The Magic Kingdom is open once again, and we know you can’t wait to go. After all, we’ve been without this wonderful place for several months now, and we all need a little Disney magic in our lives. That said, there are things you need to know before you head back into Magic Kingdom. Many changes have been made, and things will look and feel a little different. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare practically, mentally, and emotionally so you can have what you need, go in with a plan, and avoid the disappointment that could happen because certain things aren’t available. So without further ado, we give you 10 things you must know before visiting Magic Kingdom.
1. Masks Required
The first item on our list is a big one: Yes, masks are required in Magic Kingdom. This is actually true for all Walt Disney World parks and resorts right now, and it is strictly enforced in all areas.
There are three exceptions to this rule:
- Children under the age of 2 are exempt from wearing a mask, but obviously should be kept away from others. A stroller can help with this.
- Guests do not need to wear a mask while eating or during, but must be stationary while doing so.
- Those who need a break from their mask may visit a Relaxation Station.
2. Mask Relaxation Station Locations
Honestly, wearing a mask all day in Disney World is not as bad as you might think. For those who do need a break from their mask, there are the Relaxation Stations we just mentioned. These stations provide spaced seating, allowing guests to sit far away from another while they remove their masks and take a breather. In the Magic Kingdom there are three Mask Relaxation Stations. They are found in the following locations:
- Tomorrowland Terrace in Tomorrowland
- Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Fantasyland (this is the only indoor station in Magic Kingdom)
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3. New Entry Procedures
Besides masks, there are some changes you’ll notice before ever even entering the park. For instance, each park has established a new set of entry procedures to be conducted at the usual security checkpoints. For those visiting the Magic Kingdom, these new procedures will happen at the Transportation and Ticket Center, at a resort hotel, or just before the park entry point, depending on where you’re coming from. No matter which security checkpoint you go through, you can expect a few things to happen.
- Temperature Check — This is done using an infrared touchless thermometer and takes only a couple of seconds.
- Seamless Security Check — After having your temperature taken, you will be asked to step through a new security scanner while holding your bags.
- Possible Bag Check — Even if you have metal in your bags, you probably won’t set off the scanner. If you do, you will step to the side and allow the security officer to check more thoroughly, though still with very minimal contact.
The whole process is surprisingly smooth and quick, but if you’re concerned, you could always arrive a few minutes earlier to be safe.
4. Cleaning Delays and Distancing on Rides
Rides are being cleaned after every few sets of guests. This, in combination with the social distancing protocols requiring certain rows and seats to be left empty, helps prevent germs spreading from person to person. (Of course, masks must be worn on rides too.) Oddly, these things don’t seem to be causing any kind of huge buildup. In fact, lines have been much shorter than usual.
5. No FastPass, but Short Wait Times
Currently, there are no FastPasses available in Disney World. You might think this would mean being forced to wait in incredibly long lines. The crazy thing is, as we mentioned before, lines haven’t been very long. This is true in Magic Kingdom as well as the other three parks. Popular rides such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Splash Mountain consistently have wait times under 45 minutes, and many people are saying the lines move faster than advertised. We think there are two factors at play here. The first is lower crowds. The pandemic seems to be keeping crowds away, and even if huge swarms of people wanted to visit Magic Kingdom, they wouldn’t be able to because of Disney’s capacity limits. On top of that, the fact that no FastPasses are available means that the standby line can move continuously, something that is almost certainly playing a part in shorter wait times.
6. Some Attractions Still Closed
It is important that people be aware of the fact that a few Magic Kingdom attractions are still closed. All of the attractions that remain closed would be nearly impossible to run while still maintaining special distancing. These include:
- Main Street Vehicles
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak
- Harmony Barber Shop
- Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
7. Parade Replaced, Fireworks Gone
Sadly, there aren’t any parades or fireworks scheduled in the Magic Kingdom—or any of the Disney World parks—at this time. Why? Because these performances draw enormous crowds, something that makes social distancing nearly impossible. Still, this is a sad fact, and one that is sure to disappoint many. While there’s no great way to replace the fireworks shows, Disney has come up with an ingenious way of giving Disney guests a little taste of the traditional parade without drawing those big groups of people: unscheduled cavalcades. These cavalcades run at random throughout the day and feature a series of floats carrying favorite characters along the regular parade route. Because they don’t run at a scheduled time, people don’t gather to watch the cavalcades, and because they happen so often throughout the day, nobody feels the need to crowd around them. The characters in the cavalcades include the following:
- The Royal Princess Processional: Merida & Angus, Rapunzel, Tiana, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Elena, Jasmine, Snow White, Cinderella, and the Fairy Godmother
- Mickey & Friends Cavalcade: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, and parade dancers
- Fantasyland Friends Cavalcade: Gaston, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Mary Poppins, and Tigger
- A Goofy Cavalcade: Goofy, Max, Clarabelle Cow, José Carioca, Panchito, and parade dancers
- Tinker Bell & the Lost Treasure: Tinker Bell
- Main Street Philharmonic
8. Other Modified Character Experiences
In addition to the parade and fireworks, character meet-and-greets have also been called off for the time being. While this does make sense—kids aren’t exactly good at keeping their distance when their favorite princess enters the room—it is still extremely disappointing for some visitors. The cavalcades are once again helpful here, in that they allow guests to see characters and wave and interact from afar. In addition the cavalcades, Disney has also added a few other hands-off character experiences throughout Magic Kingdom:
- Buzz Lightyear and Stitch can be found on the raised stage in Tomorrowland from time to time.
- Chip and Dale occasionally ride a raft down the Rivers of America.
- The Country Bears tend to hang out on the balconies of their theater.
- Jack Sparrow can sometimes be seen from a distance in Adventureland.
- Anastasia and Drizella argue regularly on the back balcony of Cinderella’s castle.
- Eeyore & Rabbit often ride the trolley down Main Street, U.S.A.
9. Changes to Dining
A few tweaks have also been made when it comes to dining. Those eating at a table-service location can check in from their phone, removing the need to talk to a host or hostess. Meanwhile, people dining at quick-service eateries are encouraged (and sometimes even required) to use mobile ordering. The following locations require that guests use mobile ordering:
- Aloha Isle
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
- Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
- Pinocchio Village Haus
In addition to mobile check-in and mobile ordering, you might also notice that menus are a bit more limited at many locations. That said, there are still plenty of options throughout the park, so you shouldn’t have a problem feeding everyone in your group.
10. Shop Floor Markings
As you walk through Magic Kingdom, you’ll notice markings on the ground encouraging people to maintain distance from one another. If you’re a big shopper, you’ll want to pay extra attention to these markings. Bigger shops with multiple entryways (such as the Emporium on Main Street) will have a designated entrance and exit, as well as arrows directing the flow of traffic through the store. This helps avoid congestion in these smaller indoor spaces.