Disney's parks and other large theme parks like Universal Studios have been closed since mid-March, leaving fans to ride park attractions virtually and cook up their favourite Disney treats at home. And while the country as a whole is beginning to think about what life will look like after the first wave of this pandemic eases up, Florida's Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force is also focussed on putting a plan in place for reopening the state's theme parks.
Although it's still unclear as to when it will be safe enough for these large parks to open — Orange County mayor Jerry Demings says June seems "more realistic" than May, but nothing is official — the task force's initial guidelines outline what Disney World and other large theme parks might look like upon reopening for both guests and employees. Keep reading to learn more.
Guidelines For Reopening Disney and Other Theme Parks
Within the new guidelines for reopening the country in phases, the first phase will be the earliest possible reopening, while phase two marks the period after a continued decrease in coronavirus cases.
In the first phase of the Disney World reopen (and that of all other large parks), the park will be able to fill to 50 percent capacity (that'll bump up to 75 percent in phase two). Mandates will largely focus on the employees wearing masks at all times, getting their temperature taken before each shift, and staying home if they're feeling ill or are 65 and older. Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be located all over the parks — especially at ticket booths and ride entrances — and railings and surfaces will be wiped down after every use. Guidelines for large parks will also include putting down tape markings for guests to stand six feet apart on each attraction line (the silver lining of this spaced-out practice that will make lines seem all the more long is that you won't have to hear the whining of the kid behind you who just "wants to ride already." Small wins).
Guidelines For Reopening Theme Park Hotels
In phase one, hotels will encourage mobile check-ins, if available, limit housekeeping for minimal employee/guest exposure, have contactless room service delivery, and promote social distancing whenever possible. Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be recommended for common spaces, highly used surfaces like lift buttons and door handles will be cleaned often, and self-parking will be encouraged. Additionally, guest rooms may look a little different, as items like glassware, coffee cups, and coffee makers will be removed, and sadly, mini bars will be unstocked, so you should definitely bring your own snacks.
Guidelines For Reopening Theme Park Restaurants
Like the parks, restaurants will be able to fill to 50 percent capacity in phase one and 75 percent in phase two. Disposable paper menus will be encouraged, as will takeout and delivery options. For those dining in, tables will be set up at least six feet apart. As with both the parks and hotels, employees will be clad in masks, hand sanitizer will be everywhere, and constant wiping down of surfaces will occur.
Guidelines For Reopening Theme Park Retail Stores
For retail stores, all entry doors are expected to be propped open with hand sanitizer stations at the ready, though door handles and other commonly touched surfaces should be wiped down regularly. Checkout lines will have markers down to ensure shoppers are six feet apart.
All of the above plans, which, as mentioned, are just the initial thoughts of Florida's economic recovery task force in particular, are subject to change and evolve as more information about the virus and the country's reopening plans become available. No matter when Disney parks reopen, expect everything to look quite different than normal, but hopefully, visits will be no less magical.