Disney World is planning to cut park hours less than two months after reopening
The coronavirus pandemic is still raging in the U.S., with case counts rising in a number of cities and states across the country. Amid Florida being one of the worst hotspots in the nation, Disney World reopened in July, four months after the early stages of the pandemic forced Disney to close its parks around the world. And now, not even a month after it reopened, Disney World just announced that it will be cutting its hours after Labor Day.
According to the Washington Post, the new park schedule will go into effect on Sept. 8. The changes come after Disney World saw unexpectedly low attendance at its newly reopened parks in Florida, because apparently going to a giant theme park isn’t something people are willing to risk severe illness and even death over. Weird.
The new schedule will reduce open hours at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios by two hours per day, while reducing hours at Epcot and Magic Kingdom by one hour each day. Some parks are going to be opening later, while others will close earlier. Needless to say, people weren’t exactly shocked at the news.
When Disney World reopened on July 9 after months of being closed, it implemented a number of new safety features meant to help keep COVID-19 from spreading among guests in the parks and at its hotels and other properties. Opening times were staggered, and guests were required to make reservations for the time they planned to enter the parks, so there wouldn’t be too much congestion at required temperature checks at the entrance. Masks have been required for all guests over two years old since the reopening, and Disney introduced more stringent cleaning procedures, as well as hand sanitizing stations, social distancing markers in ride queues, spread out tables at restaurants, and physical distancing requirements that forbid guests from touching cast members during meet-and-greets. Guests can’t even have photos of themselves taken on rides if they don’t have on a face mask in the picture.
Despite all that, people are apparently not flocking to Disney World right now. I can’t imagine why. Florida is still reporting some of the highest case counts in the country. Plus there’s the fact that California hasn’t even allowed Disneyland to reopen yet. Maybe rushing to reopen theme parks when most people don’t even want to get on planes was a little short-sighted, Disney.
Disney is continuing to take serious financial hits from this crisis, but in the end, this is all about human lives, and it’s encouraging to see most people seem to have enough sense to know not to go to Disney World right now.