ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Walt Disney World plans to reopen the theme parks in July.
What you need to know
- Disney World propses have phased a phased reopening of amusement parks
- Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom would reopen on July 11
- Epcot, Hollywood Studios would reopen on July 15
- Face mask, temperature controls required for guests
At a meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, Disney proposed a phased reopening that would begin with Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom opening on July 11. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios would follow a few days later and reopen on July 15.
Jim MacPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations for Disney World, also shared the security measures guests will encounter in the parks.
Temperature checks and face masks are required for all employees and guests. A socially distant ‘team’ of employees will remind guests of the new rules, including the requirement for face masks, MacPhee said. A similar ‘squad’ is already present in Disney Springs.
Capacity will be limited at the parks, so Disney will implement a reservation system to manage how many people enter the parks every day. MacPhee said details about the reservation system would be shared at a later date. In addition to limiting park capacity, Disney will also limit capacity for attractions, restaurants and shops.
Markings that promote social distance are located in the parks and in driving rows. Disney will temporarily suspend fireworks, pageants and other activities that “create crowds” to keep away. Meet and greets for characters are also temporarily suspended.
In an update on the official Walt Disney World website, Disney said that some resort hotels will reopen next month. Disney Vacation Club properties and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will reopen for members and guests on June 22.
Prior to reopening to the public, Disney plans to hold soft openings such as employee previews.
The plans, approved by the task force and endorsed by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, have been submitted to Governor Ron DeSantis for approval.
This marks yet another step towards the reopening of Central Florida’s major theme parks after being closed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SeaWorld, which also presented its reopening plans on Wednesday, wants that reopen its parks in Orlando on June 11. Universal presented its reopening plans last week and it is reopening of its parks to the public on June 5.
Disney’s theme park segment received a financial blow due to the closings. In a profit report earlier this month, Disney said the pandemic had a $ 1 billion impact on its parks. The closings also led to Disney World leaving thousands of workers.
But things have already started to return to Disney World. Disney Springs, the dining and shopping area, began a phased reopening last week with dozens of shops and restaurants. Similar to what will be implemented in the parks, visitors to Disney Springs should wear face masks and have their temperature checked.
Passers-by told Spectrum News that they will embrace Disney’s upcoming reservation policy to feel safer during this pandemic.
Melinda Gerardi considers Disney to be her family’s playground because she can hear the fireworks from her backyard. Although she likes to go back to the parks, she gives it some time.
“Maybe a week or two, (when) they fix the kinks. They have everything under control, because I know that many people are waiting to come back in, ”said Gerardi.
With a new reservation policy, Disney said, “Existing cardholders and annual pass holders can make a phased reservation request before new tickets are sold. We will be contacting these guests shortly for more information.”
Reporter Justin Soto contributed to this report.