Disney Springs During COVID-19: What to Expect When You Visit

Disney Springs (Photo: Photo: VIAVAL/Shutterstock)
Photo: VIAVAL/Shutterstock

While the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your family can still get a Disney fix at Disney Springs. The shopping, dining, and entertainment district opened its doors back up to guests on May 20, with limited options. The phased opening will continue when the Disney-owned establishments like World of Disney and D-Luxe Burger open Wednesday, May 27.

If you’re thinking about a Disney vacation once the parks reopen and you plan to visit Disney Springs, want to stop while on a Florida road trip this summer, or are close by and want to get out of the house for a while, there are some things your family should know. We’ve rounded up the top five things you should expect the next time you go to Disney Springs so you’re not only prepared but can also maximize your time.

Masks and Medical Checks Are Required

As part of Disney Springs’ commitment to guest safety, everyone age three and over that wants to venture inside Disney Springs has to wear a mask and have their temperature checked. The temperature check is located inside the Lime and Orange parking garages and is done with contactless thermometers. 

While wearing a face covering is definitely not the most comfortable thing, especially with the warmer Florida weather, there are some ways to get relief. When your family is sitting on bench or table around Disney Springs, you can take off your mask. There are quite a few little hidden spots for, this including near World of Disney and Amorette’s Patisserie, near the Westside Starbucks, and down by Disney’s Days of Christmas. You can also take your mask off while walking around if you are eating or drinking. This is especially helpful for families who have little kids who might need extra “no-mask breaks.”

Note that there are cast members who are walking around ensuring everyone is wearing a mask, so there’s no need to worry about the masses taking their face covering off once they get past the medical check.

Dining Reservations Are Necessary

If part of your family’s plan includes dining at Disney Springs, you’re going to want to make a dining reservation. Currently, you can only book dining through OpenTable or with the restaurant directly, but starting on June 1 you can book dining through Walt Disney World’s website or the My Disney Experience app

All Disney Springs restaurants are only operating at 50 percent capacity, and for some that means very limited seating. Some of the more popular table service restaurants like Wine Bar George, The Boathouse, and Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill have had waits of over an hour, so that dining reservation is going to be a major key to success at Disney Springs. 

If your kids are in the “I only want chicken strips or burgers” phase then you might want to consider Chicken Guy! or D-Luxe Burger, both of which do not require a dining reservation. Chicken Guy! Is currently open but has consistently long lines out the door and down one of the main corridors of Disney Springs. The line does move quickly and you can either take your lunch to go or grab a table somewhere that’s more secluded. D-Luxe Burger is opening on May 27 and is utilizing mobile order only, meaning you won’t have to stand in line at all. As of this writing, it’s not known if its outdoor patio will be available for seating; but if it is, it’s a great covered spot with tables that are pretty far apart. 

Capacity Is Limited at Disney Springs

Disney Springs is currently operating at a limited capacity, making it super easy for your family to keep a physical distance from other groups. Not though that you might find more people in high-traffic areas like the entrance to parking garages, where the majority of restaurants are clustered together by the lake, and at World of Disney. 

In these spaces, there are signs and floor markers showing where to stand, plus directional arrows on the sidewalk. These have been used effectively by guests and Cast Members to maintain a distance while walking around and waiting to get into stores. 

There’s Extra Emphasis on Cleanliness

Throughout Disney Springs, your family might notice an extra emphasis on cleanliness. There are multiple hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic areas, as well as hand-washing stations near any place that is considered a quick service meal location. 

You might also notice more custodial cast members wiping down tables and door handles. Anywhere that’s considered a high-touch area is consistently cleaned to maintain a safe environment for your family. 

It Still Feels Like Disney

One thing you might be thinking with all of the precautions and regulations is will Disney Springs still feel like Disney? And the answer is yes: Disney Springs still has that Disney magic we know and love. Cast Members were warm and welcoming when we visited; in fact, there’s a new team dedicated to making sure you and your family are having a good time and your kids aren’t scared to be there. Look for them in the yellow and red shirts! 

The familiar music loop is still playing, fountains are still bubbling, Mickey balloons are still being sold, and your favorite places are all still there. It did take a few minutes to get used to everyone wearing a face covering, but once you got used to it, Disney Springs felt the same that it always has. 

Disney Springs’ Phased Reopening: Our Takeaway

FamilyVacationist was at Disney Springs Memorial Day Weekend. We arrived at 4:00 pm for a dining reservation and to enjoy being outside for a while. When we were set to leave around 6:30 pm, there was a noticeable rise in crowds, especially huddled near the fountain at the entrance to the Lime Garage. This could become a problem since it’s a landmark for families to meet back up together, but overall Disney Springs was very empty for a Saturday and we felt safe. We enjoyed dinner at Wine Bar George and left Disney Springs feeling like Disney had every guest’s best interest in mind when visiting.

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Megan duBois
Megan duBois is the Senior Theme Park Editor for FamilyVacationist. She's also a freelance journalist who covers theme parks, cruising, family travel, and wine tourism for outlets like Conde Nast Traveler, Business Insider, Forbes, Travel + Leisure, The Points Guy, and National Geographic. You can reach her via email at megand513 [at] gmail [dot] com.