ERIC BOWMAN | TravelPulse.Com
Troy Warren for Hometown Hall #travel-all
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Disney World’s water park Blizzard Beach officially welcomed guests back on Sunday, March 7, much to the joy of patrons and cast members.
There are some new rules and safety protocols to keep guests and cast members safe, so it’s important to know what these are before visiting.
TravelPulse spoke with Disney Water Parks General Manager, Mark Dukes, about the reopening.
“Well first let me just say we’re so excited to have everybody back here at Blizzard beach,” Dukes said. “We’ve aligned really well with what we’re doing in the theme parks and in the resorts as far as safety protocols but there are some nuances because of the water. What I would suggest that anybody who’s interested in understanding those before they come is that they go to Disney’s website, look at Blizzard Beach water parks and look at the know before you go.”
Blizzard Beach is following health and safety guidelines from the CDC and using what they’ve learned from the World Water Park Association (WWA) in addition to their own safety team according to Dukes.
Some of the protocols include wearing a mask when entering and exiting the park, wearing one when purchasing any food or beverage item, when shopping for merchandise or whenever visiting the restroom/locker areas.
Face masks are not required on any of the water rides and attractions. However, social distancing must be maintained throughout the park. Thankfully there are helpful distance markers in place to let guests know where they should stand.
As for high touch point areas, Dukes said their team has it covered so guests can feel at ease.
“We’re doing the same processes that we’re doing across Walt Disney World and following the CDC guidelines on that so there should be no concern around high touch areas,” Dukes said. “Just feel safe when you come here. You always felt safe when you were here before because we’ve got a world-class group of lifeguards. You’re going to feel safe when you come here again.”
The park is operating at a limited capacity, so social distancing is easy – especially on days like today when it felt like you had the whole park to yourself.
Lounge chairs are placed so guests can maintain social distancing even while they’re relaxing. And of course, cabanas are available to rent for added privacy for your entire party.
For those in need of a meal or a beverage to cool off from the hot sun while at the park, mobile ordering is the way to go. Simply order your food on your phone and you’ll receive a notification once the food is ready to be picked up. If you’re in that private cabana, you’ll have an attendant to cater to your needs all day and they can bring your food so you can just relax.
So, whether you’re ready to brave the incredibly tall Summit Plummet, or the whole family is coming along and ready to ride Teamboat Springs or coast across Cross Country Creek, one of the longest lazy rivers in the United States, you can feel at ease thanks to the health and safety protocols in place.
When asked what his message is to travelers and travel advisors, Dukes kept it simple.
“Well, I’d say come on down. You’re going to have an amazing time. We always keep the water heated. It’s always between 78 and 82 every single day and we’ve limited our attendance to about a third of what we would typically do for our in-park attendance, so you are going to have an absolutely fantastic experience.”
The park is bound to have more guests than it did on its first day back in operation, especially as the weather heats up like it does every spring and summer in Florida.
However, it’s well spread out enough to be socially distant when not wearing a mask. Plus, the limited capacity means there won’t be crazy long lines. We trust the Disney cast members to stay diligent and on top of these new protocols, just as they have in all the other parks that have reopened.
Our faith and trust in Disney cast members grew even larger today after witnessing how quickly they handled an upset guest.
This woman began screaming and cursing because she and her friend were denied entry to the restroom without a mask one. They were soaking wet, clearly having just finished a water slide, and they were mad they had to go get a mask on to use the bathroom.
Just when we thought things might get out of control, as this woman’s voice grew louder, a Disney cast member stepped in and handed them brand new masks to use.
Both women were overjoyed and said he saved the day for them. It was the Disney magic at work.
Dukes said he is hopeful but stated he doesn’t have a date just yet on when Typhoon Lagoon, Disney World’s other water park, will reopen.
Whenever it does though, we know that Disney magic will be on hand to deliver a memorable experience for all who attend.