PHOTOS: This Is What Walt Disney World Will Look Like When It Reopens This Weekend
With just three days remaining until Walt Disney World begins reopening to the public, the company is giving potential visitors a glimpse of what they can expect inside the Orlando parks.
Disney will reopen Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15, with a number of new safety protocols in place intended to keep guests and cast members safe amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The parks have all been closed since March.
A series of images released Wednesday shows how guests over 2 years old will be wearing required face coverings (including Disney-themed designs), standing in socially distanced lines for rides and getting temperature checks, among other new practices.
Some additional changes include requiring visitors to make reservations for each park online prior to admission. The number of guests allowed in will also be significantly reduced during the first phase of the reopening, and capacity will be reduced on attractions, various modes of transportation and in restaurants and retail stores.
Though most attractions will be up and running, sensory-focused interactive play areas for children will remain closed. All character meet-and-greets and shows (including parades and fireworks) are canceled for the time being.
In order to maintain social distancing, there will be markings on the ground showing people where to stand, signs reminding guests to stay six-feet apart, and a “social distance squad” scattered around the parks engaging with guests.
In order to reduce unnecessary contact between guests and cast members, Disney has also implemented touch-free technology for scanning tickets and making payments. QR codes are placed around the park for guests to scan with their mobile phones. These can be used to order food, make reservations, find information and more. The use of the parks' existing digital "magic" wristbands will also cut down on face-to-face transactions wherever possible, and cashless payment methods will be encouraged.
Hand sanitizer and handwashing stations will be available throughout the park, and cleaning practices will be significantly increased.
Restaurants and food locations at the park will be organized to ensure food is delivered to guests with the least possible contact with staff through the use of pick-up zones and timed restaurant reservations. Plexiglass barriers will also be in place in many food and retail locations.
“Cast members will work with guests to make the experience as real, and as magical, as possible,” Jim MacPhee, Senior Vice President of Operations said of the park’s planned changes back in May. “We hope everyone will do their part to bring the magic of Disney World back into this new environment.”
RELATED VIDEO: Disney World Announces Reopening Date After Months-Long Coronavirus Closure
At the end of June, Walt Disney World Resort employees and others urged the company and government officials to delay the park's reopening amid a surge of new coronavirus cases reported in Florida.
On Saturday, the state reported 11,458 new cases in a single day — its highest rate ever.
A petition calling for the opening date to be pushed back created by employee Katie Belisle and posted on June 21 has gathered 18,969 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon. In a statement to local news outlet WTSP on June 25, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said there is no plan to block the opening date.
"We are monitoring all aspects related to COVID-19 in Florida and do not have plans to roll back any approved reopening business plans at this time," the statement read.
On June 24, Disneyland in California, another state seeing rising cases, announced that it had "no choice but to delay" its intended July 17 reopening date. The decision came as the state government did not grant approval and guidelines in time to arrange the opening.
There is still no opening date for Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. Downtown Disney will reopen on July 9.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.