Magic Kingdom reopened to adoring fans on July 11 of this year. It was music to our ears—there’s just something about knowing the parks aren’t in operation that makes our skin crawl and our hearts sad. With the phased reopening, however, come several changes—each one brought about to protect the health and safety of Guests and Cast Members alike—that lend themselves to a “new normal” at Disney World. If you’re headed to Magic Kingdom soon, here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind before going and once you get there.
10. Masks are magically mandatory.
Ok, so maybe masks aren’t magical—especially when it’s 95 degrees in Central Florida and you’re spending most of the day outside. But then again, if masks lend themselves in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus, maybe they are magical. If you’re visiting Magic Kingdom, know that guidelines at Disney World state that face coverings must be worn by anyone on Disney World property who is two years old and older. The coverings cannot be neck gaiters, bandanas, etc., and must be secured to the face by ear loops or ties and fit securely under the chin. The only exception is for Guests who are actively eating or drinking while stationary and following social distancing guidelines. Hey, if it takes a mask to get into Magic Kingdom, that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
9. You’ll need a reservation.
Before you can walk into Magic Kingdom, you’ll have to scan your MagicBand or ticket and have valid admission for the date you hope to visit. You’ll also need to have a reservation for Magic Kingdom specifically for the date you intend to visit. You can make a reservation through Disney’s new Park Pass Reservation system. Access it from Disney World’s official website or in the My Disney Experience app.
8. Ferry or monorail—it’s your choice—but it looks a little different.
Whether you choose to take the ferry or monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Magic Kingdom, know that both are available, but physical distancing is mandatory. Aboard the ferry, you’ll be instructed to stand on certain spots marked by large round stickers on the floor, and if you choose to ride the monorail, only one party will be permitted on each bench inside the monorail.
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7. Some experiences aren’t currently available.
By definition, part of a “phased reopening” involves the closure or limited operation of some experiences. If you come to Magic Kingdom solely for the Festival of Fantasy parade, the PeopleMover and for the character breakfast at the Crystal Palace restaurant, you’ll want to know ahead of time that none of these is currently available to Guests at this time. A few other experiences and attractions are unavailable or are taking place in different ways. For example, the Move It, Shake It, MousekeDance It parade still takes place during the day, but you’ll have to enjoy it while physically distanced from other Guests and Cast Members.
6. Be Our Guest Restaurant is open, but with a few modifications.
Be Our Guest Restaurant is open to Guests for lunch and dinner at this time, but if you have plans to visit, keep a few things in mind. First, the restaurant is not operating as a quick-service venue right now. Reservations are recommended, but instead of being able to secure them 180 days in advance, you can only book your dining reservation 60 days in advance during this new normal. Beast is taking quarantining to heart as well. He is usually only available to meet Guests after dinner, but right now, he’s playing it safe and staying in his own quarters until the pandemic is but a distant memory.
5. More dining differences: mobile orders are the way to access quick-service food.
All quick-service restaurants and food venues at Magic Kingdom, such as Cosmic Ray’s, Aloha Isle, Pecos Bill’s, etc., require you to place a mobile order and wait for your order to be ready for pick-up before you can enter the restaurant. You can only place a mobile food order via the My Disney Experience app, so download it before you head into the parks.
4. Meeting Mickey and Tink will have to wait.
If a usual part of your visit to Magic Kingdom includes stopping in at Town Square to meet Mickey or Tinkerbell, you’ll want to know they, like Beast, aren’t visiting Guests at this time. But pay attention—you never know when characters might pop up in mini-parades or cavalcades in the park!
3. No Happily Ever After either.
Well, that’s not too magical, but neither is COVID, so for now, the nighttime spectacular is in hibernation.
2. More changes to park hours are coming.
When Magic Kingdom opened in July, operating hours were from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. But beginning in September, hours will change, and the park will close in the evening at 6:00 p.m.
1. Wait times? What wait times?
If there’s anything positive about the effect the pandemic is having on the parks, it’s that even without the FastPass system operating, chances are you’ll get to experience most every attraction you want to experience. That’s because since operating capacities are lower right now, walking on to attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight and Pirates of the Caribbean are not only possibilities—they are the norm on some days. Heck, you can even jump into a swaying mine cart and say hello to the Seven Dwarfs without waiting too long. Step into the queue, watch a few TikToks and you’re there!