This is a question I’ve received many times in the past few weeks. Since I’ve visited Disney World a few times now during the phased reopening, I do have a unique perspective. But this is a question that each family has to answer for themselves. All I can do is tell you all about my experience, in hopes that it gives you all of the information you need to make your own decision. When you ask should I go to Disney World in 2020, I hope that reading all about our experiences will help you answer that question!
25 Rides in One Day!
Yes, you read that correctly. In one day, with 5 kids, and one Mom alone, we rode 25 rides at Magic Kingdom. And we certainly didn’t run from place to place. That’s just how empty the park is right now. I’ve never seen anything like it, even at special events.
We rode Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean all twice, and all before about 11 am! It was such a fun experience to just walk right on rides. It reminded me a lot of the Disney After Hours events, but even better in terms of ride wait times. Can you remember a time when Peter Pan’s Flight was a five minute wait? Me neither.
What’s Magic Kingdom like now?
The magic that you are looking for is still right on Main Street, U.S.A. Yes, we are all wearing masks. Yes, even two year olds are wearing masks. But we’re waving to Mickey Mouse and being greeted by cast members, just like always.
Before Walt Disney World reopened, I was worried that the parks would be very different. To be honest, I was really unsure about the masks, and especially about how my kids would handle it. However, my kids were fine with the masks! As it turns out, when everyone is wearing the same thing, it would seem quite strange to not be wearing a mask. Everything is different at Disney World, but it’s also the same.
What Safety Measures are in Place?
Disney World has many health and safety measures in place to try their best to create a safe environment for their guests. These take on several different forms. In my opinion, Disney World is definitely cleaner than my local grocery store.
As I’m sure you know, attendance is limited at Walt Disney World. This means that you need a Disney Park Pass or reservation, to enter. In order to choose a day to come to Disney World, you must first go on to the My Disney Experience system and choose your day. Based on availability and whether you are staying on Disney property at a Disney hotel, you will have different choices available. This is how Disney World is limiting the number of park guests at any one time. And it’s also how they are ensuring that social distancing is possible at the theme parks. Every member of your party will need to have a Disney Park reservation, and then you are ready for your day of magic!
The number one thing you should know is that it’s so, so fast. When you think of a temperature check, you might think of a doctor’s office procedure. However, at Disney World, you barely need to slow down walking in order to get your temperature taken. When you approach the tent for the temperature check, an Advent Health person will take your temperature by scanning your forehead. It takes about one second. If you have a fever, you will get one chance to rescan after cooling off for a few seconds. However, if you fail the second time, you and your entire party will not be allowed to enter the Park.
There are social distancing (or physical distancing as Disney calls it) markers in place in all locations. There were many locations where there were many social distancing markers on the ground much further than the current line needs. Disney is ready for the crowds later on! There are social distancing markers for attraction lines, gift shops lines, and restaurants. In really any place that people would gather, there are social distancing markers on the ground.
Social distancing also takes place on attractions. For example, on Big Thunder Mountain, a row is skipped between each party. And on rides with narrow space, like Pirates of the Caribbean, more than one row is skipped to allow for social distancing. And on some rides, like Jungle Cruise, plastic barriers have been installed to allow for social distancing. There’s even social distancing on Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel. The lines of horses are now numbered and a cast member will assign you a row to ensure social distancing.
Masks are absolutely required, and enforced. There is absolutely no one who’s not wearing a mask. I didn’t see any children, of really any age besides very small babies, who weren’t wearing masks. When we were at Magic Kingdom, the mask I was wearing fell down off my nose twice during the day. Both times, a Cast Member kindly but firmly told me to put it back up over my nose. This was not a request or a suggestion. Masks are absolutely required at Disney World.
Cleaning and Sanitation
What about cleaning? You cannot look around for more than a moment without seeing something being cleaned at Disney World. No, rides are not cleaned after every single guest. But handrails, and other high touch areas, are being cleaned at all times. Restrooms nearly have a janitorial cast member in every location. Walt Disney World has never been cleaner!
Hand sanding stations are available everywhere. They are present at the entrance and exit to every attraction. A few times, cast members asked us to take hand sanitizer before entering an attraction. You can get hand sanitizer anytime you need it. It is readily available at Disney Parks.
One of my favorite aspects of cleanliness at the reopened Disney parks is the trash cans being held open! It’s such a simple thing and so much better. Instead of swinging trash cans doors, every trash can is now held open. No need to touch those germy trash can doors any longer!
What’s Closed at Magic Kingdom?
There are some areas of Magic Kingdom that are still closed after the phased reopening. This is not a comprehensive list, but some of our favorites that are closed are:
Dumbo play area
Winnie the Pooh queue play area
Splash Mountain play area
Casey Jr. Splash play area
Several stores and gift shops
Of course, attractions are opened and closed depending on the day. But these areas listed seem to be closed due to safety concerns, and probably won’t open in the near future. We certainly hope they all open someday, since they are some of my younger kid’s favorites! Be sure to check the Disney Parks Blog for all of the latest Parks news on closing, refurbishments, and more.
Should I Go to Disney World in 2020?
My opinion on this is quite clear, since I’ve been going, and will continue to go and take my family. And I hope that this blog will help you decide what’s best for your family. I’ve been very impressed with the many safety and healthy measures at Disney Parks.
Some people seem worried about the lack of fireworks, parades, and character interactions. While that is true that many of those things aren’t happening right now, characters can still be spotted all over the Parks. We saw more characters around the Parks than I’ve EVER seen in one day! There were characters randomly in cavalcades, on rooftops, and on balconies. For us, this was nearly as good as greeting them ourselves.
And just like a cast member said as we walked into Magic Kingdom, “For the first time in forever, you finally have personal space at Disney World!” And it’s true! In lines, on rides, and while eating, you have personal space. It’s a new and different Magic Kingdom, but still magical.