UPDATE: SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World have been approved by Florida's Department of Business & Professional Regulation to reopen on the dates they proposed earlier this week. The proposed reopening plans were presented to Orange County's Economy Recovery Task Force and approved by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings before going to the state level.
SeaWorld Orlando hopes to open to the public June 11, and Walt Disney World is making plans to greet its guests at its Orlando parks by July 15. Officials for both parks presented their plans Wednesday, May 27, to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, which gave its approval to both. The plans must now go to the state level for approval.
Disney and SeaWorld fans have been waiting to hear the reopening details ever since the theme parks closed their doors in mid-March.
Marc Swanson, interim CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, said the plan is to open Wednesday, June 10, for Employee Appreciation Night and then to the public Thursday, June 11.
Jim McPhee, senior vice president of operations for Walt Disney World, said the plan is to open Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Saturday, July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios Wednesday, July 15.
Public health officials toured the parks Tuesday, May 26, to learn of the protocols being put in place. Both companies are adhering to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
All guests, as well as SeaWorld employees and Disney cast members, will be required to wear face masks, and temperature checks will be mandatory. Additional hand-washing and -sanitizing stations are set up throughout the parks, and new safety signage and ground markings have been placed at all attractions. The parks are encouraging cashless transactions. Food preparations will be altered.
Disney plans to manage overall attendance demand through its new theme park reservation system, which will require guests to make a reservation before attending. It is suspending parades, fireworks, character events and other experiences that draw crowds, McPhee said.