Walt Disney World has released official health safety policies and protocol for the reopening of restaurants and retail at Disney Springs next week. Additionally, the company has revealed when its stores and dining will reopen. In this post, we’ll share full details and some thoughts.
This news comes a day after Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference and unveiled plans for Florida to Enter Full Phase 1 of Reopening, in which restaurant capacity can increase to 50% and major theme park operators can submit proposals for their reopening plans and date.
Here’s the latest update, via disneysprings.com/reopening:
As previously announced, Disney Springs will begin to reopen with a limited number of shopping and dining locations on May 20, 2020. Following that, Disney-owned venues will begin operating on May 27, 2020. These will include World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger (mobile order), and the Marketplace Co-Op.
As Walt Disney World navigates this unprecedented time as responsibly as possible, a number of new safety measures have been implemented based upon guidance from health authorities, such as the CDC. For Cast Members, third party employees, and guests, there are 6 key things to know before arriving at Disney Springs:
Limited parking and reduced entrances
Temperature screenings prior to entry
Face coverings required for everyone
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
Since many of these measures will be new and may evolve, here’s more info about each of the policies…
Guest Parking and Entrances
During this initial phase, guests will be directed to self-park in the Orange and Lime garages; all surface parking lots will be closed. There will be guest entryways at four locations: Orange and Lime garages, along with the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge and the Uber/Lyft ride-share location.
Guest access to Disney Springs from the Grapefruit garage will be restricted.
All guests are required to undergo temperature screenings upon arrival at Disney Springs.
Guest Screening: During this initial period, arriving guests will undergo temperature screening in these locations: the second-floor exits of Orange and Lime parking garages and the Marketplace Entrance. Based on guidance from health authorities, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional location for re-screening and assistance. Those with temperatures above 100.4 after re-screening will not be allowed entry, and everyone in their party will not be allowed entry either.
Employee Screening: Cast Members and third party employees will be required to complete a health screening and temperature check at home, prior to coming to work at Disney Springs.
Following guidance from the government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, Walt Disney World has made some temporary adjustments that include limited-contact Guest Services to ensure a responsible and enjoyable environment for everyone.
Face Coverings: All guests ages 3 and older, Cast Members, and third party employees are required to wear an appropriate face coverings while at Disney Springs. Guests must bring their own face coverings and wear them at all times, except while dining.
Physical Barriers: Physical barriers have been added in select places where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines. These may be visible in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations, for example, to help ensure proper distances between people.
Cashless Transactions: At this time, it is recommended all guests use cashless or contactless payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, Disney Gift Cards, Disney Rewards Redemption Cards, and mobile wallets (like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay). Guests may purchase a Disney Gift Card at select merchandise locations and Welcome Center to pay without cash.
Physical Distancing & Capacity Measures
Managing the number of Guests visiting Disney Springs has been a major consideration as Disney Springs implements physical distancing guidelines based on recommendations from health authorities and government officials. One of the ways to do that is to limit the number of Guests and Cast Members at any given time for each location. Additional measures include:
Signage: Directional signage has been installed to assist Guests to responsibly move throughout the property. Additionally, ground markings will help promote proper physical distancing when queuing is needed at a location.
Training: Walt Disney World is also training some Cast Members to engage with guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.
Cleanliness & Sanitization
Walt Disney World has increased cleaning and disinfection in high-traffic areas such as public elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more.
Additionally, Disney Springs will open with hand sanitizer and hand-washing locations, and Guests are highly encouraged to use these while visiting.
As part of these efforts, other changes to retail, dining, and other experiences may occur. These new measures are designed to offer a magical Disney experience in a responsible way.
Walt Disney World understands that these times are challenging, and appreciates everyone’s patience and understanding as the company navigates this as responsibly as possible. Together, we can find new ways to have fun while being diligent to maintain proper physical distancing. If you still have unanswered questions, consult the Disney Springs Reopening FAQ page.
While this is all nice to see as a next-step in a protracted reopening of Walt Disney World, we’d caution against getting overly optimistic about the news. Remember, Walt Disney World is Only Accepting Reservations Starting July 1, 2020 and has begun to cancel reservations during the first week of June. Moreover, Disney SVP Thomas Mazloum reiterated that even this offers no certainty that the parks and resorts will be back up and running by then. In other words, reopening could still be a couple of months or more away. Nevertheless, it’s incremental progress and a step in the right direction. For now, we’ll take it!
What do you think of this news? Excited to head back to Walt Disney World, even if it’s “just” Disney Springs? Do you plan on visiting next week? What will be your first store or snack? Plans for a full meal? Optimistic that the parks and/or resorts will reopen in July? We welcome a variety of viewpoints here, and will never delete anything on opinion alone. However, we will not tolerate insults, arguing, or politically-charged comments. Don’t ruin a 95% fine comment with an unnecessary cheap shot—that 5% will get it deleted. Please do not incessantly harp on the same point. Say your piece and move along.