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Remember When: Thinking Back to a Walt Disney World Before COVID-19

There are pros and cons to a trip to Disney World these days.  The absence of shows and meet and greets is balanced out by the lack of crowds and the short wait times for attractions.  Everyone will be disappointed that something is open right now, but you’ll also find cool new ways to enjoy the parks.  As I’ve been getting used to the new normal at Disney, I find myself nostalgic for some of the experiences that we used to take for granted.  Remember when? 

 

1. Remember when we’d sit on the Main Street USA curb an hour early just to have a good spot to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade?

While the upside of the parade not running is that you can spend that waiting time doing other things, the amazing energy the parade brought to the Magic Kingdom every day is sorely missing.  I’d even take a rude adult parking right in front of my toddler and blocking her view to have it back!  In the meantime, I am enjoying the small processions, called Cavalcades, that appear randomly throughout the day.  They bring a bit of the excitement that we’re used to from the parade and highlight some characters that guests usually only see on special occasions.  

2. Remember when you had to try to get your friend to photoshop twelve people out of your photo in front of the castle?

This is one I actually don’t miss!  The lower crowds in the parks mean more opportunities to take awesome pictures in front of the iconic landmarks like Cinderella’s Castle, Spaceship Earth, and the Tree of Life without strangers filling the background.  Now you just need to get your friend to photoshop the masks out. 

Credit: Disney

3. Remember when you logged onto the computer in the wee hours of the morning 60 (or 30) days before your vacation to make sure you got the best FastPasses?

There is something kind of fun about the anticipation of the FastPass reservation, but to be honest I’m really enjoying a return to the flexibility I enjoyed before the FastPass system was created.  I don’t mind being freed from being at a certain ride at a certain time or worrying about pounding the app to get the fourth FastPass while I’m in line for the third.  The process of exploring the park feels more organic, and as long as wait times are low I’m not calling for the FastPasses to return. 

 

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4. Remember when you’d strike up conversations with other guests in line, find things you had in common, and enjoy connecting with other Disney fans? 

This is something that I really miss.  I appreciate the social distancing for safety reasons but miss the interaction with other guests.  In normal times a visit to Disney always made me feel more connected to others and a part of something bigger.  My trip was made more fun by seeing other visitors have fun and connecting with them.  Standing six feet apart and wearing masks definitely leads to less of this interaction and magic. 

5. Remember when you’d end the night with fireworks and walk dog-tired to the bus or your car, carrying a sleeping child?

With shorter park hours and no night-time spectaculars, a day at Disney doesn’t get you the same kind of tired that it used to.  While there’s a more relaxed pace to a Disney trip these days, we miss the excitement, intensity, and pure physical exhaustion of packing in a long day at the parks.  We hope those days will be back soon, but in the meantime try to look on the bright side and enjoy the extra sleep, lazy evenings at the resort pool, and time to rest your feet while it’s here. 

About Katie D

I grew up in New Jersey in a family where the word “vacation” was synonymous with “Disney World.” After a few years of visiting regularly, my family became Disney Vacation Club members which meant we visited even more! Going to Disney always felt kind of like going home, and some of my best childhood and teenage memories occurred there. Now that I live in Jacksonville, FL I am excited to be a short drive from this magical place and look forward to making new memories for years to come.