Disney World announces plans to reopen in July
When the coronavirus landed in America, Disney World and Disneyland did something they hadn’t done in years: they closed their doors. Now with most of the country reopening, or reopening in phases, Disney World has announced its plans to reopen in July, but it won’t look like the Disney World from before.
According to People, Walt Disney World in Orlando drafted a proposal and presented it to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. The proposal’s been approved by the county mayor, but still needs the approval of Florida’s governor, but if everything goes according to plan, here’s how Disney imagines the Florida parks will look like when they reopen this summer.
Jim McPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations, stated that Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks are set to open on July 11, 2020, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios opening on July 15, 2020. The reopening process will start with a “soft opening” so the park can troubleshoot and make any changes, but the major changes in the park — and these shouldn’t come as a surprise — will include temperature checks at the gates and the requirement that guests wear masks. Additionally, attendance will be capped and guests will have to reserve their spot in advance with a new online system that Disney plans to launch. The theme park also stated that it would be “reducing capacity on attractions, in restaurants and in retail stores, as well as on methods of transportation,” and will push mobile food orders and install more plexiglass barriers where close contact between guests and cast members is unavoidable.
The biggest changes, and the ones that will likely ruffle some feathers with guests, is that Disney is doing away with parades, fireworks, kid play areas, and character meet-and-greets. The biggest hurdle will be to ensure that guests comply with the new rules, so Disney is launching a “social distance squad,” which is a group of high-energy cast members who will kindly educate and encourage guests to practice safe social distancing practices. The social distance squad is already in place at Disney Springs, which reopened on May 20, and according to Disney, it’s been going well.
Universal Orlando plans to reopen next week on June 5 and SeaWorld Orlando is planning for a June 11th reopening. The Florida theme parks may not look quite like the theme parks you remember from before, but this news signals a step towards some semblance of normalcy and for that, we remain cautiously optimistic.