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Reopening of Magic Kingdom: 10 Things You Must-Know Before Visiting

The world looks so different since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are still facing its challenges, things are slowly starting to reopen and there is a new normal. Walt Disney World closed back in March so they could figure out the safest way to keep the Disney magic going for all of their guests and cast members. The Magic Kingdom is where it all started, and things are quite a bit different there now. Here are ten things to know about the Magic Kingdom since it reopened.

 

 

10. Disney Park Pass Reservations

Since Disney is trying to keep crowds low you are now required to have a Disney Park Pass reservation in order to enter the Magic Kingdom and the other parks. Annual Passholders are allowed to have three reservations at a time, and spots for the Magic Kingdom go quickly. Even if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort it does not guarantee you getting into the park, so make sure to book ahead of time. For the time being there is also no Park Hopper.

9. Social Distancing

One of the best ways we can stop the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. That means staying at least six feet away from other groups. Walt Disney World has you covered. Lines for all attractions, dining, and other areas throughout the park have markers on the ground that show you where to stand. Disney has already done the work for you and measured safe distances. Please make sure to follow these markers for everyone’s safety. 

8. Masks 

This one can be very controversial, but it needs to be talked about because it is now a rule on Walt Disney World property. It is also the law in Orange County, Florida, which is where the Magic Kingdom is located. Face masks are required while on Walt Disney World property, that includes the theme parks. This is for anyone two years old and older, no exceptions. Face coverings must have at least two layers of breathable material with ear loops or ties. Gaiters or masks with valves are not allowed. They must fully cover your nose and mouth and fit securely under your chin. Face coverings must be worn at all times unless you are actively eating or drinking, but if you are you should stay stationary at that time and maintain physical distance. There are many different cute face mask designs that Disney has that you can purchase at the Magic Kingdom. It is a good idea to have a few extras with you since it does get hot in Florida.

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7. New Castle Look

Cinderella Castle is the icon of the Magic Kingdom, and it is the most famous building at Walt Disney World. Recently Disney decided to change it up a little bit and give it a new paint job and other bright touches. Many people don’t like the new look, but it does look better in person than in pictures. Keep an open mind, because it’s a grand makeover. Make sure to snap that classic castle photo while you’re there.

Credit: Disney

6. Character Cavalcades

Seeing Mickey is a must do for many guests when they go to the Magic Kingdom. Since people aren’t supposed to get close to others these days, unfortunately you will not be able to get that classic Mickey autograph, picture, or hug. Since they are trying to not have crowds there is no parade. Instead there are Character Cavalcades at random times throughout the day. You’ll still get to see some of your favorite Disney characters and they can see you, so make sure to wave and have your cameras ready. You’ll see Mickey and other classics, plenty of princesses, and many other favorites. There are also spots throughout the Magic Kingdom where characters might appear. Make sure you look up, because they are often on a balcony.

5. No Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Unfortunately, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is not going to happen in 2020. Many guests look forward to that event, but like many other things this year it is canceled. It wouldn’t be possible to keep people safe without scaling the party way down. You will still be able to see some Halloween decorations throughout the park, and buy some special Halloween merchandise in the gift shops. You can’t wear costumes, and there is no unlimited candy this year.

4. Dining

Dining at Walt Disney World has a new normal as well. There are many restaurants that have not reopened, and those that are open might have limited menus. Make sure if you have any special dietary needs that you check ahead of time to make sure you can still get what you love. Also, Mobile Ordering is now recommended. It is very simple, download the My Disney Experience App on your phone, select your restaurant and window of time for when you plan to arrive. You order and pay all through the app, and once you are there you just simply select “prepare my order” and a few moments later you’re in and ready to enjoy your meal. There is a cast member standing outside to help you with any questions that you may have. You can even use Mobile Ordering to order Dole Whip at Aloha Isle.

3. No Happily Ever After

Fireworks are classic to Walt Disney World, but unfortunately Disney has decided that they could not safely have fireworks shows. That includes Happily Ever After. They are trying to find the safest way to have the parks be open without crowds gathering together. Having a large crowd of people on Main Street, U.S.A. to watch the show would not be safe for anyone. That same crowd would also then head to the exit, all at the same time. For the time being you’re going to have to go on YouTube to watch Happily Ever After and other Disney fireworks shows. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can now watch fireworks on demand in your room.

Credit: Disney

2. Park Closes Early 

When you’re planning your day keep in mind the hours of the theme parks. For the time being the Magic Kingdom opens at 9 AM and closes at 7 PM. After Labor Day it will close even earlier, at 6 PM. It will open at the same time. In the past, theme park hours changed fairly often. It is never a bad idea to check hours a day or two before you head to a park. Disney will adjust hours when necessary.

1. It’s Still Magical

There are a couple of sad points on here, so we’re going to end it on an upbeat note. There is still plenty of magic to be found at the Magic Kingdom. For the most part Wait Times are short. Cast Members are happy to be back, and even friendlier than before. There are characters everywhere! Cinderella Castle looks majestic with the makeover. You can now get pictures that you never thought possible, because the crowds are so low. Things look a bit different at the Magic Kingdom right now, but there is still magic around every corner.

Credit: Disney

About Tricia Kennedy