The re-opening of our area’s major theme parks would signal the start of the recovery for our area’s all but shutdown tourism industry. There’s no news on that front from the area’s giants, except that construction, and therefore the opening, of Universal’s Epic Universe is delayed to a potential 2024 opening. Gov. DeSantis didn’t even mention the theme parks in Phase I or II of the state’s three-phase plan to open Florida and its economy.
And while nothing’s come out of Walt Disney World either, messages from a Tuesday earnings call may have provided some hints of the special rules that could be in place for employees and guests when it does reopen.
Shanghai Disneyland will begin a phased reopening on Monday at 30 percent capacity, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said, while announcing Tuesday costs related to COVID-19 cut Disney’s pretax profit by $1.4 billion.
Any opening of U.S. Disneyland or Walt Disney World would come with a set of new guidelines used by the U.S. Travel Association and based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, to help keep travelers safe during the pandemic.
Cast members would be provided with access to personal protective equipment, including face covering, and the parks will see increased cleaning and disinfection in work areas and high-traffic areas.
What would follow would be a gradual reopening or partial reopening of certain locations like retail and dining locations ahead of opening of the parks. Locally, that could mean Disney Springs could lead the way.
To cut down on, or eliminate, lines forming, technology like the Play Disney Parks App could create virtual queues. Guest density inside the parks must be managed unlike ever before to enable an opening sooner than later, in queues, restaurants, hotels and ride vehicles to meet CDC guidelines.
Some measures, like adding hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across our resorts, have already been implemented, according to Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel. She also said executives are looking to the medical community and federal government for guidance regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, including the use of PPE.
Cast members would be provided with new health safety training closer to reopening, likely putting them back to work before parks open.
None of these measures created a timeline for re-opening the Walt Disney Word resort, which has been closed since March aside from the Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista Golf Courses. And the Disney cruise line would reopen after everything else, officials said.