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Disney World plans to begin phased reopening in July

FILE: Walt Disney World Resort plans to begin its phased reopening in early July, implementing modifications and limitations to avoid another COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by David Roark/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images)

ORLANDO, Florida — Officials at Walt Disney World in Florida announced Wednesday they will begin their phased reopening plan for the theme park, aiming to bring guests back the beginning of July. This will end the park’s multi-month closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The theme park plans to begin its phased reopening of the Magic Kingdom parks July 11, with EPCOT and Hollywood Studios following close behind July 15. 

“As we navigate through this unprecedented time as responsibly as we can, we have implemented a number of new safety measures based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies,” the park said in a statement

Walt Disney World, as well as its counterpart Disneyland in Anaheim, California, had previously closed in mid-March as part of the widespread efforts to avoid a larger outbreak of the virus. Several other Disney-themed parks around the world also closed in response. 

This left the company to furlough roughly 43,000 workers in its absence, only leaving essential workers on the clock for the time being. As of right now, it’s unclear how many of these employees will be brought back right away. 

The park reported it would be welcoming back “some cast members” with safety concerns at the forefront. 

As part of its reopening phase, the park will implement several health and safety protocols including: 

  • Limited parking and reduced entrances.
  • Temperature screenings before entering the gates. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 will not be admitted. 
  • Face coverings required for all guests three-years-old and older. These must be worn at all times, even when dining. 
  • Physical distancing practices through queues and barriers.
  • Cashless transactions will be recommended whenever possible.
  • Reduced hours at select locations and rides, as well as no scheduled entertainment offerings or high-touch interactive areas.
  • An increased focus on disinfecting and sanitation, including the addition of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers in key areas.

Several shops and restaurants will be open within the park, but hours and availability will vary. The park is recommending to call ahead before planning to stop by. 

However, some theme parks and resort hotels will remain closed until further notice. Upon the reopening of these, modifications and limitations are expected.