Walt Disney World (FL)

PHOTOS: Welcome Back to the Magic Kingdom – We Separate Reality From Fantasy

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To all who come to this happy place, welcome back! It is with an equal balance of elation and trepidation that the reopening of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has arrived. The world’s most attended theme park reopened yesterday for Cast Member and affinity previews. Capacity was limited and TouringPlan’s own Len Testa was on hand to experience the first day of Magic Kingdom in the new, temporary, reality. Let’s take a look at some of the measures in place and what it is actually like to be inside a Disney theme park as this new chapter begins.

Cinderella Castle with Physical Distancing Sign on Trash Can

The security checkpoint now offers individual clear plastic bags for guests to place loose objects into when going through the bag check and temperature check area. Temperatures checks are performed by employees of AdventHealth, one of Florida’s largest healthcare and hospital organizations.

Magic Kingdom Reopening –  Security Checkpoint July 2020
Magic Kingdom Reopening –  Park Map COVID-19 Information July 2020

Plenty of Disney characters are on hand to welcome you back, except they arrive in short cavalcade style experiences that are not announced ahead of time. This is in hopes of preventing crowding ahead of time. It is important for guests to be mindful of social distancing especially during these impromptu appearances as excitement can easily outweigh caution.

Magic Kingdom Reopening – Winnie The Pooh Characters Trolley July 2020
Magic Kingdom Reopening – Social Distance Character Greeting July 2020

The queues for attractions have ground markings to help with physical distancing and hand sanitizing stations at the entrances and exits. In fact, all attractions, restaurants, and stores have sanitizing stations at the entrances and exits. The ride vehicles of many attractions, such as The Jungle Cruise, have plexiglass on them where practical. For many attractions, like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, guests are seated at every other row. Select seats are also marked off as unavailable at show-based attractions.

Big Thunder Mountain Distanced Seating
Hand Sanitizer at Treehouse Entrance
Magic Kingdom Reopening Jungle Cruise Entrance July 2020
Magic Kingdom Reopening Jungle Cruise Plexiglass Ride Vehicle July 2020
Seats marked off as unavailable at PhilharMagic

There are lots of precautions with dining, as well. Tables are marked as unavailable to allow for physical distancing. QR codes are used instead of traditional menus. At Liberty Tree Tavern the waiting area has benches that are spaced apart. Be Our Guest Restaurant had less space in the ordering area at certain moments, but overall spacing was kept.

Be Our Guest Dining Ordering Area
Be Our Guest Dining Room July 2020
Liberty Tree Tavern Waiting Area July 2020

Our field research team has visited Disney Springs and now Magic Kingdom, and they have some important tips.

  • Bring a couple of masks, as you will sweat. (And it is Florida in the summer, so you will be caught in the rain.)
  • Make sure you wash your hands any time you touch your mask, including putting it on and removing it. Keep this in mind if you chose to use the Relaxation Stations.
  • Drink water and hydrate.
  • Pay attention in queue lines and follow the ground markings.
  • Use the hand sanitizer provided and wash your hands when you can.
  • Have fun, take breaks, stay hydrated, and be diligent about your health and the safety of others.
  • Most of all, have a magical time.
Magic Kingdom Merchandise Shops Safety Signage July 2020

It is fascinating to compare Magic Kingdom’s first day of operation and its final day of operation back in March. You can view the photos of that day here. We’ll continue to have news and updates about Walt Disney World and other happenings in Orlando as we all continue to work through these ever-changing times.

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Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife

9 thoughts on “PHOTOS: Welcome Back to the Magic Kingdom – We Separate Reality From Fantasy

  • Looking at all the videos you posted on Twitter of short lines makes me want to fly down there now! Looking forward to seeing videos of the other parks!

  • How are they handling bag check? Is someone still going through your bag?

  • It’s a new process. They give you a clear bag. Into the bag goes everything metal and electronic. You carry that bag with you through the metal detector. Your other, non-metal stuff goes through an x-ray machine. Under normal circumstances, nobody touches your stuff but you.

    I forgot an umbrella in my backpack, and got pulled aside for additional screening. The security guard put on gloves to go through my backpack, and took them off when he was done.

  • The CM previews are one thing – their employment depends on behaving by the book. What happens when thousands of guests arrive will be be quite another, particularly as many will be of the strain that this is all somehow a hoax, masks are useless/unneeded/dangerous/an assault on muh freedom, almost everyone who gets it is fine so we can’t put off our fun for the sake of the “few” who get very sick/will suffer permanent organ damage/die, etc. etc. I hope I’m wrong! But the bizarre words and actions of so many red-blooded citizens leave me expecting a lot of mulish noncompliance at the parks.

  • A valid concern if Universal hadn’t already been open for a month and I have yet to hear of employees having widespread issues with unruly park goers there.

  • Mark Hardy

    During your Bandcamp exclusive report from the MK, you mentioned that they asked you if you’d been in an airport recently. Do you think answering that in the affirmative (like I will be in about 3 weeks) will get you turned away? Or are they just asking for demographic purposes?

    • Ah, so I’m told that answering yes to this question will lead to other questions. Presumably those would be something like “Which airport? Where were you going?”, etc.

  • Mark Hardy

    I called Guest Services this morning to ask about that. While they didn’t say they would either turn one away or not, what they did suggest was that saying you had been in an airport most likely would lead to other questions.

    They also said that the screening they are doing now won’t necessarily be the same screening they are doing weeks from now.

    And they went on to say that because things are changing so rapidly, whatever the policy is now might not be the same policy by the end of the day.

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