Below are some of the slides that Jim McPhee, Senior VP of Operations at Walt Disney World used at the Orange County Task Force meeting on Wednesday.
Walt Disney World announced minutes ago that they will be opening in phases. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open on July 11th, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studio will open on July 15th.
The phased reopening will come with limits. Disney indicated that guests will need park reservations each day to enter a theme park. There will be no fireworks or parades. There also will be limited to no character meet and greets.
I will update this later today if I see more detailed information or as soon as Disney provides more details.
Earlier today Universal Orlando presented it’s plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force.
In that plan, Universal Orlando stated that the plan is to open June 1st, with a gradual capacity managed opening for employees only. Passholders would be added on June 3rd, followed by an opening to the general public on June 5th.
Even though Disney opened Disney Springs yesterday, Walt Disney World updated its operating hours calendar to show that the theme parks will be closed through June 13th, it previously stated June 7th.
Walt Disney World Resort hotels and theme parks are currently closed until further notice. Disney recently began accepting hotel reservations for July 1, although as explained by a senior figure at Disney, that does not mean the park will be open at that time.
While Disney has not announced an opening date and as stated above in regards to opening, one would have to think that since Disney have been somewhat working together with the task force, that Walt Disney World will be opening sometime close to when Universal Orlando opens up.
While nothing definite from Disney, Universal’s announcement would seem to be good news.
There appears to to be light at the end of this tunnel.
Ahead of the opening of Disney Springs on May 20th, Walt Disney World has updated its website today with a COVID-19 warnings notice.
The thing to note is the wording that indicates that “By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
Below it the entire COVID-19 warning from the Walt Disney World website…
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney Springs.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting Disney Springs you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
Let’s keep each other healthy and safe.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday outlined what may be the next steps for the state’s theme parks on their paths to reopening, including Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
In a press conference, DeSantis asked park operators to submit their reopening plans to the state, saying that they would “need to have an endorsement of the relative official in their locality — Orange County mayor, wherever you’re talking about,” he said.
Extending the previously announced plans for the reopening of Florida, the state will move forward with:
- Restaurants allowing 50% capacity (up from the previous 25% occupancy limit)
- Retail moving to 50% capacity (up from the previous 25% occupancy limit)
- Gyms operating while respecting social distancing and sanitizing measures
Theme parks can now submit plans about reopening to the state and will need endorsement from the Orange County Mayor. Movie theaters will remain closed at this time.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings told local media later in the day that he has not received any reopening plans from the parks, and that he doesn’t expect any reopenings until June at the earliest.
No big stories today, just a few updates….
First with the good news. Walt Disney is one step closer to opening. Yesterday, it was announced that Disney had reached an agreement with the unions that represent workers at Walt Disney World on safeguards to protect employees from coronavirus, removing one of the company’s hurdles to reopening its popular theme parks.
In the agreement Disney ensured that anyone who contracts COVID-19 will have paid time off to quarantine. Also, Cast Members will be trained on how to conduct self-assessments regarding symptoms of COVID-19 at home.. Disney will provide a thermometer to anyone who requests one. Cast Members who have COVID-19 can call in free of attendance discipline.
The safeguards include social distancing practices, increased cleaning and mandatory masks for workers and guests, according to a statement from the Service Trades Council Union, which represents about 43,000 workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
And now the bad news….
The Walt Disney World operating hours calendar now shows the parks closed through June 6th (previously it was May 30).
With that, Disney is in the process of cancelling Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservations for early June. According to sources, the latest cancellation notification we have seen so far is for an arrival on June 7, although some guests with earlier stays are yet to be contacted.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney Cruise Line won’t sail again until at least July 31 after announcing another round of cruise cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement on its website, the cruise line said it was suspending departures through Monday, July 27. That means the earliest any of its four ships would sail would be Disney Dream from Port Canaveral on July 31 and Disney Fantasy also from the port on August 1.
Disney Magic, which would be sailing in Europe, would not have its first sailing until August 5 and Disney Wonder, which would be sailing Alaska would not sail until August 3.
The line is offering either a full refund or the option to rebook the sailing with a cruise credit incentive for any sailing within 15 months of the canceled departure.
Walt Disney World has pushed back its open reservation window from June 1st to July 1, 2020.
Shortly after the resort shut down from COVID-19, Disney began accepting reservations from June 1 on March 29, but will now not accept new reservations during June.
What isn’t clear yet is if the move of the date is due to capacity being reached for June, or if Disney has no plans to operate during June. People in the know state that the hotels/resorts are not full, but there is speculation that capacity could have been capped to keep attendance reduced. Cancellations of existing reservations are taking place on a rolling basis through late May.
Walt Disney World President, Josh D’Amaro has sent out an email regarding information on the partial reopening of Disney Springs. The biggest thing that we’re seeing from the information released by the company earlier involves the language used when discussing face coverings.
A portion of the email is below –
Following recent state and local guidelines permitting the reopening of some Florida businesses, we’ve seen a strong interest in what our next steps may be. As we plan for the future, we’re keeping the health and well-being of both our cast members and our guests at the forefront of planning efforts.
Today, I’m pleased to share that we’re preparing for a phased reopening of select locations owned by third-party operating participants in the Disney Springs shopping and dining district, starting on May 20. We continue to monitor conditions and look forward to welcoming each of our guests back with enhanced health and safety measures in place including the changes below:
- Limited capacity based on Florida state and local guidelines
- Appropriate physical distancing
- Requiring both our cast members and guests to wear face coverings
- Additional cast safety training with a focus on limited-contact guest services and enhanced cleaning procedures
Disney Parks Blog stated earlier today stated that, “Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members.”
Josh D’Amaro has now clarified that the face coverings will indeed be required by both Cast Members and guests.
Shanghai Disneyland is implementing similar measures when it comes to face coverings.
Walt Disney World announced earlier today that they will begin a phased opening of Disney Springs on May 20th.
Below is the full release from Matt Simon, Vice President Disney Springs –
A phased reopening of Disney Springs will begin on May 20. Following the guidance of government and health officials, a limited number of shopping and dining experiences that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase. The rest of Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed, including theme parks and resort hotels.
As we continue to monitor conditions, and with the health of guests and Disney cast members at the forefront of our planning, we are making several operational changes. Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members.
We will apply learnings and ideas from leaders in the health and travel industries, and we’re also talking to our unions as we prepare for some cast members to return to work.
During the initial opening phase, Disney Springs will have limitations on capacity, parking and operating hours. Given this unprecedented situation, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we navigate through this process as responsibly as we can. Additional protocols and procedures may be announced closer to the opening date. Please check DisneySprings.com as we get closer to May 20 for the most current information on operating hours, locations and safety procedures.
For those of us anticipating the opening of Walt Disney World, this certainly is good news.