Orlando Florida-As part of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ full phase one plan, he’s asked theme parks to submit formal requests to reopen which are to include target date and protocols on how theme park officials will enforce state and CDC guidelines.
While the requests have not been made public, they will start later today with officials from Universal Orlando presenting plans for reopening to the Orange County reopening task force at 2pm.
The announcement on parks reopening will have huge implications for not only those who want to enjoy the parks, but the Central Florida economy and thousands of theme park workers who are furloughed.
Universal hasn’t revealed too many details regarding reopening plans, beyond the temperature checks and decals encouraging social distancing already enforced at CityWalk. Although a theme park executive with Universal Orlando Resorts and Parks told ClickOrlando he expects rides to have lower capacity when parks reopen.
Universal’s presentation is the beginning of Central Florida’s three major theme parks making presentations to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force regarding their plans to reopen. Per the governor’s order, those presentations must include a proposed opening date. However, it is not know when Disney and SeaWorld will do so.
A spokeswoman for Disney told WESH 2 News that currently Disney does not have a date to appear before the task force. During Wednesday’s roundtable, Disney executive George Kalogridis did say the company is considering reopening parks with 20% to 30% capacity. This guideline is in large respect due to Disneyland Shanghai’s success. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has said in previous interviews that U.S. parks will likely require much of the same guidelines of both cast members and guests. Chapek has said ultimately, Walt Disney World’s opening is going to depend on how comfortable people are and how they react to the reopening guidelines.
SeaWorld’s interim CEO, Marc Swanson provided the most details of any in his remarks to the Vice President, yesterday. The SeaWorld executive said upon approval, park officials will need two to four weeks to be ready to open, making SeaWorld’s opening sometime in June. Swanson discussed the park’s largely open and outdoor space, an advantage when having to enforce the increased safety protocols suggested by the CDC. On Tuesday, SeaWorld conducted test runs of its Mako coaster, with riders wearing different types of masks.
The theme parks have been closed since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. So far, none have announced an official reopening date. The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday May 21, 2020.