Breaking News: Walt Disney World Shut Down – What You Need to Know

Walt Disney World, the popular theme park in Florida, has been shut down due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Walt Disney World shuts down amid pandemic

The decision to shut down the park

On March 15, 2020, Walt Disney World announced that it would be temporarily closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a significant decision as the park had only closed a few times in its history, including after the September 11 attacks. The decision was made in response to increasing concerns about the spread of the virus and was part of a larger effort by businesses and governments to slow its spread.

The impact on visitors and employees

The closure affected thousands of visitors who had planned trips to Walt Disney World, many of whom had already arrived in Florida. The park offered refunds for tickets and hotel reservations, but this did little to ease the disappointment of those who had been looking forward to their visit for months or even years. It also impacted thousands of employees who were furloughed or laid off as a result of the shutdown.

List of closures:

  • Magic Kingdom Park
  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Disney Springs
  • All Disney Resort hotels

Reasons behind the closure of Walt Disney World

Risk of spreading COVID-19

The primary reason for shutting down Walt Disney World was to prevent further spread of COVID-19. With millions of visitors from all over the world coming together in one place, there was a high risk that someone could bring the virus into the park and infect others. The close quarters on rides and attractions also posed a risk for transmission. By closing the park, Disney was able to help slow the spread of the virus and protect both visitors and employees.

Government regulations

Another reason for the closure was government regulations. As the pandemic worsened, many states began issuing stay-at-home orders and shutting down non-essential businesses. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order mandating that all bars and nightclubs close for 30 days and limiting restaurants to take-out and delivery only. While Walt Disney World is not a bar or nightclub, it is considered a non-essential business, so it was required to close under these regulations.

Walt Disney World remains closed for months

The length of the closure

Initially, Walt Disney World planned to remain closed until the end of March 2020. However, as the pandemic continued to spread and cases increased in Florida, it became clear that the closure would need to be extended. The park remained closed throughout April, May, and June before finally reopening on July 11 with new safety measures in place.

The impact on local businesses

The extended closure had a significant impact on local businesses that rely on tourism from Walt Disney World. Restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops, and other businesses saw a sharp decline in revenue as visitors stayed away. Many were forced to lay off employees or even close their doors permanently due to financial strain.

Local economy suffers as Walt Disney World closes its doors

Economic impact on Orlando

Walt Disney World is one of the largest employers in Central Florida with over 75,000 employees. Its closure had a ripple effect throughout the local economy as thousands of people lost their jobs or had their hours reduced. The loss of tourism dollars also impacted other industries, including transportation, retail, and hospitality. According to a report by the Orlando Economic Partnership, the economic impact of COVID-19 on the region was estimated to be $3 billion in lost wages and $1.5 billion in lost taxes.

Efforts to support local businesses

In response to the economic impact of the pandemic, Walt Disney World and other organizations launched initiatives to support local businesses. Disney created a fund to provide financial assistance to small businesses in Central Florida, while Visit Orlando launched a campaign encouraging residents to support local restaurants by ordering takeout or delivery. These efforts helped mitigate some of the damage caused by the closure but were not enough to fully offset the loss of revenue.

Safety measures implemented as Walt Disney World reopens

Mandatory face masks

One of the most significant changes implemented when Walt Disney World reopened was mandatory face masks for all visitors over the age of two. This policy was put in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect both visitors and employees. The park also provided hand sanitizer throughout its facilities and encouraged frequent handwashing.

Social distancing measures

To promote social distancing, Walt Disney World limited capacity at its parks and attractions. Visitors were required to maintain at least six feet of distance from others who were not part of their party. The park also implemented queue modifications for rides and attractions that allowed for more space between guests.

List of safety measures:

  • Mandatory face masks
  • Social distancing measures
  • Limited capacity
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures
  • Temperature screenings
  • Contactless payments

Changes to operations at Walt Disney World post-shutdown

Reduced hours and limited offerings

When Walt Disney World reopened, it did so with reduced hours and limited offerings. Many attractions, restaurants, and shops remained closed, and the park operated at a lower capacity than usual. This was done to help promote social distancing and reduce the risk of transmission.

New technologies implemented

To reduce contact between visitors and employees, Walt Disney World implemented new technologies such as mobile ordering for food and beverage purchases. Visitors could use their smartphones to place orders from select restaurants and pick up their food without ever having to enter the restaurant or interact with an employee in person.

List of changes:

  • Reduced hours
  • Limited offerings
  • New technologies
  • No parades or fireworks shows
  • Cancellation of FastPass+ service

In conclusion, the temporary shutdown of Walt Disney World highlights the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry and serves as a reminder of the importance of taking necessary precautions to ensure public safety.

Walt Disney World temporarily closed its doors on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was made to prevent the spread of the virus and comply with government regulations as many states issued stay-at-home orders. The closure impacted thousands of visitors who had planned trips and employees who were furloughed or laid off. The park offered refunds for tickets and hotel reservations. This was a significant decision as the park had only closed a few times in its history, including after the September 11 attacks.

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