PHOTO REPORT: Disney’s Hollywood Studios 3/15/20 (A Final Look at the Park, Crowds, and Preparations Before COVID-19 Closure)

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Today marks a day in Disney history as all the Walt Disney World parks closed their doors to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an emotional day around the park for Cast Members, especially Disney College Program Cast Members, as well as guests. We headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios bright and early, unsure of what to expect. Would it be a ghost town? Business as usual? Would that eerie feeling of uncertainty be lingering in the air?

As we arrived in the park, everything felt like an ordinary day. There were no signs suggesting a temporary closure starting the next day. No announcements were made. It was as if the end of the day wouldn’t mean closing the gates for the rest of the month, if not longer. The fear of crowds hasn’t stopped anyone today.

Guests were spread out around the park on their phones, hopeful for a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance.

Many people choose to wait in line for the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction at the Chinese Theater before the park officially opens at 8 AM. These are the crowds prior to 8 AM. The crowds were a mix of local passholders as well as visiting guests from around the world. Everyone was ready to make the most of the last day before the parks close.

The crowds were lighter than usual, but it still felt like a typical day in the park.

The rest of the day felt oddly normal, which is probably a good thing.

The times guide is for March 15-21, since they’re printed in advance.

There’s even some health and safety warnings on the bottom on the times guide just like the signs posted around the parks and by the hand washing stations.

Some locations are preparing for the closure. A few smaller merchandise kiosks didn’t open.

Drink machines had been cleaned out and wrapped in plastic at some locations, including Backlot Express.

Baseline Tap House had removed their cocktails on tap for the day, too.

In other, non-closure related news, a rat is missing from the Muppets Fountain.

Crowds began to thin out a little towards the end of the day. This park had Extra Magic Hours from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM, so there are a lot of resort guests visiting today.

The sky was beautiful last night, and perfect for those last minute photos.

Crowd levels on Sunset Boulevard around sunset were still pretty intense. Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster were still pulling in the crowds.

It really is a beautiful day to be here.

It’s still surprisingly busy for the end of the day, but it looks like everyone is getting those last-minute rides in before the closure.

Through the window, we could see Cast Members inside BaseLine Tap House wrapping bottles in plastic after closing.

Most of the crowd was sitting tonight during the shows, making this a very enjoyable viewing experience.

Chip, Dale, Pluto, and their Cast Members friends from around the park lined Hollywood Boulevard to say goodbye to guests as they exited the park.

Thank you for making magic!

The digital tip board on the way out of the park still says “See Us Tomorrow”, but we will not be seeing them tomorrow.

The park is officially closed now, so we have to make our way out of here, unfortunately. The closure will last at least through the end of the month, but as always, be sure to keep following WDWNT for all the latest information and updates around the Disney Parks closures around the world and all of the latest Disney news. Thanks for joining us today, and we’ll see you real soon!

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Annie Wilson

Annie can be contacted at [email protected]

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