Disney releases statement on reopening the parks

May 05, 2020 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Disney has released a statement on its plans and processes for reopening its theme parks, and although it doesn't offer any specifics on dates, it does present the first official details on what Disney is planning.

From Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel.

Dear Guests,

As you may have heard at Disney’s Q2 FY20 Earnings Results Webcast, our CEO Bob Chapek announced that Shanghai Disney Resort will begin the phased reopening of Shanghai Disneyland on May 11 – an encouraging sign for Disney parks and retail locations all over the world. After so much time at home, I know many of you are eager to enjoy the magic of a Disney parks visit, and we can’t wait to welcome you back.

I’m fortunate to work with Disney’s extraordinarily talented team of health and safety experts who are some of the most experienced in the industry. Together, with our colleagues in operations, and local health and government authorities, we’re evaluating several new and enhanced safety measures to do our part towards helping us stay well while we work, stay, and play at a Disney resort and a Disney store. I’m also working closely with the US Travel Association on a set of guidelines the travel industry may tailor to their individual businesses to help demonstrate that safety of travelers is a top focus.

To that end, I want to share an update with you about our plans and considerations as we prepare for the reopening of our parks, resorts and stores. At Disney, we’re exploring:

Phased reopening: We’re looking at all of our locations and how best to begin the reopening process, including a gradual reopening and/or partial reopening of certain locations. For example, the opening of retail and dining locations prior to the opening of our theme parks.

Physical distancing and capacity measures: As you can imagine, managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort is a major focus, as we implement physical distancing guidelines based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. This will likely include implementation of guest capacity measures to comply with state and federal guidelines. We’re also exploring ways to use technology to aid us in these efforts, like with our Play Disney Parks App and through virtual queues at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Cleanliness and sanitization: We’re planning increased cleaning and disinfection, determining where that should take place (for example, in high-traffic areas), and the cleaning products and processes we’ll use.

Screening and prevention support: We’ll follow guidance from the government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, including those related to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face coverings. Some measures, like adding hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across our resorts, have already been implemented.

Cast training: We’re further emphasizing our strong culture of health and safety amongst our cast members, and will continue to provide new training and reinforcement as we get closer to reopening.

These are just a few examples of the many areas we are developing plans for, so please keep an eye on our online channels, where we’ll provide more details as we confirm and begin to implement our plans. Given the constantly changing global health environment, these practices may evolve as we consider the latest guidance, but we will share more information with you as we look towards reopening.

In the meantime, our focus remains on the health and safety of the entire Disney community – including the wellbeing of the Cast Members who are caring for and securing our parks and resorts during the closure. We have already implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures, such as increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in work areas, adjusting practices to promote physical distancing, and providing Cast with access to necessary PPE, including face coverings. We continue to learn from these experiences and will carry these lessons into reopening and beyond.

Finally, I want to recognize the medical professionals working to bring care and comfort in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to do what we can to help support the medical community and our local communities during this time.

We’re looking forward to welcoming all of you back to our Disney parks, resorts and stores. Until we are together once again, we wish you and your families health, hope, and happiness.

Discuss on the Forums
Article Posted: May 05, 2020 / 5:10pm ET
View all comments →

GoofyernmostMay 10, 2020

Agreed, but that doesn't have anything to do with avoiding Covid 19.

nickysMay 10, 2020

Fair enough. But I can’t agree with this: “Just one day at MK can easily hit 10 or more miles. Doing that requires a very healthy body and be it because of being a germophobe or genetics, it is a very limited number of people”. Agreed on distance, but the vast majority of guests at WDW manage to walk all day just fine. It may be a limited number who would ordinarily choose to walk from GF (or even the Poly), but if the alternative is having to wait for a bus (not the usual monorail) which is going to be half full at best so likely waiting for quite some time, my guess is many would just walk.

GoofyernmostMay 10, 2020

They always did track you all the time except before high tech took over they tracked you exclusively by camera (that still exists). Because they have the ability to track doesn't mean that there is a large group of sinister looking men dressed in black tracking each individual, by name, in the thousands of guests that are there at any given moment. If you lost a child in that crowd, believe me you would praise the ability they have to locate your child. Something they weren't doing until you asked them too. Why because they didn't have any reason to do so. You are sighting an incident were something unusual happened and it was connected to a band that was in your name. If that hadn't happened I'm at a loss to figure out what is accomplished by monitoring every single person as a matter of normal procedure. But, I'm sure that there is a conspiracy for everything, so I'm sure some evil must be taking place.

GoofyernmostMay 10, 2020

They aren't necessarily, but walking is all one does at WDW. Just one day at MK can easily hit 10 or more miles. Doing that requires a very healthy body and be it because of being a germophobe or genetics, it is a very limited number of people. So, if I were concerned about my health 24/7 then the last place I would be is mingling in a large group of germ carrying humans. Plus the part of what I wrote was that the benefit that would be gained by walking to MK from the Grand Floridian would be quickly cancelled out by what is encountered once you entered the park. So, my point was that avoiding the transit to walk there thinking that you just dodged any threat of illness is like peeing in the ocean and expecting to see the rise in the sea level. So to use your own sentence if they are unlikely to be afraid of the virus then why would they not take the transit. Basically, those that walk would have walked anyway, so it won't help tremendously in relation to avoiding illness.

crawaleMay 10, 2020

Three years ago we had an issue with my grandson swiping his band twice on a ride. About 30 minutes later Disney called my cell to ask if we had resolved the issue so of course they are tracking you all the time.

nickysMay 10, 2020

Why would those who are happy to walk from GF be germ-obsessed? Surely they’d be the fit, healthy guests? And it would probably be quicker than the wait for the half filled buses or whatever. Anyone who stays and visits in the first few months are highly unlikely to be afraid of the virus.

GoofyernmostMay 10, 2020

That would help very little. It wouldn't help me at all and wouldn't those that are able to walk it easily be part of the germ obsessed community and not want to go there at all. Remember there is a crowd at the end of the sidewalk. The same crowd that is at the end of the Bus route, the Monorail route and the Gondola Route, the small boats, the minnie vans that have upholstery, carpets and door handles, and every object on every item in every park. How much does anyone think they can hide from this virus anyway? If one is going to go, they might just as well own the responsibility if they get sick. No amount of masks, hand-washing or disinfectant will protect anyone from it if their body is unable to ward off the virus. At home, and in controlled situations, they have a chance. In a theme park, it is just throwing caution to the wind. Proceed at your own risk.

MansionButler84May 10, 2020

Those would help tremendously.

Magic FeatherMay 10, 2020

I don’t know why the launches (boats) couldn’t be used for GF. Worst case they throw the MK 1 and 2 (or whatever they call the old Discovery island River Boats now) back on that route. The only issue with that is the fact that they are already down to two docks, so that may not work. Regardless, I’ve been hearing that a few projects may emerge and restart construction a bit before the park reopens in hopes that they get done pre-parks reopening to help with Social Distancing efforts. Among those, I’ve heard a somewhat shoddy/quick finish to the GF walkway being considered, in addition to putting a lot of resources into finishing the final security improvements (MK Parkside and AK)

MansionButler84May 10, 2020

All I know is that there were serious concerns about telling GF guests to ride a bus to MK. Pity they waited so long on that bridge... Perhaps they can save the monorail for resort guests and not from from TTC. Boats shouldn’t be any less safe than buses if they use appropriate capacities.

nbarMay 10, 2020

I was thinking about this as well. Does anyone have an idea or insight as to how Disney will handle transportation when they reopen? @marni1971 @Magic Feather @MansionButler84 @WDW Pro

peter11435May 08, 2020

That’s basically what every company, organization, government and individual is forced to do right now.

ThelazerMay 08, 2020

It's make it up as you go time, from the planning side of parks and resorts.

MisterPenguinMay 08, 2020

From what I've seen of the FL task force is that they basically said in the end that they trust the theme parks to do their own thing and they weren't going to micro-manage them.