ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Theme park fans in Tampa Bay will soon be able to explore central Florida’s abundance of attractions but things will be different than when they closed in March.
Walt Disney World, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, announced its plans Wednesday to reopen its parks in July.
It plans to reopen Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom July 11. EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are set to reopen on July 15.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings endorsed Disney’s plans after they were presented to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force Wednesday morning.
The plans have now been submitted to the state of Florida.
Guests at Walt Disney World will have their temperature checked and will be required to wear face coverings.
“We have strong language that says they are required when you enter into the property. We have our social distancing squad in the area that is politely and effectively encouraging our guests to keep the masks on,” said Jim McPhee, Walt Disney World Senior Vice President of Operations.
Capacity will be significantly reduced in the parks, restaurants, attractions, retail stores and modes of transportation.
“We will be also managing our overall attendance demand through a new theme park reservation system that will require our guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance,” said McPhee.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, Disney is temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations.
Existing ticket holders and annual passholders will be able to make reservation requests.
Disney is suspending meet-and-greets, fireworks and parades to promote social distancing.
Hand sanitizer will be available and crews will be implementing enhanced cleaning measures throughout the resort.
Disney Springs opened last week. Disney Vacation Club resorts and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will be reopening June 22.
Mayor Demings also endorsed SeaWorld’s plans to reopen Wednesday.
SeaWorld intends to reopen SeaWorld park, Aquatica and Discovery Cove to the public on June 11.
“We’ll create staggered seating so that people can have the appropriate distancing and then after those shows and presentations we will have enhanced cleaning processes in those areas as well,” said Marc Swanson, Interim CEO, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
Temperature screenings and face coverings will be required for guests and employees. Guests without a mask will be provided one.
As with all theme parks set to reopen, SeaWorld will be enhancing its cleaning and sanitation measures.
“We will actually have hand sanitizer as you get on the ride, hands sanitizer as you get off the ride,” said Swanson.
Universal Studios Orlando announced last week its intent to fully reopen to the public on June 5.
Masks and temperature checks will be required for all guests and employees at Universal Studios.
LEGOLAND Florida in Winter Haven will reopen to guests on Monday.
Visitors will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.
Busch Gardens and Adventure Island, which are owned by the same company as SeaWorld, have not announced reopening plans.