Walt Disney World reopening after being closed for more than 100 days
Following the successful reopening of the Shanghai Disneyland Park, Disney moves forward with approved summer reopening of Florida’s Walt Disney World.
By Lexie Macias, Valley Life Editor
Disney announced Friday that the Walt Disney World parks can begin reopening starting July 11, but many changes have been implemented to ensure the safety of all guests and employees.
The Shanghai Disneyland Park reopening gave visitors around the world a glimpse of what visiting amusement parks in a COVID-19 world would look like. Most of the safety precautions that were implemented in Shanghai will also be adopted at the Walt Disney World parks, as well as other new changes.
Masks must be worn at all times by guests and employees, with the exception of masked characters and people who are eating. Before entering the park, everyone is required to undergo a temperature check and must have purchased their ticket prior to arriving. Queues for rides, stores and restaurants will have markers enforcing the six feet apart rule of social distancing.
Parades and shows, including the dazzling fireworks show, have all been cancelled due to the fact that these major attractions draw large crowds. Children’s play places and theater shows have also been cancelled to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In helping to protect against COVID-19, additional hand washing stations will be placed throughout the park and contactless payment methods are highly encouraged, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Disney Magic Bands.
But there are some new changes exclusive to the Walt Disney World theme parks that have disappointed vacationers and annual passholders alike. For starters, Disney is no longer selling new tickets or accepting hotel reservations at this time. Only existing ticket holders, who may have purchased tickets before an official opening date was announced, and annual passholders can make new reservations.
Also exclusive to Florida for now, is the suspension of all existing dining reservations, including Disney dining plans, all Fastpass ride and show reservations, and Extra Magic Hours, which give hotel guests early access to the parks. The cancellation of these widely popular perks have discouraged potential guests and regular vacationers from visiting because they greatly contribute to the full Disney experience at the parks. But despite whether or not people approve of the changes, they have been put in place for the safety of the visitors and employees of the parks.
With the safety and health of everyone being of the utmost importance, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has said that the company is “taking the guidance of local… state… national health officials, plus our own well qualified doctors on staff to create… new policies… new standards of hygiene,” according to Hypebeast.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are planned to open first on July 11, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios following suit on July 15. No reopening date has been announced for the California Disneyland Resort as of yet.