Roughly a week after Universal Studios Orlando announced its own plans to re-open later this summer—alongside a blunt reminder that there’s no amount of hand-washing, temperature-checking, and line-avoiding that can totally negate the COVID-19 risk imposed by cramming thousands of people together in a theme park on a sweaty afternoon—Disney has announced that it’s ready to take the viral plunge, too. Reuters reports that the management of Walt Disney World has just gotten approval from the Florida state government to re-open, with its planned debut date set for July 11, a day that has now presumably been circled with enthused glee on its calendar by the coronavirus itself.
As with Universal, Disney has devised a whole series of new standards it intends to use to make attending its parks safer, if not, you know, safe. That includes mandatory masks, contactless payment systems, and—and we can already feel buttholes clenching nationwide among the “WE’RE A DISNEY FAMILY!” set for this one—the cancellation of events like parades, fireworks, and “other activities that create crowds.” (Seriously, you know they’re already trying to figure out how to talk to the coronavirus’ manager.) When questioned about whether or not Disney World itself constitutes an “activity that creates crowds,” the company’s executives reminded us that la la la, they can’t hear us.
Disney has said it’s lost about a billion dollars from its parks division this summer; it’s making moves toward getting Disneyland in California re-opened as well. The re-openings come as part of what feels like a wider wave of attempts to ease up on lockdown precautions, despite the absence of a vaccine for COVID-19, or even—still—reliable, readily available testing methods for the disease in most regions of the country. Sea World’s opening back up, too, so that’s just fuckin’ great.