Walt Disney made a lot of changes at its theme parks during the covid pandemic.
Many of them were unpopular but necessary. Health checks, masks and social distancing were beyond the company’s control. Moving to only digital ordering at many casual eateries and limiting park attendance were also logical, given the need to keep people safe from the virus.
During the pandemic, however, the company also made some changes at Disney World that people did not like and that had nothing to do with covid. Walt Disney (DIS) – Get Free Report dropped the FastPass system and replaced it with the paid Genie+ and Lightning Lane offerings.
Disney World also added a reservation system during the pandemic to manage crowd levels at its parks, while it also stopped so-called park hopping. Now, the company has largely restored park hopping to the way it worked prepandemic and reservations are needed only in certain situations.
Also during the pandemic Disney World dropped another popular customer convenience. After nearly three years, the company finally restored something that Disney World visitors had missed a lot.
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Epcot has a huge parking lot right in front of the park entrance.
Image source: Daniel Kline/TheStreet
Disney World made careful choices
Disney World has some very large parking lots. On a crowded day at any of its four theme parks, people who don’t arrive early can end up parking very far away from each park’s entrance. It’s possible to walk to the entrance at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot or to the monorail or ferry boats at Magic Kingdom, but the walk can be a long one.
Walking is, of course, a major part of any Disney World visit. Having customers make a long trek before they even enter a park has never made much sense.
During the covid days, however, limited crowds allowed people to park closer to the entrances. That enabled people to walk to the entrances and made parking trams an unnecessary luxury.
Disney removed the trams partly because they weren’t needed and partly because they created a covid risk. In the social distancing days, having people fighting for space to queue up for a ride to the entrance required policing and seemed like a bad idea even when things returned to closer to normal.
Now, Disney has finally fully brought parking trams back to Disney World.
Disney World brings back parking trams
Disney had promised that its parking-lot trams would return, but actually bringing them back took longer than expected.
“After more than 1,100 days and nine months after a self-imposed deadline, parking lot trams have returned to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – marking a full return of the service,” BlogMickey.com reported. “Parking-lot-tram service returned to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom last year, but Disney only brought back service to Epcot and Hollywood Studios today (Sept. 21),”
The website implies that the reluctance to bring the service back could have been labor-related or it may have been Disney not wanting to spend the money. The trams have a driver and each park has attendants helping keep the lines orderly (although the system is not as organized as most Disney lines).
Disney World has mostly returned to how it operated before covid. The company has kept parts of the reservation system and digital ordering is still encouraged.
In addition, the company continues to manage attendance and has kept capacity at lower numbers than it did before the pandemic. Disney has also increased the number of days that it sells admission to at least one of its four Florida parks at the lowest price on its dynamic pricing scale.
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