Today, the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force met in a virtual meeting to hear Walt Disney World’s plan to reopen. Disney’s proposal, available to review as a pdf, was unanimously approved by all task force members not abstaining from the vote due to conflicts of interest.
Following the meeting Disney issued the following statement in their official announcement of the phased re-opening plans to the public which start with the re-opening of Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 11th followed by Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th.
Throughout these past few months, we’ve been touched by the outpouring of support from our guests and fans around the world who’ve shared their favorite Disney memories and even replicated their favorite attractions at home. Everyone who has ever visited a Disney theme park has their own special connection to these magical worlds and the amazing cast members who bring that magic to life.
Following the recent reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, we’re pleased to share that more Disney magic is coming back. Today, we submitted a proposal to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida describing our approach for a phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort theme parks planned to begin on July 11.
Pending Orange County and state approval, our Walt Disney World Resort proposal plans for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. In preparing to reopen during this unusual time, we have to manage our theme parks in a very different way from what we’ve known before. As we begin to reach out to our cast members and call them back to work, they will be focused on operating our parks in a responsible way that continues to give our guests opportunities to create magical 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 we know 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 our parks to entertain and delight our guests.
Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as we welcome guests back to the magic, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations). Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold; we’ll be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. We will resume new ticket sales and hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
Additionally, Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15. Plans to support required physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning measures, along with a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols, will be implemented as part of this planned phased reopening.
Today, our World of Disney retail shop reopened at our 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.
We’re looking forward to reopening our theme parks, Disney Resort hotels and stores and doing so in a responsible way. In this spirit, our destinations will continue to follow enhanced safety protocols based upon applicable guidance from health authorities and government agencies. As we all must work together to promote the health and safety of everyone, cast members as well as guests 3 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.
Additional information on enhanced health and safety measures and operational changes for reopening locations will be shared soon. These policies are under continuous review and are subject to change as we monitor conditions and receive guidance from health and government authorities.
We’re being deliberate during these phased reopenings, and we’re encouraged by how our guests are responding at Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs. We’re doing our part, and we need our guests to do their part, too, as we work together to focus on safety.
The phased reopening plan outlined includes details on when some of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels will reopen, but does not get into details for each nor does it touch on the waterparks and ancillary offerings around property such as mini-golf.
We were not expecting any cruise news from the task force presentation, but Chapek did talk about Disney Cruise Line during the full television interview (will add if it appears online) that was outlined nicely by Scott Gustin.