After a closure of just shy 4 months, Walt Disney World’s four theme parks are scheduled to have a phased reopening over the course of two days. Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, will reopen first, on July 11. The resort’s other two major parks, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, will reopen on July 15.
The people behind the scenes who’ve had to transform the resort to be as safe as possible during a continuing pandemic have had to think about everything in terms of anti-virus caution:
- Enhanced cleanings, physical distancing, reduced contact and mandatory face coverings for all guests and cast members have had to be considered for each and every aspect of the parks, hotels, transportation, restaurants, shops, etc.
- Some activities such as dining and hotel reservations had to be restarted from scratch, while others such as FastPass+ reservations, Disney dining plans, parades, fireworks, behind-the-scenes tours and live shows have been canceled (that latter one is partially because Actors’ Equity Association unanimously rejected WDW’s reopening safety plan).
Disney hasn’t announced what their planned capacity will be for the parks. However, unless the park is nearly empty, there’s going to be a near-daily issue that I wonder if they’ve taken into consideration.
It’s summertime. And here in Florida in the summer, it rains. Almost every afternoon. And we’re not talking a little sprinkle. Nope, it’s a near monsoon, with pouring rain, frequent thunder and lightning, winds with gusts up to 70mph, and sometimes hail.
These mini Cat 1 hurricanes don’t last for long; maybe 15 or 20 minutes. But they’re not the kind of weather where you can stay outside and feel safe. In fact, meteorologists and even our NOAA radio always tell you to go inside and seek shelter.
So let’s say you’re at WDW and you get caught in one of these rainstorms. Under normal circumstances, you’d pop into the queue of the attraction of your choice, or maybe into a store or other building, or under an awning, and wait it out. Wherever you were, it’d usually be pretty crowded because everyone else was trying to get out of the weather, too.
But attraction queues are going to be limited because of social distancing. There are only so many awnings to stand under (and they’re not really safe if there’s lightning, anyway). And how many people can fit into a store when you’re trying to keep everyone 6 feet apart for proper social distancing?
On top of this, masks are going to be required at all times (Disney’s going to have cast members [Disneyspeak for employees] on hand to encourage wearing them). How are they going to get everyone to keep their mask on (especially those who won’t be thrilled to be wearing them in the first place) when they’re hot and wet and possibly crammed in a storefront for 15 minutes?
Yeah, that could be a problem. A big, virus-filled problem.
I hope they’ve thought about that. I mean, don’t know how they could fix it, but I certainly hope they’ve taken it into consideration.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary