Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Disney World Announces Reopening Dates

Disney World announced dates for post-coronavirus re-opening. 

In no real shock to anyone, Disney World in Orlando, Florida has broken their silence on their reopening. The parks have been closed since mid-March along with most other amusement parks and attractions in the Central Florida area.

News broke today that states Disney World's reopening plan has been approved. The parks will reopen with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11th, 2020. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will follow four days later, opening on July 15th, 2020.

This date follows the news that both Universal Orlando and several other parks across the country have dropped opening dates for what is left of the 2020 summer travel season. What many aren't considering in the light of this announcement, are the restrictions which will be in place. The gates are just not being thrown open to the 'happiest place on earth'.

Disney has stated both employees and guests will be REQUIRED to wear masks in the parks and also undergo a temperature screening prior to admittance.  Considering how openly flaunted these restrictions have been at Disney Springs (which reopened on May 20th), it doesn't bode well for those who are concerned with safety. Will Disney actually enforce this rule? How will it be enforced? Will those openly violating the rules face consequences? There are no details it be found in regards to how this will be handled.

Park capacity will be 'greatly reduced' and they will offer no parades, night time fireworks shows or other events which cause large gatherings of people. This means that we're likely looking at these parks having a 20-30% capacity in effect, if they follow the model used in the reopening of Shanghai Disneyland. I can tell you already, this will lead to a massive rise in complaints (please be kind to Guest Services, they are trying.) The shows are one of the great draws of the parks, and missing these will lead to a changed experience.

The resort will enable cashless transactions by expanding contactless payments. This is not much in the way of news, but the expansion is a bonus. Over my years of experience both working at theme parks and visiting them, cash transactions have become rare. Most people are using cards or the debit system linked to their Magicbands.

Disney has stated they will increase the number of available hand sanitizing stations.  This is good, but I've heard the argument put that this will 'ruin the immersion'. After a quick poll on Twitter we found that is a 'weak at best, stupid at worst' argument. If a hand sanitizing station ruins your vacation, you probably shouldn't be on vacation.

While this is a good step in the right direction, concerns still arise from the logistics involved, some of which we have mentioned. By no means are these even the tip of the iceberg but Disney, along with Florida as a whole, are pushing hard to get the tourists rolling back in and thus boost the flagging economy during what should be the busy summer season.

There has also been no word in regards to the reopening of the numerous Disney Resort Hotels, Resort Pools, or the Disney Water Parks.

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