What Disney World’s reopening could mean for Disneyland – Redlands Daily Facts

The reopening of Walt Disney World starting later this week after an extended COVID-19 closure offers a first look at the new normal coming to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in the coronavirus era once Disney’s Anaheim theme parks eventually swing open their gates.

The reopening of Disney’s Florida theme parks with additional health and safety measures including mandatory face masks, temperature checks, reduced attendance, social distancing and enhanced sanitization is expected to serve as a blueprint for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland hotels push back reservations until August

The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have begun a phased reopening process with the two Florida parks welcoming cast members for an employee preview. The cast previews will run on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 7 and 8 followed by annual passholder previews on Thursday and Friday, July 9 and 10. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopen to the general public on Saturday, July 11 followed by the return of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot on July 15.

Disney’s two Anaheim theme parks and three hotels remain closed until further notice amid the global pandemic. The Downtown Disney outdoor shopping mall returns on Thursday, April 9.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland installs COVID-19 temperature tents for Downtown Disney reopening

Crowds were relatively light when Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened for employee previews with reduced capacity and required advanced reservations, based on social media posts by Disney bloggers who accompanied cast members.

Visitors arriving at the Animal Kingdom parking lot were instructed to pull their cars into every other parking space. Additional cars filled in the empty spots once the earlier visitors had unloaded and cleared the area.

Those traveling to the Magic Kingdom by monorail were directed by cast members to numbered gate markers to avoid herding during the boarding process. Newly installed vinyl partitions separated rows of seats in each monorail cabin.

SEE ALSO: How will Disneyland keep fans from getting too close to Mickey Mouse?

Inside newly installed temperature tents, vending machines sold masks for visitors who forgot to bring face coverage.

At security checkpoints, Magic Kingdom visitors were instructed to place electronics and metal items into clear plastic bags provided by Disney to speed inspections and reduce touch points. Animal Kingdom visitors breezed through newly built security checkpoints thanks to a new Evolv Express no-touch bag check system.

Disney cast members lining Main Street U.S.A. waved as visitors entered the park for the first time since mid-March.

Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana and other Disney princesses waved hello from the Main Street train station platform — safely socially distanced from the visitors below.

Piglet, Eeyore and other Winnie the Pooh characters took a socially distanced ride on a horse-drawn trolley down the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street U.S.A. to the delight of visitors. Over at the Animal Kingdom, Disney characters waved at visitors from a boat that motored slowly along a waterway. Character cavalcades traveled along mostly-empty parade routes.

Social distancing stretched from the attraction queues to the rides themselves. Plexiglass dividers were installed in the queues for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the ride’s coaster trains were loaded every other row. Plexiglass dividers in the Expedition Everest coaster queue were dotted with stickers that read “please do not touch.” Big Thunder Mountain was limited to one party per coaster car to maintain social distancing.

Plexiglass dividers were installed on the Jungle Cruise boats to separate riders sitting on the bench seats (and possibly to shield them from bad jokes delivered by the skippers). The Haunted Mansion stretching room — which is only a visual illusion and not an elevator at the Magic Kingdom — was deactivated and was a walk-through only experience.

Select rows were closed in the Enchanted Tiki Room. Visitors were only loaded in two rows on the Pirates of the Caribbean boats. The splashdown effect was turned off on Splash Mountain with only one party in each log.

High-touch play areas at the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction were roped off along with interactive areas in the Avatar: World of Pandora themed land.

Riders on the Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safari were told they could remove their masks during the 18-minute tour of the savanna in an open-air vehicle that had been newly equipped with plexiglass dividers between each row of seats.

SEE ALSO: Which Disneyland shows and attractions will remain closed when the park reopens?

Plexiglass barriers between booths in Tomorrowland’s Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe helped maintain social distancing in restaurants.

Disney World shops deployed a new “virtual wait list” that notified visitors when to return if retail outlets in the parks temporarily reached capacity. Several retail locations in Adventureland and Belle’s Village were closed.

Periodic announcements were made throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom reminding visitors to wear masks, sanitize their hands and maintain social distancing.

Mask-free relaxation stations set up throughout Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom gave visitors a chance to temporarily remove their ace coverings in the Florida heat. Signs in the relaxation stations warned visitors not to move chairs spaced six feet apart. Theme parks maps were updated with the relaxation station locations.

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