Walt Disney World released a new video via Instagram and Twitter over the weekend designed to welcome guests back to its theme parks after the COVID-19 closure. The video, which depicts employees wearing masks around the parks, may not have the desired effect.
The brief clip–which was actually later deleted from Twitter, though not before going viral–shows the masked employees in a variety of different environments around Walt Disney World with rides and attractions in full operation. From beneath the masks, the employees say “Welcome home” to viewers. Several of the cast members also wear face shields and latex gloves. Of note: the rides that do operate in the video don’t show anyone riding, and the only person not wearing a mask in the video is the character Merida from the animated film Brave (which raises questions about the safety of character performers).
Needless to say, comments on the video didn’t share its enthusiasm about the parks reopening. “Terrible. Please provide testing to employees. Also offer hazard pay. This is not safe. You guys should really close,” wrote commenter @punnysang.
“Save yourselves Disney staff. No job is with losing your life,” said user @rachelminbrooklyn.
“So scary & ruthless, Disney!” commented @thebeachrepubliclives. “Walt is turning in his grave! How this place brought joy as a kid. I couldn’t imagine ever going with anyone in my family. You reopen as virus numbers surge to record levels as the state responds poorly along with poor leadership by the executive branch. So sad for the money.”
Walt Disney World closed on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Disney has endured wide criticism for moving to reopen the parks even as COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida continue to skyrocket. Meanwhile, Disney World’s California counterpart Disneyland was set to reopen later this month. Disney has since announced the theme parks there will remain closed indefinitely.
That being said, it looks like opening day wasn’t a failure — here’s a look at what the experience was like for park guests.