What You Can and Can’t Do When Disney Parks Reopen
Okay, Disney has provided a ton of information recently. We now know enough to draw conclusions about how park visits will work during the rest of 2020.
Here’s what you can and can’t do at Walt Disney World when the parks reopens.
Can’t: Meet Disney Characters
All the new measures we’ll discuss stem from Disney’s precautionary approach to Coronavirus. Park officials won’t do anything that jeopardizes the health of guests.
So, a standing practice like a character meeting becomes problematic during the pandemic. Guests try to touch costumed cast members, which is terrible for everyone.
Also, social distancing guidelines are more difficult to enforce in these situations.
Disney has chosen to stop character meetings until Coronavirus issues become less worrisome.
Can: Watch Character Processions
However, Disney won’t rob guests of fantastic character-based entertainment.
On the contrary, Disney has confirmed that characters will hold processions at all four theme parks on opening day.
Apparently, this practice will become standard, as your beloved Disney icons entertain guests from a socially distant location.
This turn of events means that you will see things during your next Disney visit that have literally never happened before at the parks!
Can’t: Eat at Buffets
Look, if I have to tell you why buffets are bad right now, I must ask a question. How are you still alive right now?
On the list of spectacularly massive pandemic no-no’s, buffets are at the top of the list.
Buffets are right there with licking bathroom doorknobs for ridiculously reckless behavior.
Epidemiologists warn people about the dangers of high-touch objects. That’s virtually everything you can use at a buffet.
I mentioned back in April that people should expect the elimination of buffets. That’s apparently what has happened.
Disney has published a list of reopening restaurants. There isn’t a buffet among them. And we should all thank Disney for that.
Can: Eat Family Style
Thankfully, a solution already existed for this problem. Have you ever dined at ‘Ohana?
Disney serves the meals here family style. In other words, cast members bring heapin’ helpings of dinner courses to your table.
These giant dishes contain enough food to satisfy the entire party. But diners still have the right to ask for more of anything they love.
So, the difference between buffets and family-style restaurants is that cast members do all the work for you.
Disney has indicated that Chef Mickey’s and Biergarten Restaurant will both transition to family-style when they reopen.
To date, Disney hasn’t announced return plans for any other (previously) buffet restaurants. Expect family-style to become the way, though.
The buffet restaurant industry probably never recovers from the pandemic. Even if it does, the process will take years for potential customers to forget.
Can’t: Attend Ticketed Events
Okay, this may not apply to every ticketed event. Thus far, Disney has confirmed two significant changes.
Due to the pandemic, Magic Kingdom cannot host Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this year.
This ticketed event is the reason why we go to Disney every October. So the news absolutely rips my heart out.
However, I’ve expected this announcement for a while now. It’s totally the right thing to do and Disney’s only real choice here.
Park officials are doing everything imaginable to reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party would qualify as high-risk.
Similarly, Disney has canceled H2O Glow Nights pool parties for 2020. The rationale is the same.
I do have good news, though. The jury is still out regarding Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Magic Kingdom’s management team will wait to watch how the next phase of Coronavirus in Central Florida plays out.
If the situation improves, we may get a ticketed event in December, which is really just five months away anyway!
Can: Attend Festivals
Disney managed to pull off a shocker during its recent announcements.
When EPCOT reopens, a festival will operate on day one! It’s not necessarily the one that you’d expect, though.
When we last watched EPCOT’s proceedings, the 2020 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival was ongoing. In fact, it had just started two weeks before the park closure.
On July 15th, the park will host the 2020 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival instead. Disney will understandably modify some aspects of the event.
Really, who cares, though? An EPCOT festival is better than no EPCOT festival, right?
As long as food booths are selling delicious goodies, we’re all going.
Can’t: Park Hop
I should probably flip the order of these for clarity, but I’ve done it this way for every other section.
When the parks reopen, Disney will eliminate one of my treasured features.
Guests won’t get to Park Hop between Walt Disney World gates. Even if you’re an annual passholder or own an admission ticket with Park Hopper, you can’t.
Park officials must limit admission for health-related reasons. So, it would be selfish of guests to book reservations for multiple parks on a given day.
After all, some people could feasibly lose the lottery and get shut out entirely.
Disney would do a disservice to its customers by letting some people visit two or more parks on the same day while others can’t enter the parks at all.
This change is another frustrating but completely understandable, valid decision on Disney’s part. The company’s doing a lot right here, my friends.
Can: Visit Theme Parks
Look, all the other stuff comes with joys and irritations. We all realize that.
Here’s the bottom line, though. An open Disney park is better than a closed one.
Since March 16th, we’ve all anxiously awaited the return of Walt Disney World’s theme parks.
That day is nearly at hand. When it happens, we can finally ride Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion again.
That glorious moment supersedes anything else I’ve discussed here.
Starting on July 11th, the one thing YOU CAN DO is go back to Walt Disney World! And that’s really all that matters.