This year has been unlike anything we have ever seen before, especially for theme parks. There are the obvious new changes: masks, lower capacity, closures, etc. But here are some not-so-obvious ways Disney Parks are different in 2020. Most of them, you have probably never even thought about before!

5. The Sun DOES Set On A Disney Park Now

Before the pandemic, there was a saying that went something like this “With each Disney Resort in a different time zone, the sun literally never sets on a Disney Park.” That may still be true in the literal sense, as the sun still shines around the world as we circle it every day. However, part of the phrase also referred to the fact that at least one Disney Park was open at all times. But obviously, that is not the case anymore. You probably had never thought about it before, but now that you know, you might be sad. We apologize about that but we had to include it on our list!

4. International Parks First

Since The Walt Disney Company is based in the United States, the US Disney Parks are generally the ones to be experimented on. However, since several other countries were further ahead in the process of eradicating COVID-19, the international parks became the new testing centres for the company. Disney tested a lot of new safety measures at the parks in China as they carefully researched how to safely reopen every Disney park in the world.

3. Character Interactions

With the new requirement that all people–with the exception of those in the same party–remain six feet apart, meeting characters is completely different. Before the pandemic, guests could walk up to their favourite characters and hug them and take pictures. Now, guests and characters are separated by barriers and pictures are taken from a safe distance. Plus the pictures are of guests wearing protective masks. Who could have predicted something like this would ever happen? But at least we get to have that experience at all. When it comes to Disney characters, we will take what we can get!

2. Rise of the Resistance Hype Shut Down

Rise of the Resistance might be the most popular and highly anticipated new attraction in all Disney Parks history. And it did not disappoint. Many fans and critics are calling Rise of the Resistance the best theme park ride ever. That, alone, makes 2020 different than ever before. However, the closure of all Disney Parks in March 2020 meant another curve ball for the year.

Disneyland’s version of the ride opened on January 17, 2020. Barely two months later, the new experience–that met maximum capacity every day–all of a sudden had no wait time. And it would not have passengers for several months (at least). Not because it lost any of its appeal or popularity, but because the parks were facing extended closure for the first time ever.

All of the money, time, engineering, and imagination that went into creating the new attraction now feels like a bit of a waste. Of course, it won’t be that way once both Disney World and Disneyland are open again for good. However, it just feels so strange right now to have this brand-new, amazing attraction off-limits to everyone, along with the rest of the Disneyland Resort.

1. Haunted Mansion Holiday all year round

Staying on the topic of Disneyland Park in California, let’s talk about Haunted Mansion Holiday. Every year in the Fall, the Haunted Mansion attraction is transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday, also known as the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay. Before we talk more about it, let’s dispel a common misconception. The refurbishments required to change the attraction to and from its holiday overlay take about a month, and both versions of the attraction last about five months out of the year. That means the Haunted Mansion Holiday–though considered “seasonal”–lasts about as long as the traditional version of the Haunted Mansion attraction.

With that being said, Haunted Mansion was in the middle of its refurbishment to transform back to its traditional form when Disneyland closed. Now we have reached August, which is usually when the ride shuts down again to become Haunted Mansion Holiday. It is not likely the park will reopen before the end of the Fall season. That means, for the first time since its opening, no guests will get to experience the original Haunted Mansion for an entire year–if not longer. However, guests will have (and may still) experience the seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday in 2020. Now, that is pretty weird to think about!