Over the holiday weekend, I did what I rarely ever do…I ventured into Disney Springs located on Walt Disney World property in Orlando, Florida. Not to say I don’t enjoy Disney Springs, but traditionally, Memorial Day is the day the summer season (aka peak season) kicks off. With anxiety meds and masks at the ready, we drove down to see the changes they’ve made since COVID-19 hit.
Prior to our visit, we were aware of the rules that Disney had advertised for guests to follow:
- Masks were to be worn at all times unless eating or drinking.
- A temperature check is required and anyone with a 100.4 or higher temp will not be admitted.
- Social distancing from other groups.
Also, hand sanitizers were placed throughout the area and guests are encouraged to use them often.
Knowing all that, we thought we were prepared for what was to come.
A few things surprised us as we drove onto the property. First, only two garages were open: Orange and Lime. There was also only one entrance and one exit for both. Surface parking down by Cirq Du Solei was closed.
Right inside the barricades, there was a sign warning people of the current COVID-19 crisis and that by coming to Disney Springs they were taking their health into their own hands and Disney was not responsible if a guest were to get sick (classic Disney covering their tails).
Once we were parked and walking towards the required temperature check, something strange occurred to me…the place was dead. I mean more than half the garage was empty dead. And this was at three in the afternoon.
The next thing that surprised us was the barricades. They had it to where they corralled everyone into an area. The area was manned by Advent Health and they were ready with hand sanitizer and thermometers. A manager was around to answer questions from guests. The thermometers were non-invasive and they didn’t even touch you with them. It was a smile, a click, and you were on your way. It was as if they really didn’t anticipate anyone to try going in with 100.4 or higher fever. I prayed they were right.
I appreciated that medical professionals were there doing the temperature screenings unlike City Walk that was just using their security team to do the screenings.
After the temperature check, we headed to the escalators to head into Disney Springs.
Cast members welcomed us from all sides and one even made mention of how much she loved my Rescue Rangers shirt and bag.
Once in the heart of Disney Springs, we saw a few things.
First, most people were obeying the masks rule. Second, there were arrows on the floor telling you which way traffic was supposed to flow.
Finally, not all the stores were open and the ones that were had their doors wide open. Closed-door, meant no entry. It was kind of depressing to see our favorite stores with the “Sorry we are closed.” signs on their doors. It made for a much different Disney Springs experience than we are used to.
Starbucks welcomed everyone back with a special pink princess-like drink with a dragonfruit base and a pineapple whipped cream topping. My husband is allergic to pineapple so we skipped this one but it looked good.
None of the Disney stores were open. It was all third party stores and restaurants. LEGO had its play area blocked off. The Boat House was showing off their amphicars, but not operating.
We spent roughly an hour or so walking around and seeing what was open and it was a pleasant enough time. Every store had its own way of handling the crowds (or lack there off in this case).
Personally, I’m waiting to see how the World of Disney operates when they open on May 27th, 2020. I’m also a pin trader and I’m curious to see how Disney will handle the pin trading hobby.
Overall, I felt safe and I think Disney is handling the reopening of Disney Springs well considering current events. We will see how that translates into the parks reopening later this year.