Social distancing? Not on Sunday night at Disney World


Two children watch the fireworks display as it explodes over Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, May 7, 2008. The complex is reportedly the most visited and largest recreational resort in the world, containing four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-three themed hotels, and numerous shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation venues. Disney World opened on October 1, 1971. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

DALLAS (NEXSTAR) — On the same night the CDC recommended gatherings of 50 or more be canceled for the next eight weeks, thousands of people packed Disney World before its parks temporarily closed to combat coronavirus.

Pictures posted on Twitter by WDW News Today, a website not affiliated with Disney, shows people packing the Florida parks before they shut down on Monday for more than two weeks.

In California, Disneyland has been closed since the morning of March 14. The park has shut down only a handful of times in 65 years and never for more than a day, said Jason Schultz, supervisory archivist at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and unofficial Disneyland historian who wrote “Jason’s Disneyland Almanac.” The last closure was after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

A Disneyland spokesperson declined to comment about previous closures.

Disney suspended any new cruise ship departures as of Sunday morning through the middle of April.

Disney World explained on their website that unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days, or date-specific tickets for March 12-31 will be automatically extended to use any day through Dec. 15, 2020, according to WFLA.

If a guest is unable to visit the parks by that date, they can apply the value of the unused ticket to the purchase of another at a later date.

As for annual pass holders, Disney World confirmed passes will be extended by the number of days the parks are closed.

Guests who have not checked in for hotel stays between the closure dates can modify or cancel their Disney Resort room or Walt Disney Travel Company package up to their check-in date. Disney will provide refunds within seven days of the original check-in date if no action is taken.

Pre-paid dining and experience reservations during that time period will also be refunded.

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