When Disney World reopened last summer, much had changed about the parks.
The parks introduced a new mask requirement for guests over 2 years of age (a policy that continues to evolve), temperature checks, social distancing, and limited capacity. Also, park pass reservations were required for entering the theme parks.
Now, a year later, many of these policies are still in place, but the situation continues to change as more vaccinations roll out and recommended health guidelines are revised. So what does this mean for the post-crisis future of Disney World? In an interview with Bloomberg, Disney CEO Bob Chapek answered some related questions.
During the interview, the Bloomberg reporter asked Chapek about how long new systems will remain in place even as the global health crisis is mitigated. She asked, “What are some of the new technologies that you’ve used over the last year that you think might stick around post-pandemic? Will temperature screenings continue, for example? Will you use the reservation system a lot more?”
Chapek did not provide exact information on how long temperature screenings will continue. He did mention masks, temperature checks, hygiene, and social distancing; but was speaking to their implementation in the parks so far without comment on how long any of that may stick around.
So far, information on how long these measures might be in place has been sparse. During the closure of all the Disney parks, Disney Chairman Bob Iger compared temperature checks to baggage screening that was implemented after 9/11. This statement seems to look at this as a long-term implementation, but it will likely depend on consumer outlooks and guidelines from health officials in a post-pandemic world.
As for masks and social distancing, Chapek recently mentioned that these health measures are expected to remain required in Disney World through the remainder of 2021. Still, this all depends on vaccine rollout and guidance from officials.
During the Bloomberg interview, Chapek did make a specific comment about Disney’s theme park reservation system. He said, “We’re also going to be introducing a new reservation system that’s going to enable our guests to have a great time no matter when they choose to come to Disney.”
Of course, a reservation system has been in place for Disney World and the international theme parks since they each opened. The “new reservation system” that Chapek mentions could be referring to the upcoming system for the reopening of Disneyland. Still, a specific mention means it’s possible that the theme park reservation system will stick around. For example, you can already make park pass reservations for 2022.
As for tangible responses to the question about what might stick around after the pandemic, Chapek noted that teams are hard at work developing operational systems for after the pandemic, but did not mention specifics.
He mentioned that when Disney Parks do “re-emerge,” they will do so in a way that will improve the guest experience even from before the closures. He acknowledged that the situation has taught Disney some new lessons about how to work under constraints, but still deliver the Disney experience guests expect at the parks.
He said, “But we’ve gotten even better and better at it, and I think it’s going to create a reemergence scenario where magic is going to be greater for our guests when they do come back to our parks.”
Chapek’s comments give us a little bit of a hint of what to expect for the future of Disney parks. And as always, we’ll continue to follow the situation at the parks and let you know what we find out!
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What procedures and guidelines from post-closure would you like to keep in the parks? Let us know in the comments!