Disney Springs has reopened after a two month closure, with the restaurant and retail district at Walt Disney World implementing a variety of new health and safety protocols, screening, and signage with the well-being of guests and Cast Members as top priority. In this post, we’ll share photos and video of the temporary changes, plus thoughts and new info about Disney Springs operations.
By way of quick recap, there are 6 key things to know before arriving at Disney Springs. These are: 1) limited parking and reduced entrances; 2) temperature screenings prior to entry; 3) face coverings required for all guests ages 3 and up; 4) physical distancing practices including physically-distanced queues and physical barriers; 5) temporary operation modifications, including reduced hours at select locations and no scheduled entertainment offerings or high-touch interactive areas; and, 6) increased focus on disinfecting and sanitation, including hand-washing stations and sanitizers.
During its phased reopening, Disney Springs will operate with reduced hours, opening at 10 am and closing at 10 pm daily. These are the hours listed on the official webpage as far out as the calendar goes, but we’d expect the closing time to be extended at some point.
In recent years, Disney Springs has been open long after the theme parks, and is still hoppin’ at around midnight some nights. Once the district has been smoothly running for a couple months, or the parks and resorts reopen, we’d expect hours to be modified again.
Now, for some photos and video of the the temporary safety measures and signage you’ll see if you visit Disney Springs right now, which were released by Walt Disney World…
After parking in Orange and Lime garages, you’ll encounter these health screening stations before taking the escalators or elevator down to the entrances of Disney Springs.
Here’s where you’ll have your temperature taken and Cast Members will confirm you’re wearing a face mask. Parties with a guest whose temperature is above 100.4 will not be allowed entry, nor will those without face masks.
A look at the sandwich board signage that greets guests coming down the Lime Garage escalators.
Still better than the dreaded “We apologize, at this time, all boarding groups for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue have been distributed for today.”
Another look at signage that’s been installed around Disney Springs. You’ll likely see these on sign posts about as frequently as the wildlife warnings that now line the shores of Walt Disney World’s waterfront.
In the parking garages and prior to entering Disney Springs, there are also signs offering the same liability disclaimer warning that we previously covered. We’d expect these to be a regular fixture in front of hotels, transportation areas, and bag check once the parks reopen.
New hand-washing and sanitizer stations have also been added around Disney Springs.
In the weeks prior to closing the parks, Walt Disney World had installed these all over the theme parks. It’s safe to assume these will be all over the place once the parks reopen, too.
A look at the ‘do not stand here’ markings on sidewalks outside World of Disney.
Stores will have reduced capacity upon reopening, so it’s expected lines will form outside. Same deal as your local Trader Joe’s or Costco. Still beats trying to score limited release merchandise on shopDisney!
Maybe it’s just the way my brain works (or doesn’t)…but this doesn’t seem intuitive.
I’m used to markings in line at Walt Disney World where you do stand, not where you do not stand. It’s obviously easy enough to read and stand appropriately, but I think a circle with footprints would be a quicker visual cue for where to stand. What do I know, though.
Directional signage that follows the rules of the road.
I was concerned that some walkways would be one-way only, requiring a big loop around to access some spots–glad that’s not the case. Walt Disney World probably realized too many guests would totally disregard that. Our local Publix can’t even enforce one-way aisles (then again, they seem to change the direction every other day, so that’s partially on them).
On their Facebook page, the Walt Disney World Cast and Community has announced that Resort Children’s Activities Cast will be ‘repurposed’ into the Disney Springs Social Distancing Team, and will “bring their magic of engaging Guests in fun and caring ways to provide a helping hand in select areas. They have a keen understanding of our enhanced health and safety procedures, and will throw in some pixie dust for good measure.”
It’s apt that this role will be filled by Resort Children’s Activities Cast Members, as they’re reinforcing the kind of personal space and hygiene lessons learned in kindergarten…and will probably be dealing with guests reminiscent of petulant children in the process.
On that note, we’ll once again reiterate our reminder to be kind to Cast Members if you’re choosing to visit Disney Springs. This should go without saying and is always the case, but it’s especially true now. Frontline Cast Members with whom you interact have literally zero say over Walt Disney World’s policies they’re tasked with enforcing, and you’re not going to change anything by being rude to them.
Moreover, please don’t try anything “clever” to circumvent the rules. We’ve heard from a disconcerting number of commenters who have said that they plan on always walking around with a snack so they’re technically eating and don’t have to wear a mask. Why stop there? Eat food inside the grocery store to skirt shoplifting laws. Take off your shoes once you’re past the sign on the front door of 7-11.
If you disagree with any policy, we encourage you to contact Walt Disney World and voice your opinion. Or, vote with your wallet. In general, follow Wheaton’s Law. As Disney’s leaders have stated repeatedly, how Walt Disney World’s reopening process proceeds depends in large part upon guest cooperation–meaning that compliance with current measures is a necessary first step to moving past them.
Finally, here’s a video from the local news covering the reopening procedures:
Several of you have asked if we’ll be sharing an “on the ground” photo report, and our answer is not right away.
It’s not because we’re protesting any of the safety screening measures, nor is it because we believe Disney Springs should not be reopening. Rather, it’s because we’re still trying to mitigate risk and decrease likelihood of exposure, at least to the extent possible.
It seems likely to us that between pent-up demand and the Memorial Day weekend, the first few days could be busy. It wouldn’t surprise us if some fans from Georgia, Alabama, etc., make the pilgrimage to Disney Springs over the holiday weekend.
In any case, we’ll be monitoring crowd photos on social media to see how things are looking and going. We’re hoping that by next week, some of the initial hubbub has died down and we can do dinner at the Boathouse or Wine Bar George (depending upon who gets to choose the first meal). We’ll bring you a photo report whenever we end up doing that–we’re eager to go back!
Will you be visiting Disney Springs this holiday weekend? Excited to head back to Walt Disney World, even if it’s “just” Disney Springs? 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 not 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. Additionally, please do not incessantly harp on the same point across multiple comments. Respectfully share your opinion and move along.