We visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom on its first preview day; Here’s what we saw

by Attractions Magazine Staff

Magic Kingdom reopened to cast members and their guests today as part of a preview ahead of its official reopening this Saturday, July 11, 2020. We were there to check out the park’s operational changes, safety protocols, and to see how the Disney experience has changed in general.

magic kingdom
toll booth

Our day began at the Magic Kingdom toll booths, where plenty of cars were waiting to get in.

magic kingdom

The tram from the parking lots to the Transportation and Ticket Center wasn’t running today, so cast members and their guests had to walk to the security checkpoint. Just before security is the temperature check:

security screening

Upon arriving at security, guests must put their electronics and metal items in clear bags and carry their remaining items through the screening point.

Here’s a clip of our first stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. in a long time:

Character interactions in the Disney Parks have changed with the new safety needs. Now guests can see their favorite characters appear in special cavalcades along the Magic Kingdom parade route or in other surprise places.

You can watch the full Mickey and Friends Cavalcade for yourself in the video below:

Mickey and Friends Cavalcade at the Magic Kingdom
magic kingdom

What do you think of Cinderella Castle’s 50th anniversary rose gold makeover?

cinderella castle

There were a few guests roaming around Main Street, U.S.A., but the back of the park was practically empty — offering plenty of space to stay socially distant.

You can see the social distancing measures in place for ride queues in our video of The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh below:

magic kingdom

Plexiglass barriers have been installed in some ride queues to help keep guests socially distant in tight quarters, as shown in this photo from Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

We only caught the tail end of it on video, but there are in-park announcements that remind guests about wearing face masks, washing hands, and practicing social distancing.

mobile order

The process for utilizing Mobile Order in the parks has changed a bit. Now when you order your food in the app, you’ll need to find a cast member at an entrance. They will then direct you to a socially distant waiting area and from there, the app will tell you where to grab your food.

magic kingdom
Photo by Niamh Larkin

There are three “Relaxation Stations” in Magic Kingdom where guests can safely remove their face coverings and take a break:

  • Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland
  • Tomorrowland Terrace in Tomorrowland
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus

Below is a look at the Relaxation Station in Tomorrowland, which only has one entrance and exit and no air-conditioning. Cast members are in the area to count how many guests enter and exit to keep an eye on capacity.

relaxation station
magic kingdom
Photo by Niamh Larkin
relaxation station
Photo by Niamh Larkin

There is signage on some tables designating them as “unavailable” to help enforce social distancing in this mask-free area, as well as reminders to avoid touching your eyes and face and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

magic kingdom
Photo by Niamh Larkin

Compliance with the face mask rule among today’s guests seemed to be 100-percent, as we didn’t see anyone not wearing theirs outside of the Relaxation Stations. Some cast members working also had double-protection by wearing both a face covering and a plastic face shield.


On our way out, we noticed that barriers had been added to separate the sections inside the monorails.

One of our freelance writers, Leah Emmanouilidis, @OurFloridaProject on Instagram, visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom during its preview today and shared a few updates on her Instagram story:

animal kingdom

Plexiglass and plastic vinyl barriers have been added to various attractions in the park, including Avatar Flight of Passage (shown above) and Kilimanjaro Safaris — on the actual trucks themselves!

kilimanjaro safaris
Photo by @OurFloridaProject on Instagram

While riding Kilimanjaro Safaris, since there are vinyl barriers separating each row, guests are given the option to remove their masks for the duration of the ride.

animal kingdom

Merchandise shops in the park offer a virtual queue of sorts when they reach capacity. Guests sign up and receive a text once its time to enter, much like the system that was in place for World of Disney at Disney Springs.

disney characters

Character appearances are not to be missed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with many appearing very spur-of-the-moment on barges through the park’s waterways.

The touchless security scanner recently tested at Disney Springs was also in use at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, offering a hands-free bag check experience for guests visiting.

Overall, today felt like a successful day back at Walt Disney World and it was promising to see all the safety protocols in place being enforced across the board. It will be interesting to see how or if this changes once Annual Passholders and general ticket holders begin to visit. We also live-streamed during our time at the park, which you can watch the replay of below:

Live from Disney’s Magic Kingdom on the first reopening day

Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopen to guests with Park Pass reservations on July 11, and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopen on July 15. You can check out our FAQ on everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World post-COVID closures here.


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Gina July 7, 2020 - 6:51 pm

Were they reducing the # of people in each car on the rides? I saw the separation on the safari ride but what about a ride like Dinosaur?

Ronnie watkins July 7, 2020 - 10:25 pm

Looks ok

Jerry July 8, 2020 - 2:51 pm

I don’t understand the Relaxation Stations. So these sections will be guests with their masks off? Seems like a terrible idea.

Robyn Murov July 9, 2020 - 7:26 am

Universal is doing it. With temps in the upper 90s and high humidity, it’s designed to keep people from passing out. If you’re nervous, don’t take advantage of them if you go. For some older guests or children, they could be a lifesaver.

Lisa July 11, 2020 - 8:09 pm

We went yesterday also. The cast members were excited to be back, and so were we. Everyone was compliant and respectful and obeyed the rules. Disney is doing their best, but we have to help out.


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