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Seven Strange Things You May See Happen When Disney World Reopens

When Disney World announced their plan to reopen July 11th, they emphasized an increase in the amount of “contactless experiences” for their guests.

Contactless Payment Sign

One of the major areas that will be impacted by this are character meet and greets, which will be temporarily suspended. But what other things could be gone for the time being?

Paper Park Map Use Could Decline

While we may not see those paper park maps vanish completely, we will most likely see them drastically reduced as guests are encouraged instead to use digital park maps on their mobile devices via My Disney Experience.

Animal Kingdom Park Map

We’re already seeing map alternatives emerge at other theme parks. Universal Orlando has installed temporary sandwich board signs that include park maps for Guests to reference.

Signage with a park map included at Universal

At Universal, traditional paper park maps are still available but in limited quantities and at limited locations. Guests can visit Guest Services, or they can pick up maps near the front of the parks. But again, we learned from Universal that theme parks will probably strongly direct guests to use digital maps.

Check out everything we noticed at Universal Orlando, which may offer us hints for what we can expect at Disney World!

Reusable Menus Can Be Hard To Find

Disney has already been promoting contactless menus via QR code at some of their dining locations, including Wine Bar George and Frontera Cocina.

Wine Bar George QR Code for Digital Menus

Many restaurants nationwide are temporarily adopting a paper disposable menu system per CDC recommendations. Seeing how widespread this trend is, it makes total sense that the theme parks would follow suit! We don’t expect to see those viewfinder menus at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort’s World Premiere Food Court any time soon!

Read more about Disney Springs’ contactless menus here!

Free Buttons and Stickers Could Be Less Prevalent

Those free celebration buttons Cast Members hand out are a great complimentary way to let everyone know about your birthday, honeymoon, or any other special occasion you may be celebrating in Disney World! There’s a chance, however, that we could see this lessen temporarily to promote that contactless experience between Cast Members and guests.

Grab your Celebration Button!

There could be some possible workarounds. Buttons and stickers could probably work if a Cast Member hands them out in some sort of sanitized manner. However, these are one of those low hanging fruit that could easily be suspended for the time being to mitigate contact between Cast Members and guests.

Shanghai Disneyland is already making progress in the few weeks since they reopened. Read more here!

Refillable Mug Process Could Change

One of the things that took us by surprise when Disney Springs reopened was the drink fill and refill policies. At counter service locations, guests could not approach drink stations to fill their cups. Instead, an employee was present to fill their cup for them.

Earl of Sandwich

It’s possible we could see the refillable drink stations at the theme parks and resorts mimic the drink stations in Disney Springs. Since Disney seems to be clamping down on refillable drinks, that could mean a temporary suspension of the refillable mugs.

Disney World Refillable Mug

With Disney Dining Plans being canceled from guests’ reservations, it further increases the likelihood that the refillable mugs may also disappear for a while since all Disney Dining Plans include a refillable mug per guest.

Refillable Resort Mugs

Already we’re seeing Starbucks temporarily refuse to refill reusable mugs (though they will still offer you the discounted refill price if you present your reusable cup!). If a guest has a refillable mug at some locations like Wine Bar George, the drink will be served in a disposable cup and the guest can fill their mug themselves.

Read more about how Starbucks is handling refillable mugs in Disney Springs here!

Condiments and Toppings Bars Could Change

The condiments and toppings bars at counter service locations are typically high-touch areas that are often unsupervised by Cast Members until it’s time to replenish a particular food item.

Toppings and Condiments at Cosmic Ray’s

What we may see instead are pre-packaged condiments being distributed that you would need to get from a Cast Member. We’ve seen this in action at multiple quick-service locations in Disney Springs.

Take a look at how dining is different at Disney Springs here!

Old Utensil Dispensers Will Be Replaced With New Models

We’ve already seen a new, more sanitary way of dispensing plastic utensils at The Daily Poutine.

New sanitary utensil dispenser at Daily Poutine

These have slowly started to make an appearance nationwide over the last few months, so we could definitely see these being widely adopted at Disney World’s other counter service locations (we just spotted them last week at reopened Amorette’s Patisserie!).

Fork from the new utensil dispensers

In addition to counter service locations, we could also see this being adopted at the Food & Wine Festival this fall.

Check out these new utensil dispensers here!

Refillable Shampoo & Conditioner Bottles May Change

The final item we may see go away, at least temporarily, are those refillable toiletries at the resorts. These were heavily rolled out at many of the Disney World Resort hotels last year to generally mixed reviews.

Refillable Toiletries

They came about in an effort to go “green” throughout the resort, but these efforts may have been short-lived. It might be too difficult to sanitize the reused bottles between guests, and Cast Members will have to handle them often to refill.

Only time will tell how many of these we actually see return to Disney World when the theme parks reopen in July. Some of these changes we have already spotted in Disney Springs, while we might gain more insight on others when some of the Disney Vacation Club resorts reopen June 22nd. It is almost certain, however, that the theme parks and resorts will look very different than what we remember from before the closures!

Learn more about Disney World’s plans to reopen their theme parks on July 11 and 15 here!

What other items do you think may go away temporarily when the parks reopen? Do you think any of these things will go away forever? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Filed Under: Featured, Walt Disney World, buttons, celebration buttons, counter service dining, dining, Disney World, Disney World reopening, refillable mugs, refillable toiletries, utensils