It is official, Walt Disney World has announced plans for reopening. We have been a little slow in providing an update, but we have been digesting all the details, and have summarised everything you need to know about the reopening of Walt Disney World. Unfortunately, the initial plans seem a lot less clear than those of Universal Orlando.
When will Walt Disney World reopen?
- Currently, Disney Springs is undergoing a phased reopening
- June 22- Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- July 11- Magic Kingdom park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will begin a phased reopening
- July 15- Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen
There have been no announcements over the reopening of water parks, and there are conflicting reports on the opening of other resorts.
What changes will we see in the Walt Disney World parks?
There are going to be very significant changes to experiences at Walt Disney World parks. All changes are subject to change and hopefully will be relaxed in coming months:
- All parks will be subject to limited capacity.
- You will need to reserve a place to visit any of the parks. Initially, park attendance will be managed through a new park reservation system. To access the park you must have a valid ticket and reservation.
- FastPass+ will be suspended.
- Extra Magic Hours will be suspended.
- All Guests ages 2 and up, and Cast Members, are required to wear face coverings.
- Temperature screening will occur. Any guest with a temperature of 100.4 F or above, including there party, will not be allowed entry.
- Physical distancing and limited contact will be in place throughout the resort.
- Cashless transactions will be encouraged including mobile food ordering.
- Experiences and tours have been canceled.
- Fireworks and parades will not be happening at this time.
- Park hours have changed and in most cases reduced throughout 2020
Dining including the Disney Dining Plan
On opening Disney will be reducing the capacity at all restaurants. Surprisingly they have made the decision to cancel all existing dining reservations. Currently, no dining reservations are possible but booking will reopen closer to the resort reopening. Going forward Disney will be operating a 60 day reservation window instead of 180 days.
The Disney Dining Plan has been suspended. Initially, it was announced that this was until September 2021, but that has now been removed. Guests with existing reservations will receive some form of discount as compensation.
Disney has temporarily suspended all new reservations and ticket sales. In the UK 2021 bookings are available, but this isn’t the case elsewhere. There is no indication of when reservations will restart, but Disney explains the reason for the suspension, ” so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.”
Disney Vacation Club Members are excepted from this rule and can continue to make reservations.
Guests with existing reservations
If you have read the above and are excited that Disney is spending their time concentrating on guests with existing reservations, you might be disappointed to learn Disney do not have many answers. The following email was sent to many guests with upcoming reservations, including myself, today
Following the recent announcements about the reopening of the Walt Disney World Resort we are sure that you may have questions about how this affects your booking. We are writing to assure you that we are working diligently to be able to provide answers to all of your questions as quickly as possible. As soon as we have more information about how these changes affect your booking we will be in contact to advise you of the options that are available.
We kindly request that you wait for us to email with more information and to not call us, as we will unlikely be able to answer your questions at this time. Your patience and understanding is greatly appreciated while we work to welcome you back to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney Travel Company International
Yes, that is correct Disney who currently holds mine, and many other guest’s money has stated not to call them. It isn’t very reassuring to hear it is because “we will unlikely be able to answer your questions at this time.”
It is excellent news that Walt Disney World is reopening. However, it isn’t great news that they seem unclear on how they are planning to manage guests with existing reservations. The decision to cancel all guest’s Disney Dining Plans appears a harmful PR exercise. It will be interesting what steps Disney takes to maintain relationships with guests with upcoming reservations in the coming weeks.
It was rumored Disney was taken by surprise by Universal’s reopening plans. The reopening of Walt Disney World is more complicated than Universal Orlando, but Universal’s plans seem considerably more developed. It will be interesting to see what further announcements Walt Disney World makes in the coming days.