I can’t believe it was only a month and a half since I sat down and thought what a reopened Disney World might look like. It feels like forever ago. This is before any of the Disney parks had reopened and way before the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force existed.
Walt Disney World has submitted their plans to said task force and those plans have been approved. The Disney theme parks in Orlando will be reopening in July, with some major changes. How did I do with my predictions for what was going to change?
Fireworks & Parades
This was probably the easiest one to predict. Any event that causes a large group of people to gather in a single place isn’t going to work. So no shows, parades or fireworks for now.
Additionally, attractions, experiences (such as shows, parades and fireworks), services and amenities may have limited availability or may remain closed.
It looks like shows might not come back for the time being, but it seems like Disney is going to try to find a way to have entertainment. We’ll have to see what they come up with.
There’s no idea yet for what dining locations Disney will open with the parks. Any establishment will have to adhere to directions from health experts and government officials to promote physical distancing.
So whatever will happen, it won’t look like it did before.
We already know one significant change to the queues at Walt Disney World as they have eliminated Fast Pass Plus as an option. There have been rumors of Disney trying to use more virtual lines like they do for Rise of the Resistance but no word on that yet.
Here’s one thing Disney hasn’t changed. Despite having less to offer, Disney hasn’t offered any lower ticket specials to get people back to the parks. That’s understandable since park entry will only be through a reservation system and Disney is limiting that to existing ticket holders and annual passholders. Limiting possible attendance, Disney seasonal passes are blacked out for the summer, so those guests won’t even get a chance to visit with a reservation until August.
We’ll see if once attendance is allowed to increase if Disney will offer some specials to people wanting to purchase tickets.
There’s no word on this one yet. Summer was a slow season for Epcot festivals, with only a few concerts scheduled at the American Gardens theater. The biggest festival of the year is the Food and Wine Festival in the fall and I guess we’ll have to see what happens. Epcot used to be wall to wall people on some weekends and that just won’t be allowed. The same could be said for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.
Things I didn’t see coming.
- When I wrote my post, Shanghai Disneyland hadn’t reopened and it looks like Walt Disney World is using some of the same ideas from there. Temperature checks and mandatory face coverings will be some of the biggest changes for guests to the Florida theme parks.
- I also didn’t foresee Disney World not taking any new hotel reservations. It makes sense if you aren’t going to sell any tickets, then you’d want to limit the number of people who would be looking at taking an impromptu summer vacation.
- Disney has to limit the number of attractions open since they’ve sent home all of their international staff from Epcot and all of the students working at the parks as part of the College Program. Cast Members are being allowed to transfer jobs to fill available positions if their old job isn’t available yet. Expect some learning curves for Cast Members when the parks reopen.
- The last thing I didn’t expect is the negativity towards Disney by some of their so-called biggest fans. The level of anger at Disney for making changes in response to coronavirus is beyond comprehension. I get that you are upset that your favorite place in the world isn’t going to be the same. Neither is anywhere else, at least for a while. If that will ruin the experience for you, then stay home until the parks are back to what you want them to be. Have A Magical Day.
I’m glad to see the parks reopen and that it appears Disney is trying to do it in a way to keep both guests and Cast Members as safe as is possible in such a situation. We won’t be going for a while because we’re not wanting to visit any place with a large number of people and our annual passes are blocked out for the summer.
For those of you who can’t wait to get back to the parks, just remember to #stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary