Disney park manager feels “really good” about reopening Disney World

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Walking down the main street to Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida may seem a little different in the wake of the coronvirus pandemic, but that doesn’t seem to appease the minds of Disney or his most passionate fans.On Saturday, Disney began its gradual reopening of its theme parks in Florida amid a record number of new Covid-19 cases in the state. The company is fully aware that all eyes are on it this weekend, but its management has expressed confidence in its increased security measures and its modified operations.

“There is a lot of trust here, from our stakeholders and our guests, and we have a responsibility to respect that trust,” said Josh D’Amaro, president of the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment.

Although D’Amaro refused to give specific ticket numbers, he noted that customers were booking reservations to visit Disney parks and resorts until 2021.

“People love Disney, they love experiences here,” he said. “They understand that the world is different, they watch us develop these great plans and we see them book in the short and long term. ”

D’Amaro was officially appointed president in May, about four months after Bob Chapek left to replace Bob Iger as CEO. He took charge of Disney’s parks, resorts, cruises, experiences and consumer products just under three months after the company was forced to close all of its theme parks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is no small task to restart such a massive part of Disney’s business. The segment as a whole accounted for 37% of the company’s $ 69.6 billion in total revenue last year. While the rival parks Universal Studios and SeaWorld reopened in early June, Disney postponed its reopening until mid-July in order to bring back its massive number of employees and to retrain them in its new security procedures.

As Disney prepares to reopen its parks, D’Amaro spent the past week interacting with actors and guests at soft opening events in its Florida parks. He said cast members are comfortable with Disney’s new safety measures, which include a mandatory mask policy and temperature controls, and that guests have been “cooperative” with the new rules. Park.

At Disney Springs, which reopened in late May, “all the guests are wearing their masks and everyone understands their shared responsibility,” said D’Amaro.

Disney used specific actors to search for guests who “may have had a little mistake” and didn’t replace their mask after eating or drinking, said D’Amaro. Because of all the signage and communication from the company about expectations and rules, he doesn’t expect there to be too many incidents.

Disneyland in California is still awaiting instructions from government officials before announcing its new reopening date, but customers can expect a similar set of safety measures in Anaheim, said D’Amaro.

In addition, the construction of the Avengers campus, a new lot that was scheduled to open in July this year, “will definitely go ahead” and “look fantastic,” he said. D’Amaro has not provided a specific schedule for when these new Marvel-themed lands will open to the public.

Saturday, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom in Florida will reopen to the public, and will be followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15. Disneyland Paris is also scheduled to reopen on July 15.

“We feel really good about everything that is in place,” said D’Amaro.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Universal Studios and CNBC.

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