Walt Disney World reopened Saturday after being closed for months. Here’s what it looked like when visitors returned to the park.
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, reopened its doors to visitors on Saturday morning after being closed since the end of March.
The resort’s reopening comes as coronavirus cases have surged in Florida in recent weeks. The state’s Department of Health reported 10,383 new positive cases among Florida residents on Saturday.
For now, the resort has opened two of its theme parks: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Its other two parks, Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios, are set to reopen July 15.
Walt Disney World’s website outlines its COVID-19 guidelines for visitors, including a disclaimer that reads: “An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.”
“By visiting Walt Disney World Resort you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19,” the website reads.
Disney’s website also informs guests that the resort’s attractions, hotels, and restaurants “may be modified and will be limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure, based on direction from health experts and government officials to promote physical distancing.”
Here’s what the resort looked like on Saturday as guests returned to what’s been dubbed the happiest place on Earth.
On Saturday morning, visitors clad in mouse ears and face masks lined up outside Magic Kingdom.
In addition to having valid tickets or annual passes, prospective visitors also have to make reservations for the respective parks they’d like to visit in the resort, which is a new protocol introduced as part of Walt Disney World Resort’s reopening.
While Walt Disney World officials have not released an exact number of how many guests they’re allowing into its parks, the new reservation system is meant to limit the number of people visiting on a given day.
All visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear face masks, and guests are required to have their temperatures checked.
The park’s cast members are also required to wear face coverings, per Walt Disney World’s official reopening guidelines.
Additionally, the park advises visitors to pay attention to physical barriers and signage that denote social-distancing measures.
Visitors took advantage of photo opportunities — but for now, guests can’t ask waiters or cast members to take their pictures.
Walt Disney World employees can no longer take pictures using guests’ cameras or phones, according to the Associated Press — so guests who want family photos will have to recruit other visitors or a photographer in their own party.
Lines for some attractions around Magic Kingdom stretched further than usual because of social-distancing markers.
Here, visitors waited in line for the Haunted Mansion ride inside the Magic Kingdom park. According to BlogMickey.com, at one point, the line was wrapped around a large area of the park due to markers that keep visitors 6 feet apart.
An outdoor eatery at Magic Kingdom was surrounded by guests waiting to pick up their mobile orders.
In addition to following guidelines to use mobile ordering, guests are also encouraged to use cashless payment methods, according to the Walt Disney World website.
In restaurants around the resort offering table service, staff members are using single-use paper menus and checkbooks, according to BlogMickey.com.
A blogger and park-goer described Magic Kingdom as having full-capacity lines for rides but argued that there was room to walk.
“Crowds are similar to what we experienced during the Annual Passholder previews — minimal,” described BlogMickey.com, referencing Walt Disney World’s Annual Passholder events, where only people with annual tickets to the resort can visit the parks.
Some visitors seemed to capture moments of crowding, such as when rain showers led people to gather under covered areas.
A photo from WDW News Today shows what looks appears to be a group of guests gathered closely under an awning during a rain shower on Saturday.
The resort’s beloved Monorail tram was up and running for reopening day with seat dividers and distanced line markers.
USA Today reported that the Monorail’s individual cars have been revamped to include vinyl barriers that keep parties separate.
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