As we continue to shelter in place and limit leaving our homes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, we have begun reflecting on how our daily life is going to continue to be different once things begin to return to normal. Frequent hand washing and sanitizing is likely to come commonplace, as well as social distancing when we are standing in lines at retailers. We have heard some whisperings from Disney about how daily life at the parks is likely to be different when they reopen. Bob Iger has suggested guests will be subjected to temperature checks before entering the park along with the standard bag check. However, this is not the only aspect expected to be different. Dining at Disney World is expected to look different. Here is the list of things to expect when dining at Disney at this crisis passes us by:
Change in Capacity
One of the first steps in reopening any of the areas affected by COVID-19 includes re-opening restaurants to sit down customers, but in a new way. To encourage and to allow social distancing, restaurants are being ordered to cut capacity to allow tables to be spread further apart, so guests should expect restaurants to be removing some tables and reducing capacity. This may mean that a restaurant that normally can sit 100 guests at time, may only be operating at half capacity or less. This will certainly mean it will be harder to grab advanced dining reservations and difficult to walk up without reservations and be seated
Cleanliness Upon Entering the Restaurant
If you have ever taken a cruise — Disney or otherwise, you’ll be familiar with this. Restaurants are going to strongly encourage and almost force guests to wash their hands upon entering the restaurant and before sitting down. On cruise ships, guests can use one of the few sinks at the entrance to the restaurant or opt for the more convenient spritz of hand sanitizer. We should always be cleaning our hands before eating and we are confident that this crisis is going to go a long way to changing our long-term habits.
Increased Mobile Ordering
While Disney cannot change the dining habits of guests — we all like eating lunch at lunch time, Disney will use their existing ordering systems to encourage and allow social distancing. We all have probably dealt with a situation of standing in line at Pecos Bill’s or the ABC Commissary trying to get a meal. Ordering through the app eliminates most of the uncomfortable waiting in line. Guests order and pay through the My Disney Experience app and find a table and wait to be summoned that their food is ready. We wouldn’t be surprised if Disney alters the practice for a while where Cast Members bring the trays directly to the table to avoid the number of people congregating near the kitchen and pick-up areas.