If we take a look at how Disney World operated when it reopened right after its pandemic closure to now, it is quite clear that things have changed.
Disney has implemented more safety features, Cast Members patrol the parks for Guests who are not properly adhering to the company’s mask and social distancing guidelines, and capacity is being capped at 35%. Although capacity is still limited, this is an increase from the number of Guests who were allowed into Disney World’s theme parks when they first reopened last July, when capacity was at 25% and fewer people were heading to the parks.
With a capacity increase has come longer wait times on many attractions, especially considering numerous rides were loading every other row to ensure that social distancing was being enforced at all times, and there is social distancing implemented within the attraction queues.
All of Disney’s protocols to date have been in alignment with CDC pandemic guidelines. For the latest information on pandemic-era protocol and health and safety measures at Disney World, click here.
For a quick summary, the CDC’s Public Health Guidelines for Community Exposure defines a person who could have possibly been exposed to COVID-19 as an “Individual who has had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more).” Considering many attractions are under this time limit, and considering that masks are strictly enforced and required on all attractions at the theme parks, it seems that the distancing is not necessary for Guest safety and protection, according to the CDC’s latest guidelines.
When Disney stopped social distancing on Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney representatives issued a statement regarding the reasoning for loading more Guests onto these attractions. Here’s what they shared, according to a People article published on December 18:
“Those rides were selected because they feature higher backs that create more of a physical barrier between guests, the representative said, noting that the choice had been made with the support of local Florida health officials.”
Now, it seems that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom are loading every row as well.
Below, we can see oncloud.disney has taken to Instagram to showcase the popular Seven Dwarfs Mine train attraction with every row loaded with masked Guests.
I personally rode Big Thunder Mountain a few days ago and had people (who were not in my party) loaded behind and in front of me, as you can see in the below photo.
That being said, riders are still required to wear their mask while on the attraction. If they do not, not only can Disney remove you from the theme park, but they have been known to stop attractions mid-ride to announce that someone removed their mask.
As a reminder, those Guests who choose to disobey Disney’s mask rules will be removed from the park. Because of this, any Guests visiting shortly should familiarize themselves with Disney’s mask policy to ensure they are willing and able to comply.
Are you comfortable going on a Disney World attraction that loads every row? Or does this change not impact your decision to visit the theme parks? Let us know in the comments.