Guests looking to visit Disney Springs during the current conditions, they will notice some issues when it comes to social distancing. Primarily that, in a lot of places, there is none.
To put it bluntly, Disney Springs has become Disney World’s “Problem Child” when it comes to practicing Disney’s new health and safety measures. But the problems themselves are very real, and it is not just the Cast Members.
But let’s start with a positive: one problem they do not have is preliminary screening. You cannot enter Disney Springs without going through a temperature screening, and there is social distancing enforce in the lines for stores and food options. Inside the stores and walking from place to place, the only two clues you have that there are still restrictions in place are the masks and limited numbers.
Walking around Disney Springs the past two weekends, it was clear that there is very little enforcement of masks and social distancing outside of fixed lines. But enforcement can only do so much, and there is also very little willful compliance from the Disney Springs Guests themselves.
It is not just Disney Springs Cast Members
One-way traffic is marked on the ground, and signage to wear masks and keep physically distant are present. But, in my opinion, it is the Guests themselves who are not being willfully compliant. They are moving around as they please, not paying attention, refusing to yield for oncoming traffic, and taking liberties with their masks.
Having been to both Magic Kingdom and EPCOT multiple times now, there is a clear distinction regarding a willingness to physically distance in the parks and in Disney Springs. A larger lack of regard for it all is definitely present.
Mask Issues are Dining Issues
There is also a larger problem with maks. Yes, Disney has changed the rules to where one has to be stationary in order to remove their masks for eating and drinking, but the ability to do that at EPCOT’s Food & Wine Festival–while also remaining physically distant–is much easier than at Disney Springs where kiosks line the thoroughfares without designated eating areas.
More Seating Needed at Disney Springs
Much of the un-distanced congregations I noticed also involved Guests simply looking for a place to take a load off and enjoy their Disney treats. This was also compounded by the fact that the highest concentration of traffic seems to be focused primarily in The Marketplace, The Landing, and the Town Center. Their combination of numerous food and shop and narrow streets puts them far from Main Street, U.S.A. as a place where such distancing can be easily achieved as Guests attempt to place orders, sit, and walk past.
This congestion problem is especially present on a Friday or Saturday night. And the lack of options on the West Side does not inspire Guests to venture that way unless they want to go to Splitsville or House of Blues. More conscious Guests have taken to finding a seat in at the Marketplace Stage in order to socially distance and eat.
Did I still feel safe? Yes.
Yes, despite the crowds I still felt safe wearing my mask and keeping my hands to myself. Whenever I fond myself in a crowd, I kept moving and I remembered why I was wearing a mask. When I go to Disney Springs, I also ensure–now more than ever, honestly–that I have a dinner reservation or I am able to spend my time in a bar like Jock Lindsey’s where I have my space.
Personally, I believe that the Cast Members can only do so much–especially in Disney Springs’ situation–a momentary breach of that six-foot bubble is inevitable wherever you go, and you are not going to be the only person who wants to go where you are going. Remember, we are all, also, assuming the risks when we set foot on Disney World property.
Could Walt Disney World put more Cast Members in Disney Springs to enforce social distancing, proper flow of traffic, and proper mask-wearing? Absolutely. Would that help keep people distant? Absolutely. But until more seating areas are added and Guests start taking more responsibility by wearing masks properly or giving people more room to walk by, Disney Springs is still going to have congestion problems and I’m not sure anything will be able to truly change without reducing capacity.
What are your thoughts on how Disney Springs has handled the health and safety protocol so far? Let us know in the comments!