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Walt Disney World employees are returning to work. Here’s what they’re saying

Are cast members excited to return to Walt Disney World?

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FILE - In this Monday, March 16, 2020, file photo, the road to the entrance of Walt Disney World has few cars, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Two more unions have reached agreements with Walt Disney World over furloughs caused by the theme park resort’s closure during the new coronavirus outbreak. The agreements reached late Friday, April 10, apply to security guards and workers involved in facilities and operations. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

FILE - In this Monday, March 16, 2020, file photo, the road to the entrance of Walt Disney World has few cars, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Two more unions have reached agreements with Walt Disney World over furloughs caused by the theme park resort’s closure during the new coronavirus outbreak. The agreements reached late Friday, April 10, apply to security guards and workers involved in facilities and operations. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

John Raoux, Associated Press

Walt Disney World employees have begun heading back to work as the park gears up for its reopening in July, and excitement seems to be hanging in the air.

What’s going on:

  • Thousands of employees at Walt Disney World were furloughed amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused all of Disney’s theme parks to shut down to stop the spread of the virus.
  • Employee Diego Henry — who works at Dino World at Animal Kingdom — got the call to return to work this week, Fox 35 Orlando reports. And Henry couldn’t be more excited.
  • Henry said: “It’s going to be like the first day of school, in sixth grade. You know who you’re going to school with, so you’re excited. They basically said welcome back. We’re calling you back. Make sure you have your gear ready to go.”
  • Henry will return to work on June 11.
  • Eric Clinton, spokesperson for the Local 362, which represents the workers, told Fox 35 Orlando that other employees have received calls already, too.
  • “Resort custodians today received phone calls going back to work. That’s several hundred custodial workers in the resorts and then next week thousands of attractions and custodial workers in the theme parks will get a call back basically June 21st or so.”

Reopening Disney World

  • Walt Disney World announced at the end of May that it plans to reopen in July with social distancing and safety guidelines, as I reported for the Deseret News. Disney World is set to reopen the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11. Meanwhile, Epcot and Hollywood Studios will reopen on July 15, which I reported on for the Deseret News.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek told Bloomberg Televisionthat Disney’s reopening will require baby steps.

  • Chapek said: “Disney opens a little later than others — we open up with not as many people inside our parks — but we do that on purpose because we want to build that trust in this new environment. It’s the new normal, and then take it from there. So baby steps every step of the way.”