Making Magic Happen

Cast Members’ social distancing. This was one of the first days Cast Members were allowed back into the parks.

Walt Disney World

Making+Magic+Happen

Meghan Reyes, Reporter

   Following the spread of COVID-19, the Walt Disney Company has taken many precautions to keep both its Cast Members and guests safe from harm.

   Back in March, Disney sent home upwards of 9,000 Disney College Program participants. The parks sent many non-essential cast members onto furlough shortly after, and then, on March 15, a company-wide shutdown closed the parks for four months.

   Walt DisneyWorld Resort reopened its gates to guests on July 15. But what do cast members think of the precautions that are being taken?

     “The company has done a lot to educate cast on how the virus spreads using informational videos and training,” Brittany Stewart, a front line cast member at Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, says, “We are also cleaning much more frequently, washing our hands each time we rotate to a new position and wearing facial coverings at all times.”

   Before COVID-19, Stewart worked as a merchandise coordinator in the theatre district of Hollywood Studios. She was taken off furlough back in July and has been working as a front line Cast Member ever since returning to work.

   According to Stewart and DisneyGo.com, Disney is making cast and guest safety the utmost priority. Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up). Guests must provide their own face covering and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. They may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.

 

   Cast Members must wash their hands frequently and keep masks on at all times. In order to keep COVID-19 from spreading, they must remain six feet apart from fellow Cast Members and guests. 

   “The cleaning process only affects the efficiency of the attraction and how quickly we can move guests through the lines,”Stewart says.

   Wait times have gone down significantly for attractions. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler Run has a usual wait time of two hours, according to the My Disney Experience application. Since reopening the parks, this attraction’s wait time has gone down to less than thirty minutes. Other attractions such as Alien’s Swirling Saucers and Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, which already have a low wait time, have had little to no wait.

   “Most days are spent reminding guests to wear their face masks and to make sure they are covering their noses. This leads to some guests becoming frustrated with cast members. Other guests are super understanding and thankful that we are back and making magic for them.” Stewart says.

   Even though the parks are back open, guests and cast must give each other grace. During this unprecedented time, patience and empathy are two of the most important things everyone can have.