We’re Answering Your BIGGEST Questions About the Reopened Disney World!

Disney World has officially reopened its parks, starting last week with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. And on July 15th, both Hollywood Studios and EPCOT joined the line-up!

Cinderella Castle

While we’ve been exploring everything new and different in the parks, there are a lot of questions that we’ve had about how the parks are operating. And, we’ve opened the floor to our readers to ask us everything they want to know about Disney World reopening!

We’ve got all the answers that you need to know about the parks before you head back!

What characters are still in the parks?

Although character meet-and-greets won’t be available as parks welcome everyone back, Character Cavalcades have made their way into Disney World! On top of that, we’ve seen other random encounters throughout the parks!

Goofy’s Character Cavalcade

Magic Kingdom has been hosting the Royal Princess Processional and Mickey and Friends Cavalcade

Mickey & Friends Character Cavalcade

…while Animal Kingdom has Donald’s Dino Boat Bash and Discovery River Character Cruise.

Timon and Rafiki!

At EPCOT, the park hosts the Mickey and Friends World Tour and the Frozen Promenade

Princess Character Cavalcade

…while Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also have the Pixar Pals Motorcade and Disney Junior Stars Motorcade.

Mickey and Friends Cavalcade

Characters can also be spotted around the parks, like Anastasia and Drizella waving from Cinderella Castle’s balcony

Anastasia and Drizella!

…Buzz Lightyear and Stitch waving from Tomorrowland’s stage…

Stitch

…Pooh out and about catching butterflies in EPCOT’s courtyard, and more!

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge have also brought Rebels and First Order members from all over the galaxy back into Hollywood Studios.

Galaxy’s Edge Characters

These are all the places you’ll be able to meet your favorite character in Disney World!

How is Rise of the Resistance working in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?

Although Disney originally said that Virtual Queues wouldn’t be used in the parks, Rise of the Resistance has reopened again with limited amounts of Boarding Groups. Guests can attempt to access the queue system at 10AM, 1PM, or 4PM and only be able to make one Boarding Pass reservation per day.

Rise of the Resistance

However, we encountered the issue that the reservation windows were gone within a few minutes as soon as they opened. So, if you aren’t clicking that “join Boarding Group” button right at 10AM, you’ll miss a chance to ride the attraction during that specific window.

Rise Boarding Group

Once you actually get to ride Rise of the Resistance, there are modifications in the experience. Guests will need to follow distancing guidelines, including an assigned number on the ground that they will follow throughout the entirety of the pre-show.

Rise of the Resistance Queue

People aren’t able to walk around in the Star Destroyer at this time. And, guests are being placed inside their transport vehicles with one party per car (which can be a fun experience in itself)!

Rise of the Resistance

Here are all the details you NEED to know about riding Rise of the Resistance in a newly reopened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!

How is PhotoPass being handled by Cast Members?

Since Cast Members will not be able to hold phones at this time to take photos, the PhotoPass photographers will only be snapping pictures on their designated Disney cameras.

Guests will be able to have their MagicBand or park tickets scanned so they can access their photos through their My Disney Experience later on. Guests are also required to keep their face masks on while photos are being taken.

PhotoPass

Read more about the new Disney World PhotoPass experience here!

What are the wait times and ride procedures like?

Across the board, we are seeing drastically reduced wait times at most attractions throughout Disney World. There have been a few exceptions, including longer wait times for Splash Mountain and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. However, with reduced park capacity, your wait times for the most popular rides will be far less than what you may be accustomed to.

Splash Mountain queue

Each queue has distancing measures in place to mitigate risk to Cast Members and Guests. Floor markers are present throughout the entire queue, keeping travel parties six feet apart.

Soarin’ Queue

Some attractions have plexiglass dividers in the queue, and some attractions even have dividers on the rides themselves, like what we saw on Soarin, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Star Tours.

Soarin’ Ride Vehicle

Although Universal Orlando allowed guests to take their masks off during water rides, Disney World required everyone to keep their masks on (even on attractions like the Kali River Rapids).

Face Masks on Water Rides

Take a look at more ride procedures happening in the parks here!

Is rope drop happening in Disney World? What is the process?

Since Disney World is trying to prevent unnecessary crowding during the day, many of the parks have started to open later than they normally would. By the time guests are let into the parking lots or get on transportation to the parks, they are usually getting there around the time the park opens anyways (without much room for actually getting there early).

Cinderella Castle

However, the only exception we’ve seen so far is in Hollywood Studios. Although the park opened at 10AM, we were able to arrive by 9 AM. While they told us to come back at 9:30 AM, guests were let into the park earlier than that (even though they were turning away people at first). Distancing measures were put in place with rope lines, markers, and more to keep guests safe.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Where can you take off your mask in the parks?

Although guests are required to wear masks whenever they are in a public place on Disney property, there are still spots for them to take off their masks throughout the day. The parks each have designated Relaxation Stations for guests to remove their masks for a short period of time.

Relaxation Station

The Relaxation Stations have tables and chairs for guests to kick back for a few moments and remove their face masks. Some of these areas are indoors, like at Pete’s Silly Sideshow at Magic Kingdom, but most are outdoors in shaded areas.

Relaxation Station at Pete’s Silly Sideshow

However, it’s important to note that gaiters and bandanas do NOT count as face masks in the park. Disney will be enforcing this rule, so make sure to bring a face mask with ear loops to wear throughout the day!

These are all the places you can find relaxation stations in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom!

How many attractions will you be able to ride in the parks in a day?

Since the rides are only operating with Stand By (minus Rise of the Resistance), wait times will fluctuate throughout the day. Unlike the system we’ve developed in the past with FastPasses and Extra Magic Hours, there’s really no rhyme or reason to getting on attractions in the parks right now.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

However, if you choose to stay in one park for most of the day, you can most likely get on many attractions (if not all of them in parks with less rides like EPCOT). We’ve seen rides hit their peak wait time in the early morning and dwindle down to low wait times towards the afternoon. Many of the lowest wait times were in the evening right before the parks closed.

The Seas

However, this isn’t always the case! We recommend continuously checking back on your My Disney Experience to see what the wait times are like at different points of the day.

Can you still use Rider Switch and the Disability Access Service?

As we run back to our favorite Disney attractions, families will still be able to take advantage of the Rider Switch or Disability Access Service option at the parks. Guests will need to sign up for one of these options with a Cast Member when they arrive to an attraction or visit Guest Services.

Rider Switch and DAS Services at Space Mountain

When it’s that party’s turn at a ride, Cast Members will either bring guests to the Single Rider line or FastPass lines that are not in use right now. Attractions like Rise of the Resistance will require guests to be a part of a Boarding Group to use these features, however.

Expedition Everest

Read more about how Rider Switch is working in Disney World here!

What are the biggest health and safety changes in Disney World?

Disney World has made some BIG changes in the parks! Your time in Disney will most likely look different with some of the new procedures put in place for the health and safety of everyone visiting.

Hand-Sanitizing Station

Some of the biggest changes that we have seen include the new temperature screenings before guests enter the parks…

Temperature Screening

distancing measures all throughout Disney World at restaurants, attractions, and more (including markers, plexiglass barriers, and roped-off areas)…

Rise of the Resistance Queue

…and even Virtual Queues implemented at stores in the parks, as well as the World Showplace for the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival.

World Showplace

Here are all the health and safety procedures that we’ve seen in Disney World!

How does the modified transportation work in the parks?

At this time, the Disney Buses, Monorails, Ferries, and Skyliners are open for guests to use! While we’ve been exploring Disney Transportation, we’ve seen distancing measures, plexiglass barriers, and hand-sanitizing stations across the board.

Monorail Peach

While the Monorails and Ferries have places for guests to stand and to not stand designated by stickers and markers…

Ferry Boat

…the Skyliners will only be allowing one party per gondola at a time.

Caribbean Beach Skyliners

Disney Buses have also adopted completely new procedures with specified zones that guests are directed to by the bus driver when they board. The buses have considerably dropped their capacity to maintain distancing, but there are plenty of buses running to make up for this.

Disney Bus

Here’s an in-depth look at the newly reopened transportation in Disney World!

What are the crowd levels like in the parks?

Just like the wait times have been varying in the parks, we’ve seen the crowd levels also vary as well. Many people have been rushing to get to some of the bigger name attractions, leaving other parts of the park completely empty. However, we’ve even seen a few of the E-ticket spots left quieter than we’ve ever seen them before (a 10 minute wait for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Flight of Passage is VERY different)!

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run

Since there is Stand By only and distancing measures put into place, the lines have been stretching a lot longer than they actually are. Frozen Ever After only had a 30 minute wait, but line distancing and the crowds made it look a lot longer than the actual posted time.

Frozen Ever After Queue

Take a look at the re-opening crowds in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom here!

What happens at park closing?

Since many of the parks are closing far earlier than they would in the past, things are actually a bit different in the parks. Nighttime shows are not taking place, so people are riding attractions, watching Character Cavalcades, dining, or shopping throughout the day in one park only (since park-hopping isn’t available).

Flight of Passage

Due to the fact that guests can’t visit more than one park per day, guests may or may not choose to stay all the way through closing. However, what we have seen is that the ride wait times tend to be shorter towards the end of the night since it appears like many guests are returning back to their resorts or homes before closing.

7 PM Wait Times

What is the dining experience like in the parks now?

Disney World has opened multiple dining experiences to guests throughout the parks. Currently, Quick Service options are frequently requiring guests to place their order through the Mobile Order system (with the exception of payment at the register for guests using cash or with allergies).

Mobile Order

Seating has been limited so there is space between parties dining at the restaurants. Condiments are now being put in individual packages, instead of the serve-yourself format from before. However, water cups are still available from Cast Members, if guests ask for them.

Spaced Seating at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Here’s a full look at our experience with Quick Service dining in Disney World!

While the Disney Resorts have character dining at Topolino’s Terrace, the parks have a character meal at Garden Grill in EPCOT. Guests are asked to check-in using the Mobile Dining Check-in feature before being seated at their table.

Garden Grill

Menus may be limited, depending on what the kitchen is using in their meals or manufacturers are able to provide. Character interactions will still be happening, except guests will not be able to hug them or receive autographs from them. Instead, everyone will be able to take distanced selfies and receive a signed postcard from the characters at the end of their meals.

Molly’s Having a Grand ‘Ole Time with Her Best Pals

Dine with us during our first character meal back in the parks here!

Now through the Fall, EPCOT is also hosting the 2020 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. However, this year’s festival has seen a few changes by combining elements from the Flower and Garden Festival (that was shut down early due to the closures) and Food and Wine.

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s A Taste of International Food and Wine Festival!

We will continue to update this FAQ with more questions and answers that we encounter as we explore a newly re-opened Disney World!

Do you have any questions you’d like to have answered? Let us know in the comments below, and we will try to help give you the information need!

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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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7 Replies to “We’re Answering Your BIGGEST Questions About the Reopened Disney World!”

  1. I’m concerned about hydration. My understanding was that all drinking fountains would be closed. It’s simply not possible to carry enough water in one’s bags to stay properly hydrated, especially during these hot summer days. We’ve been Annual Passholders for almost 30 years and always carry a small water bottle and keep it constantly refilled from the fountains. Has Disney done anything to assist guests in this regard beyond selling their own (expensive) bottles of water?

  2. Can you give more insight to transportation? What time does transportation begin to run in the morning? How long after park closing can you catch transportation? And can you catch a bus from say Animal Kingdom to Disney Springs after the park closes? We have a reservation for 7:50 PM at Oga’s & park closes at 8 PM. I am just trying to make sure we can still catch the skyliner once we are finished at Oga’s. Also are planning to go to Disney Springs for dinner, after Animal Kingdom closes. Please post transportation operational hours! Thanks!

  3. We drove to HS this morning and were told to return at 9:30. We went back at 9:20 and lots of people had been let in already. 🤷‍♀️ The line for Runaway Railway was already very long by the time we got inside the park.

  4. I saw Molly having to leave her cellphone for virutas queue at a store. When space was available, they texted her. How about intensivamente guests? Will Disney be able to text international cellphone numbers? Thank you!

    1. Hi Melissa! Yes, if you have a park pass you can leave and come back that day! You will just need to go through temperature screening and security again.