This will be a two-part blog post, focusing on the changes that were implemented upon the phased re-opening.
My family and I, after careful consideration and research, made the decision to visit Walt Disney World. We observed many changes since our last visit in March. We frequently reviewed the information that Disney provides and frequently updates in the Know Before You Go and theme park updates page. We also received frequent communications via email and My Disney Experience app notifications about the safety measures and policies.
Facial coverings for all guests ages 2 and up are required throughout the Walt Disney World resort and theme parks except when dining or swimming. There are signs reminding guests, as well as Cast Members who are assisting with ensuring guests are adhering to the policy. The facial covering requirements are found in Know Before You Go. If you forgot your facial covering, vending machines are readily available for guests to purchase a disposable mask. Additional Disney themed masks are also available in many retail locations.
Relaxation Stations are designated areas in each theme park where guests may temporarily remove face coverings. Some are located outside, with other options in cool indoor locations. The Relaxation Stations are noted on the park guide maps.
Touchless temperature checks are required for every guest prior to entering any of the theme parks, Disney Springs, or a resort sit-down dining location. Disney does utilize non-contact thermometers and offers cooling tents if your initial screening temperature exceeds 100.4 F.
Physical distancing ground markings can be found throughout the theme parks and resorts. We were impressed with the thought and care that was in place. Even when waiting in a single line was not available, we noticed there would be circular areas that we would be instructed to wait on. For example, we visited the Starbucks location in Hollywood Studios.
After we placed our order, there was a Cast Member indicating how many waiting areas were available. If there was not a spot available, the Cast Member at the counter would ask you to remain at the counter until there was a space available. It may extend your wait time to order, but this is another example of the extensive measures to protect everyone’s safety. Retail/shopping locations all have designated entrances and exits along with Cast Members at each one counting the number of guests to ensure the capacity was not exceeded. We noticed the doorways were often open or automatic to avoid guests having to touch the doors.
Park Reservations were implemented to help manage park attendance. Guests must make an advanced reservation for the park they would like to visit for that day. Park hopping is temporarily on hold. Guests may enter, leave, and return to the selected park for the designated day. The FastPass+ system is also currently unavailable. Based on our personal experience, the reduced park capacity kept the attraction wait times very low and was as quick as, if not more than when we had utilized the FastPass+ system in the past.
Enhanced cleaning measures were evident and conveyed Disney’s commitment to protecting the safety of guests and Cast Members. Our resort room had a sign posted about the enhanced cleaning and sealed coverings on high touch items to verify they were cleaned and safe to use. In all public areas and throughout the park, there were Cast Members constantly cleaning. Attractions were frequently cleaned throughout the day as well.
These additional processes and policies were implemented to promote the safety of both the guest and Cast Members. As a seasoned visitor, while it may have been a different experience, it was not a lesser experience. Be sure to read part 2 of this blog that will focus on the changes to existing programs and policies that were available prior to the closing.
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