How a Walt Disney World Reopening Would Look

Magic Castle at Walt Disney World

By Paul Riegler on 29 April 2020
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As Florida begins to take “small, deliberate steps” towards the reopening of its economy amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, many people have speculated what Walt Disney World will be like when it reopens.

Given that the first stage of the state’s reopening is set to begin on May 4, when restaurants will be able to offer indoor and outdoor seating, albeit with proper social distancing, and shops will open with a limit of 25% of full capacity, all eyes are on the mouse.

Both Disney World as well as Disneyland in California have been closed since mid March but their reopening is tied to the resumption of mainstream travel in the United States.  Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly called for the reopening of Disney World in an interview on CNBC Tuesday, saying that the action would play a significant role in restarting the travel economy.

People “need to have something to be able to do when they get there,” Kelly said. “So Disney World needs to open back up. Restaurants need to open back up.”

To that end the state’s governor convened a task force that includes mayors of multiple cities in the state, the CEO of the Publix supermarket chain, and executives from Disney as well as from Universal Parks and Resorts.

The task force has already laid out a multi-phase plan that outlines how theme parks would operate when they do reopen.  In the first phase, each park could operate at 50% capacity and employees, who would undergo temperature and wellness checks at the start of each shirt, would wear masks.  Any employee with a fever of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher or with flu-like symptoms would be sent home.

Visitors to the parks would stand in clearly marked queues with 6’ (1.8 m) spacing and restaurants offering seating would arrange tables to allow for proper social distancing with an initial capacity limited to 50%.

In addition, the theme parks would be required to place touchless sanitizer stations throughout the park including at entrances, exits, and rides, and maintenance staff would wipe down railings and other high-touch surfaces on a regular basis.

Much could change as the state and Disney begin to formulate more concrete plans for the reopening but a notice on the Disney World website states that Disney hotels “are currently available for travel dates June 1 and later.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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