Walt Disney World has been closed since mid-March due to coronavirus. The days of being under stay-at-home orders have seemingly hit those who view Orlando and Disney World as their “home” harder than most. As someone who lives here, I can assure you that no one wants your “happy place” to open more than the thousands of cast members who have been sitting at home for the last two months, trying to negotiate Florida’s dysfunctional unemployment system. They also want their work environment to be safe for them, without worry of contracting COVID-19 and returning home and spreading it to their family and friends.
The theme parks in Orlando are each opening on their own timelines, after submitting their reopening plans to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, and then they need to get final approval from the Governor of Florida.
Just last week, the news outlets reported that theme parks were starting to present their reopening plans. That apparently wasn’t good enough for the most rabid Disney fans who wanted their parks open NOW! After all, Universal is opening over a month before Disney is!
The Disney Parks Blog, an official Disney social media entity, has been keeping their fans abreast of the process and changes that have to be made in light of the “new normal.” Here’s one of the responses they got (grammatical errors are theirs, not mine):
Disney has done more than it’s share the “flatten the curve”. You are to be commended.
But it’s time.
Local, State and Federal governments are on board.
Your fiercest theme-park competitor is on board.
And I believe a majority of your loyal fans are on board.
I guess the fact that Disney has more things to plan and implement before reopening doesn’t make any difference to this reader. If the most loyal fans are on board, that’s all that matters and the parks should reopen. Now.
Other guests had problems with Disney saying that guests needed to wear face masks. But seemingly more important to this person was the fact that delaying their trip because of needing to wear masks would cost them more to buy Disney’s Dining Plan.
We have a reservation in July party of 10, rescheduled 3 times now. If we have to wear masks were out. Four people in our party have asthma and they will not be able to do masks. We use inhalers when we’re there under normal circumstances. Sad because not all my family will be able to make it next year. They usually come every other year, and this was the year. We are so saddened if we are not able to make it. Kids are growing up fast and next year that will make all three of my sons kids a adult. That will add additional dollars especially with the dining plan.
On May 28th, Disney announced its plans; the parks would welcome guests as part of a phased reopening starting on July 11th. For someone who’s more worried about the safety of the guests and cast members, the fact that Disney is planning the reopening after a major holiday seemed like a sensible decision.
Disney also announced many changes, some of which I predicted.
Upon reopening, theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences and other offerings may be modified and will be limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure, based on direction from health experts and government officials to promote physical distancing.
Additionally, attractions, experiences (such as shows, parades and fireworks), services and amenities may have limited availability or may remain closed. We will provide more information as it becomes available
Unfortunately, it seems that anything less than opening the parks in precisely the same way as before coronavirus (and, I guess curing everyone upon entry to make that possible?) would be unacceptable to some guests. I have some news for those people; that’s not going to happen. Welcome to the second half of 2020.
To that end, some people wanted Disney to reduce ticket prices because of their limited experiences.
If Disney if reducing the experience they should be reducing our ticket prices being that there will be no meet and greets, parades or fireworks or Extra Magic Hours, and no park hopping. That is a hugh part of the Disney experience.
Or to not have to pay as much for their Disney hotel stay.
I find it very hard to justify the very expensive cost of a family trip to Disney without being able to enjoy the full experience of the parks. I assume those with reservations will be offered a discount on their existing book rates?
And for this comment, I just can’t even:
I understand all the world has been going through. But I also know magic keeps us some of us alive during these trial times…and thats only the magic of Disney. I cannot imagine the high responsibility on everybody’s health…and I’m thankful for that, but in a world full of craziness I am in hunger to go back to my happy place, the house of the mouse for pixie dust to continue my journey towards my happily ever after.
I know most people who love Disney World understand the new world we all live in and are willing to make concessions to get a taste of “Disney magic” again. Sure, there may not be parades, meet and greets with characters or fireworks for a while but you need to give things time.
But even when Disney tries to do things to bring a bit of that Disney magic to its Disney Springs shopping and dining area, which is currently open, some people aren’t able to be happy.
The Stormtroopers have taken residence on a balcony to enforce social distancing, face coverings and unveil the might of the First Order.
Some guests had to comment about how their presence didn’t make any sense at Disney Springs (the area isn’t themed to Star Wars) or if the bad guys are telling us to distance and cover our faces, shouldn’t we not want to listen to them?
#facepalm. This is why we can’t have nice things.
#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary