ORLANDO, Fla. – All four of Walt Disney World’s theme parks are officially open to guests looking to soak up some magic and fun during the pandemic.
The Florida theme park resort reopened Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, completing a rolling opening of Disney World’s theme parks that started last weekend with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom welcoming back visitors.
The parks were the last of Orlando’s major theme parks to reopen after being shuttered since March.
Michelle Quenzel helps run the blog “Streaming The Magic,” which has spent the past few days inside the reopened parks.
“It’s wonderful the energy here is just incredible. Everyone was so welcoming we came in they were all saying welcome home, welcome home!” Quenzel said.
The parks have undergone many changes to help create a safe environment for both workers and guests.
Disney employees won’t be allowed to take photos of visitors in front of Cinderella’s Castle since it involves touching the tourists’ cameras. Disney World posted on its website that “an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”
There will be no live shows at Disney World since the reopening has caused a labor dispute between Disney and its actors and singers.
Hand sanitizer stations have been placed around the park, and physical distancing cues and guidelines could be seen on the ground.
Alongside the sanitizing stations and social distance cues, Disney is also requiring all guests 2 years of age and older, along with cast members, to wear an appropriate face covering while visiting the parks.
Quenzel was able to go to Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Animal Kingdom on Sunday and said she noticed the changes right away.
“They are not doing the fingerprints anymore so that’s being discontinued for the time being for safety reasons but I have my mask got right in and it was super easy,” she said. “I feel safer here than I do at my grocery store I really do. Besides my own house, the theme parks is where I feel the safest,” she said.
As all four Walt Disney World theme parks open, one of Disney’s theme parks overseas is preparing to close its gates for a second time during the pandemic.
Hong Kong Disneyland officials announced Monday that the park will once again close after a number of new COVID-19 cases were found in the area.
“As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland park will temporarily close from July 15,” Disney said in a statement. “The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotels will remain open with adjusted levels of services. They have put in place enhanced health and safety measures that reflect the guidance of health and government authorities, such as social distancing measures and increased cleaning and sanitization.”
Hong Kong Disneyland was the second Disney park to reopen, welcoming parkgoers June 18 with limited capacity and increased health and safety measures. It is now the first to shut its gates again due to another wave of coronavirus.
For more information on Disney’s reopening plans, head to clickorlando.com/themeparks.
The Associated Press contributed to this story