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We have been in Florida for four weeks, and recently traveled to Orlando from Naples in Southwest Florida. Normally our Orlando trips are family and theme parked packed, and although we are doing Island H2O Live later this week, and Legoland Florida Water park later this summer, on our recent visit Walt Disney World theme parks were still closed. So yesterday afternoon the kids and I headed over to Disney Springs for some lunch and shopping. It was an interesting experience, and I am excited to share a little bit about our day with you.
Disney Springs Reopening
Since we traveled to Orlando the week of fourth of July, visiting Disney parks are not even an option. They are closed until July 11, and even then, we would not have been on the short list of folks to book a Park Pass (what the new Disney Park reservation system is called).
Since I follow a crazy amount of Disney bloggers on social media, I had seen posts of folks’ visits and had a general idea of what to expect. I felt confident this would be a fun and safe activity, and a chance to get some Disney Magic while here in Orlando.
Overall, we had a great trip, although we visited on what was one of the hottest (and most humid) days I have experienced since arriving in Florida almost a month ago.
By the end of our three hour afternoon visit, we were all tired and cranky from the heat but we are definitely glad we went!
What to Expect at the Reopening of Disney Springs
Before you visit Disney Springs, or consider visiting a Walt Disney World park amid the recent pandemic here are some things you need to know to plan your visit and be safe. As always, be sure to consult your doctor and/or local authorities to determine if it is safe for you to travel to a theme park like Walt Disney World.
What was Good at the Reopening of Disney Springs
- Tons of signs and reminders regarding social distancing.
- Masks are required at all times, both indoor and outdoor. This is for guests two and older. The only exception is when sitting at a dining table or while eating or drinking. Masks must cover your mouth and nose.
- Plenty of clearly marked places on the floor when standing in lines. Obvious reminders to keep social distancing.
- Temperature checks upon arrival. If you or someone in your party has a temperature of over 100.4 degrees, you will be denied entrance. Temperatures are done with temporal thermometers.
- Hand sanitizer stations are EVERYWHERE.
- On the date of our visit (Tuesday, June 30 from about 12-3pm) there were VERY low crowds.
- Lots of cast members were available to open doors for you and guide you where to go, as well as enforcing the mask rule.
- Retail shops had one entrance available to help control crowds.
- Free parking in the orange or lime garage. DOWN-LOW DISNEY TIP: You can park at DS and take the resort shuttles to the resorts… we did see a few busses operating and at this time (early July) resorts are open for DVC guests only.
- We loved getting to shop for great Disney merchandise. We spent A LOT of time in World of Disney shopping for cool finds. We also spent time in the LEGO store because baby girl is obsessed with LEGO.
- Enjoying your favorite Disney park snacks, despite the parks being closed. Initially I had a lunch reservation at TREX because I have never been and thought it would be fun for the kids. They do love Rainforest Café in Atlantic City! But, after realizing this would be indoor dining, I cancelled it. I also found this article, which made me NOT want to eat at TREX. The only other advance reservation options were for House of Blues, Wine Bar George or Frontera Cucina, so we went with the intention to snack our way through lunch, which the kids did not mind! I ended up getting us some Mickey popcorn (kids are obsessed with Disney popcorn after our February Disney Cruise), a frozen lemonade, a Mickey pretzel and some giant nachos from the 4R Cantina Food Truck to all share. There were plenty of outdoor tables available outside the back exit to World of Disney, and this was the only time we could take our masks off. We enjoyed our favorite park snacks, although we ate too much we did not leave room for churros and dole whips (which were available over by the co-op Marketplace) so clearly, we need to go back!
What I did not like about the Reopening of Disney Springs
- Masks are required outdoors and it was VERY HOT on the day of our visit. I was really struggling with the heat to be honest. Since we did not sit to dine indoors, there was very little relief from the mask. We always wear masks indoors, but this was hard. Definitely something to seriously consider if you have any park days planned this year (especially in the summer).
- Most table service restaurants are open for dinner only.
- About every third food cart/quick service location was closed.
- Hot air balloon rides were not running yesterday (even though I had read they would be). Although not sure if this was due to the pandemic, low crowds, or weather conditions.
Where to buy Disney Masks at Disney Springs
As soon as you enter Disney Springs, there are signs advertising their 4 for $20 masks for sale. However, the buying process was a little confusing!
Despite there being a sign advertising the masks outside of World of Disney, and considering WOD has EVERY ITEM OF DISNEY MERCH KNOWN TO MAN they are not actually for sale at World of Disney.
Instead, head over to co-op Marketplace and get in the queue at the Photo Pass store. Here you can pick out your masks. They come in size Small, Medium and Large. For reference, I bought a Large for myself and hubby, and Medium for the kids. I had heard from Emily at Journey of Parenthood that the Small sized masks were really small, so this would be for your preschooler I suspect.
After you pick out your masks (limit four per guest) you are ushered into the co-op marketplace to pay for them. I got a Disney Princess one, baby girl got Mickey (and was so disappointed the Minnie one she wanted was sold out), and little man got a Stitch mask. Since it seems like we will be wearing masks for a while going forward, figured why not have cute Disney ones!
Can’t get to the parks? Order the cutest Disney masks here.
Otherwise, we just walked around, and were so tired when we arrived back home. The heat and all the walking definitely wiped us out! But the kids were excited about their new Disney stuff (t-shirts for little man and a Disney baby plush for baby girl) and it was overall a great dip into some Disney fun.
Have you been to Disney Springs since the re-opening? Are you planning to head to Walt Disney World once it reopens?
As always, reach out for all your magical vacation planning needs. As of July 11, two parks are open and 2020 reservations as well. I’ve stayed in three hotels during this pandemic and update, spent two days at Walt Disney World and got to experience Breakfast ala Art with Mickey and Friends at Topolino’s Terrace in August 2020! I do all the work, you have all the fun, and my services are completely free!
Planning a Disney trip is tough. Which resort? Ticket type? Park Passes? Touring Plan? Of course, there is your budget to consider as well!
For those reasons, it’s always best to work with a travel professional to help plan a WDW vacation. I help you with EVERYTHING, And the best part? My services are free! That’s right, you pay the same price whether you book through me or directly through Disney.