When International Travel Seems Uncertain… There’s Always Disney!

Published: 13 September 2021

Despite efforts to restart international travel, there are still many challenges that we face as an industry. The rise of cases related to the delta-variant has caused many travelers to consider postponing their trips, even if they are vaccinated. While no one can decide what’s right for everyone, each traveler will be tasked with assessing their own risk. What happens if you test positive before your return flight? What happens if the country closes its borders right before you’re scheduled to leave? There are so many valid questions!

For those travelers who are not ready to take the risk, there are still lots of amazing destinations within the United States. One that never seems to fail is of course, the Walt Disney Resorts! Whether it’s Florida or California, these 2 great destinations offer plenty of family fun but without much of the same travel risk. For travelers who are less willing to risk the accidental need to quarantine, this can be a good alternative option! For domestic travelers within the United States, there are very few restrictions or pre-testing requirements, especially for vaccinated travelers. With minimal exceptions for most states, you will be able to visit Florida/California and return home without much issue. (Please see your local state for more up-to-date information)

California’s Disney resort and Florida’s Disney resort however are still operating quite differently. In general California has more restrictions however, but there is significant progress on its reopening! Per Disneyland’s website, the below is required:

All Guests (ages 2 and up) must wear face coverings when indoors, including on many attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are optional in outdoor common areas for all Guests. If planning to travel, please check and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and any State travel advisories. Do not travel to or enter Disneyland Resort unless you are free of any COVID-19 symptoms and otherwise comply with the requirements of such advisories and restrictions.

Source: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/experience-updates/
Cinderella’s Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida | Image: David Bernard

For Florida, the general consensus is the same, and again it does not matter your vaccination status. This guidance is the same for all guests:

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) while indoors and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all attractions. Face coverings remain optional for all Guests in outdoor common areas.

All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) should:Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material

Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin

Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face

Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free

At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin, triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.

Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.

Face coverings may have an integrated transparent plastic panel to aid in viewing the wearer’s mouth. These face coverings should:

Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching

Meet all face covering requirements listed above

Source: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/#drawer-card-faceCoverings
A hippo grazing during a ride on Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida | Image: David Bernard

Despite constantly changing guidance however, Disney continues to remain open. The parks are still slowly recruiting staff from around the country in order to return to full-level operations, however much of the park remains up and running!

Here are some important things to remember about booking Disney World packages:

  1. Most packages are NON-REFUNDABLE after certain dates. Despite any changes that Disney may impose, anything outside of a forced closure will be non-refundable, usually, within a certain number of days of departure. Typically up to 30 days is refundable for resort/ticket portions; from 29-2 days prior you will lose the deposit; and less than 2 days prior to departure the entire package is forfeited.
  2. Despite the non-refundability, packages are often flexible and can be changed for later dates by paying the new price. HOWEVER, this varies wildly and it is recommended that you consult your travel agent and/or Disney directly for more details about your specific trip.
  3. The travel insurance Disney offers doesn’t really cover trip cancellations – so be sure to research other insurance companies that may be able to provide this. The package Disney offers is more for coverage while traveling, and includes things like (flight disruptions, car problems, medical insurance, etc.)
  4. Guests are still currently required to book a Park Pass reservation until further notice. Having tickets alone is NOT enough to get into the parks, in the current set-up. Guests may book park pass ONLY after tickets are confirmed and paid.
Spaceship Earth at Disney’s EPCOT Park in Orlando, Florida | Image: David Bernard

Remembering these tips above can help make your trip to Disney so much smoother. While many other destinations around the globe continue to change guidance and rules, Disney continues to be making its best efforts to proceed with as much caution as possible. While no one knows the exact future, Disney (and Florida/California in general) seem to be easier destinations to guarantee for the time being. Many travelers can avoid testing and quarantine at these destinations. It is recommended however, to visit the local government’s websites for up-to-date details before travel.

Should you have any Disney-related questions, it is recommended that you get in touch with your travel professional!

Published by dbernard2000

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -Saint Augustine

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