Before-and-after photos show how Disney World went from teeming to deserted in one day after closing for the coronavirus

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A composite image of Main Street at Disney’s Magic World. Gregg Newton / Reuters
  • Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is one of the most visited theme parks in the world. It gets about 93 million visitors annually.
  • On March 15, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended cancelling gatherings of 50 or more people to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
  • As of March 18, the US had 4,661 confirmed cases with 114 deaths.
  • To stop the virus from spreading Disney World closed its doors on March 16 and won’t reopen until March 31.
  • These before-and-after photos show how different the amusement park looks from one day to the next.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


On March 15, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommended avoiding gatherings of 50 or more people. That evening, hundreds of people went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to watch fireworks before the park closed.

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Guests gather in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World to watch fireworks before the park closed on March 15. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service / Getty

Sources: Business Insider, CDC


Walt Disney World closed on March 16 and won’t reopen until March 31. According to Disney World, the closures were taken as “an abundance of caution.” The following aerial photos show the difference from March 15 to March 16.

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Guests leave the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in the final minutes before the park closed, Sunday night, March 15, 2020. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service / Getty

Sources: Disney World, Deseret News


BEFORE: Each year more than 93 million people visit the six parks within Walt Disney World, including the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood studios, and Epcot. Here’s the car park on March 15. It was nearly full.

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A nearly full parking lot outside the transportation hub at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on the final day before closing. Gregg Newton / Reuters

Source: The New York Times


AFTER: By March 16, the Magic Kingdom theme park was nearly empty.

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The nearly empty parking lot of Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

BEFORE: Of the six theme parks in Disney World, Magic Kingdom is the most popular. In 2018, it had 20.8 million visitors.

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Guests line up to watch a parade along Main Street at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on the final day before closing on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

Source: USA Today


AFTER: Main Street, which leads to Cinderella Castle, was deserted on March 16.

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Cinderella Castle sits at the end of an empty Main Street at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

Sources: The New York Times, The Verge


BEFORE: On March 15, people were swimming and enjoying Disney World’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.

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Crowds enjoy the Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park on the final day before closing on March 15. Gregg Newton / Reuters

AFTER: The next day, the water was empty, and the beach umbrellas were down. This isn’t the first time Disney World has closed. It also closed in 1999, 2004, and 2016, due to hurricanes.

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Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park is empty after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

Source: The New York Times


BEFORE: A large crowd milled about Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 15.

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A large crowd inside Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the final day before closing on March 15. Gregg Newton / Reuters

AFTER: The next day, it was empty streets in Toy Story Land. Disney World employs 75,000 people and said they would continue to get paid while the parks were closed.

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Empty streets are seen at Toy Story Land inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

Sources: The New York Times, The Verge


BEFORE: The space in front of Cinderella Castle on Main Street in Disney’s Magic Kingdom was teeming on March 15.

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Crowds walk along Main Street toward Cinderella Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom on the final day before closing on March 15. Gregg Newton / Reuters

AFTER: The space was clear on March 16.

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Cinderella Castle is seen at the end of an empty Main Street at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

BEFORE: The Star Wars-themed section of Hollywood Studios was still busy on March 15.

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Crowds walk near the Millennium Falcon spaceship at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the final day before closing on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

AFTER: On March 16, the Millennium Falcon, a ship from the Star Wars films, sat amid empty streets.

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The Millennium Falcon spaceship inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

BEFORE: In Disney’s Epcot theme park, people walked between a Mesoamerican pyramid and the Mexico Pavilion on March 15.

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Guests walk near a Mesoamerican pyramid and the Cantina de San Angel at the Mexico Pavilion at Disney’s Epcot on the final day before closing on March 15. Gregg Newton / Reuters

AFTER: The next day the streets in Disney’s Epcot theme park were empty. Despite the closures Walt Disney’s executive Chairman Robert Iger remained positive. On Twitter, he said: “We’ve been through a lot over the years. We’ve always bounced back. Be strong. Stay healthy.”

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Empty streets near a Mesoamerican pyramid and the Mexico Pavilion at Disney’s Epcot theme park after it closed on March 16. Gregg Newton / Reuters

Source: Twitter