Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom reopen for first time since March

Florida

Disney annual passholders get a peek at the coronavirus-inspired changes inside the Magic Kingdom Thursday, July 9, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is reopening after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later. (Gabrielle Russon/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It will be a different atmosphere at “The Most Magical Place On Earth” when it reopens its gates this weekend for the first time since March.

Walt Disney World is on track to open Saturday with new coronavirus restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom open on July 11. EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen July 15. Guests can purchase tickets and make hotel reservations starting Thursday, July 9.

Disney says it will reopen its parks with an approach that limits attendance and controls guest density inside the parks.

“In addition to limits on attendance and controlled guest density, new procedures will be in place for park entry, attractions, dining, retail, transportation and more, with the well-being of guests and Disney cast members at the forefront of planning,” Disney said in a news release.

Some of the new health considerations include face coverings for all guests 2 and older, temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park, and ground markings to promote physical distancing.Disney excludes bandanas, neck gaiters from face covering requirements

Disney will also limit capacity on the monorail, buses, ferry boats and other forms of Disney transportation. Disney recently installed barriers inside the monorail to allow for appropriate distancing.

All guests are required to make a Disney Park Pass reservation in advance of arriving at the park. Guests can link their existing tickets and reserve a spot to visit the theme park. Disney said tickets and hotel bookings may be released at different times throughout the day Thursday. Virtual waiting rooms will be used to manage the high volume of people making reservations. Reservations are limited and subject to availability. 

To make a reservation, click here.

Disney is also utilizing its mobile app to encourage guests to use cashless payment and mobile menus at restaurants. Disney will also use mobile check-in at its sit-down restaurants.

Inside the parks, most attractions will be open to guests. Due to required physical distancing, some theater shows will not operate during the initial reopened phase.

Mickey, Minnie and other Disney characters will make special appearances throughout all four parks as part of special “cavalcade” parades that follow the traditional parade route. Other characters will surprise guests at random times throughout the parks. Other than a physically-distanced selfie, guests will not be allowed to take photos with characters.

When EPCOT opens on July 15, Disney will also debut its annual International Food and Wine Festival. This year’s festival includes food from 20 signature global marketplaces including Hawaii and the Caribbean.

“From increased cleaning and disinfecting across our parks and resorts, to updated health and safety policies, we have reimagined the Disney experience so we can all enjoy the magic responsibly,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer for Disney Parks’ Experiences and Products, said in a statement Tuesday.

Here’s what the reopened park will look like:

Rides and services that were suspended or closed

  • Valet service
  • Playgrounds
  • FastPass+
  • Extra Magic Hours are unavailable for resort guests
  • Parades and nighttime spectaculars
  • Character greetings
  • Minnie Van service
  • Delivery of merchandise to resort rooms or front of theme parks
  • Dressing rooms
  • Staff will not handle personal mobile devices
  • Club level service at resorts
  • In-room celebrations
  • In-room dining
  • Dry cleaning and valet laundry services (self service laundry is available)
  • Shipping services
  • Resort airline check-in service

Face coverings

  • Guests ages 2 and up and employees must bring their own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming.
  • The face coverings should fully cover their nose and mouth and be secured with ties or ear loops. They should be made with breathable material that can be disposed or reused. Costume masks are not allowed.

Reservations

  • Guests are required to make advanced ticket purchases and reservations through the new Disney Park Pass system.
  • If you’re an annual passholder, you can still use your pass, but new annual pass sales are on hold. You can still renew your pass.
  • The expiration date for partially unused multi-day tickets has been extended to Sept. 26, 2021

Temperature screenings

  • Guests will have to undergo temperature screenings for entry to some locations. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to another location for re-escreening. Guests will not be allowed entry if their temperature is still 100.4 F or above, and those in their party will be denied entry as well.

Enhanced cleaning

  • Extra attention will be given to high-traffic areas such as elevators, escalators, queues, dining areas, lobbies, and other common spaces.
  • Each Disney park will receive an enhanced cleaning before guests arrive the next day.
  • Walt Disney World hotels have also updated their cleaning standards to include enhanced cleaning and reduced contact.

Social Distancing

  • Disney has placed signage and ground markings throughout its parks to encourage guests to practice physical distancing and help them better navigate common areas.
  • Physical barriers have been put in places where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing
  • Employees have been trained to engage with guests and promote physical distancing in common areas

Cashless transactions

  • To limit the spread of the virus, guests are encouraged to use cashless payment options such as credit and debit cards, Disney gift cards, MagicBands, or contactless payment options such as mobile wallets.

My Disney Experience app

Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Park are set to open on Saturday, July 11. The park has been closed to the public since March 14.

You can learn more about the park’s enhanced health and safety measures on Disney’s website.

For information for guests with disabilities, contact Walt Disney World’s Disability Services at 407-560-2547, or email disability.services@disneyparks.com

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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