similar recreation with your kids? In masks?
Did you have fun? Did your kids still have joy and wonder in their eyes?
In places where school was in session, did kids go out to recess and still have a blast? In masks?
Did you ever dine out, whether outside or inside, and still have a great time at that meal despite the distancing and/or wearing masks when getting up from the table?
I just got back from ice skating with my family. It was limited admission and we all had to wear masks. But you know what? It was fun. It was so fun that it was easy to forget that it wasn’t quite normal.
Our team has had agents and their families visiting Disney World for months – and they’ve all had an awesome time.
So we don’t know how long it will take to get back to a perceived normal, and we know certain aspects may be changed forever (whether from the pandemic or simply for other reasons). But it’s been a very long year, and there is still fun to be had in planning family adventures.
The better question might be, how long until you can have a fun Disney vacation? And the answer to that is: right now.
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Since 2012, the Enchanted Traveler has become the go-to travel agency for moms and dads who want to save time and relieve the stress of planning a family vacation to Disney destinations and beyond.