BREAKING: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Proposing to Reopen On July 11th, Hollywood Studios and Epcot July 15th

It was just announced that Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are proposing to reopen July 11th with Hollywood Studios and Epcot to reopen July 15th. There will be a required reservation system.

Photo By Disney

All guests will be required to wear facemasks. Capacity will be reduced throughout the parks and at all retail stores and eateries. Increased sanitation will be present as well as temperature screenings and social distancing. All restaurant and stores will have plexiglass and contactless payments. Parades, fireworks, and shows will be temporarily suspended.

Disney plans to have great communication for guests and cast members.

Here are some examples of social distancing and safety signage:

Will you be attending on opening week? Let me know in the comments below!

Monorails Spotted Testing at Walt Disney World

Photo Credit: Girl Meets Disney World

These awesome photos taken today from Girl Meets Disney World on Facebook show that Monorail Orange and Monorail Yellow are out for testing around the highway in the sky at Walt Disney World.

Theme park news out of Florida has been ramping up lately as Disney Springs and Universal Citywalk Orlando have reopened. Today Universal Orlando announced a phased reopening beginning June 1st-June 5th. It has also been reported that Disney will make their reopening presentation to the Orange County Task Force on May 27th!

Disney Springs To Begin Phased Reopening May 20th!

NEWS: Disney Springs Parking Garage Re-Opens for Cast Members ...

Just as I mentioned on my livestream yesterday, I was hearing that Disney Springs and Universal Citywalk would begin reopening this month. I keep hearing Citywalk is slated to partially reopen May 11th and it is now confirmed that Disney Springs will partially reopen May 20th.

The shopping district will reopen with limited capacity for dining and parking as well as reduced operating hours. I encourage you to check disneysprings.com as the date nears for more information on hours and what stores and restaurants will be open. Guests will be required to wear a face covering when dining or shopping.

Bob Iger Takes Over Takes Control of CEO Bob Chapek’s Duties During Pandemic

If you were wondering why Bob Chapek has been so silent ever since he became CEO we now have an answer as to why. The New York Times did an article covering Disney during the past few weeks from the leadership changes to COVID-19 to the future of the company when everything resumes normal operation.

Here is a snippet of the article that explains Iger taking back the reigns as CEO of Disney:

“And now, Mr. Iger has effectively returned to running the company. After a few weeks of letting Mr. Chapek take charge, Mr. Iger smoothly reasserted control, BlueJeans video call by BlueJeans video call. (Disney does not use Zoom for its meetings for security reasons.)

The new, nominal chief executive is referred to, almost kindergarten style, as “Bob C,” while Mr. Iger is still just “Bob.” And his title is “executive chairman” — emphasis on the first word.

Mr. Iger is now intensely focused on remaking a company that will emerge, he believes, deeply changed by the crisis. The sketch he has drawn for associates offers a glimpse at the post-pandemic future: It’s a Disney with fewer employees, leading the new and uncertain business of how to gather people safely for entertainment.”

In my opinion, I think Chapek was never a good decision for CEO as he definitely has more of a middle management style to him than a CEO type of vibe. For example, take a look at the past D23. Chapek seemed very uninspired when talking about the future projects and you can tell he was clearly reading from a teleprompter. By contrast, Iger was clearly excited and passionate while talking about projects such as Galaxy’s Edge. I feel that the Disney company is in much more secure shape with Iger taking back the reigns.

Iger is planning multiple strategies as how to handle this pandemic and the future of the company as described below:

Mr. Iger, meanwhile, is trying to figure out what the company will look like after the crisis. One central challenge is to establish best practices for the company and the industry on how to bring people back to the parks and rides while avoiding the virus’s spread — using measures like taking visitors’ temperatures.

Mr. Iger also sees this as a moment, he has told associates, to look across the business and permanently change how it operates. He’s told them that he anticipates ending expensive old-school television practices like advertising upfronts and producing pilots for programs that may never air. Disney is also likely to reopen with less office space. He’s also told two people that he anticipated the company having fewer employees. (Mr. Iger said in an email on Sunday evening that he had “no recollection of ever having said” that he expected a smaller work force. “Regardless, any decision about staff reductions will be made by my successor and not me,” he added.)”

As Iger said, I can see a future where initially Disney checks temperatures and reduces capacity when first opening the parks. I can also see them having a significant reduction in office space (like most companies probably will) because companies are realizing they do not need as many people in an office due to things such as telecommuting and being more efficient.

What do you think of this developing situation? Who do you want to be the CEO of Disney?

Disney Furloughs Cast Members Starting April 19th

Disney announced today that starting April 19th they will be furloughing cast members of all types including: hourly and salaried cast members in non essential roles. They will be also talking to the unions about those roles as well.

Cast Members with medical will be able to keep it and any cast members in the Disney Aspire program will be able to continue to participate in it. This does not just go for the theme parks, but also the stores, cruise lines, call centers, warehouses and any other Disney units.

A spokesperson from the company released a statement that can be found here:

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on our world with untold suffering and loss, and has required all of us to make sacrifices. Over the last few weeks, mandatory decrees from government officials have shut down a majority of our businesses. Disney employees have received full pay and benefits during this time, and we’ve committed to paying them through April 18, for a total of five additional weeks of compensation. However, with no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time. The furlough process will begin on April 19, and all impacted workers will remain Disney employees through the duration of the furlough period. They will receive full healthcare benefits, plus the cost of employee and company premiums will be paid by Disney, and those enrolled in Disney Aspire will have continued access to the education program. Additionally, employees with available paid time off can elect to use some or all of it at the start of the furlough period and, once furloughed, they are eligible to receive an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek also sent out a letter that can be found here:

Dear Cast Members and Imagineers:

As you know, over the past several weeks, COVID-19 has completely reshaped our daily lives as well as our business. A new chapter in the history of our company began when we closed our theme parks, hotels, stores and other operations to help lead the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. This reality has been sobering to all of us. As difficult as this decision was, we know it was the right one to help protect our Cast Members, our Guests and our communities.

True to the core of Disney, it is heartwarming to see many of you continuing to show your compassion, creativity and support for each other over the past few weeks. The acts of kindness and joy we’ve seen our Cast sharing have been inspirational. We appreciate all you do and know that our Cast Members will always be the heart and soul of Disney. This is why some of the choices we must make are extremely difficult.”

This is an extremely difficult time for everyone and I hope everyone stays healthy and at home so we can all come together and beat this virus!

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Halt Annual Passholder Payments

Disney released some new information regarding annual passholders in their updated travel and information page. The main changes are that if you have already paid your pass in FULL then you will get an extension of your expiration date by however many days the parks are closed. If you do not want an extension you can request a partial refund on however many months you still have left to go on your pass.

If you are doing the MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN then:

Monthly payments will be waived for the length of the closure.

Payments made between March 14th through April 4th will be refunded.

You will not get an automatic extension on your pass.

You may choose to extend their pass the length of the closure and pay the amount at a later date.

The full statement released by Disney is below:

Photo courtesy of disneyland.com

Disney Purchases Additional Land Near The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

Photo Courtesy of WDWNT

Disney announced today that they purchased an additional 26.2 acres of land near the Magic Kingdom. It is not known what this land will be used for, but there could be a variety of reasons.

One of them could be land protection. Disney most likely has no plans to build on this land anytime soon due to their current financial situation, but land is good forever so they could just keep it and use it for a future use in years to come.

The other reason could be for land conservancy. Due to a deal Disney has with Florida, they have to keep a certain amount of open space. If they decide to build something on land that was previously open space, then they must buy more land or demolish something to get back to that open space goal.

What do you think Disney is planning to do with this newly acquired land? What do you think they should do with it?