Disney Reveals Plans for Phased Reopening of Disney Springs Complex in Florida

Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom
Disney Springs is part of the Walt Disney World Resort.

The news comes a day after Disneyland updated its website to make hotel booking dates available as soon as July 1.

The Walt Disney Co. on Thursday announced it would begin a phased reopening of Disney Springs in Florida later this month.

In a post on its official theme parks blog, Disney said the outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort will reopen on May 20. 

"Following the guidance of government and health officials, a limited number of shopping and dining experiences that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase," according to the Disney blog post, which notes the rest of Walt Disney World will remain closed. 

The news comes a day after Disneyland updated its website to make hotel booking dates available as soon as July 1. The company also announced this week that Shanghai Disneyland Park will reopen Monday; the sprawling Chinese destination was the first of the company's parks to go idle in late January because of the pandemic.

For Shanghai, some of the new measures and procedures in place will include that all guests are required to pre-purchase admission tickets, no walk-ups. All guests will have their temperatures checked before entry. Once in the park, all guests (and employees) must wear a mask, except when dining. And ride queues (wait lines), restaurants and ride vehicles will be structured to promote social distancing, among other measures.

As for the Florida shopping complex, the company said Thursday, "Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members." 

On a Tuesday earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said it was too soon to talk about the Anaheim and Orlando parks again welcoming guests. However, he made it clear that no park would be reopened if it was forecasted to lose money, stating he believed there is plenty of "pent-up" demand: "If we open up 50 percent less (capacity), we won't have trouble selling that. We will staff accordingly for whatever that level will be."