Phoenix With Kids

Tips for Visiting Disney World in 2021

PHXkids contributor Tamie and family of 6 recently spent an extensive amount of days at Disneyworld in February 2021 and has some excellent tips and thoughts to offer. Disney still offers the magic and fun, while keeping families safe!

Tamie Cosman

Tips for Visiting Disney World in 2021

PHXkids contributor Tamie and family  recently spent an extensive amount of days at Disney World in February 2021 and has some excellent tips and thoughts to offer. Disney still offers the magic and fun, while keeping families safe! Check out her Instagram too, for more photos and lots of highlights. 

Plan ahead! Check for dates with the lowest percentage of visitors (if you have the luxury of choosing your travel dates) and then order your tickets online. Once your tickets are purchased, you will want to choose which park you want to visit on which day because Disney requires advance reservations before you are allowed into a park. This is how they control the maximum number of visitors a day. Popular days like weekends and holidays fill fast, so do this as soon as you can! You can always change your plans later, but it’s best to have something down just in case.

Download the My Disney Experience app on your phone. It is absolutely necessary during covid as they try to keep everything as digital as possible. You will link the app to your tickets for easy entrance, you will have access to all the wait times so you can plan what you do to avoid the largest crowds, and all of your food will be ordered this way.

There is limited sit down table service, so you have to place an order and pay for it with your app, and then present your confirmation to the employee at the front door of the restaurant to be allowed access inside to be seated at a table. If you want one of the few full dining options, reservations must be made in advance and we frequently saw “at capacity” under the restaurants and were not able to get any reservations during our stay.

There are a few food trucks of snacks and drinks throughout the park where you order in person, but the majority of everything is online.

Invest in comfortable, well-fitting masks! This is a big one. I was shocked at how snappy those friendly Disney employees get if your nose slips out of your mask. They are very strict with this policy from the moment you are in the parking lot upon arrival, no exceptions. Every person over the age of 2 is required to wear one, so if your little one can’t take a full day of mask wearing, I suggest waiting a bit to spend the money on Disney.

There are “relaxation stations” set up where you can sit without a mask and take a breather. And you can pull it down for a quick drink or snack but only while stationary. That means no snacking while waiting in line. The humidity can be stifling, especially for us Arizonans not used to it, so the mask does feel suffocating at times.

Other health precautions include temperature checks before you even enter the security area, so things feel very safe. All lines have stickers on the ground spaced 6 feet apart to indicate where to stand and sanitizer stations are placed at the entrance and exits of all attractions.

However, even with all of these precautions, if you are worried about getting sick, I wouldn’t recommend a theme park. You are still around very large crowds so your risk is elevated. At times, it was hard to believe the parks are operating at a reduced capacity because there were so many people around!

Buy your souvenirs ahead of time! This goes for ANY time you visit, not just during a pandemic. We find cute Disney shirts at Target and Amazon, along with anything else your kiddos may beg you for. If you wait until you are in the park, the shops are only allowing so many parties to go in at once (the small ones are limited to one family at a time), so you may be waiting in lines just to pop in for a pair of mouse ears. Plan ahead!

Tips for Visiting Disney World in 2021

Skip the autograph books. They simply aren’t doing it now. You will see characters occasionally but they only pass through in parades or on “character themed” cars. My 4 year old was really hoping to hug Minnie Mouse so it was sad to see that experience axed.

Don’t plan on the usual entertainment. All evening shows and fireworks are canceled to avoid crowds building up in specific areas. I did feel cheated to pay the same amount for tickets, but have such a reduced amount of entertainment offerings, but it’s the price we pay to try to find some normalcy during these crazy times!

Bring water! Some drinking fountains are shut down and the lines at the snack stations are very long because of the reduced food offerings. We brought a backpack full of water bottles, granola bars and trail mix and enjoyed one “treat” per day so we weren’t wasting precious park time in additional lines.

Be courteous. Everyone is in the same boat as you. We are all uncomfortable with the masks on, we are all navigating this strange world together. Maintain spacing with people and have patience. The lines will look worse than usual, but that is because each party is spaced 6 feet apart and they have rerouted most lines to avoid people being in enclosed spaces too much. Anything that can be taken outside has, and the lines actually move very quickly and efficiently. I was impressed with how smooth everything went.

Tips for Visiting Disney World in 2021

Have fun!! Despite all the changes, Disney still held all of its magic and we were able to ride nearly every attraction at each of the four parks with our 4 day ticket. Skip the park hopper price as they have eliminated the ability to move around from park to park with ease. I found it much more simple to just plan one full day in each of the parks we were visiting.

Buy the photo package from Disney if you want specific photos. People are less likely to offer to take photos for each other due to the pandemic and touching other people’s phones and cameras, but there are Disney employees all over at designated photo areas and they were doing a great job posing people and being creative with all of their shots.

Also, many of the ride photo capture stands were turned off to avoid crowds around the screens, so the only way to see your crazy coaster photos is to scan your photo package card (or magic bands) and have it automatically uploaded to your Disney account.

Despite small inconveniences, I was just grateful to have the option to come to Florida and visit the theme parks during this time of so many entertainment options being shut down. We had an amazing time, so many memories were made, and we are already talking about how fun it will be to come back when all of this craziness is (hopefully) behind us! But what a family photo for the souvenir book!! The kids will never forget the time we went to Disney during a pandemic!

Just back to this list of recent blog posts to inspire more family adventures!


  • Tamie Cosman

    Tamie is a mom to four kids spanning ages 5 to 15. They are a family of adventurous travelers! Their goal of showing their kids all 50 states (often by taking 2 months each summer to travel in their RV) is nearly complete, as well as a good portion of Canada! Tamie loves to create documentary-style “movies” of their trips and has a passion for photography and home decorating. Follow their adventures at or on Instagram @cosman.six.

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