Facts and Myths about Walt Disney World’s Reopening
We’re mere days away from the reopening of Walt Disney World. In fact, cast member previews are already happening.
Unfortunately, the return of the parks has come with a great deal of misinformation.
Today, I want to separate the truth from the rumors. Here are the facts and myths about Walt Disney World’s reopening.
The Parks Will Reopen on Different Dates
Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11th.
Disney has taken this approach for several reasons. The most important one is that the company wants to limit day one traffic at the parks.
By opening only two gates on July 11th, Disney reduces crowds by 50 percent right off the bat.
Also, EPCOT gains four extra days to prepare for the introduction of its signature festival.
When the park returns, the 2020 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will open, too.
Prepping the food kitchens takes a bit more time and staff training.
You Need a Special Reservation for a Park Visit
Disney will honor social distancing as much as possible until scientists discover a vaccine for COVID-19.
For this reason, the parks will have limited capacity. Disney hasn’t indicated how much yet, but Shanghai Disneyland started under 30 percent.
To control crowds, park planners threw out the existing rules. Now, guests who want to visit the parks must book reservations.
The Disney Park Pass Reservation System is free to use. However, you need one of the Park Passes to enter the park.
Disney Won’t Enforce Mask Requirements
No company on the planet has demonstrated more proactive safety measures than The Walt Disney Company.
Disney won’t screw up when the parks reopen by ignoring violations of mask requirements.
The company has trained a new team of staff members. Their express purpose is to roam the parks to ensure that everyone is wearing their masks.
You’ll have no problem identifying the Incredi-Crew. They are the Disney employees wearing the recognizable colors of The Incredibles.
These cast members will keep everyone safe.
Some Transportation Won’t Operate
Okay, the phrasing matters in determining the truth of this claim. On July 11th, at least one form of Disney transportation won’t be running.
The Disney Skyliner won’t need to operate since EPCOT and Hollywood Studios remain closed.
However, the gondolas will go online on July 15th, which means that they will run for all but the first four days.
So, unless you’re visiting over the next week, it’s a matter of semantics.
Similarly, some reports falsely indicated that Disney would close Minnie Vans.
I have no idea how those rumors started, but Disney has flatly denied them.
Minnie Vans and watercraft services will return. We just don’t know the date yet.
Parades and Fireworks Are Unavailable
Sadly, Disney has no choice here. Anyone who has ever watched a parade or fireworks presentation understands why.
Guests herd together to get the best possible view of the show.
Disney can’t rightfully expect its cast members to perform in these events AND monitor social distancing violations.
Even the Incredi-Crew couldn’t possibly watch every part of a parade route.
So, the safest strategy is to skip the parades and fireworks for now.
However, Shanghai Disneyland introduced a modified parade concept when it reopened.
A single train appeared at random intervals and entertained guests.
Disney will sometimes do the same thing with its parade floats, depending on crowd levels and behavior.
As MickeyBlog chronicled in a recent Facebook video, Disney calls them Cavalcades. And they’re awesome!
Disney Won’t Use FastPass
We’re all in wait-and-see mode on this one, as it sounds a bit odd.
Disney will not employ any FastPasses when it reopens. At least, that’s the current word.
The FastPass section of My Disney Experience hasn’t returned yet.
Since the park opens in a matter of days, guests obviously cannot book FastPasses on day one.
The belief is that Disney will employ standby lines exclusively for a while.
Of course, Disney can add FastPass at a moment’s notice when needed.
However, many insiders believe that park officials will use this rare opportunity to test some of its ideas for the future of line management.
Disney Genie may feature a different sort of digital queuing system. And Walt Disney World might add its version of MaxPass, too.
Disney Genie and this MaxPass clone might even combine functionality in the same system.
Imagineers could try both while the parks are at a lower capacity and see whether they’re viable.
Whatever the plan is, FastPass won’t be a part of it.
Cinderella Castle Will Look Different
Just before Coronavirus forced the closure of Magic Kingdom, park officials embarked on a project.
Their goal was to modernize Cinderella Castle to give it more of a fairytale appearance.
Nobody was complaining about the old look, of course, but Disney wanted to make the structure seem even more majestic.
Technically, Disney’s doing this to honor the 70th anniversary of Cinderella. The points of emphasis are pink paint and more gold trimming.
Some lucky hotel guests at the monorail resorts have already snagged some breathtaking pictures of the changes.
— Marcus Q (@MarcusQYT) July 6, 2020
Suffice to say that you’ll love your next glimpse of Cinderella Castle.
Splash Mountain Will Look Different
Okay, Disney WILL re-theme Splash Mountain at a future date.
The company’s executives have finally accepted that the connections to Song of the South cause too many negative associations.
So, when the ride undergoes its annual winter maintenance, Disney may add the new theme of The Princess and the Frog.
Then again, Disney might wait until a later date, depending on pandemic-related factors.
Still, the Splash Mountain that you’ve ridden all your life will be there when Magic Kingdom reopens this week.
Since this may be your last opportunity to ride the original version of Splash Mountain, you may consider prioritizing a trip this year.
You Can Remove Your Mask in Some Places
When Universal Orlando Resort reopened, the park featured one excellent idea for mask management.
The parks included designated areas for mask removal. Guests could relax and cool down in these areas while social distancing.
Best of all, the people sat so far apart that they could safely remove the masks. Why is this necessary?
Alas, everyone must wear masks to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. However, July in Florida is plenty hot enough without masks.
Many potential customers have complained about the idea of wearing a mask during a full park day.
Disney has listened intently to the frustrations of its fans.
As such, the company will follow Universal’s lead and operate mask-free rest areas in each park.
So, you can visit one of these places whenever you need a break from your face mask.
Once you’re done, you simply replace the mask and do more park stuff.
But if you don’t remember to put the mask back on, the Incredi-Team will (rightfully) fuss at you!