Earlier this afternoon the Walt Disney World Parks presented their reopening plan to Orange County Florida. Walt Disney World confirmed they plan to reopen their four theme parks to the public in July. The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open on July 11 and Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open on July 15. Guests will need to make a pre-arrival reservation to visit the parks.
Originally details on how this would work were not discussed in the meeting, but at 12:30PM ET the Disney Parks Blog released the following information regarding the park reservation system and resort reopening information for Disney Vacation Club locations in Orlando and Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:
“Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as we welcome guests back to the magic, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations).
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. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
Additionally, Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15. Plans to support required physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning measures, along with a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols, will be implemented as part of this planned phased reopening. ” At this time this is the only information that Disney has shared regarding the pre-arrival reservation system and the Walt Disney World Resorts reopening.
Disney will have five key health and safety protocols that they will be focusing on when the parks are reopened to keep guests and Cast Members safe. During the meeting each protocol was briefly discussed.
1- Enhanced Protective Measures will be put in place to protect everyone. Guests and Cast Members age 3 and up will be required to wear masks. Guest will need to bring masks with them, or can buy them at the parks. Additional hand washing and sanitizing stations being installed in all areas, and physical barriers being installed where appropriate. Plexiglass will be installed at points of sale and food and beverage areas where physical distancing can’t occur. Disney is also looking into establishing relaxation zones on and off property to allow guests the chance to remove masks in a safe way for a short period of time.
2- Physical Distancing will be practiced, and there will be a reduction in Theme Park capacity to help make physical distancing easier. There will also be signage and other reminders. There will be an overall reduced capacity in the parks, restaurants, and retail locations. Attractions and modes of transportation will also see limited and modified capacity. There will be a temporary suspension of Fireworks and Parades to help limit crowds. Meet and greets will also be temporarily paused, play areas/play grounds will be temporary closed, and water effects temporarily discontinued. Disney will not be offering paper maps or reusable menus during this time.
3-Disney will be focusing on Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitation with a multi-tiered approach. They will enhancing their cleaning and sanitation standards in all public and Cast Member spaces and will be cleaning these areas more frequently.
4- Temperature and Health Screening will be put in place. There will be temperature checks for all Guests and Cast Members at arrival, and Cast Members will have daily at-home temperature and health assessments before going to work.
5- There will be Limited-Contact Enhancements made to reduce the number of touch points Cast Member and Guests come in contact with in the parks. They will be “further leveraging the MagicBand system for contactless payment options and expand their focus on other contactless forms of payments. They will be “encouraging cashless transactions” and will increase mobile food ordering options.
Disney’s “key focus as it relates to Health and Safety Protocols” are education, communication and engagement. They plan to educate guests on the new protocols and expectations prior to their arrival using their websites and apps with a “Know Before You Go” approach. They will be posting signs and marking with guidelines and protocols. Cast Members will be engaging with guests to positively encourage social distancing and assisting guests with the new protocols.
There will also be a “dedicated team of Cast Members to serve on their Social Distancing Squad.” This dedicated team will engage with and inspire guests, these teams were recently introduced at Disney Springs last week. Each park will have a dedicated Social Distancing Squad.
As part of their communication and engagement strategy Walt Disney World will be posting a large amount of signage throughout the property. There will be arrival signage that will communicate the new policies and expectations Disney has of guests to adhere to those policies. Inside the park signs will be placed in retail, food and beverage, merchandise and attraction locations where Disney expects lines to develop to assist guests.
Queues will have social/physical distancing signs placed at the start or each queue and throughout the lines to help communicate the social/physical distancing standards to ensure there is a clear understanding of the space they should leave between themselves and other guests while in line.