If you have been staying informed about the ways concerns over the Coronavirus have impacted the Disney Parks, then you may be aware that — in efforts to protect Walt Disney World guests and Cast Members — multiple Disney Programs are temporarily suspended out of precaution as the four Walt Disney World theme parks have also temporarily closed.
These include the Disney College Program, the Disney Culinary program, the Disney Cultural Exchange Program, and the Disney Academic Exchange Program. The suspension is effective today, March 16th.
The President of Walt Disney World Resort, Josh D’Amaro, has sent a message to Cast Members in light of these measures:
“It’s an understatement to say that it has been an unusual few days at Walt Disney World Resort. Yesterday, we closed our theme parks through the end of the month to do our part to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus here in Central Florida. We will also close Disney Springs by the end of the day today while working on ramping down our hotels.
It’s not like anything our community has faced before and our focus has been on the safety and well-being of our Guests, Cast Members and their families as well as our neighbors.
As I reflect on the events of the past several days, I feel tremendous gratitude. First, I’m grateful to our Cast Members for the way they rose to this challenge — not only in preparing for this closure, but also in continuing to deliver unforgettable experiences for our Guests and each other. We look forward to making magic for Guests again soon.
I want to acknowledge our hardworking college, culinary and exchange program participants. We made the difficult decision to suspend these programs, based on guidance from leading health agencies as these participants live in dorm-like housing here at our Resort. We believe it’s the right thing to do and is consistent with the way college and university programs are prioritizing social distancing. We are actively working with each individual to help them get home, including finding the right solution to each of their unique circumstances.
I’m also grateful to live in a community where our civic leaders are focused on protecting our fellow residents. I want to share how proud Walt Disney World is to be part of the Central Florida family. These are unique times, and we’re all working through this together.
As you can imagine, closing our resort so quickly leaves us with a great deal of extra food. To help other Central Floridians in need during this time, Walt Disney World Resort will donate excess food inventory like fresh salads, greens and hot items to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. This donation is part of our ongoing Disney Harvest program, which collects and distributes enough food each year to provide one million meals to people in need, and this donation will help to further support the important work Second Harvest is doing in our community during this time.
Like all of you, we will continue to actively manage through this issue.
‘May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place…’ That was our wish when we first opened in 1971, and that will be our wish when we open our parks again.
Stay safe and healthy. We’ll see you soon.
Currently in Central Florida, the four Walt Disney World theme parks have begun a temporary closure. Disney owned and operated stores in Disney Springs will begin closure tomorrow, March 17th, and Walt Disney World Resort hotels will close on March 20, 2020.
We are looking very much forward to welcoming back the Walt Disney World Cast Members once the temporary closure is complete, and we want to say THANK YOU for ALL THE MAGIC.