If you ask any Disney fan, they’ll probably tell you that it has been a strange and unpredictable year for the parks!
After they closed and reopened last summer, many things changed — from new health and safety measures to the loss of some of our favorite attractions and entertainment options . But, as things begin to start returning to “normal”, we’re starting to see things go back to pre-closure procedures in Disney World as well! Here are a few things that are back to the way they were prior to the closures.
Ever since Disney Springs first reopened in May 2020, temperature checks have been a part of the health and safety measures — but no longer! Disney announced plans recently to phase out temperature screenings, and that started on May 15h.
Face Mask Policy Updates
On May 15th, Disney World started what was perhaps their biggest health and safety change so far — they eliminated the requirement of face masks in most outdoor common areas.
A month later, Disney World updated their policy again to make face masks optional in most locations for fully vaccinated guests, with the exception of transportation like buses, the Monorail, and the Disney Skyliner. Guests who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing face masks in all indoor areas; however, Disney has stated that they will not require guests to show proof of vaccination.
Hand Washing Stations
One health and safety measure that has seemingly disappeared from the parks is the hand washing stations! These were first put in place before the closures to encourage guests to wash their hands more frequently. But, in recent weeks, they’ve been removed from their former locations.
We’ll admit, we hadn’t seen quite as many guests using them as before, and there are restrooms everywhere in the Disney World parks, so this is probably something that won’t be too sorely missed. You can still find hand sanitizer stations throughout the parks, especially at entrances and exits of attractions.
Self-Serve Drink Stations
We’ve also started to see the return of self-serve drink machines. To slow the spread of germs, drink machines were manned by Cast Members at quick service restaurants for several months after reopening.
We recently noticed the option to fill up your own cup at some Disney Resorts, but then we spotted this option at a few spots in the parks as well. It’s a little change, but it’s a small step back towards normalcy.
Even Disney World trash cans are starting to go back to normal. Since Disney World reopened, they’ve been propping trash can doors open using zip ties — but not anymore!
Trash can doors in Magic Kingdom have been closed in multiple locations around the park including Adventureland…
…and Fantasyland near Mad Tea Party. And, while some of the trash cans still have the health and safety reminder stickers on the front, some have already been removed.
We spotted more trash cans that have closed lids and no longer have the health reminders at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe…
…and even near some snack carts throughout the park.
Some trash cans do still remain open like this one near Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland, but we’ll likely see more return to their normal closed position soon.
After Hours Events
Disney World recently announced that while Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will not go on in 2021, it will be replaced (at least for this year) by another after hours event — that’s right, after hours events are back in Disney World!
Disney After Hours BOO BASH will offer many of the same features typically seen in an after hours event. The park will close to regular guests at a designated time, at which point the separate ticketed event will begin.
While there are no fireworks or full parades planned for BOO BASH, guests can still dress up in Halloween costumes, collect candy, and experience shortened wait times for their favorite Magic Kingdom attractions. Oh, and the Cadaver Dans will perform, along with spooky character cavalcades!
Festival of the Lion King
And, we’ve finally begun to see entertainment return to the parks with the Festival of the Lion King reopening in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the show hasn’t exactly returned to “normal” just yet, it’s pretty close!
The modified show is temporarily called A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King because some elements, like the tumble monkeys and audience participation, have been removed for now.
There are also some additional safety precautions like distanced seating for guests and a few changes to the choreography to allow for distancing between performers — but, the music and performance are just as good as we remember. And, now that one live entertainment show has returned to Disney World, we may see more reopen soon.
Live shows aren’t the only form of entertainment returning to the parks though — fireworks are back too! Beginning July 1st, Happily Ever After will light up the nighttime sky at Magic Kingdom every night at 9:15PM…
Now, there may be a few changes to the EPCOT show that was implemented after Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was discontinued. With the five new barges in World Showcase Lagoon set up for Disney’s new show Harmonious, some elements of the show may be missing, including the iconic illuminated kites.
For now, Disney has not shared any information on when Harmonious will officially debut in EPCOT or when (or if) other fireworks shows, like Fantasmic! in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, will return. But, it sure is exciting to see some fireworks back in Disney World!
Well, those are 8 things we’ve noticed in Walt Disney World that have begun to go back to normal. We’ll make sure to keep you updated as more things return to the way they were pre-COVID, so stay tuned to AllEars for all the latest Disney World news!
Have you been to Disney World since the reopening? Let us know!