Yesterday was a fun exciting day for our Disney community! Cast Members were welcomed to the very first preview of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks! Cast Member previews allow Disney to test out all their new systems and guidelines on employees before they open to the public. As you can imagine, these Cast Member Previews are often the very first time some systems and protocols are actually, physically, put into place. With new changes, there will always be kinks that will need ironing out and allowing Disney to test these changes before opening to the public, ensures smooth-sailing once the parks reopen. Does everything go exactly as planned during these previews? No. However, Disney is a company that believes strongly in growing and changing with the times and always strives to make improvements. So, how did the “dress rehearsal” at the parks go? Let’s break it down.
Safety and Health Protocol-
As we already know, several new health and safety measures are being implemented in all of the Disney parks. These measures include contactless interactions whenever possible, temperature screenings, a new security bag check system, the requirement of a face mask at all times, and social distancing. Of course, no system is ever going to be perfect or foolproof, but it seems as though these measures were enforced and successful at most times. Of course, there were hiccups, but that is the whole reason for a practice run! Disney will now assess what worked and what did not and will make appropriate changes.
With the suspension of up-close meet and greets and most character meals, Disney is featuring characters in new ways. Now, we can see some of our favorite characters during Character Cavalcades throughout the day. Characters such as Merida and Gaston were also spotted strolling around on horseback. It is always amazing to see how Disney comes up with new ways to continue to safely bring magic to their guests. For many of us Disney lovers, the familiar face of our favorite character will be a very warm and welcome sight- even if its at a safe social distance.
Attractions and Wait Times-
With limited capacity, comes more opportunity for those hard-to-get-on attractions! This theory definitely proved to be true. Most attractions had very minimal wait times throughout the day. Social distancing became a little difficult in some of the queues for popular attractions, but knowing this will give Disney the opportunity to monitor the situation more closely and make adjustments where needed. Attractions experiencing technical difficulties as well as extra sanitation procedures can make the wait time a little longer, but as time goes on, these new systems will run smoothly. So, there is no need to panic about the Fast Pass system suspension, you should be able to experience your favorite attractions with little standby wait time.
Just as with the rest of the parks and restaurants, in-park stores must also adhere to social distancing and limited contact guidelines. Disney has started a virtual queue system to maintain proper capacity inside of shops. There are Cast members outside who will sign you up and you will get a notification when it’s your turn to enter the store. Especially when visiting some popular shops on the smaller side, guests should be prepared for a wait in the virtual queue.
Overall, the operation was a success and many Cast Members were just happy to be back! It warms my heart just knowing that my beloved parks had guests there enjoying them. One thing is for sure, Disney will continue to bring us pixie dust in the safest way possible.
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