Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, announced that it plans to reopen its parks as early as July 11, but guests will find a host of changes to their “Disney experience,” according to the Daily Wire.
Some parks are set to open earlier than others, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are expected to open June 11, but other parks including EPCOT and Disney Hollywood Studios, opening some time later, coronavirus permitting.
Disney Springs, a non-theme park attraction at Disney World featuring mostly dining and retail, is already open to visitors.
Disney World guests will be required to wear masks, with zero exceptions.
“We have strong language,” Jim McPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World, told the Sentinel about Disney’s new face-coverings policy. “They say they are required.”
The parks will also feature “social distancing squads,” “high energy” groups of cast members charged with enforcing strict social distancing. Guests will also be required to make reservations for park entry times, as the parks will be enforcing “attendance limits,” and will have to submit to temperature checks when entering.
Parades and other special events are suspended for the time being.
The closures of the Disney World Theme parks have caused a possible $21 billion revenue loss from their themed attractions alone, according to the Orange County Register. “To put that mind-boggling loss into perspective, ” the paper notes, “that’s enough to pay for Shanghai Disneyland four times over. Disney’s $5.5 billion Chinese theme park resort opened in 2016.”
“Disney is the region’s largest employer and the company’s self-initiated shutdown on March 16 left tens of thousands out of work,” the Orland Sentinel says. “Unemployment in Osceola County is the highest in the state at 20.3%, while 16.5% of workers in Orange County are without jobs.”
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Disney parks in Asia have already reopened, though with similar, strict, anti-coronavirus measures. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, will be allowed to reopen when that state reaches “stage 3” of its coronavirus recovery plan.
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Other Orlando, Florida, theme parks, like Universal Studios and Sea World, say they will follow Disney’s lead in reopening and have signed on to Disney’s rollout plan, with certain changes. Universal Studios will require all guests over age 2 to wear masks, and Sea World will require visitors to undergo mandatory temperature checks. Both parks will open sooner than Disney World, likely on June 11.
The theme parks’ plans are not yet final. Gov. Ron DeSantis must sign off in order for Disney to reopen.