Earth's 'Most Magical Place' Reopens Amid Virus Surge

Disney World opens its doors, with a few rules
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 11, 2020 11:00 AM CDT
Disney World Reopens as the Virus Surges in Florida
Cars drive under a sign greeting visitors near the entrance to Walt Disney World, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

"The Most Magical Place on Earth" has reopened after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the AP reports. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios will follow four days later. "It's the chance to come back and be in the magic," said Diane Watkins, a preschool teacher from Helena, Alabama, who visits the park about eight times a year. "Hot or not, mask or not, we're just happy to be here. I feel like everybody here is in the same frame of mind. Everybody is just so excited to be here." Watkins said that when she and her 16-year-old daughter walked into the Magic Kingdom on Saturday morning, then saw all the cast members lined up and clapping on Main Street, she cried.

The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop. All of Disney's Orlando parks closed in mid-March; Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting rules to protect workers and customers. Disney's new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations, and they won't be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks upon entering. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together.

(Read more Disney World stories.)

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