Disney’s Animal Kingdom is adjusting its hours later in March, but it has nothing to do with COVID-19. According to reports, Animal Kingdom will cut back its hours on March 31, likely due to the Expedition Everest 5K runDisney event. The event takes place at 10:00 pm, so the park will close down for visitors at 8:30 that evening. Animal Kingdom will still open at 7:30 am (7:00 am for early entry) and the park will resume its regular hours the next day.
Walt Disney World Resorts have made a huge change at their stores, in light of previous Covid-19 pandemic safety efforts. WDW News Today reports that the vacation destination has begun removing plexiglass panes from the merchandise counters in its facilities. The clear barriers were initially installed back in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, to help protect visitors and employees from transmitting the virus. At this time, Disney does not appear to have publicly addressed the situation.
Disney has had to make many complicated decisions regarding its theme parks during the pandemic, and in 2021 the company revealed its policy regarding Covid-19 vaccines. In a statement shared back in July, the company revealed that it would be requiring employees of its US properties to be vaccinated. “At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority,” the statement began, per variety.
“Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the US working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated,” the statement continued. “Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions. We have also begun conversations around this topic with the unions representing our employees under collective bargaining agreements.”
Finally, the company added that it will not only be current employees who are expected to be vaccinated. “In addition, all new hires will be required to be fully vaccinated before beginning employment,” the Walt Disney Company explained. “Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”