By now you probably know that Disney has announced its reopening plans – the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11, and EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen on July 15.
Disney is now doing the difficult work of figuring out how to operate the parks in this new environment.
They made some significant announcements about how the park will operate in the immediate future:
Reservations and Masks Required
We already know that you will need both a valid admission ticket as well as a reservation to get into the theme parks. Disney said that they will release more details soon.
We also know that guests will be required to wear masks. Disney changed their rule and now guests age 2 and older will be required to wear a mask (it was previously age 3 or older).
Disney has also announced some very significant changes to the park’s operations:
Dining Reservations Canceled
Disney has canceled all existing dining reservations and experience bookings. They will reopen booking options with a more limited capacity closer to when the parks reopen.
Disney will also change the booking window from its current mark of 180 days in advance to just 60 days in advance.
Dining Plans Canceled
Because capacity will be limited upon reopening, Disney has also canceled Disney Dining Plans included in packages.
Here is one of the biggest announcements: Disney has suspended FastPass+ and will automatically cancel existing FastPass+ reservations.
They will use attraction queue space to manage capacity and implement physical distancing protocols.
Extra Magic Hours Suspended
Disney has temporarily suspended Extra Magic Hours.
More To Come
These announcements are likely the first of many that Disney will have to implement in order to operate the parks according to CDC mandates. These are more announcements about removing old processes. It will be interesting to see what the new processes look like when Disney announces them.
Personally, I think that Disney’s suspending FastPass+ is a bombshell announcement. There is no mention of whether Disney will reopen FastPass+ later, or if guests will be able to use it at all in the foreseeable future.
My bet is that there are plenty of engineers and math wizards working at Disney who are trying to recalculate park capacity, attraction capacity, and physical distancing requirements. It is surely a complicated puzzle.
Perhaps we will have more virtual queues (ala Rise of the Resistance)?
Or maybe Disney will figure out if they can accelerate the launch of the previously announced new Disney Genie app with customized itineraries?
Or maybe we will go back to the old fashioned, tried and true method: just wait for your turn in a line.
Time will tell.
FastPass+ is suspended. Are you surprised?