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Walt Disney World to Reopen in Two Waves: July 11, July 15 after COVID-19 Pandemic Shutdown

Just announced!

Just announced: during a Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force conference call, Jim McPhee, VP of Operations at Walt Disney World has stated Walt Disney World will be reopening in two waves:

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom will reopen on July 11
  • Hollywood Studios and EPCOT will open on July 15

This morning representatives from Walt Disney World attended a virtual meeting with the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force to pitch their detailed plans on reopening Walt Disney World.

New Park Ticket Reservation System

In order to encourage social distancing, Disney will be implementing a new park ticket reservation system to safely manage the number of guests inside each park. Guests will have to sign up with some sort of reservation system to be eligible to enter a theme park on any given day. Park capacity is expected to be decreased to 20%-30%. Jim McPhee said more details will be coming on this at a later date. I’m very curious how this affects things like Park Hopper tickets and annual passes.

New Health and Safety Procedures

As part of new health and safety procedures, all Cast Members and guests older than two years old will be required to wear a face covering at all times. In addition to face coverings, guests will be encouraged to social distance via special markings on the ground, additional Cast Members, and limited entrance capacity. Full details are right here:

  • In order to gain entry, all Cast Members and guests will be subjected to temperature screening and cannot measure above 100.4 degrees (F).
  • There will be no fireworks or parades.
  • Mobile ordering and touchless payments are encouraged.
  • Enhanced cleaning will be in use.
  • Limited park capacity.
  • Physical distancing markers on ground.
  • High contact areas will be closed.
Walt Disney World Theme Parks Re Opening Details
Walt Disney World Theme Parks Re Opening Details. Credit: Disney
Walt Disney World Theme Parks Re Opening Details
Walt Disney World Theme Parks Health and Safety Protocols. Credit: Disney

Disney will also be adding a new “Social Distancing Squad” of Cast Members that will be present to kindly remind guests of these new rules.

Universal Studios and SeaWorld Opening Sooner

This is later than Universal Studios reopening date of June 5 and SeaWorld Orlando’s reopening date of June 11, but you have to remember Walt Disney World property has more land and probably more employees than Universal Studios and SeaWorld combined. It’s just a much larger organization to get up and running. It also helps Disney by letting them observe guest behavior and friction points at their competitor’s theme parks. Plus if there happens to be a second spike of cases in June, Disney stands to lose much less because they hadn’t yet opened. One way to look at this is that Disney is preparing hardcore so if there is a second wave of the pandemic in the Fall they will be able to remain open.

New COVID-19 Signage at Walt Disney World

As you can imagine, Disney is going to have a variety of custom signage in plain sight. They’re pretty creative and I like to nerd out over this kind of thing so I wanted to share:

Walt Disney World COVID 19 General Health and Safety Signage
Walt Disney World COVID 19 General Health and Safety Signage. Credit: Disney
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