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Know Before You Go: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Know Before You Go: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

July 10th was the 2nd and last day of Disney’s Passholder Preview and my friends and I were lucky enough to secure a spot to go to Animal Kingdom. It was such a magical day and it truly made me so happy. Disney has gone above and beyond to ensure its the safest experience possible. I was impressed by Universal, but I definitely think Disney really outdid themselves. I made sure to note of everything I noticed and learned during my visit and I will detail them below.


Cast members were having guests park in every other row so that social distancing can be maintained while exiting the car. When leaving the park, there was a car parked next to mine. I believe once they fill up every other row that they then start filling in the spaces, although I’m not 100%. I will be looking for this again when I go to Magic Kingdom.


The day of security touching through everyone’s bags is gone…for now. Disney has installed a device that looks like a metal detector (but that I believe is some kind of bag scanning device) that you walk through and eliminates that process. Cast members are monitoring the scans and will pull people aside if the scanner goes off.

Entering The Park

The turnstiles were closed during passholder preview. Rather than using the traditional card tap and fingerprint scanner, cast members were scanning your ticket or Magicband. Cast Members are wearing face shields in addition to their face coverings. They are utilizing the turnstiles now that parks are open, but you don’t need to scan your finger.

Relaxation Stations

Relaxation Stations are areas in the park where you can sit down and social distance and remove your face covering. There are two Relaxation Stations that I saw in the park. The first is located at Pizzafari Restaurant in Africa on Discovery Island. The restaurant is currently not running. The second is located at Upcountry Landing in Asia across from “UP! A Great Bird Adventure” show theater.

Facial Coverings

Face Coverings are required everywhere on property except when utilizing the relaxation stations and eating or drinking. Neck gaiters are prohibited.

Covid-19 Signage

There is signage from the moment you start walking towards the entrance and all throughout the park and rides. Signs are also located on trash bins throughout the park as well which is genius considering almost everyone throws at least one thing away throughout the day. When it comes to social distancing signage, they have it throughout all their typically heavily congested areas (ex: ride lines, restaurants.)

Ride Signage

There is signage at every ride directing guests where to stand when waiting.

Mobile Ordering

Cast Members will no longer be taking your order at the fast sit-down restaurants in the park. Signage and cast members are outside the front of the restaurant directing guests to scan the QR code and order through the app. Just an FYI, no discounts are accepted through the mobile app ordering system.

Guests must stay outside until they get the notification that their meal is ready. The guest needs to show the purple screen in the app to the cast member in order to be able to go inside and pick up the food and sit down. The stations for guests to pick up food are all well over 6 feet apart from one another.

Guests aren’t able to sit down prior to getting their food. All tables are 6 feet apart and there are signs on tables saying that guests cannot sit at due to social distancing.

There are also arrows located throughout the restaurant so that they can try and keep it directional and avoid the risk of guests running into one another.


You no longer tap your Magicband to add your ride photos to your MDE app. Now there is a sensor that detects your band and will add the photos to your account. If you don’t have a magicband, no problem! Just go see a cast member and they will be able to help you. There are still photopass photographers to take photos of you!

Live Shows

No shows (ex: Lion King, A Bug’s Life, etc.) were taking place on the day of Passholder Preview and won’t be running for a while.

Line Waits

In the morning we pretty much walked on rides. The longest we waited throughout the day was 15 minutes. Please note that Passholder Preview had less guests than what would be coming after opening, so wait times may be longer. We got to the park at 8:30 am and left around 5:00 pm. In this time we managed to: ride Flight Of Passage 3 times, ride Na’avi River Journey Once, ride Dinosaur 3 times, Expedition Everest twice, the Safari twice and Triceraspin twice! So all in all, we were able to do what you never would have been able to achieve pre-covid.

Fast Passes

At this time, fast passes are not available for rides. However, DAS (Disability Access Service) cards ARE still available for those who have disabilities.

Park Re-Entry

At this time, park hopping is not available. However, you are allowed to enter and exit the park you have a reservation for in the same day as you please. This is perfect for those who prefer to have lunch or dinner off property and save some money.

Line Partitions

As many know, the lines for rides at Disney wrap around so that (pre-covid) they could fit as many people as they could in the room. Now areas where the line wraps around have plexiglass partitions to protect guests on both sides. There are also partitions at the gates you stand at just before you enter the ride. 

As far as the actual rides, there was also partitions in the safari trucks and on the cars in Dinosaur.

Ride Seating Arrangements

Parties were seated in every other row on all rides except the safari since there are partitions in the trucks.

Hand Sanitizer and Hand Washing Stations

Hand Sanitizer is located at the line entrance, right before going on the ride and at the exit of each ride and all throughout the park. There are also hand washing stations throughout the park. One station we utilized was at the end of the safari at the exit.

Character Interactions

You won’t be able to give your favorite character a hug, but you can still say hi to them from afar. In Animal Kingdom, characters are on boats in the water and they are driving around and saying hello. The characters we saw were: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Launchpad McQuack, Timon and Rafiki. Even though I couldn’t hug them, seeing them made me so happy and a little bit emotional lol.

Spots That I Noticed Social Distancing Was Hard

There were a couple of spots where I noticed that social distancing was a bit hard. The last room before you get on Flight of Passage has two red dots where they tell your party to stand. All of the other “lines” had partitions on the railings with the exception of this room. The first time we went to ride for the day there was another couple on the other red dot. I felt like with four of us in our party taking up space, it wasn’t possible to properly social distance from the other couple.

The other spot where it’s hard to social distance is the exit of Flight of Passage. When you leave the ride, you exit down stairs. One of the times when we were exiting, a decent crowd of others were exiting as well. I definitely felt some people were in my bubble as I was trying to leave.

The Cutest Surprise By The Exit

One thing that made my day was the Mickeys that were created with flowers by the exit. It was the sweetest surprise.

In Conclusion

I had the best day at Disney and I’m so happy to be home. Other than the two occurrences I mentioned above, I felt incredibly safe and do intend on going back. My tips I have for those who are considering going are to definitely purchase a fan (this Mickey fan is what I have and I love it) and bring and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. With social distancing in effect, it seemed to me that I was cooler in the lines due to the social distancing, but it is still pretty hot and humid outside. My next visit will be to Magic Kingdom! If there is something you would like me to report on, please let me know in the comments below!

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