The title is right, Disney World has changed. Disney World is much different than it was the last time that my family visited the parks. Yes, I do understand that there has been a pandemic going on (Trust my, I know. Our latest trip was postponed 15 months due to Covid.). But the changes that have been made are not necessarily due to Covid… And they are not for the better.
Our family has always enjoyed staying “On Property” when we visited Disney World due to the extra conveniences and perks. We used to enjoy the Extra Magic Hours where years ago they were actually keeping the park open until 3am for Disney World Resort Guests. The ability to setup FastPasses 60 days in advance of our visit had become an event similar to a Fantasy Football League Draft party where my family would barter and trade with each other so that they could get that FastPass for Thunder Mountain or to make sure that they had an Expedition Everest pass at night so they could see the parks all lit up on the top of the highest hill. Our favorite resort to stay at on property, you may laugh, is Pop Century. My family does not spend too much time at the resort so we tend to choose one of the “Value” Resorts. We enjoyed Pop Century for the ability to choose from two dining halls, “Everything Pop” at Pop Century or take a short walk across the Generation Gap Bridge and eat at Art of Animation “Landscape of Flavors”. Each hall had 4 or 5 stations in which you were able to choose food from pasta to chicken, burgers to a full turkey dinner.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, everything came to a screeching halt. The parks and some resorts reopened in June, 2020 but had to make major changes to maintain social distancing and to keep guests safe from the virus. Slowly, but surely, the parks have been gradually introducing shows, fireworks and resorts back into the Disney World Experience. Masks are no longer required for those that have been fully vaccinated and social distancing markers that had been placed in queues to remind visitors to socially distance 6ft apart have been removed.
But with the changes that were required for the pandemic, some other changes have taken place… and not for the better.
In the next series of posts, we will go over some of the changes that have taken place and go into detail on how they are better or worse.
Overall our family vacation was fun, and there were quite a few memories that were made, but even though the parks have “opened”, they are still not quite the same. There is also indications that the parks will never be quite the same again.