The dominoes continue to fall in reaction to the desire to halt the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19. Walt Disney World has just announced that it will close all resort hotels and the Disney owned and operated locations at Disney Springs.
The owned and operated Disney Springs locations will close beginning Tuesday March 17. Other tenants will make their own decision on whether to remain open or adjust operations. (Update: most or all third party locations are reported to be planning on closing)
Disney also announced that the Disney owned hotels at Walt Disney World, including DVC locations will close at 5pm on Friday, March 20. Guest are encouraged to make arrangements to depart by then.
Update: Walt Disney World President Josh D’Amaro released a letter to the community this morning. In it he states,
“It’s an understatement to say that it has been an unusual few days at Walt Disney World Resort. Yesterday, we closed our theme parks through the end of the month to do our part to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus here in Central Florida. We will also close Disney Springs by the end of the day today while working on ramping down our hotels.”
“It’s not like anything our community has faced before and our focus has been on the safety and well-being of our Guests, Cast Members and their families as well as our neighbors.”
“As I reflect on the events of the past several days, I feel tremendous gratitude. First, I’m grateful to our Cast Members for the way they rose to this challenge — not only in preparing for this closure, but also in continuing to deliver unforgettable experiences for our Guests and each other. We look forward to making magic for Guests again soon.”
At the end of the night, Josh joined Disney cast members to say goodbye to the last group of guests at the Magic Kingdom for what looks like an undetermined amount of time, but at least two weeks.
Like Josh, we hope to see all of Disney’s parks around the globe reopening soon and deliverying magic to guests. But caution is the best course of action for now.
As with previous announcements Walt Disney World states they are closing out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of guests and cast members. They plan to continue to monitor the situation and stay in contact health official and other experts.
No word on this annoucement for how long the Disney Springs locations and resorts will remain closed. The theme parks at Walt Disney World were initially expected to be closed just through the end of March, but recent Center for Disease Control guidelines reccommend avoiding gatherings of more than 50 for the next 8 weeks.
That will put an end to almost all tourism, hospitality, and travel in the United States. Authorities and health experts have stated that in order to stop exponential spread of COVID-19 we have to practice social distancing.
Disney has now pulled the trigger on reducing almost all opportunities for any gatherings by shuttering hotels, restaurants and shops along with the world famous theme parks.
We’re waiting for any additional information and will update this story as we learn it.