Disney Springs to reopen in phases beginning May 20

NBA Experience visitors can compete in a game where basketballs are launched via slingshots at Disney Springs in Orlando, Fla. (Dewayne Bevil/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
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By Dewayne Bevil Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

ORLANDO, Fla. — Walt Disney World will begin its much-anticipated reopening on May 20 with a phased opening of Disney Springs, its retail-restaurant-entertainment complex, the company announced late Thursday afternoon. The resort, including its theme parks, has been shut down since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members,” Matt Simon, vice president for Disney Springs, wrote in a post on the official Disney Parks Blog.

The rest of Disney World — including the hotels, water parks and theme parks — will remain shuttered at that time, the post says.

Disney did not specify which businesses would open on May 20.

“Following the guidance of government and health officials, a limited number of shopping and dining experiences that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase,” Simon said.

There will be new limitations at Disney Springs on capacity, hours of operation and parking, Simon wrote without giving details. He said more information would be released closer to the May 20 reopening date.

This reopening step is similar to the process used at Shanghai Disneyland, which reopened its shopping district, which is dubbed Disneytown, in early March. More of that resort is scheduled to be open to the public starting Monday.

Disney Springs, which was once known as Downtown Disney, features a variety of restaurants and bars alongside national and Disney-owned retail outlets and a movie theater. Last year, the NBA Experience opened in the West Side neighborhood of the complex, near the Cirque du Soleil theater. Cirque was scheduled to debut its new “Drawn to Life” production there in April, but that was postponed by the pandemic.

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