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Walt Disney World reopens as COVID-19 cases surge in Florida

Two parks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, are open now while Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios open a few days from now.

ORLANDO, Fla. — "The Most Magical Place on Earth" has reopened after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later. All of Disney’s Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. 

Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus. 

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Guests arriving to the park will be greeted with several new procedures in an effort to keep people safe, including mandatory face coverings, temperature checks and social distancing. Disney said capacity at its parks will be reduced, though it did not say by how much, to help space people out.

"Drawing on experience from the successful reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort, Disney Springs, and Walt Disney World resort hotels and transportation, the theme parks will reopen with a deliberate, responsible approach that includes limits on attendance and controlled guest density," the company said in a statement.

The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. 

The Florida Department of Health reported 10,360 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with a total of 98 new virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours. Florida passed the 200,000-case mark last weekend after crossing 100,000 cases just two weeks ago.

RELATED: Disney World resumes theme park ticket and hotel sales for 2020

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