Disney World has reopened in Florida after being shut down for almost four months during the coronavirus pandemic. Several hundred people queued in the Florida heat ahead of the park's reopening - some sporting Mickey ears but all wearing masks, part of the park's new guidelines requiring them for both guests and employees. More than 250,000 cases of infection had been confirmed in Florida through Saturday. "And so, what Disney is doing is really, I call it, akin to a living laugh because this is a wonderful experiment to figure out if we can reopen business and reopen our theme parks and do so in a safe manner". While infections were largely focused in NY and California at first, Florida is among several states recording a rise in cases in recent weeks. Only people with reservations can enter the parks and they won't be allowed to hop between parks.
Disney has also resumed limited operations at its four parks in Asia, and at Disney Springs - an outdoor shopping mall in Orlando - since reporting a $1.4bn (£1.1bn) hit to profits in the first three months of the year. Tickets are already sold out through July. Disney said it was enforcing social distancing of six feet (two meters) at attractions and inside shops. Disney World's competitor, Universal Orlando (UVV), reopened in June with enhanced safety protocols.
In Orange County, where the resort is based, authorities have reported 16,630 cases - some of the highest numbers in the state.
Parades, fireworks shows, and other crowd-drawing events have been cancelled.
We'll keep you updated on what the parks look like this weekend when Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom have their official grand reopenings on July 11th! Disney Shanghai and Disney Hong Kong have reopened as well.
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