ORLANDO, Fla. — Arthur Lyons is a Disney superfan who relishes taking photographs inside the parks and sharing personal experience with others through social media. The Stuart resident was invited to a special preview day before the public was allowed to step foot back into the parks following temporary closures due to the pandemic.
Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are set to reopen Saturday, July 11, 2020. Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT are scheduled to reopen July 15.
Lyons says he saw many measures in place to keep visitors safe while visiting the parks in the age of coronavirus. There were signs reminding guests to wear masks and practice social distancing. Cleaning measures were enhanced. Temperature checks were conducted at front gates. Lyons says the social social distancing and capacity levels left rides more empty and lines more openly spaced.
“The changes are immediately noticeable, beginning with arriving t the park. Parking procedures have changed. They allow only certain amount of cars into the lot at a time, and then those are parked every other spaces,” he said.
In security checkpoints, instead of putting your bag into a bin that would be opened and looked at by a guard, Lyons says you unload your own items into a disposable bag and show the guard it’s empty, so the employee does not need to physically touch your items.
Large gathering shows like fireworks are canceled, and popular interactions with characters have changed drastically into unannounced appearances.
"The characters make random performances now from a distance. Either on a vehicle or up on an upper level, away from a distance, you can see them. But they’re not up close and personal like they normally are,” he said.
Lyons believes Disney has handled the changes extremely well, and the changes did not entirely detract from the experience. He also knows plenty of enthusiasts who plan to wait to return to parks a while because they are concerned about the coronavirus.
“It is as safe as it can be, but if you have any concerns, it is a good idea to wait. That’s just a piece of advice. It is definitely worth going now if you can bring your patience,” he said.