IMPORTANT UPDATE: Mask rules, distancing guidelines, and more have changed significantly in Disney World recently. Masks are now no longer required for fully vaccinated guests in most places, and distancing guidelines are being reduced. We’ve seen distancing markers removed in some line queues, pre-shows return to some attractions, and more changes being made. Many attractions are now loading guests in every row just as they used to prior to the pandemic-related closures. We expect that more changes will continue to take place on Disney World’s rides throughout the upcoming days and weeks as the updated mask and distancing guidelines are put in place.
But, another important thing you’ll want to be aware of is how Disney is handling loading its attractions while keeping social distancing in mind. Will you be sitting with another party on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run? Are there plexiglass barriers on this ride or the other? We’re breaking it ALL down for you today.
Keep in mind that these are all based on our recent experiences in the parks, but things could vary. So, while these are generally what we’ve seen, you might experience something different during your trip. And we will continue to update this post with new information as things change around the parks.
We start our tour around Walt Disney World in Magic Kingdom.
“it’s a small world”
At “it’s a small world,” there is some plexiglass in part of the queue area. From our experience, “it’s a small world” will load more than one party to a boat, but they will generally leave about 2 rows between parties for social distancing.
At Atro Orbiter, just as before, each party gets their own rocket. In terms of actually getting to the rockets, you ride the elevator to the top, but Cast Members have typically only been loading one party per elevator.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
For Big Thunder Mountain, we have seen the socially distanced line stretch FAR out into the park, including into the Frontierland Train Station, so be sure to look for the Cast Member with the “End of Line” sign if there is a long queue that stretches far from the attraction.
In terms of the actual seating on the attraction, previously parties were being spaced out. Now, however, Disney is loading guests in every row.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
For Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, we’ve seen the line go through some unexpected places — like through the queue area for Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, so be on the lookout for that.
In terms of the ride itself, Disney was previously loading every other car, meaning there is one car between your party and the next. But, Disney is now seating guests in every single vehicle.
Country Bear Jamboree
In the waiting room, there are social distancing dots on the floor, indicating where guests should stand.
Within the theater itself, every other row is blocked off. In the rows where guests can sit, there are certain portions of the row that are marked as unavailable for seating.
Guests with large parties may need to split up as they won’t be able to sit in those areas that are marked as unavailable.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Over at Dumbo, the interactive play area where guests would previously wait for the ride is temporarily closed. In terms of the attraction itself, each party gets their own elephant, like before.
At the Jungle Cruise, guests are no longer seated in the middle of the boat. Instead, guests sit only on the sides and are divided from other parties to the side of them by distancing barriers. There’s also a barrier separating guests from their Jungle Cruise Skipper.
Mad Tea Party
At Mad Tea Party, only one party is seated per teacup. There really is no dramatic difference here in terms of seating.
Guests must maintain social distancing from one another as they wait in the area just before the theater. Inside the theater, there are every other row is generally closed off and a number of seats are blocked off in available rows to help guests maintain their distance from one another.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Want to soar above London on Peter Pan’s Flight? Plexiglass barriers have been added to part of the queue.
And, if it gets really long, sometimes the queue is looped through part of Columbia Harbour House.
In terms of the attraction itself, each ride vehicle is being loaded, but it is (as always) limited to one party per ship.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Yo ho! At Pirates of the Caribbean, plexiglass has been added to the queue areas.
The queue can be quite extensive sometimes, so be sure to keep an eye out for an indication of where the queue ends.
In terms of the boat itself, previously Disney was seating more than 1 party per boat, but they were separated by several rows to maintain social distancing. Generally, one party was being seated in the front of the boat while another was seated in the back, with multiple rows between them.
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
On the Carrousel, guests are assigned a row and can select a horse from that row, and it is limited to one party per row. So, if you are a party of 1 and there are 4 horses in the row, you can pick whichever horse you want and no one else will be in that row with you.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
At Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there is again plexiglass in the queue areas.
In terms of seating, guests were previously being seated every-other row with an empty row of seats between each party.
Recently, however, we’ve seen guests being seated in every single row.
At Space Mountain, there are plexiglass dividers in some of the queue areas.
The rockets are generally being loaded with 1 party per each section of 3 seats. This is another ride, however, that can have a queue that backs up QUITE far from the attraction (we found it ALL the way back by Tomorrowland Speedway around New Year’s Eve), so that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind.
On Splash Mountain, previously parties were being loaded with several rows separating them from other partiesin the same boat. Now, however, Disney has been loading the boats with only one empty row between parties.
This is another one that can have a very stretched-out line.
At The Barnstormer, Disney used to seat guests in every other row. But recently, we saw this change. Now, plexiglass barriers have been added in the queue area…
..and guests are being seated in every single row at The Barnstormer. Note that there are no plexiglass barriers between the rows on the ride vehicle itself.
The Hall of Presidents
In the Hall of Presidents, there are social distancing dots on the floor in the waiting area, indicating where guests should stand. Inside the theater, there are rows and seats blocked off for social distancing.
The ride is currently temporarily unavailable as it undergoes refurbishment.
The Haunted Mansion
In the Haunted Mansion, guests walk through the Stretching Room pre-show area as basically an extended part of the queue. The traditional spiel and waiting in this area has been eliminated. Each party is then seated in their own doom buggy (like before). At the moment, every doom buggy is being loaded (meaning they are not skipping doom buggies between parties).
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
In the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, one party is seated per flying carpet.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
The high-touch, interactive elements of the queue have generally been blocked off or turned off. Only one party is seated per honey pot.
At Tomorrowland Speedway, guests are generally stopped from entering their vehicle until the other drivers exit, so as to promote social distancing.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
The PeopleMover reopened in April of 2021, and initially Cast Members were leaving about 2 empty carts between separate parties. Disney then changed that and has been leaving 1 empty cart between separate parties.
Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid
Sing and dance along with Ariel in your clamshell as you go under the sea in the Journey of the Little Mermaid. As always, the ride only loads one party per shell, and every shell is being loaded.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
At Carousel of Progress, every other row is closed, and in those rows that are open, some seats are marked as unavailable. Parties may have to split up as those seats marked as unavailable cannot be used.
Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
The set-up is similar for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, where certain rows are blocked off, and even on rows that are being utilized, certain areas are marked as unavailable.
Swiss Family Treehouse
For the Swiss Family Treehouse, guests are asked to maintain social distancing from one another while walking through the area.
At Awesome Planet, there are social distancing markers in the waiting room area, indicating where guests should stand and wait.
Inside the theater, just like many other shows, generally, every other row is closed and several seats are marked as unavailable to help promote social distancing.
Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360
Inside of the theater for Canada Far and Wide, every other row is closed and there are specific areas within rows that are open that are marked as unavailable.
Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
The situation is similar again at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival. There are distance markers in the pre-show room where guests are instructed to stand. Inside the theater, some rows are closed. Groups of seats in open rows are also marked as unavailable to promote social distancing.
Frozen Ever After
On Frozen Ever After, there are plexiglass barriers in part of the queue…
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
At Gran Fiesta Tour, there is plexiglass in the queue line…
…and separate parties are spaced out on the boats. Generally, 1 empty row is left between your party and another party in the same boat.
Impressions de France & Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
At both of these attractions, social distancing markers are in the waiting area. Inside the theater, every other row is closed, and several seats within open rows are marked as unavailable so guests can maintain proper social distancing.
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
At Journey Into Imagination with Figment, one party is loaded per car, and some parts of the attraction may be modified during your ride. When we rode the attraction previously, for example, the “skunk smell” was not released in the Smell Lab portion of the attraction. High-touch areas in the ImageWorks — The What If Labs may also not be available.
Living with the Land
Some boats in Living with the Land have plexiglass barriers, and in those boats, guests are seated in every row. On any boat without plexiglass barriers, guests are seated with one row between parties.
On Mission Space, one party is loaded per vehicle. All of the games and interactive areas in the post-ride area are temporarily unavailable.
Reflections of China
At reflections of China, guests are instructed to maintain social distancing in the waiting area. Inside of the theater, certain rows are entirely closed and specific areas within open rows are marked as unavailable.
Soarin’ Around the World
On Soarin’, plexiglass had previously been installed in certain parts of the attraction. And several seats were locked and unavailable.
Now, however, the plexiglass has been removed.
At Spaceship Earth, Disney is leaving spaces between parties. In other words, parties may be able to stay together but you generally won’t be seated with another party in the same vehicle.
The American Adventure
Just like other shows, at The American Adventure certain rows are blocked off. Within the rows that are open, several seats are marked as unavailable to maintain distancing.
Additionally, it should be noted that the Voices of Liberty are no longer performing in the rotunda on the first floor. But, they did perform at the America Gardens Theatre during the Festival of the Holidays and are set to return there for the Festival of the Arts.
The Seas with Nemo & Friends
At the Seas with Nemo & Friends, we used to see Cast Members leaving space between parties, but are now loading every single shell.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Alien Swirling Saucers
At Alien Swirling Saucers it is, as always, 1 party per vehicle. There are social distancing markers throughout the ride and loading area, but other than that the ride’s loading hasn’t dramatically changed.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
At Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, just like other shows, certain rows are closed off and some seats within open rows are also marked as unavailable to promote distancing.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Plexiglass barriers have been installed in Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Disney is seating every row.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run just recently got a plexiglass makeover and adjustment to its boarding process. Now, there are colored dots on the floor directing guests where to stand when inside the Falcon. The loading process now ignores the pilot, engineer, and gunner markers on the floor. Instead, there are now the sets of corresponding colored dots.
There is also plexiglass in the cockpit around the gunners’ seats, separating the gunners from the engineers.
A Cast Member explained that this set-up could potentially allow for a group of 1-4 people plus another group of 1-2 at any given time.
Just like the other shows, at Muppet*Vision 3D, there are social distancing markers in the pre-show area, certain rows are unavailable in the theatre, and certain seats in available rows are marked off so that guests can maintain social distancing between their party and other parties.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
At Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, there are plexiglass barriers between parts of the queue, like between the rows in the loading area…
Slinky Dog Dash
At Slinky Dog Dash, there are some plexiglass barriers in the queue…
Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
In Star Tours, every other row is not being used.
There are also plexiglass dividers in the loading area and on the ride itself, again to promote social distancing.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
At the Tower of Terror, there is plexiglass in the queue areas.
Like at the Haunted Mansion, the pre-show for this ride is being skipped.
Plexiglass barriers had previously been installed on the ride vehicles, and Disney was limiting capacity in the vehicles, by skipping rows and skipping certain seats between parties.
Now, the plexiglass on this ride has been removed and Disney is filling guests in every seat in the vehicle.
Toy Story Mania!
At Toy Story Mania! there is plexiglass in parts of the queue, and guests are loaded as normal (since the guests face back-to-back, they have not been skipping rows or anything of that nature between parties).
Vacation Fun — An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie
Just like at other theaters in Disney, essentially every other row is closed and some seats within available rows are marked as unavailable to maintain social distancing. Keep in mind, this might mean that you’ll have to split up your party as the seats marked as unavailable cannot be used.
Walt Disney Presents
At Walt Disney Presents: One Man’s Dream, guests can walk freely through the space but should maintain an appropriate social distance from others. In the theater show at the end, every other row was previously closed and some seats in open rows were also marked as unavailable.
Now, however, no rows are blocked off and the signs blocking off certain seats have also been removed. Instead, an announcement is now made as guests enter the theater informing them that one seat should remain empty between groups.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
The Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance line is another one that can stretch QUITE far from the actual entrance of the attraction, so keep an eye out for that.
Inside the actual attraction, there are various pre-show areas, all of which previously had some measure of social distancing markers and/or plexiglass.
Recently, however, BIG changes were made regarding the distancing measures here.
In the pre-show room with Rey and BB8, there are no longer physical distancing dots on the ground. Instead, the Cast Members told guests to keep moving and fill in all of the available space.
We did not find distancing dots on the ground before we entered the pre-show room either.
There were also no dots on the ground or plexiglass in the transfer ship.
But there are distancing markers on the floor in the First Order corridor and prisoner cell areas.
There is also still plexiglass on the ride vehicles. On the vehicles, due to the addition of the plexiglass, Disney is now loading every single row.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
At the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, there are social distancing markers in the waiting area…
…and inside the theater, every other row is skipped. In open rows, 1 empty seat is now being left between parties. Previously, there were stickers on the seats indicating which ones were not available, but that has since been removed.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Avatar Flight of Passage
In the Flight of Passage queue, there are (again) some plexiglass barriers.
Guests are also now being loaded in every single seat in the link chamber without any kind of barrier between them.
At DINOSAUR, there are plexiglass barriers on the attraction vehicles behind the first row, and Cast Members are generally only seating rows 1 and 3, leaving an empty row between parties.
Discovery Island Trails, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek
On the trails at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll find a number of social distancing markers and lines, particularly in areas like the Gorilla Falls viewing area as the number of guests being allowed into that area at any one time is being limited.
There are similar things in place in the area of the trail where guests can see the naked mole rats and other, smaller creatures.
Generally, for the trails, you should expect to maintain social distance from other guests at all times, and keep in mind that you cannot eat or drink beyond certain points in some of the trails, so you’ll want to finish your coffee and snacks before entering.
Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
At Expedition Everest, Disney is loading every single row, meaning there will be no empty rows between you and the party in front or behind you.
Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King recently reopened a modified version of the show. Distancing measures were changed after the show’s initial soft re-openings. Currently, guests are being seated in every row, but they are staggered (based on signs on the seats) to provide some distance.
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
At It’s Tough to be a Bug! there are social distancing markers in the pre-show (just like other rides), and inside the theater itself, some rows are marked as unavailable. On the rows that are available, there are some seats that are unavailable for use, and there are also some plexiglass barriers between some seats.
Kali River Rapids
At Kilimanjaro Safaris, there are plexiglass barriers between every row, and guests are being seated in every row, but rows are limited to one party.
Na’vi River Journey
At Na’vi River Journey, Disney was previously only loading one party per boat. We later saw that plexiglass had been added to at least one of the boats, and Cast Members were seating every row in that boat. Now, every single boat has a plexiglass divider between the rows, and Cast Members are loading guests in every row.
The Animation Experience at Conservation Station
At the Animation Experience, guests are more spread out to ensure social distancing, and capacity is limited.
Much like Dumbo, TriceraTop Spin hasn’t seen any major changes. The ride is loaded with 1 party per dinosaur, but, like with the other rides, there are social distancing markers throughout.
Wildlife Express Train
As you wait for the Wildlife Express Train, you’ll find social distancing markers on the floor indicating where you should stand or sit.
Once on the train, plexiglass has been added between certain sections.
Affection Section reopened in November of this year with hand-sanitizing stations, hand-washing stations, and distancing measures.
We may not have stated it in each of the attractions above, but note that attractions in Disney World generally all have some form of social distancing markers in their queue areas. There are generally also sanitizing stations at various points near the attractions — mostly just before the attraction, just before you actually load into the attraction, and as you exit the attraction. Attractions are also being regularly sanitized. As always, these loading procedures are subject to change, so stay tuned to DFB for more updates!
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What is your favorite ride in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!