Welcome back! Yes, it is true. The Happiest Place on Earth is now open again. I recently enjoyed a week in our new vacation place close to Disney World and spent a few days in the reopened parks. Before the reopening, Bob Igor, Disney CEO, spoke about the need for guests to feel safe in the parks. (Bob Igor Speaks Out) From my point of view, this is a success. I felt far safer in the parks than I have felt anywhere during this pandemic except my own home.
So let’s walk through these safety measures. The first and likely the most important is the reduction in crowd volumes. Each park only admits a limited number of visitors per day. Actually, there are three different “buckets” of admission types per day, but that is a different topic for a different post. Let’s just go with these are the lowest crowds I have ever seen or imagined at Disney World. Also, there is no park hopping and all guests must have a valid park ticket plus a reservation for that park on that day.
Let’s take a look at what I saw when walking around the parks. These are not photo shopped pictures. They show how it looked when I was there, usually around lunchtime or mid afternoon.
The photos also show other safety elements in the parks now. Masks are required for everyone over the age of 2. All queues have 6 feet marked off. Rides and monorails have plastic dividers. Theaters have blocked off every other row and every four seats. Even parking has changed. Now, guests pull into every other slot to reduce the number of people who might walk over together.
I waited a few day for the first reports to come out before trying a visit to the Magic Kingdom. One of the tips others shared was to come to the park late. This is exactly the opposite of the normal advice to arrive before rope drop. It works well because there are even fewer people parking & getting to the park after the first hour or so. Also, I looked at the ability to spend any time at all as a marvelous gift. I was not trying to maximize all the available things to do. Instead, I wanted to check out what Disney World is like today.
Walt Disney World in July 2020 was surreal. The low crowds and greatly reduced human contact made me feel super safe. The short ride wait times offset the lack of fireworks, shows, parades and other entertainment. I will happily go again. Still, it is only fair to point out this is not the normal experience. If you are considering a once-in-a-lifetime visit, this is not the best time to go. But if you are a long term fan who would love to go play in the parks & feel like you have the place all to yourself….this is a great time to go to Disney World!