May 27, 2020: Walt Disney World Resort outlined proposal plans today for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11th, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th.
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 the 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.
July 11th/July 15th: The reopening of Disney World will be a ‘soft’ reopening with very limited crowd capacities (30%), temperature checks at gate entrances (<100.4), and other major changes.
These changes include:
Reservations are now required!
No Park Hopping
Limited park hours
A reduction in quick service menu item selections (limited menu)
No buffet experiences
Greatly reduced park capacity during the first 3 re-opening months
Reduced tram loads back and forth from parking lots to gates. No more full trams, 50% capacity.
Reduced Skyliner gondola loading, 50% capacity
Crowd direction control in parks using signage and markings on the ground, especially in merchandise shops
Virtual queues for rides with expanded Fast Pass system, minimal outside queuing allowed, social distancing guidelines in effect
Not all rides will be open, lots of disinfecting of ride cars in between guest loading
Limited seating for show experiences with social distancing recommendations in effect (i.e., such as at The Little Mermaid Theater)
Elimination of all parades, shows taking place on the Cinderella Castle stage, and nighttime fireworks shows for at least 3 months after reopening
Elimination of character dining experiences and personal meet and greets.
Characters will instead be placed at designated locations where they will interact with guests from behind plexiglass barriers set up with at least 6 feet distance between characters and guests. Lots of waving, no hugs.
Hand sanitizing and hand washing stations will still be deployed at all the parks with a lot of cute Disney signage reminding guests to wash their hand frequently.
Face masks will be required except when eating and will be sold at all the merchandise locations along with travel size bottles of hand sanitizer.
Temperature checks at every park entrance and for all cast members before beginning work
Scheduled hand washing breaks for cast members
If the capacity were set to 30%, maximum guest admission would be:
|Park||Normal Capacity*||Capacity at 30%|
|Magic Kingdom||57,000 people||17,100 people|
|Epcot||34,093 people||10,227 people|
|Hollywood Studios||30,843 people||9,252 people|
|Animal Kingdom||37,671 people||11,301 people|
*Normal capacity on a summer day. Peak capacity experienced on the 5 heaviest days of the year (Christmas Day, New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, etc.) is actually higher, nearing 80,000 guests at the Magic Kingdom. Disney World already has a Crowd Phase Playbook for handling busy holiday operating days that they could use as a starting point for reopening. The logistics for crowd control and limiting parking are actually pretty complex.
More limited ticket events: Ticket sales for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party have been suspended.
The Extra Magic Hours before park opening have been suspended.
We don’t expect the two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, to reopen until the fall, if at all in 2020. Blizzard Beach typically closes September – January of each year for its annual refurbishment, so there’s a good possibility that it might not reopen until January 2021.
We’ve written two books about our time working – and playing – as Disney Cast Members at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
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Have a magical day!
Two Disney Sisters