As we all know, COVID-19 has hit the United States hard. Disney closed in March and finally reopened in July – but it’s a different park than you might remember. In this article, we’re going to discuss how Disney is adapting to the risk of the virus to make the park as safe and magical as they can.
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Disney typically has guests park all in a row to get the most capacity in their parking lots. Right now, they are leaving one space open between arriving guests to avoid crowding and allow social distancing.
Trams are not running right now. The tram would cause a backup at bag check and temperature screenings, so all guests must walk to the park entrance in designated pedestrian areas.
Adapted Park Entrance Procedures
The park entrance procedures have been revised. All guests will be required to get a no-contact temperature screening. If you are over a temperature of 100.4 F, you will be directed to an additional location for rescreening and assistance. Disney has also modified the bag check at some parks. You are only required to take out metal items, the rest can stay in your bag. All guests must pass through a metal detector, unless physically unable to. Lastly, there is no fingerprint scan at the park entrance, just the scan of the ticket.
Social Distancing Measures
Social distancing might seem impossible in Disney, but it’s not. They have dramatically reduced the park capacity to allow for social distancing. All queues have lines spaced more than 6 feet away for guests to stand on. And, fireworks and parades are currently canceled to avoid crowding.
Disney has made changes to the trash cans to eliminate contact with the surface flap. The flap to the trash can is pinned back so you can drop your trash straight into the can.
Dining at Quick Service Locations
Rather than waiting in line in quick service restaurants, Disney has required mobile ordering (even for cups of water!). To mobile order, go to the MyDisneyExperience app on your phone.
Masks are now required at the parks for everyone over the age of 2. Guests can take their masks off in designated Relaxation Stations. You are not allowed to walk without a mask off when eating or drinking. You must be stationary and physically distanced to eat any snacks or drink water. For more on masks, check out this article.
There are Relaxation Stations around the parks as a safe place for you to distance with your family and take off your mask. These areas are designated on park maps and there are several in each park. The tables are spread apart, a cast member is present, and you can stay as long as you want.
Increase Ride Cleaning (at least every 2 hours)
Before Corona, it was rare to see a cast member cleaning rides during the day. Now, the rides are being cleaned at least every two hours. The ride is shut down for an entire ride cycle while the cast members clean each vehicle!
Reduced Park Hours
The park hours have been reduced – this means later openings and earlier closings. This gives Disney more time to clean the parks, spray down benches and queue poles, and get ready for the next day.
Character Cavalcades Instead of Meet and Greets
This might seem like a huge shock, and it’s definitely a change. But, this is important for the safety of cast members and guests. There are no character meet and greets at the parks right now – that means you can’t meet Mickey face-to-face and you won’t see any characters walking around. But, they have amazing character parades passing by at least once an hour. You can see princesses, Mickey and friends, Pooh, Peter Pan, and more riding on parade floats and waving to guests!
Virtual Queues for Some Popular Attractions
Rather than waiting in extended queues, Disney has some virtual queues set up. You’ll go to the attraction and get a return time – this will show up on the MyDisneyExperience app. Rise of the Resistance is still doing boarding parties like before Corona!
Partitions in Queues
To help maintain social distancing, there are glass partitions in the queues. Masks are still required in lines and so is maintaining a six foot distance from other parties.
No Fastpass+, Single Rider Lines, or Extra Magic Hours
There are no Fastpasses in 2020. Disney is using the Fastpass queues to have increased capacity in the queues and allow for social distancing. There are also no single rider lines. The ride vehicles are not filled to capacity, so single riders could not be accommodated as usual. And, there are no Extra Magic Hours to allow more time for cleaning and preparing the parks for the next day.
Spaced Out Seating on Attractions
Disney has social distancing measures in place on rides. On some attractions you will only be seated with your party, like Winnie the Pooho r Figment. Others with larger vehicles like Pirates or Small World have guests spaced out with empty rows in between. More popular rides like Soarin and Flight of Passage have glass partitions in between seats.