Hopping Big News! Walt Disney World Resort will officially be reopening its parks in phases, starting July 11 for the general public! Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom will be the first parks to open in this phased reopening, with EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios opening July 15. There are, of course, some changes Disney is making along with this reopening in order to maintain the health and safety of guests. As part of its efforts to limit capacity, Disney will introduce a new theme park reservation system. Additionally, it has canceled all existing FastPass+ and dining reservations through the end of 2020.
We will hop into more about these changes below, but if you had existing reservations or are planning a trip in 2020, you'll want to keep reading! As part of its reopening, Disney will require masks and temperature checks among other new health and safety measures, including limiting capacity in parks, on attractions, on transportation and in restaurants. Additionally, fireworks, parades and other events that create crowds will be temporarily suspended.
According to the Disney Parks Blog:
"This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. That means certain experiences we know draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, 'high-touch' experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in our parks to entertain and delight our guests."
Similarly, SeaWorld Orlando is reopening its Orlando theme park, Discovery Cove and Aquatica on June 11. Both of the Disney and SeaWorld proposals were approved by the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, the mayor of Orange County and governor of Florida. Universal Orlando had previously received approval and will reopen its parks to the public June 5, as well as LEGOLAND Florida, starting June 1.
Disney has already begun reopening Disney Springs, which we visited on opening day, May 20. We've gathered key details so you can begin planning your visit!
New Disney World Theme Park Reservation System, FastPass+ & Dining Reservations
As mentioned above, Disney intends to significantly limit capacity in the earliest phases of reopening. To do this, it will implement a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. Existing ticket holders and annual passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases ahead of those who don't have tickets. Disney will be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. More details about this reservation system will be coming soon!
As a result of accommodating physical distancing, restaurants and other experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours will be limited in capacity. All existing dining reservations and experience bookings, including Disney dining plans included in packages, will be canceled through the end of the year. Disney will reopen dining and experience bookings closer to reopening. There will also be a shift from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window moving forward.
The FastPass+ reservation service will be temporarily suspended to allow for extra space in queues to manage capacity and maintain physical distancing. Existing FastPass+ reservations will be automatically canceled, and future plans for FastPass+ will be shared later. Upon reopening, Extra Magic Hours will also be temporarily suspended.
Reopening of Disney World Hotels and Lodging
Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts at Vero Beach, Fla., and Hilton Head, S.C., will reopen to members and guests June 15. All other resorts do not have reopening dates scheduled at this time.
Disney Safety Measures
Upon reopening, Disney World theme parks, hotels, restaurants, attractions, services and other experiences may be modified, will be limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or even closure. Disney will be implementing enhanced safety measures based on the guidance of government officials and health advisers. Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer Pam Hymel shared plans and ideas that Disney explored prior to its presentation, which included the following:
- Phased reopening: This one has already proven to be true. Disney Springs retail and dining locations are open prior to the theme parks and hotels.
- Physical distancing and capacity measures: Disney will implement physical distancing and guest capacity guidelines based on guidance from health and government agencies. Virtual queues, the Play Disney Parks app and other technological aids may help with these efforts.
- Cleanliness and sanitization: Disney will increase cleaning and disinfection and is determining where that should take place and the processes that they’ll use.
- Screening and prevention support: Disney will follow guidelines from the government and medical community in regards to enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, including personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face coverings. Disney has already installed hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across the resort.
- Cast training: Disney is providing new training and reinforcement to emphasize a strong culture of health and safety among its cast members.
The proposed plan, presented at the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting, confirmed that Disney plans to implement the following measures:
- Face coverings and temperature screenings will be required to enter the parks.
- Plexiglass in retail and food and beverage locations will protect guests and employees where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Contactless payments with Magic Bands, Apple Pay and Google Pay will be available at restaurants and retail shops.
- Mobile ordering at restaurants will be expanded.
- Parades, fireworks, character meet and greets and other events that create crowds or high-touch experiences will be temporarily suspended.
Disney Springs Now Open
While the rest of Walt Disney World Resort, including the theme parks and hotels, is temporarily closed, Disney Springs has reopened to the public. Upon arrival, guests will undergo temperature screenings, and all guests over the age of 2 are required to wear facial coverings. We've rounded up the details you need to know before you arrive, including a full list of all of the shops and restaurants that are currently available for you to enjoy.
There is still a lot of unknown information as the situation remains fluid, but rest assured, your favorite frogs will keep you updated! We hope this guide helps you prepare for your visit to Disney World and gives you an idea of what to expect when the theme parks reopen. Be sure to check back later, as we will update this post as new information becomes available.