The last time I visited Walt Disney World was January of this year. Since I knew WDW, and actually all Disney parks, shut down worldwide due to the pandemic, I haven’t given much thought to planning a trip back.
But even though COVID-19 is still raging, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks reopened on July 11, with EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios joining them on July 15. Although things are far from normal, at least some people can have a vacation.
So what accommodations have been made? I have come into the possession of a booklet, “Welcome Back! What you need to know before visiting WDW.” If you’re considering planning a trip and haven’t gotten around to researching the current requirements, here are some highlights.
WHAT DISNEY IS DOING
Mask Requirement — All guests are required to wear a mask while in the parks. There are Relaxation Stations designated in each park where you can take a break from your face covering.
Reduced Contact Points — Disposable menus, Mobile Order, and Direct to Room services will help reduce the number of shared contact points between guests and Cast Members. Dining and merchandise locations will require cashless transactions.
Social Distancing — Parks will be operating at reduced capacity to enable proper social distancing. Signage is posted all over the parks to remind guests to stay six feet apart. Ground markings and signs will help guests to determine safe distance and events that draw crowds (parades, shows) have been postponed.
Safe Riding — Hand sanitizer will be offered to guests at the entrance and exit to ride queues. Physical barriers will separate guests in some queue areas. Attraction vehicles will undergo a sanitation process at designated times throughout the day.
ENTERING THE PARKS
Before you enter a theme park at WDW you should prepare for the following:
You must be wearing a mask to enter the parks.
No-touch temperature checks uses a forehead thermometer to gauge your current temperature.
Bag check allows you to walk through a metal detector. If nothing is detected, your bag may not be searched.
Your fingerprint will not be required for entry as your ticket or MagicBand is scanned.
DIRECT TO ROOM CHECK-IN
1. Link your room reservation to your My Disney Experience account.
2. Use Online Check-In before you arrive at Disney.
3. On your arrival day, you’ll get notifications and updates when your room is ready for you.
4. Once your room is ready, use the app to find your room and unlock it with your Magic Band or the unlock door feature on your app.
At Table-Service restaurants, use the My Disney Experience app to check-in at the front of the restaurant.
Menus for Quick-Service restaurants are available on the My Disney Experience app. You can also scan the QR codes provided at the restaurant to access the menu on the app.
DISNEY PARK PASS SYSTEM
All guests with valid theme park admission, including Annual Passholders, will be required to make a reservation prior to visiting at: disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/park-reservations to entering any gate at Walt Disney World
Disney Park Pass does not allow for park hopping
For the immediate future there will be no Fastpass+ on any attraction
No fireworks, parades, or stage shows
SPOTTING CHARACTERS IN THE PARKS
Characters will be wishing you a magical day from a safe distance at all four parks.
If you think you can live with this brave new world, see all the details at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/