Here’s how Disney plans to reopen its Florida parks this summer
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Disney closed the gates to its parks, including both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, in March. Following the multi-month shutdown, it now appears that Disney plans to reopen its Florida parks in July.
Following the initial park closures back in March, Disney planned to reopen some parks in mid-April. However, as the pandemic continued to progress worldwide, they all remained closed. As a result, the company saw a 91 percent profit plunge in its last quarter earnings.
Now, Disney World, which employs over 70,000 people, plans to reopen its gates just in time for the peak of summer. Disney plans to first reopen Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will then open on July 15.
However, future guests can expect their experience at the "happiest place on Earth" to be different.
As part of Florida's phasing out of quarantine, Disney is implementing several measures to reopen safely and prevent the spread of coronavirus. To start, employees and guests will be required to wear face masks and undergo temperature screenings upon arrival. As well, the company will reduce guest capacity and is temporarily suspending all parades, fireworks shows and other events that create large crowds.
To help prevent the spread of germs and potentially coronavirus, Disney is also enabling cashless transactions by expanding its contactless payments. There will also be an increased number of hand-sanitizing stations available.
Future guests will also be required to purchase their tickets in advance. This is in efforts to control the number of daily guests at Disney World.
The plan to reopen Florida's Disney World in July was approved on Wednesday by the Orange Country government. However, the plans still need to be approved by both Orange County's mayor and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
If approved, the reopening of Disney World will be the second to do so since the pandemic began. There are 12 Disney theme parks worldwide and all of them closed due to the pandemic. On May 11, Shanghai Disneyland in China reopened to guests after closing in January.
However, Disney World's planned reopening in July would happen nearly a month later than when competitors plan to do so. On Wednesday, Universal put forth its proposal to open SeaWorld on June 11. They also proposed to open Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay on June 5.
For Disney, however, the company doesn't want to rush reopening its parks. The company plans to follow the CDC guidelines and measures to make sure its parks welcome back guests safely.
“We want to make sure what we present to our guests when we open up is going to be a quintessential Disney experience,” Disney's CEO Bob Chapek says. “While we’ll have substantially lower numbers of guests, we want to make sure we do it in a responsible way.”
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