Walt Disney World has set a reopening date — and it’s a lot sooner than you might have thought. Disney shuttered all of its theme parks in the United States back in early March as concerns over the effects of the coronavirus pandemic rose, and it was believed those parks would be closed indefinitely. However, as Disney weathered mind-bogglingly high financial hits in the span of just a few months of closures, a push to re-open parks stateside was recently initiated.
As of Wednesday, it looks like that push has led to confirmation Disney World will begin its phased re-opening with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. According to the Disney Parks blog, “Disney World and SeaWorld execs presented reopening proposals to the Florida’s Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force” on Tuesday, May 26 and approval is still pending. The blog entry notes Disney World will aim to begin its phased re-opening with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, whose doors will open on July 11, and then EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, which will open on July 15.
As was the case with the guideline accompanying the re-opening of Disney Springs, which we reported on just over a week ago, there will be new guidelines in place to protect the health and safety of prospective parkgoers. Measures including temperature checks upon entering the park, enforced physical distancing, wearing face masks, hand-washing and sanitizing stations, and “limited-contact enhancements” such as contactless payment will all be initiated in time for the re-opening of Disney World. Additionally, features classified as “high-touch experiences,” like character meet-and-greets, parades, and other crowd-attracting events will remain temporarily suspended. Disney World parks will also operate at a reduced capacity (the new maximum capacity number is unclear at time of reporting).
We’re pleased to share plans for the phased reopening of @WaltDisneyWorld Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores. Learn more on the @DisneyParks Blog: https://t.co/T6xSgfVddW pic.twitter.com/LnoVYuWQ8T
— Disney Parks News (@DisneyParksNews) May 27, 2020
Disney World is the most recent (and high-profile) theme park to announce re-opening plans. Variety‘s report on Disney’s re-opening notes Legoland in Florida plans to reopen on June 1. On May 21, we reported on Universal Orlando’s plans to re-open on June 5. Despite the new guidelines put in place to protect parkgoers, all of these re-opening dates seem to be happening alarmingly soon. There has been no significant downturn in coronavirus cases in Florida, let alone the United States. It’s hard to see how any of these theme parks, including Disney, could have the best interests of the public in mind when this pandemic is still ongoing and a very real threat.