Going to Disney World means waiting in lines. Even under normal circumstances and even if you’re thoughtful with your planning and FastPass usage, you’re going to go through several queues of at least 20 minutes if you want to get on anything popular. That’s just part of living that theme park life. Disney superfans and Annual Passholders have been scheming to minimize these wait times for years, but in the age of social distancing, even the most seasoned veterans are having to adjust their usual behavior (and not just because not everything is open). I went to Disney World last week and can personally confirm this. Much has been made about how there are currently no FastPass offerings, but beyond that, plenty of other things have changed too. Here’s what you should know about waiting in line at Disney World during the age of social distancing.
Walt Disney World Guests Are Socially Distanced Using Signs
Disney has gone through and added “Please Wait Here” signs throughout all of their line queues. You simply walk up to the front of one with the entirety of your group and wait until the group in front of you moves to the next one. Most of the notices are approximately six feet from the next; however, there are times in which they’re ten feet or more from the next if they’re needed to keep guests apart, especially in the queues that zig zag back and forth. In those cases, six feet in front of the guest behind you might put you directly next to another guest coming back the other way; so, they’re adjusted accordingly.
These markers continue until the very front of the ride. After you get off, there’s an assumption that guests will be courteous and maintain their own social distancing, especially since most rides have at least slightly staggered unloading times. In many areas, however, there are clearly labeled lanes to try and prevent inbound and outbound traffic from comingling.
Line Queues At Epcot, Magic Kingdom And More Go In Some Weird Directions
Disney World is one of the most carefully organized places on Earth. Thousands of people are always jammed together in what should feel like very tight spaces, and yet, most of the time it doesn’t feel cramped. That’s because all of the line queues are compact, but compact doesn’t work right now. The lines reflect that. They’re a lot more noticeable, and many of them snake into areas of the park that weren’t previously occupied. That mostly just eliminates random informal spaces people may have idled to quietly text or make phone calls, but on a few rides, the queue weaves through sections of the park not previously open to the public or previously used for other rides.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, as an example, now has a line that criss-crosses through the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, which is currently closed. Rise Of The Resistance cuts past what seems to be an employee parking lot and behind a building. You can even see the unfinished backs of some of the Star Wars set designs. Some rides like People Mover aren’t currently open and it may be because there’s just not room to have both its line and the line of the ride next to it, which in People Mover’s case is Astro Orbiter.
People Mostly Sort Of Follow The Social Distancing Rules In Line
I would describe the behavior of guests at Disney World as mostly fine. Sadly, the world is not filled with exclusively thoughtful people or even just those with self-awareness. Because of that, individual line experiences will vary a lot. I stood in some lines where every single person around me behaved exactly as Disney intended. People calmly waited in the designated spots and only moved forward when the group in front of them did so. Then again, I also stood in lines where the people behind me would absent-mindedly walk past the line and then sorta stop when they realized they’d gotten too close. For the most part, I think people were trying to behave. Everyone takes Covid different amounts of seriously, though, and that’s certainly reflected in people’s behavior.
Disney Castmembers, from what I saw, did a pretty good job of telling people to put their masks on if they pulled them down. Eating in line is now banned, and there’s definitely a lot of effort being put into making things as safe as possible. That being said, there are going to be people in every line who are less focused on following the rules, and if you’re the type of person who will get mad when people get say 3 or 4 feet from you instead of 6 feet, waiting in line at Disney will not be free from anxiety.