ORLANDO, Fla. - Two of Orlando's big three theme parks got approval from the State of Florida to reopen.
SeaWorld plans to reopen June 10 for an employee appreciation night. Then, on June 11, they will reopen to the public. Walt Disney World will begin welcoming back guests on July 11.
A state regulatory agency signed off on the planned reopenings of Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando two days after Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings endorsed the plans.
“I am pleased to announce that I have received word from Halsey Beshears, Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, that Walt Disney World Resort and Sea World have received approval of their re-opening plans. Sea World will re-open June 10 and Walt Disney World Resort will be July 11," said Demings
Not all of Disney’s theme parks will reopen at once. The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open on July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15.
Guests wanting to visit the parks will need to obtain a reservation in advance in order to control capacity.
In addition to the new required reservation, new safety protocols are being implemented that include:
- Required face coverings for guests and cast members
- Temperature checks for all guest and cast members
- Physical barriers to encourage social distancing including plexiglass at cash registers
- Enhanced cleaning throughout the park, including more hand sanitizing stations
- Retail stores and restaurants will be reduced in capacity
- Contactless payment systems
- High-touch areas such as play areas will be closed
Disney has also formed a 'Social Distancing Squad' that will be made up of enthusiastic cast members walking around the park reminding guests to practice social distancing. Signs will be on display throughout the parks.
Disney’s popular parades and fireworks shows will be suspended during the initial reopening and until further notice.
Mark Swanson, the interim CEO of SeaWorld, presented the company’s reopening plans to the Orange County Task Force and Mayor Jerry Demings on Wednesday, who unanimously approved.
As far as safety protocols, SeaWorld Orlando is putting the following measures in place:
- Face masks required for employees and guests; Park will provide if they do not have one
- Mandatory temperature screenings for employees and guests before being allowed in the park
- Physical distancing throughout park
- Implement contactless payment systems
- Hand sanitizer as you get on and off rides
- Single riders line eliminated
Social distancing will also be in place at animal exhibits and extra sanitizing will be done on high-touch areas like handrails. For Aquatica, rides and rafts will be cleaned thoroughly between uses. Extra sanitation will be practiced throughout Discovery Cove as well.