Phased Reopening Plans Pave Way for Eventual Return of Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort at Discretion of State Government

The nation is slowly recovering, thankfully, in the near-wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as statistics begin to taper off and government officials look to reopen the nation’s businesses, including Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

A child hoisted up on his parent’s shoulder as a dense crowd looks on at the “Happily Ever After” fireworks spectacular in the Magic Kingdom the night before the park closed indefinitely.

Today, President Trump unveiled new guidelines to help states reopen their businesses in phases through the easing of social distancing restrictions. The guidelines still put a heavy emphasis on continuing stringent hygiene practices like hand washing and using face masks in public. Employers should still enact social distancing, temperature checks, testing and sanitation practices in their workplaces. Large venues, including some restaurants, can operate under strict social distancing protocols. Bars, however, must remain shuttered for now.

The guidelines target May 1 as the day to begin the process of reopening the country. Ultimately, these guidelines aren’t mandatory and decisions on when and how to open will fall upon each individual state.

Across Walt Disney World, essential workers are already using face masks while carrying out necessary maintenance throughout the parks. It’s unknown whether guests will be encouraged to wear them as well upon reopening. With regards to temperature checks, Bob Iger recently commented in an interview with Barron’s that temperature checks were just one example of methods they might implement to help guests feel safer and more at ease. As far as social distancing goes, Walt Disney World may well be considered a “large venue” (or rather, a collection of large venues), and while certain areas of the parks may be allowed to open, other areas, such as bars or amphitheaters (such as the viewing location of Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) may not reopen for some time.

The reopening plan is set up in three phases, with May 1 being the first date states can choose to move forward with Phase 1. This would require two weeks of a sustained drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Phase One for specific types of employers.

Under Phase One, it seems unlikely that Walt Disney World would open unless it chooses to do so in phases, with a select limited number of parks, restaurants, and attractions open in order to operate under the required strict physical distancing protocols.

Phase Two protocol for employers.

Moving to Phase Two would require another two weeks of a sustained drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Phase Two protocol for specific types of employers.

It isn’t until the state enters Phase Two that we’d imagine the parks could truly reopen, with Non-Essential Travel now resuming at this time, as well as moderate social distancing. Under Phase Two, bars can reopen as well, albeit under diminished standing-room occupancy only. Phase Three would be considered a “return to normal”.

The current federal guidelines on social distancing are not expected to be renewed when they expire on April 30. Officials said the White House would work closely with states to ensure reopening efforts are done safely and only when local outbreaks are deemed contained.

You can read the full “Opening Up America Again” Guidelines in PDF form here. 

We’ll continue to update this post as further information is announcced during the ongoing White House press conference.

Source: CNN

For more information on booking your next trip with our official travel agent sponsor, the Vacationeer, visit wdwnt.travel.

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Justin
Justin
6 months ago

The CDC guidelines against large gatherings will remain in place long after “Phase was 1,” so if anyone thinks Disney is opening before August they are sorely mistaken. The company will wait to see how this plays out, as many health experts expect this to be a disaster as states will reopen without adequate testing.

Tim L
Tim L
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

We cancelled our trip for June 24th last week, assuming it wouldn’t be back by then, but even if it was we don’t want to spend that kind of money to be wearing masks and worrying about what we can and can’t touch. If it is open this summer it’ll most likely be smaller crowds of Florida locals. We’re going to wait till next year, which is the WDW 50th, something we wanted to see anyway. If I were the Walt Disney Company I’d be focused on the 50th in WDW, and look at this year as “a loss” at… Read more »

Hiba
Hiba
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim L

I hear you on that! My family and I have been planning to visit in January 2021, but we live in CT and my husband is a doctor at the hospital. So, seeing the numbers and knowing what we know, we don’t even know if we will go then. I feel like mass gatherings can’t be a thing until the vaccine is made. I’m wondering if people will have to show a paper showing they received it before traveling/entering large parks. Of course, people would claim discrimination, so that probably won’t happen.

Athena Cannon
Athena Cannon
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

I do not think Disney should reopen may 1 how can there be fases Disney has long lines and Disney is crowded this can not happen until the carona virus is gone, you can not do this in faces it will not work, as far as schools go that to schools should be closed for the rest of the year, kids are crowded in the Halls going from class to class I think by August things should be back to normal this.is just my opinion, may 1 is to soon to reopen things we still have the virus and people… Read more »

Carol
Carol
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Justin, I totally agree. Yes, I want the parks to open, however in the real world, Disney will be there, and if we all move to fast, more can die and then you would not be visiting the Happiest Place on Earth. Let’s be smart

CalebJQ
CalebJQ
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Justin Is correct. Anybody is incredibly misinformed if they think anything in Mass Gathering fashion is going to happen before the end of summer. not only that, but Disney has absolutely no say and when they will open their Gates Again. Basically right now they are citing that if we contain this virus right now, we still will not be approved for Mass Gathering until the end of 2020. I don’t think people understand that we don’t contain this and go right back to normal. I don’t think people understand that normal no longer exists. I don’t think people understand… Read more »

Shell
Shell
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Sadly I think money will win out over safety. Hopefully I’m wrong and Disney will wait.

Brandon
Brandon
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Sorry Mickey, this Disney family won’t be back until a vaccine is available. Stay safe!

Megan
Megan
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

August was my best guess too after reading these guidelines. Most of the country still hasn’t peaked and won’t for another 2-4 weeks. Then you need 2 weeks before you can start with phase 1, another 2 weeks until phase 2, and another 2 weeks until phase 3. So you’re talking at least 10 weeks best case scenario. But it won’t be best case scenario. It’s going to be a mess. So maybe you’ll see Disney Springs and some hotels open in July, maybe a soft opening in late August, but nothing back to normal until at least late this… Read more »

DJ Harrington
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Absurd to open anything where social gatherings would start this all over again. Living in the Keys where people of all nationalities arrive for a weekend or up to 3 week vacation. I say keep all shut down til there are NO MORE CASES

Iverson
Iverson
6 months ago
Reply to  DJ Harrington

They’ll be out of business by then. This isn’t going away for years, if ever. Disney will be open in some way probably at some point in June. And why shouldn’t they, if someone is scared or don’t want to take the risk then don’t go. Easy as that. As a society we simply have to move past this. we lose over 3,000 people a day in car accidents and yet no one is calling for highways to be shut down or cars to be limited to 45 mph. Life has risks, disease will always be around, be smart, take… Read more »

Alice
Alice
6 months ago
Reply to  Iverson

Car accidents aren’t contagious and don’t happen all within a few-week period across the country simultaneously (overwhelming ICUs) or require medical staff to wear protective gear (that isn’t available) when trying to save someone or require tests (that aren’t available) to see if they’ve actually been in a car crash in order to know how to treat them. Car crashes don’t put every person who comes into contact with the victim at great personal risk. And as most carriers have *no* symptoms yet can make vulnerable or immunocompromised people seriously ill or die, car crashes vs COVID is not even… Read more »

Penny
Penny
6 months ago
Reply to  Iverson

So if i understand if you want to go somewhere where you could easily catch covid with or without symptoms. Then come home and give it to your mother or child who were scared and decided not to go. No we shouldn’t close highways since 3000 people lose their lives, but those folks aren’t causing others go out and have accidents at 10 times the rate. Yes be smart, take risk you are comfortable with, but not ones that effect others lives. Easy as that

Alexis Baker
Alexis Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

I agree! They aren’t going to reopen straight away and they are right not to do so.
I think this is too soon, the death rate/sick rate has not decreased and priorities are just not in order….. Especially in the state of Florida. We were one of last states to shut down. Testing is inadequate. Unemployment is a bust. People aren’t listening and staying at home.

Sean
Sean
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

It’s going to be VERY interesting to witnesses what they do for sure. Disney is in a very interesting position…when to open? Do they stay safe and stay closed and LOSE more than a $$$ gazillion waiting until August? Or do they open sooner using creative ways? Can the company take on this sort of lose? Will they even want to? My guess and my own personal opinion is….they will open before August. I have been around Disney a lot over last 25 years and they love to create magic and make money.

Than
Than
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

I agree. The health professionals in my town predict that we’ll see a second wave of cases, and reopening everything too soon is exactly what will cause a second peak. I don’t think Disney will open until everyone else does first.

Minnie
Minnie
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Sorry to disagree with you, but I feel it will reopen by Mid-June.

Impressions de Frank
Impressions de Frank
6 months ago
Reply to  Justin

Just let the idiots get their freedom on. They’ll protest anyway.

VANDA E
VANDA E
6 months ago

Lol this made me laugh. Natural selection is about to run it’s course. I live in northern jersey and we are at peaking and it’s just scary. We have many testing locations and people are still turned away bc they don’t have symptoms. Whole families have it. Our nursing homes have people dying everyday. And then you see people in Florida waking on a beach like this is some big conspiracy theory.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  VANDA E

I will tell you that life in Florida is very different from New York right now. You’re talking about two very different scenarios. One place has a rampant number of cases, and outside of Miami, things are very quiet here.

Fake Blond
Fake Blond
5 months ago
Reply to  VANDA E

Because for them it is. NY and NJ are the cause of most of Florida’s cases, so stay home! I’m very sorry for what you are going through, it must be devastating. But you cannot and should not project your experience on the rest of the country.

Joe S.
Joe S.
6 months ago

I hope Disney begins a phased re-opening in mid-May.

John Ramirez
John Ramirez
6 months ago

Understood about Cast Members / workers wearing masks please ask about guests wearing masks on Disney property?

Stella
Stella
6 months ago
Reply to  John Ramirez

Mask won’t help if you touch your face. Which I see people do all day at Disney both auuls and children. So why even wear them if you are going to be rubbing your dry eyes forgetfuly?

mickey mouse
mickey mouse
6 months ago
Reply to  John Ramirez

who cares.. parks will be closed until jan 2021

Nancy M
Nancy M
6 months ago

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but there has been conflicting info to this. A top health official from FL was saying it may not happen until a vaccine is out. I don’t dare type here the answer that was given for fear people will be unhappy with the messenger but I want them to reopen asap like everyone else!!!

Hiba
Hiba
6 months ago
Reply to  Nancy M

I also feel places of mass gatherings won’t open until after a vaccine is available. It’d be reckless and irresponsible otherwise…. And that’s coming from someone who holds shares in Disney (me). Lives are more important than money, despite what others have tried to claim.

K Gabrielle
K Gabrielle
6 months ago

Reopening now would be catastrophic. We would only be reinfecting everyone dumb enough to venture out. Until we have everyone tested and vaccinated we are stuck at home. Unless we pursue full PPE suits for every American, which will limit comfort and capability. Aside from that just look at the economic factors. Disney cast furloughs aren’t even fully in effect yet, and all international staff are gone. The soonest they may begin new international programs is August. It will take time to train those cast members, so at best, if the virus disappeared tomorrow, which it won’t, the earliest they… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
6 months ago
Reply to  K Gabrielle

What about the cast members and their families ? They could be exposed to the virus by the visitors, including guests from other countries. Don’t forget the employees are people.

Sparky
Sparky
6 months ago

It’s up to the States, not the White House, to decide when and how to open. And due to a lack of testing, the pandemic will continue in America for quite some time. WDW won’t open before August.

Stella
Stella
6 months ago
Reply to  Sparky

Testing you today won’t do any good if you go out and get the virus tomorrow. So there you have it .we all need to say in. Only ones out should be the necessary people. WDW won’t open till they know it is safe! They do care about the cast members and the guesy8.

frank ford
frank ford
6 months ago

The parks won’t be opening until October, November. 🥺

Bob
Bob
6 months ago

Hurry up and reopen!! I need my Disney fix

Vieve
Vieve
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob

Your Disney fix is worth thousand dying? Ignorant and selfish.

Iverson
Iverson
6 months ago
Reply to  Vieve

The flu kills tens of thousands in the US ever year. (Not saying this virus is the same as the flu)

Should Disney choose every flu season? It would surely save lives.

Than
Than
6 months ago
Reply to  Iverson

You’re right in saying the virus is not the same as the flu. Covid has way more casualties than the flu and the flu also has a vaccine for it every year. Way more preventable, less dangerous. Comparing them is stupid.

scott gibs
scott gibs
6 months ago
Reply to  Than

From the CDC Conclusion
CDC estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season. This burden was similar to estimated burden during the 2012–2013 influenza season1.) flu shot does not always work. it is a hit and miss. just saying.

Miranda
Miranda
6 months ago

I think we watched a different press conference. Phase 3, our new normal until a vaccine is developed, mentioned gatherings of 50 people not 10s of thousands. Sadly I don’t think Disney parks even falls under phase 3.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Miranda

A gathering would be an arena full of people. Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan. If malls are reopening, so are theme parks in some capacity.

Brian
Brian
6 months ago

There is no COVID-19 vaccine. There is no cure. There is no definitive treatment. There is no widespread testing. The nation is exactly where it was before the lockdown except the U.S. now has nearly 700,000 cases & 35,000 deaths from this coronavirus. It is no safer to be out & about than it was 30 days ago. There will most likely be a deadlier second wave and possibly a third wave. We do not have a handle on this pandemic. I love Disney, but visiting during a pandemic that the federal government is handling so poorly seems incredibly dangerous.… Read more »

Roz
Roz
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian

Just how do U figure the government is handling this pandemic terribly ?!!!! I assume YOU could do a much better job. Just what do you suggest. Einstein ? If you can’t wrestle the gator stay out of the swamp. These types of idiotic Comments just lights my fire WOW

Than
Than
6 months ago
Reply to  Roz

1. We should’ve closed our borders down and stopped travel sooner. And that includes borders between states.
2. Patchwork planning didn’t help. Some states do this, some states do that. We need everybody on the same page. The federal government should’ve acted sooner.
3. A lot of people in power were spreading misinformation despite the fact they have access to boards of medical professionals which further caused confusion and frustration among the American citizens. They should’ve kept their mouths shut and let the scientists talk.

There you go, 3 suggestions (although I am not Einstein).

Robin
Robin
6 months ago

I agree with Justin. Disney isn’t opening any time soon.

Xantra Baker
Xantra Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Robin

Oh yes they are the mayor of Florida wants Bob to sit down with him and go over the reopening plans.

Dirk Disco
Dirk Disco
6 months ago

Disney and other tourist destinations should be the very last to open. Because how do we stop someone going stir crazy locked down in a hot spot coming to these destinations?

David
David
6 months ago

I don’t see how anyone would take the liability and financial risk of opening any major collaboration event before either real and accurate testing is widely available or a real vaccine is widely available

Jessica
Jessica
6 months ago

I am confused about temperatures being taken, most every guest will be experiencing high body temp, do to being 87-98 degrees daily (hotter during the summer months) in sunny south Florida. Just saying this because those guests wont beable to enter the park??

Heidi
Heidi
6 months ago
Reply to  Jessica

I’d imagine there would be a higher temp threshold to look for (over 100 degrees) since 98.6 is only the average. If a person is running a fever from the heat alone they need medical help anyway (heat exhaustion or heat stroke). I’d be more concerned about the asymptomatic people who can infect others without realizing they are carrying the virus.

Penny Roach
Penny Roach
6 months ago

How would you ever be able to do any distancing in attraction lines? Fireworks closing crowds?

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Penny Roach

How do they distance lines in supermarkets?

None
None
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

By placing a marker 6 feet away from the next marker. It’s been done in many states at this point.

Dave
Dave
6 months ago
Reply to  None

Possible at grocery stores. At Disney a line for Avatar at 6 ft markers would stretch from AK to MK.

Jak
Jak
6 months ago
Reply to  Dave

I don’t see the parks being crowded. If they limit the number of people going in each day then it’s possible to put markers on the ground for waiting in line. The auditoriums would have to seat people every 4 seats or so. I think the almighty dollar is going to win out.

elle
elle
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

They also limit the number of people allowed in our supermarkets, with employees monitoring that customers are staying one cart away from each other. Regulations are so tight here in Australia that governments closed businesses that were not adhering to the rules.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  elle

I wasn’t asking so much as using what open businesses are doing as an example.

Than
Than
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

You weren’t asking? You literally asked a question.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Than

It’s rhetorical. Most people have been to a grocery store since this started.

Lindsey
Lindsey
6 months ago
Reply to  Penny Roach

Virtual Queing would keep people out of lines. Fireworks would probably need to be canceled.

Louise Moore
Louise Moore
6 months ago

I hope WDW opens up as soon as possible! Be an optimistic example for the world, who will be watching what Disney does. Reflect Walt’s optimism! Encourage people to wash hands, etc; but left people make the free choice whether to go or not go, and give your employees the chance to go back to work,too! (Without forcing anyone). Thank you!!

scottipbo2
scottipbo2
6 months ago
Reply to  Louise Moore

Honey this is not happening and it scares me that you even want it to. Listen why would we go through what we have been going through for 6 weeks to just go to Disney and get people even sicker. Please be careful who you say these things to especially children who may take off handed comments for granted. We need to be so careful like Justin and others have said and stay home and safe.

Xantra Baker
Xantra Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  scottipbo2

I heard the beaches are open in Florida and everyone was out having fun. Disney World will be open soon.

Vieve
Vieve
6 months ago
Reply to  Louise Moore

Making uniformed choices that defy reason, science, and respect for our communities does not equal optimism, and Walt would never do that.

Iverson
Iverson
6 months ago
Reply to  Louise Moore

I agree with you. Let people take the risks they want to take.

Xantra Baker
Xantra Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Louise Moore

If I want to go Disney World it’s my choice.

Be Ge
Be Ge
6 months ago
Reply to  Xantra Baker

If you want to go to Disney World… it’s Disney Worlds choice not yours. Lol. That’s the point of all this.

Todd H
Todd H
6 months ago

Direct from Disney, not happening. It’s tentative for July.

Tom Corless
Admin
6 months ago
Reply to  Todd H

“Source?!?”

I’ve just always wanted to say that to somebody.

Xantra Baker
Xantra Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Tom Corless

I said the same thing too! Tom

Stella
Stella
6 months ago
Reply to  Todd H

I don’t think you got that from Disney because they can’t make that decision on their own.It is impossible. They have to wait for permission from the state and the president to say ok lockdown is over it is safe to get on with our daily lives

Xantra Baker
Xantra Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Stella

Stella the mayor is working with Bob Iger on planning to reopen Disney World. If Bob wants to reopen in June and I will support him on that and that’s my decision.

Xantra Baker
Xantra Baker
6 months ago
Reply to  Todd H

I say June!!!!!!!

Joe
Joe
6 months ago

Not sure if you saw the report out of Boston where they tested 397 people who stayed at the Pine Street Inn Homeless Shelter. 146 of those people tested positive. But the shocking realization was that ALL of the 146 positives were asymptomatic. This story highlights the need for universal testing. I don’t think Disney will want to discriminate and tell immuno-compromised or any populations that may be more susceptible to COVID-19 to not visit. (You’d be amazed at how many opinions I’ve seen on message boards, saying “they should just open it up for the people who are willing… Read more »

EWinMB
EWinMB
6 months ago

I’ll plan to make my next trip early next year – probably February.

I’m not certain when WDW opens (neither does anyone else), but I’m not interested in being there until we’ve all got confidence in everyone’s safety and well-being. It just isn’t worth it to me to be there until that time.

If they open sooner rather than later, well, I’m a patient guy. I like being there that time of year.

Iverson
Iverson
6 months ago

I’m hearing more and more that this virus has been going around for much longer than we think. When the antibody test comes out it’s going to be eye-opening how many of us have already had it. Disney parks will be open at some point in the summer, likely full operation by the end of the year at the latest. At some point as a society we have to just accept the risk and move on. Social distancing was not the complete cause of this pandemic not being as bad as they predicted. It wasn’t as bad as they predicted… Read more »