Disney World anyone? What magical news this could be for so many people. Disney World has been closed to the public since March 14 due to COVID-19.
Disney World officials for Walt Disney World Resorts made an announcement that July 11, 2020, will be their tentative reopening date for select areas of the Florida theme park.
Disney confirmed that executives presented plans for the phased reopening during a virtual meeting with the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force this morning. Now, Disney hopes to reopen Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15.
“Our plans call for a phased reopening for our theme parks, beginning with the Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, on Saturday, July 11. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open on Wednesday, July 15,” said Jim McPhee, the senior vice president of operations at Walt Disney World, during the meeting with the task force.
“We believe our reopening proposal for our property reflects a very thoughtful, methodical, and phased approach and we’ve incorporated all of the reopening protocols throughout our guest experience, and our cast experience.”
Parks & Resorts may be opening with modified experiences
SeaWorld Orlando also has made a proposal for a gradual reopening during the Wednesday meeting, with hopes of reopening its three Orlando parks to the public on June 11, SeaWorld’s interim CEO Marc Swanson said during the call.
If Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings signs off on the ideas, the plans will be forwarded to Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval, per The Associated Press.
Demings also disclosed that two health officials from the county visited both theme parks on Tuesday for inspections.
What are the new rules?
If Disney World and SeaWorld ultimately begin gradually reopening on their targeted dates, visitors will have to heed new rules and other health safety measures in the fight against COVID-19. Guests (ages three and up at Disney, ages two and up at SeaWorld) and employees will have to wear facial masks and comply with temperature checks, while abiding by new social distancing rules. Inside the park, frequent hand washing will be encouraged for all, and enhanced cleaning policies will be enforced throughout.
Looking ahead, park operations at Disney will also be modified to better promote physical distancing. Large group gatherings, like parades and nighttime spectaculars, and “high touch” experiences, such as character meet and greets, makeovers, and playground activities, will return at a later date, Disney said in a statement.
As for park entry and accommodations, Disney is temporarily pausing the sales of new tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations to “focus on” guests with existing tickets and reservations. Annual Passholders and existing ticket holders will be allowed to place reservation requests in phases before the sales of new tickets commence once again.
In addition, this new theme park reservation system is subject to attendance limitations and availability.