Has COVID stolen the Magic from the most magical place on Earth?
Orlando, FL- Post-COVID shut down, Disney World was a ghost town. I know because I was there. Empty rides, no big parades, or fireworks shows. COVID Disney, was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. On July 11th, 2020, Disney World reopened its parks, including the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom. Six days later, my family visited the park.
When I decided to go to Disney World Magic Kingdom, the Coronavirus pandemic played a massive role in my decision to visit. At first, I was worried I'd be putting my family at risk by visiting the park. But after doing some research on how to keep my family safe, I decided to plan a trip.
I made reservations online at Disney Go. The initial statement on the website's main page was a response to COVID-19 and the park's increased measures toward its guests' medical safety. Reservations were required to visit the park. Because of social distancing measures, Disney decreased their parks' guest capacity. The reservation and ticketing process was simple and easy to understand. A calendar showed which parks were available every day.
Upon our arrival at the park, my family's temperatures were checked. It was a relatively fast and convenient process. Once approved, we headed toward the main entrance. We scanned our digital passes and proceeded into the Magic Kingdom. We immediately walked toward our first ride. The sun was shining, and the sterile smell of hand sanitizer filled the air. My children were stoked, but the eerily empty park was something out of a horror movie scene. It was bizarre. I can't remember a time I visited an amusement park where scores of people weren't packed together like sardines waiting in hour long lines for food, rides, or restrooms.
What's the silver lining of an empty park? The ride wait times; All shorter than 20 minutes. We rode every ride in the park. Which, if you've ever been to Disney World, mid-July you know, is an unusual occurrence. Masks were required to be worn throughout our visit to Disney, including on the rides. Honestly, I did not realize how difficult wearing a mask for 10 hours nonstop would be.
Hand sanitizer stations were at both the entrance and exits of every ride, dining facilities, and the gift shops. I counted 39 times I cleaned my hands with sanitizer. That doesn't include all the handwashing. Speaking of handwashing, the restrooms were clean, and the essentials were fully stocked. There was an attendant in every bathroom I visited.
Mobile ordering was in place at all open restaurants. Social distance seating was enforced, and sanitation was a priority. I witnessed staff, cleaning tables, chairs, and the surrounding areas immediately after the guest exited the restaurant. There was not a dirty table in sight.
Overall, my experience was one of the best Disney trips ever! The medical precautions, excellent customer service, and short attraction wait times made for a once in a lifetime encounter at Disney World. My only grievance is the cancellation of the massive Magic Kingdom parade and the parks' closing fireworks show. The wow factor or missing sparkle was noticeable as the park prepared to close. Guests' wondered around at closing time; hoping to see the castle light up. But, it never did. That magical moment was stolen by COVID. However, I wouldn't change anything about that particular visit to the Magic Kingdom. My family had a great time, and no one got COVID Disney.