A How To For Mastering Disney World in 2021
So, you're headed to Disney in 2021 and need help? You have come to the right place.
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So, you're headed to Walt Disney World but you haven't been there since the new regulations to keep everyone safe and healthy have been in place? Then you've come to the right blog because I just got back from Disney and want to share my experience with you to ensure you can have as much fun as possible!

Planning Your Trip

I prefer to plan my own trips but I know a lot of people like to use travel agents to assist when traveling to Disney World. If you are looking to plan it yourself, the first thing you should do is download the My Disney Experience app. This will be your go to for all things before your trip and while at the parks.


Disney suspended things like their dining plans and Fast Passes, so some of the headache of planning has been taken away. Now, if you are staying on site, you just need to determine which resort is best for your needs (be sure to check that the resort you want is currently open as there are some that are still not open yet). We chose to stay at Pop Century because it is a "value" resort and we wanted to use our money elsewhere (i.e. Cinderella's Royal Table). I suggest doing cost comparisons to see which resort will work best for your budget based on the number of people in your group. 



Hotel

One of the pools at Pop Century Resort

Once your resort and tickets are booked, you will need to reserve your park day passes. This is important so that Disney can keep to their guest limits within each park. We chose to do Animal Kingdom on Sunday of our trip because weekends tend to be busier, so we wanted to save the bigger parks for weekdays. That is something you should keep in mind if you are trying to avoid big crowds.


Another pre-planning tip: reserve your dining reservations as soon as possible. Disney opens up dining reservations for the sit-down restaurants 60 days prior to the date of your first day on site. Plan ahead as some restaurants fill up fast. We were lucky to get 3 seats at Cinderella's Royal Table the day our dining reservation window opened. This was especially lucky because they are doing so few character experiences right now. We were able to meet her from a social distance. Our table was seated so close to her walkway - my daughter was thrilled. That was the only reservations we decided to make, opting for quick-serve restaurants the rest of the time to keep our plans open for rides we wanted to go on. 


Cinderella

Social Distancing with Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table

Sign up for the Photo Pass so that you can get all of the fun photos at the picture spots (like in front of the castle). Additionally, Disney has some rides that will take your photo. Your band will scan automatically at most of them and you will have access to all of those pictures. The best are the pictures that include Disney Magic!
At the Castle

Packing

The next big decision to make is what to pack for your trip. A lot of this will depend on if you are driving or flying. We flew, so we were limited on the food we could take with us. Additionally, if we had driven, I would have brought at least one case of water along to save money.
Here is a list of some of the musts, regardless of how you plan to travel:
Mask and fan

Bring a variety of masks and a cooling neck fan to stay cool and healthy. Get fun matching t-shirts to show that you are on your family vacation.

Stroller

Even the giraffe has a mask on

Flying the Friendly Skies

If you decide to fly to Orlando rather than drive, I recommend flying with Southwest Airlines, if possible. They have the best rates and you can check up to 2 bags per person (without any additional fees). That is in addition to the purse and carry-on you get to take on the plane. We also checked a stroller - but you can gate check it if your child is not able to walk to the gate on their own. Although they are no longer guaranteeing an empty seat in the middle to reduce passenger size, they will email you if the flight is getting pretty full to offer you a different time to fly.

Be sure to have your mask ready to wear at the airport and on the entire flight. We take Thieves cleaning wipes in our carry-on and use those to wipe down the seat, seat belt, tray table, and light buttons. Many people do this even though the airlines are very thoroughly cleaning the planes. It is always best to be safe than sorry.
Flying home

Flying home on Southwest Airlines where families with small children get to board after the priority boarding group.

To Be Continued...

I really had no idea how many tips and suggestions I wanted to offer in this blog. Seeing how long it is already, I feel like I should go ahead and end this one. Once I have my tips and tricks put together for the parks, I will post part 2 of my Disney World in 2021 Guide. Stay tuned...
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