Today, May 20th, Disney began a partial re-opening of the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex. While it’s not a complete return to business, there are 44 total establishments operating at the Springs – enough that it still felt well worth the visit. Of course, we already know that some of the Disney-owned properties (World of Disney, the Marketplace Co-Op, and D-Luxe Burger) will open on May 27th.
Until further notice, Disney Springs will be open from 10am-10pm daily. Parking is free (just as before), but it is limited to the Orange and Lime garages. No surface parking is allowed. To further restrict traffic, it appears that each garage is only allowing vehicle entry through one of its inbound ramps. At least when I arrived, about 12pm this afternoon, both garages had one entrance completely coned off and inaccessible.
Parking and Temperature Check
Once you park in the garage, the entry process is pretty easy. Each parking area as well as the ride share drop off has their own temperature check station. There are stickers on the floor to mark appropriate social distancing as you approach the tables. Cast members will call you individually and check your forehead with a touchless thermometer. Once you’ve passed the check with a temperature of under 100.4 degrees, you can move ahead and enter Disney Springs!
I did not take any pictures in the temperature check area. When I visited CityWalk last week, I was told that pictures weren’t allowed during these procedures. I didn’t understand why, and I mentioned this in my recap of the experience. A reader kindly informed me that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures due to HIPPA laws. Photography could potentially reveal the identity and private medical information of an unsuspecting person. To respect this, I refrained from taking pictures anywhere close to this area.
As I left the parking garage, I was greeted by a literal line of Disney cast members waiting to welcome incoming guests. First, you had a recreation cast member (with microphone) giving very intense, personalized, loud greetings. As I walked past, he asked if I was going to eat any good food while I was there. He was obviously trying to be friendly, but to be individually addressed by a guy with a microphone while I’m only six feet away was intimidating.
Next, there was an equally intense guest services cast member. Though to be fair, he wasn’t quite as loud as he had to rely on his own set of lungs instead of a volume amplification device. And at the end of the line was a security guard with a dog. I’m not sure what security expected during opening day, but I saw at least three different guards with dogs during my short time walking around the area.
Visiting Disney Springs
At this point, we all know roughly what to expect in a “socially distanced” new normal. Each store entrance was equipped with markings to denote where those waiting for admittance should stand. There were directional arrows in narrow pathways to help control foot traffic and an abundance of helpful signage.
In addition to these expected preventative measures, all trash can flaps were propped open so guests didn’t have to make contact with any surfaces. Disney also added at least one pop-up hand washing station.
I know there’s been a lot of debate about whether or not attractions should be open and what precautions should be taken. However, I should note that I felt completely safe during my time at Disney Springs. I appreciate the extra measures being taken to preserve my health (the requirement of a mask being part of that), and everyone I observed was respectful of the six foot rule. I’m encouraged to see such a beloved attraction beginning to re-open and hope for more good news in the coming days.