177: Visiting Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando during COVID


Listens: 0

Vacation Mavens

Society & Culture

Wondering what it is like to visit one of the Florida theme parks during these COVID times? This week the Mavens chat with Rob Taylor from 2TravelDads to get his take on the safety protocols at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Find out what you need to know to decide whether or not now is a good time to visit Orlando. ON THE PODCAST This podcast is sponsored by Moon Travel Guides. Learn more about The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips in the USA. All opinions are our own. 00:30 - Talking with Kim and Tamara 04:10 - Talking with Rob Taylor 06:40 - Feeling comfortable with travel 12:40 - Transportation for the parks 15:25 - Social distancing on rides 21:15 - Available Passes 24:05 - Arriving at the park 26:45 - Food at the park 33:30 - Final tips 37:16 - Rob's Travel Gear 39:20 - Up next for Rob and his family ABOUT ROB TAYLOR Rob Taylor is the founder of 2TravelDads, the original LGBT Family Travel blog. Focusing on ecotourism and education, 2TravelDads inspires LGBT families (and traditional families also) to go beyond their usual getaways and use travel to learn about and be part of a bigger world. "Traveling the globe and giving the kids a broad worldview." Follow Rob on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. TIPS FOR VISITING DISNEY WORLD Visiting an amusement park may not be in your comfort zone yet, due to the pandemic. You should research the protocols in place carefully and see if travel is something your family feels comfortable with at this time. Shuttle, Monorail, moving walkways, and trams are all still operating (with limited capacity and social distancing). Though keep in mind that some of these may not be 100% enforced -- Disney is much better about enforcing protocols than Universal from what Rob has observed. Stay observant of your surroundings. If one area of the park is getting more packed than you are comfortable with, try to explore another area of the park. Each park is probably going to manage ride spacing differently. Disney ride lines have markers for where to stand and the zig-zag parts will have extra spacing so that you are not stopped directly next to someone, or plexiglass walls separating each zig-zag portion from the next. Just because there is reduced capacity at the parks doesn't mean ride lines will necessarily be shorter. In the case of Disney, they will frequently close down a ride in order to deep clean the seats and handles to help minimize any potential germ spread. You can still purchase Express Passes with your ticket at Universal Orlando, or receive them free if you are staying at one of their premium properties that includes Express Passes. Disney FastPass+ is not currently available. Disney is very good at enforcing the rule where you can take masks off to eat and drink, but only while you are stationary. Universal also has designated areas that you can take off your mask even if you are not eating or drinking. Indoor dining seems to be managed very well compared to the outdoor mobile order dining. Everyone's comfort level is going to be different. Do your research beforehand if you want to find out the specifics for what they are doing to keep social distance, but keep in mind that anywhere can make these rules and signage but what makes the big difference is how well a place is enforcing these rules. Keep in mind that if you are planning to visit these parks that means that you will be traveling into Florida. Florida does not make it mandatory to wear masks. They have left it up to individual business on what they want to enforce. If you are coming from a stricter state this may be surprising to you. While the Parks themselves are stricter the state of Florida is different. Think beyond the Theme Park for your visit! FAVORITE TRAVEL GEAR Rob packs for travel based on the weather instead of focusing on any favorite items. He makes sure to add pieces that are colorful, to make for fun photos, and are comfortable. For shoes, he recommends shoes that are comfortable, versatile and NOT brand new! You should never break in shoes on a vacation. MENTIONED ON THE PODCAST Moon Travel Guides Disney World in COVID Universal During Coronavirus Disney vs Universal with COVID Disney vs Universal During Normal Life