In what shouldn't come as too big of a surprise to potential guests and Disney fans, Walt Disney World will be without one of its staples as they begin the process of reopening. According to Blog Mickey, in an email sent out to guests Disney Parks stated “certain experiences such as Character dining cannot be provided." The Character dining experiences won't be the only parts of standard Disney Parks operations with both parades and nighttime spectaculars cancelled until further notice at the parks. As part of their reopening efforts, Disney will also be limiting the number of people inside the parks and controlling "guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing."
It was announced last week that Walt Disney World Resort will have a phased re-opening for its four Orlando parks with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom set to open on July 11th, and Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios opening on July 15th. In addition to smaller percentage of guests being allowed in the parks at any one time, Disney will make “high-touch” experiences unavailable including makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets. Despite no dining or meet and greets being available, characters will still be present throughout the Disney parks.
Walt Disney World will also enforce a policy of guests 2 years of age and older being required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. There will be some areas of the parks with limited mask-free “relaxation zone," with designated areas where guests can remove their masks for a short period.
"I think what we can say is that we've done everything we can to open up responsibly," Disney CEO Bob Chapek previously said why the parks are safe for guests to return. "Taking the guidance of local health officials, state health officials, national health officials, plus our own well qualified doctors on staff to create an environment to create new operating procedures, to create new policies, to do new training, new standards of hygiene. So that when a guest comes in we can continue the trust that guests have always had with the Walt Disney company and enjoy the parks so they can make those magical memories that last a lifetime.”
The Disney Springs shopping area in Orlando has already begun its phased reopening plans, allowing some people into stores with strict rules in place.
Other theme parks in Florida are trying to get the ball rolling even faster than Disney. Legoland Florida is hoping to reopen on June 1st, followed by Universal Studios on June 5th and SeaWorld on June 11th.