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Following the opening of Shanghai Disneyland, and the apparent imminent reopening of the park in Hong King, the first two parks to close when the scope of the COVID-19 outbreak was realized, Disney Parks announced plans to begin a phased reopening of Walt Disney World, by first opening a few locations at Disney Springs, the resort's major marketplace. While precautions were to be taken, including temperature checks at the entrance and a requirement that all guests wear face coverings, it was also made clear that guests would be expected to take responsibility for themselves.
But despite those warnings, a lot of people made the decision to show up to Disney Springs on its reopening day, enough people that it has resulted in lines in some situations.
Most if not all of the subcontracted Disney Springs locations reopened today, though with limited seating and other social distancing measures in place. Markers on the ground told visitors where they could and could not stand. Lines were actually inevitable due to the fact that people were being asked not to gather in crowds. On the plus side, it does look like everybody is wearing their face covering as instructed.
In the grand scheme of things Disney Springs is looking empty enough to allow the crowd that is there to move about without having to get too close to each other.
It has to be said, a large portion of those in attendance at Disney Springs this morning appear to be the Disney vlogger crowd who are posting the videos with ruthless abandon to show off what the area looks like now. Still there are certainly a lot of people there who are visiting simply because they can. If you're a frequent Walt Disney World visitor then the last couple months have certainly been rough. Even if the closest you can get to Magic Kingdom is buying a coffee at Disney Springs, that will have to do.
If nothing else, it's good to see the former Walt Disney World President and new Chairman of Parks showing his support for the reopening by being there in person. It shows a confidence in the decision to reopen. The actual stores at Disney Springs run by Disney are set to reopen at the marketplace next week.
When the theme parks and hotels reopen is anybody's guess at this point. Shanghai Disneyland saw its Disney Springs equivalent open about a month before the park did, but that's no guarantee that Walt Disney World, a massive resort many times that size, will be able to open up even that quickly. The phased reopening of Disney Springs, and what Disney learns from it, will likely go a long way in determine just when we'll be able to return to the most magical place on earth.