Have you heard? The Walt Disney World theme parks are re-opening! But with the Coronavirus still at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds, you may be wondering what precautions Disney is taking to ensure both Guest and Cast Member safety as well as what these new guidelines mean for your next Walt Disney World vacation. Never fear because we’ve compiled all of the new safety procedures as well as booking stipulations to help you plan for your post-pandemic Disney visit.
But first, let’s start off with what’s going to be open when and what won’t.
-Disney Springs – phased opening began May 20th with third-party restaurants and Disney-owned shops and restaurants on May 27th.
-Disney Vacation Club resorts and Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground – Opening June 22nd
-Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom – Opening July 11th
-Epcot and Hollywood Studios – Opening July 15th
The remaining Disney resorts, water parks and mini-golf courses have yet to announce reopening dates.
When reopening Disney Springs, Disney announced new safety guidelines and procedures they’re requiring all Guests and Cast Members to follow while on-property:
-Guests ages 2 and up must wear face coverings at all times in guest common areas. Exceptions to this are while seated for dining and on specific attractions.
-Temperature screenings will be conducted before admission to Disney Springs and the theme parks is permitted. Any guest with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be denied entry as will their entire party.
-Signage and floor markings designating the standard 6-foot social distance are found throughout all locations. There will also be hand sanitizing and washing stations placed throughout guest areas.
However, Disney has also announced major changes to their booking experiences and offerings:
-Effective May 28, 2020 all new ticket and vacation package sales and all new resort reservations have been suspended. Disney Vacation Club members still have the ability to book new resort reservations.
-FastPass+ reservations have been suspended and all FastPass+ selections have been canceled.
-Dining reservations have all been canceled through the end of 2020 and new dining reservation booking has been suspended. Dining reservation booking windows have been reduced to 60 days out from the previous 180 days out to ensure guests have a better chance at re-booking their desired dining reservations closer to their arrival date.
-All Disney Dining Plans have been canceled and will be refunded to guests who purchased them. Guests who received Free Dining with their vacation packages are having the Dining Plans canceled and their packages are being modified to reflect a 35% discount on the room portion of their vacation package.
-All additional bookings and offerings such as behind-the-scenes tours, Extra Magic Hours, parades and fireworks have been canceled indefinitely.
The theme parks will be reopening with reduced and limited capacity and to monitor and control this, Disney will be implementing a park admission reservation system in the coming weeks. Guests who currently hold valid Walt Disney World theme park admission will have priority access to this system before new ticket sales resume. Guests must have both a valid Walt Disney World ticket AND a reservation for the same park on the same day for admission. Gold and lower-tier Annual Passholders will be subject to blackout dates depending on their pass tier. Reopening Preview access will be offered to Annual Passholders prior to the published general public reopening dates and will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Okay, great. But what about making purchases in the parks when I decide to finally visit?”
Disney is encouraging limiting cash handling as much as possible as a means to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. There are already several ways to do this in place:
-Mobile Ordering – several Quick Service Locations and even snack kiosks offer Mobile Ordering via the My Disney Experience app.
-Apple Pay/Android Pay/Samsung Pay/Google Wallet – Most Walt Disney World locations that have MagicBand touchpoints at registers accept these contactless methods of payment. Some exceptions may be third-party vendors.
-Purchasing Disney Gift Cards – Some guests would rather use cash to better track their spending while at Walt Disney World. One way to cut down on cash handling is to use that cash to purchase Disney gift cards! Each time you use a gift card for payment, your receipt reflects the remaining balance on that gift card so you’re still able to easily track what you’re spending!
-MagicBands for resort guests – Guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort already have the capability to pay using their MagicBands by linking a debit/credit card and selecting a PIN number at Check-In.
We know it’s a little all over the place right now and all these new changes and guidelines and stipulations can be overwhelming. But that’s what travel professionals are here for! We’re your advocates for when your vacation has to be modified or canceled. We can still help you navigate the new 60-day dining reservation window or the coming park admission reservation system. And it’s our job to stay up-to-the-second on the latest news and updates to these new changes.
We’re here for you. We care. And we’re eager to help you and your loved ones make those magical Disney memories as safely and as hassle-free as possible. If you would like to get a quote on your next Disney vacation from World of Walt Partner Intouch Vacations please click here.