Disney World proposes mid-July reopening dates

ORLANDO -- Walt Disney World presented a plan for a phased reopening of its parks after shuttering for months during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company proposed reopening Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Park on July 11, 2020, and reopening Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15, 2020, before the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force Wednesday.

The task force approved the plans, which now need approval from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The proposal also details how Disney plans to hold a soft opening for "select" guests as a way to test out the safety protocols prior to these mid-July dates. Once reopened, the parks would require guests to book reservations before their arrival.

Disney World would implement a number of safety protocols, including required face coverings for guests and employees, barriers to encourage physical distancing, more frequent cleaning protocols and temperature screenings, among others.

With 77,000 workers, Disney World is central Florida's biggest employer.

"We believe our reopening plan reflects a very thoughtful, methodical and phased approach," said Jim McPhee, the senior vice president of operations at Walt Disney World.

SeaWorld also presented an opening plan and proposed June 11 as an opening date.

Disney began a phased reopening of the Disney Springs dining and shopping district on May 20. The Orlando-area complex reopened with limited capacity, parking and operating hours, and all employees and visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear face coverings.

Earlier this month, Shanghai Disneyland became the first of Disney's theme park resorts to reopen, with severe limits on the number of visitors allowed in, mandatory masks and temperature checks.

The company has not announced a proposal to reopen Disneyland in California.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this station.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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