Disney Issues Haunting Warning as Its First Attraction Reopens
Disney officials are cautioning visitors to enter at their own risk amid coronavirus concerns.
Disney fans, rejoice! After being closed for more than two months, Walt Disney World is finally back in business in Orlando, starting with phase one of its reopening plan. On May 20, Disney Springs—an outdoor shopping and dining complex attached to the Florida theme park—will resume partial operations. But before you don your Mickey ears, you should read this warning from the House of Mouse. On Monday, May 18, Disney released the following strict coronavirus disclaimer:
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other guests, and cast members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney Springs.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting Disney Springs you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
The aforementioned health and safety measures include mandatory face masks (for employees, cast members, and guests ages 3 and up), temperature checks, and social distancing—all of which are similar safety procedures put in place at Shanghai Disneyland, which was the first of Disney's theme parks worldwide to reopen on May 11.
"We want to open up as soon as we can across the world, but we are going to do so in a responsible way," Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently told CNBC. "Slow and steady for us."
"Everybody knows that COVID-19 is a serious matter," Chapek continued. "I think it is a good sign that Disney Springs is going to open up in Orlando."
Here's a video outlining some of the changes fans will see at Disney Springs this week:
According to a recent statement from Disney World, third-party stores and restaurants will debut first at Disney Springs, followed by three Disney-owned venues (World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger, and the Marketplace Co-Op) a week later, on May 27. As for what comes next, Chapek was tight-lipped in his interview with CNBC.
"We're not going to comment on any specific timing," he said, noting that Shanghai Disneyland had a similar path to reopening. "You know, we, we stuck our toe in the water, if you will, in Shanghai, with Disney Town, and we operated that for about a month and everything went extremely well. Once again, the guests really cooperated, our operations people were phenomenal and we held to the standards that we set up. And hopefully we'll see that at Disney Springs as well. And this will be the beginning of a great new rebirth of Disney parks." And for more on how Disney will look different post-pandemic, check out the 7 Things You Won't See at Disney World Ever Again After Coronavirus.