Orange County Task Force Wants to Let Disney and Universal Open at Their Own Discretion

    The Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force held another meeting this morning, the first of four scheduled for today.

    As a significant part of the Orange County Florida economy, theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal demand a special consideration by the task force in terms of time discussed. As it turns out, the reopening task force is looking to give theme parks a bit more leniency in determining a reopening timeline and guidelines that they’ll abide by.

    Yesterday, there were a distinct set of guidelines and mandates drafted by the task force. To view the guidelines and mandates, check out our earlier post.

    In todays call, Chuck Whittall, President of Unicorp, read a statement that was put together after discussions with Thomas Mazloum, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney World Resorts and Transportation Operations. Here’s the working draft that Whittall ran by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings:

    Theme parks and other venues of that magnitude shall each develop their own specific and unique set of guidelines following the CDC recommendations and using best practices that will protect the life, health, and safety of their employees and guests. They will be permitted to open at their own discretion with their internally determined level of safe capacities throughout the various [reopening] phases.

    Whittall went on to say that he believes that the task force should put a reopening timeline in the hands of the theme parks. He went on to note that theme parks will be judged by not only the marketplace, but also on social media by guests who either decided to visit or stay away.

    Mayor Demings said that Whittall is “precisely right” and that nothing that the task force puts together in terms of recommendations should appear to be “punitive” to the theme parks that are essentially cities of their own.

    Demings said that if a theme park venue looks into the Central Florida community and sees that restaurants or shops are open, they should be able to open something similar of their own. Demings said that you can’t look at a place like Disney and lump it into one giant basket when there are smaller “businesses” within each property that they should be able to phase in with the rest of the community. Demings said that large venues like Disney, Universal, Orlando City soccer, and more have the capacity to practice social distancing and “be ready to go with short notice”.

    Dr. Barbara Jenkins of the Orange County Public Schools noted that the language discussed above shouldn’t allow the theme parks and other venues to reopen before whatever date the Mayor announces for the general public. That point wasn’t met with any friction from the task force, so while Disney and other large venues will be able to determine their own phases, it’s unlikely that their reopening would preclude a general reopening for the county.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at for the latest Disney Parks news and photos. We’ll continue to bring you news and photos, where possible, through the Disney Parks closure due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will resume our normal coverage once the parks reopen to guests on July 11th!

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