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Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World

On The Walt Disney Company's recent earnings call the company revealed that the first Disney theme park to close, Shanghai Disneyland, would be opening next week, but no time table was given for Disneyland or Walt Disney World doing the same. It gave the impression that it would be some time before the parks saw guests again. However, one part of Walt Disney World is now set to begin phased reopening in less than two weeks. Although, Disneyland is now looking like it may be opening later than previously hoped.

The website for Disney Springs, the shopping district of Walt Disney World, has announced it will begin phased reopening May 20. Few specifics are given but the site states that enhanced safety procedures and increased cleaning procedures will be in place. In addition, "the use of appropriate face coverings by both Cast Members and Guests" will be necessary.

Only the Disney Springs area will begin to open, the hotels and theme parks will remain closed and no opening date has been given for them. Although, the instructions are preparing potential future guests for a somewhat different Walt Disney World experience when the parks are ready to open. It states that attractions could be modified and park capacity could be limited based on direction from health experts.

On the other side of the country, things are looking a little different. Previously, Disneyland Resort was accepting hotel reservations beginning June 1, but now that date has been pushed back, and the earliest one can make a DLR reservation is July 1. While the possibility always exists that the park could still open sooner, it seems quite likely that this change means that there's no expectation internally that Disneyland will be ready for guests before July. Walt Disney World is still, as of this writing, accepting hotel reservations for June.

It will be interesting to see how popular Disney Springs is when it reopens. To be sure, the vast majority of people who visit it are the people on Walt Disney World vacations, and with the hotels and parks closed, those people won't be there. This will certainly keep crowds low, which may be exactly why Disney is willing to do the reopening now. It's a way to start small and test the situation.

When Shanghai Disneyland reopens on May 11 it will have been closed for over 100 days. If Walt Disney World and Disneyland stay closed for the same amount of time, it would mean seeing them reopen at the end of June. With Disney Springs looking to reopen in mid-May, it looks like Walt Disney World may be planning a faster reopening. Disneyland's new plan for reservations is right in line with this schedule.

There are certainly a lot of people who want to get to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. At the same time, everybody wants to be safe while doing it. That balancing act is going to be necessary whenever the parks reopen, and a lot of eyes will be on them when they do.

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