We have been a little bit late bringing you our monthly Walt Disney World News and Rumors for March 2020. The March 2020 Big News Story should have been the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately, the news surrounding the big new attraction soon became irrelevant as it was announced Walt Disney World would close on March 15th. In our Walt Disney World News Special, we will bring you up to date with everything that has happened and will ask “What Next?” for the resort.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened on March 4th at Hollywood Studios. The new attraction is located inside the Chinese Theater and uses a trackless ride system. The attraction makes guests part of a Mickey Mouse short and is the first ride to feature Mickey Mouse at any Disney park.
Reviews of the ride have been very favorable. Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro stated: “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a crowning achievement in the multiyear transformation of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.”
The Big March 13th Announcement
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was announced that Walt Disney World Theme Parks would close following the end of business on Sunday, March 15. Initially, it was announced that Resorts and Disney Springs would continue to operate. However, Disney owned properties at Disney Springs closed on March 17th and all resorts closed on March 20th. A few resorts and stores not operated by Disney continued to operate initially but all have now closed.
The closure was initially scheduled until the end of March, but on March 27th it was announced the resort would be closed until further notice.
What led to the closure of Walt Disney World
As a Family Travel Blog, it would not be appropriate for us to discuss in detail the events that led to the closure of Walt Disney World. Covid-19 was first identified in China’s Hubei province in late 2019. The World Health Organization declared the disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020. A Pandemic was declared on March 11th. Cases have been gradually increasing in the United States. The first case in Florida was announced on March 1st.
A ban on visitors from Europe to the United States was introduced at midnight on Friday, March 13, 2020. Initially, this ban did not include the United Kingdom and Ireland but has now been extended. The United Kingdom, as have many European nations, has advised no foreign travel unless essential at this time.
Before the closure of Walt Disney World, temporary closures had already been announced at all other Disney Resorts around the World. Disneyland Paris announced a similar closure at the same time as Walt Disney World.
Initially, it appeared that Walt Disney World was reluctant to close, but as the international picture developed, it increasingly became necessary. Since the resort closed, Orlando has become subject to a Stay-At-Home Order with a significant number of restrictions in place.
What has been happening at Walt Disney World?
Not a lot has been happening at the resort. The resort is closed to all guests, and only a minimal amount of cast members are on site. However, small amounts of construction appear to be still happening when social distancing can be maintained. However, it seems larger construction projects have stalled. If the resort should open soon, it is likely that the opening of new attractions, including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, will be delayed.
However, events do continue at Walt Disney World, and the Animal Kingdom has had several new arrivals.
In addition, a behind the scenes video has been shared from the Animal Kingdom
What next? When will Walt Disney World reopen?
Nobody knows, and if someone tells you, they are not telling the truth. It is thought the peak of the pandemic in the United States might be in the next two weeks, but it is by no means guaranteed. What is less certain is when normal life will return.
Walt Disney World is currently accepting resort and restaurant reservations from June 1st. It seems likely that they are not expecting the resort to open until late May. President Trump recently stated, “We can expect that by June 1st, we will be well on our way to recovery,” which gives some weight to the June 1st opening date. Social Distancing measures are now in place nationally until at least April 30th.
It is possible when the resort does reopen; it might be a soft opening with fewer attractions and lower crowds. Perhaps day ticket holders will not be allowed entry for another month? WDW Magic has suggested this is the rumored reopening plan, but it hasn’t be confirmed.
What next? We just don’t know!
We will keep you up to date with all the latest news from Walt Disney World here on Modern Life is Good. During these difficult times, we will also bring you some special features. Does anyone fancy a quiz?
If you are still planning to visit Walt Disney World in 2020, our Guide to Walt Disney World is a great place to start planning your vacation.