This was a big week for theme parks across the U.S.! The first Disney Property in the U.S., Disney Springs, reopened in Florida, Universal Orlando announced an official reopening date for their resort, and rumors are swirling that the Walt Disney World Resort will submit their reopening plans to the Reopen Florida Task Force next week!
Along with the wave of incoming news and updates, the Disneyland Website posted a message that is providing some insight into the changes that are coming to the way the theme park will operate.
We are already aware of some of the health and safety protocols Disney is considering and already implemented in Shanghai and Disney Springs. Currently, guests must undergo temperature screenings and wear mandatory face masks in order to be allowed entry to these Disney properties. So, how will that look at Disneyland in California?
In an update shared on the Disneyland website recently, some details give us insight into the changes to park operations that guests should expect in future visits.
Upon reopening, certain Disneyland Resort theme parks, hotels, restaurants and other locations may be limited in capacity and subject to the restricted availability or even closure based on guidance from health experts and government officials. Furthermore, certain attractions, experiences, services, and amenities will be modified, have limited availability, or remain closed. Park admission and offerings are not guaranteed. We will provide more information as it becomes available. We reserve the right to cancel any reservations, admission media, or purchases and provide applicable refunds.
Limited Capacity at Disney Parks
Let’s break this down starting with the limited capacity piece. In order to maintain proper social distancing, especially in a destination that attracts such large crowds, guest capacity will have to be limited.
In Florida, restaurants began a phased re-opening with only 25% capacity. This has now been changed to allow for 50% capacity. However, it is rumored that the Walt Disney World Resort supposedly will be only admitting 20 – 30% of their guest capacity once it reopens; according to new insight from a Disney executive.
No official word on what this will look like for Disneyland, yet. Disneyland’s footprint is much smaller than its east coast counterpart, so the actual guest count will be even more limited, even if the percentages remain the same.
This might be a welcome change from the crowded experience Disney has become in recent years. However, this will also present a challenge for ticketed guests and annual passholders.
Shanghai Disneyland implemented a reservation system that appears to be working well. However, tickets sold out within minutes for the first week of the resort’s reopening. No word yet if the U.S. Disney Parks will be utilizing a similar reservation system.
Modified attractions, experiences, services, and amenities at Disney Parks
In a recent interview with CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared that the company would be closely monitoring Shanghai Disney and take their lead with all the new health and operational updates being made to keep guests and cast safe.
So far, we have seen social distancing implemented in attractions and attraction queues, limited guest capacity as we already discussed, and attraction and experiences remaining closed, such as parades and fireworks shows. It is safe to anticipate a similar approach at Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort upon reopening. But we will have to wait and see which attractions and experiences will officially be modified for the resorts reopening.
Just recently, Shanghai Disneyland did resume select live shows; a positive sign that these changes are temporary and will be in constant revision by Disney to create the best guest experience possible.
Park admission and offerings are not guaranteed
So, you have a valid park entrance. Maybe you are a passholder. You might even have an annual pass without blackout dates. In black and white, Disney is letting us know this will not guarantee admission. This is yet another challenge that Disney will have to face with guests that have these purchased tickets and Annual Passes.
No official announcement on how Disney will manage this obstacle. However, the good news is, the statement does indicate that Disney will “provide applicable refunds.”
While we have full confidence Disney is making all these changes with the highest regard to its guests and cast safety, there is certainly a concern for this new “Disney experience.” Can Disney keep the magic alive with all these changes? By observing Shanghai Disneyland during this process, our vote is a resounding YES!
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Do you agree? Will these changes affect your decision to visit in the near future? Or are you willing to compromise the full Disney experience in order to at least be able to visit the happiest and most magical places on earth?
Chime in on the comments below! We want to hEAR your thoughts.