1 – Phased Reopening Announced
Officials from Walt Disney World presented plans for reopening the theme parks to Orange County’s economic recovery task force on May 27 that included a phased approach to reopening the theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other experiences. Things will be different when Walt Disney World reopens, and there will be many safety and health protocols in place for guests and Cast Member protection.
2 – Opening Dates at a Glance
Disney officials presented their plans to reopen the theme parks, which include a phased reopening with the following dates:
June 15– Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will open to members and guests.
June 22 – Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests, and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22.
July 11– Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open.
July 15– Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open.
3 – Park Reservations Will be Required
According to the Walt Disney World website, the parks will reopen with some important updates to promote physical distancing, including a new park reservation system. Initially, park attendance will be managed through a new park reservation system. To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date is required. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
4 – Expect Reduced Park Hours
The park hours beginning July 11 have already been posted to the Walt Disney World website and the operating hours of the parks have been reduced. For example, Magic Kingdom has hours of 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. Disney’s Animal Kingdom has posted hours of 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, also reduced. Beginning July 15, Epcot has hours of 11:00 am-9:00 pm, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios hours are 10:00 am – 8:00 pm. These hours are subject to change. Always check the My Disney Experience app or the Walt Disney World calendar on the website for up to date hours.
5 – New Ticket Sales Suspended
At this time, new ticket sales are temporarily paused. Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold. Additional details will be shared with these guests soon. New ticket sales will resume after that period of time.
6 – Certain Reservations are Suspended
New reservations at Disney Resort hotels are temporarily paused, so Disney can focus on guests with existing reservations. However, Disney Vacation Club Members can still make new reservations. Reservations will resume after a period of time.
Also, at this time, dining and other experience reservations are not available. Reservations will resume at a later date.
7 – Face Coverings are Required
When visiting Walt Disney World, health and safety protocols will be in place to safeguard the health and safety of the entire Disney community. Here are the guidelines from the Walt Disney World website:
All Guests ages three and up—along with Cast Members—are required to wear face coverings when visiting Walt Disney World Resort. Please bring your own face coverings 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 the Guest 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.
Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with Disney’s existing rules.
The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.
8 – Temperature Screenings
Upon arrival at Disney Springs 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 rescreening 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.
Temperature screening at Disney Springs.
9 – Physical Distancing and Limited Contact
There will be reduced capacity of theme parks, restaurants, retail, attractions, buses, monorails, and other transportation that enables appropriate physical distancing. Also, parades, fireworks, and other events that create crowds are temporarily suspended. High touch experiences such as Meet and Greets, makeover opportunities, and playgrounds are also temporarily suspended. Characters will still be in the parks to entertain and delight during your visit.
Here some of the other things to take note of regarding physical distancing and limited contact from the Walt Disney World website.
Signage and Ground Markings: Please follow directional signage and ground markings, which have been installed throughout Walt Disney World Resort to 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 ensure proper distances between people.
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.
Plexiglass will also be installed at points of sale in retail and food and beverage locations where distancing cannot be maintained.
10 – Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitation
Here are some of the things you can expect during a visit this summer.
Hand-washing and sanitizing stations and signage reminders at appropriate locations in the theme parks.
More frequent cleaning across high-touch locations and surfaces in operating areas.
11 – You Assume the Risk of Visiting in the Age of the Coronavirus
Disney has released a warning statement for those considering coming to Disney World. The following is stated on the Walt Disney World website:
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.
By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
12 – You’ll Need the My Disney Experience App
We always encourage guests to have the latest version of the My Disney Experience app for the Walt Disney World vacations. This app will be even more important during the phased reopening. You’ll want the app for online check-in at Disney Resorts so you can skip the Front Desk, for Mobile Order Service for dining, and for scannable codes at select restaurants to access the digital menu. If you do not have a credit card linked to your Magic Band, you will also want to consider Apple Pay or Google Pay for contactless payments. You’ll want to have that set up before your visit.
13 – How to Adjust Your Travel Plans
For guests who are interested in modifying their existing travel dates, modifications to reservations are currently available for future travel dates. As previously shared, unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days or date-specific them park tickets with a valid use period beginning March 12, 2020, through the closure will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15, 2020. If you are unable to visit by December 15, 2020, you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date. To provide additional flexibility, Disney is waiving all Disney-imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for your reservation, as well as those rescheduled reservations with arrivals through the closure period.
More Detail to Come