I knew it was coming. Hell, I called it coming a few weeks ago. That doesn’t mean that I wanted it to be here.
*Editor’s Note: This article was written before the reservation (virtual waiting room) system launched and pretty much failed. So the Cynic probably hates it even more right now.
In case you haven’t heard the news from the Disney Parks Blog, Walt Disney World will be reopening using a reservation system. Basically, this is the Mom’s panel’s wet dream and my hellish nightmare. This makes my inner-Ron Swanson cry, and he’s only cried at the Grand Canyon and Lil Sebastian’s funeral. Why, you may ask, does my inner-mustache shed a tear? Because this is no longer a vacation, this is an exercise in planning and execution with no room for spontaneous fun.
Let’s break this whole thing down, lest there be no stone unturned…
On July 11th, both Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will be opening their gates to guests. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will follow suit on July 15th. Before you even enter the park though, you have to let Disney know you’re coming by reserving a park for the day you’ll be attending. If you’re one of the 17 people who haven’t signed up for My Disney Experience, you now must do so and you must have purchased the tickets ahead of time in order to reserve the park.
This would seem somewhat reasonable to me, except for two things. First, there is no park hopping. None. Zilch. Some of you are all about saving $12 and skipping out on the park hopper option. This doesn’t affect you. For those of us with Disney-ADHD because we’ve been there 50+ times, this is hell. Also, you can’t just make a decision based on how you’re feeling that day. If you have a multi-day ticket, you have to pick each day of your trip. No waking up and hopping on the first bus that shows up.
This isn’t how I like to Disney. I haven’t been confined to one park since….well, the last time I went, but that was because we only wanted to see College Game Day at Magic Kingdom. The rest of the day was spent day drinking at Storm-along Bay until a 7:00 football game. But the last time before that was….shit, it was a month earlier. This isn’t shaping up to be a practical argument yet.
Ok, fine, I’ve done it before, but I hated being confined to one park. I want the option to just go to a park for a meal and fireworks after spending all day at a different park. It’s no secret that I love the Epcot resorts, and would much prefer to spend the morning at Animal Kingdom, then come back to the resort, shower, and grab a bite at World Showcase. Instead, it seems I’ll have to go back to Animal Kingdom for its “beloved” restaurant scene or rely on Beaches & Cream for a decent meal unless I want to hoof it to Disney Springs, where they “check” all the guests who aren’t worthy of park entry.
With a limited number of guests actually being allowed in, I’m a little surprised that it’s not just standard rules apply to those fortunate enough to be allowed in. I get that if you accidentally carry the damn thing with you, they don’t want you grossing up all four parks in a day. However, between limited capacity, social distancing, and face mask requirements as burdens upon guests, and whatever sanitation measures Disney is partaking in, it shouldn’t matter which park a guest is in. If they’re at Disney, they’re at Disney. Containing an outbreak to one park isn’t happening.
The announcement also snuck in a couple other items at the end which I find interesting. First, starting June 28th, you can book vacations for next year. The way I read it though is you have to book the trip like you would for this phase one of reopening. So does this mean that you can theoretically lock-in reservations for Magic Kingdom on the 50th Anniversary? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
The second thing? Disney has finally realized just how useless Magic Bands are. Oh they’re still going to sell them, because they’re now part of the Disney World lexicon. Ultimately, though, you literally will be able to do everything on your phone. When I last graced the presence of the Beach Club, we were able to enter the room with our iPhone. That made it much easier at 1:30 AM after a day of drinking and college football to get room service rather than stumbling around looking for my damn band that I didn’t want to wear in the stadium.
Sadly, while this policy isn’t unexpected, it’s still disappointing. To me, you’re either open or you’re not. Enough of this dipping a toe in the water bullshit. Do a cannonball into the pool of commerce and let freedom ring, or stay closed. If you want to limit capacity, that’s one thing, but don’t half ass the experience. Whole ass that experience and make it worth the effort! Until next time…
-The Disney Cynic
“Sent from my iPad to prevent the transmission of viruses”