Walt Disney World is reducing the operating hours at all four of its theme parks, following the phased reopening last month amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in Florida.
Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios will close an hour earlier than usual, while Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney's Animal Kingdom will be open for 2 less hours each day. The changes will begin Sept 8. and remain in place through October.
After months of being shuttered due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Walt Disney World began a phased reopening in mid-July with masks being mandatory for guests and staff, and other safety measures in place such as guidelines for social distancing and increased sterilization and cleaning requirements. To be admitted to the park, guests would need to have a reservation and a ticket, as the capacity was capped at a certain number — which wasn't made public — but assumed to be around 30 percent.
Last week, the Walt Disney Co. revealed the financial impact of its parks being shuttered, noting a fiscal third-quarter loss of $3.5 billion. "Parks, Experiences and Products revenues for the quarter decreased 85 percent to $1.0 billion, and segment operating results decreased $3.7 billion to a loss of $2.0 billion," Disney's quarterly report indicated on Tuesday. "Lower operating results for the quarter were due to decreases at both the domestic and international parks and experiences businesses and to a lesser extent, at our merchandise licensing and retail businesses."
Walt Disney world came under fire last month for a "Welcome Home" promotional video that was posted to its social media channels, featuring masked employees welcoming guests back to the park. Some users on Twitter and Instagram accused the park of putting their staff and visitors in danger by reopening too early, and encouraged them to consider closing.
Any further updates or changes to operating schedules will be posted to the Walt Disney World website.