Global Disney Parks and Resorts Opening Status: May 22nd
This past week has featured the best news since the pandemic began. Disney Springs is now open, bringing life back to Walt Disney World.
On the other side of the planet, Shanghai Disneyland has operated for 10 days without incident. The situation has improved so much that your second-favorite Orlando theme park wants to return soon.
Here’s the park status update for the week of May 22, 2020.
Disney Park Status:
|Resort||Locations Currently Open||Is Country/State Open|
|Walt Disney World||
|Currently in Phase One of Reopening (started on May 4, expanded on May 11)|
||Currently in Stage Two of Reopening (started on May 8, expanded on May 14)|
||State of emergency through July 10
|Shanghai Disneyland||● Shanghai Disneyland Park fully operational
● Shanghai Disneyland Hotel
● Many restaurants, including Lumiere’s Kitchen
● Some Character Meals
● Wishing Park
● Disneytown Entertainment Complex
|Hong Kong Disneyland||● Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
● Disney Explorers Lodge
● Disney’s Hollywood Hotel
● Enchanted Garden Restaurant
● Inspiration Lake Recreation Centre
● One Character Meal
|Tokyo Disneyland||● Ikspiari Shopping District
● Maihama Mermaid Dental Clinic
● Seijo Ishii
|Yes (state of emergency ended on May 14)|
Disney Springs Reopens
May 20 represented one of the most exciting days in recent memory for Disney fans. No, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge didn’t open, and it wasn’t anyone’s first ride on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Instead, the cause for celebration centered on the restaurants and stores at Disney Springs. Disney reopened the entertainment complex, and roughly one-third of tenants happily returned to business.
You can glance through the massive list of returning stores that I’ve listed above. I suspect that you’ll mainly realize just how many businesses depend on Disney to bring them crowds.
Of course, what Disney fans wanted/expected/needed was for cast members to protect them in a post-pandemic environment. So, returning guests discovered several changes in place at Disney Springs.
Social distancing signs and hand sanitizing stations are plentiful, and markers on the ground identify where visitors should stand while waiting in line. Cast members wear masks and gloves while frequently cleaning surfaces.
Restaurants have altered seating to accommodate new social distancing regulations. Some have reduced menus as concessions that certain ingredients are more difficult to acquire at the moment.
Florida’s current laws allow for 50 percent capacity indoors at restaurants and stores. However, Disney has taken additional steps to protect guests.
Everyone must pass a temperature check before entering Disney Springs. Signs on the ground show people where to walk on narrow bridges and walking paths. And masks are required everywhere for people aged 3 and up except for when they’re eating/drinking.
Overall, the system has proved remarkably effective. Vloggers are livestreaming daily, and so you can watch the changes for yourself.
No news is good news at Shanghai Disneyland. Some cynics had wondered whether the park could maintain its day one moment for an extended period.
After all, no Disney park had operated since mid-March. Any blemish in Shanghai’s operations would get magnified on global news reports for several days. It’s the only potential talking point about the theme parks.
Despite the concerns, Shanghai Disneyland has just avoided controversy. It’s also improved and streamlined some of its pandemic responses. You can watch a video update here:
The key takeaway here is that Disney has modified some of its restaurant policies. On opening day, cast members have placed signs on indoor and outdoor restaurant tables. These messages asked guests not to sit down to maintain social distancing.
Since then, park officials have conferred with healthcare officials and decided that the strategy should only apply to indoor seating areas. Guests who dine outside have fewer concerns from the spread of the virus outdoors. So, consecutive table seating plans are okay now.
In fact, things are going so well in Shanghai that shows are operating again. Guests are happily enjoying Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular once more.
Based on all available data, Disney’s plan is working to perfection at Shanghai Disneyland and Disney Springs alike.
The Other Disney Parks
The updated chart tells the story regarding the other Disney parks. There’s not much to say about Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, both of which are on hold for another few weeks.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is methodically lifting the country’s state of emergency based on local infection cases. Tokyo is currently still under the emergency declaration. However, Abe indicated that he could revisit this decision as soon as May 25.
France’s state of emergency will last until July 10 or July 24, depending on which announcement you believe. The most recent one extends until July 10, so I’ve listed it on the chart. Either way, tourists won’t be summering in Paris this year.
Then, there’s Hong Kong Disneyland. I’ve said this at least twice now, but it still applies. This park’s currently in a holding pattern. It could announce a reopening date at any point. Everything’s ready, and testing is reportedly going well. Here’s a tweet that confirms it’s underway:
I suspect that the delay may not be pandemic related. The Chinese government spent part of the week announcing its intent to crack down on Hong Kong political dissidents. Disney may be taking a pragmatic approach.
At Disneyland, the situation is odd. Los Angeles County has suffered a rough few days of infection numbers. Even so, the state’s governor has recently relaxed some restrictions in place.
In fact, Hollywood executives were caught off-guard by the unexpected announcement that movie and television productions may begin filming soon. Given this development, it’s entirely possible that the governor could soften on his position regarding California theme parks.
Walt Disney World—The Universal Studios Update
Ordinarily, I discuss Florida’s pandemic status and how it relates to Walt Disney World’s reopening. Over the past few days, something has happened that changes the calculus.
Universal Orlando Resort spent Thursday petitioning the local government to reopen. This move was expected, as local and state officials had both requested the information from Florida’s major theme parks.
The surprise here is the date. Universal wants to reopen its Florida theme parks on June 5, with annual passholders possibly allowed back on June 3. I’ll save you a glance at your calendar app. That’s less than two weeks from now.
Disney declined its opportunity to present a plan on its first possible day, which was May 21. However, the reopening of Disney Springs hints that the company’s getting closer to bringing back the parks.
Also, Universal’s decision to go first provides Disney with a bit of cover. If another park’s already opening in Orlando, they don’t look unreasonable for reopening Walt Disney World.
CNBC interviewed the mayor of Orange County on Friday, May 22. He indicated that he expects Disney to submit its reopening proposal next week. Here’s the full quote:
“At this point, it’s an undefined time or date, but we do look forward to seeing that sometime next week.”
In short, the indicators for a near-term return of the Most Magical Place on Earth are all positive.