Disney CEO Bob Chapek talks about plans for reopening Disney World


ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) — Disney’s CEO said Monday that it is still unclear when parks in Central Florida will reopen, but added that he is very encouraged with how things have gone at Shanghai Disneyland.

The Shanghai reopening happened as part of Disney’s Florida flagship prepares to welcome guests later this month.

The streets of Disney Springs, near Orlando, are currently empty, but preparations are underway to open the center, which is filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment, on May 20.

Limitations will be placed on capacity, parking and operating hours.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek, appearing on CNBC Monday, spoke about Disney Springs, the reopening of Shanghai Disneyland, and what the future holds for Disney World.

“We’re not going to comment on any specific timing, but I think it is a good sign that Disney Springs is going to open up in Orlando,” Chapek said.

He spoke about how a similar approach was taken in Shanghai.

“You know, we, we stuck our toe in the water if you will, in Shanghai, with Disney Town, and we operated that for about a month and everything went extremely well. Once again, the guests really cooperated our operations people were phenomenal and we held to the standards that we set up. And hopefully we’ll see that at Disney Springs as well. And this will be the beginning of a great new rebirth of Disney parks,” Chapek said.

Chapek said that in addition to social distancing Disney will likely require masks for both employees and guests.

“I think that the masks for the guests will be something that culturally is, is different. In Asia, as you know, it’s fairly commonplace, even before COVID for folks to walk around in public with masks on. That is not the case in the U.S., Chapek said.

The CEO called the opening in Shanghai a baby step, but said he is already encouraged by what he’s seen.

“This is a first step, it’s a baby step. And we’re moving slowly, but we’re very encouraged by what we see in Shanghai.”

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