First Looks at Walt Disney World's Social Distancing Measures

Partners Statue Walt Disney World

While Disneyland Resort is still in limbo regarding its reopening, Walt Disney World is moving forward with its limited reopening plan that will be taking place over the next week. We knew that the park would be implementing a lot of changes in order to aid social distancing, and today, as the park is open for a cast member preview, we're getting the first pictures of exactly what that's actually going to look like.

As expected, it means attraction queues that have been rerouted to allow for more distance between parties, and only partially loading some ride vehicles for the same reason, but in addition to that, we're seeing some physical transformations of some rides and show buildings in order to better separate groups. The famous Disney World Monorail has put up complete partitions between cars to keep groups separate, as one example.

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Somebody sold a lot of plexiglass to Walt Disney World recently, as there's a lot of it in use in places that it didn't used to be. It used to be that ground-level dividers were all that were needed to help organize ride queues, but now the upper half of those barriers have seen plexiglass added to keep groups separate.

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For the most part, these additions seem fairly simple and they shouldn't drastically change anything about the experience of the attractions. Unfortunately, not every attraction has been so lucky. The famous Haunted Mansion stretching room, which is where groups of guests start their tour, is now sitting open without the entire intro sequence, in order to keep guests from crowding inside it. One wonders how Disneyland will handle this same issue, as the stretching room is an actual elevator in that park that's necessary to get to the rest of the ride.

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One thing that we're not seeing a lot of at Walt Disney World is virtual queues. They're being used at Universal Orlando to help with social distancing but even the one Disney World attraction that used one previously, Rise of the Resistance, will not do so when Disney's Hollywood Studios reopens. However, there is one place where virtual queues will be in effect, some gift shops.

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However, it's not all bad news. As seen above, the plexiglass partitions that have been added to the Kilamanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom mean that guests can actually remove their masks for the duration of the experience. The Safari isn't a short ride so it will make for a nice break for people who get tired of their masks.

The real test comes Saturday when Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopen to the general public, though to a much smaller than usual crowd. Reservations are required but can still be made if you'd like to visit the parks soon. Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios reopen July 15.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.