As the sun rises on the Cinderella Castle and the Tree of Life, Walt Disney World® Resort welcomes guests to its theme parks once again. With two Disney theme parks now open and two more on the way on July 15, 2020, there have been many changes to ensure the safety of cast members and guests.
We knew that the Magic Kingdom® Park was going to be a must-visit during the opening weekend, so we wanted to give you guys a glimpse at its nearby neighbor, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. We had the opportunity to visit and gather some insight on what to expect, and while we were there to bring you the scoop, we realized how much fun the theme parks still are! So what can you expect in your future visit? We broke down some of the key changes you’ll notice on your trip to the theme parks.
Quick Notes Before Beginning…
Before guests may visit any of the four Disney theme parks, you must reserve your day online.
At this time, guests are only allowed to visit one park per day. The Park Hopper® and Park Hopper Plus® options are on hold until further notice.
The Disney FastPass+ service is on hold until further notice.
For more information on updated policies and procedures, please visit Disney Parks Returning to the World of Magic.
Park Entry and “Health and Safety” Notices
When you reach the park entrance, you’ll already begin to notice the stark difference in crowds just by the number of cars that enter. Upon our arrival, we didn’t even have to wait to pay for parking. It’s a nice change from the usual congestion we see and really does provide that peace-of-mind on arrival.
Once you hop out of your vehicle and make your way to the gates, you’ll be greeted with the new Health and Safety Notice sign that helps you determine if you’re able to enter the park.
As seen above, the notice notifies that they will be required to wear face coverings, undergo temperature screening, and practice physical distancing of 6 feet (2m) during their visit. The notice also states that “By entering Walt Disney World® Resort, you are confirming that you are not experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- You have not been in contact with someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 symptoms without completing a 14-day quarantine
- You are not under any self-quarantine orders
If you are unable to confirm all of the above listed, you must not enter Walt Disney World® Resort. And while these newly enforced policies do seem a bit strict, they definitely aid in preventing the spread of sickness and we truly appreciate the effort that has been implemented!
Once you pass this notice, you will undergo a temperature screening prior to officially entering the park.
As long as your temperature falls below 100.4 after screening with a no-touch thermometer and you are wearing an approved face covering, you are granted entry (with your reserved admission, of course) into the parks!
Guests will notice upon entry that all Cast Members will be equipped with two types of face coverings, including protective masks and shields. Guests will also only be asked to scan their admission cards or MagicBand rather than scanning your thumbprint for sanitary reasons.
Physical Distancing and Inside the Theme Parks
The first thing you’ll come to notice when entering the theme parks is the stark difference in crowd size (for the better). Because of capacity limits in all four Disney theme parks, you’ll notice that entering the park and maintaining a distance between you and other guests will be a breeze.
This also makes for a fantastic opportunity to take amazing photos inside the theme park! Pose nearly wherever you’d like without interruption or heavy crowds walking by, just like below at Pandora: World of Avatar.
Attraction Wait Queues
It would only make sense that if the parks are less crowded, so are the queues, right? Well, that’s entirely correct. Over the weekend, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park rarely saw a wait time that jumped over 5 MINUTES.
Yes, we’re serious about this one. Most, if not all attractions at the theme park were practically walk-on’s, giving guests the chance to complete everything and still have plenty of time to re-ride their favorites.
And before you even ask the question, yes, this includes Avatar Flight of Passage, which is well-known for being one of the consistently busiest attractions on Walt Disney World® Resort property. Have you ever been able to walk onto this ride without a wait? It seemed near impossible in the past, but now it is a completely common occurrence. Time for those back-to-back attraction visits!
We’d also like to note that while fewer guests are riding the attractions, that doesn’t stop the Cast Members from ensuring that all rides are properly sanitized throughout the day as a way to minimize bacteria transfer on high-contact surfaces!
Quick Service Dining
Just like the rest of the theme park, the on-site quick service dining options were also extremely low capacity. This made it extremely easy to grab food and a physically distanced table without worry.
Walt Disney World® Resort is also recommending contactless payment by either paying with a tap debit or credit card, through a smartphone wallet or by completing a mobile order through the My Disney Experience app. All of these are additional ways to minimize the handling of high-touch surfaces for both cast members and guests.
Unfortunately (for now) parades and character meet & greet sessions have been put on hold in order to ensure guests have the chance to physical distance. BUT, you will have the chance to spot some of your favorite character friends and floats throughout the day! At Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, guests may see water floats pass by during their visit, just like this one here!
And May the Magic Continue…
While things may be a bit different on your future visit to the theme parks, we guarantee that the magic still remains. We hope this overview gave you the insight you need for when you decide to plan your next vacation. And when you do, make sure to check out some of our extraordinary vacation rentals that may be ideal for your Orlando family vacation!
Thank you for coming along the Walt Disney World® journey with us! Until the next blog post, have a magical (and safe) day.
*As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney*