RE-DISCOVERING DISNEY SPRINGS DURING THE PANDEMIC

I had heard that Disney Springs opened again for business on May 20 during a gradual opening because of the pandemic. I had also heard that Disney had plans in place to keep everyone safe at this time, so “Teen Traveler” (my daughter) and I decided to check it out for ourselves. We decided we would go, but if things were not as safe as we expected, we would leave immediately.

Yesterday, June 19, we arrived at Disney Springs around 11:45 AM. We were surprised to see only one parking garage was open at that time (the orange garage). Later we found out that the other parking garages open at noon. We parked on the second level (the level which provided walking access to Disney Springs without the need for an elevator. We found out only one sky bridge was open at the time, filtering all guests into one point of access with several queues.

We were pleasantly surprised to see signs that said all guest were required to wear masks at Disney Springs (unless eating, drinking or smoking). In addition, temperatures of all guests were taken at an appropriate distance with a non-contact forehead thermometer.

Once inside, we found that all guests, I mean ALL guests, and employees wore masks the entire time we were present for about three hours. The only exception was when people were eating, drinking, and smoking.

Although the carousel was in operation, the mini-train for children was closed during our visit.

We found ample room to move about without violating social distancing protocols. We noted that some stores allowed only a certain amount of people inside at one time as well.

We found that not many people were in Disney Springs when we went, but perhaps there are more people there on the week ends.

It was great not to have too large a crowd so we could actually notice the beautiful containers of flowers, some with flowers to attract butterflies. Normally it is so crowded that we don’t even notice the containers of flowers sprinkled about the shopping areas when walking around the property.

Pots full of pentas and caladiums
a pot full of vincas (periwinkle) which grows well in the hot Florida weather and is drought tolerant

We found out that Disney is selling character masks at the Coop for a little “Disney magic” while guests visit. The line to purchase these masks was very long, however.

Some restaurants were open for table seating, yet others were available for curbside delivery (pick up outside) only. We at Earl of Sandwich, ordered inside for carryout, and ate outside. We were the only ones sitting at the outdoor tables and were pleased that it was very easy to social distance accordingly. Tables were set at an appropriate social distance apart, even if the place had more guests. We were also pleased to see that the self-serve beverage fountain machines were roped off, and only an employee was permitted to fill up the soda cups. In addition, all guests were following the social distancing areas in the line to order the food. I ordered the caprese sandwich, and my daughter ordered the Earl’s Club, which contained turkey, bacon, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and she substituted the sandwich sauce with mayonnaise. She also order or grapes. With drinks, the meal came to only about $23.00, which surprised us for the generously filled sandwiches that tasted delicious and were served hot.

While walking about, we were delighted to see a little “Disney Magic” when we spotted some storm troopers on a roof telling us to “move along”. Perfect for policing the rules during the pandemic!

Just before leaving, we couldn’t help ourselves to a little bit of whimsy, as we put some of our previously worn masks on some of the statues at Disney.

On the way out, we saw a wonderful store called Sugarboo with many things for sale with inspirational quotes, including leather notebooks.

All in all, we felt very safe at Disney Springs in early June during the pandemic, as all guests and employees were taking the protocols very seriously.

Life is good; get out there to live life again……..carpe diem, friends…………..

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