Disney Springs today became Walt Disney World’s first salvo at returning the Resort back to normal operations. On May 20th, Disney Springs will begin a phased reopening that will allow for third-party vendors to open their shops and restaurants. Disney went out of their way to emphasize that the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice with still no publicly available timetable for the reopening of domestic Disney Parks. Although this news is a bit shocking considering it wasn’t announced at The Walt Disney Company’s Q2 2020 Earnings Call earlier this week, it’s not as surprising a move when you consider that Florida has entered its Phase 1 reopening as of this week. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis moved the State of Florida into Phase 1 based on the recommended phased reopening guidelines set out by President Trump and The Coronavirus Task Force. With businesses large and small opening this week there must have been some pressure by third-party vendors to reopen as well.
As for the changes in policies and procedures related to COVID-19 in this first phase of reopening Disney had this to say,
Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members.
During the initial opening phase, Disney Springs will have limitations on capacity, parking and operating hours.
Matt Simon, Vice President of Disney Springs
Disney also went on to leave room to share additional details on safety measures and protocols as the reopening date, later this month, approaches.
Personally, I would have liked to have seen Disney put the cart before the horse and give far more granular detail about how they would reopen, with more specific measures in place long before they announced a reopening date. That’s the way you build confidence in this post pandemic pandemonium. I don’t see myself visiting Disney until I can visit without being required to wear a mask because inherently you are saying it’s relatively unsafe for me to do so if I’m required to wear one. As much as I love and support Disney, this is not like visiting a grocery store to grab food to feed my family, it’s a luxury. That being said I’m happy for these businesses that can begin to support themselves and their employees. I’m also happy that this means Walt Disney World has taken its first baby steps on its Road to Coronavirus Recovery.