It is so exciting to see the world finally coming back to life. But with increased health and safety concerns there are now precautions that will change the way we enjoy our favorite things. This includes Walt Disney World.
In this post, I will discuss the phased reopening planned for Walt Disney World, what changes you can expect, and how it may affect your vacation. Things are changing rapidly so make sure you are following my Facebook Page for the most up to date information.
Walt Disney World is currently in Phase One of its planned reopening. Certain shops and dining establishments are open at Disney Springs, Disney’s shopping and entertainment district. Some resorts even began opening on June 22. Phase Two will begin on July 11 with the opening of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and continue on July 15 with Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. The rumor is that the parks will open at 25% capacity until the beginning of Phase Three which Disney is hoping to begin in September if the situation improves.
As the parks open certain restrictions will be in place for the safety of cast members and guests.
Cleaning procedures will be enhanced throughout Walt Disney World Resort. Extra attention will be given to high-traffic areas, including public elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms, and more.
Temporary adjustments will be in place to promote physical distancing.
Physical distancing measures may include:Signage and Ground Markings: Directional signage and ground markings, which have been installed throughout Walt Disney World Resort will help Guests better navigate common areas while practicing physical distancing.Physical Barriers: Physical barriers have been added in select places where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines. These may be visible in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations, for example, to help promote proper distances between people.
Experiences may be modified in order to reduce contact. These include
Cashless Transactions: At this time, it is recommended all Guests use cashless payment options, including debit cards, credit cards, and Disney Gift Cards. Guests can also opt for contactless payment options—such as mobile wallets—or use cash to purchase a Disney Gift Card at Guest Relations and select merchandise locations. Disney Resort hotel Guests can also use MagicBands to charge their purchase to their Disney Resort hotel folio.
Modified Housekeeping: Housekeeping services will be modified at Disney Resort hotels to include enhanced cleaning and reduced contact
Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. You are asked to bring your own face coverings (of course shop Disney has them available for purchase with your favorite character) and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming.
All face coverings should:
Fully cover an individual’s nose and mouth and allow you to remain hands-free
Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
Be secured with ties or ear loops
Be made of breathable material, either disposable or reusable
Temperature screenings may be required for entry to some locations.Upon arrival at Disney Springs area or at the Walt Disney World theme parks, you may undergo a temperature screening with no-touch thermometers.
Based on guidance from health authorities, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional location for re-screening and assistance. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.
Before you leave home, be sure to check the temperatures of everyone in your party—including yourself—as an extra layer of precaution.
Make the most of the magic with the My Disney Experience app. We strongly recommend that you have the latest version of this app on your mobile device, with location services and notifications enabled.
Helpful features include:
Mobile Order Service for Dining: Allows you to order ahead and save time at select dining locations using mobile order service. This is one of my favorite features of the My Disney Experience app and will save you a ton of time during any visit even those not affected by pandemics.
Scannable Codes for Select Restaurant Menus: While at a table-service restaurant, you can scan a code to access the digital menu.
Online Check-In at Disney Resort Hotels: To aid in physical distancing efforts, you can use Online Check-In Service prior to your arrival. When your room is ready, you’ll get a room-ready notification. Then, you can use either a MagicBand or the app’s digital key feature to enter your room!
Make sure to bring a portable power bank to keep your phone charged. The My Disney Experience app drains batteries quickly.
The biggest change you will see is the introduction of the new Park Pass System – this is a new system found in My Disney Experience (only on the site, not the app) that allows you to pre-select the park you would like to attend on a given day. This is to help Disney monitor and manage capacity.
Currently, Park Pass reservations can be made through September 26, 2021, for guests staying at Disney resorts with valid theme park admission. 2021 vacation packages are currently available for booking, I would love to help you plan your 2021 vacation, navigate you through all the changes, and make your trip extra magical just click here to request a quote.
You will not be admitted into a park without a valid reservation.
Check out this video for a quick tutorial on how to make your reservation.
As you may expect, upon reopening, theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences, and other offerings may be modified and will be limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure, based on direction from health experts and government officials to promote physical distancing.
Most notably fireworks and parades will not be a part of the initial phases of reopening as they tend to draw crowds into small spaces. Character interactions will also be modified for guests and cast member safety.
Even though we won’t be able to interact with our favorite characters in the traditional ways Disney has promised that the characters will appear in new and different ways that bring a smile to your face while also being mindful of physical distancing. From special cavalcades down the Magic Kingdom Park parade route and friends sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, to processions along the World Showcase promenade at EPCOT and motorcades on Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard, each area will come to life throughout the day. You never know when a party of your pals may come by, so be prepared for plenty of surprises!
They have also announced that most attractions will be available at each park. At this time, the attractions that will not be available are:
Monsters Inc Laugh Floor (Magic Kingdom)
Enchanted Tales with Belle (Magic Kingdom)
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (EPCOT)
Star Wars Launch Bay (Hollywood Studios)
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular (Hollywood Studios)
Savi’s Workshop (Hollywood Studios)
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along (Hollywood Studios)
Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Hollywood Studios)
Disney Junior Live on Stage (Hollywood Studios)
Beauty and the Beast Stage Show (Hollywood Studios)
Primeval Whirl (Animal Kingdom)
Finding Nemo the Musical (Animal Kingdom)
Up! A Great Bird Adventure (Animal Kingdom)
The Boneyard (Animal Kingdom)
There is some good news and bad news when it comes to special events at Walt Disney World.
Taste of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
The good news is we don’t have to wait until the fall to experience the Food and Wine Festival. Disney has “cooked up a creative, modified experience” which will debut on July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park.
You also get to experience the beauty of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at the SAME TIME!! Something we will likely never see again.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
The bad news is because of many hallmarks of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party—like stage shows, parades and fireworks—can not take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, Disney has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. If you already bought tickets, I will reach out to you in the coming weeks to assist with refunds.
Disney H2O Glow Nights, the special nighttime hard ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, will not take place this year.
Disney has not yet made any decision on holiday events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which includes Candlelight Processional. They are monitoring the environment closely and will make a decision on these events at a later date.
Spas, Salons, and Miniature golf will be closed. Regular golf will be available by appointment. Dessert parties, backstage tours, and many other special will be unavailable during the first phase of re-opening but I would expect to see them in a modified format as we progress through the stages.
Dining will also be affected. Disney released a list of the restaurants that will be open during the first phase. Disneytouristblog.com extrapolated beyond that list to make one of what will not open and provided commentary that was very similar to my own thoughts so I will share that here https://www.disneytouristblog.com/reopening-closed-park-restaurant-list-disney-world/.
In an effort to keep park attendance manageable Disney has decided to open their resorts in a phased approach as well. The following Disney Resort hotels are now open to Guests and Disney Vacation Club Members with reservations:
Of course, there are newly implemented health and safety measures based on guidance from various governmental authorities and health agencies, including enhanced cleanings in common areas and additional housekeeping protocols.
The remainder of the resorts is currently slated to open on the following dates, which are subject to change.
July 10 – Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort
July 29 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
August 12 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
August 24 – Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort
September 21 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
October 1 – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
October 14 – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Given the current situation, there are some Disney Resort hotels and other areas that are not, as of this time, being scheduled for reopening yet and are not available for booking in 2021.
2021 packages became available for booking on Wednesday, June 24th. If you would like to book your Disney package click here for a quote.
For now, booking is not open for any new 2020 reservations. Disney is currently allowing guests with current reservations to move dates and change hotels but not accepting new bookings. They may open later in the year when Disney has a better idea of hotel capacity and park attendance based on the park pass reservations.
Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort enjoy many additional benefits. Here is how those are currently being affected.
Disney’s Magical Express® Service
Complimentary airport transportation via Disney’s Magical Express service is available for guests arriving and departing from Orlando International Airport.
FastPass+ service will be suspended for the time being as the plan is to use the additional queue space to manage capacity at attractions and maintain physical distancing.
Extra Magic Hours
The Extra Magic Hours benefit is unavailable until further notice.
Complimentary Resort Transportation
Complimentary transportation will be provided between your Disney Resort hotel and Disney theme parks. Transportation will operate with physical distancing measures in place, reducing capacity. As a result, you may experience delays.
Minnie Van Service
Minnie Van Service is temporarily unavailable.
Self-parking is available. Valet service is temporarily unavailable.
Feature pools may operate with reduced hours; leisure pools are open 24 hours a day
Pools are operating with reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing
Select poolside activities may be available at select Resort hotels
The following amenities and experiences are not available during the initial reopening period:
Electrical Water Pageant
Spas, salons and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organize and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
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