Disney, Take Notes! These Are the Best Things We’ve Seen at the Reopened Theme Parks So Far

Since theme parks have been reopening, we’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the awesome while we’ve visited them.

Marilyn Monroe

Although Disney World has been setting plans in place for when the parks welcome guests again in July, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld have been shaking things up to make guests’ experiences as incredible as they were pre-closures.

However, since theme parks are adapting to the new ways of life, we’ve been extremely impressed to see some of the creative (and effective) measures that places like Universal Orlando and SeaWorld have taken in the parks. And, there are a few things we’ve seen that we would love to see Disney World implement when they reopen!

Characters, Music, and More!

While we already know that fireworks and character meet-and-greets aren’t taking place at Disney World, or any of the theme parks, Universal Orlando has still found ways to entertain guests during their visits.

King Julien

On our trips to Universal, we loved the fact that we could still watch shows like Hogsmeade’s Frog Choir and the Blues Brothers by standing on designated “dots” that distanced guests from one another.

Hogwarts Frog Choir

But, the best part about the entertainment at Universal Orlando has been the mix of characters at the Character Palooza during the day. Although you can’t walk up and hug your favorite characters, you can still snap a photo in front of them or wave to them like you would during a parade!

Spongebob Characters

The characters all have their own unique ways of adapting to the new “meet-and-greet style.” The Grinch threw away our kisses…

The Grinch

…Beetlejuice was confidently rocking his pinstripe suit…

Beetlejuice

…and Doc Brown has realized that maybe he doesn’t want to go Back to the Future after all (at least not to 2020, he said).

Doc Brown

While character interactions may be different, they were still joyful and put huge smiles on our faces! Shanghai Disneyland has been using some of the same interactive elements, and we are hopeful we will see Disney World utilize some sort of “Character Palooza” to spot unique characters and have wonderful experiences, even without the normal character meet-and-greets.

Halloween Princess
Princess Merida in the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Take a look at the the awesome Character Palooza you can find in Universal Orlando here!

Annual Passholder Perks

On top of the free merchandise in the parks, Universal Orlando has announced that it will have a separate Annual Passholder parking area as well as a designated Passholder entry point for a limited time.

Annual Passholder Goodies

Although Disney has had a Passholder line to enter the parks before, a specific parking area would be a great benefit to the guests returning to the parks. Since there are multiple attractions and experiences unavailable at this time, Annual Passholders would still be able to receive entrance perks (even if they can’t use all of the benefits they’ve previously had).

Passholder Entrance

Read about the lifted blockout dates for Universal Orlando Annual Passholders here!

Crowd Control Flags

Although Disney World may not be conducting entertainment with huge crowds at first, SeaWorld‘s entertainment used the same stadium-style seating. However, there were social distancing measures in place with sections blocked off to keep the large crowds at a reduced capacity.

Although there were a few problems with guests distancing themselves from one another, SeaWorld put Team Members in place to guide guests out of the arena in an organized and safe way.

Orca Encounter

Team Members would stand with colored flags to direct one or two sections at a time to the exit before moving on the the next seated area. Guests would stay seated until they were called, which majorly reduced the traffic flow when guests were exiting.

Team Members at the Orca Encounter

Although we’re not sure when parades, fireworks, or other entertainment will be back in Disney World, this may be a helpful way to efficiently guide guests out of the park or an attraction so crowds are distanced.

Hub Crowds

These were the biggest surprises we encountered at SeaWorld Orlando’s reopening day!

Team Members to the Rescue!

Although there weren’t that many Team Members out in SeaWorld, Universal Orlando was a hub for helpful people to answer questions and provide information! Team Members were situated all throughout the parks to assist guests with any inquiries or problems that they encountered.

Team Members Working Hard!!

When the Virtual Queue or Mobile Order had issues, Team Members were still there to help guests find an answer (even if the new system was a bit confusing). And, when we lost our mask, Team Members helped us find the nearest place we could purchase one so we could continue to safely explore the parks.

Team Members

Although Disney Springs already has multiple Cast Members out and about to help guests, it would be a tremendous benefit to have employees available to assist people at all points along the way (especially since there are four entire parks to consider).

Cast Member

We know that Disney World already intends to bring their “social distancing squads” in the parks as well, so we are interested to how everything is implemented.

Here are some of the latest things that have opened again in Disney Springs!

Going Virtual in the Parks

While we’ve experienced park apps, online reservation systems, and more in the past, we thought that the move towards a more virtual environment was actually one of the best thing Universal Orlando could have done.

Virtual Lines

We felt like we could spend more time around the theme parks instead of waiting in line for things since the crowds were somewhat condensed due to the use of Virtual Lines and Mobile Order. We found that the wait times for attractions were shorter…

Hagrid’s Virtual Line

…and Mobile Order moved a lot quicker once the parks got a hang of it during the first week. As Disney World moves towards Virtual Queues at stores in Disney Springs and some changes in the Mobile Order system, we hope that this expands parks-wide to add some extra magic (and give less wait times) when the parks officially reopen.

Mobile Order Success!

Find out how Virtual Queues are different from FastPasses (and how to use them to their fullest)!

Magic Kingdom

As Disney World gets ready to reopen to guests, we look forward to seeing ways that the parks will be incorporating plenty of safe, yet interactive, ways for guests to experience all of the magic once again. Now that we have been two the reopening of two other major Orlando theme parks, we are intrigued to see what different elements Disney will implement when they reopen!

These are some of the biggest difference we’ve seen at reopened theme parks!

What is your favorite thing you’ve experienced in Florida theme parks so far? Let us know in the comments below!

Rachel Franko has been going to Disney Parks since she was a baby, and her love of Disney has only grown into a SLIGHT obsession since! She's been writing for AllEars since 2019 and loves sharing the magic with all the readers. When she's not writing, you can catch her heading to Disney and Universal Studios with a heart full of dreams and a backpack full of themed ears!

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One Reply to “Disney, Take Notes! These Are the Best Things We’ve Seen at the Reopened Theme Parks So Far”

  1. Since mobile use is mandatory, are there complimentary charging stations? Not using my phone daily as much as it seems I will need to, I’m worried about not having enough battery life.