With more than 43,000 workers on furlough and thousands of long-awaited family vacations canceled or postponed, Walt Disney World finally submitted a proposal to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida to begin a phased reopening of the most magical place on Earth on July 11 — 118 days since it first closed down. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to open on July 11, while EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — home of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge — will open on July 15.
The plan is pending county and state approval, but it includes limiting attendance and controlling guest density to allow for the CDC-recommended 6 feet of physical distancing. While fans can still expect to ride their favorite rides, some things will be missing when the park opens, including character meet and greets, parades and nighttime spectaculars, playgrounds, and other “high touch” experiences.
And of course, there are some caveats in store. All guests will need to make a reservation to the parks in advance using a new theme park reservation system. Disney is shuttering all new ticket sales and hotel reservations temporarily, instead focusing on accommodating guests with existing tickets and annual passes. Disney says it will be offering reservations in phases, and more info is coming soon.
All cast members and guests ages 3 and up will be required to wear face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels, and all guests will have their temperatures checked before heading into the parks. Disney is also encouraging cash-free transactions, and cleaning and disinfection procedures will be increased in high-traffic areas.
“We’re being deliberate during these phased reopenings,” writes Thomas Smith, editorial content director for Disney Parks, on the Disney Parks blog. “We’re doing our part, and we need our guests to do their part, too, as we work together to focus on safety.”
Disney World Shanghai opened at less than a third of its full capacity earlier this month, but no exact capacity expectations have been released for Disney World in Florida just yet. Can you imagine how short the lines for your favorite rides will be if the parks are at only 30% capacity? Would you jump at the chance to visit Disney World amid the pandemic? Tell us in the comments!