Disney World reopens as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

Coronavirus

ORLANDO, Fla. — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is reopening after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later on July 15.

Drawing on experience from the reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort, Disney Springs and Walt Disney World resort hotels and transportation, the theme parks will reopen with a deliberate, approach that includes limits on attendance and controlled guest density, according to a Walt Disney World news release.

New health and safety measures implemented across the parks will follow recommendations from health agencies and government officials.

Disney’s new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations to enter a park, and they won’t be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together.

The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop.

All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus.

Disney has been opening its parks back up around the globe for the past two months. In May, the company opened Disney Springs, a complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake Buena Vista.

  • Cars drive under a sign greeting visitors near the entrance to Walt Disney World, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Despite a huge surge of Floridians testing positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, two of Disney World's four parks are reopening Saturday, July 11. When they do, visitors to “The Most Magical Place on Earth” will find new rules in place. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
  • FILE - This March 24, 2020, file photo shows the parking plaza entrance to the Magic Kingdom as Walt Disney World enters its second week of being shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite a huge surge of Floridians testing positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, two of Disney World's four parks are reopening Saturday, July 11. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
  • Signs direct motorists to the various theme parks at Walt Disney World, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11. Disney World's other two parks, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, will welcome back guests four days later. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
  • FILE - In this June 16, 2020, file photo, guests required to wear masks because of the coronavirus stroll through the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11. In May, the company opened Disney Springs. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
  • This photo shows the top of the newly painted Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom from World Drive at Walt Disney World on Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11. Disney World's other two parks, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, will welcome back guests four days later. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Must-See Stories

More Must-See Stories
North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline: 1-866-462-3821

MOST POPULAR

Follow FOX8 on Twitter