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Walt Disney World Re-Opening Plan – Phase 1

Updated June 17, 2020

The time has FINALLY come! The moment we have been waiting for! Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks are finally staged to re-open their doors and invite Guests in.

This blog post will provide you with all of the information currently available to us on the parks re-opening (and will be updated with new information as it’s released). I only provide information provided direct from Disney (and refer often to Disney Parks Blog). I try to break it down into manageable bits of information so it’s easy to refer to when needed.

If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my weekly newsletter. I provide a full weekly wrap-up and deliver to the news to you straight to your inbox every Friday morning at 7:30 AM EST. There you will find all the most up-to-date information you need to know. Find my archives here.

I also share information on both Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along! On each of those platforms I also provide nightly Disney Park & Resorts tips and videos to help in planning your magical vacations! Come join the fun!!

Important Travel Alerts!

While I generally focus on Walt Disney World at A Disney State of Mind, it would behoove me to not share important information on Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line. Disney posts critical updates for you to know and be aware of for your upcoming travels. Find that information here:

Disney Cruise Line announced that they have extended the suspension of departures from Europe through October 2, 2020, Departures from Canada through September 14, 2020, and Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy Departures through July 27, 2020. More on that here: https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/guest-services/advisory/

Walt Disney World has created a “Know Before You Go” hub. It is a great resource for all the most up-to-date Walt Disney World re-opening information.
Find that here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/?CMP=ILC-DPFY20Q3wo0528200008A
**Note: If you are traveling to Florida from NY/NJ/CT, the state of Florida is still requiring a 14-day quarantine before doing anything else. At this time, this order does not have an end date.

Disneyland is re-opening on July 17th, its 65th birthday! Visit here for all you need to know: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/travel-information/

Re-Opening Dates

  • Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is scheduled re-open on Saturday July 11
  • Epcot and Hollywood Studios is scheduled to re-open on Wednesday July 15

Initial Phase 1 Requirements

As we already know, Walt Disney World takes all of the necessary precautions seriously, so here is what we can expect (and know so far):

  • Guests will have temperature checks upon entering the park
  • Face coverings/masks will be required for Guests ages 2 and up
  • Social distancing will be in place
  • Hand washing and sanitizing stations will be located throughout the parks
  • Increased focus on cleaning
  • There will be posted health and safety signs to ensure that guests have a clear understanding of the protocols
  • There will be a temporary suspension of character meets, fireworks and parades (anything that causes mass crowds or close proximity to others)
  • Park capacity will be reduced (20-30%) initially to comply with social distancing
  • A reservation system will be in place to enter the parks (more details to come on this as we learn more)
    • NOTE: there is a temporary pause on new park ticket purchases & hotel reservations
    • Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold. Disney will be reaching out to these guests with additional details.
    • Once those phases are complete, new tickets can be sold and new hotel reservations can be made. Disney will provide those details when available.
  • All existing dining reservations and experience bookings, including Disney dining plans included in packages, have been canceled through the end of 2020.
    • When booking becomes available again, Guests will be able to book at 60 days from their vacation, rather than the normal 180 days.
  • All FastPass+ will be suspended (and automatically canceled if you have any scheduled) through the end of 2020
  • Extra Magic Hours will also be suspended at this time
  • Mobile ordering and cashless transactions will be in place for food and merchandise purchases
  • A Cast Member “Social Distancing Squad” will be in the parks to help Guests with the changes
  • There will be “relaxation zones” where Guests will be able to safely remove their face coverings/masks for a while. Remember you can remove them for dining (of course!)

Additional Parks & Resorts Details

Park Hours have also been reduced through the end of October 2020, so far. Please be sure to visit the My Disney Experience app or the Walt Disney World website for specifics. Generally each park day has been shortened by 2-3 hours, depending on the park and day of the week.

There will be a soft re-opening prior to the official re-opening dates for Annual Passholders, DVC Members, Club 33 members and Cast Members. More details to come on that.

For the full scoop from Disney Parks Blog, click here –> https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/05/plans-unveiled-for-the-phased-reopening-of-walt-disney-world-resort-theme-parks-resort-hotels-and-disney-stores/?CMP=SOC-DPFY20Q3wo0521200527200023C

And for more on tickets, hotels, dining reservations, park experiences and FastPass+, click here –> https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/05/an-update-on-walt-disney-world-resort-reservations/

Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Update

On June 22, select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts and Disney’s For Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds will re-open. The select Disney Deluxe Resort Villas include: 

  • 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 – Kidani Village
  • 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

This is only the initial list of hotels opening ahead of park re-opening dates. As a reminder Magic Kingdom/Animal Kingdom are re-opening on July 11 and Epcot/Hollywood Studios on July 15. As more hotel information is released, I’ll share it with you as it’s announced. 

The following information will apply to all resort hotels as they open. Any changes will be shared week-to-week in this newsletter. This is a very fluid situation, so I suspect frequent updates as the weeks progress.

Resort Services Update

It is important to know that there will be several resort services unavailable to you in this initial phase of re-opening:

  • Bell Services will deliver luggage to rooms, but will not escort Guests
  • Club-level service will be temporarily unavailable
  • Deliveries will only be made to occupied rooms
  • In-room celebrations will not be available
  • Dry-cleaning and valet laundry services will be temporarily unavailable; self-service laundry will still be available
  • Shipping services will be temporarily unavailable
  • Resort airline check-in service may be temporarily unavailable

Resort Benefits Update

  • Magical Express Service will be available for Guests arriving from Orlando International Airport
    • If your flight information is modified in any way, contact your booking agent or call Disney’s Magical Express directly ((407) 939-1936) to make updates to the flight information on file
  • FastPass+ service is suspended for the time being as Disney is using the additional queue space to manage capacity for attractions and to maintain social distancing. More information to come at a later date.
  • Extra Magic Hours are unavailable until further notice

Resort Transportation Update

  • Complimentary Resort Transportation will be available between your Disney Resort hotel, the parks and Disney Springs 
    • Transportation will operate with physical distancing measures in place, reducing capacity. As a result, you may experience delays.
  • Minnie Van Service will not be available during the initial phase of re-opening
  • Self-parking will be available. Valet service will be temporarily unavailable, with the exception of Guests with disabilities who may require parking assistance.

Resort Hotel Cleaning Practices

Disney has released critical information on how they are going to handle cleaning the hotel rooms.

  • Common Areas
    • Increased cleaning in common areas and high-traffic areas such as elevators, escalators, tables, handles, etc.
  • Housekeeping
    • Each room will undergo a thorough cleaning prior to your arrival:
      • High-touch areas, like tv remotes and door handles will be sanitized
      • Housekeeping tools will be cleaned between rooms
      • Floors will be steam-cleaned and vacuumed between Guests
      • Extra linens and towels wrapped in single-use packaging
      • Individually wrapped glassware
      • Pillows will be double-cased

During your stay, your room will receive a light cleaning service every other day, which you can also decline.

Disney released a great video to reassure Guests they are doing everything possible to mitigate risks when staying at the Walt Disney World Resort (and I firmly and whole-heartedly believe they are doing just that!).

Find more information from Disney Parks Blog on how Walt Disney World is handling cleaning, click here!

Stay tuned for more information as I’m certain in the coming days more detailed information will be shared to aide you in planning your upcoming vacation. I’ll be sure to post and share immediately on social, so follow along to stay up-to-date.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on social or via email at marnie@adisneystateofmind.com. I’m always happy to help, and if I don’t have the answer, I will help you find it!

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