Everyone is talking abut Disney Parks opening up again due to Trump’s new guidelines for reopening America… but it’s not that easy.
Disney has taken a severe financial beating this year due to the shutdown, and is hoping for its happily ever ever in the form of the economy opening back up in some capacity.
Under the new guidelines, states that satisfy certain criteria can reopen “large venues” if those businesses observe strict physical distancing protocols. The guidelines listed dining, movie theaters, sports venues, churches and gyms as examples.
However, there is a fly in the ointment. Disney wouldn’t be able to open Theme Parks until Phase Three, as Phases One and Two both have strict restrictions on crowd levels.
While restaurants and theaters can be reopened, the guidelines state that there should be sufficient distancing. Phase One still puts the kibash on non-essential travel.
So, when will Disney theme parks open again?
What will likely happen is that Disney Springs might reopen in some capacity under Phase Two, but I don’t see how the theme parks can possibly reopen until Phase Three. And even then, it’s going to be hard to just “turn on” Walt Disney World and Disneyland again after an extended downtime. There are some serious logistics to consider.
I’m still expecting Disney Parks to open in June or July at the earliest, and you should brace yourself for a markedly different experience post-shutdown. Look for more health screening, fewer cast members, limited attractions being opened and even more cutbacks, such as less live entertainment and even canceled projects.
Remember, analysts are saying it could take up to two years for Disney to fully recover from this. Disney will not be the same immediately after reopening as it was in early March. To expect otherwise given the global crisis is foolish.
It’s also up to the States Disney Parks are located in.
President Trump is leaving the reopening up the State Governors, as some states have been hit much harder than others. It would be easier to reopen a state in the midwest than it would to reopen New York, which is the epicenter of this crisis.
Disney Parks are located in two of the hardest hit states — California and Florida. How that will affect the reopening remains to be seen.
All indications seem to be that California Governor Gavin Newsom will be hesitant to reopen the state until he’s sure it’s safe. This will absolutely impact Hollywood productions resuming and Disneyland reopening.
What we’re hearing from Hollywood industry insiders is that they believe 2020 will be a complete bust, with movies already being pushed back to 2021 and many major conventions likely to be cancelled.
Florida is also hard hit, and faced harsh criticism for not shutting down sooner.
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees stated that social distancing is “the new normal” until a vaccine is widely available.
So even if the rest of the country resumes mostly normal activity, it could still be awhile longer until its safe to reopen theme parks.
Unsolicited vacation planning advice: If I were planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disney, I’d wait until 2021. This year is likely going to be a bust.