Key Takeaways From Disney’s Meeting With Governor DeSantis Today
This afternoon, Governor Ron DeSantis sat down with Orlando theme park representatives to discuss their reopenings and plans going forward. During this process Disney officials painted a relatively optimistic picture saying that despite new health & safety protocols, “The Magic Is Back.”
Representing Disney at this event was Senior VP of Walt Disney World Operations Jim MacPhee, newcomer Jackie Swisher, VP of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Leonard Spencer, Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity for Disney Parks and Resorts. Probably the most significant take away from the event was the suggestion from Governor DeSantis that the theme parks should be able to start increasing capacity provided that there is demand there.
Check out this tweet from WFTV’s Lauren Seabrook:
In response to a question from @SButlerWFTV, @GovRonDeSantis just said the state is comfortable with our theme parks expanding capacity. He said they have enough measures in place to increase the amount of people they're allowing into the parks. #Disney #SeaWorld #Universal
— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) August 26, 2020
During the round table discussion, DeSantis praised Orlando’s theme park juggernauts for their reopening strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disney took time to walk DeSantis through their opening measures and to emphasize that Cast Member and Guest Safety is Disney World’s top priority. New training was implemented to help guests feel confident in promoting health & safety measures at the parks and Disney said that the procedures are constantly evolving due to the individual needs of specific areas of theme park/resort operations.
When it comes to cast members, DeSantis did ask the theme parks how many furloughed employees they were able to bring back to work. Universal Parks said that 85%- 90% of their full-time workers had returned but that they currently were not in position to bring back their part-time or seasonal employees. Though Disney did not provide concrete numbers they did say that had brought thousands of employees back to work but there are cast members that haven’t been asked back as of yet.
When asked about the demographics of those visiting the parks, Disney did say that most of the current visitors are locals and annual passholders. However, with more of the resorts opening up on property guests are noticeably opting to stay longer.
DeSantis also asked Disney about their theme park locations around the world. In an interesting tidbit, Jim MacPhee said that they theme parks have essentially been “ready-to-go” since July and are simply waiting for the go-ahead from Governor Gavin Newsom. The theme parks including SeaWorld and Universal Orlando highlighted that they are all working together to promote confidence in Orlando as a safe place to bring your family
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