It’s called the most magical place on Earth and in general, Walt Disney World is a very safe place. However, due to the current health crisis, many people are asking themselves: “Is Disney World still safe to visit right now?”
Disney World officially reopened on July 11, but things have been anything but normal since COVID-19 forced the closure of the parks for 4 months. Many people are obviously concerned about their family’s health and safety and are afraid of traveling.
Many others however have already been back to Walt Disney World since reopening and have had a great time. So which one is it? Is it safe to go to Walt Disney World since reopening?
We’ve had the chance to spend a lot of time in the Disney World parks since reopening so we can bring some of our first-hand experience to the table for you on what it’s been like since reopening.
In this post, we are going to outline why safety is so important now in Walt Disney World and Disney’s overall stance on the subject. We’ll also talk about some of the new protocols Disney is implementing to keep guests safe due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ll also have some general safety tips to follow no matter when you go, and that will help you both at the theme parks and hotels. Lastly, we are going to give you our opinion on if Disney World is safe to visit right now or not.
We want you to understand that ultimately it’s going to be your decision whether or not to go during this reopening phase, and no one can make that decision for you. We just hope to lay out some of the facts and then let you make a decision for your family based on how you feel about them.
Before we get started we wanted to share some of our best resources on Walt Disney World since reopening. We think they will help you a lot in trying to make decisions about your next trip:
- Ultimate Disney World Reopening Guide
- All the New Changes and Guidelines at Disney World
- How to Make Disney World Park Reservations
- Which Attractions Could Be Cut because of the Disney Park Closures?
- Disney World Closure – FAQs, Refunds, and Cancelations
Also, if you want to be informed of any changes to the safety in the Disney Parks, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter
Why is Safety So Important Now in Disney World?
Walt Disney World is generally considered a very safe vacation spot for families all across the world. In fact, millions of people visit here every year with very few serious incidents ever happening. So why the concern now? That’s easy…global health crisis.
Ever since COVID-19 started having an effect on the U.S., people were wondering if Disney World is still safe, and if not, when will it be safe to visit?
With how easy it is to spread germs from person to person, avoiding crowds seems to be on most people’s minds today, and theme parks are one of the easiest places to find yourself surrounded by thousands of people, who could potentially pass their germs between each other.
As we currently stand, Walt Disney World is now open already, despite the current health crisis still going on. As it stands today, you can visit all 4 Disney World theme parks, some of the Disney World Resort Hotels, and Disney Springs is now open with most restaurants and shops welcoming guests.
On July 11, 2020, the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened starting with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. On July 15, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened their gates too.
You might already be back at work, and as we have seen so far, life will go on in this “new normal” for a while. That means potentially taking vacations to places like Orlando and visiting the theme parks for whoever is ok with traveling.
Let’s take a look at what Disney is going to do to keep guests safe right now.
Disney’s Stance Toward Safety
The Walt Disney Company is one of the most well-respected companies in the industry and they have shown time and time again throughout their theme park resorts that guest and Cast Members safety are of the highest concern.
In order to keep a theme park running, certain safety standards and regulations must be met, and Disney is very highly regarded for doing that.
We’ve had decades of experience visiting Disney Parks and have never felt like we were in any danger in all of our visits. The most prominent example that comes to mind is our experience with when Hurricane Irma hit Walt Disney World. We felt safe the entire time and were amazed by all the precautions that are taken to protect guests.
Now, getting to our current situation with the coronavirus. Disney is one of the largest companies in the world with billions of dollars at stake and tens of thousands of employees to look out for. The people who run the company are very smart and are acting very cautious and looking out for the long-term future of the company.
With the reopening plan they’ve already put in place, they’ve shown that they won’t risk everything to make a few bucks in the near-term if it jeopardizes the company’s overall future.
Just look at how they dealt with the Disney World closure back in March. As soon as cases started popping up in the U.S., Disney installed handwashing stations and sanitizer around the parks for guests to use.
Then Disney closed down the parks on March 14, almost 3 weeks before non-essential businesses were asked to close by the state of Florida. There were no cases of the virus in Walt Disney World and it was clear they didn’t want there to be any, given the negative publicity that would have created.
Moving forward, Disney has been cooperating closely with local authorities and medical experts to figure out the best plan for the parks moving forward. They have worked with authorities and put together a system to keep guests safe while visiting Disney World.
Disney is going to continue to follow the best practices from the CDC and governmental agencies and won’t make any decisions that they suggest are unsafe.
What Is Disney Doing to Keep Guests Safe Now?
Of course, since everyone is worried about getting sick, everything revolves around lower the spread of germs from one person to another. So far the best ways to do that, as directed by the CDC, are for people to keep their distance from one another, wear masks and to practice good hygiene and sanitization.
In order to keep guests safe, a new set of guidelines has been established which allows Disney Parks to operate, and keep guest exposure to a minimum.
In a recent post, we talked about all the new changes and guidelines to Disney World since reopening, where we go into more detail. For now here are a few of the key ones Disney is currently using.
Cooperating with Authorities
Before Disney World reopened its parks, they worked closely with Florida’s Orange County authorities in laying out a plan for how the parks should run to keep guests safe while visiting.
Obviously, Disney is going to keep cooperating with whatever guidelines the authorities are recommending, and will be trying as many ways as possible to protect Cast Members and park guests.
Obviously, the more people you have in one area, the more at risk you are. In order to solve this problem, Disney World is currently limiting park attendance in its theme parks.
Right now the Walt Disney World theme parks are likely allowing only 20-30% of their full capacity which has made it easier for guests to practice distancing. Most of the time, there is plenty of room on the walkways and it’s easy to keep a distance from others.
Capacity will go up as soon as Disney thinks it’s safe enough.
Temperature screening is mandatory for guests and Cast Members alike before entering the parks.
Guests go through a temperature screening tent where you are then checked with a touchless thermometer. Any guests or cast members with a temperature over 100.4 degrees are not given entrance.
Increased Sanitization/Wiping Down
Inside the parks, Disney has increased the sanitization and cleaning to make sure they are as safe as possible. All “high-touch” areas like doors, handles, buttons, etc, are cleaned much more often than usual.
Just before the Disney World parks closed in March, they had set up dozens of handwashing stations and hand sanitizer all over the parks for guests to use. You can find them in restaurants, in line for rides, outside bathrooms and basically in every angle of the parks. I think there are more hand sanitizing stations throughout the parks than there are people most of the time!
In order to keep people safe, face masks are required for guests and Cast Members. Disposable masks can be found in vending machines outside the parks if you forget yours at home. You can also buy them inside the parks at various merchandise locations.
Face coverings are a big part of the new guidelines at the moment. Read our post on Face Masks in Disney World for more details on what to expect and how long this requirement might last.
Distancing in Queues
Disney has installed markers on the ground anywhere in Disney World where a line of people might form. These markers are spaced out 6 feet from each other and help guests keep the proper distancing.
These areas include: attractions queues, restaurants and shops.
Since attraction queues are about the worst place for distancing in a theme park, look for Disney to use the Virtual Queue system much more. This is a sort of ride reservation system that can be used from the My Disney Experience app and allows guests to wait in line, without actually getting in line.
Disney is using boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance already, and if they continue rolling it out to other attractions, it could be a big help in keeping big lines from forming in the queues and helping Disney control just how many people are entering at one time.
We have much more on its impact and what attractions might use it in our Guide to Disney’s Virtual Queue and Boarding Groups.
Is Anyone Going to Disney World Right Now?
Since Disney World has been open for months now and has done all this work to make the parks visitable once again, is anyone actually going? Are people visiting Walt Disney World during the pandemic?
Right now, there are thousands of people going to the parks every day, but obviously not nearly as many as there were before the closure. In fact, most of the time the parks feel extremely empty.
There are a few reasons for this.
One factor is the limit Disney has put on park attendance. By using the Park Pass system, they are only allowing a certain amount of guests per day in the park. This alone is a reason why attendance is down.
Another factor is that people are scarred to travel right now or have restrictions from where they are coming from. Disney World sees millions of international visitors per year, but many of those normal visitors are stuck in their own countries and can’t fly to Florida very easily. There are even many restrictions still on domestic traveling and some states would have to quarantine when going home if they took a vacation in Florida.
Of course, some guests don’t want to travel right now. Going on a plane and then to a place surrounded by thousands of people doesn’t sound like a safe idea to many. We definitely understand that and respect those feelings.
Economic concerns and job losses have also contributed to lower than usual attendance and we think this will continue to be a factor for some time.
Because of all these factors, most visitors to Walt Disney World up to this point are Florida residents who live close to the parks. There have been very few travelers from out of state.
What is Safety Like in Disney World Right Now?
So we know Disney has all these new safety features in Disney World, but how are they actually working? Let’s take a first-hand look around property and see just how safe things are right now.
In the Parks
Social distancing has been easy to do in the parks so far, MOST of the time. There have been a few occasions where you can feel crowded and too close to people, but for the most part the walkways are spacious enough to keep the recommended 6 feet between you and the next person.
Distancing is also part of the requirement when in the queues for rides. For the most part, the ground markers that people are supposed to stand on when waiting in line for an attraction work. The markers read: “Please Wait Here” so it’s hard to not understand. It’s obviously difficult to get 100% compliance since many people just aren’t used to it and sometimes they can get a little close.
We also noted that if the parties are 4 people or less, the social distancing works. If the groups are more than 4 people, they start to spill over into the next space.
Since many of the ride queues have switchbacks, Disney has installed plexiglass barriers in-between rows to give guests more separation. This is a good solution most of the time as long as the line is moving along. It can get uncomfortable at times if you are stuck in the same spot for a few minutes, especially when the queue is indoors.
Right now Disney is not running any parades in the theme parks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see the characters at all. To replace the parades they have introduced Character Cavalcades. These processions feature characters riding in a motorcade, on a float or even on horseback, while greeting guests safely from a distance.
We love the cavalcades, the only issue is that they sometimes still gather crowds of people on the sidewalks where guests can get too close. The whole point of getting rid of the parades is so there is no assembly of people on the sidewalks. Most of the time people are distanced enough, but will they still be able to when capacity is increased?
There are also no character meets going on, but you can still see some of your favorite characters stationed in specific areas of the park. Try a self-distancing selfie!
The only thing that’s a bit weird to us about the characters is that the face characters (ie. the princesses) aren’t wearing face masks. While it’s true they are far enough from guests to not make a difference, there is no distancing between them on some of the motorcades they ride in. Are they not at risk of getting infected?
Read our post about the new Character Cavalcades for a firsthand look at how to find characters now in Disney World.
The attractions are the biggest draw in coming to the parks, and for the most part, the experience feels the same as before. Besides the social distancing in the ride queues as we have mentioned, there are a lot of other measures Disney is taking to make the rides safe.
In many vehicles, only one traveling group is allowed per vehicle, like on Rise of the Resistance and Spaceship Earth.
In other cases where the ride vehicle is larger like Pirates of the Caribbean, whole rows are skipped to allow guests to social distance while on the attractions.
Face Masks are required on the attractions, even thrill rides like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Disney is also thoroughly sanitizing ride vehicles often, sometimes between each group of guests.
It’s best practice to sanitize your hands after getting off of an attraction and hand sanitizer is easily located in the queues and at the entrance and exits of rides.
Many of the Kids’ Play Areas have been shut down since they are high-touch, interactive locations. If you have small kids that means fewer things to do.
One scenario where we have noticed social distancing can go down the drain in the parks is when it rains. In typical Florida fashion, downpours can happen often at the Disney Parks, and people tend to herd together to avoid getting soaked. This is something to be careful of when visiting.
Restaurants and Dining
There have been a lot of changes to Dining in Disney World after the reopening. For example, if you are getting snacks or eating at a quick service restaurant, you’ll notice the ground markers outside indicating where to stand to keep your distance from others. Lines are minimal unless on the weekend.
Tables in both quick service and table service restaurants are adequately spaced at least 6 feet apart, but in most cases even more.
Eating or drinking are two of the only times you don’t have to wear a mask in Disney World, so we find ourselves eating now even more than before…which is a scary thought.
If you’ve been to any of the EPCOT festivals before, you know how fun it is to stroll around World Showcase and enjoy all the food. Well the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival is a different experience this year, and strolling with food and drinks is no longer an option. You need to consume them either at a table or stationary away from others. We saw many Cast Members warning guests while they were walking and eating without a mask.
The utensil dispensers are also different and there are no more buttons to push that eject the forks and knives. Instead the handle of each utensil sticks out and guests can grab them without touching anything else. These new dispensers are found in all 4 parks.
At the table service restaurants, character dining is not running at this time as it would put guests too close with the characters. There are many restaurants shut down right now, so don’t be surprised if your favorite is closed until the crowds come back. Menus are also reduced, with fewer options before and some of our favorite foods missing.
Face masks are not required while eating, but they are required if you are going to the restroom or moving through the restaurant.
Staying at the Disney World Resort Hotels since reopening has been a pleasant experience. Disney has really stepped up the hygiene and sanitation of the hotels. Here are some of the improvements.
- Disney has assured guests that their rooms will be fully sanitized before their arrival.
- All common areas of the hotels will be cleaned with higher frequency, especially high-traffic areas including: doors, handles, tables, elevators, escalators, buttons, restrooms, handrails, benches, etc.
- More hand sanitizer stations are being added.
When you are in your hotel room, you will notice when different features have been sanitized. For example, the TV remote controls are sealed in plastic bags once cleaned.
Even the soap dispensers are marked as “cleaned” once housekeeping has finished.
Not that Disney Hotel rooms were dirty before, but they truly feel super clean since reopening.
An important thing to note is that many of the hotels are closed right now until demand picks up. So if you want to go, you’ll have to be flexible with the choices available.
Check out our guide to staying at Disney World hotels after reopening where we cover the topic in more depth.
Most of the Disney World Transportation methods are running, but with some changes to safety. For example, the monorails have new dividers in-between cars to help keep guests separate. We did notice a gap between the benches and the divider though, so not really sure how effective they are if air can pass through easily.
The Disney Skyliner was our favorite Disney World Transportation before COVID, and it remains that way after. Only one party is loaded per gondola, even if you are traveling by yourself.
You can read more about the changes to Disney Transportation after reopening in our post.
Wearing a Mask
Face masks are required in almost every area of Walt Disney World, and we are surprised to say, but for the most part, the vast majority of guests we’ve seen are complying with the face mask rules. We think a much larger percentage of people are wearing masks at Disney World compared to what we’ve seen when visiting other businesses.
When they aren’t following the rules, Cast Members are quick to tell them to put their masks on. Disney even has a squad of Cast members that go around with signs and ask guests to put it back on.
We know they are uncomfortable to wear, especially in the heat, but they are necessary for the moment for the safety of all parties involved.
TIP: Make sure to bring extra face masks with you to the parks. We suggest having at least 2 available per day per person.
Disney has designated mask-free locations in all 4 theme parks called relaxation stations. These places allow guests to take off their mask and relax a bit.
Tables here are distanced apart like in restaurants and for the most part feel safe.
I know that the indoor locations give you an air conditioning break, but obviously if you are concerned about safety, we would recommend you using the outdoor locations.
Technology Disney is Using for Safety
One nice thing about this age of mobile phones and the internet is that Disney has been able to use it to do some incredible things. Here are a few of the ways they are using technology to keep guests safe.
Cashless Transactions – This is encouraged in every store and restaurant in order to limit passing money from guest to cast member.
Mobile Dine Waitlist – Instead of having to go to a restaurant and put in your name for a table, the new Mobile Dine Waitlist has been added to the My Disney Experience app and lets guests see the current stand-by wait times for all available restaurants.
Mobile Ordering – This was one of our favorite features of the app before the parks closed, and it continues to be now that they are open again. Disney Mobile Ordering allows guests to order their food from quick service restaurants from their phone and skip waiting in line.
So far this was worked really well and helped us to avoid lines while getting our food. The only flaw is during lunch and dinner hours, most guests are made to wait outside the restaurant until their order is ready, which can create large groups of people with little distancing.
Mobile Dine Check-In – Another cool feature allows you to skip the check-in at a table service restaurant, and go right to your table. We love this feature and not having to have more contact with cast members is a plus.
How You Can Keep Safe in Disney World
While Disney is doing its part by making new safety guidelines, there is still more that you can do to protect yourself as best as possible if you decide to go. Here are some tips to keep safe in Disney World:
Avoid Crowded Areas/Avoid Waiting in Line
When you go to the parks, try to avoid high-traffic areas as much as possible. Disney has the queues spaced out so guests can stay a safe distance away from each other. Respect these distances.
When checking into your hotel, use the online check-in option instead of waiting in line in the hotel lobby. The same goes for dining where you should use the Mobile Ordering service at quick service restaurants so you can skip the line.
Touching Things/Washing Hands
You are in a theme park so it’s going to be impossible to not touch anything, but try to pay attention and touch as few things as possible to reduce your chances of coming in contact with germs. Don’t put your hands on counters in public areas and touch as few handles and buttons as possible. Train your kids to do the same as best you can.
Once you do touch something, wash your hands as soon as possible, and avoid touching your face.
It’s always a good idea to keep hand sanitizer with you or disinfectant wipes in your bag. My mom does this all the time and they always come in handy!
Avoid Going at a Crowded Time
Long-time Disney goers have been trying to avoid the crowds for years, and now we have an even better reason to do it.
Naturally, there tend to be more people in the parks during holidays and when kids are off from school. If safety is a concern, it might be smart to try and book a trip avoiding the busiest times of the year. It’s going to be hard to understand just how full the parks are for a while, but a safe guess again is to go when kids are usually in school.
Our Disney World Crowd Calendar will help you figure out the least crowded times to visit.
Avoiding Fingerprint Readers
(UPDATE): One of the biggest questions we get from readers is if it’s possible to bypass the fingerprint scanner at the theme park entrances. Thankfully, Disney has stopped using these since the parks reopened so there is no need to worry about it right now.
When they eventually bring fingerprint readers back to Disney World, here are some tips to avoid using them.
Usually, when you enter the parks, you scan your MagicBand or park ticket at the touchpoint and then place your finger on the scanner. This is how Disney confirms your ID to make sure you aren’t letting someone else use your ticket.
However, due to cleanliness concerns (among other reasons), you might not want to place your finger on something that literally thousands of other guests have just touched. Germs can live on surfaces and can be easily spread to other people touching those same surfaces.
If those surfaces are disinfected, they should be free of germs and safe for people to touch. However, Disney can’t disinfect every single fingerprint scanner at every touchpoint after every single guest taps into the park. It’s just not feasible.
Luckily, there is a way around it and you don’t have to actually scan your fingerprint to enter the parks. Here are the simple instructions you need to bypass the system.
- Go to a Guest Relations location before entering the park. These can be found at one of the windows just before reaching the entrance. Tell a cast member there that you would like to opt-out of using the fingerprint scanner.
- You then need to show your park ticket or MagicBand and a photo ID. This is the only way Disney can verify that you are actually you and you are authorized to use that park ticket.
- Next, you fill out a form stating that you don’t want to participate in the biometric scanning. This form includes personal information such as name, address, phone number, etc.
- Once you finish, head towards the park entrance. Tell a cast member there that you have opted out of the fingerprint scanning. They will then scan your park ticket/MagicBand and look at your photo ID. Once they verify who you are, you are good to go.
REMEMBER – You need to have your Photo ID with you to gain entrance to the park if you aren’t using the fingerprint scanner. Without it, you either will not be allowed in or you will have to use your fingerprint.
This procedure will work for the life of your park admission. If you have a 5-Day pass, it will work for all 5 days. If you have an annual pass, it will work until your 1 year is up and the pass expires or you have to renew it.
If you decide to use the fingerprint scanners, you should still be ok. Disney has put hand sanitizing stations just past the entrances of the theme parks, so once you step inside the park, you can go over and disinfect your hands. This will keep you as germ-free as possible and help stop the spread of sicknesses.
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Other Ways to Stay Safe in Disney World
Besides our current coronavirus pandemic, there are other things that families vacationing in Walt Disney World should be aware of for their safety. Here are some of the more common tips and suggestions you should take note of in order to be safe.
Following Disney’s guidelines goes without saying for most people, but unfortunately, not for all. They may seem basic, but the number one thing you can do in Walt Disney World to stay safe is to follow the rules.
Some of the most common guidelines are posted out side of the attractions. Warning signs tell you how you should ride the attractions and who can ride.
Since the tragedy back in 2016, signs are posted near every body of water warning guests not to go in in case of alligators or snakes. Basically, if you see a sign posted somewhere, there is a good reason for it and you should listen.
Protecting Your Kids
More than anything, parents want to protect their children whenever they are on vacation, and fortunately, Disney World is a relatively easy place to keep them safe.
Disney has many security measures in place to make sure children are not kidnapped from the parks, but it never hurts to be proactive and prepare your children for hypothetical emergencies. Always set your family safety guidelines with them before leaving.
Parents should keep young children in sight at all times. They can also tell their children what to do in the case the family gets separated in the parks. Having a pre-specified meeting place could be useful.
Another great tip is to write down your name and phone number on a piece of paper and stick it in the pockets of your young children. That way if they do get lost, a Cast Member or security guard can find out how to contact you.
Disney World is a safe place to visit, but at times it has certain weather conditions that could be dangerous.
Heat – Florida is an extremely hot climate for at least half of the year. Especially if you or your family are not used to the heat, you should take the needed precautions.
- Bring/Use Sunblock. The sun is very strong, don’t underestimate it.
- Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the strong rays.
- Wear a hat to protect your head
- Do indoor attractions as much as possible in the middle of the day when the sun is hottest.
- Go at a steady pace and don’t overdo it.
Lightning – Florida is known as the sunshine state, but it’s also the lightning capital too. Severe thunderstorms are common so stay inside and wait until they pass. Stay away from high places and avoid things that could be a conductor.
Hurricanes – From June to November is hurricane season in Walt Disney World. Of course, they don’t happen every year, but from time to time they can happen. If you are in Disney World during this time make sure and listen to whatever guidelines the Cast Members tell you.
You can read more in our Guide to Hurricanes in Walt Disney World.
Part of the safety for the rides is under control long before you get to the park. Every day extensive testing is done to the ride systems to make sure they are operating at a safe level. If any ride doesn’t meet the standards, it remains closed until the issue is fixed.
Before you get on the attraction, pay attention to any warning sign outside. Look to see if there are any specific health guidelines that apply to you like heart problems, pregnancy, motion sickness, back problems, etc. If your health status doesn’t allow you to ride, don’t go.
When you enter the ride vehicle, make sure any safety harness is working and fits properly. If it doesn’t, please notify a Cast Member.
Keep your arms and hands inside the ride vehicles at all times. Never remove the safety harness or try to stand while the vehicle is moving.
Keeping the items in your hotel room safe is also very important. Here are a few tips:
- Always use the deadbolt on your door when yo are in your room.
- Never accept flyers that were left at your door.
- Store your valuables in the in-room safe.
If you are taking Disney transportation then you have less to be worried about, but if you are driving your car or a rental during your stay, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind.
- Always lock your car doors. Thieves always look for an easy target so don’t give them one.
- Don’t leave any valuables in the car, even if you lock the doors. Leave them in the hotel room safe.
- Don’t leave any item that could be tempting to steal visible. If you have to leave something in the car, hide it in the trunk or under a seat. This includes smartphones, jewelry, keys, bags, computers, iPads, souvenirs, etc.
- Do not leave your keys in the car (it happens).
Disney has excellent lifeguards on duty at the hotel pools, but you still need to be cautious.
- Never leave valuables unwatched at your table or chair. Families at the pool can be tempting targets for a thief.
- Don’t run and make sure your children don’t run near the pool. You could slip and fall or fall into the pool.
- Always listen to any instruction the lifeguards give you.
Safest Way to Travel to Orlando
If you are planning to travel to Orlando during the COVID-19 pandemic, the safest way to do that is by car. Visitors should avoid public transportation as much as possible to limit contact with others and possible infection.
So if you live in the state of Florida or within driving distance and are worried about getting sick, traveling by car is your best bet.
On the other hand, many Disney World visitors don’t live within reasonable driving distance, and are forced to fly to Orlando. Is flying to Orlando safe right now?
The Orlando International Airport is committed to the safety and well-being of travelers and has also implemented new safety protocols to give guests the best experience possible.
Some things they’ve implemented are:
- Face Masks
- Protective screens
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitization methods
- Social distancing markings
- Hand sanitizer stations
Some people aren’t comfortable flying at this time, but if you are, it looks like MCO is taking the right steps to protect travelers.
Should Disney Have Reopened?
The decision to reopen Walt Disney World was not one that the company took lightly and many were and are still questioning the decision to do so. Disney was trying to do the responsible thing by delaying until July, but the timing ended up being worse as COVID concerns were at a high in Florida at that time with the number of cases rising each day.
Many in the medical and scientific fields were questioning the responsibility of reopening theme parks, especially since understanding the risk of spread was unknown. We too were not thrilled with the idea of the parks opening right at the height of the pandemic and didn’t think it would have a good result.
There was also strong resistance from the labor unions, as many feared sending workers back to what was considered a high-risk environment.
So far at least, things have worked out well reopening Walt Disney World and there have not been any COVID-19 cases traced back to the Resort. This is obviously due to Disney’s rigorous safety protocols such as the face mask policy, enhanced cleaning, social distancing requirements, etc.
“This is our new normal. Our new reality,” Josh D’Amaro, Charmain of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products said. “COVID is here, and we have a responsibility to figure out the best approach to safely operate in this new normal. Businesses across the country are open, whether it’s a local pizza shop in Orlando or an airline taking on new guests.”
At the same time, Disney acknowledges the risks involved, on the website it says: “By visiting Walt Disney World Resort you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
It’s a delicate balancing act that The Walt Disney Company, like so many other businesses, are trying to handle. Trying to balance keeping guests and cast members safe, while at the same time continuing to offer employment opportunities to tens of thousands of people in these difficult economic times.
Should You Go Right Away or Wait?
Now that Disney World is open, should you go right away or is it better to wait a while? That is a decision that you will have to make on your own. We aren’t going to tell you what do do and ultimately you have to do what you feel comfortable doing with yourself and your family.
In my opinion, for the best overall guest experience, you should wait a little while and not go right when Disney World opens back up. For many people, there are way too many new safety protocols and procedures, making holding off a bit before returning the better option. If all the shows and attractions are not running, that’s a big negative and would make me want to put off my vacation.
Again, everything that we have experienced at Disney World after reopening is that they put safety as a priority for their guests. If they remain open, it’s because the proper measures are in place to keep your protected.
If traveling is going to make you really stressed out, it may not be worth the trouble though. You want to de-stress during your vacation (which is hard to do in a normal year at Disney World), not get even more stressed than when you left home.
People with certain medical conditions also might not feel like it worth the risk.
Whether or not you decide to continue with your previously booked Disney trips or book new ones in 2020 is completely up to you and your family. The safety of one’s family should always be of the highest concern, and of course, the quality of what you are getting for the price is also a big factor, and things you’ll have to consider.
For a deeper look, read our post on should you go to Disney World in 2020 or 2021 where we compare to see which is smarter at this time.
Disney May Be What You Need Right Now
That being said, many people who have been to Walt Disney World since reopening have said it’s just what the doctor ordered and is helping them to cope with these stressing times.
People associate the Disney brand with feeling safe, and of all the places they could go right now, many people feel that Disney is the safest place they could be. There is a certain trust factor Disney has earned over the years and people are willing to rely on that.
The “Disney Bubble” you are put in when you step onto Walt Disney World property is very real and can have a positive psychological effect on people. Many reader have mentioned that they just need an escape from what is happening in the world right now and Disney offers that.
As long as Disney continues to offer a safe environment, a couple of days in the parks might be just what the doctor ordered.
Is Disney World Safe Right Now?
Disney has and will continue to do its best to keep you and your family safe while visiting Walt Disney World. There are many things they are doing both in public and behind the scenes to increase the safety of the hotels and parks during COVID-19.
The Walt Disney Company has an image to hold up to and it’s one of trust that it’s built up over the decades with millions of families around the world. It won’t do anything to jeopardize that right now.
We are very impressed with everything Disney has put together and their thoroughness in making sure people stick to the rules. We haven’t personally been in any situation in the parks since reopening that made us feel unsafe.
Despite Florida having almost 700,000 COVID-19 cases at the time of writing this, Walt Disney World does indeed seem like a safe place to visit.
In fact, we felt safer in Disney World than in our local grocery store!
That being said, the safest place to be right now is still at home. Even with all the best safety precautions, Disney has put in place, nothing works 100%, and it only takes a few people to not follow the rules and ruin it for others.
In the end, you will have to decide if you feel comfortable going right now or not. If you are at all concerned about traveling and have doubts, it’s better to be on the safe side and do what’s right for your family.
There will be a day in the hopefully near future where most of these safety issues are no longer a concern, and you can wait to go to Disney World until then.
Lastly, we want to give a big thanks to all the hard-working Cast Members who are giving their all to continue to make our dreams come true and make the Disney Parks as safe as they can be. They are the unsung heroes making all this possible and without them right now we wouldn’t even be able to go anytime in the near future.
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I want to know what you think about the Disney World safety…
- Do you feel safe going to Disney World?
- What can Disney do to improve safety?
Let us know in the comments section below!
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