Today, for the first time since March 20, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World opened up for guests. The major shopping district has opened with limited food and merchandise options. We went, while following social distancing, to see what safety measures were put in place.
Disney Springs opened today, May 20, for the first time in 60 days. There’s currently a select set of venues open and guests can park in the Lime or the Orange garage.
After parking, guests will be lead to a temperature check area. These are some of the signs that guests will see leading up to the temperature check.
Every guest in the party must pass the temperature check with a maximum temperature of 100.4º Fahrenheit or lower. If a guest’s temperature is higher they can sit and cool down in a white tent, shown in the background of the photo above. If their temperature doesn’t drop below 100.4º during that time, they and their party will not be allowed admission. Disney is having Advent Health in Florida assist them with temperature checks.
In an effort to stop physical contact between guests, Disney has the trash can swinging doors pushed in fully.
Disney has also added markers on the ground to help guests know they are six feet away from others while in line. These are outside of most restaurants and stores. There are usually 5 markers per store. This was more than enough, combined with the indoor capacity of stores, except for places like Starbucks and Chicken Guy. If there are more guests than markers, guests are expected to self-enforce six feet of social distancing.
In pinch-points or high traffic areas, Disney has implemented arrows to keep the flow of traffic organized.
Not all of the restaurants and stores at Disney Springs have re-opened. Some locations, like House Of Blues, have yet to declare when they will re-open. You can see a full list of what is currently open here.
This photo was taken at 9:30 a.m., 30 minutes before Disney Springs officially opened. While Disney Springs didn’t open until 10 a.m. today, guests were allowed to come in early. This view of an empty area didn’t last long once the main stores and eateries started opening.
The amphibious car launch at The Boathouse usually gathers crowds. To keep this area fun and socially distant, ground markers have been added to tell guests where they can and cannot stand.
Along with social distancing, Disney Springs is amping up its cleaning processes. It was impressive to see how often custodial cast members cleaned trash cans, handrails, and doors. We witnessed this bench get cleaned numerous times within a 15-minute timespan.
Cleanliness is a big responsibility for guests too, and everyone can do their part. Whether it be at the parks or anywhere out in public spaces, it’s recommended to wash your hands for 20 seconds. We also noticed that the water fountains were still running and available for use, even though we had heard that they wouldn’t be.
Here is a look at the Free People retail location, as an example of what to expect while shopping in the stores. Pink hearts made of tape are used at this location to mark the correct distance for the registers. Free People, like many other locations at Disney Springs, added plastic barriers at the registers as well.
While all stores and restaurants have signage about rules for safety, Chicken Guy took it a step forward. They included an extensive list of steps they were taking to maximize safety for everyone involved. Click on the image above for a full-size view if you would like to read more.
The YeSake kiosk near Planet Hollywood was one of the first food locations to open today. They also added a barrier at the order and pickup location. While this location doesn’t have its own dedicated dining space, there was ample outdoor seating nearby.
The majority of crowds that we saw today were at Starbucks, Uniqlo and Chicken Guy. Overall, Disney Springs had a pretty normal level of attendance for a Wednesday, even with the new safety procedures.
One of the main reasons, we believe, led to the early crowds at Starbucks, was this “Welcome Back” drink special. It should also be noted that only the smaller, outdoor Starbucks near the World of Disney store was open. The larger Starbucks on the West Side of Disney Springs was closed today.
While walking by the Lime Garage, we also heard this spiel about the safety precautions that are in place. If you have watched footage of the “Happily Ever After” nighttime spectacular recently, you should recognize the voice.
Masks are not required while dining. Restaurants are the only spots where Disney allows guests to not wear masks. The only no-mask exception other than dining is for guests 3 years of age and younger.
Also, as you would expect, hand sanitizer is available for free all over the place.
Disney Springs, like Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, is beginning the process of welcoming back guests after months of closure. Please, be kind and patient with cast members, team members, and each other. This is new to everyone and it will certainly take some to adjust.
I, for one, saw a great renewal of Disney Springs with procedures to keep everyone safe. People were happy and businesses were open once again. While I can’t wait to visit one day when masks aren’t needed, I was very happy to feel at home again today.