Disney World has implemented a lot of changes since its reopening last summer.
Mask mandates, social distancing, and plexiglass barriers are just some of the health and safety guidelines in place. Many Disney World experiences have been affected by these changes. These changes, like adding plexiglass to certain rides, are designed to make guests safer due to the global pandemic, but they can definitely alter the guest experience on some attractions.
We’ve seen plexiglass barriers added in the queue areas of some attractions, like Slinky Dog Dash, in order to keep guests separated from one another while in tighter areas. There are also some attractions which have placed plexiglass barriers ON the attraction vehicles themselves.
We’ve already shared how social distancing is being handled on every single Disney World ride. Now, we’re taking a look at what ride experiences have suffered somewhat due to some of these changes.
Disclaimer: Before we get into the meat of this post, we do want to note that we fully understand and appreciate the importance of social distancing and the safety measures Disney is putting in place. The global pandemic has affected and is still affecting many people around the world, and a more contagious COVID-19 variant has been found in Florida’s Orange County. Disney has put various safety precautions in place to promote the safety of all guests and the safety of its Cast Members.
We’re just sharing with you the ways in which some changes, like the addition of plexiglass or skipping a preshow, have genuinely affected the guest experience for certain attractions so you can see how things have changed and be best prepared for your next Disney World trip. Okay. Let’s dive in!
Frozen Ever After
Recently, plexiglass barriers were placed in between every row of the boats at Frozen Ever After in the Norway pavilion at EPCOT so more guests can ride at once. However, the barriers can get wet from the water on the ride, making it pretty hard to see.
While guests can still see out of the side of the boat without the plexiglass blocking the way, no one wants to see a foggy, blurry Elsa! There can be some unfortunate visibility issues due to the water, so that’s just something to keep in mind.
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Magic Kingdom is your standard, family-friendly carousel. Currently, guests are assigned to a row of horses which is limited to one party. From that row, they can pick which horse they want to ride. But in our opinion, one of the BEST parts of a carousel is choosing your horse out of the MANY available. Having such a small selection can be a bit more limiting.
This attraction showcases 90 hand-carved horses, so being limited to a choice from just 4 is a pretty big difference! It’s something to again just keep in mind, and remind little kiddos that they’ll be a bit more limited in their selection. You could turn it into a game and tell them their horse is a surprise or something to make it a bit more fun.
One of the most iconic parts of Haunted Mansion is the Stretching Room, where guests are greeted ominously by their Ghost Host. In order to avoid large gatherings of people, however, the stretching room is now simply part of the queue that guests just walk through without any preshow experience.
Normally during this preshow, the Ghost Host would eerily remind guests that “this chamber has no windows and no doors,” but in this case, the doors are wide open! You’ll have to recite the famous lines to yourself as you walk through and do your best Ghost Host impression.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Similar to Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a spine-chilling preshow that sets the tone for a stormy night in classic Hollywood where things take a mysterious turn into the Twilight Zone. Right now, however, the preshow is being skipped. But, you could play a recording of the preshow video on your phone as you walk through to recreate the experience for yourself.
Additionally, plexiglass barriers have been added in the ride vehicles.
But, this plexiglass doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on the ride experience.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Flight of Passage can build up some pretty long wait times. In order to shorten lines and increase capacity, guests are being loaded onto every bike without any plexiglass barriers in between. These bikes are within inches of one another, not allowing any space for social distancing between separate parties.
This situation is pretty surprising, considering the substantial effort Disney has put into avoiding scenarios like this. So, this is something to keep in mind for your next trip.
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Last month, plexiglass barriers were installed in the Millennium Falcon’s ride vehicles. This change allows for two parties (one group of 1-4 people and one group of 1-2 people) to ride together. The plexiglass is only in place between the engineer and the gunner positions — between the middle and last rows. Although the plexiglass is located in between parties, these rows are still pretty close together.
So, keep in mind that you might be a bit closer to another party if you’re seated in the same vehicle.
And those are some of the ways that plexiglass barriers and other changes have impacted rides in Disney World. As always, these procedures are subject to change and we’ll be sure to share any updates as they become available.
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Will you be visiting Disney World this year? Tell us in the comments!