With the Disney theme parks having been closed for the past several months, and now, finally reopening at Walt Disney World, Park Savers will be detailing what it’s like to visit the resorts and theme parks post COVID.
Because so many changes have occurred including entry into the parks, riding attractions and viewing shows, dining and more, you may want to know what to expect before arriving for your vacation.
Our First Day Back
We’re typically at the parks several days a month so having gone this long without visiting the parks; we were excited to get back! Our entry into Magic Kingdom started at 9am so we arrived about 7:30am not knowing what to expect time-wise to get into the parks. The toll plaza didn’t start letting cars in until 8am so we just sat for a little.
The toll booths were delaying entry even after 8am, allowing time to space cars, thus spacing guest entry, even here.
After parking we were able to get over to the Ticket and Transportation Center and get over to the ferry. Social distancing was encouraged the entire way and you’ll want to have your mask on from the time you get out of the car.
After the ferry landed we went right into security and health screening. Security is just how its always been. The health screening is a temperature check and making sure nobody felt sick or had symptoms.
This entire process took about 45 minutes, from parking the car to getting to the park entrance. For scanning tickets and getting in, things were normal except there was more sanitizing going on after each use.
We were wondering how strict Disney was going to be with masks inside and outside the parks. Turns out they need to be worn pretty much all the time. Cast Members will definitely say something to you if you don’t. The only time we were able to take them “off” was while we were eating or getting a drink.
Even inside the shops and throughout the parks, you will see Cast Members walking around enforcing this. They are very polite and happy to help in anyway they can. Just remember, don’t try and shake hands or touch shoulders. Just be aware of social distancing and it’s not a big deal.
A lot of people may be wanting to use gaiter masks/bandanas instead of filtered masks. As of right now, Disney is not allowing just gaiter masks so be sure to bring a filtered mask.
They were selling masks for $2 each, cash or card. We would recommend you bring several for each day as sweat tends to get them wet and dirty. The humidity is in full swing!
Throughout our day, we definitely saw capacity limits going on. This included on the ferry over, dining locations and shops. You will have to social distance everywhere plus potentially wait in line just to get into a shop or restaurant. Our day was smaller than what we believe opening day and so on will be so things could change.
Our day also had several shops and dining locations closed and this may not be the case on reopening either. It’s hard to say if more restaurants and shops being open will make wait times less because there may be more guests allowed into the parks than on our day. Just something to consider.
As far as attractions go, lines were short for the most part. Each line had 6 feet of social distancing markers which made them “longer” but only due to the spacing. Lines that have people standing next to each other had sneeze guards between them. We had to sanitize our hands before and after getting on a ride.
Cast Members clean attractions every so many times through so sometimes there can be a longer wait as they stop the ride and wipe everything down.
Any attraction that has a pre-show seemed to have circles taped on the ground for groups to stand in. This limited the number of people in the rooms and kept them together. I’m going to assume this is the case for any attraction that has a show to watch before the actual ride. The Haunted Mansion for example had no room-stretch scene. You just skipped past it.
Splash Mountain was the longest wait we had but I feel like that was due to guests wanting to ride it before it changes to the new Princess and the Frog design. Otherwise, we didn’t have long waits at all. Again, this could be different on opening day and beyond depending on how many guests Disney decides to let in (which nobody know).
There are characters at the parks but they are usually in places where guests cannot touch them. Balconies, floats, etc. They did try to be in places where you could “get a photo with them,” basically they are in the background smiling. Considering social distancing, they actually are doing a great job with them. We were surprised to see any out at all.
Cinderella’s Castle did hold Mickey’s dance party a few times throughout the day.
If you’re wanting to see a show, you can! Theaters are open and following new health rules. Basically every other row is blocked off plus some additional seats here and there. They will do their best to keep your group together.
Overall we had an amazing time. It’s different but it doesn’t take long to get use to. Cast Members are there to help you if you need it. Be sure to thank them and be kind as they are working super hard at making your experience the best it can be.
We will be attending the parks on reopening day, July 11th-16th so be sure to look for our next journal entries. You can follow us on Apple News, Facebook or Instagram for updates.
Until then, cheers!
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.