Top Tips for Theme Park Trips


As Authorized Disney Vacation Planners, we’ve helped many families plan amazing trips to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando since the parks reopened last summer. These theme parks have various guidelines to help keep guests healthy and safe while having a fantastic time creating new memories. Are you thinking about visiting Disney or Universal this year? Here are our top tips to have a magical vacation. 

Travel and accommodations

Since last July, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios have been operating at a limited capacity with numerous safety protocols. If you’re traveling from another state, be aware of your state’s guidelines for traveling to and from Florida. 

Select hotels are open at both Disney and Universal. Disney has a list of resorts that are open for reservations, which you can find here. Available resorts include select value, moderate, and deluxe hotels.

Entering the theme parks 

Disney and Universal are handling park entrances differently. Both theme parks limit capacity inside the park and on many attractions. Temperature checks are required to enter the parks, select table-service restaurants, and while visiting Disney Springs or Universal CityWalk. Anyone who has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed to enter the park. 

Disney requires guests to make reservations to visit their theme parks in advance using the Park Pass Reservation system. To make a reservation, you must have a valid park ticket linked to your My Disney Experience account. We suggest using the pass system following these steps: 

  1. View current reservation openings with the availability calendar.
  2. Once you check that your desired travel dates are available, purchase your tickets. 
  3. Link your tickets to your My Disney Experience account. 
  4. Then, use your linked tickets to make theme park reservations.

Reservations are subject to change, so we suggest allocating enough time to do this process in one sitting. 

When you use one of our experienced expert travel agents to book a trip, we’ll help guide you through this process so you can get back to looking forward to your trip—not stressing about it! Call 1-888-678-TRIP to get started! 

Reservations aren’t required to visit Universal Studios. However, the park is limiting capacity, so we suggest getting to the park as early as possible. 

Visiting the parks 

There are many safety protocols in place to ensure all guests are safe while visiting the theme parks. Social distancing guidelines are in effect. Throughout the parks, there are markers that guide people to maintain proper social distancing in attraction lines, quick service food locations, and other places where people congregate. 

Masks are also necessary. Disney requires guests ages two and up to wear face coverings, while Universal requires children three and up to wear masks. Masks aren’t needed while eating or drinking in a stationary position or while swimming. Universal also has designated U-Rest areas where guests can temporarily remove their masks for a short period. Appropriate face coverings must be made of two-layer breathable material that can be secured with ear loops or clips so that a guest’s hands are free at all times. Neck gaiters, bandanas, and masks with valves, mesh, or holes are not allowed. 

Most of the attractions are operational at the theme parks, but seating is limited on certain attractions. There are opportunities to interact with the characters you know and love during Character Cavalcades around the four Disney theme parks. There are also socially distant character photo ops. This is only the beginning of the great things to do while visiting!

Added convenience for your trip 

Both Disney and Universal have enhanced contactless experiences, including digital resort check-in services and mobile food ordering. With mobile food ordering using the theme park’s app, you can pick your location, customize your order, and tap when you’re ready for pick up. This saves you a ton of time!

There is now a Virtual Line option for select attractions at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. This option allows guests to choose a time slot to return to the desired attraction throughout the day, cutting down on your time waiting in line. Once you’ve ridden that attraction, you can select another attraction and time. 

 If you’re traveling with little ones or those who aren’t into thrill rides, make sure you take advantage of Disney’s rider switch. With rider switch, one adult can stay with a child who doesn’t meet the attraction’s height requirement or who doesn’t want to ride, while the other adult rides alone or with another child. Once the first party returns, the adults switch. Learn more about how it works

Looking ahead 

There is so much to look forward to when you book your trip to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios. Disney recently announced that beloved entertainment options like Festival of the Lion King will return this summer. There are also new attractions and experiences for 2021, which you can read more about on our blog

Our theme park expert travel agents have over 1,000 combined trips to Walt Disney World and can help you navigate the recent changes for a magical vacation you’ve always wanted. Plus, many of our services are free to you! Get a free quote or contact our agency by calling 1-888-678-TRIP!

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