June 4, 2020
Disney Message: Parks Will be Safe
One of the biggest questions that Disney fans have been asking has been answered: “When will the parks reopen, and will they be safe when they do?” Recently, Disney announced that Disney World in Florida will open some parks for business on July 11 and others on July 15. This will be the first time any parks have invited guests since closing in mid-March due to concerns about COVID-19.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek sat down with CNN to discuss how the parks are working to keep guests safe, a very important message for both his company and fans who have missed visiting the parks. Chapek said guests would definitely experience new guidelines, though he said safety was paramount.
He said: “We’ve done everything we can to open up responsibly. Taking the guidance of local, state, and national health officials, plus our own well-qualified doctors, to create an environment to create new operating procedures, polices… new training, standards of hygiene… so guests can make those magical memories that last a lifetime…”
Chapek said both cast members and guests would be wearing masks. Areas would be taped off to encourage social distancing, all through the park. Chapek said helping guests maintain social distancing” was “important” to the continued health and safety of both guests and cast members.
Chapek addressed the requirement for guests to wear masks as “part of the contract of coming to Walt Disney World in any capacity,” adding that the company is “going to enforce that rule for everybody’s safety…” The CEO said guests had been very cooperative at Disney Springs, which has already re-opened, and that people get used to the masks, adding: “I’ve had this mask on pretty much the whole day, and you just forget about it after a while…”
When asked whether the parks could be profitable while limiting the number of guests through social distancing, he said they could start by trying to cover overhead and “make baby steps” toward profitability while “we won’t be losing money…”
One of the most poignant parts of the interview came when the reporter asked Chapek how Disney executives were making this decision and how guests could know they would be kept safe. Chapek described the moves being made by Disney as “slow and deliberate” adding: “There’s a trust built up in the Walt Disney Company that we’ll operate responsibly when we open… We have layers upon layers of defenses against the virus…”
No matter what plans they have in place, that trust factor is certainly key. Disney is investing a significant amount of trust capital in moving forward with this decision, relying on the confidence guests and fans have that Disney has their best interests at heart. What happens when they open will either strengthen or challenge this ideal, and Disney will need to be prepared for both possibilities.