The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt too high levels in the states of Florida and California. The virus has led to the decision of Disney executives to close its Disney Land theme park in California and limit the hours of its Disney World theme park that has been hit by limited numbers of visitors following the high number of cases of COVID-19 across the state of Florida. As the Holiday season approaches with Halloween always one of the most popular periods at the world-famous theme park, the decision to extend the hours the park is open is expected to bring more visitors to the area.
The decision to open Epcot and the surrounding areas of the park for longer hours is expected to bring more visitors to the Sunshine State as the Holiday season arrives in earnest. Like the rest of the entertainment industry, the House of Mouse has been hard hit by the arrival of COVID-19 on American shores back at the start of the year. The latest bid to bring visitors back to the theme parks of the company will not spread to those operated in California. So far there has been no word on when, or if, the Californian theme parks of the company will open over the Holidays.
Halloween will bring the first change to the hours of the theme park with the change in times for opening and closing taking effect immediately. The first change will come on Fridays and Saturdays when the park will remain open until 9 pm. The same closing time has been announced for the Magic Kingdom on three consecutive Sundays across November as the parks prepare for an expected increase in visitors for the Holidays. After the completion of the Halloween weekend, Disney has announced the park will remain open until 9 pm from November 9 through the Thanksgiving weekend from Monday to Thursday. The Thanksgiving weekend will bring an additional hour of opening times for the Epcot Center that will remain open through 10 pm throughout Thanksgiving.
The extended hours that are set to be revealed will result in different areas of the Magic Kingdom being open for certain times of the weekends over the buildup to the Holidays. Disney has announced its Animal Kingdom attraction in Florida will remain open at the weekends with Friday and Saturday seeing opening hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The Thanksgiving week will see even more extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day as the House of Mouse moves ahead with its long opening hours.
The longer opening hours are not reflective of a return to the traditional Holiday attractions and events taking place across the park over the next few months. As the Holiday season reaches full swing in the coming months, many of Disney’s most popular traditions will not be taking place. For example, both Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Epcot Processional have both been canceled.
As the park opens up for business with longer hours than in the past couple of months, the Disney executives have decided to maintain the safety procedures that are in place over much of 2020. All visitors to the park will be required to wear face coverings and use social distancing procedures. As the pandemic looks set to remain in place for the Holiday season, Disney executives are encouraging all visitors to take part in touchless payment options during their visit to the Magic Kingdom.