Trip Report The “Is it safe?” Trip Report

Some of you might recognize the quote from the 1976 film, “Marathon Man”. It occurs during a scene considered by some film critics to be one of the most terrifying in movie history. In this "Age of COVID-19", I thought the quote appropriate. After all, if you are reading this trip report, the foremost question in your mind is, “Is it safe to go to Walt Disney World?”

There are two ways to address the question: with words or pictures. I decided that no matter what I write, it will be biased. Therefore, I decided the best way to answer this was with pictures, many pictures. I will add comments, where appropriate, but I want you to see what the parks look like.

Please keep in mind, this is not your typical trip report. “I did this, I ate that, etc.” Instead, it’s primarily a series of images showing you what I saw as I visited the Walt Disney World for the first time since the theme parks reopened. Ultimately, I wanted you to be able to judge crowd levels based on these photos.

Some general impressions from our trip:
  • The parks have become more crowded. 3 of the 4 theme parks had crowds that were well below normal, the lightest crowds in years. Still, wait times for most attractions have increased significantly since July when many rides were walk-on.
  • It is impossible to maintain 6 feet of social distancing all the time. Epcot was much less crowded than normal yet there were numerous places where people bunched up. Until the rains came, Disney's Hollywood Studios felt nearly as crowded as an average late September day. (We have been to WDW the same week for several years and have a good sense of what crowds are like for this particular week.) The Animal Kingdom had, by far, the least crowded walkways. The Magic Kingdom was a mixed bag. Light crowds throughout most of the park but areas where people bunched up, particularly near the Haunted Mansion. Frankly, if you feel you need to be separated by 6 feet all the time, then don’t go to the theme parks. With everyone walking about, it's just not possible to social distance with any consistency.
  • I consciously watched for mask compliance. Mask compliance was extremely high. I saw 2 adults walking with masks pulled down below the chin, plus another 5 with masks below the nose but covering the mouth. Over my 4 days at WDW, I passed thousands of other Guests who were wearing their masks correctly. When someone isn’t wearing a mask correctly, it’s really noticeable. Note that many were not wearing masks when eating and drinking, but these people were standing or sitting still, well distanced from other Guests.
  • Cast Member interaction was mixed. Some were cheerful while many were glum, even morbid. No one said a word to me but I suspect the layoffs are having a devastating effect on morale.
  • It was much easier to maintain social distancing at the Disney hotels and pools. Deck chairs were well-spaced and Guests seemed to be careful not to approach others while in the pool or on the pool deck.
  • I saw Cast Members cleaning surfaces on a few occasions. I cannot confirm how regularly surfaces are cleaned, only that some surfaces were being cleaned.
 
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ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm posting some more photos from our November 7 (Saturday) to November 11 (Wednesday) trip, so readers can compare crowds in my earlier photos.

We stayed 4 nights at the Beach Club Villas (BCV) and spent parts of the last 4 days dodging rain showers.

We arrived in the early afternoon on Saturday, unpacked, spent time at Stormalong Bay, and then headed to the Magic Kingdom to enjoy the lights.

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ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
On Monday morning, it was off to Disney's Hollywood Studios to enjoy RotR (best attraction ever!) and Smuggler's Run, leaving before noon in order to avoid the heavy rain that was predicted. We then returned after the rain to enjoy a few more rides, dinner, and the Christmas Tree!

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