Walt Disney World has announced plans for a phased reopening of its various theme parks to take place in July.
The world’s most famous theme park will once again be welcoming people to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.
COVID-19 impacts Walt Disney World
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic caused the park to close in March. The following month, Disney furloughed 43,000 employees of Walt Disney World, keeping 200 on hand due to their essential status.
Needless to say, the closure of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Legoland, and Seaworld has had a tremendous negative impact on Central Florida’s economy.
COVID-19 has had far less effect in Florida than in states like New York and California. Florida has a population of 21.48 million people but only has noted 53,285 cases of coronavirus with 2,364 deaths.
Getting back to business
As Florida continues to open back up, the major theme parks are doing the same. First in line is Legoland, which is opening its gates once again on June 1. Universal Studios in Orlando is opening back up on June 5, to be followed by Seaworld on June 11.
As for Walt Disney World, it will open in distinct phases. Disney Springs, a retail and dining area, is already open.
The Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom will open on July 11. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will follow on July 15.
However, the business will not follow the usual pattern at Walt Disney World. The park is halting the sale of new tickets, and a reservation system for those currently holding tickets will be put in place.
Guests will have their temperature taken when they arrive at the theme park and will need to wear face masks if over the age of three. The park will not operate at full attendance volume to help ensure social distancing.
A number of popular activities will not be happening for the foreseeable future in order to keep people from congregating. Parades and nighttime spectaculars, such as fireworks, will not take place but return at some future date.
Activities that are considered “high-touch” will be discontinued for the time being as well. These activities include makeovers, playgrounds, and meet and greet with Disney characters.
There will be characters roaming the parks, but these characters will only be those with full facial masks, such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Characters like Jasmine, Ariel, and Cinderella will not be available until a later date when contact with them is deemed safe again.
While there are restrictions in place due to COVID-19, it is great to have Walt Disney World and other Florida-based theme parks opening again. The silver lining is that the lines for the most popular attractions will be much shorter now.
Featured image courtesy of Al Seeger/Pixabay