As Walt Disney World Resort prepares for its official reopening in Orlando, Florida, this month, employees will be allowed to visit one of the resort’s theme parks this week to help the hospitality and entertainment giant practice its coronavirus safety procedures.
The company first announced the internal opportunity on its social media platforms in late June to give cast members, as it calls employees, advance notice of the exclusive preview.
“Before our phased reopening of our parks to our guests on July 11, there will be a few days reserved for a special Cast Member Preview opportunity,” explained Walt Disney World Ambassador Stephen Lim in an Instagram video. “While there is limited space for each preview, it gives you, your friends and your family the chance to visit one theme park of your choice so that you can help test some of our new health and safety measures.
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The Cast Preview is open to Florida-based employees of Walt Disney World as well as Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort cast members.
FOX Business reached out to The Walt Disney Company for comment on its Cast Preview at Walt Disney World Resort but did not immediately hear back at the time of publication.
Outside of testing the company’s health and safety features, tens of thousands of theme park cast members are scheduled to return to work for Walt Disney World Resort’s reopening, according to a Friday news release on the Disney Parks Blog.
In a video accompanying the news release, a group of Disney cast members are shown returning to their respective theme parks for health and safety training – all of whom are wearing protective face masks.
“I have missed it so much. So much! I’m a true Disney fanatic,” one cast member shares in a snippet of the 55-second clip.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks are reopening July 11 while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are reopening July 15. A reopening date for Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park has yet to be determined, according to the company’s website.
In May, Shanghai Disneyland Park in China was reopened with coronavirus-related social distancing and 30 percent guest capacity procedures. Hong Kong Disneyland followed a similar reopening in June while Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea finally reopened on Wednesday.
Disneyland Paris will also be reopening on July 15, which leaves Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the remaining park without a set reopening date. Previously, the company was aiming for a July 17 reopening of its California theme park, but rising coronavirus cases have delayed plans.
However, Disney cast members will be able to preview the Downtown Disney District ahead of the shopping and entertainment complex’s official reopening on July 9, according to a Facebook post from the Disneyland Resort Ambassadors page.
Disney’s reopening of its hotels, theme parks and shopping centers have received criticism from several trade union groups and concerned residents throughout the U.S. Multiple petitions have been launched in favor of keeping the various properties closed, some of which have been reportedly been signed by Disney employees.