Disney Guests Will Be Able to Get Close to Characters Again This Month

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Just when the world could use a hug, Disney steps up to the plate. For the first time in two years (which felt like, perhaps, forever), guests visiting Walt Disney World and Disneyland can cozy up to their favorite characters, including Mickey, Minnie, the Princesses, and the rest of the gang. Disney Parks announced Thursday that traditional character interactions—like, for real—would return “as early as April 18” to both parks. They invite us all to “embrace the magic” once again.

This milestone for Disney comes at an important time, marking the 50th Anniversary celebration at Walt Disney World. “We’ve welcomed back shows such as “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” and “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular,” along with the Disney “Festival of Fantasy” Parade and new experiences like “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade.” This spring, Disneyland will see the return of several beloved nighttime spectaculars, including “World of Color,” “Disneyland Forever,” “Fantasmic!” and “Main Street Electrical Parade,” celebrating its own 50th anniversary,” continued Slater.

Disney

On Disney Cruise Lines, guests can expect the trademark fireworks at sea show and make plans to attend the Broadway-style shows on every ship. Social distancing has been required for nearly all character interactions throughout the pandemic, except on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which opened March 1 after the parks began rolling back Covid-19 protocols. But it seems that those awkward photos of families grouped in a photo near—but not too near—a Disney character may be on their way to being novel memories of the past.

Both parks have been slowly scaling back COVID-related restrictions in recent months, removing indoor mask mandates for vaccinated guests in mid-February and resuming pre-pandemic routines like daily parades. In Florida, Cast Members were sent a memo late November that said “In accordance with Governor DeSantis’ new legislation barring companies from requiring vaccination, Disney World’s vaccine mandate has been lifted,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. However, “We remain confident in the approach we have taken with our mandatory vaccine policy for Florida-based Cast Members and employees, with more than 90% of our active Florida-based Cast members and employees having verified that they are fully vaccinated, and we consider this to be very successful.” Prior to the legislation barring companies from requiring vaccination of their employees, the Walt Disney Company required that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of their sites be fully vaccinated.

“While not all locations will be available immediately, we anticipate reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer,” Disney Live Entertainment Senior Communications Manager Shawn Slater wrote in an official Disney blog post. “This exciting milestone continues the recent, powerful momentum of returning entertainment across the Disney parks and resorts.”

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