Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, plans to begin a phased reopening on July 11 for its Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom parks and July 15 for EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The plan was approved by the Orange County government and awaits approval from Orange County’s mayor and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
In preparing to reopen during this unusual time, park operators have to manage the theme parks in a very different way from what they’ve known before. As they begin to reach out to cast members and call them back to work, they will be focused on operating the parks in a responsible way that continues to give guests opportunities to create Disney memories.
This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. That means certain experiences that are known draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds, and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in the parks to entertain guests.
Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as guests return, attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, Disney is temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so they can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations. Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold. Resumption of new ticket sales and hotel reservations will start after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability.
The World of Disney retail shop reopened at the Disney Springs shopping and dining complex at Walt Disney World. And in the coming weeks, Disney Stores will begin a phased reopening of operations globally, beginning with a select number of stores in the United States, in addition to stores in Europe and Japan.
Disney theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, and stores will be reopened in a responsible way. In this spirit, Disney destinations will continue to follow enhanced safety protocols based upon applicable guidance from health authorities and government agencies. To promote the health and safety of everyone, cast members as well as guests three years of age and older will be required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. All guests will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park; cast members will also have temperature checks. Cashless transactions are recommended, and cleaning and disinfection procedures will be increased in high-traffic areas. These policies are under continuous review and are subject to change as operators monitor conditions and receive guidance from health and government authorities.