'Welcome home': Disney World reopening promo has the internet buzzing

Two of the Disney parks are opening Saturday despite the rise in COVID-19 cases in Florida.
The video has sparked controversy on the internet due to the current state of Florida, as well as rising cases of coronavirus across the country.
The video has sparked controversy on the internet due to the current state of Florida, as well as rising cases of coronavirus across the country.
/ Source: TODAY

Amid the spike in cases of coronavirus in Florida, Disney World opened the gates to two of its parks on Saturday.

To celebrate the reopening, Disney released a promotional video on social media featuring workers at the parks.

In the 32-second video that has since been deleted from Twitter, Disney staff and cast members can be seen donning masks and face shields while they wave, tip their hats and give a thumbs up to the camera to “welcome home” guests.

A screenshot from the viral video.

"Cast members are ready to welcome guests back to Walt Disney World Resort,” the caption read.

The video sparked controversy on the internet due to the current state of Florida, as well as rising cases of coronavirus across the country.

A screenshot of the viral video that quickly grew ire on the social media.

"This is the scariest thing I’ve seen in weeks,” Sam Sanders wrote, sharing the video to their feed before adding, "2020 is a Jordan Peele movie.”

@MajorPhilebrity wrote, "Florida’s pivot to extinction is really inspiring.”

"THIS IS ABSOLUTELY DERANGED,” another user wrote, retweeting the video.

Another person added, "There is something very dystopian about a resort reopening during a pandemic while the employees happily yell ‘Welcome home!’ with masks and little PPE.”

Before the official video was deleted from Twitter, some users reshared it, but dubbed new music over the sequence to make it even more... creepy.

"That disney parks ad but it's the theme from 'us'," wrote one person who altered the original video.

Disney World has been shut down for nearly four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom both welcomed back guests on Saturday, while Epcot and Hollywood Studios are set to reopen Wednesday, July 15.

Visitors and employees will have their temperatures checked before they're allowed into the parks. Masks will be required within the Disney parks and visitors will have to practice social distancing, with fireworks shows and parades suspended to avoid large gatherings.

NBC’s affiliate in Miami, Florida, WTVJ, reported that tickets for the month of July are already sold out.

Executives felt confident they had developed a responsible plan for reopening in phases during the pandemic, said Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney's parks, experiences and products division.

"This is the new world that we're operating in, and I don't see that changing anytime soon," D'Amaro said in an interview on Saturday after he greeted guests and workers at the park.

Disney's reopening of parks in Asia helped provide assurance about moving ahead in Florida, he added.

"I feel really good about our environment," he added. "We're taking this seriously."

Florida reported 11,423 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, July 10, its biggest daily increase since July 3, when there were 11,458 new cases recorded. The total number of cases in the state is now 254,511 with a statewide COVID-19 death toll surpassing 4,200.

Still, many Disney fans and workers were eager for Disney World to open its gates. The resort employs 77,000 people. Disney said it had trained a group of employees, including some who play costumed characters such as superheroes from "The Incredibles," to nudge guests who become lax about the rules. Stormtroopers kept watch for violations in the Disney Springs shopping district outside the theme parks.

"There is a shared responsibility here so guests are going to have to do their part," D'Amaro said.

Reuters contributed.