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Travel Gluten Free

Jul 18, 2020

Travel Gluten Free Podcast

Episode 96

COVID Disney Travel Update, Star Wars Galaxy Edge and Gluten Free Disney


DisneyWorld - Perhaps the Safest Place in Florida during the COVID Pandemic


In this episode, I chat about Disney Star Wars experience, the new COVID restrictions at Disney theme parks, Disney apps you can use to enhance your Disney experience, and the level of service Disney offers to those of us who are gluten-free or have specialty diets.


Amidst the most significant COVID numbers yet seen, with over 15,000 cases in one day last week, the state of Florida alone has recorded more COVID cases than other countries! Even though it's tempting to go and actually get a seat on Rise of the Resistance, those epidemic numbers are way too high for me to be comfortable to fly to Florida. I will say that with all the sanitization, social distancing, and touchless services Disney has in place, a Disney theme park is most likely the place you'd be least likely to catch COVID in Florida.


I'm a Disney fan by default, as when they purchased Star Wars, I became a Disney fan only because I love Star Wars. When I lived in Florida, I was a short 45-minute drive away from DisneyWorld. Our family would often go to DisneyWorld on the resident pass, which, 15 years ago, was only $99. Of course, there were blackout dates, but honestly, I wouldn't want to go during the holidays that were blacked out anyway as it would be super packed with people, and that's just not enjoyable for me.


Creating a Disney Account Online


If you're planning on going to Disney, you'll first want to open a Disney account for yourself online Next, create an account for each person in your party, then link people who are traveling with you. If someone in your travel group already has an account, do not create another account for them. Simply email them an invitation to join your group! 


Create all your plans on your Disney account and make plans for the people in your party! Reserve Fastpass up to 30 days ahead of time. Now, you can create dinner reservations, reserve FastPasses, buy merchandise, and book your Disney stay all from one place! Get FastPasses for your entire group, or make dinner reservations for each individual person. If you want to divide your group into two - no problem! You can put only individuals that want to go on a ride or to a restaurant on that reservation. Additionally, you can change your reservation online 24 hours ahead of time on the app or on your desktop.

Of course, Disney makes it super easy to separate you from your money, it's what they are good at. 

Using the Disney App to Enhance Your Vacation Experience


Next, download the My Disney Experience app to view all your park plans including hotel, dinner reservations, order meals ahead of time, access PhotoPass service, view park maps, see wait lines at different rides, find character greetings, view showtimes, access FastPass reservations created with your Disney account.


When waiting in line, I recommend downloading the Disney Play app to your phone. Log in to your account and play a game that is based on your location in the park! Most games are two players, so you’ll need a person in your group to play with on the app.


FastPass and FastPass Plus at Disney


Fastpass can be reserved up to 30 days in advance and gives you a shorter line to wait in when at any of the parks. Fastpass + charges a fee and puts you at the front of the line. With COVID modifications, Fastpass + isn’t available right now as they are using social distancing with wait lines, and they are using the FastPass+ space for their regular line queue. Note: You can get three FP for one park per day.


From the Disney website: “Follow these quick steps and you’ll be riding the fast lane to fun in no time:

  1. Add people to your Family & Friends list to enable you to reserve access to FastPass+ attractions and entertainment for them.
  2. Link your vacation package, link your tickets or link your annual pass to your Disney account. If you purchased online, the package, tickets or passes may have been linked automatically.
  3. Reserve access to FastPass+ attractions and entertainment for each day that you have a valid theme park ticket linked to your Disney account.
  4. Visit the theme park on the day that you have FastPass+ selections.
  5. Go to the FastPass+ entrance or viewing area for the selected attraction or show during the designated arrival window time.”


“After you redeem your initial 3 selections, use the app or head to a kiosk to make another selection—even if you’re in a different park from your first choices!

Valid theme park admission is required. FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections you can make, and available arrival windows are limited. Making advance FastPass+ selections requires online registration.”


Disney’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge


The ultimate Star Wars experience for any fan, if you were going to do one thing at Disney, this would be it! Packed full of fun and exciting rides, gift shops, and dining experiences (if you’re not gluten-free), the Star Wars experience will blow your mind! Listen in to find out more details about why this experience is so amazing.


Oscar from The Peaceful Thrillseekers podcast agrees with me about the high level of coolness that the Disney team has put together for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. “The thing that makes it so spectacular is the cast members. I think the cast members have done an amazing job with Galaxy’s Edge. I think that if it weren’t for them, the experience wouldn’t be as special as it is.” Listen in to more of Oscar’s review on Episode #95


Disney Know Before You Go COVID Travel Update


First, you must reserve your time at any one of the four Disney theme parks that are currently open through the Disney Park Pass Reservation System. To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date are required for each person in your party ages three and up (limit one park per day Disney is controlling the number of people in the park to maintain social distancing).”


FastPass+ service is suspended as they are using additional queue space to control capacity and maintain physical distancing. We will automatically cancel existing FastPass+ selections and share any future updates on the service at a later date.


There are selected resorts Disney has opened to guests. Disney Springs shopping opened in June. Remember that COVID is changing Disney’s offerings, so make sure to check their website for more information.


Make sure to view Disney’s new COVID precautions page before you make reservations to the park. Here is a summary of precautions Disney is taking to keep everyone safe:


  • Mandatory use of face masks
  • Sanitizing rides
  • Seating guests six feet apart
  • Hand washing stations located throughout the park
  • Physical and social distancing
  • Modified experiences
  • Temperature screenings are mandated at areas throughout the park


Disney’s disclaimer: “An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.”


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