Over the past week, this has become one of my favorite phrases! “Welcome Home” is Disney’s new “Aloha!” Cast members (and even other guests) are using it to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” and occasionally even “please leave this table so that I can sanitize it.” As I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios during their reopenings, I heard a lot of “welcome home!”
My first priority at the parks was, of course, fashion! I made a beeline for the Emporium on Main Street, USA to see whether there were any new or exclusive ears at the parks.
Because I’m an Annual Passholder, I get a 30% discount on ears at the parks, Downtown Disney in California, or Disney Springs right now! There were no parks-exclusive ears, but the Ink and Paint and 2020 Americana ears were back in stock and new Minnie-with-hat and Jack Skellington Halloween ears have appeared!
I also love to get the scoop on custom ears while I’m at the parks! It’s a little more difficult with social distancing, but I’m learning how to pantomime “I LOVE YOUR EARS” at strangers until they stop 6 feet away from me to chat. My favorite pair at the Magic Kingdom were these light-up Jafar Ears that my line buddy on Big Thunder Mountain was sporting!
FashionEarsta Tip: Wear Ears or HeadgEAR that is big, bright and sparkles in sunlight.
Right now, characters in the parks are all socially distanced but almost all have microphones so that they can interact with guests. Every single face character at Magic Kingdom was able to spot my Cinderella-inspired headgEAR from Sparkle & Sorcery; even Evil Stepsisters Anastasia and Drizella commented on it from all the way up on the castle balcony!
It is so much fun to be able to interact with the characters without waiting in a line or getting close to other guests!
The Stormtroopers and other Cast Members of Batuu in Hollywood Studios were similarly able to recognize my Dark Side ears from Aloha Ears Design and addressed me as Lord Vader or even Darth Jackie. When I rode Rise of the Resistance there was a bit of a technical delay and the members of the Resistance (the fabulously in-character Cast Members) told the other guests that it was because my ears made me look suspiciously like a member of the First Order!
My takeaway: definitely rock your ears at the parks right now, unless you don’t like getting to have conversations with characters and Cast Members!
While characters, including the Princesses, can’t currently do Meet-and-Greets or photographs with guests for everyone’s health and safety, the Cast Members have done an amazing job organizing impromptu opportunities to interact. These include the Character Cavalcades and Royal Princess Processionals, which appear seemingly at random.
These unannounced appearances did a great job at preventing people from crowding around characters or parade routes!
Cast Members did a wonderful job of preventing crowding in attraction lines, too. There are clearly-marked spots to stand and maintain 6 feet of distance from other parties. While Hollywood Studios was more crowded than Magic Kingdom, they still did a great job with markers and sanitizing.
The ride vehicles themselves are also socially-distanced, with at least two rows of seats between your party and other guests. While that makes wait times a bit longer, it feels quite safe and meant that I finally got to pilot the Millennium Falcon!
I think that the best part of the parks right now is the crowds… or lack thereof! Have you ever been able to get a picture in front of the castle or on Main Street, USA with ZERO other people in it?
The only ride in Magic Kingdom that had a wait time over 15 minutes was Splash Mountain, likely because of its impending closing and retheming into a Princess and the Frog attraction!
FashionEarsta tip: If you see that a ride is “Temporarily Closed,” it’s likely just undergoing a thorough cleaning and will reopen soon. I hung around Frontierland so that I could hop onto Splash Mountain right after one of its cleaning cycles and had zero wait time!
I felt very safe going to Walt Disney World and was able to make some wonderful memories! I’ll be back next week for EPCOT’s Taste of Food and Wine Festival, and will make sure that the FashionEarstas are the first to hear about it!
Will you be heading back to Walt Disney World any time soon, FashionEarstas? If you’re waiting, are you planning your ears, masks and outfits? Let me know what you’re most looking forward to in the comments below, or on our Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram pages!
Until then, be safe and keep rocking those ears!
Pixie dust and glamour!
The Fancy Floridian