Welcome back to Disney World! Disney Springs began a phased reopening today, May 20th.
We have been taking you around Disney Springs to see the new safety procedures and how they affect guests’ shopping and dining experiences. We’re walking you step-by-step through a post-closure Disney Springs and going over exactly how your visit could look much different than your previous trips.
Entering Disney Springs
To control crowds and provide a more streamlined entry process, Disney Springs is limiting entrances and establishing additional safety procedures for guests.
Hours and Limited Capacity
Disney Springs is currently open from 10AM to 10PM.
However, Disney Springs is limiting the number of people visiting the property, stores, and restaurants. Once the designated parking garages (Lime and Orange) are full, guests are not allowed to park and enter Disney Springs.
That means, even guests with dining reservations at a Disney Springs restaurant will not be allowed in. But, cancellation fees for these reservations will be waived for guests unable to enter due to limited capacity.
All of the surface-level lots are currently closed so guests may self-park (no valet available at this time!) in the Orange and Lime garages. We were told that the Orange garage would be filled first, and we were able to choose our parking spot since there were no Cast Members directing traffic within the garage.
But there were Cast Members inside the garage welcoming back guests! We also spotted distancing markers, warning signs, and hand sanitizer stations throughout the garage.
We arrived early (before Disney Springs officially opened at 10 AM), so we didn’t have any issue finding a parking space. Really…NO trouble.
Now, let’s take a look at actually entering Disney Springs!
Guests are only permitted to enter Disney Springs from the following four locations: Orange garage, Lime garage, the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge, and the rideshare location.
Guests aren’t allowed to enter until they’ve completed a temperature screening.
Masks Are Required
Guests ages three years and older and employees are required to wear masks. These masks must cover your mouth and nose at all times, except when you are seated at a dining table.
Guests are required to bring their own face masks. Let’s say it one more time: no mask = no entry. If you want pack an extra! Better to be prepared than to make it all the way to Disney Springs and realize you can’t go inside because you dropped your mask while getting in your car.
Guests, Cast Members, vendors, and other employees are all required to have their temperatures checked prior to entering Disney Springs.
Temperature check stations are located at the second-floor exits of the Orange and Lime parking garages and the Marketplace Entrance (for guests from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge and rideshare drop-off).
The temperature checks were completed with touchless forehead thermometers. Any guests who test 100.4 degrees or higher will be directed to a tent where they were allowed to cool off and rest for a few moments before attempting one more screening. If they test above the maximum accepted temperature again, their entire party will be required to leave.
The temperature check process only took a few seconds for us once we made it to the front of the line and the friendly employees completing the screenings made us feel at ease!
Open Dining Locations
Disney Springs reopened with select third-party dining locations — you can find a full list of available restaurants here!
Click on each location below to check out our full experience at the reopening!
- 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck
- Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza
- Chicken Guy!
- Earl of Sandwich
- Erin McKenna’s Bakery
- Frontera Cocina
- Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company
- Starbucks Coffee
- STK Orlando
- The Boathouse
- The Polite Pig
- Wine Bar George
- Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill
Before Disney Springs reopened, we were able to make dining reservations through OpenTable and individual restaurants’ websites.
And if you’re planning on eating at a table-service location, we recommend trying for a reservation first — otherwise, you could find yourself with a bit of a wait. When we arrived at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, there was an hour wait for walk-in guests.
Tips For Dining in Reopened Disney Springs
In addition to making a reservation, we picked up a few more dining tips as well. Make sure to keep an eye out for social distancing markers at quick-service dining locations, or anywhere else you might run into a queue.
Certain locations, like Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, only allow one group inside at a time. So be careful to read signs, ask Cast Members if you have questions, and know that each location is operating a little differently.
Also, keep in mind that not all dining locations are reopened yet! We spotted signage for House of Blues and The Smokehouse indicating they’ll be back soon.
Also, you might want to bring a few items along with you for your dining experience. If you’d like to sanitize your hands immediately before you eat, be sure to bring your own bottle of hand sanitizer. And if you’d prefer to use your own pen to sign receipts, don’t forget to pack one!
Eating On The Go With a Mask
If you’re a fan of grab-and-go style eating, you’re in luck! We noticed that the to-go dining experiences were pretty similar to what we’re used to in Disney Springs. We saw tables and chairs placed outside dining locations that wouldn’t usually have their own designated seating. We also didn’t notice any areas where seating had been entirely removed.
On our visit to Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea, we learned that guests are allowed to walk around with their food or drinks in Disney Springs. And while guests are required to wear their masks at all times, they are allowed to lower masks to take a bite or drink — then recover their faces. We put this method to the test with the brand new Welcome Drink from Starbucks!
So, whether you’d prefer to snag a table, or take a stroll while you enjoy your snack or beverage, both options are available!
Open Retail Locations
Disney will start opening some of its Disney-owned locations on May 27th, but the following locations were open on the first day of Disney Springs’ reopening.
- American Threads
- Free People
- Crystal Art by Arribas Bros.
- Pele Soccer
- Pop Gallery
- Ron Jon Surf Shop
- Chapel Hats
- Columbia Sportswear
- Edward Beiner Eyewear
- Happy Hound
- Lucky Brand
- Luxury of Time by Diamonds International
- Royally Yours Arribas Bros
- Savannah Bee Company
- Sosa Family Cigars
- Sugarboo and Co.
- Vera Bradley
Tips For Shopping in Reopened Disney Springs
As with dining locations, retail locations are also operating with reduced capacity. Be sure to keep an eye out for designated entrances and exits, since many locations are keeping them separate.
On a similar note, keep an eye out for those social distancing markers that show proper spacing!
Also, bring a non-cash form of payment, because some stores like Ron Jon Surf Shop are not accepting cash.
It can be difficult to retrain ourselves to abide by these new measures, so try to be mindful on your next visit!
Changes in Stores
In addition to the distancing measures, designated exits and entrances, and some changes in payment methods, we also noticed signs asking guests to limit contact with merchandise.
Plus, we also spotted social distancing markers and signs in front of cash registers like at Ron Jon Surf Shop.
Overall, we weren’t too surprised to see the changes at retail locations, since they closely mirrored the reopened shopping at Universal’s CityWalk, but they can take some getting used to if this is your first experience.
Disney recommends guests use cashless payments such as debit cards, credit cards, and Disney gift cards whenever possible. Contactless payment or cash can be used to purchase gift cards at the Welcome Center and other select retail places throughout Disney Springs.
While we did find several locations that were accepting cash, some places like Ron Jon Surf Shop were not. So, we’d say plan on coming to Disney Springs with a non-cash method of payment just in case. Or, stop by the Welcome Center to buy a gift card if needed!
Additional Cast Members to Enforce New Procedures
Guest Relations Cast Members were stationed throughout Disney Springs to enforce social distancing and answer guests’ questions. Cast Members were each equipped with masks, of course.
One question we asked a Guest Relations Cast Member was: Are there any masks for sale within Disney Springs? And surprisingly, the only place we know of that’s selling masks (so far, at least) is Vera Bradley.
Access to Hand Sanitizer
Plus, we also spotted it for sale at Basin.
We recommend carrying your own personal hand sanitizer so you can clean off whenever you need and don’t have to scramble to try and find a sanitizer station.
While there was somewhat of a crowd when Disney Springs first reopened at 10 AM, the crowds dispersed throughout the day and were noticeably lower by mid-afternoon.
The places where we felt the impact of the crowds the most was at dining locations. We noticed that some table-service locations had a wait for walk-in guests — like we mentioned from Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. This was likely a combination of demand and reduced seating capacity.
And we did notice some long lines at quick-service dining spots too. Check out those people waiting for Chicken Guy!
But again, outside of waits for dining locations, the crowds didn’t feel too heavy at all, especially as we were strolling around.
With Disney Springs being the first U.S. Disney attraction to reopen, Disney was tasked with keeping guests safe while delivering a comfortable, enjoyable environment to dine and shop. Similar to our initial thoughts at the reopening of Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, we were very impressed by Disney’s attention to detail, the friendliness of the staff, and the flow of operations. This new system will take some getting used to for guests and Cast Members alike. However, we are encouraged to see Disney put these new health and safety measures into practice diligently while still maintaining a positive experience for their guests.
What questions do YOU have about Disney Springs’ reopening? Let us know in the comments and we will do our best to get the info to you!
From our friends at www.disneyfoodblog.com
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