We spent 5 days at Disney World in January 2021. As we got closer to our arrival date, I was a little concerned that the current restrictions and changes due to the Coronavirus would make it less than magical.
When you’re spending over $2,000 on a vacation you want to make sure it’s worth the investment! As you might have seen in my trip recap post, we had a wonderful time and were so glad that we went!
After we returned, I reached out on Instagram to see what your questions were about Disney World in 2021. I’m answering all those questions in today’s post!
Did you do the Disney Dining Plan?
No, it was not available during our trip. Read my post all about our dining experience here! I talked about mobile ordering, crowd levels in the restaurants, outdoor seating, menu limitations and how to save money on dining.
Did you like the resort you stayed in? Which is your favorite?
We stayed on Disney Property at Coronado Springs which is a moderate resort. Overall, we really like this resort. It’s a very relaxing atmosphere with a room that’s very spacious and comfortable. We like to spend several hours each day relaxing or resting in our room, so this is a great choice for us. [Read more about our experience staying there in 2019]
[On our first trip in 2015 we went the least expensive route and stayed at the All Star Music Resort, a value level resort, and did not care for it.]
One of my favorite things about staying on property at Disney is the housekeeping service. I love coming back to our room in the afternoons to find the beds made, the bathrooms cleaned, the linens replaced and the room tidied.
Currently the housekeeping services are very limited. They only came every other day to empty our trash and to replace whatever towels we left on the floor. I really missed the luxury of the previous housekeeping service. However – it’s still Disney! One evening I realized I was out of coffee cups for the in-room Keurig. I called the front desk and within minutes someone was at my door with more than what I needed.
We were also disappointed that the main restaurant at our resort, El Mercado de Coronado, was only offering a few grab and go options. This was one of our favorite places to eat in 2019. I’m guessing that this isn’t a permanent thing and that it will reopen eventually.
Were there a lot less people?
Yes. Keep in mind that we were there during the second week in January, which is a typically low crowd week. However, Disney works very hard to keep everyone distanced. Add that to the fact that we’re all pretty used to walking and standing six feet away from people, and you have a lot of personal space at Disney World!
You can see in the picture above how the line was spaced out for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. There are markers on the ground to make sure everyone stays distanced while advancing through the line.
Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios was the most crowded area of any park. Everyone camps out around the newest Star Wars ride as they wait for their boarding group to be called. Even then, it’s not hard to find a quiet place nearby where you can wait away from the crowd.
My husband commented that it did feel a little less magical to him without the massive hustle and bustle of people, but we definitely enjoyed the perks of low crowds. Epcot was where I think we appreciated it most. We were able to see details in the World Showcase that we’ve never seen before, and navigating the main walkway around the Showcase was much easier than usual.
Is it cheaper to go right now?
I feel like it is. Our travel agent found a discount that saved us 35% on our resort. In 2019 we spent $2,288 for 5 days, 6 nights with Park Hoppers and a free dining promotion.
In 2021 we spent $1,802 for 4 days and 6 nights without Park Hoppers (they weren’t enticing to us under the current parameters, and we didn’t miss them). Adding in the $375 we spent on food, our 2021 total was $2,177.
There are some variables, but the price really didn’t go up. Read this post for tips on saving money on food when you don’t have a free dining promotion.
Does it feel less magical with the masks and Covid restrictions?
Short answer: No.
I think that enjoying a Disney vacation always depends on your attitude. You (I) can just as easily get bent out of shape about the crowds, heat, lines, wait times or anything else as you can about the masks and distancing requirements.
Here’s what I think based on our experience. You don’t forget about Covid, but you have a lot of fun in spite of it.
The only thing it does ruin is your pictures. Personally, I hate pictures of us in masks because it hides our faces! You are not allowed to take your masks off for photos when you’re just walking around the park. You are allowed to remove them the whole time you’re seated at a restaurant, so that’s a great time to grab a photo.
The “face characters” like the princesses, Mary Poppins, Gaston, etc. remain at a safe distance and do not wear masks. Seeing Cinderella in a mask would ruin the magic, in my opinion! You can take pictures of them and sometimes you can talk to them from a distance, if they’re not in a parade. 🙂
A few more thoughts about masks at Disney:
- Before your trip, practice wearing your mask outdoors while walking or hiking and wearing sunglasses. It’s different than throwing it on to run into a store.
- Take mask breaks. You can sit down anywhere and remove your mask “while actively eating and drinking,” so sit down and sip a bottle of water for 5-10 minutes. We did this in all the parks and at Disney Springs.
- Don’t be afraid of getting in trouble. If you forget to put it on after getting up from your table, they won’t drag you out of the park. A cast member will say “Ma’am, do you have a mask?” They are very kind and nice about it.
- Your mask does have to cover your nose all the time. They will ask you (nicely) to pull it up if you’re not wearing it properly. That’s why you need intermittent mask breaks.
Did you feel safe? What did you bring with you to help you feel safe?
Yes, we felt very safe and were not afraid of catching anything while we were there. Our room was extra clean with a detailed list of every surface that had been sanitized.
I carried (as I always do) hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
Is this a good time to go to Disney World?
If you’ve never been to Disney, I would advise you to wait until some of the restrictions are lifted. If you’ve been a couple times, this is a great time to go back!
We missed the fireworks, but we were able to ride, do and see so much that our days were packed full! The pop-up character cavalcades are a wonderful substitute for parades. It’s much easier to catch a good view and you don’t have to camp out for 30 minutes before it starts.
There’s a special camaraderie that I feel when I’m at Disney World. Everyone is there for the same reason and it doesn’t matter what differences we might have – we can all agree that we love Disney World!
It’s so easy to strike up conversations with people and to make friends with complete strangers. Paul’s eyes are closed in this picture, but I love it anyway. We ran into a sweet family about 5 times over the course of two days and had the best time talking with them. Paul and the husband/dad stood in this store and talked for about 20 minutes while the rest of us shopped.
A few random tips about Disney in 2021:
- Plan extra time for travel. Buses are only “covid” full, so they can’t fit nearly as many people on one bus as they normally would. It does make for a much more pleasant ride, though!
- Be flexible. They constantly adapt things based on the crowd or situation, so a door that was “exit only” yesterday might be “entrance only” today.
- Plan your day. Even though fast passes aren’t currently available, it helps so much to have a game plan and a strategy for each park.
- Watch Disney YouTubers for up to date information about what it’s like in the parks. I love to watch The Tim Tracker before we visit – they’re in the parks frequently and really help me know what rides are closed, what wait times are like and even what I might want to order from specific restaurants!
I’m not a Disney expert – that’s why I never book a Disney vacation without using a Disney travel agent! Amy Jackson from Magical Moments Vacations has helped me with our last two trips and has been a tremendous resource. It doesn’t cost anything to use her services. Send her an email (A.jackson at mmvagent.com) and she will help you put together the best vacation for your family’s needs!
Did I answer all your questions? Feel free to leave any additional questions in the comments.
More Disney Content:
- Disney Trip Recap: January 2021
- What We Ate At Disney: January 2021 (money saving tips + more!)
- Disney World Haul: January 2021
Please remember that this is a post about Disney World, not about my opinions on the Coronavirus. I respect that everyone has different opinions and levels of comfort regarding how they respond to the virus. Thanks for keeping your comments respectful and kind. ❤