For the first time in history, all Disney theme parks around the world have been closed for multiple weeks. Disney has used the term “indefinite” regarding how long will the parks be closed. But The Points Guy expects that they’ll probably look different when they reopen.
When Disney World closed in March, it closed in phases. First came the park shutdowns, followed by the closures of the resorts and the Disney Springs shopping and dining area. For several weeks now, Shanghai Disneyland (which was the first of the parks to close), has been in a phased reopening that has started with the resort hotels, shopping and dining areas.
When the U.S. Disney parks reopen, everything won’t open simultaneously on the same date. It’s logical to assume Disney Springs and some Disney resort hotels may open in advance of the theme parks themselves.
In Shanghai, guests at the reopened Disney shopping, dining and hotel areas must wear a mask during the entirety of their visit (except when dining) — in addition to social distancing. The cast members at that resort also wear masks. Now, masks have a longer history of acceptance in many Asian countries than in the U.S., so will masks be required at the U.S. parks? I’m not sure. And let’s not forget that it’s already 100 degrees and humid at Disney World in the summer.
How do you maintain a safe social distance from others at a theme park with tens of thousands of daily visitors? I’m sure Disney is meeting on that daily, but one way to reduce congestion is to eliminate lines.
Disney has the capacity to utilize virtual queues since that process has been in use for the popular Rise of the Resistance attraction since it opened in December 2019. This works by having Disney guests use the My Disney Experience app to join a virtual queue that will ultimately tell the guest when to return and join the physical line as guests with higher “boarding groups” are processed. This eliminates the need to pack guests into one long line together for hours.
Just as Sept. 11 forever impacted theme park security, this pandemic will likely leave a lasting impression on Disney and other major theme parks around the globe. While some additional safety and health measures may eventually ease as we get past this intense phase of the pandemic, some changes may be permanent.
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