Walt Disney World Resort began its phased re-opening on July 11, 2020. I had the opportunity to spend eight days in the theme parks and at Disney’s Pop Century Resort at the end of July and would love to share my experience during Disney World’s phased reopening this summer.
Overall, I had a magical time in the parks and at my hotel. We were able to see a number of Disney characters, experience all of the attractions we wanted to (many multiple times) thanks to short lines, and even enjoy a character dining experience. The Disney magic is still alive and well and waiting to welcome you back at the Walt Disney World Resort. I even discussed my experience during Disney World’s phased reopening on The Budget Mouse podcast. Be sure to listen for all the details!
Disney is taking guest (and cast member) safety very seriously.
All guests make pass a temperature screening to enter the theme parks and wear a face covering throughout their visit. Face masks are only able to be removed while actively eating or drinking AND stationary. You are no longer able to stroll the parks with a drink in hand without your face covering.
Social distancing is being practiced everywhere, from the resort lobby to attraction queues and even Disney transportation. Disney buses now accommodate five to six families with barriers installed and select seats marked as unavailable. Dividers have been installed in the monorail, as well. There are ground markers at every attraction queue to keep at least (and sometime more) six feet between parties. At certain points of the queue where guests would be on one side of you or the other, plexiglass barriers have been installed.
They have added hand sanitizer machines throughout the parks and resorts. It is readily available and encouraged both before and after experiencing attractions.
I personally felt very safe traveling during Disney World’s phased reopening with my three year old and eight year old due to all of these safety precautions.
One thing that many guests seem to be very concerned about (and understandably so) is characters. Disney is not allowing guests to hug characters right now, but we still found plenty of opportunities to see and even interact with them.
All four parks are offering character cavalcades that actually feel like a short, mini parade. You can find Mickey and friends at all four parks and a variety of other characters throughout the parks. Guests can even personally interact with many of these characters. For example, Anastasia and Drizella are often standing on Cinderella Castle with microphones to talk to guests. We also found Buzz Lightyear, Joy from Inside Out, Gaston, Winnie the Pooh, and Alice in Wonderland among others. You can stop for a picture and even talk to these characters.
Disney is currently offering two character dining experiences. You can enjoy breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort or lunch or dinner at Garden Grill at Epcot. These are also the only opportunity to take a picture with the characters with your mask on. The characters just have to keep their distance.
Five Tips for Visiting During Disney World’s Phased Reopening
- Take Advantage of Mobile Order Whenever Possible: This single tip will save you so much time during your visit. Mobile order is available at the resort food courts and (open) quick service locations in the theme parks. You can order your meals in your My Disney Experience app and simply arrive to pick up your food when it is ready.
- Prepare for Bag Check: Bag check has changed, but for the better! It is so much faster and easier now! However, you can be prepared by removing any large metal objects from your bag like an umbrella or sunglass case as you prepare to enter the park.
- Pack Multiple Masks: You’ll probably get hot and sweaty throughout the day so if you have an extra mask in your park bag, you can change it out for a fresh mask. Masks are also available for purchase throughout the theme parks and hotels.
- Set Expectations in Advance: You can find a list of which attractions and dining experiences are currently open. Be sure to look this over so you aren’t disappointed with the attractions or even dining experiences are currently available.
- Practice Wearing Masks at Home with Kids: Your kids may not have had to wear a mask very much at home, if at all. I would recommend practicing with them at home so that they have an idea of what to expect. They can also start getting used to the mask so it won’t be as bothersome during your visit.
We’d love to help you plan a magical and memorable Disney World vacation this year. Plus, we have a special offer when you book your 2020 Disney World vacation package with us! When you book a minimum three night stay with a three day ticket, you’ll receive a 2020 Walt Disney World Resort photo album ($24.99 value)!
Will you be visiting during Disney World’s phased reopening this year? Don’t miss answers to our most FAQ about Disney World’s phased reopening, too!
PS- Don’t forget to sign up to receive a FREE Disney World coloring book here!