This article was updated to correct information about park opening dates.
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will start its
phased opening to the public this Saturday, July 11, when two parks -- Magic
Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom -- open to guests.
The resort’s other two theme parks, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, are slated to open Wednesday, July 15. There are no reopening
plans for the Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks.
“After being closed for nearly four months, Walt Disney
World theme parks are reopening with a deliberate, responsible approach drawing
on experience from Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney
Springs,” Disney said. “Aspects of a Disney theme park day have been reexamined
in light of the new global environment, with new policies following guidance
from health experts and government agencies.”
All parks will open with attendance limits to control guest
density. Parking lot trams will not be available.
Guests must register online in advance to visit a park by using
the Disney Park Pass System. After purchasing a ticket online at
Disneyworld.com, guests get a calendar of available dates to choose from.
All Disney employees and guests who are at least 2 years old
must wear a face covering at Disney’s parks and on modes of transportation.
Face masks do not need to be worn while dining.
Capacity will be limited on guest transportation. According
to Disney, buses and monorails will use physical distancing and barriers to
separate parties. Physical distancing will be required on Disney watercraft.
The Skyliner will load with one party per gondola when it reopens July 15. Guests
driving to Disney parks will have cashless payment options for parking.
All guests will undergo temperature screenings before
entering a park. Those with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be taken to a
secondary location for rescreening; if they again have a temperature of 100.4
or higher, they and their party will not be admitted.
Inside the parks, Disney will limit the number of guests
allowed in retail and dining locations. New ground markings, including in
shops, restaurants and attraction queue lines, will encourage social
distancing, and physical barriers will be used in some locations.
Cleaning schedules have been increased for high-traffic
areas. Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer will be made readily available
Attraction boarding procedures have been modified to keep parties distanced.
Guests are encouraged to use cashless transactions when
Disney said most attractions will be open when the parks
reopen. New loading procedures will be used to separate parties.
A team of cast members will be on hand at each theme park to
answer guest questions and help them observe the new guidelines.
Seating areas at restaurants will be cleaned between guest
seatings. Waiting areas and other high-traffic common areas will be cleaned
more often, Disney said. Self-service areas for beverages and other items have
Many restaurants are using reduced-contact menus, available
on Disney’s My Disney Experience app or displayed on signage in the restaurant.
At some table-service locations, guests can use mobile devices to scan a QR
code to access a digital menu.
Disney is encouraging guests to use its mobile ordering
feature on the My Disney Experience app.
The app also enables guests to check in for a dining
reservation. They can also check in by scanning a QR code in the restaurant’s
lobby. Guests can still check in at the restaurant’s podium, too.
Though nighttime spectaculars and traditional parades that
draw large crowds will be on hiatus when the parks open, some entertainment
groups will return, like the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Philharmonic, Epcot’s
Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors, and Animal Kingdom’s Discovery Island
Additionally, Disney has introduced a new version of the
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Starting July 15, the Taste of
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will run through the fall. It will
feature more than 20 global marketplaces -- like Hawaii, Hops & Barley and
Islands of the Caribbean -- featuring special food and drinks for sale.
Disney’s traditional character meet-and-greets have been put
on hold, but a number of character experiences will be made available at each
park when it reopens:
• The Royal Princess Processional will make its way through
the Magic Kingdom several times each day. Princess Merida and her horse, Angus,
will lead the processional, followed by a float with Cinderella, Tiana, Belle,
Jasmine, Snow White, Rapunzel and others.
• The Mickey and Friends Cavalcade will make its way through
the park’s parade route during the day, featuring Mickey, Minnie and friends.
• Cinderella’s evil stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella,
will make occasional appearances on a balcony of Cinderella Castle, from which
they can interact with guests.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
• A party boat will transport Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and
Launchpad McQuack from DinoLand U.S.A. to the Discovery River for Donald’s Dino
• Guests will see Timon and Rafiki or Pocahontas with Meeko
floating by on the Discovery River Character Cruise on the park’s waterways
throughout the day.
• The Discovery Island Drummers will also cruise along
Discovery River throughout the day.
• The Mickey and Friends World Tour will feature Mickey,
Minnie, Pluto and Goofy sightseeing throughout World Showcase, waving to
Guests will ssee Disney characters throughout the parks, like during the Mickey and Friends Cavalcade.
• Queen Anna and her sister Elsa will journey around World
Showcase as part of the Frozen Promenade, waving to guests as they go from
pavilion to pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
• In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, guests will come across a
number of Star Wars characters popping up in places like the platforms above
the garage in Black Spire Station or in the spaceport where the Millennium
Falcon sits. First Order stormtroopers and Kylo Ren will also be spotted near
their spaceship, a TIE Echelon assault vehicle.
• The Pixar Pals Motorcade will feature a number of Pixar
film favorites, like the Toy Story crew, who will wave to fans as they head
down Hollywood Boulevard.
• The Disney Junior Stars Motorcade will make its way down
Hollywood Boulevard during the day in colorful convertibles, featuring Disney
Junior stars like Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins and Vampirina.
Some Disney parks have been open this week for employee and
annual passholder previews.
The Disney parks are opening amid a spike in Covid-19
infections in Florida.
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly said that Animal Kingdom would reopen July 15. The parks reopening on July 15 are Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.