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Disney World Re-Opens, Welcoming Guests and the NBA

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Two of Walt Disney World's four theme parks in Florida are reopening Saturday. The other two are preparing to reopen four days from now.

Return visitors will find new rules in place and probably notice some major changes at the parks, near the city of Orlando. Missing will be the usual nightly fireworks show above what Disney officials call "The Most Magical Place on Earth." Officials also have suspended Disney World's beloved parades. In fact, officials have taken steps to avoid all events that lead people to crowd together closely.

The company hopes the changes are enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among Disney World visitors and employees. The new rules require that people get temperature checks before entering the park and use face covers while on site.

Visitors also will not be seeing any live performances for a while. Disney World's performers are in a dispute with the company about their demands for a virus testing program. Unlike other park workers, singers and dancers cannot wear face masks or socially distance while on the job.

Florida is currently experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of COVID-19 in the United States. Experts have described the state as the latest epicenter of the coronavirus spread.

Also this week, Walt Disney World welcomed the arrival of 22 National Basketball Association teams. The professional sports organization suspended the basketball season in March because of COVID-19. Now it is preparing to return to play, holding the remainder of the season's games at Disney World's huge sports complex. The first game is set for July 30. NBA officials say the championship will be decided by October 13.

"It's great to be back after four months," said Orlando Magic player Nikola Vucevic.

Not all players were quite as happy, however. Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers expressed displeasure about being separated from his family. He wrote on Twitter about missing his wife and three children in California.

"Just left the crib to head to the bubble... Hated to leave the #JamesGang," he posted.

And one NBA player expressed his opinion on the restart without even having to say a word. Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers joined his team on the flight to Orlando wearing a full hazmat suit.

Embiid is known for being a joker and got some laughs for his effort.

I'm Caty Weaver.

The Associated Press wrote this story for Learning English, Caty Weaver adapted it VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

outbreakn. a sudden rise in the incidence of a disease​

cribn. a slang word for one's home

bubblen. in this usage, a area restricted to some people in an effort to stop spread of infection

hazmat suitn. clothing to protect against environmental dangers

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