What Will a Walt Disney World Visit Look Like This Summer?
Bob Chapek tipped his hand almost immediately after the CDC updated its guidelines.
The CEO at Disney had no interest in forcing guests to wear masks this summer.
Chapek had held firm to this rule because he was responsible and honored CDC recommendations.
After they dropped mask rules, Disney quickly followed. This turn of events leads to a logical question.
What will a Walt Disney World visit look like this summer?
Okay, Disney hasn’t entirely discarded its mask rules. You must still wear a mask while at indoor buildings like restaurants, stores, and attractions.
In fact, Disney expects you to wear a mask during all attractions, even though enforcement of these policies is a mixed bag thus far.
My current belief comes down to realism. Many people want the pandemic to be over, and we’re ready to get out of our houses.
Meanwhile, the science suggests that more than half the adult population has received at least one vaccination.
Now, a dose or two will not prevent you from contracting COVID-19. It should stop you from experiencing severe illness, though.
As such, Disney appears ready to lean into the sudden reversal of fortune.
You may safely expect a normal-ish Disney visit this summer.
Yes, you may need to wear a mask in specific locations, but none of that should concern you.
After all, putting on a mask is old hat by now. Plus, you only wear the mask at restaurants when you’re not eating.
At Disney stores, you only need to wear the mask temporarily until you’re done shopping.
That leaves only rides as potentially aggravating, but they’re not. Wearing a mask isn’t a big deal, even on a wet ride like Splash Mountain.
Also, the recent changes may lead to additional rollbacks, meaning that you might not even need a mask on rides by the middle of the summer.
The Disney summer park visit of 2021 won’t look quite the same as the one from 2019. Still, it’ll represent a much closer approximation than 2020’s version!
Let’s talk specifics here. Chapek immediately latched onto the heat related to wearing masks. He knows that’s an inconvenience during a Florida summer.
Well, you won’t feel as hot now because you gain complete control of your mask usage. Anytime you’re walking outside, you can remove it.
You only need to replace your mask when you’re doing something like drinking, eating, shopping, or riding.
As such, whenever you’re feeling hot, you can go outside and take off your mask for as long as you want.
The CDC says such behavior is acceptable, and Disney has authorized the practice.
When you’re standing in lines, you must replace your mask, though. Disney has done this because something else has changed.
The parks have reduced social distancing in many line queues, cutting down from six to three feet.
Simultaneously, most attractions have started filling all the rows on the ride carts. So, you should wear your mask for the time being.
You’ll stand near strangers and sit beside them on rides, which hadn’t been the practice until quite recently.
This change might prove stressful to some, at least temporarily, as we all adjust to pre-pandemic norms.
However, you’ll appreciate full capacity on the rides because the wait times should stay the same or even go down some, at least in the short term.
Once Disney parks approach full capacity, they’ll need to bring back some form of digital queuing to improve ride throughput more.
That’s a story MickeyBlog will monitor in the coming weeks to keep you fully informed.
By the way, you should expect packed crowds at parks soon. Disney executives have indicated that the pent-up demand for park visits is extreme.
One of the dirty secrets of the Magic Kingdom this year has involved the cast members’ moods.
Nobody works at Disney to act as a bouncer, constantly warning people against breaking the rules.
Similarly, people who take jobs at the parks expect plenty of happiness as they spread joy into the lives of children and adults alike.
That’s not what they’ve gotten to do as much during the pandemic. Some jerks have acted obnoxious and entitled.
This behavior has forced cast members to nag about face coverings, social distancing, and other pandemic guidelines.
Meanwhile, a small handful of angry guests have berated the park employees on a daily basis. It’s led to unprecedented morale issues.
Well, those days are gone! With rules enforcement less of an issue now, everyone can go back to creating magic at the parks!
After only a few days of the mask reduction policies, spirits have already soared to their highest levels since last summer when the parks reopened!
Similarly, 80 percent of cast members have returned to their jobs. Many of them have done so recently.
Imagine how ecstatic you would feel about returning to your cast member gig after a year on furlough!
Every day will feel like a party at Walt Disney World this summer, and that’s how it should be!
New and Improved!
We’ve all focused so much on what’s different at the parks that we’ve failed to appreciate the admirable job that Disney has done.
In the face of daunting challenges, executives and employees alike have stepped up huge at the parks!
We’ve witnessed remarkable improvements everywhere, but we’ve taken them for granted.
For example, you no longer need to speak with anyone before checking into your Disney resort.
You may use your MagicBand or smartphone to access your room information and unlock the door!
At the parks, MagicMobile empowers guests with MagicBand-like abilities on their phones!
You can add your Park Pass and admission ticket information to your phone’s wallet, just as you would an airport boarding pass.
When you reach the entrance kiosks at the park, you don’t even need to unlock your phone! Disney’s system will identify the pass and allow you in!
At restaurants, Disney has perfected Mobile Ordering during the pandemic and even introduced Table Service to Go as an option!
The parks might not be done with their short-term enhancements, either!
Disney recently tested facial recognition park admission, and it went smoothly.
One day soon, you may get to enter the parks the same way that you unlock your mobile device…just by looking at it!
During the pandemic, Imagineers really upgraded their tech.
Overall, we’re trending toward an unforgettable summer at Walt Disney World, and I can’t wait! Are you excited for Walt Disney World this summer?