Disneyland Paris is back. After a 4 month closure as result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Europe’s No.1 tourist destination began welcoming guests once again earlier this week.
While France is very fortunate to have seen a large decrease in the number of cases the pandemic and potential spread of the virus is still very much real. To help combat this a massive undertaking went underway to ensure Disneyland Paris was safe for both guests visiting and Cast Members who work in the resort day in day out.
For a full list of every measure implemented in the resort check out my Everything you need to know about the Disneyland Paris reopening guide.
This is a truly monumental moment for the resort and The Walt Disney Company as a whole. Never before has Disneyland Paris been faced with such an unprecedented scenario. Being such an unique situation it would be natural to assume teething problems could occur. In reality DLP has excelled in their health and safety measures and feels exponentially safer than just about any public place you can visit right now.
Before even stepping foot near Disney property many will already be aware of one of the new safety measures, that being the limit to park capacity. By bringing the volume of people who can be inside either of the parks right down this has made social distancing completely hassle free and easy to practice. The current omission of parades and nighttime spectaculars also ensure large crowds cannot and will not gather.
Upon acquiring your reservation for the day the next major change is that face masks are mandatory for all guests over the age of 11. From the moment you enter Disneyland Paris through the security gates a mask must be worn or you will be denied entry.
It may seem a little daunting at first having to wear a face mask inside a Disney park but after 4 days in the magic with my disposalable buddies (I opted for surgical masks, myself) I had no issues whatsoever with wearing them. Face masks are entirely comfortable to wear and do not restrict breathing in any way.
Face masks can only be removed when sat down to eat or drink, meaning they must be worn on attractions. Fortunately this isn’t an issue and at no point did I ever feel my mask would fly off, not even on Hyperspace Mountain or Tower of Terror! Guests have been more than compliant on the wearing of face masks, during my stay it was clear that the vast majority have accepted this safety regulation and wore their mask where necessary. In the handful of cases where somebody wasn’t wearing one (or wearing their’s incorrectly) a Cast Member was swift enforce the procedure and remind them about the health and safety of others.
Indeed, Cast Members have been nothing short of perfect ensuring that all the new rules and practices are kept by guests while following the same measures themselves. Another area this was evident in is social distancing. No chances are taken particularly in queue lines where Cast will remind guests not to stand on the new floor markers. These coverings can be found all throughout the resort such as in attraction queues or near shop and restaurant tills. While extremely commonly seen they don’t feel intrusive through the selection of neutral colours.
Switchbacks have also seen a social distance upgrade to the safety of everyone. Temporary queue lines have been set up in areas such as Fantasia Gardens for the morning rush of guests, with each line separated by at least 1 metre when going back on itself. For locations where this simply isn’t possible, like Big Thunder Mountain or Pirates of the Caribbean, plexiglass walls have been installed throughout the queue protecting guests from one another.
Social distancing is not limited to queue lines, not at all. Disney character meet & greets have been completely reinvented for the reopening experiment, specifically known as ‘Selfie Spots’. When meeting a character be that Donald Duck, the Marvel superheroes or even Mickey and pals guests will be kept a physical distance away, be that cordoned off via a rope or with the famous faces standing on a raised platform. Rather than ‘meeting’ the character as before guests are invited to interact and pose for a selfie, all while stood on the green marker at least 1 metre away.
Even the attractions themselves adhere to safe distancing. For smaller ride vehicles this means an entire party will share the one ride vehicle (even if that is a party of 1) whereas larger vehicles have guests spread across an acceptable distance. This may mean rows being skipped on it’s a small world and a two seat gap between parties on Star Tours. Just as all the other practices in place this measure is never scrimped on or bent with Cast Members sticking firm to them.
Before entering any ride vehicle or indeed passing through the entrance of an attraction, shop, restaurant or other key areas in the resort, guests will find hand sanitiser stations for use. Disneyland Paris made a big deal that over 2,000 stations have been installed throughout the resort and now I can see why. In this ever changing world one thing that has been completely adopted into society is the regular use of hand gel and it is absolutely a welcome sight into the parks.
Just as how Cast Members remind guests in their friendly demeanour to continue social distancing and wearing face masks, hand sanitising is actively encouraged and in most areas must be done before entering a store, food location or ride vehicle. And with stations very rarely running out you are never far away from another to clean your hands before or after touching that surface.
Guests hands aren’t the only thing being kept clean in Disneyland Paris. Frequently touched surfaces like hand railings, photo locations and countertops are cleaned on a regular basis to ensure any germs or spread of infection has been eliminated before future guests come along. A superb example of this is the very popular Sword in the Stone photo op in the Castle Courtyard which – along with including hand sanitiser stations by the stairs – receives a deep clean every 10 minutes or so.
From my four days in the resort it has been made very clear that the health and safety of everyone, from guests young and old to Cast Members in every department, is at the forefront of this reopening experience right down to the smallest detail. Even something as trivial and commonplace as shopping has been approached with a limited contact mindset where guests can request a fresh item from the stockroom when making a purchase.
We are currently in a very different, very unprecedented time where many big changes have had to be made to ensure the safety of everyone. While we all try our best to stay safe as the world slowly begins to turn again many may feel apprehensive about visiting a major theme park. As it always has been though Disneyland Paris is so much more than just another theme park.
The work done by the DLP management team, President Natacha Rafalski and each and every Cast Member to bring the resort back into operation has been phenomenal. Disneyland Paris truly is the gold standard of how a public place should return where the safety of guests and staff has not only been taken seriously, but addressed in every possible area.
I have always felt safe when visiting the resort, but with the efforts made during this global pandemic I truly have never felt safer. From the limited capacity and face masks to social distancing and hand gel to all of the little details made to keep guests and Cast Members healthy. The resort is leaps and bounds safer than just about anywhere you will find in your own high street or local supermarket.
If you have a summer holiday already booked for Disneyland Paris and are hesitant, I can categorically say you will be safe going. The resort has stepped up to this mammoth task at hand and provided above and beyond the necessary solutions. The reopening of Disneyland Paris is something truly to be proud of, as a fan and lover of this Parisian resort I have absolutely no qualms or reservations about returning in the future.
Disneyland Paris is by no doubt whatsoever safe for guests to return to, but is the magic still there? Click here to read my second review on the resort’s reopening where I will be asking that very question.