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How is Walt Disney World Handling the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Updated on April 8, 2020

Hi friends!!! This has been a challenging few weeks for Walt Disney World and its fans! There is so much information (and mis-information quite frankly) thrown around, it is hard to keep track of. I’m going to do my best here at A Disney State of Mind to provide you a source of current information (as I know and understand it) in hopes it helps you.

Walt Disney World Resort Closures

At the moment, the news is quite simple. It’s the same message for the entire Walt Disney World Resort.

The following is closed “until further notice” at Walt Disney World to promote safety during the Coronavirus outbreak.:

  • All four Walt Disney World Theme Parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom)
  • Two Water Parks (Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach)
  • All Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
  • Disney’s Magical Express
  • Walt Disney World Transportation
  • Disney Springs

Walt Disney World Dolphin & Swan Hotels

The Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel and Walt Disney World Swan Hotel are closed until further notice. Keep in mind, while these hotels receive Walt Disney World benefits, they are not owned and managed by Disney.

Walt Disney World Operations – Reservations, Tickets, Annual Passes & More

With news and updates changing rapidly based on the current situation, rather than re-type and interpret all of the critical travel information, I am going to provide a link to the updates direct to the Walt Disney World website. This will give you the most up-to-date information as events and situations are changing. Walt Disney World continues to update with news and information.

Walt Disney World Operations Updates

For questions or concerns, I suggest contacting the Walt Disney Resort directly at 407-939-5277 for assistance.

Cast Member Update

Disney has communicated to all Cast Members that they will soon begin the process of short-term furloughs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Disney is currently paying their Cast Members through April 18, but beginning April 19 2020, a temporary short-term furlough will be implemented for executive, salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members based in the U.S. with the exception of those who’s roles or projects are crucial to maintaining operations during the closures.

The benefit here is that Cast Members will retain their health benefits and their jobs, while having the ability to apply for unemployment during this time.

Here is a snippet direct from the communication to Cast Members:

By taking this step now, we are able to allow Cast Members to:

  • Maintain health and insurance benefits coverage, with the company paying both the employer and employee weekly benefit contributions;
  • If eligible, elect to use some or all of their available paid-time off hours (vacation and floating holidays) at the start of the furlough;
  • Once furloughed, access an extra $600 per week in federal compensation through the economic stimulus bill, as well as state unemployment insurance benefits;
  • Continue progress toward their education goals with the Disney Aspire education program; and
  • Use services provided by LifeCare, Employee Assistance Program and wellness resources.

And most important, this allows us to preserve the jobs of Cast Members who are, and will continue to be, an important part of the Disney family; and provide an easier return to work when our communities recover from the impact of COVID-19.

These were difficult decision for the Walt Disney Company to make, but by doing so, this protects not only the employees, but the company in these trying times.

Disney Internships Update

Here is the official announcement by Disney Internship Programs posted on Instagram on Monday April 6, 2020. Follow their Instagram account here for up-to-date information.

In summary, the decision has been made to suspend Disney Internships & Programs effective April 18. Participants will continue to be paid through April 18 and receive a lump sum payment on April 9. Disney Program housing deductions will be waived.

Interns due to arrive through early June will be refunded their program fees, as Disney has decided to suspend the program at the moment.

Disney hopes and encourages all participants to reapply when the time is right for reconsideration to the program.

I will continue to update this post accordingly and call out any important information. These are very trying times, but WE WILL get through them, my friends! Hang in there!! We’re all in this together.

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