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It's been a few months since Walt Disney World was open thanks to the coronavirus, but as of today (July 11), Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom have officially re-opened, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios following suit on the 15th!
There's a lot to keep in mind before you go to the parks. I went to my annual pass preview on the 10th with very low expectations, but was really pleasantly surprised at how safe I felt.
Here's what you can expect next time you visit Walt Disney World:
YOU'LL NEED A MASK
Masks are required for when you visit. The neck gaiters that people use for fishing or running won't cut it - it has to have loops that go around your ears. They are required. I walked around the park for about two hours with one on yesterday and the feels like temp was in the low 100 degrees Fahrenheit range - it was really not that bad. I was a little sweaty, but that's the case even without a mask!
My biggest tip for your comfort levels, especially if you're wearing a mask in the heat, is to stay hydrated. I drank an entire gallon of water before going and continued to drink water throughout my two hours at the park. I felt fine and not once did I feel overwhelmed by the heat, and I'm pretty sensitive to it! I recommend bringing your own water bottle, especially a stainless steel one, because that will help it stay cool. I really like these by Healthy Human (and you can get a 15% off discount by using the coupon JessicaS15) for keeping drinks cold all day.
Temperature checks will be taken
capacity will be reduced, so you need a reservation
You can make reservations for a Park Play Pass through My Disney Experience, and you'll need this on top of your ticket in order to get in. Capacity is limited so that way crowds aren't an issue (and we truly thought in our annual pass preview that this made a huge difference - we never felt like we were near anybody).
Not everything will be available, but it's for your safety
The trams at Transportation and Ticket Center weren't available, for example, but the walk from our car to the monorail and ferryboat wasn't far. Thanks to that reduced capacity, you'll probably end up parking near the front of the lot anyway! Be sure to check Disney's website for the latest information, since things are ever-changing.
Social Distancing is in place if you need to board the monorail or ferryboat
There are tons of social distancing markers at the Transportation and Ticket Center, for example, and there are markers on the ferryboat itself for where each party can stand.
In the Parks:
SOCIAL DISTANCING & Sanitizer for queues
There are markers for pretty much all the rides, restaurants, and other queues, and they just tell you where to stand - it's really easy to follow! There is also hand sanitizer available everywhere, including before and after you get on/off a ride. I still recommend bringing your own, though, as a just in case!
entertainment and Character Meets look a little different
No more Festival of Fantasy Parade or fireworks, sure, but there are some cool new ways to enjoy the characters and some entertainment. Characters will sporadically parade down Main Street on horses or floats, for example, in a sort of miniature processional. Don't crowd it, just enjoy it, and don't worry if you miss one - you'll probably catch another shortly after!
They also had Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto waving to everybody from the train station as we left right as the park closed at 7. You may not get to meet your favorite characters in a staged photo opportunity for a while, but these little random moments are so much better in my opinion because it's such a delightful surprise!
If you desperately need a break from your mask and you aren't having a meal, there are designated relaxation zones throughout the park. We spotted one near Splash Mountain. Please just be courteous of other guests if you do spend time in one of these zones!
For more information...
Disney is going to be your go-to source for the most up-to-date info. This is such an evolving thing that there's no saying what could change. Be sure to check out Disney's website if you're heading down to Florida!
Oh, and Cinderella CAstle has a new paint job!
And she is beautiful!
Need to stock up on supplies before you go?
Try a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime to have products shipped to you with unlimited free two-day shipping! Another perk of Amazon Prime is you can order Whole Foods delivery via Amazon Prime at no additional charge, so if Amazon doesn't have something you need, Whole Foods might!
Have any questions about my experience?
Leave any and all questions (there are no stupid questions, either - this is a weird time!) in the comments, or reach me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!
Jessica is a huge Disney and Star Wars nerd who channeled that love into motivation to lose 75 lbs.