The wait is over: Disney World has proposed a phased reopening starting July 11. In light of this news, Disney stock which has been especially vulnerable to the pandemic – its studio segment being hit by theater closings, while its theme parks and cruise ships had to shut down – has risen.
The resort, which closed on March 16 because of the pandemic, will implement several health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus during a phased reopening.
To maintain the capacity, attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system that requires all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. Disney is pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations to focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.
As guessed before, the proposal also includes the suspension of parades, fireworks, character meet and greets and playgrounds to enable social distancing. Cast members and guests 3 years old and older will be required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. All guests will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park.
But Disney's proposal to reopen its Florida parks comes as the NBA's plan to resume play at a Disney complex in Florida in late July. While NBA spokesman Mike Bass has said talks were still "exploratory," Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts gave the plan a big boost by signaling player support for the move.
As a result, shares climbed 0.5% to 121.53 on the stock market, hitting the highest level in two months.
Disney is in demand as sports leagues try and minimize the damage from the Coronavirus, with Major League Soccer also in talks to resume its season at Disney. But there is plenty of room even if both leagues appear there at the same time. The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex boasts multiple arenas and has previously hosted the Junior NBA World Championship in recent years.
The proposal still must be approved by Orange County Mayor, Jerry Demings and Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis. Disney theme parks in California, France, Japan and Hong Kong remain closed. The company has given no indication when they could reopen.