Disney fans have been getting their fix riding the rides virtually, whipping up park exclusive treats in the kitchen and binge watching their favorite movies. We are not sure what life looks like after social distancing norms begin to ease. Florida’s Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force is also focused on putting a plan in place for reopening the state’s theme parks.

It is still unclear when it will be safe for the parks to reopen. During a meeting of the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, mayor Jerry Demings predicts that a June reopening seems more realistic than May, but nothing is official yet. The task force laid out their initial guidelines for large theme parks including Walt Disney World. 

Within the guidelines for reopening the country, the parks will reopen in phases. In the first phase, parks will be allowed to fill to 50 percent capacity, rising to 75 percent in phase two. Employees will be required to wear masks at all times, have their temperature taken before each shift and stay home if they are not feeling well or are 65 and older. 

Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the parks, especially at ticket booths and ride entrances. Railings and surfaces will be wiped down after every use. Guidelines for large parks include putting down tape markings requiring guests to stand six feet apart on each attraction line. 

Theme park hotels will also reopen in phases. During phase one, hotels will encourage patrons to utilize mobile check-ins if available, limit housekeeping, conduct contactless room service delivery and promote social distancing whenever possible. Touchless hand sanitizer stations will be located in common areas, highly trafficked areas will have their surfaces cleaned often and self-parking will be encouraged. Guest rooms may look a little different as items like glassware, coffee cups and coffee makers will be removed and minibars will not be stocked. 

Similar to the theme parks, on-site restaurants will be able to fill to 50 percent capacity in phase one and 75 percent in phase two. Disposable paper menus will be encouraged as will takeout and delivery options. If you wish to dine-in, tables will be set up at least six feet apart. Restaurant employees will be required to wear masks. Hand sanitizer will be readily accessible and surfaces will be wiped down often. 

Stores located in the parks will be required to have their entrance doors propped open. Hand sanitizer stations will be located at various points throughout the store and commonly touched surfaces will be wiped down regularly. Checkout lines will be marked to ensure shoppers stand six feet apart. 

These are just the initial thoughts of Florida’s economic recovery task force and details are subject to change as more information about the virus and the country’s reopening plans become available. 

Even if the parks look different initially, guests should not expect their visit to be any less magical.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: Joel Sutherland on Unsplash

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