Can you believe Disney World is reopening next month?
Disney has been preparing throughout the closures for its re-opening. Even though Disney World has already seen changes like face mask requirements and distancing measures, a few of the updates might actually become a part of everyday park life.
Despite the fact that many guests miss the way Disney was before the closures, these modifications to Disney World’s guidelines could be helpful alternatives going forward in the parks!
As Disney World has started to re-open, the parks have introduced multiple contactless measures. One of these is the QR code menus throughout Disney World that help reduce contact points for guests and Cast Members. While health and safety standards may change slightly in restaurants after things start to return to “normal,” the QR menus could stick around so there are fewer high-touch points at locations across the parks.
Although we’ve also seen paper menus, restaurants might lean towards the QR option more often for reasons BEYOND health and safety.
Disney has also been increasing its conservation efforts across the board for a while in the parks already, by moving toward eliminating plastic straws and mini toiletry bottles. So if guests get used to the digital menus, Disney could reduce the amount of paper menus in the restaurants long-term in an effort to go greener!
However, since some guests don’t have smartphones, Disney would also have to make a few handheld menus available as needed.
Additionally, moving toward digital menus could also allow restaurants to update menus quickly and easily online without having to print excessive amounts of paper when a menu item changes. Think more market-inspired seasonal or even daily specialties, farm to table fare, faster updates when items sell out, and more customization altogether for Disney World menus! That would be pretty cool.
Hand-Sanitizer and Hand-Washing Stations
Since Disney World is upholding strict health and safety regulations when the parks re-open, hand-sanitizing and hand-washing stations have started to be placed around the parks. While they were available right before Disney World closed, Disney Springs has also placed them throughout the shopping and dining district.
The readily available stations are actually a great way to encourage guests as well as Cast Members to keep up with sanitary efforts. If they are placed around the parks, people wouldn’t have to go find a restroom just to wash their hands (Liberty Square is already grateful since it has no restrooms anyways!). We’ve been to Disney World with kids MANY times and can tell you there’s practically always a reason to wash their hands! 😉
We’ve also seen Universal Orlando’s inclusion of hand-sanitizing stations before boarding attractions, which would be beneficial in eliminating some of the germs passed through contact on rides.
Disney Springs has also provided hand-sanitizer and access to restrooms in restaurants so guests can wash their hands before and after they eat, in an effort to promote cleanliness. All of these efforts to reduce the spread of germs could be beneficial beyond the current crisis.
How many people have visited Disney World only to get sick as soon as you get home (we’re raising all our hands)? This could help reduce that overall.
Increased Sanitation Efforts
As the parks re-open, Disney will most likely be following similar procedures in restaurants, using distancing stickers and signs, and implementing more protocol we’ve already seen in Disney Springs. While Disney has already increased its cleaning efforts, the parks are going to be a completely different ball game.
However, Universal Orlando has already shown a few measures that Disney should probably take notes on. While there is already frequent cleaning of high-touch spaces, Universal has also created sanitation measures specific to attractions.
On top of guests using hand-sanitizer before many attractions, Team Members also wipe down the seats, and even hand out 3D goggles themselves so multiple guests aren’t handling them.
Universal has also implemented the use of a barcode or scannable park ticket instead of its regular finger scanner. Since Disney World also uses finger scanners along with MagicBands, it would make sense for the parks to switch things up when they re-open to reduce high-contact touchpoints. (Note that Disney World has announced that it will be discontinuing complimentary MagicBands in 2021, so perhaps that is a step toward using contactless ticket media.)
Although we don’t have much information (yet), the new Park Pass reservation system may incorporate new virtual ticketing elements to use in order to cut down on high-touch areas as well.
Although many guests wondered what the temperature checks would be like when they entered theme parks again, we have to say that our experience so far has been pretty good! While Disney Springs already uses contactless thermometers to make sure guests and employees entering the shopping and dining district are below the 100.4 temperature limit, mandatory temperature checks will be instated in Disney World parks as well.
Though we already have an idea of how temperature checks may work in the Disney Parks, Universal has also made it even simpler to get a temperature check when staying on-site.
After a guest receives a temperature check at one of the resorts, they receive a wristband to show that they have already been screened for the day. Instead of re-checking guests over and over again, Team Members will let these guests skip another round of screenings.
While it hasn’t been stated if Disney World will be doing the same thing, the wristbands after temperature checks would reduce the time spent by hotel guests going through park temperature checks, and may reduce overall wait times to enter the parks.
Changes in the Mobile Order System
Mobile Order has been a game-changer for us when it comes to planning our days in the parks. Instead of waiting in long lines for your food, you can schedule a time to pick it up so you aren’t wasting that precious time that could be spent riding Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.
While the parks have been closed, though, there has been an increase in Mobile Order locations in Disney Springs that we expect to see mirrored in the parks. My Disney Experience has also updated payment information with more accepted contactless methods of payment, as well as implemented windows of time for Mobile Order pick-ups. Previously, these time windows were only seen in Disneyland.
If Disney restricts the window of time to pick up your orders, it potentially spaces out crowds so you’d be able to create more distance between guests.
Also, if more locations accept Mobile Order, it would be easier than ever to grab and go so you can get on with your day.
Although these big changes might seem different and possibly scary in such a well-known environment, the new updates are necessary to keep guests and Cast Members safe. Some of these changes could possibly be for the better in the long run. If we approach them with an open mind, we might all be surprised how quickly we adapt to the changes in Disney World and beyond.
What changes are you looking forward to seeing in the parks? Let us know in the comments below!