Hello everyone! The week is finally here – Walt Disney World is reopening to the public after being closed since the end of March. While it is a very exciting time for everyone in the Disney community, there are a LOT of things we have to keep in mind before running back to the Magic Kingdom. First and foremost, we all have to remember that there is still a pandemic going on. The safety of cast members and other guests should be the MOST important thing that we take into consideration before heading to the parks. I hate to say it, but I am fully in support of the parks shutting down again if it turns out that they’re NOT able to curb the spread of disease as much as we need. Theme parks, while GREAT to have considering how crazy the world is right now, are not essential.
Here are some very important tips to keep in mind as you head to the parks. The most important thing to keep in mind is to always listen to the Cast Members – they are the ones who are trained by Disney to keep you safe. They know best!
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This should go without saying, but ALWAYS keep your face covering on while in the parks. There are designated areas where you can remove your masks for small periods of time, but in my personal opinion, I would not even risk going to these areas. Instead, to get a break from the heat, hop into the bathrooms, shops, or indoor attractions like Carousel of Progress if you need a breather from the heat.
Remember that although it may be uncomfortable, you WILL be able to breathe in your mask. If wearing a mask for a long period of time is not something you will be able to commit to, I recommend waiting and going when they are no longer required. Think of this as an opportunity to support small shops and order some Disney masks!
As expected, there are markers on the grounds that indicate where you should stand while in line. Each line has markers, and cast members are also cleaning rides in between parties.
However, even when there aren’t markers on the ground I feel it is important to keep social distancing in the back of your mind. With decreased crowds, it’ll be easier to put more space between you and other families. When traveling between rides, keep 6 feet between you and others. Always keep moving and don’t just stop in the middle of the path. Same goes for the shops. When you’re browsing do not crowd up on other people. Wait until the crowd clears out to inspect a shopping display.
Be sure to remain patient while waiting to get in to the parks as well. Temperature checks and security will take a lot longer now. Make sure you’re following all directions and make sure you’re staying 6 feet away from all other families as they wait.
The number one way to protect yourself is still to wash your hands and keep clean at the parks! Do NOT wear gloves around the parks. Gloves only serve to pick up bacteria and then carry it around everywhere you go. Instead wash your hands frequently (I would recommend after every ride) and use hand sanitizer. Don’t forget to bring a tiny bottle just in case the provided stations are empty.
Also, if you’re going multiple days, clean your masks! Lots of people are making this mistake! Cloth masks are great but need to be washed frequently. I recommend hand washing them after each day, and letting them air dry. Buy a pack from Amazon with multiple masks or pack a few in your travel bag so you can wash them each day and have a clean one. I recommend the cloth ones for the park, because the surgical masks you can buy on Amazon, while GREAT, can break very easily. If you are going to go with those masks, be sure you pack a few in case the ear straps break! As someone who wears these every day at work, I can assure you – bend them the wrong way, and it’ll snap right off!
The best way to protect yourself and others is to approach the theme parks the same way you’re approaching everything else you do on a daily basis during this “new normal”. If you’re feeling sick – DON’T GO! Don’t even risk it. Disney will always be there, but if you don’t take care of your health, you may not.
You cannot control what everyone at the parks does, but as long as you are taking steps to protect yourself, that is all you can do. If you see a guest not following mask guidelines – do not engage. Do not attempt to take care of the situation yourself. Make sure you alert a cast member and avoid that situation. If someone is not wearing a mask who might have asymptomatic COVID, you want to stay away from them to avoid possible transmission.
We are all eager and excited to get back to the parks. But we all have to follow the guidelines Disney put in place, as well as general safety tips, in order to keep ourselves safe. If at any time you don’t feel safe going to the parks, just don’t do it. Our hope is always that this pandemic will go away at some point, and we all need to sacrifice some things in order to get to that point. In the meantime, stay safe and have fun at Walt Disney World during COVID-19!
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