After being closed for nearly four months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Walt Disney World in Orlando has reopened.
"This morning marks another milestone in the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort, as Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park welcome guests for the first time in several months," the park said in a statement, according to People. "Our cast members have been eagerly anticipating this moment and are looking forward to making magic today as only they can."
On Friday, Florida reported 11,433 new COVID-19 cases, its largest single day increase since July 3, reported NBC News. As of July 10th, the state has recorded 244,143 cases of the novel virus, with at least 4,101 deaths.
But fans didn’t seem deterred as thousands passed through the Disney gates on Saturday eager to return to the happiest place on Earth.
According to CNN, opening day visitors watched a “socially distanced, scaled-back parade" make its way through the park.
In anticipation of reopening, Disney issued a number of new safety protocols in order to keep guests and staff healthy.
Prior to heading to the parks, guests were required to make a reservation on the new Disney Park Pass System to gain entry.
In addition, the parks will only operate with a limited capacity, require all visitors and employees to wear face coverings, mandatory temperature checks upon arrival, social distancing and increased sanitation.
On Wednesday, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studio will follow by beginning operations following their closures in mid-March.