What does the Magic look like in the re-opened Walt Disney World Parks?
After almost four months of closure, the Walt Disney World theme parks have begun their phased re-openings. Magic Kingdom Park and Animal Kingdom Park officially re-opened July 11th with Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom Park following July 15th. All four parks re-opened with significantly reduced capacities. Disney has put together a calculated re-opening plan in order to keep health and safety for both cast members and guests in the forefront. Let’s take a look at what the parks look like during this initial re-opened phase.
Walt Disney World Resorts
On June 22, 2020, select Walt Disney World Resorts re-opened to guests. Throughout 2020, additional resorts are slated to re-open. Prior to re-opening, Disney implemented an enhanced cleaning protocol. High touch areas receive extra attention – including door handles, knobs, light switches, etc. Guests also have the option to opt-out of daily mousekeeping service, if they wish. Extra towels can still be provided if guests opt-out.
Prior to arrival, Disney is recommending all guests complete On-Line check in via their My Disney Experience account. On-Line check in allows guests to skip to front desk and go directly to their room upon arrival. Your resort room can be unlocked with your Magicband or through the app. If you do need to visit the front desk upon arrival or during your stay, Disney has various safety standards in place.
Once inside your room, Disney has properly labeled high touch object after sanitization has occurred. Some resorts have large bathroom amenities – which are sanitized. Other resorts are using individual bottles. TV remotes are also cleaned and packaged.
Various modes of transportation are up and running throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney buses, ferry boats, monorail, and skyliner services are all available to transport guests around the Walt Disney World property. Each mode of transportation has additional health and safety procedures to keep cast members and guests safe. These include reduced capacities, thorough cleaning throughout the day, partitions, and one family per skyliner gondola. Guests will also find social distancing markers at each waiting area in order to maintain a 6 foot distance.
One week ago, on July 15, 2020 — all four theme parks were re-opened after a four month closure. The Walt Disney Company put in place many policies to ensure a safe and healthy re-opening for guests and cast members. Although there are aspects of Disney that may look different, the magic is still there to create those life-long memories.
To enter a Walt Disney World theme park, each Guest must have:
- A theme park reservation—made via the new Disney Park Pass system—along with valid park admission for the same park on the same day
- Face coverings for each Guest age 2 and up—which must be worn in all public areas, except while swimming or seated for dining
Also, it’s highly recommended to have:
- The latest version of the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device, with location services and notifications enabled
- A cashless or contactless form of payment
In order to operate with proper social distancing, Disney has implemented a 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.
Upon arrival to the theme park, guests will have their temperature checked prior to entry. Guests will also have their bags go through a touch-less check by security. Throughout the parks, guests will be met by Disney’s “Social Distancing Squad” in various locations reminding guests to maintain distance and proper face-coverings.
To accommodate physical distancing, some experiences are temporarily paused during the initial reopening period, including:
- Traditional parades and nighttime spectaculars
- Character Meet and Greets
Replacing parades are special cavalcades throughout all 4 theme parks. There are a variety at each park – some samples are: Down the Magic Kingdom park parade route you can find your favorite Disney Princess, Mickey and Friends, Your favorite friends from the 100 Acre Woods, and Tinkerbell. Sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park you will see a variety of characters and musicians jamming away! Along the World Showcase promenade at EPCOT you will find your favorite Ice Queens – Anna and Elsa. And at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, motorcades on Hollywood Boulevard featuring your favorite Disney Jr characters and Pixar Friends! You never know when a party of your pals may come by, so be prepared for plenty of surprises!
To provide a safe space to remove your mask and relax for a few moments, Disney has created Relaxation Stations. Once your inside, you can relax without your mask on for as long as you’d like! But while there is no official time limit, we were told they encourage no more than 30 minutes if it’s busy. Each theme park has 3 designated areas – both indoor and outdoor options.
All of your favorite ride attractions have re-opened at all four theme parks. A variety of shows have also re-opened (a select number of shows are still temporarily unavailable).In order to help with proper social distancing, Disney has significantly reduced capacity. All attractions have spaced out queue lines with markers and plexi-glass dividers to keep parties a safe distance apart.
Due to the reduced capacity, average wait times for attractions during the re-opening period has been hovering around 30 minutes or less. During the re-opening, Disney has removed the Fastpass+ system. However, the low capacity at each park has allowed the removal of fastpasses to be a non-issue for guests. The all-favorite attraction Avatar:Flight of Passage has been down to a 5 minute wait time on many days! If you know anything about Flight of Passage, you know this used to be the hardest fastpass attraction to get and had a steady 90+ minute wait time daily.
- Guests may now make Disney Dining reservations 60 days prior to arrival. The Disney Dining plan is currently on hiatus, keep a look out for more information when it becomes available. Dining reservations are highly recommended – and in some cases required – for all table service locations.
New measures have been implemented across Walt Disney World dining locations to promote health and hygiene, including:
- Enhanced Cleaning: We’ve increased cleaning in high-traffic areas such as public elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more. Additionally, seating areas, dining areas and pagers will be cleaned between Guests.
- Reduced-Contact Menus: At quick-service restaurants, menus are displayed on signage. And at table-service restaurants, you can scan a code with your mobile device to access the digital menu.
- Self-Serve Changes: Beverages and other items that were previously self-serve are now served by Cast Members instead
A Disney parks vacation has always meant a break from reality and a trip to enjoy magic, family, and creating life-long memories. The parks may look different now, but during these times, a Disney Parks vacation may be a much needed break from the uncertainty and stress of the current reality. A vacation for some may be a few weeks away, while for others planning for 2021 feels more comfortable. Now matter where you are in the planning of your next family vacation, please remember to keep your MouseExpert in mind for all destinations.