July 11th Reopening Proposed For Florida Disney Parks

The Walt Disney Company submitted its reopening proposal to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force this morning laying out the process for moving forward. Jim McPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations Walt Disney World, made the presentation of guidelines and protocols that was required by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis before reopening could occur.

Jim McPhee Senior Vice President of Operations Walt Disney WorldJim McPhee Senior Vice President of Operations Walt Disney World

Let's start right off with what everyone wants to know.

Walt Disney World Reopening Dates:

  • June 22 - Disney Vacation Club resorts at WDW for members and guests
  • June 22 - Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • July 11th Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • July 15th Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios

Right up front Walt Disney World will be launching a series of "Know Before You Go" communication measures to inform guests what they can expect from their altered Disney experience, and how they will be required to do their part. These will start on the Walt Disney World website, and follow up through email, and as guests arrive on property. Disney will be leveraging MagicBand and MyDisneyExperience technology already in place to manage new concepts in reservations, virtual queues, and touchless transactions.

A new Theme Park Reservation System will manage the significant limits being placed on Theme Park attendance. The system will require guests to obtain a reservation for Park entry in advance. Disney will be sharing more information about the new system in the near future.

Know Before You Go EducationKnow Before You Go Education

In addition to reduce capacity some traditional Disney experiences will not be seen in the first phase of re-opening Disney Parks. This temporary pause comes in locations that are known to gather large crowds or encourage high touch activities.

Temporarily Paused Experiences:

  • Parades
  • Stage shows
  • Fireworks
  • Character meet and greets
  • Playgrounds
  • Water effects

The Magic Kingdom Awaits ReopeningThe Magic Kingdom Awaits Reopening

New Safety Protocols will be implemented throughout onstage and backstage areas. These protocols include "new normal" guidelines cover basics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that we have all become accustomed to in the past few months.

  • Enhanced Protective Measures - masks required for guests and cast members, deploying hand washing stations, barriers to enhance physical distancing
  • Physical Distancing - reduced capacity for attractions, restaurants, retail, and transportation, as well as increased signage and physical barriers.
  • Sanitation - more frequent cleaning of all on stage and backstage areas
  • Health Screening - temperature checks
  • Limited Contact Enhancements - contactless payments and cashless transactions, more mobile order locations, temporarily suspend high touch experiences

Engagement is key, and cast members will be trained to positively encourage appropriate behavior of guests. The Social Distance Squad is a group of specially trained, high energy cast members that are being deployed to inspire guests to follow social distancing guidelines highly energetic. The Squad has been well received at Disney Springs where they are testing out their new roles.

There is also a whole host of new signage that will be seen around the Walt Disney World property reminding everyone of the new normal.

General Health and Safety SignageGeneral Health and Safety Signage
Temperature Screening & Entrance SignageTemperature Screening & Entrance Signage

McPhee said that Disney would be using a "thoughtful, methodical, and phased approach" that would use "soft opening tactics that allow select audiences several days prior to our July 11th opening." These preview days will allow cast to get a feel of the new protocols before opening to the public as they "launch, learn, and adjust along the way." It's clear that while the Florida Parks have a plan flexibility remains important in moving forward.

The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force performed an on site visit to make sure that operational changes that are in the proposal meet with the government health and safety guidelines moving forward. Orange County Mayor, Jerry L. Demings, said that Walt Disney World has done its due diligence in regards to their desire to reopen as well as taking into consideration the safety of their guests. The board voted on Walt Disney World's reopening plan and the motion to move forward was approved. Next the plan will move on to the office of Governor Ron DeSantis for further approval.

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