Walt Disney World's shopping, dining, and entertainment complex began a phased reopening on May 20 after closing in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
Updated May 21, 2020
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The first step in the reopening of Walt Disney World is now underway. Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida began a phased reopening on May 20 after the resort closed in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting this week, select third-party restaurants and shops will be open, and on May 27, some Disney-owned stores and restaurants will also reopen.

Related: More Disney news

Posts to social media show guests wearing masks while waiting in line for popular restaurants and stores. Amid the Mickey balloons and sightings of newly promoted chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D'Amaro, new signs reminded guests of the health and safety rules now in place at Disney Springs.

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The Disney Springs website now lists the new health and safety procedures that guests and cast members are required to follow at the entertainment complex. These new protocols include:

  • Limited parking and reduced entrances
  • Temperature screenings prior to entry — guests with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed to enter, nor will the other members of their party
  • Required face coverings for guests ages three and up
  • Social distancing guidelines and barriers
  • Temporary operational changes — there will be reduced hours at some locations and no scheduled entertainment (the NBA Experience and similar attractions will remain closed for now)
  • An increased focus on cleaning, with additional hand-washing and sanitizing stations

In addition to these changes, the Disney Springs website now has the following disclaimer: "We have taken enhanced health and safety measures — for you, our other guests, and cast members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Disney Springs. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable. By visiting Disney Springs, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19."

You can find further updates and information about open venues on the Disney Springs website. Be sure to check the site if you plan to visit.

The rest of the Walt Disney World Resort, including the theme parks and hotels, will stay closed, according to the latest announcement. Currently, there is no reopening date set for the theme parks. According to the Disney website, they will remain closed until further notice.

Shanghai Disneyland was the first Disney theme park to reopen, using a number of new health protocols, including temperature checks, limited capacity, and social distancing guidelines. Earlier this month, Disney also released a number of similar potential health and safety procedures that Disneyland and Walt Disney World may use upon reopening. While we don't know when it will happen, reopening day at the "Happiest Place on Earth" will be unlike anything we've experienced at the parks before.