Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Walt Disney World plans to reopen its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks on July 11, pending state approval, which would end a nearly four-month shut down that stifled business for Central Florida's biggest employer.
EPCOT and Hollywood Studios would follow on July 15, the company announced. The parks have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
|DIS||THE WALT DISNEY CO.||150.37||+4.15||+2.84%|
An Orange County task force on Wednesday approved a range of safety measures proposed by Disney. The plans now await Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' approval.
"In preparing to reopen during this unusual time, we have to manage our theme parks in a very different way from what we've known before," Disney said, adding that its "phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach."
Disney World will reduce capacity and temporarily eliminate attractions such as parades that draw big crowds. "High-touch" experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet-and-greets will also remain temporarily unavailable, though characters will still walk around the park grounds for guest entertainment.
Cast members and guests older than two years of age will be required to undergo temperature screenings before entering and wear face coverings while inside. Cleaning and disinfection procedures will be increased in high-traffic areas and cashless transactions will be recommended.
Like Six Flags, the theme park will also manage attendance through a reservation system in an effort to manage traffic. Disney cautioned that it is pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations in an effort to focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.
Last week, Disney World allowed third-party businesses at its Disney Springs dining and shopping complex to open with new restrictions. Earlier this month, Shanghai Disneyland became the first Disney theme park resort to reopen, with limits on the number of visitors allowed in, mandatory masks and temperature checks.
"We're being deliberate during these phased reopenings, and we're encouraged by how our guests are responding at Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs," Disney said. "We're doing our part, and we need our guests to do their part, too, as we work together to focus on safety."
The four theme parks at Walt Disney World attracted 157.3 million visitors in 2018, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. They rank as the most-visited theme parks in the world.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.