As we all know, Covid-19 has taken quite a toll on most businesses across the world. This resulted in almost every form of entertainment such as theme parks closing for the safety of guests and its workers. Everyone patiently waited for months on end to find out what the outcome would be from all of this, and finally, three and a half months later, the theme parks in Florida opened once again.
But what sort of changes were made in an effort to keep up with the safety measures needed during this pandemic?
I recently visited Galaxy’s Edge to check everything out, and while it still feels like you are visiting a Galaxy Far Far Away, there certainly have been some big changes initiated.
The main thing for all parks is the mask requirement. While it may seem difficult to have to wear a mask, Disney has placed “mask relief stations” throughout their parks, one being in Galaxy’s Edge itself. Extreme Social Distancing is key to these relief stations to be sure the area is safe and secure for every guest. Each party is strategically placed at a designated spot about ten feet from one another, easily marked with umbrellas and large green dots on the ground. This gives every party the chance to take a breather after wandering around the hot, humid planet for a couple hours. It’s also a lot of fun to find different masks and figure out looks that match your Disney-going outfit, whether it is a full-on Disneybound or just a simple T-Shirt to show off a favorite character. I purchased a mask recently that is based off of Kylo Ren’s mask in The Rise of Skywalker, and I most certainly will be wearing it on my next trip to Batuu!
The queues for the attractions have changed as well. While the entertainment and look of the queues remain the same, they have issued designated stripes on the ground for each party to stand on in order to keep the six-feet-apart rule effective.
Inside of the queue for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, you will no longer listen to the full pre-show monologue given by Hondo – rather you simply keep walking once the line moves forward. This is to keep the flow of the queues moving fluently. Inside the Holding area, credentials are no longer handed out. Each party rides in the cockpit alone, so there is no more mixing of parties to create a full crew. This means every party will be able to choose who gets what role for their flight!
Yes! That also means if you are a single rider, you will have the entire cockpit to yourself!
The most anticipated attraction Rise of the Resistance has a different process. The attraction will still be using the “boarding pass” process; however, Disney has added more possible times to book a boarding pass. Check the app throughout the day for the next available times! As of right now, they are issuing boarding passes when the park opens, at 1PM, and 4PM, but anything could change as Disney is still clearly figuring things out for this ride. Just remember, even if you manage to snag a boarding pass, it does not guarantee you a spot on the ride!
When it comes to the queue for this ride, everything seems to be the same except for the social distancing markings left on the ground for each party to use as reference for their standing spot while waiting in line.
All indoor and outdoor food options in Galaxy’s Edge are currently mobile orders only. That means you will need to be prepared for a small wait time outside of the restaurant. You will set up a time you wish to eat out of the available slots it gives you. Once that time comes, the app will ask you to tell it when you have arrived, and they will begin preparing your order. Docking Bay 7 has initiated social distancing within their indoor seating to be sure every party sticks to the recommended safety guidelines. This process is the same for both the Ronto Wraps and the Milk Stand as well.
The merchandise shops had a mixture of being closed and/or open. Of course, if the shop got too full, they would have a cast member standing outside to manage a line. I went into one of the shops in the mid-afternoon and had no problems getting inside, but it would also depend on how busy the day you visit would be.
Most outdoor merchandise booths were closed. There is no word on when they will open again.
Savi’s Workshop only carries the Legacy Sabers to sell right now, so they will not be doing the Lightsaber Experience until further notice.
The cantina was open when I visited, despite rumors floating around. Once again, this could be something that changes as time goes on. As of right now, everything seemed to be the same beyond social distancing between the searing. It did not appear anyone was standing at the bar, though, so capacity is very limited for the cantina.
There was a surprising amount of characters out throughout the park doing small little parade-like trips, but I noticed in Galaxy’s Edge, the characters felt a little more natural. Instead of wandering across a set parade route, each character had a designated “socially distanced” spot they would be seen. Kylo Ren and his Stormtroopers could be found on the stage just in front of his shuttle. Rey, Vi, Chewbacca were seen across from the Droid Depot where they have some speeders sitting out. Occasionally Stormtroopers would wander over that way as well.
The best thing about the characters being there was how interactive they were. It still felt like a special meet-and-greet even without them standing right next to you. I had a one-on-one conversation with Rey while she was overlooking the planet’s outpost.
All in all, it still feels like Batuu. There are multiple changes that were made, but Disney did an excellent job in keeping that immersive feeling throughout the land, even with this pandemic on our hands. I left Batuu completely satisfied that day after missing it for four months straight. Things will be constantly changing as Disney adjusts to these changes, but everything is satisfying and still has that fun-feeling to it.