COVID-19 Procedures at Disney

My family usually heads to Walt Disney World multiple times a week in the summer for just a couple of hours. It’s one of the great things about living 10 miles from there. The boys have really missed going, so we reserved two days at the end of July to check it out with COVID procedures in place.

I headed in one day earlier to do a little recon and make sure that I felt confident we could be safe while there. Here’s a recap of my experience.

Walt and Mickey statue in front of the freshly painted castle

Entering Transportation Station

As you approach the parking entrance make sure to have your mask on and ticket/magic band ready. The masked Castmembers will appreciate your added concern for their safety and will quickly scan you through.

Making Your Way to the Gate

Cars are parked in a unique fashion to allow for a bit more distance between families exiting their vehicles. This was a nice thought and was reassuring to see right off the bat.

Everyone must walk from the parking lot to the Transportation Station gate. I usually make this trek and forgo the tram ride anyway, but with the reduced crowds the walk was far shorter than the one I’m used to.

As you walk under the overpass, you will select a temperature tent and see your first hand sanitizer station. I walked right up. I missed the park opening by about 30 minutes, so I’m sure this had a line at some point. There were spacer stickers on the ground for just this reason.

Next, you go through the security check. I had to take my metal water bottle out of my bag along with my camera and phone before carrying my bag through the metal detector. Again, I walked right up to this checkpoint and was in and out.

Now my camera is officially out and I have pictures to share! I decided to take the Monorail to the park and then ferry back to experience both options.

As you can see, the line to the Monorail was basically nonexistent, but there are still spacers everywhere to help parties properly distance.

Four parties can load into one Monorail car. It is divided into two banks with a divider in the center. Each bench is reserved for a single party.

Arriving at Magic Kingdom

The arrival at the park was calm. Walking from the Monorail to the main entrance gate had some parties encroaching on others, but for the most part people made a good effort to keep their distance from one another.

For the time being, you only tap your ticket or Magic Band on the scanner and walk through. This helps to move the line along and makes the process (almost) touchless.

Here are some scenes from around the park. For those that ever come to the park within days of a hurricane arrival, it felt about that busy.

Character Experiences

I didn’t grab any brochures or anything, so I could be wrong about this, but it seems as if character sightings are pleasant surprises that happen throughout the day.

The princesses waved from atop the Main Street Station down to the crowds. People were taking turns standing in the archways below them to grab pictures “with” them.

Single floats slowly coasted down the almost empty parade pathways. They seemed to move a bit slower than during the traditional parades. I’m guessing it is because crowd control happens in the moment instead of in preparation for a series of floats. You get an audible clue about one minute before the float appears to let you know a character is on their way.

It’s usually really hard to take the scenic images around Magic Kingdom. There are long waits for the perfect spot and even then crowds are in the background. I walked right up and shot all of these images in seconds. If you like to go to the park and snap all the perfectly themed surroundings, this is the time to go!

How Safe Did I Feel Walking Around?

I’m not for people shaming, so I don’t have images of the few – very few- violations that I saw walking around the parks. On occasion there were noses out of masks and a bit of crowding at the concession stands, but those were REALLY rare.

Once in the three hours I was in the park I pulled off to the side and took my mask down for a sip of water. Other than that, it was up. It was a humid day with very little breeze. The bottom half of my face was warm in my cotton mask, but my body didn’t feel any more hot than I would have been without the mask on.

I decided I would wait in line for one ride. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train showed a wait time of “25 minutes” in the app when I entered the line. I asked the Castmember assigned the end of the line what she thought the wait was. She guessed it would likely take about 30-35 minutes from where I was.

I entered the line about 10:15 and boarded at 10:46, so she was correct. (When I exited the line, it was a lot shorter. My guess is I was still in the early morning rush for the ride.)

While in the line the party in front of me spread themselves from one spaced marker to the one I should have been standing on. I had to take it upon myself to make sure we were appropriately distanced. I noticed that this happened throughout the line to other parties, and in each case one party acted responsibly and put another spacer between them and the party in front of them.

There usually are themed items along the standby line to allow the kids to distract themselves a bit. In all cases these items were roped off and signs let you know they weren’t available (though I did see kids breaking this rule to their parents’ dismay).

Along the tighter indoor line spaces (where the line weaves in and out) are plexiglass dividers with “please do not touch” stickers on them. These help to give you some distance inside where it is nearly impossible.

I enjoyed the ride camera free. As you exit there are hand sanitizing stations on either side of the walkway. Both stations happened to be out of sanitizer, but I let the nearest Castmember know and she was on it right away to get them replaced.

I headed back to a fun spot to grab a shot of the ride so I could show how they spaced parties out. The one I included here is probably the fullest it would look with current procedures because the middle of the train was a single party. Everyone keeps their mask on throughout the ride. If you take it off and the camera catches you, then you will miss out on your copy of the candid ride photo.

The Ferry Ride

Taking a ferry boat ride back to the Transportation Station before noon usually results in minimal crowding. On this ship, I was one of three parties. There were almost as many Castmembers needed to operate the boat as there were patrons aboard.

The seating on the ferry boat had the “not available” stickers on them. As with everywhere else, the signs about proper protocols were very visible and most everyone seemed eager to comply.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow my family of four has Hollywood Studios reservations. I came home from this trip confident that we can comply with the mask orders without overheating and that Disney is going above and beyond with their safety precautions.

I’ve heard that the park attendance picks up as you head into the weekend. We have EPCOT reservations for Friday. If I find this to be true, I’ll make sure to update this post with a quick recap of that experience too!

Update

Click the button below to read about our family experiences at the other parks.

Hollywood Studios