Walt Disney World is officially open for cast member previews and will be reopening to the public on July 11th! The Disney World reopening offers a first look at the new normal coming to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in the coronavirus era once Disney’s Anaheim theme parks eventually open their gates.
The OC Register reports that the reopening of Disney’s Florida theme parks offers a first look at the new normal with additional health and safety measures including mandatory face masks, temperature checks, reduced attendance, social distancing and enhanced sanitization and is expected to serve as a blueprint for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have begun a phased reopening process with the two Florida parks welcoming cast members for an employee preview. The cast member previews will run on Tuesday, July 7th and Wednesday, July 8th followed by annual passholder previews on Thursday, July 9th and Friday, July 10th. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopen to the general public on Saturday, July 11th followed by the return of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot on July 15th.
Crowds were relatively light when Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened for employee previews today with reduced capacity and required advanced reservations, based on social media posts by Disney bloggers who accompanied cast members.
Guests arriving at the Animal Kingdom parking lot were instructed to pull their cars into every other parking space. Additional cars filled in the empty spots once the earlier guests had unloaded and cleared the area.
Cast members directed those traveling to the Magic Kingdom by monorail to numbered gate markers to avoid herding during the boarding process. Newly installed vinyl partitions separated rows of seats in each monorail cabin.
Vending machines sold masks for visitors who forgot to bring face coverage inside the newly installed temperature tents
At security checkpoints, Magic Kingdom guests were instructed to place electronics and metal items into clear plastic bags provided by Disney to speed inspections and reduce touch points. Animal Kingdom visitors breezed through newly built security checkpoints thanks to a new Evolv Express no-touch bag check system.
As visitors entered the park for the first time since mid-March, Disney cast members lined Main Street to waive at the guests.
Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana and other Disney princesses waved hello from the Main Street train station platform — safely socially distanced from the visitors below.
Piglet, Eeyore and other Winnie the Pooh characters delighted guests as they took a socially distanced ride on a horse-drawn trolley down the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street
Tinker Bell is waving to guests from a pixie-tastic float in Magic Kingdom! ✨ pic.twitter.com/Gw9x6kcYom
— Orlando Informer (@OrlandoInformer) July 7, 2020
Social distancing stretched from the attraction queues to the rides themselves. Plexiglass dividers were installed on the Jungle Cruise boats to separate riders sitting on the bench seats (and possibly to shield them from bad jokes delivered by the skippers). The Haunted Mansion stretching room — which is only a visual illusion and not an elevator at the Magic Kingdom — was deactivated and was a walk-through only experience.
— JAY-COB (@JayInFlorida) July 7, 2020
Mask-free relaxation stations set up throughout Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom gave guests a chance to temporarily remove their face masks in the Florida heat. Signs in the relaxation stations warned visitors not to move chairs spaced six feet apart. Theme park maps were updated with the relaxation station locations.
We know that when Disneyland and California Adventure reopen we can expect the same safety/health precautions and a great magical “Welcome back!” from all the cast members!