The Magic Kingdom will soon close earlier.
Following a multi-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic beginning in late March, the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened on July 11. Now, less than a month later, the amusement park giant plans to take a step back, shortening hours beginning next month.
The news was revealed in an earnings calls by Disney executives to investors on Tuesday, Variety reported. Starting in September, the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will all close an hour earlier than normal — at 6 p.m., at 7 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively — and Epcot will close two hours earlier — at 7 p.m. (The parks will maintain their current opening times: the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom at 9 a.m., Hollywood Studios at 10 a.m. and Epcot at 11 a.m.)
The change in hours comes amid a 40% drop in revenues for Disney, in large part due to the parks being shuttered and now unable to operate at full capacity as a result of COVID-19, Variety reported.
Amid Disney’s initial reopening in July, Florida reported record daily numbers of coronavirus deaths.
While again open, Disney’s theme parks have taken on a surreal new atmosphere due to precautions now being enforced to prevent the in-park spread of the coronavirus. These include regular audio reminders to guests about social distancing and wearing masks and signage about sanitation stations. Late last month, the park closed a mask-mandate loophole by banning eating and drinking while walking, now explicitly requiring guests to stay in place if they remove their masks to eat.
Guests walk past the the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster on the second day of the reopening of Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., July 16, 2020. All four of Disney’s Florida parks are now open, including Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, with limited capacity and safety protocols in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via
Park guests enter the Magic Kingdom during the reopening of Walt Disney World, July 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.