As Florida parks & resorts reopen to welcome limited guests during COVID-19, many question what the parks are doing to keep guests and staff alike safe. Here we'll share photos and details of the physical and social distancing measures, ground markers, sanitation, and attraction changes that have been implemented by parks like The Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando.
Walt Disney World's official "Returning to a World of Magic" update page covers the three operational guidelines and safety measures implemented: enhanced cleaning, reduced contact, and physical distancing. One thing Walt Disney World has installed in many attraction queues are physical barriers in select places where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing. The example below is from the queue at Slinky Dog Dash. Since Disney's website doesn't show examples of these, we took photos to show how the barriers separate sections of lines that sit side-by-side.
Masks & Sanitizing
In both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando parks all guests and staff are required to wear masks. Roller coasters are no exception to this rule and it was at times a struggle to wear them on attractions like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Rip Ride Rockit. Water attractions like flumes and rafts are exempt from this rule to keep guests' masks from getting soaked. Those eating or drinking are able to remove their masks, but are politely reminded to put their mask back in place before getting up from their table. In Walt Disney World, masks can also be removed while taking photos. Disney and Universal both updated their mask policy to specify that park visitors cannot walk the parks mask-less while eating or drinking. Guests eating or drinking must be physically distant from other groups while doing so. This closes a loophole that we did see around the parks where people could get away with walking mask-free as long as they held a drink or snack in their hands.
In both parks sanitizer was present at every attraction, but in different ways. Walt Disney World had sanitizer stations at the entrance and exit of each attraction as well as hand washing stations in some spots. Volcano Bay had sanitizing stations at the top of each slide queue. Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure seemed much stricter on their sanitizer policy. At those parks, a Team Member at each attraction would personally squirt sanitizer into your hands before your ride. In fact, sanitizer was a requirement when entering every attraction and restaurant, not just an available option. Another difference we noticed was that Universal's sanitizer felt noticeably slimy, a lot thicker than Disney's. That slimy feeling seemed to be reactivated anytime water touched our hands (like when it down poured on us that afternoon).
Have you been to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando since the parks reopened? What did you think of the new safety modifications and policies? Did you feel safe? Were there any times when you felt unsafe? Do you have any other thoughts, tips, or details we didn't discuss? What questions can we help you answer? Hearing your feedback is helpful and interesting to us and others reading, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!