Disney has been hard at work since last week when Central Florida officials met to discuss plans to reopen the various theme parks in the area. This week Disney announced that Shanghai Disney will open on May 11, 2020 through a “phased opening” process. According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, once the park opens it will not exceed 30% occupancy to ensure that guests can social distance while in the park. He added that occupancy will likely be much lower than 30% at first.
Stateside, Disney Parks officials have been discussing plans and safety measures to ensure the safety of all guests and cast members once they do decide to open the parks. Disney has yet to announce an opening date for any other parks in the US or around the globe.
Disney’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pam Hymel called the planned Shanghai Disneyland opening “an encouraging sign for Disney Parks and retail locations all over the world.” According to Hymel, the company is reviewing different safety measures for the parks in accordance with CDC recommendations as well as those of the medical community and the federal government.
Similar to the recommendations set forth during the Orange County Task Force meeting last week, these guidelines will likely include personal protective equipment (PPE) such as facing coverings for all employees, hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the park, as well as social distancing measures.
Another consideration under review is the possibility of phased openings for locations. For example, Disney may decide to open retail and dining locations first then gradually open other areas of the resorts.
Hymel did express the challenges that Disney will face with the density of the parks, ride vehicles, restaurants, etc. Guest capacity and social distancing measures will be a major focus in the reopening plan. Technology to assist in crowd control, like implementation of virtual queues through the Disney Parks App, are also being considered.
Disney is continuing to work diligently with the government and CDC officials to plan for a safe reopening of the Disney Parks and resorts. DVC Shop is committed to keeping you informed of the latest Disney Park news. Check back for updates.
Original Post: 4/29/2020
The conversation about reopening Disney World and other Florida based theme parks has finally started to get more traction! The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force met yesterday to discuss the possibility of reopening the state’s theme parks on a planned phase basis.
When the task force met they discussed recommendations for Orlando’s theme parks including Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. While there are no official ties between the task force and the parks, several park officials were on the call to discuss the potential reopening plan.
Here are the proposed guidelines that have been released by the task force.
The task force’s recommendation to the theme parks was to reopen in two phases. The first phase would be the parks opening at 50% capacity. The second phase would be opening the parks at 75% capacity. The final phase would be returning to normal capacity. While there will not likely be strict guidelines based on age or health, the task force did recommend that anyone over the age of 65 should refrain from visiting the parks during the first two phases.
Additional Park Precautions
Also part of the recommendations were to maintain social distancing efforts throughout the parks. This means adding marked guidelines spaced six feet apart to advise guests where to stand, similar to what has been done in grocery stores around the country.
Rides and attractions as well at entry and exit points should also have sanitizer stations within close proximity. Railings and surfaces should be regularly wiped down to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Employee Health Checks & Guidelines
Also advised was for the parks to perform regular temperature checks for all employees reporting for shifts. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4º F (38º C) should be sent home. Anyone with flu-like symptoms should stay home as well.
Many employees will likely see a change in their regular park duties as more park employees will need to help maintain safety standards and work to keep the park as clean as possible. It was also recommended that employees be required to wear face masks while on duty.
Hotels and Restaurants
Disney World and the other theme parks were also advised to operate their restaurants at 50% capacity and to take other measures like using disposable menus into consideration.
At the hotels, sneeze guards were advised to be installed at the check-in desks and in-room coffee makers and glassware should be removed. Mini-bars were also advised to be emptied and stay empty for the time being.
The Orange County Economic Task Force may only make these recommendations to the theme parks. There is no requirement for the parks to follow their advice and will be at their individual discretion of the parks if they decide to do so. No reopening date was announced after the task force meeting. Disney World continues to remain closed indefinitely.
While no official statements have been made by Disney World or the other theme parks after the task force meeting, it is likely that a trip to Disney will likely feel much different than in the past. If Disney does decide to follow these recommended guidelines, it will be a big adjustment for park goers and Disney staff.