The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the tourism industry, as many are unsure if and when that aspect of modern life will truly return to "normal". After being closed down for months, several theme parks and other attractions are beginning to experiment with ways to potentially reopen -- and it looks like Walt Disney World is among them. The park is holding "cast member preview days" this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, as a way to test the safety precautions that Disney currently has in place.
A good-sized crowd coming in to the Magic Kingdom right now pic.twitter.com/Ri9yMeRkgJ— WDW News Today (@WDWNT) July 7, 2020
As the name suggests, the idea lets cast members - who have reportedly been training and learning new COVID-19 safety procedures since June 28th - roam around the park and experience what it will be like for guests. Photos from these events have made their way online, and show what the crowds are like even without normal guests at the park.
“It is a really exciting day, it’s the first day there are ‘guests’ in the park, it’s cast members as guests, but they are guests,” Eric Clinton, President of the Unite Here Local 362 union, which represents Disney custodial and attractions cast members, told Click Orlando.
"There has been a real emphasis on safety, PPE, social distancing," Clinton added. "Disney is doing all those things, enhanced cleaning, there are hand washing stations every 250 square feet, sanitizer is everywhere, every ride is getting cleaned and disinfected."
There is, of course, some apprehension outside of the House of Mouse, as many think that the park's opening is risky amid Florida's dire coronavirus numbers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tried to go against that apprehension, arguing that the plans Disney and other theme parks have put in place are "very thorough".
“Disney, I have no doubt, it’s going to be a safe environment,” DeSantis said on Monday. “The folks who put a premium on safety, that’s showing you that, you know, we’re able to handle this, have society function still when people go into work, but do it in a way that you take some basic precautions and so we’re really impressed with what Universal has done, and I’ve looked at Disney’s plan ... it’s very very thorough.”0comments
Disney World will reportedly let annual pass holders visit the park beginning this Thursday and Friday, with the park being opened to general attendees on Saturday. Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot will open on July 15th.
What do you think of Walt Disney World beginning to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.