Edited to reflect changes 6/2021
If you are traveling to Walt Disney World Resort in 2021 and looking forward to having a great time on your Disney vacation, I hope this post helps you make a great touring plan. During our family’s recent visit to the Walt Disney World parks, I wrote down all the things I wanted to remember to tell you! Disney’s Magic Kingdom is different in these “unprecedented times”, but it is definitely still possible to have a fantastic and safe time with your family there this year. Ok, let’s jump into the tips for your Walt Disney World vacation!
Make sure you make a park pass reservation, along with your tickets!
If you haven’t heard already, Disney World is required a park pass reservation, along with the purchase of your park tickets. Be sure to check the website and make sure your dates are open and available before you purchase your tickets.
Also, consider base tickets versus park hoppers. Currently, if you select park hoppers, you will be allowed to participate in park hopping after 2 PM, provided the park is not at full capacity. When considering when to plan your Disney vacation, consider peak times of crowds, such as holidays, school breaks, and special events like RunDisney races.
Park passes vary depending on whether you are ticket only guests, Walt Disney World Resort guests, or annual passholders. The park pass calendar will easily display availability for any category.
Prepare to wear a mask, if not vaccinated.
Disney World requires unvaccinated guests wear face masks for all indoor rides, attractions and meals. We found the disposable masks the easiest to wear during our last trip. Remember, you will be in Florida which can be humid and wet, so pack a few spares to have in the park. Water rides like Splash Mountain may also leave you with a wet mask, so another reason to bring some extras!
Make a dining reservation in Disney World in 2021.
Consider making a plan for a sit-down dining reservation while you are in the parks. Park touring can make for a tiring day, so having a place to sit down in the A/C, rest and eat is a great plan. Make reservations in the My Disney Experience app, and if for some reason you can’t find availability, keep checking! People cancel constantly, opening up slots. You can also search for a reservation finder tool to help you locate reservations more easily for popular restaurants.
As options for a character meet vary, be sure to check Disney’s website to see which restaurants offer character appearances during dining.
Here are our favorite sit down restaurant options that are currently open:
Magic Kingdom Park: The Plaza and Crystal Palace on Main Street USA, Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen in Adventureland, Liberty Tree Tavern in Liberty Square, Cinderella’s Royal Table
Animal Kingdom: Tiffins, Yak and Yeti
Epcot: San Angel Inn, Via Napoli, Teppan Edo
Hollywood Studios: 50’s Prime Time, Hollywood Brown Derby, Oga’s Cantina, Sci-Fi Dine In Theater
Quick Service Dining Disney World Plans for 2021
If you are planning to use quick service dining options at Disney World (fast food), make sure you access the Mobile Ordering option on your My Disney Experience app. You can order your food in the early morning prior to arriving at the restaurant (I would recommend 1-2 hours prior) and check in for them to prep it before you are ready to eat.
Most locations will not allow you to sit at a table until you show that your order is ready. Also, try to eat during off peak times to save you time during dining and provide less crowds on rides during lunch and dinner hours. Popular attractions such as Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean may be less crowded during traditional dining time, so dining at off-peak times can be the perfect time to eat!
Have a plan. Check touring plans for Disney World in 2021.
Another of my Disney World tips for 2021 – Make a plan for your vacation! You should anticipate waiting in lines for attractions. Get to the Disney parks when the park opens (45-60 minutes before posted opening) and go to the most popular rides like Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train first thing. As Disney Genie+ launches, consider adding it to your ticket to gain access to the Lightning Lanes (essentially like Fast Pass.) You can also consider adding the two a la carte options, buying access to two Lightning Lane attractions per day.
Websites like WDW Prep to Go can provide you with a great plan for park touring in 2021. Also, keep in mind that the parks are designed for you to experience about 10 rides/experiences per day. You may not get to every ride and that’s ok. Disney is still a magical place!
Get Familiar with the My Disney Experience App
Make sure you have the My Disney Experience app loaded on your phone and get familiar with it before your trip. All of your tickets, park passes, dining reservations, resort info, and wait times will be on your phone, along with info on how to mobile order. This is the key to Disney World at the present time. The Disney World app will drain your cell phone battery, so be sure to bring a charged back up battery! Disney Genie will also provide free planning help, so make sure to check it out on your next trip!
Have contactless payment options.
Make sure you have a way to pay for purchases with contactless payment. If you are staying onsite and have a Magic Band, you can use that to charge back to your room. Otherwise, you will need a credit card, a debit card, Apple Pay or Disney Gift card to eliminate the need for using cash in Disney World.
Disney World tips for 2021-Plan a non-park day to relax.
Consider planning a non-park day during your Disney World vacation, especially if you are traveling with children. You will need down time to relax and regroup. Consider pool time, mini golf, shopping, Disney Springs, visiting the space center, etc to give you a change of pace. If you want more info on non-park days, hop over to this post. Also, consider going to the parks early and taking a break in the afternoons during the heat of the day to prevent meltdowns.
Also, consider stopping in to air conditioned, no crowd attractions to take a break. Attractions like Country Bear Jamboree, Enchanted Tiki Room, or Small World allow you to sit down in the cool and relax with your family!
Disney World tips for 2021 – Try a snack!
Make sure you try a delicious Disney World snack while you are in the parks! So many choices! Some of our favorites include the Mickey Mouse ice cream bar, the pretzel with cheese dip, the carrot cake cookie, the churro with chocolate, and the Dole Whip. Highlights of any Disney Trip!
Enjoy the character cavalcades.
Though there are no current parades, characters do come through the parks on cavalcades. You will suddenly hear music and floats appear with a huge variety of characters, including Mickey, Minnie, the princesses, the Fairy Godmother, Chip and Dale, etc. We loved seeing the our favorite characters!
Pack a battery charger.
Always pack a battery charger for Disney World. The My Disney Experience app is a necessity to know wait times, order food and plan your visit, but it will drain your battery, so be prepared with a portable charger.
Have an umbrella or poncho handy.
It’s Florida, so rain pops up frequently, so be sure to throw a poncho or umbrella in your bag. (Pro tip- remove the umbrella to go through security. It sets the screeners off and your bag will be searched.)
Consider using a Disney World Planner.
Full disclosure – I am a Disney World travel planner and would love to help you plan your next trip. If you know of someone in your circles that is a planner, reach out to them and let them help you plan your vacation! It is no cost to you (Disney pays us), so if you are feeling overwhelmed by all that Disney requires, get some help! We are here for you.
I hope these Disney World tips for 2021 has been helpful to you! Have a fantastic time at Disney World this year!
Keep reading more great posts to help you plan your next Disney vacation!