Social Distancing at Disney World and Coronavirus Measures to Keep Your Family Safe
A question many Floridians have been asking is when is Walt Disney World reopening? For lots of local residents, Disney is more than just a theme park, it’s a lifestyle. The news of COVID-19 earlier this year and the subsequent closing of Disney World (although necessary) was heartbreaking. Disney World and the coronavirus has made news recently, and the new social distancing precautions and park safety have been at the forefront of many people’s minds. I am so excited to see Disney World reopen. Here are some of the precautions Disney is taking to ensure guest health and safety.
My family has not visited Disney World, nor do we have current plans to do so. The mask mandate and heat makes it incredibly hard to consider a trip with my little ones, especially with my youngest being only 5 months old. However, my brother is a Cast Member and recently attended park previews at both Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. He has passed along photos and helpful information for me to write this post and share the experience for my readers.
When is Walt Disney World Reopening?
If you don’t know already, Disney World is open! Walt Disney World theme parks open beginning July 11 for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom followed by EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on July 15. Disney Springs is also currently open.
Are Disney World Resorts Open?
The following Disney Resort hotels are now open to Guests and Disney Vacation Club Members with reservations:
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Beach Club Villas
- BoardWalk Villas
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Riviera Resort
- Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
In addition, they plan to open the following Disney Resort hotels to booked Guests on the following dates.
|Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort
|Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
|Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
|Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort
|Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
|Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
|Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Given the current situation, there are also some Disney Resort hotels and other areas that are not currently scheduled for reopening yet. This schedule is also subject to change.
Disney is Requiring Reservations
But here is the catch, Disney World isn’t just open for anyone. Capacity is limited and reservations are required. Park attendance is managed via the Disney Park Pass reservation system. To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date (no Park Hopping) are required for Guests ages 3 and up. The number of Disney Park Pass reservation days you can hold at one time varies based on the following:
- Disney Resort and other select hotel Guests with valid theme park admission can make reservations for their length of stay.
- Annual Passholders can make theme park reservations for up to 3 days at a time or for their length of stay if staying at a Disney Resort or other select hotel.
- Existing ticket holders can make reservations for the number of days of valid theme park admission.
Disney World Social Distancing & Safety Measures
Disney is enhancing health and safety measures. First, Disney has committed to more cleaning measures such as extra attention to high-traffic areas, including public elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more. They have also implemented more tactics to ensure a safe environment.
Social Distancing begins as soon as you park in the parking lot. Attendants must wear masks and vehicles are also parking every other spot to ensure plenty of space.
Temperature screenings (with no touch thermometers) are required for everyone prior to entering (before security) and face coverings are also required. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be rescreened at another location. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.
Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Check out these FIVE easy Face Mask tutorials. You must bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. Yes masks are REQUIRED and strongly enforced. There are extra Cast Members monitoring guests to ensure this is being followed.
All face coverings must:
- Fully cover an individual’s nose and mouth and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Be made of breathable material, either disposable or reusable
Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with existing rules. Throughout the parks, Disney has Relaxation Areas to provide a break if needed from wearing masks. These areas are controlled to prevent overcrowded and designed to enable physical distancing between parties.
Physical Distancing Measures
- Signage and Ground Markings: Directional signage and ground markings are installed throughout Walt Disney World to help better navigate common areas while practicing physical distancing.
- Physical Barriers: Physical barriers have been added in select places where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines. These may be visible in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations to help promote proper distances between people.
- Training: They have trained Cast Members to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.
- Verbal Reminders: There are also timely verbal reminders (over the speakers) throughout the park to remind Guests to wash hands and practice social distancing.
Entertainment & Characters at Disney World
One of our favorite things to do at Disney World is to meet characters. Unfortunately, character meet and greets, parades and fireworks are all temporarily on hold. However, that doesn’t mean that Disney hasn’t found a way to sprinkle in some magic.
Disney World in the existing coronavirus world has implemented several ways to still see and experience characters within each park. For example, in Magic Kingdom there are random parade floats that come down Main Street. They do not stop to avoid drawing large crowds. They also have characters across the train station platform at the front of Magic Kingdom rotating Disney Princesses and Mickey, Minnie and gang.
Tips for Social Distancing at Disney World
COVID-19 may have changed a lot of aspects of our lives, but being able to enjoy Disney World again brings us one step closer to a new normal. If you’re planning a trip to Disney World during coronavirus, check out these tips.
Download & Use the My Disney Experience App
Make the most of the magic with the My Disney Experience app. Use mobile order service to expedite food service and ensure safety. There are scannable codes for select table-service restaurant menus. Also, the Online Check-In Service is great to use prior to your arrival to skip waiting in line. When your room is ready, you’ll get a room-ready notification. Then, you can use either a MagicBand or the app’s digital key feature to enter your room. In addition, use the app can to check wait times, park operating hours and keep track of PhotoPass image downloads.
Bring an Extra Mask
Florida summers are hot! Read my tips to help stay cool at the parks. If you’re planning a trip to Disney World amid coronavirus, be sure to pack not only your face mask, but a back up (or several) as well. A rainy Disney day can make it even harder to breath through a face covering. Having a back up face mask is always a good idea.
More than ever, breaks are an essential part of a Disney day. Wearing a mask all day can be tiresome, especially for families with kids. Build in breaks for dining to be able to remove face coverings for a bit, also check out the Relaxation Zones in each park. Lastly, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort consider heading back to the pool during the hottest part of the day.
Find the Magic
This Disney is not normal Disney and that’s okay. You will notice lots of differences. No fireworks, no character meets, no parades, etc. But, the changes are temporary. Disney World may never be exactly like it was before, but there will still be magic if you take a moment to look for it.
Have Patience and Be Kind
This process is new. It’s an adjustment for both Cast Members and Guests. A little patience and kindness can go a long way in making the experience better and safer for everyone.
Coronavirus and Disney World Event Changes & Cancellations
Even though Disney World has reopened, there are some major changes and cancellations for popular festivals and events originally schedule to happen this fall.
Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
Disney World’s beloved Food and Wine Festival will have a modified experience this year. The popular foodie festival will debut early on July 15 and continue through the fall. Food & Wine Festival offers over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park.
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series will not take place this year, but there will be plenty of music at America Gardens Theatre. Epcot entertainment will include Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors and more with performances spread throughout the day.
EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival
Most of the Flower and Garden Festival didn’t happen so Disney is bringing some of the magic back. A Remy topiary is in the France pavilion, along with merchandise from the spring festival. For scavenger hunt fans, there will also be a new experience that celebrates the best of both festivals.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Disney H2O Glow Nights are cancelled for 2020. Holiday events such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, will be determined at a later date.
Currently Unavailable During the Initial Reopening
The following experiences will remain unavailable during the initial reopening period
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
- Surfing activities – including group lessons and private sessions
- Spas, salons and Harmony Barbershop
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
- Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew
- Character Couture
- Perfectly Princess Tea Party
- Pirate Adventure Cruises
- Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage
- Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers at the Walt Disney World Resort
- Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare
Additional cancelled special offerings, dining experiences and tours can be found here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/events-tours-extras/