Disney World has been closed for months, and many are just itching to get back to their happy place. While I am beyond ecstatic that Disney World’s re-opening, there are some important things to know before you start planning your next visit.
Disney has been releasing information little by little, so we still don’t know everything there is to know. We do have a good idea of what a trip in the near future will look like though. Let’s take a look….
Disney World has announced that their plan is to open Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom on July 11th, followed by Hollywood Studios and Epcot on July 15th. Disneyland in California has recently announced that they also have plans to re-open their parks on July 17th.
Initially, Disney has said that only Disney Vacation Club hotels and the Fort Wilderness property will re-open. These are scheduled to re-open ahead of the parks on June 22nd. Guests who are booked in the first few weeks of Disney World’s re-opening will be re-assigned to one of those resorts. The Disney Vacation Club resorts are always considered a deluxe property and it is where all of their villa rooms are located. The properties that will be opening are listed below:
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas
- Disney’s Beach Club Villas
- Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (Wilderness Cabins)
Disney has also recently announced planned re-opening dates for other hotels as follows:
- July 10th – Pop Century, Contemporary Resort
- July 29th – Caribbean Beach
- August 12th – Polynesian Village Resort, Art of Animation
- August 24th – Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
- September 21st – Grand Floridian
- October 1st – BoardWalk
- October 14th – Coronado Springs
You will also be encouraged to use online check-in so that you limit your contact with the cast members at the front desk. Housekeeping will also be limited to once every second day, and enhanced cleaning will be done in between each guests’ stay.
A New Park Reservation System
Disney will be limiting capacity in their parks, so in order to do this, everyone will need to reserve their days in the parks in advance. Having a park ticket does not gain you entrance. You will have to have a park ticket AND a reservation to enter a park on a specific date in order to enter. Since you have to reserve a day in a park, park hopping will also initially be unavailable.
Priority will be given to Disney resort guests, and then those with annual passes and purchased park tickets will have access. In order to gain access to reserve a day in the park, it is very important that your park tickets are linked in your My Disney Experience account. If you have a vacation package booked, then link your reservation number and that will also link your tickets. If you just purchased tickets and are staying off-site, it is VERY important that you link your tickets in your account ASAP.
This system has gone live as of June 22nd. As soon as your window opens to reserve park days, you will want to do it as soon as possible. Having park tickets does not guarantee you entry, so reserving your park days will be a crucial step in your vacation planning.
At the moment, the park reservation system is in place for reservation up until September 26, 2021. So the new system will be to reserve your park days as soon as you have a booking confirmed and linked on your My Disney Experience account.
New Safety Policies
As part of the new policies when they re-open, all guests (ages 2 and up) and cast members will be required to wear face coverings on property. That includes everywhere at the parks, hotels and Disney Springs. The only places you can remove your mask is when eating/drinking, swimming, or in your hotel room. There will also be “relax areas” in the parks where you can safely remove your mask for a break while doing it in a safe, socially distanced area.
All guests will be subject to temperature screenings before entering a park or Disney Springs. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to another location for re-screening. If your temperature screening still reads above 100.4 F, you and the rest of your party will not be allowed entry in to the park.
Physical distancing will be encouraged in all areas of the parks and resorts. There will be signage and ground markings to help guests navigate this.
Disney will be promoting use of cashless transactions where possible. Guests can use debit cards, credit cards and Disney gift cards for payments of food and merchandise. If you have a credit card linked on your MagicBand and are staying at a Disney Resort, then you can use that as well for charges.
Limited Special Experiences
When Disney first re-opens, some of the special experiences that we are used to seeing will be unavailable. This includes things like parades, fireworks, character meet & greets, beauty makeovers (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique).
Fastpass+ will also no longer be available for the near future. Since park attendance will be limited, there will be another system in place to limit the number of people waiting in lines. Hopefully, this should also help with the amount of time you will have to wait for rides, which is most probably why Fastpass+ will not be needed during this time.
Extra Magic Hours will also initially not be available.
All of the above can be changed at anytime. As we saw with the Shanghai Disney re-opening, some of the entertainment shows started back up shortly after re-opening once it was assessed how they could do it safely.
All advanced dining reservations have been cancelled since capacity in the restaurants will now be changed. Once the new park reservation system is in place, guests will be able to make new dining reservations 60 days out from their reservation.
You will have to wear a face covering when you enter and exit the restaurant, but it can be removed once you are seated and while you dine. Contactless payment options will be available. For quick-service locations, the mobile ordering service will be available to use through the My Disney Experience app.
When dining at a table-service restaurant, you will be able to scan a code with your phone to access a digital menu.
Character dining will not be available with the exception of Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera Resort. It will be a modified experience so that distance can be maintained between the characters and guests.
Disney has also announced that they will no longer be offering their dining plans for the remainder of 2020. Since they will be reducing capacity in their restaurants, it is not guaranteed that guests would be able to make use of all their credits, so it is unavailable for this calendar year. No information has been released yet on the availability of it for 2021.
How are you feeling about a future stay at Disney World? Will you be visiting in 2020, or do you want to wait until 2021 for your next vacation? Tell us in the comments below!
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Laura is a mom of one adorable girl with a love of all things Disney. She traveled to Disney World with her family in 2010 and was hooked. They have since been a total of over 15 times. With all her knowledge of planning Disney trips, she now wants to share that with others. She loves giving guidance, tips and advice to others planning their magical vacation!