Disney World Plans for a July Reopening, Despite the Still-Ongoing Pandemic

A moment from Walt Disney World Resort’s 45th anniversary.
A moment from Walt Disney World Resort’s 45th anniversary.
Photo: David Roark

What could possibly go wrong?

Today, Walt Disney World announced its plans to reopen in the early weeks of July along with a slew of new rules meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that, to date, has killed more than 100,000 Americans. In a presentation to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, senior vice president of operations Jim MacPhee explained that as the resort opens back up, guests will now be required to wear masks and all times and have their temperatures repeatedly taken as they move about.

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Additionally, the resort will allow fewer people in as a whole in order to make it easier for guests to practice social distancing, surfaces will be cleaned more often, and hand sanitizer will be readily available (and presumably free) for everyone. All of this comes just days after the Disney Springs shopping complex reopened.

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Though MacPhee stressed that the resort’s attractions that tend to cause large groups of people to form will not be a part of the park’s reopening, the reality is that a theme park decked out with a hotel and multiple restaurants by definition will create a large crowd. If Disney could be absolutely certain that everyone would comply with the new rules, it’s vaguely possible that people might be able to go to Disney World—but assuming that people will be responsible is foolish at best. It’s worth noting that most major gatherings, including comics conventions like San Diego Comic-Con, have been cancelled or postponed through the end of 2020 at the very earliest.

The Magic Kingdom is currently meant to reopen on July 11 with Epcot and Hollywood Studios following on July 15. Be safe, folks.


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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

All the io9 posts about re-opening are incredibly pessimistic. I guess it gets those clicks eh?

There’s no way the parks were going to stay closed until we have a vaccine. Yes, it sucks that the US is terrible at testing and masks, but when you look at what Disney is doing when opening, what else is there they could do to make it safer? Not much, I don’t think. Their plans are good, and good enough that they are pissing a lot of people off (That’s not the “Disney Experience” i paid for! I want a refund!” ffs).

And by opening a month later than the other parks in Florida, they get to see how good (or bad) it goes. Univeral RUSHED to open next week. Disney is taking another 6 weeks.