(CNN) — Of the many safety measures that Disney Parks had to set up to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic, requiring guests to keep a six-foot distance from the costumed characters must have been one of the hardest. At least emotionally.
For kids (or kids at heart), running into the waiting arms of Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters had been such an impulsive and quintessential part of the experience. Hanging back can be tough.
But finally, hugs are back on the horizon at US Disney properties.
Up close and personal
Ready to get up and close and personal with a Stormtrooper from the “Star Wars” universe? That time is coming soon at US Disney properties.
Patrick T. Fallon/BloombergGetty Images/
Getting autographs, snapping photos close up and just sharing a laugh face-to-face with characters such as Mulan and Goofy will all be back on the table.
It’s all part of the unwinding of coronavirus restrictions — both at the Disney parks and in the United States at large.
“During the past two years, we’ve taken a very gradual, intentional approach to health and safety protocols,” wrote Shawn Slater, senior communications manager for Disney Live Entertainment, in the blog.
“Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences. While not all locations will be available immediately, we anticipate reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer.”
What else is coming back
It’s not just character interactions that will be returning later this spring.
At Disneyland in California, guests can look forward to the return of several nighttime spectaculars, including:
• “Disneyland Forever”
• “Main Street Electrical Parade,” celebrating its 50th anniversary
• “World of Color”
On Disney Cruise Line ships, fireworks at sea and Broadway-style shows will be coming back.
At Walt Disney World in Florida, shows such as “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” have already returned.
All on-site resorts are open at Walt Disney World, including PopCentury.
On-site lodging is also bouncing back.
Remaining safety measures
They are optional for fully vaccinated guests in outdoor and indoor locations. Disney asks that visitors who are not fully vaccinated continue wearing face masks in all indoor locations.
Shanghai Disneyland closed
While things are opening up more and more in the United States, Disney has theme parks around the world. And each one must respond to local conditions.
It’s a reminder that park patrons must be ready to adjust to changing conditions, even two years into the pandemic.
Top image: Mickey Mouse poses with visitors at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, before the pandemic. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)