LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Two parks at Walt Disney World will reopen on Saturday morning for members of the public who have a valid ticket and have confirmed a reservation. The demand is so high, reservations are booked for the whole weekend.
Dean, 5, and his brother, Jack, 6, got a big surprise from their parents as they arrive at a Disney Resort on Friday. The family is from South Florida. Their boys' mother, Kristi DeRubertis, can’t wait to take them to the Magic Kingdom for opening day.
"It’s pretty surreal. Up until the shutdown, we were going at least once a month," she says. "We’re Florida residents, annual passholders."
She says they’re prepared with plenty of masks and supplies, along with their Mickey attire.
"Clorox wipes to go into my bag, in the room. I have endless Purell, and we’re just taking the extra precautions."
She says even checking into her Disney hotel is different from their last stay back in February.
"It’s touchless, there’s plexiglass when you check-in, and a lot of it is done on the app now."
Kristi, who has a blog called Kingdom Insider says the reaction to new safety measures hasn’t been all positive.
"It’s almost been as heated as a political debate I’m not gonna lie. Online, people have very strong opinions."
Passholders like Mark Costa and Greg Kovats made sure to tell their friends and family. They’re driving over from Naples.
Mark says, "They’re all pretty supportive. There were a couple of people saying just stay home. But for the most part, after I went into all the precautions that Disney’s taking to keep us safe, they’re a little bit more understanding."
Greg says he's been going to Disney since he was a child.
"Just excited to go back to Disney. We go every two months or every six weeks and we really enjoy going back to the parks."
Kristi is also a big Disney fan.
"I’m born and raised in Disney. That 'pixie dust' runs through my veins so it’s not a surprise that we’re going tomorrow! They trust I’m making the right decision."
She says dealing with the pandemic has been a struggle for everyone, so she’s ready for a positive change.
"So to know that we’re going tomorrow it feels like Christmas Eve. I don’t think we’re gonna sleep at all, and I think we’re going to be there as early as we can."
the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom open at 9 a.m. Disney Hollywood Studios and Epcot open next week. If you're heading to Disney, you will need a mask and temperature check to enter. There are sanitizer and handwashing stations all around the park.
Disney is operating at reduced capacity so it may look and feel different. There are lots of social distancing markers and plexiglass walls in lines. If you arrive in the morning, be prepared to wait to get into the parking lot. There may be a traffic backup due to high demand.