They say hindsight is 20/20, and whoa boy what a saying that is for this year. As we wrap up the year, many of us are thinking about how we started the year, without any clue what was on the horizon. I thought it would be interesting to look back at some in-park photos we’ve shared on our blog this year. This milestone year has been documented in so many meaningful ways. It is my hope that looking at these photos will have individual meaning for our readers and our team.
2020 started off with lots of construction at EPCOT, as well as the front entrance of Animal Kingdom, and awaiting the arrival of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Then after an early March opening of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the news started to get grim. Walt Disney World theme parks shut down on March 15, 2020. Members of our team were there on those final days. We knew it would be important to document those final days, but I am not sure we truly understood how vastly different things would be, and how long the shut down would last.
After a four-month shut down, Walt Disney World reopened in phases in mid July, with stringent practices that continued to evolve. Walt Disney World was the last of Orlando’s theme parks to reopen, as they set the gold standard for safety. Those first few weeks it was incredibly quiet in the parks.
Then, as Disney got more practiced at operating in the “new normal” capacity was increased to 35% of normal capacity. Extended queues became the norm, to allow for physical distancing. Disney provided a more clearly defined policy pertaining to what type of face coverings were permitted. And they increased their announcements and signage about mask requirements.
Looking back at how the year started, then how things were just before the parks shut down, and the evolution of the parks reopening, has reiterated for me that the only constant thing in life is change. Each Disney fan has their own personal reason for enjoying Walt Disney World, and other Disney destinations.
One of the biggest reasons for my love is Disney is not the escapism. It is the evidence of the triumphant human spirit. Walt Disney came from humble beginnings and built an empire that continues to grow to this day. That empire is not without its countless flaws, but in the end, it still inspires me. Here’s hoping there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow on its way in 2021.