Should Essential Workers in Florida Get First Access to Walt Disney World When It Reopens?

Earlier this week, the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force shared initial guidelines that their committee put together regarding what they think should take place when the theme parks reopen in Central Florida. The next day, the same Task Force suggested that large theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando open at their own discretion.

Obviously, there is an awful lot that will need to be figured out when it comes to Orlando theme parks reopening, but a question was brought up by poster, '4ParkFamily' over on that I thought would make a great topic of discussion today.

Even though I don't get to the Disney theme parks as much as my co-workers do, I miss knowing that I can hop in my car and drive for 2.5-hours and be in the Magic Kingdom parking lot. Just knowing that I can't go because everything is closed is beginning to take its toll on me. I know, first world problem, but I know you guys can feel my pain.

So, what about all of the essential workers in the Orlando area who are leaving the safety of their homes and going to work day in and day out through all of this? Most of these folks are working more than 40-hours per week and they are dealing with tough situations that are emotionally draining. Let's just say for the sake of this article, that their magic level is likely pretty close to empty at this point, especially for those who visit the parks on a regular basis.

First of all, I'm going to share the original post on the thread in its entirety so you can all see the basis of the conversation.

I just watched the guidelines for reopening Walt Disney World podcast and I had a few thoughts as I was watching. It looks like we are close to some sort of opening of the resorts and parks and I had a few thoughts on the discussion that I watched. I agree with Craig and Ryno about Disney taking extra caution on top of what the task force has recommended but have some thoughts about how Disney could ease into this opening. I am an essential employee and have been working 50 hours a week and still have to go out on the weekend and get groceries, gas, and essentials that I need to be able to go to work so that the people who cannot work have what they need. I have to take such extreme cautions at work that it has become part of my everyday life. My hands by the end of the week are breaking out because I have to use hand sanitizer after every transaction. I have a room booked from July 2nd to the 5th and that is all I can think about! I need to get away so bad to relax from the stress of all this. I get that the people who have been locked up are ready to get out as well but with all the practice we have had with all the interaction we have had to deal with I think that when Disney does reopen the essential employees can get the opportunity to get in first. I do believe it should start with essential Florida employees first being that we are within our state guidelines then to Florida residents. Thoughts?

Poster, 'JDWdvc2014' had this to say in response:

It’s not that I disagree with you - I think there’s just so much that goes into reopening that there may be so many logistical issues with only allowing Florida essential workers entry first to be an issue. Disney is huge. They’ve had so many reservations rescheduled: International travelers, DVC, US cash, AP... then you have the local AP’s to worry about as well. While everyone is thankful for essential workers & front line workers (my husband is a doctor & has worked with Covid patients during this pandemic) - so I get your statement about your hands & the long hours worked. In general - I just think Disney has a lot to think about with respect to reopening & I just don’t think it’s going to be limiting it down to specific essential workers first. I think it may be guests staying on property first perhaps (given mandates for park capacity during Phase I to be 50%). But it’s all speculation until Disney themselves actually releases an opening date statement.

Another point that was also brought up by several posters in the thread is the determining of who exactly is considered an essential worker; not only doctors, nurses, firefighters, etc. Obviously, there are so many opinions on who exactly falls under that category, but some may not realize all who is or who should be included. There are plenty of lists available online, but do some of them stretch the definition of who should be considered an essential worker, or do they not include folks who should be listed? I'm glad that I am not the one making these decisions.

When the theme parks finally reopen, do you think they should offer these essential workers time to enjoy the parks first? Is there another group of people that you think should go first instead? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

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