Magic plus fun — the list of the best things to do on a Disney cruise is so long you could easily miss some.
Magic Kingdom's Park Preview Experience
Today we had the pleasure of being some of the first guests back inside the Magic Kingdom since its closure back in March due to Covid-19. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will both reopen their gates to all guests starting this Saturday, July 11th, but we were lucky enough to book reservations for the Annual Passholder Park Previews and experience the Disney magic again. Follow along with us as we document our full experience of the day!
Entering the Park
After arriving at Magic Kingdom’s Ticketing and Transportation Center, cast members and signs will direct you to the temperature screening tent. A cast member will quickly scan your forehead to make sure that your temperature is under 100.4 degrees.
Security cast members will then direct you to walk straight through the metal detectors. There is no need to stop or open any of your bags as required in the past, this makes for a much quicker and safer process.
Unlike the other Disney theme parks, Magic Kingdom requires a short monorail or ferry boat ride in order to get to the main park entrance. To keep guests safe they are now only allowing one party per cabin with up to eight guests. Solo riders will get their own cabin.
The ferry boat has large green dots on the ground to mark where each group can stand in order to demonstrate proper social distancing and is no longer allowing guests to sit on the benches.
Once arriving at the turnstiles, a cast member will scan your park ticket or Magic Band. Guests are no longer required to use their fingerprint to enter the park to minimize contact.
Paper maps are still available at the entrance, but it is recommended that you use your Disney Experience app.
All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings during their time in the parks. However, the parks do allow guests to remove their masks to eat or drink. To view Disney’s complete lists of rules regarding masks click here.
During the afternoon when the Florida heat is at its peak, it does get a little more uncomfortable to keep a mask on, so having the right mask is important. It is also worth noting that you may experience some fog while pairing your mask with the 3D glasses used on attractions like Mickey’s PhilharMagic. The mask experience was a lot easier than we expected and everyone was wearing them.
We loved that Disney added mask-free “Relaxation Stations” throughout the park. These small, roped-off areas allow guests to remove their masks and take a break. Cast members only allow a small number of guests in at a time to ensure that everyone is at a safe enough distance.
Magic Kingdom’s Relaxation Stations can be found near Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland, at Tomorrowland Terrace in Tomorrowland and at Silly Pete’s Sideshow in Fantasyland. We recommend taking advantage of the stations in Tomorrowland or Fantasyland as they are both indoors with air conditioning.
The biggest difference you will find throughout the attraction queues are the new floor markers that indicate where each group should stand in order to be 6 feet apart. Most rides have even added plexiglass shields as an additional barrier in areas where the line wraps or is close together.
All interactive elements found in queues such as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train have been roped off for the time being to deter guests from touching.
Almost all of the cast members working the attractions were wearing plastic face shields in addition to their mask for added precaution. They were also regularly announcing any new procedures to ensure all guests were safe, such as standing 6 feet apart and keeping masks on.
All attractions either had plexiglass shields in between rows or reserved, empty seats to separate guests. Ride vehicles are deep cleaned and sanitized by cast members every two hours. We recommend brining your own sanitizing wipes if you would like some added reassurance before boarding rides, especially ones like Mad Tea Party and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin that require touching objects.
We were so excited to see that most of the attractions are open and running as usual. Two exceptions include Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and Country Bear Jamboree. All play areas will also remain closed for now.
While character meet & greets are not currently available, there are still so many characters to see! Not only are there characters walking around the park throughout the day, but there are also frequent cavalcades. In lieu of the Festival of Fantasy Parade, guests can enjoy “The Royal Princess Processional” and “Mickey and Friends Cavalcade”. There are no set times for these character sightings, however, we noticed that they happen about every hour or so.
Cinderella’s Evil Stepsisters were also spotted interacting with guests from the balcony of the castle at different times throughout the day.
Character sightings include, but are not limited to, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Merida, Rapunzel, Tiana, Aurora, Snow White, Elena, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Fairy Godmother, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Captain Hook and Cinderella’s Evil Stepsisters.
Quick Service Restaurants/Mobile Ordering
While Mobile Ordering on the Disney Experience app is not a new concept, it is now required for all Quick Service restaurants. This includes Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe and Pinocchio Village Haus. The process is relatively quick and easy! After you select your restaurant and food, you will be asked what time you would like to pick it up. A cast member will greet you and direct you to the correct pick-up window. Plenty of seating options are available and spaced out appropriately.
Some Quick Service Restaurants, such as Casey’s Corner, Lunching Pad and Harbor House, will remain closed for now.
Table Service Restaurants
While some restaurants were offering walk-ins, we were told this will not be the case once the park opens to all guests this Saturday. It seems at that point, all table service restaurants will require a reservation made in advance. Both character dining experiences, Cinderella’s Royal Table and The Crystal Palace, will remain closed for the time being.
All of the restaurants have spaced their tables out six feet apart and will be utilizing paper menus.
While some shops did remain closed there were still plenty of stores open in each of the lands to satisfy all of your merchandise needs! The stores have a capacity limit, and utilize a virtual queue once capacity has been reached.
Markings and signage are found throughout the stores to inform shoppers of health procedures as well as which direction to walk in. Dressing rooms were blocked off and will remain closed for now. Similar to the rest of the park, plexiglass shields are located at all of the check-out counters and contactless payment is encouraged.
Overall, it was a dream to be back in the parks experiencing the Disney magic we have been longing for! While there were many changes from our last visit, we still thoroughly enjoyed our day and felt so fortunate to be part of the lucky Annual Passholders that could experience the day. Due to all of the new safety procedures and the Cast Members implementing them, we felt super safe as we explored the park in the “new normal”.
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