In its first step towards resuming operations, CityWalk at Universal Orlando began a phased reopening on May 14th.
Our team was on-site to check out the reopening of CityWalk on May 14th; and with Disney Springs scheduled to begin its own phased reopening on May 20th, we want to share our most important takeaways from our experience to help you prepare! Here are some things we learned at CityWalk that we need you to know before you visit Disney Springs!
Security is Serious About Enforcing the Mask Policy
The reopenings of both CityWalk and Disney Springs include additional health and safety measures. As part of these new safety policies, both locations require face coverings for all guests aged three and older. And we confirmed with a CityWalk employee that they are absolutely serious about enforcing this policy — no one (aged three and older) is slipping by without a mask!
CityWalk security informed us that guests with a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering will be directed to Guest Services to discuss reasonable accommodations. But our major take away was this — if you’re wondering whether this policy is a little lax, the answer is a hard NO! And we assume that masks will be taken just as seriously at Disney Springs as well. So make 100% sure you have your mask before you head to Disney Springs!
The Temperature Checks are Quick and Easy
Both CityWalk and Disney Springs also require guests to have their temperature screened before they will be allowed to enter. This is a process that many people (us included!) were curious to see in action. At CityWalk, the temperature check was super quick and easy!
Security used touchless forehead thermometers for the scan, and it only took a matter of seconds to complete the process per guest. As long as Disney Springs uses a system similar to what we’ve seen at CityWalk or Shanghai Disneyland, we don’t foresee any serious time delays with this measure.
Walking Around in a Mask Takes Some Getting Used To
This is something that caught our team a little off-guard at CityWalk — if you’re not used to wearing a mask, it might take a while to build up your stamina! We found ourselves out of breath a few times when walking between shops and restaurants.
If you have time before your trip, practice walking around in your mask to get used to the sensation of breathing while wearing one for extended periods of time. And regardless, be sure to take your time making your way around Disney Springs so you don’t lose your breath!
Hand Sanitizer is Everywhere…
We spotted a ton of hand sanitizer stations during our time at CityWalk. They were placed at the entrances and exits of stores, restaurants, and throughout CityWalk. Plus, there was plenty of hand sanitizer being sold in the Universal Studios Store.
We anticipate that Disney Springs will have lots of hand sanitizing stations as well — especially since they had started popping up around Disney property before the shutdown.
…But You May Still Be Glad To Have Your Own!
Here’s a little tip we picked up at CityWalk — even if there are plenty of hand sanitizing stations available, still bring your own bottle! While table-service restaurants had stations to sanitize before you are seated, if guests feel more comfortable re-sanitizing before eating, it might be a good idea to pack your own bottle.
So, even though sanitizer will probably be offered throughout Disney Springs, if you have concerns you should still bring your own supply as a backup when sanitizer isn’t handy.
The Restaurant Waits Were Long, So Get a Dining Reservation if They’re Available!
We saw some really long waits on the first day CityWalk reopened — there was a 2.5 hour wait for a table at Margaritaville! With limited capacity at the dining locations, seating can fill up pretty quickly. So we definitely suggest that you grab a dining reservation if they’re available at the restaurant you’d like to try!
Capacity Was Being Managed at Stores and Restaurants
CityWalk had employees posted at the entrance of stores to manage capacity and restaurants had limited seating. Disney Springs will take similar precautions to allow for physical distancing, so prepare for the possibilities of long lines to enter Disney Springs locations — especially if you’re on a time crunch!
It’s also important to prioritize your must-dos. If you’re used to packing your Disney Springs day full of snacks and shopping trips, you’ll probably have to cut a few things out of your plans given the limited capacity. So pick the most important thing on your to-do list and head there first!
Distancing is a Thing EVERYWHERE!
At CityWalk, there were markers in stores, restaurants, security, etc. to show proper physical distancing. The visual aids were helpful since it can be difficult to retrain our brains to keep such a wide space between ourselves and others!
Prepare to maintain physical distancing at Disney Springs as well, and keep an eye out for similar markers that indicate proper spacing!
Touchless Payments Weren’t Required
The locations we visited at CityWalk were still accepting cash payments. At Disney Springs, locations like Wine Bar George are “encouraging” touchless payments but they aren’t required at this time.
If you have a form of touchless payment available, like Apple Pay, you should be able to use it at some locations. If you’re concerned about touching a pen when signing receipts, consider packing your own.
Employees Were Super Helpful
From temperature checks, to servers, to cashiers, the CityWalk employees we encountered were incredibly helpful and on top of the new procedures! And we expect that Disney Springs employees will likely be pretty similar.
We suggest being EXTRA patient and kind during your visit to Disney Springs since everyone is still adjusting to the new processes!
Just know that everyone — both guests and Cast Members — is probably a little nervous and stressed. So do your best to stay calm and be kind!
Overall, we thought the reopening of CityWalk was well-run. The new safety procedures were smoothly implemented and employees were helpful and knowledgable — and we learned a few things, too! Remember these tips on your visit to Disney Springs to make your trip less stressful!
Have you visited CityWalk since it reopened? Share your tips in the comments!