by Ray Keating
May 27, 2020 (Second Update at 1:15 PM EDT)
The Walt Disney Company submitted its plan today with the reopening dates for its Walt Disney World parks.
The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are scheduled to reopen on July 11.
EPCOT and Hollywood Studios are scheduled to reopen on July 15.
There will be soft opening efforts in the days before in order to fine tune and assess policies.
Disney’s Jim McPhee told the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in a remote meeting that attendance would be limited – including on attractions, on transportation and at restaurants – and a new pre-arrival reservation system will be established. Of course, a variety of new safety protocols will be implemented upon reopening.
Update: The task force unanimously approved the Disney plan, as well as one from SeaWorld to reopen on June 11. The plans must receive okays from Mayor Jerry Demings and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Also, under Disney's plan, fireworks and parades will be temporarily suspended, while cashless payments via contactless payments will be enhanced. Among the safety measures will be face coverings, temperature screenings and social distancing protocols.
Second Update: Via its Disney Parks Blog, Disney, in part, noted:
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.
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Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of The Disney Planner 2020: The TO DO List Solution (now available at a deep discount) and the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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