If you’ve been keeping up with Disney World’s many health and safety measures, then you probably know about all the changes that have been happening recently!
We’ve seen mask requirements for outdoor areas be relaxed and temperature checks are getting phased out. Now, the verbiage on the Disney World website has changed to indicate that physical distancing measures are being reduced. What could this mean for the future of the parks? Let’s discuss!
First, we need to know specifically what the website now says. The language there has been updated to state that Disney World “will reduce physical distancing measures for guests across many areas with a gradual, phased approach.” There is no specific note on the website about how exactly the requirements will be reduced, but it does note that six-foot distancing measures “will continue in all dining locations, merchandise stores and in areas where Guests can temporarily remove their masks.”
So, how will these changes affect the parks? While nothing has been announced yet, we have some ideas on what could possibly happen.
Some Dining Locations May Be Able to Reopen
Right now, some dining locations around the parks are being used for other purposes, including as functioning queue space for rides, attractions, or other experiences. This is the case with Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, as the inside of the restaurant has been used to house the line for Peter Pan’s Flight.
We’ve also seen some issues with this over at Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A., where the line for the Emporium often stretches right past the restaurant’s main entrance area. With lowered social distancing requirements, these queues would likely get shorter (length-wise), and so restaurants like these might have the space to reopen safely.
However, it is important to note that just because physical distancing requirements are decreasing in many places around the parks, this does NOT affect distancing inside restaurants. When guests are dining, they remain stationary without masks for an extended period of time, and that’s still a different scenario than guests moving around outdoors. At this time, guests will still be spread out when eating indoors.
As guests are allowed to stand closer to one another, the number of people that can fit in the park increases. This means that it’s possible for Disney World to raise park capacity.
In fact, Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently announced that the parks are increasing capacity immediately. He didn’t give an exact number or percentage for the new capacity, so how will this capacity increase affect the parks?
First of all, it might make it easier for guests to snag those park reservations. Right now, many days on the Disney Park Pass calendar are filling up far in advance because there’s a high demand and low availability. Also, we’ll probably see crowd levels increase, along with wait times. That’s just what happens when the parks let more people in!
A Less-Confusing Park
With physical distancing measures decreasing, we’ll probably start to see a lot fewer queues spilling out into walkways around the parks. While it probably won’t make your wait times any shorter, you won’t be wandering all over the park wondering where the end of the line for the ride is!
This means that more walkway space will be opening up for guests to use, and it’ll be a lot easier to get around in general. We expect this change to be very helpful in places like Sunset Boulevard, Galaxy’s Edge, Pandora, and Frontierland, where ride queues have been taking up quite a bit of park space!
Old Favorites Coming Back
Disney hasn’t made any announcements yet, but it’s possible that with decreased physical distancing, some of our favorite offerings could be coming back sooner. If guests and Cast Members don’t have to be quite so far apart from each other, it could open up opportunities for the return of things like fireworks, parades, and other live entertainment. We have seen distancing changing already at shows like Festival of the Lion King and For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
And with more people in the parks, the need for FastPass+ to return may also increase. Like we mentioned before, the wait times will probably get longer, and bringing back FastPasses will help guest satisfaction. These are the kinds of announcements we’ll be looking out for in the future!
We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for physical distancing changes in the parks, so stay tuned to DFB. We’re visiting Disney World daily to bring you the latest news and updates!
We Asked Our Readers: Would You Be Comfortable if Capacity Increased in Disney World? Click Here to See What They Said!
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
How do you feel about physical distancing requirements in the parks?