One of ‘s most beloved and popular options is finally making its long-awaited comeback following its disappearance when the parks closed in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The decision by Disney executives to close every Disney Park across the globe was an unprecedented one and one that left fans with an uneasiness as they realized that most of them were, for the first time, living in a world in which not a single Disney Park was in operation. It was eerie.
When The first announced the closures of its theme parks, the general understanding and hope was that operations would resume approximately two weeks later.
BREAKING: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure will close from the morning of March 14 through the end of the month, spokesperson says. https://t.co/vGdxaQyuwa pic.twitter.com/wRk8cppvX1
— ABC News (@ABC) March 12, 2020
, though and followed suit on March 15, 2020 like at and near the entrance of , for example, remained open until March 16. ended normal operations after the park’s closure on March 13, 2020, and
No one could have imagined that the closure of would last for almost four consecutive months. And shock set in when fans realized that in California wouldn’t welcome Guests back for more than 13 months.
When news of , fans were overjoyed. But what would a pandemic ‘s reopening was released experience be like? The was quick to let us know: it would be very different indeed.
The reopening of the parks took place in phases. In the beginning days, the parks were, in a word, empty.
When and reopened on July 11, 2020, it was to very small crowds of Guests who were first temperature checked before entering.
Masks had to be worn at all times, whether Guests were inside or outside in the parks. EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studio opened to Guests on July 15, and the crowds remained small–and in some instances, almost non-existent. Social distancing was strictly enforced, and hand-washing stations dotted the thoroughfares throughout the parks.
Complete compliance was mandatory.
But many of ‘s most cherished and beloved experiences did not open when the gates to the four theme parks opened. When it came to , was like a completely different place.
the took on a whole new look and feel, and the changes were incredibly noticeable. Guests who chose to sit down to a meal at one of the open table-service were reminded of the ensuing pandemic everywhere they looked. On the tables, there were no menus–only a QR code for Guests to scan with their smartphones that would take them to an online version of the establishment’s menu. at
But not all whatsoever, although it was possible to catch a glimpse of a favorite as he or she passed by the table. were reopened. Multiple venues simply remained closed and unstaffed in the first phases of the reopening. There was no
Guests could take photos, but masks had to be worn, and there were simply no hugs allowed between Guests and friends. At EPCOT’s , Chip ‘n’ Dale stopped briefly for photos at Guests’ tables, but behind the half-walls in the restaurant. Just outside Garden Grill and down the escalator, the dining area for Sunshine Seasons was so empty, Guests had their pick of almost any table.
Disney’s in the Norway pavilion at EPCOT was used as a “relaxation station” temporarily at the beginning of the park’s reopening, meaning there were no awaiting their turns to greet Guests and lead the parade around the restaurant.
And perhaps one of the most-missed experiences of all at the newly-reopening . was the -style way of serving , lunch, or . Though Guests could still enjoy a for , it wasn’t from the
The was unavailable as the restaurant remain closed. Resort & Spa and “Supercalifragilistic ” hosted by , the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie-the-Pooh at 1900 inside the
But even inside operating inside the Germany pavilion at EPCOT–known for its plentiful of delicious German food–resorted to a different way of doing things, like serving . Instead of walking up to an overflowing of too many choices in German options, copious dishes of heaping helpings of schnitzel, sauerkraut, cold salads, and Black Forest cake were delivered to Guests’ tables in no short supply. like
Yes, the beloved had become a thing of the past. Until now!
While , and the at have returned to a . And soon, Hollywood and Vine at will follow suit. serving had become a way of life at , there is now more of a shift back to buffet-style . Currently, at Disney’s Resort, Boma at
There are, however, some locations that offered Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Trail’s End at the Campsites at Disney’s Resort. options before the pandemic closures continue to serve meals. These include ’s at , at ,
Guests planning a visit to the who want to experience unique options can visit ‘s official website for the most up-to-date information about locations and options.