A very different Disney World is reopening on July 11th, 2020.
Disney has announced that guests will be required to wear face masks, have their temperature checked at the gate, and keep their distance from each other while in the Resort. The Magic Kingdom will reopen with a third of it’s usual operating capacity, and events that draw crowds (like parades and fireworks) are not happening.
But don’t plan to spend the day with your breathing hole covered in 100 degree heat just yet — like with Shanghai, tickets will be dated and you’ll be required to buy in advance, but Annual Passholders and existing ticket holders will be the first guests allowed to book a date with Mickey and Minnie.
Speaking of, character meet-and-greets are also not happening, but Disney says characters will be in the parks to “delight and entertain.” I’ve never seen a crowd not form near a character, even when they’re just working their way from backstage to a meet-and-greet area, so I’m not sure how the appearance of Goofy isn’t going to instantly draw a crowd.
EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open a few days later, on July 15th.
This sounds entirely unpleasant. Face masks that become wet from absorbing the moisture from your mouth and the sweat from your face while developing a unique odor, as you spend all day in the hot and humid Florida sun, with no characters to snap photos with, no parades, and no fireworks at night. Nothing about this version of a Disney theme park appeals to me. Yes, you should wear a mask when you’re in public, and yes, you should distance yourself from others as much as possible. But this isn’t how I’d want to spend a day in a theme park in the middle of summer. I have no doubt Disney World’s one-third capacity limit will be hit every day this summer, but I’m in no rush to be part of that. I’ve experienced the sights and sounds of agitated parents and crying children in good conditions when there isn’t a deadly pandemic; I can’t imagine what it’ll be like to watch a parent force their crying kid into a face mask and somehow keep it on them the entire day. Or for a parent to start a fight with security because they, the parent, refuse to wear a face mask. My pessimistic hot take is that people will be at their worst in these conditions.
And despite all of these precautions, there’s of course no guarantee that guests won’t catch COVID-19.
I’ll stay home until the vaccine.