This past week has seen the state of Florida average over 8,000 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 infections a day, so the recently announced limited reopening of Walt Disney World in Orlando may seem mistimed to some. But Disney has no intention of simply ignoring the virus, as the House of Mouse has detailed its planned safety measures to fight against the ongoing global pandemic.
Most of the obvious steps are being taken, with lineup queues and vehicle rides receiving slight reworks to allow for greater distance between attendees, including plexiglass barriers mounted atop line dividers and vinyl partitions separating those riding the park’s famous monorail. Also recently announced are enhanced cleaning procedures and contactless payment accessibility along with the removal of certain services at the resort’s hotels that would break social distancing guidelines. Some elements have been subject to more drastic safety measures, however.
Perhaps most notable among these is the famous Haunted Mansion ride, whose entire opening segment will now be skipped outright. This introduction to the malevolent manor deliberately crowded guests in a chamber to watch as the walls and roof would appear to stretch upwards, so it would be difficult to recreate it to the same effect while respecting social distancing.
Good morning from #DisneyWorld! We will be posting photos throughout the morning/afternoon from around #MagicKingdom! A few changes to the monorail. This vinyl partition is installed. One party on each side. pic.twitter.com/Xxxn8XKnbb
— ThrillGeek (@thrillgeek) July 7, 2020
Plexiglass barriers separate the queue at Seven Dwarves Mine Train. pic.twitter.com/dAqb9srulR
— Attractions Magazine (@Attractions) July 7, 2020
RIP stretching room. pic.twitter.com/SMkvj06QVl
— AJ Wolfe (@DisneyFoodBlog) July 7, 2020
With dividers in place, guests on Kilimanjaro Safaris told they can remove masks during the ride.
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) July 7, 2020
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Despite all the steps Disney seems to be taking, virtual waitlists have remained conspicuously absent from their reopening plans. Aside from certain gift shops, none of the park’s many attractions will allow attendees to queue with their phones as seen at Universal Orlando. This includes the Star Wars-themed Rise of the Resistance ride, despite having previously had such a measure in place since its launch a mere 8 months ago.
Those who feel comfortable with the safety measures in place at Walt Disney World will be able to visit the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom starting this Saturday, with Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood studios reopening on the 15th. Reservations are required.