Disney World Has Officially Reopened All Four of Their Theme Parks in Florida to Critisicm From Fans And Haters Alike.
Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened on July 11. Hollywood Studios and Epcot reopened on July 15. Wait times for some of the most popular attractions were as low as 5 or 15 minutes over opening weekend. Including for attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Flight of Passage which typically have wait times over 60 and 200 minutes respectively.
While many criticized Disney’s reopening, others have ventured into the parks. Trusting Disney to provide the appropriate health and safety measures as well as enforcing those measures to the best of their ability.
It’s a two way street. If you are one to head to the parks, it is your responsibility to follow the guidelines as much as it is Disney’s job to implement and enforce those guidelines.
Disney didn’t jump on the open-as-soon-as-possible bandwagon. Instead, they waited over a month beyond the opening of other theme parks in the area. Disney took time to ensure that their unique situation was handled correctly.
In addition, Disney has tweaked guidelines as necessary. One such example is the requirement that masks be worn at all times when not eating and drinking. Eating and drinking while walking is now banned. Guests who are eating must be stationary. This ensures that guests are not manipulating the guidelines and buying a churro so they could walk around without a mask.
The company lost an estimated $28 million a day with their parks closed. How can a company who lost that much money while their competition opened be called out for being ignorant and selfish for reopening?
One argument that we heard was that Disney should remain closed but should continue to pay their employees. Thousands upon thousands of employees? We’re not sure how far you think Disney’s responsibilities to their employees goes but how many jobs do you know can afford to be closed to half of a year and continue to pay wages AND benefits for hundreds of thousands of employees? Disney paid the benefits of their employees throughout the closures which is more than many businesses could or would do. The company is not a villain here. Read more about Disney’s decision to furlough employees but pay health benefits HERE!
Disney is a Business
At the end of the day, Disney is a business. They have to make money. It’s important for them. It’s important for the hundred of thousands of employees that work for them. It’s important for the Florida economy which relies heavily on tourism especially since there is. No. State. Tax.
Disney will and have done everything in their power to reopen safely. They have put in place a plethora of mandatory safety procedures. Including extremely limited capacity at theme parks and resorts, temperature checks, mandatory masks, copious hand sanitizing and hand washing stations and more.
They have eliminated fireworks, modified parades, cut hours and adjusted queue lines. The new Disney Park Pass reservation system was implemented from scratch. Moreover, they increased mobile ordering, online check-in, cleaning procedures at parks and resorts. The list goes on.
The Truth Behind the Numbers
So why the hate directed at people who are going to the parks? One reason is the incredibly high numbers of coronavirus cases being reported daily. What isn’t being reported and what the nay-sayers are failing to mention, is that Florida is testing far more people than the majority of the country a day.
Colorado, which is where we live, is doing about 7,000 to 8,000 tests a day on average. Florida is doing over 100,000 tests a day. I hate to be the bearer of obvious news but that is of course going to result in higher positive numbers.
That’s not to say that Florida doesn’t have a problem. The general “rule” is that states should be reporting numbers under 5% postivity to claim the virus is “under (some semblance of) control.” Florida is currently reporting (around) 13% positivity. Up From 11% two weeks ago.
There’s a problem in Florida. That much is clear. But that problem did not originate in nor is it as a result of the reopening of Walt Disney World.
According to the Tampa Bay Times,
The state Agency for Health Care Administration said 9,235 patients are being treated for the virus in Florida hospitals — more than 2,000 of them in Miami-Dade county.
Miami-Dade reported 3,212 cases and 28 coronavirus-related deaths Sunday, accounting for almost a third of all Florida deaths reported that day. Sunday’s update brings the total number of infections in Miami-Dade to 84,238 – roughly 24 percent of all known coronavirus infections in Florida since the start of the pandemic.
Broward County has the second highest total caseload — about 11 percent of the state’s overall total — with 39,281 infections. Palm Beach has the third-highest caseload with 23,706 infections.Tampa Bay Times
The Orlando Sentinal Reported that
South Florida, home to 29% of Florida’s population, accounts for about 43% of cases with 154,437 total.Orlando Sentinal
Additionally, what Disney nay-sayers aren’t reporting is that even with the NBA playing, practicing and living on Disney property, the parks and resorts reopened, not one coronavirus case has been reported in connection with the reopening or Walt Disney World property. Not one.
Several outlets have reported misleading headlines regarding the positive cases within the NBA. Not one positive case has come from a player or member of the personnel being on property. They all tested positive before entering property and were unable to enter property. Everyone who tested positive was properly quarantined following the positive result.
According to the NBA’s press release
Of the 346 players tested for COVID-19 on the NBA campus since test results were last announced on July 13, zero have returned confirmed positive tests.
In the event that a player on the NBA campus returns a confirmed positive test in the future, he will be isolated until he is cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association.NBA
Safety at Disney
If you are a local and decide to go to Disney World, there is a good chance you are at one of the safest possible places you can be right now in Florida.
But, between the stringent cleaning and sanitizing measures and mandatory safety measures for all guests, Disney is a far more controlled environment than anywhere else you are venturing to.
To Visit Disney or Not
This is a hard year. It absolutely is. Personally, we are on the longest dryspell from Disney in years. We are supposed to be in Disney right now in fact, for our anniversary. After much thought, we made the decision to cancel that trip. We don’t need to be adding to the situation in Florida right now.
It would be irresponsible for us to travel there at this time. If we lived in Florida, we would absolutely go to Walt Disney World. We would stay on property, eat at the resorts and parks and Disney Springs, we would go to the parks. But, we don’t live there. So here we are. In Colorado. Not adding to the problem.
It is a decision you must make for yourself if you are a Floridian. If you are not comfortable going to Disney, don’t go. For those visiting Disney property, it is your responsibility to follow all of the safety measures and protocols that have been in place. If you have been exposed, you have no business setting foot on Disney property.
In addition, on Disney property or not, it is important for us all to act as though we have the virus and could spread it to someone who may not be able to fight it. Along those lines, it is equally important to behave as though everyone around you has the virus and could spread it to you.
Disney is doing their part but we must do our part. At the end of the day, there are a business. Although they put far more into doing the right thing for guests and fans than most other businesses, they have a bottom line. While implementing policies to ensure safety, they need to make money.