Disney Announces Parks & Resorts Reopening

Disney Announces Parks & Resorts Reopening

Today the Walt Disney World Company announced that reopening dates for all four theme parks, plus Disney Vacation Club resorts & Disney’s Camp Grounds. Not mentioned are remaining resorts, the water parks or other recreational offerings.

Our podcast offers a plausible “why” in all of this–particularly as to the lateness of the dates. These dates are much, much later than Universal Orlando or SeaWorld. Why? Our podcast shares our thoughts. You can find our podcast here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotes. Be sure to subscribe and share with others!

The presentation this morning was given by Jim MacPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World Resort. and was presented to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. Later, Disney Parks & Blogs offered additional details: Governor DeSantis has yet to give approval, but that is expected.

Here are the key opening dates at this time:

  • Disney’s Vero Beach: June 15th
  • Disney’s Hilton Head: June 15th
  • Disney Vacation Club Resorts to Members & Their Guests: June 22nd
  • Disney Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: June 22nd
  • Magic Kingdom: July 11th with Previews Prior
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: July 11th with Previews Prior
  • Epcot: July 15th with Previews Prior
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th with Previews Prior
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon: To Be Announced
  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach: To Be Announced
  • Disney Resorts: To Be Announced
  • Resort Amenities: To Be Announced
A lot of questions about Resorts that have yet to be answered. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Mayor Demings noted yesterday that Orange County inspection teams had visited Walt Disney World and Sea World previously to see if they were following guidelines that Governor DeSantis and the CDC had recommended. They were very positive about what they saw.

Here are some measures that Disney will put in place to help ensure the safety of both Guests and Cast Members:

  • Enhanced Communications & Signage
  • Guest & Cast Temperature Screening
  • Face Coverings for Guests and Cast Members–Issued to Cast Members
  • Physical Distancing
  • Increased Cleaning & Sanitation
  • COVID-19 Training
  • Reservation System for Entering Theme Parks
  • Suspended Parades & Fireworks For Foreseeable Future
  • Suspended High Touch Experiences such as Meet ‘n’ Greets
  • Additional Contactless Payment Systems Including Possibility of Using a QR Code Technology
  • Relaxation Zones For Temporary Mask Removal

Disney emphasized this three prong approach to dealing with the Guests:

  • Education: Know Before You Go: Informing Guests of New Protocols & Expectations. Enhanced Online Planning Tools
  • Communication: Reinforcement of Helath and Safety Guidelines & Protocols. Emphasis on all doing their part.
  • Engagement: Cast Members will help to regularly communicate new protocols to Guests. Dedicated teams to serve as our Social Distancing Squad.

The question was asked by the task force: “What is the recourse for non-compliance?” The response was that Disney has strong languaging and the social distancing squad is being polite. Disney has yet to encounter any specific, difficult issues. They are looking to establish relaxation zones where people can take off the mask (think former smoking zones).

One of the little corners in Disney’s Animal Kingdom that could be a a space to take a break from masks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Also, Disney has been in talks with the National Basketball Association to host the remainder for the 2019 season at the resort–possibly in late July. This would take advantage of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, but might utilize other venues such as the Amway Center.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Where Do We Go From Here?

With all of this craziness, a lot of people are probably wondering when or even how do I plan my next trip to Disney. May I suggest that you seek out David Zanolla. He’s so on top of things–he calls me at midnight to inform me of the latest and greatest. He’s going to take care of you, and it won’t cost you any more than if you booked directly (which is actually more painful if you end up on hold trying to make modifications). Call today at 309-863-5469 or reach out to him via zanolla@otdtravel.com

J. Jeff Kober

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