The first piece of Walt Disney World reopened to the public on Wednesday Morning, May 20, at 10:00 am EST. Just as we all anticipated Disney Springs is heading the charge toward the eventual return of Disney’s parks and resorts. While not all of Disney Springs is returning just yet and the opening brings several caveats, the tentative move is most welcome as we all await the end of this unexpected closure. If you are among those planning to return to Disney Springs before the rest of Walt Disney World opens up, here is everything you need to know. The information below contains hints at what to expect resort-wide once everything returns to “normal”.
It’s a Phased Reopening
The first shops and eateries opening at Disney Springs are unowned by Disney. However, Disney plans to open their own shops beginning a week from now, on May 27. The current eateries include quick-service locations such as Chicken Guy!and Wolfgang Puck Express and some retail shops. There are no entertainment venues open as of yet, nor are they scheduled. With the newly opened locations, operational hours may not be the same as before, so call in advance to make sure the shop you are looking for is open. There are currently 44 open businesses at Disney Springs.
How to Get In
Disney is containing guests and exercising as much administrative control as possible by closing off most of the available parking. The Orange and Lime parking structures will serve as the only means of parking for the shopping and dining district. Once the garages are full, Disney Springs is considered at capacity, which means no one else can enter. In order to get into Disney Springs, you need to pass a security gate. This stop includes enforcement of a mask-wearing policy and a temperature check.
Disney requires you to bring your own face covering. Guests who don’t have them will be turned away. The acceptable temperature limit is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly 2 degrees above normal.
Other Safety Measures
Disney Springs has a new look with more signage and ground markings. This may indicate what we can eventually expect to see resort-wide. Social Distancing will be strongly encouraged and cleanliness measures including hand sanitizer stations and cashless transactions will hopefully aid in reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.
They have taken additional steps such as doors being open and garbage cans propped open to avoid additional touch points!
The Fine Print
Disney harbors no delusions that public gatherings on its property are completely safe. The company has taken what it perceives to be reasonable precautions against a serious threat, but ultimately the risk and liability are that of the guest on Disney Property. New COVID-19 warnings posted around company websites caution that there is an “inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19”, and that by visiting “you assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.” The warning also hints at the increased risk to senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions.
When Will Disney World Reopen?
Disney has no announcements, formal or otherwise about when the rest of Walt Disney World will be back online. We can guess that the safety measures in place at Disney Springs are a trial run for what is to come. While bookings are available starting in July, the early release of Hamilton on Disney Plus for July 3 suggests they do not plan to fill those reservations.
Walt Disney World has announced a phased reopening with Disney Vacation Club Resorts and Fort Wilderness Campground on June 22. All other resorts on July 11. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.
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