Monday, July 13, 2020

Reopening Reasonably

In Florida over the weekend, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom of Disney World reopened after being closed for months because of COVID-19.  When Disney Cruises resume in September, I don't know what health and safety measures will be enforced, but they might be similar to those at Disney World.  First, let's see what's going on at Disney World.

Disney World's reopening website says that there is increased cleaning taking place around the park, especially in high-traffic areas.  This is definitely going to happen on the DCL ships this fall.  Just think of all of the places that people touch.  Handrails in hallways and on staircases, door handles, elevator buttons, sink handles, and so on.  These areas were already cleaned often, but when cruises resume, they'll likely be cleaned twice as much.  I'd be totally fine with this, and it wouldn't be too different from what happens normally.

The park's reopening website also says that enhancements have been made to increase social distancing.  Signs and markings on the ground have been placed around the park so people can get around while maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others.  Where it's difficult to practice social distancing, barriers have been installed.  These barriers are likely transparent plastic screens.  Also, cast members at the park have been trained to help people maintain distance from others.  Barriers seem unlikely, but signs and floor markings may be installed on the DCL ships.  For example, there may be markings telling people where to stand when waiting in line for the Guest Services desk.  I would be okay with this, although it would be somewhat annoying.  Also, I'm sure the crew will tell people to stay distanced from others.

Disney World's website says that all guests are being encouraged to use cashless payment options, like paying with a phone.  This would be very easy to implement on the DCL ships, since most of the food available is  ̶f̶r̶e̶e̶ included.  Also, for when payment is needed, people can just charge it to their stateroom.  Speaking of payment, consider the shops.  They're filled with many shelves and items, but they are small, and don't allow for social distancing at all times.  A potential solution would be to limit the amount of people in the shops at a time.  Guests could use the DCL Navigator app to book a time to visit the shops.  It's far from ideal, but it does decrease the risk of people spreading sicknesses to others.

Time for a big one:  Face coverings and masks.  At Disney World, all guests over two years old are required to wear them except when swimming or eating.  Sadly, I think this is also going to be required on the DCL ships, at least for the first month or two.  But, here's a question:  Would waiting in the line for the AquaDuck count as swimming?  Or would people have to wear a mask up until they sit in their raft?  It probably counts as swimming, since people could lose their masks in the AquaDuck's tube.  Markings will surely be placed on some of the AquaDuck's seventy stairs at least six feet apart to encourage social distancing.  Wearing a mask on a cruise would be terrible, possibly bad enough to make me write a post about how terrible it would be.  If masks are still required to be worn in January, when my family and I are going on the Fantasy, we're going to cancel our cruise.  It wouldn't be a vacation, it would be an occupation (that's the opposite of vacation according to Google).

Looking back at Disney World's rules, I think I found a loophole in the mask rules.  It says masks must be worn at all times, except for when swimming or eating.  On a Disney cruise, guests are allowed to take food around the ship with them.  So, I could get a large plate of French fries, eat one every three minutes or so while going about my day, and last a few hours without wearing a mask.  It's a genius plan, it's foolproof!  Although, they'd probably get cold after my fourth or fifth fry.  Hey, it's still better than wearing a mask all day.

Back on topic, Disney World is doing temperature screenings.  At some locations around the park, guests are required to have their temperature taken upon entry.  If a guest's temperature is over 100.4° F, then they will be taken to an "additional location" for assistance and rescreening.  I think it's likely that DCL will take guests' temperature upon boarding and disembarking at ports of call.  If a guest's temperature is high on a Disney cruise ship, then they will likely be taken to the Health Center on Deck 1.

Finally, in addition to all of these precautions I've already mentioned, Disney World is limiting the amount of people admitted into the park every day.  DCL probably won't do this, since many people have had their cruises booked for months now and they can't just say, "Sorry, you were chosen to not be allowed on.  Have a magical day!"  Disney could limit the amount of people in a particular place at a time, like the shops, as I discussed earlier.

As you know, Disney World and Disney cruises are very different.  This means that DCL might not enforce all of the precautions that Disney World is taking.  There will likely be even more restrictions on the DCL ships than at Disney World.  We'll find out sometime before cruises resume this September.  I think I'll keep making posts similar to this, covering specific aspects of DCL, like ports of call, theaters, dining, and youth clubs.  Keep your eye out for those!

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