Disney is taking its first step toward opening the doors of Walt Disney World Resort to the public. Starting Wednesday, May 20, the resort will gradually re-allow access to select stores and eateries in its shopping and dining complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Here's what visitors should know about Disney Springs' phased reopening at Disney World and the precautions they'll need to take.
While the theme park itself and all adjoining hotels will continue to stay closed during this time, Disney is opening select retailers in Disney Springs, which is a shopping and entertainment complex adjacent to the park. On Wednesday May 20, a number of third-party (not Disney owned) retail and dining options like Wine Bar George, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, and Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza will start admitting guests. Then on Wednesday, May 27, some Disney-owned spots — including its merchandise store World of Disney and the Marketplace Co-op — will open. In addition, D-Luxe Burger will open up for mobile orders only.
To help guests prepare, Disney shared a warning at the top of its reopening website, which states: "An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable." Disney also states that guests visiting Disney Springs "voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19."
To that end, the company detailed precautions visitors will need to take when visiting Disney Springs during the phased reopening:
Disney recommends everyone opts for cashless and contactless payment options to make their visit as seamless as possible. In addition to using debit and credit cards, guests can utilize mobile payment options like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Disney gift cards, which you can purchase to use at Disney Springs instead of paying with cash, are also available for purchase at the Welcome Center to use at Disney Springs locations.
Face Masks & Temperature Checks
All guests and employees who are at least 3 years old will need to wear "an appropriate face covering" that goes over your nose and mouth at all times except when dining. Costume masks are not considered a proper face covering. In addition, Disney Springs visitors will have their temperature taken before entering to ensure they don't have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If they do, they'll be retested, and individuals who still have a high temperature and their entire party will not be permitted to enter.
Disney will be enforcing physical distancing by cutting down on the number of people who can visit any of these businesses at one time in addition to adding physical barriers and markings to maintain social distancing while in line and in other high-contact situations. The park has also ramped up cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and added hand washing stations to promote cleanliness and proper hygiene.
Reduced Hours & Entertainment
Disney Springs itself will be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. ET, but there may be reduced hours at specific businesses, so it's best to check before you go. There will also be no scheduled entertainment offerings or "high-touch interactive areas" during the initial reopening.
Last but not least, visitors who drive to Disney Springs will need to park in the Orange and Lime garages, as all surface lots will be closed. Guests will be able to enter Disney Springs from these two garages as well as the ride share area and the Hotel Plaza Boulevard pedestrian bridge. There will be no access from the Grapefruit garage.
The Disney Spring phased reopening comes after Shanghai Disney Resort reopened with a reduced capacity on Monday, May 11. Disney did not share any timeline or plans to reopen other Disney Springs businesses, the theme park, or adjacent hotels, but it looks like the park is ready to gradually start opening back up with these precautionary measures in place. You can follow along with all Disney reopening news on the park's social media page.
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