ORLANDO, Fla. — Many fans are wondering what’s next for Walt Disney World after the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Central Florida and some have even signed their names on a petition, urging the park to delay its reopening.
It was announced Wednesday evening that Disneyland will no longer reopen in July as the company hoped.
The key difference in the parks’ plans came down to permission in their respective states; Disneyland was awaiting California state approval to reopen while Disney World already received consent from Florida.
Central Florida’s recent surge in cases, however, now has thousands of employees and prospective visitors now petitioning for the company to delay reopening.
After receiving approval to reopen in May, the company said it planned to take its time, deciding not to reopen in June like some other Orlando theme parks and instead setting its sights for July.
“We believe this thoughtful, methodical, phased ramped up strategy to our property is the right path,” said Jim Macphee of Walt Disney World.
Disney World employs about 70,000 cast members. Calling them back and implementing new safety guidelines would take time. Those precautions include a face covering requirement, temperature checks, social distancing plus additional sanitation and capacity limits already in place at Disney Springs.
As more people in Florida started testing positive for COVID-19, a petition was created to urge a delay in reopening. The petition has more than 9,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
The union representing Disney’s workers said it isn’t behind the recent petition.
As of now, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to reopen July 11. Epcot and Hollywood Studios will open 4 days later.
Passholders will have an opportunity to use a new online reservation program to visit those parks on Friday.
Watch Channel 9 Eyewitness News for live updates on this developing story.
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