Orange County Economy Recovery Task Force this morning approved without objection a proposal by the Walt Disney World Resort to open in phases starting in July.
The Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom would reopen on Saturday, July 11, while Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios would reopen on Wednesday July 15, with soft opening events for select audiences before then, according to the presentation by Senior VP for Operations Jim McPhee. Advance reservations will be required to visit and park, attraction and transportation capacities will be reduced. Disney will be releasing more details about its advance reservation at a later date.
In a press release sent out after McPhee's presentation, Walt Disney World said that it is temporarily pausing new ticket sales and hotel reservations in order to focus on rebooking guests with existing tickets and reservations. Disney Vacation Club members can make new reservations, however.
"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," Disney said.
McPhee did not mention the hotels in his presentation, but Disney's press release said that Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and the DVC resorts at Walt Disney World will begin to reopen to members and guests on June 22. DVC resorts in Vero Beach and Hilton Head will reopen starting on June 15.
Inside the parks, parades, fireworks, meet and greets and touch-based interactions in queues will be suspended when Disney reopens, as it looks to maintain social distancing and enhanced sanitation standards. Temperature checks and masks will be required of all guests.
"We are deploying increased numerous hand washing and sanitation stations, and cast members on stage and backstage with visual reminders emphasizing [their] frequency and importance. We're also increasing our use of Plexiglas barriers at points of sales and retail and food and beverage areas where appropriate distancing cannot be maintained," he said.
Disney also will encourage and expand the use of mobile ordering and cashless payments via its app.
"We've rethought many aspects of our operation to help enhance safety and provide a great guest experience," McPhee said. "Right now we are implementing this work and proceeding with training and development so our cast are ready for the road ahead, and soon we will be welcoming our guests back. We believe this thoughtful methodical and phased ramp up strategy for our property is the right path. Together we hope everyone will do their part to bring the magic of Walt Disney World back into this new environment."
Disney's proposal must be approved by Orange County Major Jerry Demings and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in order to proceed. Update: Demings approved the plan early this afternoon.Tweet
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