In the first step forward towards the reopening of Walt Disney World, Disney Springs will have a partial reopening on Wednesday, May 20. Here’s what you need to know.
What Will Be Open?
Not all parts of Disney Springs will be open. Only the Lime and Orange parking garages will be open, and they will have limited capacity. In addition, not all stores and restaurants will be open — for instance, World of Disney and the Lego store will not be open, nor will fan favorite restaurant Homecomin’. Here’s a list of what Disney has said will open on the 20th.
What Will Crowds and Weather Be Like?
Expect the first couple hours to be crowded as everyone tries to run in to be “first”, and then things should slow down in the middle of the day. There likely will be a second rush in the early evening, as people show up for the dinner hour. Crowds will likely be lower on Thursday than on Wednesday. Tomorrow’s high is expected to be around 94, with 50% humidity. The full “summer season” hasn’t fully arrived yet, but it will still be warm.
What Is Disney Doing to Ensure Safety?
Disney is focusing on six key changes to ensure the health and wellbeing of guests and cast.
- Limited parking and reduced entrances
- Temperature screenings prior to entry
- Face coverings required for Guests ages 3 and up
- Physical distancing practices including physically-distanced queues and physical barriers
- Temporary operation modifications, including reduced hours at select locations and no scheduled entertainment offerings or high-touch interactive areas
- An increased focus on disinfecting and sanitation, including the addition of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers in key areas
What Should I Do If I Plan To Go?
These are new times for all of us, and there’s a steep learning curve for policies that have been created within the past few months. Here’s some tips that we suggest:
- If you are sick, or believe you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please stay home.
- Bring, and plan to wear, your own mask. Disney has not stated whether masks will be available for purchase or if free, disposable masks will be offered. If you want to go, bring your own mask and plan to wear it for the majority of your visit.
- Know what it is you want to do, go and do it, and then head out. With some of the “headliner” experiences at Disney Springs not being open, there’s little reason to just “hang out”.
- Tip generously. It’s been a rough time for service workers in the area. If you are able, please tip generously.
- Use cashless payments whenever possible. All jokes aside about dirty money, money is pretty filthy. Some vendors may accept alternative funding sources like ApplePay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay, but using a physical credit card is always an option.
- Wash your hands often, and bring your own personal hand sanitizer and use it often when hand washing isn’t immediately available.
- If you will have children with you, let them know what to expect. Kids are resilient, but sometimes the unknown can make them nervous. Explain that they will have their temperature checked when they arrive with a little gadget that doesn’t even touch their skin and doesn’t hurt at all. Let them know that they will need to wear a mask during their visit. If you think they won’t be able to feel comfortable with these new rules, it probably would be a good idea to stay home for now.
- Follow the instructions of cast members. They’re looking out for everyone’s safety. Please listen to them.
- Pack your patience. These are unique times, and everyone is still learning. Remember to be kind, both to cast members and other guests.
Is Disney Really Serious About Making Everyone Wear a Mask?
If you are ages 3 and up, yes.
But What If I Don’t Want To/Don’t Think I Can/Am Concerned About the Heat?
As someone who is not a fan of wearing masks (even though I accept they are necessary when I do go out), my plan is to stay home. Any of the items that I could shop for in person at Disney Springs, I’m able to purchase online. Many of the dining establishments that I’d eat at during a visit to Disney Springs have comparable alternatives that I can order takeout from in the surrounding area. Because this is not a forever rule, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until another time to visit Disney Springs.
But if you still really, really want to go and are concerned about spending all day wearing a mask in the heat, here’s something to think about.
We surveyed our TouringPlans Twitter followers to see how long they typically spend on a visit to Disney Springs. Here’s the results.
Of those surveyed, the common comment was that at least some of that time was spent dining, and when you are seated to eat, you are not required to wear a mask. Because some of the stores where guests would tend to spend a lot of time will not be open for this initial reopening phase, I’d expect people would be trending towards the lower side of the scale, and so we’d see people spending around 2-3 hours at most at Disney Springs, with an hour or so of that mask-free for dining. During that time, should you feel overheated, there will be stores that you can stop inside to cool off as needed. And as always, common sense says that if you are there and feel unwell, you can certainly return to your vehicle for a few minutes to remove your mask, or possibly try another day.
Would you plan to go to Disney Springs for the first day of its partial reopening? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.