Walt Disney World Proposes Soft Openings for Cast Members and “Affinity” Groups

Who will have the chance to step into Walt Disney World first? Walt Disney World Senior Vice President of Operations, Jim MacPhee, shared with the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Wednesday, May 27, the proposed dates of reopening Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 11 and EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. MacPhee also gave insight into who may be invited to enter the parks prior to the phased reopening dates.


As quoted during the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting, Jim MacPhee shared: “We believe our reopening proposal for our property reflects a very thoughtful, methodical, and phased approach. And we’ve incorporated all of the reopening protocols throughout our guest experience and our cast experience. We will deploy a series of soft opening tactics for select audiences several days prior to July 11 with Cast previews and affinity soft opening preview days. This will reflect a thoughtful ramp up in our attendance strategy and allow us to launch, learn, and adjust along the way.”

We know Cast Members are likely to get a preview, but the real question is what qualifies for a Disney “affinity” group? Whenever Disney has soft openings for new experiences, the groups typically invited are VIPs (such a Media), Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and select special groups such as Club 33 Members and Golden Oak Residents.

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Do you fall into one or more of these possible “affinity” groups? We’re eager to learn more from Disney on when these soft openings proposed by MacPhee will take place!

About Mike and Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with Disney Vacation Club and RunDisney events in particular. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire a magic band of every style while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 15 years and are blessed with a daughter and a son who have already learned the importance of planning ahead! As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.