For so many of us, this has been a very difficult time to go through. From jobs lost to loved ones out of reach, this has been an adjustment for everyone. If you are at all like me, things “got real” when Walt Disney World said it’s last “See ya real soon” on March 16, 2020 and closed. For some, the virus has even affected them personally or people they know. We have all been saluting our amazing medical professionals and trying to stay in to protect them and others. It has been a time of reflection. A time where we reach inside and ask what our plan moving forward may look like as the life we once knew slowly faded into something entirely different. It has also been a time of love and compassion.
Slowly, our nation is starting to enter a phase of reopening. Fellow Disneyphiles like myself have been wondering when we could don our ears and feel the magic once again. Since Florida has been doing well and on a track of healing, we have slowly seen restaurants, beaches, and stores begin reopening, with some safety procautions in place. Then, we got an announcement that we were excited to hear, Disney Springs will be open! They are starting slowly, and they are putting every safety measure possible in place to ensure that guests can once again enjoy the fun safely.
Today, May 20, 2020, Disney Springs welcomed guests back to their magical restaurant and shopping area. While only a few of the shops and restaurants were open, there was still much to enjoy. Starting today, the following are open:
Next week, even more will open, including the World of Disney Store. As an avid Disney fan, I wanted to go show my support and check it out on opening day. Here is my experience:
We arrived around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20. Upon arrival (from Buena Vista), there were no lines to get into the Lime Parking Garage. This was a good sign and we felt a bit of worry melt away as we rolled into the garage. Even better, we found parking right away on the first floor! We put on our masks and made our way up the elevator. Upon entering, we were directed by signs and barricades to a temperature check. We were greeted warmly by Disney Cast Members. There were marked social distancing stickers on the ground. One at a time, we got our temperatures checked by Advent Health Medical Staff, who were also very nice. They used a temperature gun that was pointed at the forehead. After being read our normal temperatures, we were told to enjoy.
The experience inside Disney Springs:
Going down the escalator to ground level, we could see a few other guests, but not many. We walked around among other Disney fans, and some YouTube stars who were all wearing masks as well. I saw some really cute Disney home made masks, including one that looked like a Simba smile. Everyone was at a safe distance. They had Disney balloons for sale right at the entrance. Trash can lids were propped open for easy and safe trash disposal. We decided to head on over to Earl of Sandwich for lunch. We passed Polite Pig on the way, and it seemed fairly popular, but everyone was still at a safe distance. On our way, there were many safety signs instructing you to keep your distance, wash hands frequently, wear a mask, and cover your cough or sneeze. We followed the rules with pleasure and here are the rules you, too, will need to follow for a visit:
-Agree to potentially limited parking and capacity that you may only find out upon arrival.
-Agree to a temperature check. If your temperature is high, you will not be admitted into Disney Springs.
-Agree to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth (ages 3 and older) for your entire visit, except when eating or drinking.
-Practice social distancing from others (not in your immediate party).
-Assume all inherent risks of Covid-19 that you may encounter by visiting.
I think the rules are very easy to follow and understand. I felt safer with them in place.
When we arrived at Earl, we could see that only one entrance was open (near the carousel). Friendly faces welcomed us into line where there were stickers showing you were to stand. This was the most comfortable I have ever been in a line. Coronavirus or not, I dislike having my personal space encroached! So, for me, this part was magical. We waited a short time in line, ordered, and then immediately got our drinks and sandwiches. The only struggle was ordering since the masks make you a bit muffled, but we got by just fine with a little patience. There are protection shields for ordering and paying. Since there was so much distance between each guest, by the time we paid our sandwiches were ready, which was amazing. The drinks were handed out to us, so there were no worries about everyone touching the soda fountain area. There were sanitizer stations everywhere. We had the choice of eating inside or at some outside tables. The inside tables were spaced out with every other table reserved to promote distance. We chose to go outside. We sat and enjoyed people watching as we enjoyed our delicious sandwiches. Keep in mind that while you are eating, you are, of course, not expected or required to wear a mask. As cute as those masks made from baby wipe containers are, you will not need that here.
After lunch, we decided to walk a loop to the West Side. Once we got to the bridge, there were even fewer other people around. It was so nice to walk freely without the usual Disney Springs crowds. There were arrows pointing directions to walk on and near all the bridges. We saw several place markers for lines, even outside of places that were no longer open. We stopped to take a few fun photos as well.
After our little loop, we decided to head back since it was pretty hot. It was so encouraging to feel safe, even out with other people. The Disney Cast Members and Leaders were everywhere making sure that everything was getting constantly wiped down and that we felt safe and welcome. I think a lot of planning went into this opening, and I think they were extremely successful in opening in a safe and responsible way. I look forward to the parks opening next, but until then, I can see myself venturing to Disney Springs for some afternoon delight.
Here’s a video of what walking through was like.
What are your thoughts on Disney Springs reopening? Will you be going? Let us know in the comments!