Disney Springs has reopened and other parks are in the process of a phased reopening. Your experience will be very different than what you have experienced in the past. Here are the changes that you can expect on your next visit.
The Legal Stuff
Here is my disclaimer, I am not an attorney nor have I played one on television. I do know what a hold harmless agreement is and every time that your go to a concert, amusement park, gym, ski resort and the like, you waive certain rights when you pay your money. These waivers usually state that you (the customer) know and acknowledge that the activity may be dangerous and you won’t sue if you get hurt. There are usually conditions where the venue can be sued regardless such as in the case of negligence. Again, I am not an attorney and you should not construe this post as any type of legal advice, only a report of what is new at Disney.
The reason that I am mentioning this is that Disney is taking this wavier one step further. If you catch Covid-19 at a Disney Park, it is on you. The verbiage below is from the Disney Springs website:
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney Springs.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting Disney Springs you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Help keep each other healthy.
Buying Tickets Ahead Of Time
Shelly and I are hosting a family reunion in Orlando this summer. Since Disney Parks will be observing capacity controls, you need to buy tickets ahead of time. When Shelly called Disney, she was told that if she purchases tickets in advance that they are not refundable including if the Park fails to open on your ticket day. I find this policy unacceptable. If the airline cancels my flight, I am going to get my money back. I am thinking about testing out this policy by purchasing with a credit card. If I buy something from a vendor and it doesn’t arrive, I file a dispute with the credit card company and let them deal with it. I am just thinking that if Disney fails to hold up its end of the deal, I would try filing a credit card dispute.
Here Are The Changes
I copied these changes verbatim from the Disney Springs website to make sure there are no misunderstandings. Here is what you can expect:
Know Before You Go
As we have begun a phased reopening of Disney Springs with a number of shopping and dining locations, we are looking ahead to May 27 when we will begin to reopen more of our Disney owned shops and restaurants, including World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger (mobile order) and the Marketplace Co-Op. With that as our next milestone, we are eager to welcome back our Guests, some Cast Members and third-party Operating Participants with safety and well-being of all at the forefront of all our planning efforts.
As we navigate through this unprecedented time as responsibly as we can, we have implemented a number of new safety measures based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. We, along with third-party Operating Participants, are all committed to a responsible reopening of Disney Springs.
For Cast Members, Operating Participant employees and Guests, there are 6 key things to know before arriving at Disney Springs, and they include:
- Limited parking and reduced entrances
- Temperature screenings prior to entry
- Face coverings required for Guests ages 3 and up
- 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, we want to be sure Guests, Cast Members and Operating Participant employees are aware of all these changes.
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. At opening, we have also reduced Guest entryways to 4 locations: Orange and Lime garages, along with the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge and the rideshare 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, Guests will undergo temperature screening in these locations: the second-floor exits of Orange and Lime parking garages and the Marketplace Entrance (to serve Guests from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge and the rideshare drop-off lot). Based on guidance from health authorities, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional location for rescreening and assistance. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.
- Employee Screening: Cast Members and Operating Participant employees will be required to complete a health screening and temperature check at home, prior to coming to work.
Following guidance from the government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, we have 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 are required to wear face coverings when visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
All face coverings should:
- Fully cover an individual’s nose and mouth and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Be made of breathable material, either disposable or reusable
Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.
Guests are required to wear face coverings at all times, except while dining. The use of face coverings should not be seen as a substitute for physical distancing. Guests must provide their own disposable or reusable face covering.
- 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—including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Guests may purchase a Disney Gift Card at select Merchandise locations and Welcome Center (Guest Relations) to pay without cash.
Physical Distancing and Capacity Measures
Managing the number of Guests visiting Disney Springs has been a major consideration as we implement 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: We are also training Cast Members to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.
Cleanliness and Sanitization
We’ve 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 the country opens back up, many people are wanting to return to the Magic Kingdom. I know my nieces and nephew are counting down the days to our trip to Orlando. We now live in a new world with life not returning to normal any time soon. We will make the best out of the situation and you should too.
Stay well, stay distant, wash your hands frequently and we will all get through this together.