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The ReOpening of WDW – The First Day Back to the Magic

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WDW ReOpening

WDW ReOpening – July 11, 2020 – the first day my favorite place to visit reopened to the general public after months of uncertainty due to closures from Covid-19.

Everyone was skeptical but there were really only two schools of thought: those, like me, that were counting down the days and those that thought there was no way the parks should have reopened yet.

I was ready to get back to the Magic Kingdom. I hadn’t visited since January, 2020 – the longest I have gone without a visit “home” in many years. There’s something about the Magic Kingdom that makes me super happy. I can roam around for hours without ever going on a ride. I can just roam, and walk, and sit and watch.

Since I began visiting the Magic Kingdom in 1973, you can say I’m a bit of a Magic Kingdom fan!

So – what was this first reopening day in 2020 like? So many guidelines were put in place by Disney in preparation it’s mind boggling! I am super impressed by all they have put in place and how well it all seems to be operating.

Disney is truly committed to keeping all of their guests and Cast Members safe during this time. Considering the Disney Parks were already the cleanest places you could visit, the fact that so much more is being done is amazing.

Disney_Parks_Commitment_to_Health__Safety_Measures

wdw ReOpening – Parking

I drove to the park. Arriving through the toll plaza was a breeze. My pass was scanned to insure I had a park entry reservation and I was through the entry point in seconds.

There were more than enough Cast Members guiding cars in the parking lot to allow for physical distancing while cars arrive. Cars were guided into spots leaving one space in between each car. As a row was filled Cast Members then started back at the beginning filling in the empty spaces. This seems to be working really well. This stops many people from exiting their cars at the same place, at the same time.

There was no parking lot tram running so once the car was parked I had to walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Since capacity was limiting and the front areas of all parking lots is where they parking cars, it was not at all more than a five minute walk. Plenty of Cast Members all along the way to guide anyone that needs it in the right direction.

Monorail

It did seem a bit odd to see the Transportation and Ticket Center so empty. There are plenty of markings along the ground and the ramps to the monorail for physical distancing. It did seem as if the ferry was being used more than the monorail. I’m assuming this could have been due to people’s personal choice in wanting to be in the open air versus a closed monorail with other people.

I did choose the monorail since July in Florida is hot and I like to enjoy cool whenever I can. There are physical distancing markers on the ramp leading up to the monorail.

When you arrive at the top of the ramp a Cast Member asks how many in your room and tells you which lane to wait in. Each group receives their own section of monorail (each monorail car is two sections) and there is now a screen between sections.

Park Arrival/entry

Everything is very well marked and easy to understand. In order to enter the park you must wear a face covering (that covers your mouth and your nose, have a temperature screening and practice physical distancing.

The temperature screenings are non-touch with the thermometer being held about an inch from your forehead. You are then on your way to entering the park.

Normal bag check is gone. You are asked to place any metal objects from your bag (umbrella, metal water bottle, etc.) into a bin and then walk through a scanner with your bag. FYI: There is a small list of items they ask you to remove from your bag and place in the bin. I had a small metal portable charger I did not remove in the bottom of my bag and it did set off the metal detector. I was asked to open my bag and go through it myself showing anything that I think may have set off the sensor. I was also then scanned with a hand held wand.

You then move to normal entry and scan your pass/magic band as usual but they are no longer using the finger print scanning.

The entire process took about 2 minutes. It was easy, quick and thorough.

Crowds were VERY low but there was still lots of excitement all around. The princesses were welcoming guests from the train station.

Sanitizing throughout the park

There are hand sanitizing stations everywhere! You honestly can’t go more than a few feet without seeing one. There are also hand washing stations scattered throughout the park.

Throughout the park I saw many Cast Members continuously cleaning railings.

Physical Distancing

Throughout all of the queues for attractions there are physical distancing markings on the ground. Rides, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean are separating parties and using only a portion of each boat.

The guest in front of me was in row 2 – I was in row 5.

Relaxation Station

Spend a little time in the relaxation area where you can rest WITHOUT a mask, enjoy a cold drink and cool down.

Overall

To be honest, even though the limited guest capacity is due to such a big fat mess, I have to say – I LOVE the low crowd level. Will it make it just a little bit harder to visit in the future, yes – but spending the day in the Magic Kingdom with such low numbers of people is great. It reminds me of my visits in the 70’s and 80’s.

There is still lots going on. There may not be large scale parades but the small limited ones that are happening are lively, entertaining and really enjoyable.

My favorite was the princesses and the Kingdom of Dreams!

The characters are out and about in different ways, either popping up all of a sudden, calling out to guests or in a small float down Main Street.

I was very impressed with all of the sanitation measures in place, the ease of park entry with the new procedures and was also surprised how much I enjoyed my day at the Magic Kingdom without any large scale parades and goings on.

Every Cast Member in the park is working really hard to help guests enjoy their day. The magic is definitely still there!

What are your thoughts on returning to the magic?

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