The Disney World theme parks have been closed for nearly four months.

By Elizabeth Rhodes
July 11, 2020
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When Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., begin their phased reopening July 11, 2020, all guests 2 years of age and older will be required to wear an appropriate face covering at all times, except when eating and drinking while dining.
Matt Stroshane/Disney

Disney World is finally reopening its theme parks after they closed nearly four months ago amid the coronavirus pandemic. On July 11, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen to the public, followed by Hollywood Studios and Epcot on July 15. With new health and safety measures in place, the parks are welcoming guests back to the “Most Magical Place on Earth” after cast members and annual pass holders got a sneak peek earlier this week.

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In a statement shared with Travel + Leisure, Walt Disney World outlined the parks’ new health and safety procedures and unveiled the modified entertainment offerings.

One of the biggest changes is the Disney Park Pass Reservation System — a new park admission reservation system that promotes physical distancing by limiting park capacity. Guests are now required to make theme park reservations (limited to one park per day) in order to enter.

All guests will be required to undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be directed to an additional location for rescreening and assistance; those who again measure 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed entry, nor will those in their party.
Kent Phillips/Disney

There are also a number of new health and safety procedures across the theme parks, including mandatory face coverings, limited capacity on guest transportation, temperature screenings, physical distancing and capacity measures across all indoor locations in the parks, increased cleaning, and cashless transactions. At dining venues, there will be enhanced cleaning procedures and technology that allows mobile ordering at quick-service locations and mobile check-in at table-service restaurants.

To promote health and well-being at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., new and enhanced cleaning measures are in place as part of the resort’s phased reopening. This includes increased cleaning and disinfection in high-traffic areas.
Matt Stroshane/Disney

Despite all these new regulations, the Disney park experience will remain magical and fun, according to the statement. “Stories will come to life through favorite attractions and beloved characters, as signature Disney creativity and innovation deliver new ways to enjoy these experiences.” The statement continues, saying, “Even with everything that’s happening in the world around them, [cast members are] ready to help guests discover magic is here again at Walt Disney World theme parks.”

Cast members who continuously interact with guests at Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., such as seen here at the main entrance of Magic Kingdom Park, will wear both face coverings and face shields when the theme parks begin their phased reopening July 11, 2020.
Kent Phillips/Disney

Most attractions will reopen, including the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Hollywood Studios and Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, among many others. And even though character meet and greets are temporarily paused, characters will appear in new, socially distant settings. Guests can expect to see characters in a cavalcade along the parade route in Magic Kingdom, wandering World Showcase in Epcot, throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios, and sailing down Discovery River in Animal Kingdom, just to name a few.

Epcot will also debut a new, modified version of the popular Food & Wine Festival on July 15, with over 20 international food and drink stands that visitors love.

This all comes nearly a month and a half after Disney Springs, the outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment district at Walt Disney World, reopened on May 20 and weeks after Disney World Resort hotels began reopening on June 22. Disneyland had plans to reopen on July 17, but that date has been postponed indefinitely, as California delays releasing theme park reopening guidelines.