Under Disney World’s proposal for reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, its theme park would not open until July — more than a month after archrival Universal Orlando.
The plan presented to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force involves a phased reopening of its theme parks. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom would reopen to the public on July 11, followed by Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. Both dates will be preceded by cast member preview days.
“We believe the reopening proposal for our property reflects a very thoughtful, methodical, and phased approach,” said Jim McPhee, senior vice president of operations at Disney World.
Some hotels on Disney property will open weeks earlier. Disney Vacation Club resorts will open to members and guests on June 22, along with the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
When the parks reopen, there will be many new procedures in place aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To start, guests will be required to make reservations in advance to enter the parks, though McPhee said that process won’t be detailed until a later date.
Temperature checks will be required before entry and all employees and guests will have to wear face masks — and McPhee said that policy will be enforced, as it has at Disney Springs, by a “social distancing squad” of Disney cast members.
“We’re also looking at establishing relaxation zones in and around and off property to go mask off for a moment,” he said, “but all of our cast members and our social distancing squad understand the policy and are encouraging and persuading guests to ensure that they keep their masks on at all times.”
The park also plans on enhanced sanitation procedures and adding more hand sanitizer and handwashing stations across the parks. Fireworks and parades will be suspended to limit activities that draw big crowds into one location.
Capacity inside the parks will be significantly reduced, though McPhee didn’t specify by how much. Because of that limited capacity, Disney is putting a temporary pause on selling new tickets and resort reservations, with the exception of DVC members.
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