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Disney World Wants To Reopen In July, But Its New Safety Measures Mean It Will Be Very Different

Face masks and temperature checks will be required, and there won't be events with crowds like parades and fireworks.

Posted on May 27, 2020, at 1:10 p.m. ET

Paul Hennessy / Sipa USA via AP

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Disney World is planning for a phased reopening of its Florida theme parks in July, Jim MacPhee, senior vice president of operations at the park, said Wednesday.

The Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom parks will reopen Saturday, July 11. Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios will reopen Wednesday, July 15. But the experience at these parks will be markedly different than before the coronavirus.

At an Orange County economic recovery task force meeting announcing the reopenings on Wednesday, MacPhee laid out new safety protocols for the parks. These include requiring guests to wear face coverings and have their temperatures screened before entering. The parks will also have more handwashing and sanitizing stations installed.

"We will temporarily suspend parades, fireworks, and other events that create crowds," MacPhee added. In an effort to reduce contact between guests and employees, Disney World will ramp up mobile food ordering options, and character meet and greets and play areas will be temporarily on pause.

Park capacities will also be significantly reduced so that people can practice physical distancing more easily on attractions, at restaurants, and in stores. Guests will be required to place a reservation for park entry before their visit.

Many of these new safety protocols were similarly implemented at Shanghai Disneyland, which reopened on May 11.

Though measures to curb the coronavirus like wearing masks and social distancing have been ubiquitous around the world in recent months, some Americans have balked at doing so. MacPhee said he hopes park guests embrace the new regulations.

"We hope everyone will do their part to bring the magic of Walt Disney World back into this new environment," MacPhee said.

The Walt Disney Company announced the closures of a number of its US parks in March as nonessential businesses across the country were ordered to shutter over the coronavirus outbreak.

Disney Springs was the first park to reopen at Walt Disney World Resort, the company's flagship destination in Orlando, on May 20.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.