Looking back, it’s hard to remember exactly how long was Disney World closed.
Initially, Disney World closed March 15, 2020.
Reopening July 11, 2020 with the Magic Kingdom first.
Then the other theme parks within Disney World, shortly thereafter.
Answering the question, how long was Disney World closed.
In fact it was the longest period of time Disney World has closed, ever.
Walt Disney World was heading towards a bright future before the Coronavirus hit.
Walt Disney World had just announced several new projects, like the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the EPCOT transformation, an Avengers Campus at Disneyland’s California Adventure, and the highly-anticipated TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster coming to Magic Kingdom.
It was, at the time, expected that some of these projects would open to coincide with Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Two Floridians tested positive for Coronavirus on March 1, 2020, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 4, 2020.
The cartoon attraction was just a few months after Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
A few weeks later, everything changed for Walt Disney World.
In other regions of the world, Disney decided to close its theme parks due to the Coronavirus threat.
As a precaution, theme parks in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and even California shut down.
In the meantime, Central Florida theme parks stepped up their precautions by installing hand washing and sanitizing stations.
In an effort to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic, Universal Orlando announced that it was closing on March 12, 2020.
Walt Disney World followed shortly after.
“We’re closing Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month out of an abundance of caution and in the best interests of our guests and employees.”
The sudden closure of Disney’s Florida and California parks was just the latest sign of a struggling tourism industry.
A health issue forced the parks to close at once for the first time in Walt Disney World’s history.
Other times Disney World closed
In 1999, Hurricane Floyd forced Disney World to close.
Due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the park was closed for a day.
There have been other hurricanes that rolled through the state since then that closed the park.
Coronavirus threats exploded globally, so Walt Disney World announced its parks would be closed for the time being.
It left cast members wondering about what would happen with their jobs and livelihoods.
In April, Disney had to furlough a majority of its thousands of employees after paying them for five weeks.
Disney company officials said its second-quarter profit fell 91% to $475 million from $5.4 billion a year ago, shortly after the initial closures.
Over 70,000 Disney workers were furloughed for months as a result of the shutdowns, contributing to a crippling unemployment system in the state.
Disney’s intern program was shut down as well, sending hundreds of 20 somethings back to their home states for the time being. Those who lived in other countries were suddenly stuck in Florida and not able to visit their homelands.
All of this makes the answer to, “how long was Disney World closed?” a question we hope we never have to ask again.
Food banks in the area provided support to hundreds of families during this time.
Florida began reopening its economy slowly after the Coronavirus outbreak.
Disney reopened some parks months after closing them, saying they’d reopen July 11.
As we mentioned, Magic Kingdom reopened July 11th followed by EPCOT and Hollywood Studios on July 15, and finally Animal Kingdom.
- 17 Disney World Hotels Have Reopened
As a result of the reopening, the theme park’s reservation system and health and safety protocols underwent changes.
There was forced social distance on rides, experiences, and attractions.
Everyone had to wear a mask.
Now close to two years after the initial shutdown, the health and safety protocols at Walt Disney World have changed.
Walt Disney World changed its Skyliner system so that guests are no longer required to wear facial coverings while vaccinated.
Thousands of cast members have returned to the company and most resorts, hotels, and restaurants have reopened.
The original experiences planned for the anniversary celebration weren’t ready, but Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opened at EPCOT just in time.
A new show will be added at Disney’s Animal Kingdom along with Fantasmic, Disney announced earlier this year.
Despite the length of time Disney World was closed, there is still a lot to look forward to. The crowds are also back in high volumes.
What to look forward to at Disney World
A major piece of the Disney pie has always been character meet and greets. Beginning April 18th, 2022, you will be able to hug and squeeze your fave characters once again.
This summer, Walt Disney World will bring back a tradition nearly as old as the Florida resort.
For the first time since the pandemic, Disney Parks will bring Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue back to Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground on June 23. This particular show is dinner with a frontier theme, it debuted in 1974.
Bookings open May 26.
The announcement is the latest in a string of exciting things to come.
Last week, Disney World announced the return of its Minnie Van ride service and Disney Cultural Representative Program.
Cultural Representative Program participants have been missing from EPCOT’s World Showcase pavilions during the pandemic.
They used to represent their countries and interact with guests.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is also a little quieter without them.
Disney Programs’ return is planned for August.
“The program will return in phases, with participants from select countries whose 2020 program was shortened or canceled now being offered the opportunity to apply,” the organization said in a statement regarding how long was Disney World closed.
As far as Minnie Vans coming back is concerned, no specific dates were given.
Hopefully, we’ll never have to ask how long Disney World was closed again. Did you have a trip that was cancelled during the pandemic, if so, have you been able to reschedule? What are you most looking forward to when you return to the park?