If you missed the task force proposal on Disney's plan to reopen, or just need a refresh on the details, you can find my generally objective run down RIGHT HERE.
That said…I thought it was worth separately laying out a few opinions and thoughts on what we all saw today.
- The Keys to the Kingdom. If you've ever taken Disney's Keys to the Kingdom tour (which you can read about right here), you know that every decision made at Disney is made based on 4 keys: safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency – prioritized in that order. Efficiency takes a back seat to show. Show takes a backseat to courtesy. And EVERYTHING takes a backseat to safety. Nothing at Disney is done without meeting the first priority of the safety of its cast and guests. And so not one person here should be surprised that the proposed opening dates – July 11th for Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and July 15th for Hollywood Studios and Epcot – are later than those proposed by other parks.
- Also, remember what the 4th of July usually looks like at Walt Disney World. It is a mob scene. Disney would not go into that weekend, even with vastly limited capacity, without a system in place that was well tested. And so it's not at all surprising that, not being in a position to open and work out the kinks well before that weekend, they would opt to wait until after it to open the gates. Also…the absence of fireworks would be hard hitting on that day. I wouldn't be shocked if they set some off in the empty park for the locals to enjoy and for a live stream, but if they aren't doing fireworks initially to prevent masses of people congregating in one place, then not being open on the 4th makes sense.
- The failure to address resorts in the proposal. They likely want to keep the resort decision in their own court and not hand approval off to the task force, mayor, and governor. As I mentioned at the end of my overview of the proposal, my guess, which is nothing more than an educated one, is that because the proposal is something delivered for approval, they did not want to put that decision in anyone else’s hands. Hotels throughout the country have not been forced to close during this time, and Disney likely wants to keep that decision entirely in their own court. If they've earned anything in all of this, it's our faith in the fact that that decision will be handled right.
- I'm so very proud. In all of this, that's what this morning really boils down to. I'm proud of this company. I'm proud of how prepared they were for this presentation. How they've maintained their identity in all of this with things like signage and a new spirited team tasked with nothing but encouraging social distancing in a positive way. This is the company that I fell in love with. 1000%.
And those, my friends, are my thoughts. One day we'll look back on all of this with a dose of nostalgia and a lot of crazy memories. It will be behind us one day – but in the meantime I'm so grateful to the company that I love for showing me that I was right to fall for them.