With Walt Disney World reopening today for an Annual Passholder Preview and this weekend for guests, I thought that it would be a good chance to share the theme park essentials I take to the parks in our new normal.
Walt Disney World Reopening: Theme Park Essentials
While you can find hand sanitizer and hand washing stations throughout the parks, I really like having my own hand sanitizer with me because it gives me the opportunity to go ahead and use a little as soon as I get on or as soon as I get off of an attraction.
Battery Operated Fan
I find the most useful thing to have in my bag when I go into the theme parks is a battery operated fan.
Wearing a mask while you are outside can make things feel hotter than expected, and when I have my battery operated fan I’m able to pop it on when I need an extra boost of cold air to help me feel more comfortable.
Extra Face Coverings
Speaking of feeling more comfortable, I always pack extra face coverings just in case I need to switch them through the day.
It’s the rainy season and wearing a wet face covering is about as comfortable as wearing wet socks, so just make sure you pack an extra mask so that you’ll have it just in case.
This one might sound weird…but stick with me…
I bring alcohol pads, much like the ones that you’d find in a Doctor’s office, to help clean my phone throughout the day.
One thing that I have become hyper aware of is how many times I pick up and put down my phone from a surface during the day, and this gives me an extra slice of peace of mind.
Portable Cell Phone Charger
On every list I’ve ever made about what I keep in my bag, a portable cell phone charger has always been on the list.
However, it’s even more important now as you are going to need to do more things on your phone in the theme parks throughout the day.
These are my five theme park essentials, but I’m sure as I visit the parks more I’m going to find there other things that I like keeping with me so I’m sure they’ll be a part two to this post.
If you have a must-have to bring in your theme park bag, especially for the Walt Disney World Reopening, I would love to hear about it!
Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort is now open, and currently operating in Phase 1 of their reopening strategy.
I was really excited to be there to see what everything was like, and to share my experience with you!
Here’s what I learned from my visit to Disney Springs that you might find helpful for your next visit!
Disney Springs is managing their parking a little differently than you would expect from their initial announcement.
The Orange and Lime garages will both open however, they are opening the orange garage first to help manage the flow of guests into Disney Springs.
Upon entering the garage be sure to pay attention to new signs and to watch for additional directions from Cast Members.
Currently they are not staggering parking spaces, so be prepared to park as normal.
Pro-Tip: If you want to avoid the crowds, your best access point will be the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Walkway as it has the least amount of foot traffic entering Disney Springs.
Don’t be intimidated by Temperature Check
After you have parked, it’s time to make your way to your Disney Springs pre-admission health check.
Advent Health employees are administering temperature checks at all points of entrance to Disney Springs, and any guest with a temperature over 100.4 will not be granted entrance.
Pro-Tip: This is where they will have disposable masks if you do not have one. You will have to sign a form to receive one, but they are available.
Wearing a mask takes some getting used to
Here’s the truth…
I visited Disney Springs from 9 AM until 3 PM, and it was a pretty hot day (it got up to around 97 degrees).
I wore my mask the entire time, aside from the hour I was eating my lunch, and while it did get a little uncomfortable at times I walked for a while without stepping into a store I wouldn’t say it was unbearable.
The best thing you could do is listen to your body, and if you are getting overheated or overwhelmed step into a store or carry a small fan with you to get a little extra cool air on your face.
Wearing masks reduces the spread of germs, but it only works if everyone participates. Let’s start to change the paradigm of wearing a mask to an act of kindness! Think of it as your way to help others stay safe and healthy.
Pro-Tip: Don’t carry a drink or wear your mask incorrectly, because not only could you be stopped by security…other guests aren’t shy about speaking up. Just wear the mask. Don’t be that person!!!
Speaking of Food
One of my favorite parts of visiting Disney Springs is grabbing a bite to eat because they have so many great options!
If you are planning to have a meal, make sure you make a reservation for full-service dining locations in advance to ensure you have a table as seating is limited.
Also most dining locations are not offering their full menus, so be sure to check in advance online to make sure that they have the dish you have been craving.
If quick service is more your thing, be patient as there have been long lines, especially at Chicken Guy. If you want to cut down on your wait, try eating an hour before or after a ‘typical’ mealtime.
Pro-Tip: Disney is waving 24-hour cancellation fees for missed reservations, so if you change your mind about going out or aren’t feeling up to it you can cancel up to the last minute.
Many shopping locations are open for business, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you start your shopping spree!
First is that you will need to be be prepared for cashless transactions, since they are encouraging customers to pay with apps like Apple Pay over cash transactions.
If you do make a purchase, be a little extra patient as you are waiting in line as most locations are taking extra time between transactions to wipe down keypads between uses.
Make sure that you pay attention outside of stores for queues and social distancing markers. Busier stores, like Sugarboo & Co., are having their employees help regulate the flow of guests in their stores.
Pro-Tip: If a store you want to visit has a long queue to get in, enjoy a walk around D Springs visit when people would typically be eating.
I had an amazing time at Disney Springs, and I’m excited about more stores & restaurants to open!!!
And while there’s no place I would rather be than running around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are some really great things you can watch to celebrate Star Wars Day at home!
5 Things to Watch on Star Wars Day
1. Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian
On May 4th Disney+ will be adding some great Star Wars content and features you won’t want to miss!
I am REALLY excited about the new ‘Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian’ 8 episode series that takes fans behind the scenes of the first live-action Star Wars series.
In the series Executive Producer, Jon Favreau along with the cast and crew share an unprecedented look at the making of the series through interviews, never-before-seen footage, and roundtable conversations hosted by Favreau himself.
New Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian episodes will be released every Friday after Star Wars Day.
2. The Final Episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars
I don’t know about your house, but my house is excited for the final episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Victory and Death.”
Created by George Lucas and shepherded by Dave Filoni (The Mandalorian), the animated series first aired in 2008 and became an entry point into Star Wars for an entire generation, following fan-favorites like Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padmé Amidala, while introducing major new characters like Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. Star Wars: The Clone Wars became a multiple-Emmy Award winner and a favorite among Star Wars fans.
The final season features Ahsoka Tano and Rex on their adventures that lead up to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
3. Stream Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
TODAYS IS THE DAY!!!!!!
You can now stream the entire Star Wars Saga because Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is now available on Disney+.
Though I’ll let you argue about the right order to see them in…
4. Star Wars Concept Art takes over Disney+
This week there is going to be a concept art takeover on Disney+ featuring each Star Wars film’s and series’ artwork.
From Star Wars: A New Hope to The Mandalorian, the updated art will feature pieces from celebrated artists such as the legendary Ralph McQuarrie and Academy Award-winning artist, author, and production designer, Doug Chiang. On the Disney+ home screen, the animated Star Wars brand tile, viewable on web and connected TV devices, gets upgraded with a new animation that honors the signature hyperspace jump.
There are new Star Wars avatars for Disney+!!!
You can now choose from Darth Maul, Jabba the Hutt, Bo-Katan, D-O, Captain Rex, a porg, and 332nd trooper.
5. Watch YouTube videos of Star Wars attractions in the parks!
Since we all can’t be in the parks for Star Wars Day, watch your favorite Star Wars attractions on YouTube!
Florida weather can be rather unpredictable and wet, so to help make your rainy day more bearable here are my top theme park tips for a rainy day.
Watch the weather while you are on the go (no pun intended)
Make sure you have a reliable weather app to use while you’re in the parks.
My favorite is the Channel 9 Severe Weather App, because you can sign up for custom alerts in your area, stream live radar, and get an accurate hour-by-hour forecast.
Keep an eye out for temporary closures or delays
Some attractions and transportation options may shut down temporarily during heavy rain, wind, or lightning.
To be safe, check the park’s official app for any notices before you head towards an attraction or ask an attendant about any closures or delays before you hop in line.
Think ahead for meals
On rainy days quick service and full-service dining locations tend to get really crowded and unable to accommodate walk-up seating requests, so it is always best to try to make a reservations in advance.
If you are at Walt Disney World in a quick service dining location, consider using the Mobile Ordering option on the My Disney Experience App to cut your wait down!
Park bag hack for rain jackets and umbrellas
When going to the parks with a backpack, keep your rain jacket or umbrella inside of a zip top bag so when you take the jacket out you can put your keys or cell phone inside to keep them dry.
Then when the rain stops, you’ll have a handy place to put your wet jacket.
Choose the right shoes
Choosing the right shoe is super important for surviving a rainy day in the theme park.
Pick a shoe that is comfortable with a non-slip sole and plenty of tread.
You also may want to consider leaving the rain boots at home, because they tend to fill up with water during heavy storms and get quite heavy.
Wear clothes that dry quickly
When it is going to be a wet day in the park choosing to wear lightweight and quick drying clothing will definitely make you more comfortable, and as a bonus when it gets hot again it will wick away the sweat to help keep you cool!
Don’t pass up a good show or movie
When the sun is out you might be quick to pass up a show or movie, but they are the PERFECT activity for a rainy day because they are shown in huge venues making them walk-up friendly.