ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Walt Disney World wants to begin reopening its theme parks in July.
What You Need To Know
- Disney World propses phased reopening of theme parks
- Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom would reopen July 11
- Epcot, Hollywood Studios would reopen July 15
- Face mask, temperatures checks required for guests
During an Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting, Disney proposed a phased reopening that would first begin with Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom opening July 11. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios would follow a few days later and reopen July 15.
Jim MacPhee, senior vice president of operations for Disney World, also shared the safety measures guests will encounter at the parks.
Temperature checks and face masks will be required for all employees and guests. A social-distancing "squad" comprised of employees will remind guests of the new rules, including the face mask requirement, MacPhee said. A similar "squad" is already present at Disney Springs.
Capacity will be limited at the parks so Disney will introduce a reservation system to manage how many people enter the parks each day. MacPhee said details about the reservations system would be shared at a later date. In addition to limiting park capacity, Disney will also limited capacity on attractions, at restaurants and at retail stores.
Markers promoting social distancing will be located throughout the parks as well as in ride queues. Disney will temporarily suspend fireworks, parades and other activities that “create crowds” in order to maintain distancing. Character meet-and-greets will also be temporarily suspended.
In an update posted to the official Walt Disney World website, Disney said some resort hotels will begin to reopen next month. Disney Vacation Club properties and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen to members and guests on June 22.
Prior to reopening to the public, Disney plans to hold soft openings such as employee previews.
The plans, which were approved by the task force and endorsed by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, have been sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval.
This marks yet another step toward Central Florida's major theme parks reopening after being closed for two months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
SeaWorld, which also presented its reopening plans on Wednesday, wants to reopen its Orlando parks on June 11. Universal presented its reopening plans last week and is reopening its parks to the public on June 5.
Disney’s theme park segment took a financial hit due to the closures. In an earnings report earlier this month, Disney said the pandemic had a $1 billion impact on its parks. The closures also led Disney World to furlough thousands of workers.
But business has already started return to Disney World. Disney Springs, its dining and shopping district, began its phased reopening last week with dozens of shops and restaurants. Similar to what will be implemented at the parks, Disney Springs visitors are required to wear face masks and have their temperatures checked.
Passholders told Spectrum News that Disney's upcoming reservation policy is something they'll embrace to feel safer during this pandemic.
Melinda Gerardi considers Disney her family's playground, since she can hear the fireworks from her backyard. Although she's eager to get back to the parks, she's going to give it some time.
"Maybe a week or two, (when) they have the kinks worked out. They have everything under control, because I know a lot of people are waiting to get back in," Gerardi said.
With a new reservation policy, Disney said, "Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold; we'll be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details."
Reporter Justin Soto contributed to this report.
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