Disney will reopen Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom to the public on July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15

By Gabrielle Chung
July 08, 2020 07:08 PM
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The Cinderella Castle has a whole new look!

Walt Disney World cast members were treated to a first glance of the royal centerpiece's magical makeover on Wednesday, when Magic Kingdom opened for previews ahead of the Orlando theme park's official reopening date after a months-long closure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In photos circulating on social media, the iconic landmark appears to have gotten a fresh coat of blush pink paint to its exterior walls. The royal blue rooftops and turrets also look much bolder now courtesy of more gold ornamentation decorating the spires, ramparts and entrance archway of the castle's facade.

The update was first announced earlier this year as a way to honor the 70th anniversary of Cinderella's release.

Olga Thompson/Disney

“Cinderella first transformed into a princess 70 years ago this week when the animated classic was released,” Jason Kirk, vice president of Magic Kingdom Park, wrote in a blog post in February, “and ever since, her courage and kindness have been inspiring guests and cast members alike.”

“We are excited to share that her story has inspired a bold, shimmering and royal makeover of her namesake castle at the heart of Walt Disney World Resort," he added.

“When you visit, be sure to share your excitement with our cast members — they can’t wait to see the shimmering towers shining down on the kingdom each and every morning."

The Cinderella Castle stands at 189 feet tall, according to Walt Disney World’s official website, and is surrounded by a moat and gardens that offer plenty of picturesque photo opportunities. At night, the castle is illuminated by more than 16 million lights, and special effects are projected onto its exterior during fireworks displays.

Cinderella Castle
@MarcusQYT/Twitter

Ahead of reopening Walt Disney World to the public, Disney has revamped parts of its park experience with a number of new safety protocols in place intended to keep guests and cast members safe amid the ongoing pandemic.

Changes include hand sanitizer and handwashing stations around the parks, the markings on the ground in queues to maintain social distancing, signs reminding guests to stay six-feet apart and a “social distance squad” engaging with guests.

Olga Thompson/Disney

Visitors are also required 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.

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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.

Disney will reopen Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom to the public on July 11, and Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15. The parks have all been closed since March.

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