This week we’ve seen MAJOR news stories develop across the globe when it comes to Disney’s potential reopening process. From Shanghai to Orlando, we have lots of interesting and exciting news to share!
Outside of the parks, we’ve also seen news come out of Disney Cruise Line, Disney+, and more! Let’s dive right in!
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Starts Reopening the State
On April 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state would move into Phase One of its reopening process, also known as the “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan.”
Phase One is set to begin on Monday, May 4. During Phase One, retail locations may reopen at 25% capacity, and restaurants may reopen and offer outdoor seating as long as there is six feet between tables. Indoor seating must be kept at 25% capacity.
This new measure currently excludes Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, all located in the southeast corner of the state, which have been hit harder by the current health crisis.
Re-Open Florida Task Force Lays Out A Three-Phase Plan for Theme Parks
Separate from DeSantis’ guidelines for reopening Florida businesses, the Re-Open Florida Task Force laid out a specific set of guidelines for large venues, including theme parks. These guidelines, which may or may not be instituted by DeSantis, are merely suggestions at this point in time, but it may indicate a possible outline for how Disney World may look to reopen.
In summary, as of this writing, Florida is currently in Phase Zero. Theme parks would remain closed in Phase One. In Phase Two, theme parks may consider reopening with limited capacity, strict distancing, and proper sanitizing. In Phase Three, theme parks may resume normal business operations with “limited social distancing protocols.” Again, these are proposed guidelines; local government, as well as Disney, may elect to operate under different measurements if they believe it to be appropriate.
Get all the details on the Task Force’s proposed guidelines for reopening Florida’s theme parks here!
Orange County Mayor Expected to Announce a Separate Reopening Plan
In addition to the measurements set forth by Governor DeSantis, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings is expected to make a separate announcement for how the county intends on moving forward on May 1.
Demings noted that he is looking to the Orange County Economic Task Force to provide him with guidance on the decisions being made to move the county towards its own gradual reopening.
Guidelines for Reopening Theme Parks Discussed by Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force
One of the biggest news stories to emerge this week came about after the Orange County Economic Recover Task Force laid a set of potential guidelines for reopening business, including large theme parks such as Disney World. The items discussed served as a jumping-off point for businesses to consider when the state moves towards reopening.
While these guidelines were presented by the committee as guidelines, individual businesses such as Disney may elect to implement additional safety protocol when the time comes to reopen and resume business operations.
These guidelines include protocols for distancing, sanitation, and temperature screening, among other measurements. Some specific examples include standing six feet apart in queues, regularly wiping surfaces at random, and suggesting that ‘vulnerable populations’ including the elderly stay home during Phase 1 and 2 of reopening.
For restaurants, some guidelines included having hand sanitizing stations at all tables, as well as encouraging the use of disposable menus.
Read more about the reopening guidelines suggested by the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force here.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resumes Character Dining
Characters have begun to reappear at Enchanted Garden Restaurant at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel! This could very well be a jumping-off point for Hong Kong to begin its gradual reopening process.
Character dining in Shanghai Disneyland resumed several weeks ago at Lumiere’s Kitchen in the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.
Shanghai Disneyland Has Begun Testing on Their Fireworks Show
We noticed some other really heartwarming news this week. Reports emerged that Shanghai Disneyland had begun testing their fireworks show! It warms our hearts to know that Disney fireworks went off somewhere this week.
While Disney has NOT announced a reopening date at this time for Shanghai Disneyland, this looks like progress towards a potential reopening! Shanghai Disneyland was the first Disney park to close as a result of the current health crisis, on January 25, 2020.
On March 9, the hotels and the Disneytown shopping district reopened with strict health and safety protocols in place, including temperature screening and presenting a Health QR Code upon entering the resort area.
Other reports have emerged with photos showing potential health measures being implemented when Shanghai Disneyland does reopen, including distancing in queue areas and simulations to test new entrance procedures.
Disney Restaurant Executives Share Their Experience with the Closures
We learned about interviews taking place with some prominent restaurant executives with close ties to Disney World. Those interviewed included Robert Earl of Earl Enterprises, which owns and operates Earl of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood, and Chicken Guy! in Disney Springs, as well as Kyle Collins, the Marketing Director for Patina Group Restaurants. The Patina Group has a massive presence in Disney World as well as Disneyland, with restaurants in Epcot, Disney Springs, and Downtown Disney.
In the interview, changes to their business models and lessons learned moving forward as business reopen were discussed. Some interesting points included alternate dining options for guests, as well as what a ‘new normal’ may look like for these restaurants.
Disney Cruise Line Cancels Departures into Summer 2020
We’re continuing to see an extension of canceled departures on Disney Cruise Line, which have now officially reached into summer 2020. Caribbean and Bahamian cruises on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have canceled all departures through June 18, 2020.
In addition, European cruises on the Disney Magic have been canceled through July 2, 2020.
Rise of Skywalker Is Coming to Disney + on May the Fourth!
Just in time for “Star Wars Day, ” Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will arrive on the streaming service Disney+ on May 4, 2020. We can’t think of a more perfect day to add the final installment of the Skywalker Saga than May the Fourth! This now means you can watch all nine Star Wars ‘saga’ films on Disney+.
Galaxy’s Edge Coke Products Sold at a Local Grocery Store!
Our last news story today comes out of a small grocery store in Hartford, Alabama. It was discovered that a shipment of some awfully familiar-looking Coca Cola bottles appeared at Tate’s Supermarket. The ‘thermal detonators’ from Galaxy’s Edge were available for purchase! What a fun way to stumble across Disney Parks food products in your local store.
No Star Wars Coke bottles where you live? There are lots of other ways to score Disney Parks food in your neighborhood!
News is constantly happening and new information about the Disney Parks is being released daily. We will continue to keep you in the know on the latest Disney news. So be sure to keep checking in for info! And happy May, friends! 🙂