We’ve all heard the news that as per Florida’s governor, the entire state of Florida is officially in Phase 3 of reopening. But what does that mean for theme parks? The truth is, not a whole lot.
The Governor has said that in Phase 3, all theme parks can open at full capacity. To be honest, many thought (myself, included), how this would work, and what it would look like. Since Governor DeSantis’s announcement, Disney and Univeral have released statements.
In a written statement, Disney said:
“We received the Governor’s executive order and are evaluating it to determine what it may mean for our business. We are not making any immediate changes. As a reminder, face coverings are still required at Walt Disney World Resort.”
Also in a written statement, Universal Orlando said:
“We will review the Governor’s executive order and continue to work closely with local health officials. In the meantime, we will continue to follow our enhanced health and safety protocols and keep the health and safety of our guests and team members our top priority.”
Here’s what Phase 3 means for theme parks, nothing is going to change. At least not for the foreseeable future.
Let’s look at what it takes to run a theme park at capacity. For one, parks would need all hands on deck, which means Cast Members and Team Members would all need to be brought back from furlough. Which isn’t an easy thing to do at the moment. It would take months to bring back all furloughed employees, and there would even have to be new hires and training for the new employees. Let’s say these parks are able to bring back furloughed employees, as well as train any new hires, with the amount of money they’ve lost these last few months, it’s hard to believe they would have the funds to support a full payroll.
Next would be hotels. As of now, not every Disney or Universal hotel is open. Every hotel would have to reopen, be fully staffed, and safely set up to resume operations at 100%. Again, this is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It would take weeks, maybe even months, to see this through.
Both Disney and Universal have successfully put into place new health and safety guidelines. However, these protocols have largely been a success due in part to the parks operating at limited capacity. For example, Disney’s Park Pass reservation system would essentially become obsolete if the parks were to open at capacity. Their new park pass system is something that Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, has said will be around for a very long time.
I’m only scratching the surface here. There are thousands of other reasons these parks will not be operating at full capacity anytime soon. Truth be told, I’m happy about it. I’ve enjoyed the low crowds and the new protocols at both Universal, and Disney, have become so much apart of our theme park routine, I forget that they weren’t always in place.
If you have a vacation planned for either Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, and the news of Florida moving to phase 3 scares you a little bit, try not to let it get to you. First of all, your feelings and thoughts are completely valid. These are challenging times, that’s for sure. But if you were comfortable to book a vacation, that level of comfort shouldn’t go anywhere. The parks are not increasing capacity, still enforcing face masks, and have no intention of changing anything of their new protocols anytime soon. You can rest easy, and know that they have done all they can to create an extremely safe environment for their guests and employees. To date, there have been no cases of COVID linked to any theme park resort, or their hotels.