One Area of Disney World Is Reopening—Here's What You Need to Know
After being shuttered for two months, the House of Mouse is slowly returning to normal.
Hold on to your Mickey ears, Disney has some exciting news! After shutting down all of its theme parks and attractions in mid-March due to COVID-19 precautions, Disney is taking the first steps toward reopening the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The initial soft move comes on May 20 with a phased reopening of the Disney Springs entertainment complex. This is a beacon of hope for Disney lovers, who are eager to kick the summer off on a celebratory note. Here's everything you need to know about the return of Disney Springs.
What is Disney Springs?
If you're not familiar with the name Disney Springs, you may still know the area. It debuted in 1975 as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and in the 1990s, it was transformed into Downtown Disney, a dining and shopping destination known for its adult-oriented nightlife zone called Pleasure Island. In 2015, it was relaunched as Disney Springs and expanded into an entire entertainment district, spanning 120 acres just east of the Walt Disney World Resort.
The massive outdoor complex is divided into four neighborhoods across a 1.2 million-gallon spring. It's a lot to take in: There are 104 stores, 64 dining areas, and 23 entertainment venues, including a Cirque du Soleil tent, AMC Theater, and Splitsville Bowling, plus free musical acts and nightly live performances on stages throughout the Springs.
Though Disney Springs is part of Disney World, it is free to visit, so fans don't have to shell out for park admission to get in. But, Disney World's dining plans are accepted at many of the restaurants.
Which stores and restaurants are reopening?
It's important to point out that not everything at Disney Springs is returning on May 20. On opening day, you'll have 16 dining spots (including two churro carts to satisfy any fried dough cravings) and 28 retail outlets to explore. Two days later, the stunning Pan Asian restaurant, Morimoto Asia, will debut, too.
Then, on May 27, three Disney-owned and -operated stores and venues will unlock their doors, including D-Luxe Burger, the Marketplace Co-Op, and World of Disney, the largest Disney store on earth. Visit the Disney Springs website for a full list of available table-service restaurants, casual dining concepts, and shops.
What are the new safety rules?
Shanghai Disneyland welcomed visitors back on May 11, and Disney Springs will follow in its footsteps by putting similar safety procedures in place. This includes requiring face masks for all cast members, employees, and guests ages 3 and up. (Disney is currently selling its own line of fun masks with famous princesses, superheroes, and characters on them.)
There will be limited admission at four Disney Springs entrances, where tents will be set up for temperature checks. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be turned away as will the other individuals in their party.
Once inside the entertainment district, retail shops will have plexiglass dividers at the registers, and customers will have to swipe their own cards or use contactless payment options like Apple Pay. Disney says cash is not recommended, as studies have found that the coronavirus can survive up to four days on bills. Clear markings on the ground will advise guests on where to stand in line, and in some cases, physical barriers will be built to make sure people are far enough apart.
There will also be more custodian crews cleaning major touch points, such as elevators, handrails, benches, and tables. Hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations will be available around the property as well. And to see what else might change at the House of Mouse the next time you go, check out the 8 Major Ways Disney World Will Look Different After Coronavirus.