Our Uncle Walt is at Walt Disney World — but no one else is! This is the first installment of Walt’s trip report from inside the (closed) gates.
What is Walt Disney World like during a shutdown? Our own Uncle Walt explores this question in a very special four-part series of What Would Walt Do?
MAGIC KINGDOM, FL — Hi loyal readers, thanks for asking. By now you’ve probably received a communication in the post that states that all Disney parks are shutdown across the globe. The most frequent question we have received during this time is, “What are the parks like during a shutdown?”
I am currently isolating myself at Walt Disney World, as it is the best place to get away from the crowds. It is still a magical land where toilet paper is plenty, the sidewalks are clean, and streets are litter-free!
Today, I venture to the Magic Kingdom. I present to you my un-edited notes from the field:
Un-edited notes from the field (edited)
The music plays and the lights come on as I make my way to the park. I see Cast Members and outside workers doing various tasks. Crowd levels are at record lows.
As I walk around the Magic Kingdom, I check the wait times board. Peter Pan is showing a 75-minute wait.
I attempt to get a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table, but alas, no luck. I should have tried sooner. As I walk through Adventureland, I see a group of guests going into Club 33. I wish it was me. [Ed.: Club 33? In Adventureland? In the Magic Kingdom?]
A camel attempts to spit at me, but I am too quick. Plus the wet spot on the ground is a dead giveaway. I hear silence from the Jungle Cruise, so no real change there. Dole Whips are still available. Everything thus far is a walk-on, as I pass by Pirates and make my way to the streets of Frontierland.
Frontierland and Fantasyland
I see Liver Lips and Big Al. They look at me confused, and I give them a shrug. As I make my way past Haunted Mansion, they are down to 998 happy haunts. I guess the Covid got to one. RIP.
I see a guest proposing to his girlfriend in front of the Rapunzel bathrooms. Oh wait, that was just a squirrel fighting another squirrel for an acorn. These kids and their shaggy haircuts!
I move quickly past it’s a small world; I need to maintain my sanity after all. I see the standby line for Peter Pan is up to 120 minutes. The Cast Members look as confused as I do. At Mickey’s Philharmagic, they are offering a Fastpass good for any attraction, except for Peter Pan, if we will come and watch the show. I decline the unneeded Fastpass, and continue on.
I decide to head toward Tomorrowland. The Teacups are still and silent, and the smell of Voban fills the air.
The Tomorrowland Speedway cars all sit idle, with their engines running. I ponder how much money it takes to keep the cars running when the park is shut down, but who am I to question the Imagineers?
The Peoplemover sits quiet. It went down before the parks closed. I know, because I was on it when it happened.
The silence is soon broken as a Security Officer starts waving and yelling at me. That signals it is time to go. I get one more selfie with the Security Officer as I head down Main Street. It is time to rest up, for tomorrow is EPCOT day!
TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR PART TWO!
Have you ever visited the parks during a shutdown? Let us know in the comments below!