In March 2020, Walt Disney World closed its doors in response to the novel coronavirus. Reopening again in July 2020, this made for the parks’ longest continuous closure, along with the first non-weather related closure of the parks since the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.
It’s rare to see the Magic Kingdom bereft of people, as the park is usually bustling with guests or staff at all hours. However, during the park closure, WKMG-TV/Click Orlando in Orlando, gave us a rare look at what the park looks like without guests…and it’s definitely eerie.
These aerial photos are a particular rarity because flying less than 3000 feet (0.91 km) over Walt Disney World is normally forbidden, thanks to the No Fly Zone in effect over the area. WKMG-TV had to get special permission to take these shots, which were streamed on Facebook Live.
The entrance to the park, normally filled with massive crowds, was nearly empty.
Main Street, U.S.A. looked similarly deserted, though it is a rare chance to see the rooftops of the buildings here. Most buildings at Disney World only maintain their facades from guest level, switching to a more utilitarian look when viewed from above or behind.
As the chopper approached Castle Plaza, it’s clear just how empty the park actually was. This is usually the busiest area of the entire park, as the main thoroughfare between the various lands.
During the closures, Disney had a skeleton crew of workers to keep the park maintained, as well as to continue on certain construction and renovation projects. However, due to advisories restricting larger gatherings, work on some more intensive projects had been slowed or halted. At the time, the cameras spotted workers testing the Casey Jr. play area in Storybook Circus and doing renovations outside the main entrance. Work was also being done on Cinderella Castle (which reopened in its new state with the parks in July 2020).
Other popular areas of the park seemed almost unrecognizable.
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