Traveling to Disney World right now can have its challenges as travel restrictions continue to be imposed in many cases.
For some travelers, returning to their home state may impose a 14-day quarantine. Some families may want to avoid this for work, school, or another reason. In this case, there are some states that allow the option of “testing out” of quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to returning home. If you’re hoping to travel to and from Disney World from one of these states (list below!), we’re here to help.
Did you know there is actually a Florida Division of Emergency Management-run COVID-19 testing site IN Disney World? We’re taking you through EVERYTHING you need to know about getting tested in Disney World so that you are able to waive the quarantine when you return home if you are able. Even if you DON’T see your home state on the list below, this information could be helpful if you’re hoping to return home with more peace of mind or if you simply need to be tested.
How to Get Tested in Disney World
The Maingate Complex Testing Site is run by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. It is walk-up only so there are no appointments and the hours are from 8AM to 5PM daily.
Information about this testing site is actually pretty difficult to find, so we went to get tested for ourselves to see how it works.
How do I get there?
The testing area is located at the backstage Maingate Complex off of West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. The address is 3010 Maingate Lane Kissimmee, Florida 34747.
When you arrive, you can follow signage to the back of the complex where you’ll spot several trailers and tents and most-likely a long line of people.
The testing area is located directly in front of the Disney World Merchandise offices in the complex.
Disney transportation will not take you to the Maingate Complex. To get to the testing center, you will need to take your own car or use rideshare. Please be mindful — do NOT use a rideshare if you are at all symptomatic or have been exposed to an infected person.
How long does it take? What day/time has the shortest lines?
Going to get tested is not an in-and-out sort of thing. It will take some time so make sure you carve out a chunk of your day to get there, wait in line, administer the test, and head back to your resort or Disney World.
We arrived at 8:20AM and waited approximately one hour and ten minutes in line (so, think about a typical Slinky Dog Dash queue 😉). The check-in and test itself took less than five minutes.
When we arrived, the line was pretty long. It did get shorter after 9AM, but all of the designated queue area was full the entire time we were at the test site. On the bright side, we could see Expedition Everest during our wait!
We asked one of the test administrators about the shortest lines and she noted that Sundays are the least busy days. Every other day of the week the line remains consistently long. She said that if you have the time to wait on a Sunday, that’s the best day to come.
Update! We initially visited the testing site back in November but a reader reached out to us with a different wait time experience. The reader arrived at the site in early January at 9AM to see the line filling and spilling out of the parking area. The wait to get to the front took a whopping four and a half hours. During that entire time, they noted that there were never more than one or two windows open at the testing counters. Several elderly folks had to have folding chairs brought to them during the wait.
If you can’t risk a wait this long, you may want to look into some of the other testing options nearby, perhaps some with appointments available. We’ll take you through other close testing centers in the list below.
As a note, when this testing site was announced, it was announced as having a dedicated lane for Disney World Cast Members. We didn’t see a lane and noticed several costumed Cast Members waiting in line with us. The administrators did ask if we work for Disney though.
Who can get tested? How much does it cost?
Testing at this state-run site is completely FREE and available for anyone ages two and up. You do NOT have to be a Florida resident or even a US resident to receive a test here. As we mentioned, you will not need to make an appointment. Registration takes place at the venue. No insurance is required and you do not have to be symptomatic to receive a test.
This location offers rapid tests and PCR tests.
How does the process work? What is the test like?
When you arrive, you’ll park your car and hop into the back of the line. Remember to keep your mask on and remain socially distanced for your safety and the safety of others. When you reach the structured queue area, a sign will offer instructions for how to check-in with a QR code to direct you to the site. You’ll want to make sure your group has at least one cell phone charged and available.
Registration was fairly simple. The site pulls right up, you insert your personal and contact information, and it emails you a barcode for them to scan when you reach the front of the line. Your contact information is added so that you can receive your results and so that you can be contacted by the health department.
Keep in mind, all instructions and the online form are in English only. This can make the registration difficult for non-English speakers to prepare in line.
After your wait, you’ll be called up to one of three little trailers. Each trailer has one window (on the left) for check-in and one window (on the right) for test administration. At the check-in window, they will scan your code, verify your information, and ask you a few questions. They WILL ask you if you are getting tested for travel and whether the state you are traveling to requires a specific type of test so make sure you know this information in advance.
Once the party ahead of you has moved away from the test window, you can move over. The basic test they give you is the rapid test. (Update! All FDEM-run testing locations, including this Disney World Maingate location, currently have PCR tests available.)
For the rapid test, the administrator will give you instructions to do the swab yourself, then you’ll hand the swab back to them and that’s it! You can head back to your car and wait for your results.
When and how will I get my results?
If you take the rapid test, results will arrive in your email in 15 to 20 minutes. We opted into text updates so we received a text AND we got a call from the health division to tell us our results. The other tests take longer. You should receive your results in 2-5 days for most other tests so make sure that you time this right with the mandates required by your state.
Other Nearby Testing
Our experience at the Maingate Complex testing site was fairly positive, but there are a few reasons you may wish to be tested elsewhere. For one, there was very limited direction when it comes to social distancing. People were staying away from one another and diligently wearing masks, as we expected, but you are out in a distanced crowd with others who may be contagious.
We were about as far away, if not further, from folks than we usually are in Walt Disney World. But, knowing that the people in line may be getting tested due to known exposure or symptoms definitely makes this wait a little more harrowing. For those without any symptoms or immunocompromised folks, you may prefer to make an appointment elsewhere where you can wait away from others instead of in a physical line.
For that reason, we’ve taken a look at a few other testing options in the vicinity of Disney World. To access any of these locations you will need to drive or take an Uber, but they are options available to you.
Orange County Convention Center
The Orange County Convention Center is approximately 15 minutes away from Disney World and open daily from 9AM to 5PM for all Central Florida residents and visitors free of charge. To enter, you’ll head to the intersection of Universal Boulevard and Destination Parkway.
Pre-registration is recommended to cut down on your wait time and you can do so online. The site offers rapid antigen tests with results in less than an hour and PCR tests with results in two to three days. You do not need to have symptoms to be tested.
AdventHealth Centra Care Lake Buena Vista or AdventHealth Centra Care Orange Lake
Some AdventHealth Centra Care locations also offer COVID-19 testing. There are two locations near Disney World: The Lake Buena Vista location (12500 S Apopka Vineland Rd Orlando, FL 32836) which is, on average, 5 minutes away from Disney World, and the Orange Lake location (8201 West Irlo Bronson Highway Kissimmee, FL 34747) which is, on average, 10 minutes away.
These offices allow you to make an appointment online and walk-ins are available during business hours. You do not need to have symptoms to be tested. Any patient can be tested with a provider visit at all Florida Centra Care locations. The Lake Buena Vista location is open 24 hours a day and the Orange Lake location is typically open from 8AM to 8PM.
These are privatized locations so your test will not necessarily be free. Centra Care accepts most insurance plans but many insurance plans do not cover a COVID-19 test for work, travel, or curiosity. If your insurance does not cover a COVID-19 test for these reasons, the cost is $179.00 for a rapid test and/or $199.25 for a PCR test. Centra Care will still bill your insurance and will refund the amount paid if your insurance plan reimburses the visit.
States That Currently Require a Negative Test to Waive Quarantine
These are only the states that both require quarantine and have an option to bypass quarantine with a negative test result at the time of writing. Some states do not have a test option and still require a quarantine, so ensure that you check in on your state’s current mandates PRIOR and DURING (in case of change) your Disney trip.
Per the Alaska Government: Alaska Residents entering Alaska from another state must submit a Travel Declaration and Self-Isolation Plan AND arrive with proof of a qualifying negative COVID-19 test.
Otherwise, those entering Alaska must receive a COVID-19 test for no cost upon arrival in Alaska and self-quarantine at personal expense until results arrive, self-quarantine at your expense for either 14 days or the duration of your trip whichever is shorter, or follow the work plan that your employer filed with the State of Alaska.
Per the Connecticut Government: Self-quarantine is required for nonessential travelers unless the traveler has had a test for COVID-19 in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Connecticut or at any time following arrival in Connecticut, the result of such COVID-19 test is negative and he or she has provided written proof of such negative test result to the Commissioner of Public Health via email to [email protected] or via facsimile to (860) 326-0529.
Keep in mind Connecticut only accepts nucleic acid tests such as reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests. Make sure to bring this up at your testing site.
Per Hawaii Tourism: Hawaii requires a 14-day quarantine for all travelers unless they arrive with an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) taken no earlier than 72 hours before their flight, performed using a nasal swab, and who can also show proof of negative test results from a CLIA certified laboratory.
This is another case where you will need to make sure that your testing location meets these specific requirements.
Illinois (Chicago Only)
Per the Chicago Government: There are no statewide restrictions for those traveling to Illinois, but those headed to Chicago have specific instructions. Travelers from the states have been placed in red, orange, and yellow categories. Those traveling from red states must quarantine for 14 days with no “test out” option.
At the time of writing, Florida is an orange state which gives travelers the option of having a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours old or observing the quarantine.
Per the Massachusetts Government: Those traveling to Massachusetts must “quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative Covid-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.”
Those waiting on test results are required to quarantine until they receive their negative results. Failure to comply with these directives may result in a $500 fine.
Per the New York Government: New York has a newly added “test out” option. Anyone coming from a noncontiguous state where they were out-of-state for more than 24 hours must obtain a test within three days of departure, prior to arrival in New York.
The traveler must, upon arrival in New York, quarantine for three days. On day four of their quarantine, the traveler must obtain another COVID test. If both tests come back negative, the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.
Per the Pennsylvania Government: Those returning to Pennsylvania from other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their return to the commonwealth.
If not, they will need to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.
Per the Rhode Island Government: Lastly, Rhode Islanders can waive quarantine if they provide proof of a negative test for COVID-19 that was taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival in Rhode Island.
The state does note, however, that quarantining for 14 days is always preferred over-relying on a negative test result as quarantining is the best way to limit the possibility of spreading COVID-19.
Want this information in an easily digestible format? Check out our COVID-19 Testing in Disney World Infographic!
There, now you can have all the info right when you need it. Click the image to get the high res version of this infographic!
Remember that a negative test does not mean that you don’t need to continue to observe health and safety regulations. You could become infected at any time without your knowledge or have been infected with the virus at an undetectable (but potentially contagious!) level. Continue to socialize with caution, wash your hands often, and wear a mask.
Also, keep in mind that the CDC notes that “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” A trip to Disney World could be a relief, but it’s up to you to decide if now is the right time for your family.
We will continue to bring you plenty of reports from a reopened Disney World and helpful resources for traveling to the parks during this time. Reach out if you have any specific questions and above all, stay safe.
Do you have any specific questions about getting tested for COVID-19 in Disney World? Ask them in the comments!