Planning to head to Walt Disney World now that they are opening on July 11 after COVID-19? Find out all my top tips on how to stay safe when visiting Walt Disney World.
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For many of us used to visiting the Parks a couple times a year, it’s been so strange not getting our Disney fix. And for those who have had to cancel their big Disney vacation, it’s been heartbreaking.
Well, the good news is that Walt Disney World is reopening on July 11, 2020 after the effects of COVID-19.
But when it does, there’s going to be a whole set of guidelines and regulations in place to ensure that the “happiest place on Earth” is also the safest for you and the rest of your family.
So, here are a few things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when you go to Walt Disney World.
How to Stay Safe and Healthy at Walt Disney World after COVID-19
Disney Theme Park Guests Should Get Ready for Changes
Disney World has unveiled plans to reopen its theme parks on July 11, 2020, and this is exciting for kids and families all over the U.S. This will be followed by the reopening of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.
And of course, our hearts are beating a mile a minute in anticipation.
But with new rules like face coverings, temperature screenings and physical distancing, you better brace yourself because it won’t be what you’re used to, so you can expect to visit Disney in a whole new way.
Don’t Visit If Your Health is Compromised
If you have a pre-existing medical condition or you’re elderly, you are risking exposure by visiting the theme parks. So, Disney warns on their website to consider staying home.
That doesn’t mean that they won’t let you in if you go, (unless you have a fever) but it does mean that you’re voluntarily assuming risk of exposure.
So, if you’re in doubt, check with your doctor first to see what they have to say or wait a little longer until the situation is under control.
Walt Disney World isn’t going anywhere and you’ll want to fully enjoy it without worrying about your health.
Use Online Checking When Staying at Disney World Hotels
Disney hotels like Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and select Disney Vacation Club properties, including Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, Disney’s Beach Club Villas and Disney’s BoardWalk Villas are set to reopen on June 22.
And Disney is encouraging guests to use online check-in to ensure social distancing requirements are met.
Once your room is ready, you’ll receive a text. You can also open your room door using the My Disney Experience app, but make your download the latest version as there are undoubtedly a number of upgrades available to help meet the new safety guidelines.
Also, Disney Hotels are going to be checking their guests out of their rooms automatically to reduce the number of people hovering at the front desk.
Complimentary Resort Transportation Will Be Limited, Too
There’s nothing more convenient than getting a free ride from the hotel to Disney. Fortunately, Complimentary Resort Transportation from the hotels to the theme park will be available once the resorts reopen.
But social distancing measures will be enforced on the buses, which means less people will fit on board and the wait time for a bus is going to be a lot longer than usual.
Guests Will Need a Reservation to Enter the Parks
When the phased reopening begins in July, you’ll have to get used to a new system that requires guests to have a reservation to enter the theme park.
But keep in mind that a hotel reservation doesn’t guarantee access to the Disney parks themselves.
Prepare to Get Your Temperature Check
When you arrive, Disney will be conducting temperature checks for all guests at the gate. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher won’t be allowed in, and neither will any other members of their party.
So, the Disney World website recommends that you check your entire family’s temperature before you head out the door.
You Need a Mask to Get In Walt Disney World
Every guest from ages two and up will be required to wear a mask while they’re at the theme park. No exceptions will be made. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent guests from getting sick and getting others sick.
Personal Bubbles Will Be More Important Than Ever
In case you’re thinking about making new friends when you go, guess again. The theme park requires all guests to practice social distancing. And there will be signs and cast members who will ensure that no one forgets.
In addition, expect to find physical barriers in areas like guest relations and registers, too.
Keep an Eye Out for Line Markers
Although the number of people allowed at the theme park will be limited to about 30% of its normal capacity, there will be markers showing guests where they need to stand while they wait in line.
That will make the whole social distancing thing a whole lot easier.
Don’t Sit Too Close at Walt Disney World Restaurants
Although Disney restaurants provide plenty of space for people to sit, the theme park will be limiting the number of customers that can come into an establishment to ensure that everyone sits far enough away.
Tables will be set 6 feet apart to respect the minimum distance requirement. So, if you’re hungry, you should definitely expect a long line.
But to avoid super long lines at the register, guests will be able to use the My Disney Experience App to scan codes from digital menus at select table service restaurants.
Take Advantage of Disney’s Hand Sanitizer
Disney theme park employees are going to provide hand sanitizers for their guests.
So while you might not be able to reach out and hug your favorite Disney character, they’ll be more than happy to pump some hand sanitizer on your palms. Now, that may not be as magical as a sweet embrace, but it’s still pretty cool.
Parks will also be equipped with hand sanitizer stations. But just in case, you may want to consider bringing a few bottles in your carry-on bag.
Forget About FastPass and Extra Magic Hours
The Extra Magic Hours program allowed guests to pay a little extra to explore the park at times when the general public stayed indoors.
Expect Touchless Transactions at the Registers
In an effort to keep Disney employees and their guests safe, the theme parks are using touchless transactions at all cash registers to limit the amount of human contact and reduce the risk of spreading germs.
In addition to debit cards, credit cards and gift cards, you’ll be able to charge food and onsite purchases using mobile wallet payments or MagicBands that allow the charges to go straight to your Disney Resort hotel room.
Don’t Expect to See Parades or Nighttime Shows
Sorry to spoil the mood but if you were expecting to see a parade or fireworks with the other guests, you’re going to be a little disappointed.
According to the Disney World website, “experiences that draw large group gatherings — such as parades and nighttime spectaculars — will return at a later date.”
But you can definitely enjoy these virtually by searching on YouTube.
No High-Fiving Mickey
Most kids and kids at heart would love nothing more than to give Cinderella a hug or Mickey Mouse a high-five.
But according to the Disney Parks Blog, “’high-touch’ experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in our parks to entertain and delight our guests.”
New Rides and Events Have Been Delayed Because of COVID-19
Epcot was planning to debut the Mary Poppins flat ride, the Ratatouille ride, the Festival Center and the Play Pavilion in the old Wonders of Life building. But those plans have been delayed for the time being.
However, Disney is doing its very best to ensure that everyone still has a healthy and magical good time when they walked through the gates.