When I visited the Magic Kingdom for the Annual Passholder preview, I was very happy with how Walt Disney World implemented social distancing measures on the attractions. No, I am not being sarcastic.
While standing six feet behind the person in front of you makes the line appear significantly longer, and you realize why Disney is only admitting so many people at a time.
But rather than appearing unnatural and awkward, or inciting more paranoia, Disney’s social distancing techniques actually fit very naturally into the queues, and actually better your experience. They give you something that you don’t normally get in line: personal space.
Yes, I would dare to say social distancing at Disney World makes your Disney day better than before. The social distancing and the reservations associated with it make the experience appear more personal and more exclusive.
Let me give you an example.
Picture if you will:
You’ll be waiting 30 minutes for Splash Mountain, but while you wait you have nobody immediately around you. You have a literal bubble of personal space surrounding you and the people with whom you came to the theme park. Every time the line moves, you don’t just scoot up a couple of baby steps like before. You automatically move up six feet to the next marker on the floor.
When you get to the boarding area, you and your party of four or more have never had a better chance to get the entire log to yourselves which means–more importantly–no strangers in your picture.
If you go off by yourself and ride Space Mountain, no one else will be in the ride vehicle with you, guaranteeing your own ride picture.
Seating for shows like The Enchanted Tiki Room is also more spacious thanks to social distancing. You are no longer crammed next to other sweaty Guests. You actually have room spread out and get comfortable.
This is your new reality, and it is one of the best changes to ever happen to Walt Disney World, in my opinion. Before the changes, Guests would have to get lucky to get such treatment, sacrifice watching Happily Ever After or run to get on at extremely early or late times of the day. Now, it is commonplace and bound to be taken for granted.
The only uncomfortable part is having to still wear the mask. (I will, of course, comply and wear the masks properly, but it is just asinine to truly think that wearing a piece of cloth over your nose and mouth in the Florida summer heat won’t take its toll.)
However, there is one ride that I’m not sure about, and that is Jungle Cruise.
Don’t get me wrong, next to Space Mountain, Jungle Cruise is my favorite ride at Magic Kingdom. I think if you get the right skipper, it is a perfect ride; you get to literally live your own adventure comedy movie.
But we had to keep our masks on while aboard the boat. The masks do two things detrimental to the Skippers: 1) They hide that smile you can’t help but have on your face as a Guest, and 2) the masks muffle your voice. On top of this, the boat was only half full. So often the Skippers will feed off of passengers for interactions during the ride, but the mask didn’t let us give him much. Our poor skipper was throwing out zingers only to be looking back at 5 people giving him crickets. I even tried to laugh a little extra loud to help him out. It was still enjoyable though.
As for the queues themselves, Disney has placed markers for Guests to stand on, and it is very easy to follow. Just be careful not to advance to the next marker before the party in front of you gets to their next one. Otherwise, you can end up in an awkward position asking everybody behind you to move back six feet. Nobody makes you feel bad for the blunder, but be patient and don’t be that guy.
Oh, and one more thing, you have to keep your masks on while experiencing all attractions. Trust, me, when everything is finally back to normal, these pictures will have legitimate historical significance.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this review do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Inside the Magic overall.