Disney During COVID
You want to visit Disney World during COVID but you’re unsure how safe it is. Well, this blog is for you. In July 2020, Disney World opened its doors with limited capacity and many new safety protocols were in place to keep their guests safe. Temperature checks at entrances, social distancing in lines, sanitizer stations, partitioned stantions, and limited bus seating are some of the new experiences at Disney parks.
We arrived at Disney early evening. Since we were staying at the Yacht Club we decided to take a stroll on the Boardwalk over to restaurant Trattoria al Forno. The evening was warm with clearing skies, and the walk over was quiet. It was almost as if we had the Boardwalk to ourselves.
Our first full-day was a visit to Hollywood Studios to check out the newly opened Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway and the possibility of getting a Boarding Group number for Star Wars’ Rise of the Resistance.
On our walk to Hollywood Studios, we passed the Skyliner. This is where we first saw the new social distancing placards on the ground. The placards identified the safe waiting distances between guests, as was the case for this extended waiting line at the Skyliner.
Please Wait Here
Before entering any of the Disney parks, guests must pass through a temperature check point. Wearing masks was mandatory. The only time you were not required to wear a mask was when you were eating or drinking while stationary…this rule was strictly, but politely, enforced.
Temperature Check Point
Time to get our Mickey on, so we begin our wait for Runaway Railroad! Aside from the temperature checks and mandatory mask wearing, the most noticeable COVID protocol was the expanded social distancing measures. Remember those “Please Wait Here" placards? Well, they are everywhere. The placement of placards extended wait lines swirling down sidewalks and streets. The extended lines create an image that wait times are forever, but the lines actually move fairly quickly.
The image below illustrates the area where the Runaway Railway spilled out to the vast concrete areas in front of the former Chinese Theatre. There are patio umbrellas strategically placed to provide shade for waiting guests.
See placards on ground.
Once inside the Runaway Railway, the permanent stantions were outfitted with sturdy plexi-glass and metal framing.
Here we go! Notice the cast members are masked up with face shields.
If you haven’t seen or experienced the new Skyliner, here’s a quick pic. The Skyliner connects EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and the resorts of Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera.
Once back at the Yacht Club, we decided to have some relaxation time. Even the pool area was COVID-proof. There were signs reminding guests of COVID regulations and plenty of space between lounge chairs for social distance….which we didn’t have to worry about because we had the quiet pool to ourselves!
Yacht Club Quiet Pool
Later in the afternoon we headed back to Hollywood Studios for our #42 Boarding Group (2:40 PM) for Stars Wars Rise of the Resistance. Social distancing was still in full effect.
Tammy was admiring the Stars Wars gear along the route to help the Resistance. Psst…she’s not a big Star Wars fan so this photo was staged.
Guests ultimately end up outside prior to boarding an escape pod. Everyone was assigned a numbers for proper social distancing. This was your number throughout the remainder of the ride.
I’m not easily impressed but Disney…WOW…you really impressed me with the Death Star hanger bay. It was stunning.
Death Star Hanger Bay
Even the storm troopers were masked up.
After Rise of the Resistance, we headed over to Rock’n Rollercoaster. My hair is proof I was obviously still shocked from my experience on the Death Star.
If you’ve ridden Rock’n Rollercoaster before, you know this scene is out of the ordinary. Never before has the line spiraled like this. With the heat index at 99 degrees, this was the hottest wait of the day. Everybody below was socially distanced in line.
The permanent plexi-glass closest to the boarding area really complemented the “city" feel.
After a long, hot, exhausting day, it was time to head over to Disney Springs for dinner. This was our opportunity to see the COVID measures on the Disney buses. All of the seats were numbered and dividers were added in between seats grouped together. Before stepping onto the bus, the driver would ask how many people are in your party, then assign you a seat number. The straps hanging from the overhead rails were zip tied unusable, so there is no standing allowed. The days of seeing 50 people crammed on a bus are over for now.
Well, that concludes our hot, late summer, visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can also check out our visit to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival. We hope our story and pictures help you feel comfortable and safe visiting Disney during COVID. If you’re excited and want to book a trip, you know the best person to call is my talented wife and Disney-expert, Tammy.