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Questions and Answers about visiting Walt Disney World post-COVID-19 closures

by Attractions Magazine Staff

Walt Disney World temporarily closed in March for the longest period in Disney Parks history. The resort and its theme parks are now reopen, but many things are different – and that is causing lots of questions. Read below for answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Walt Disney World’s reopening.

walt disney world

When does everything open?

  • Disney Springs: Currently open
  • Select Disney Hotels Reopen: Currently open
  • Disney World theme parks: Currently open

For a constantly updated list of major theme parks opening nationwide, click here.

Are the water parks opening?

Currently, no. Disney stated that, for now, it will focus on the four theme parks and Disney Springs. Many of the hotels will still offer their pools and slides upon opening, though.

Can I buy tickets?

Yes, tickets are now on sale.

What rides are open?

Nearly every attraction is available. However, some offerings are closed or altered to accommodate social distancing. For a full list of attractions and entertainment offerings available, click here.

Also, keep in mind that FastPass+ is no longer available for any attraction. Disney will also not offer Single Rider or Virtual Boarding Passes for any attractions except for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance which has Boarding Passes available three times a day.

How do I get a reservation slot to visit?

Guests will need to pick a date and a park on the new Disney Park Pass System. Guests will need a My Disney Experience account before making their reservations on this new system, as well as their valid theme park admission linked to that account. If there is a Disney Resort hotel reservation, it needs to be linked to that same My Disney Experience account, as well

Can I book a hotel stay?

Select Disney hotels reopened as of June 22. This includes the Disney Vacation Club Resorts as well as Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

As of January 2021, guests will no longer receive complimentary MagicBands with their visit, but MagicBands will still be for sale at a discount for hotel guests. The My Disney Experience app will takeover for most of the MagicBands features.

Do I have to wear a mask?

Cast members, as well as guests 2 years of age and older, will be required to wear appropriate face coverings (details below) in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. All guests will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park; cast members will also have temperature checks. Cashless transactions are recommended, and cleaning and disinfection procedures will be increased in high-traffic areas.

Disney will allow guests to take off masks while dining or swimming. Guests must remain stationary while eating or drinking with their masks off. Disney also offers “relaxation zones” in their parks where you may remove your face covering while remaining socially distant.

What are the new safety procedures?

Based on guidance from health authorities, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above will be directed to an additional location for re-screening and assistance. Those with temperatures of 100.4 degrees or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry, either.

Face coverings are required for all guests ages 2 and up as well as cast members. Guests must bring their own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. All face coverings should:

  • Fully cover an individual’s nose and mouth and allow the guest to remain hands-free
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Be made of breathable material, either disposable or reusable
  • Gaiter and bandana face coverings are not allowed

Physical Distancing will be promoted via markings on the ground, physical barriers, and new training for cast members. For a current look at social distancing at Disney Springs, click here.

Cleaning will also be done more frequently than it was prior to the temporary closures. Extra attention will be given to high-traffic areas, including public elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms and more.

Disney was seen testing new contactless security screening systems at Disney Springs. It’s now being used only at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. To learn more about this new park security measure, click here.

I am DVC, what has changed for me?

Disney Vacation Club Members can still book hotel reservations. However, a hotel reservation does not guarantee a ticket or a park visit reservation slot. Select hotels may also not be available at this time due to the NBA restarting their season at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex and safety procedures closing certain hotels.

I am an Annual Passholder, what has changed for me?

Passholders will now have to book a reservation slot in advance to go to any Walt Disney World theme park. All passes will automatically be extended for the same amount of time that the parks were closed. This is being done on Disney’s timetable. Passholders also have the option to cancel their pass early for a partial refund if they choose to not return after the temporary closure. In addition to the time added for being closed, an additional one month extension to passes will automatically be processed and visible in My Disney Experience accounts at some point.

All Passholders will be eligible to make theme park reservations for up to three days at a time. Or, Annual Passholders staying at select Disney Resort or other select hotels with valid theme park admission will be eligible to make theme park reservations for each day of their stay(s). For example, if an Annual Passholder has three five-nightreservations, they will be able to hold up to 15 theme park reservations at one time.

To read Disney’s official release to Passholders, click here.

Can I still meet Mickey Mouse and other characters?

Guests are still be able to see select characters and interact with them from afar, but guests are not able to get signatures or up-close interactions, such as hugs, at this time. Instead, many characters are presented throughout the parks in cavalcades or socially-distant experiences.

For a full list of the currently-posted entertainment offerings that will be available at Walt Disney World, click here.

Can I get character photos or autographs?

No, not during this initial reopening phase. Disney is following the guidance of local health and government authorities regarding social distancing, so up-close character greetings and autographs are not initially be available.

Will there be FastPass+?

No. For the current reopening procedures, Disney will be canceling FastPass+ and any pre-made FastPass+ selections will disappear from guests’ accounts. Disney will be using the lack of FastPass+ to extend queues for social distancing and keep lines moving.

Will Disney do virtual queues?

No. Disney will not be doing virtual queues or Boarding Passes for any attraction in any park. The only exception is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which is available via a Boarding Pass.

Can I still park-hop?

Currently, no. Disney is blocking park hopping to allow more guests to book reservations slots to the theme parks. By stopping the park hopping, more parties can potentially show up.

What are the new capacity limits?

Disney has not released an exact number for the capacity limits in the initial reopening procedures. They have stated that they will start smaller and increase the limits as time goes on. As more procedures are worked out, and as guests and cast members alike become more used to the new rules, the parks will begin to allow more people in per day.

Will Disney still do special tours and events?

Yes and no. Disney has already cancelled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Disney has also started a modified version of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. However, most special parties and tours resort-wide will be temporarily unavailable.

Examples of special experiences and tours not initially available upon reopening include Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, the Wild Africa Trek, Disney Private VIP Tours, and Dining with an Imagineer. For a full list of tours, events, and special experiences that may be put on hold, click here.

Can I still use the Disability Access Service?

On the Walt Disney World website, there is currently a linked PDF file on DAS and how it works. But be aware, this information was posted prior to these new safety procedures and still mentions information like park hopping and meeting characters.

Is it safe?

Yes, but nothing is more safe than quarantining at home. Disney is implementing new safety precautions and amping up their already extensive cleaning processes, but being in public does have its risks and guests must work with Disney to keep those to a minimum. No theme park is more safe than being at home with the same group of people.

What tips do you recommend?

We highly recommend finding everyone in your party a mask that they deem comfortable. We wrote an article on our experience wearing a mask all day at a theme park, which you can read about here.

We also recommend doing numerous self-evaluations prior to your trip. Disney will stop guests with high temperatures from entering their parks. Even if you do not currently have COVID-19, a compromised immune system from another sickness could make you more susceptible.

We also recommend doing extensive research, much like you have done by finding this article. The more you know about what you can and cannot do will greatly help set expectations for the trip. Temporary mandates are constantly being changed due to the ever-evolving issues related to COVID-19.

Lastly, enter the parks and hotels with patience. Disney is known for its world-class guest experiences, but even they cannot always create perfection when extensive safety precautions must be in place. Take time to enjoy coming back to the parks. Give yourself extra time to get to each experience so you don’t feel rushed and slowed down by the new procedures. Show kindness to all the cast members who are working in this new work place environment. Stay safe and have fun!

Have more questions about visiting Walt Disney World during this time?

Write any additional questions in the comments below and we will seek to provide you an answer as soon as possible.

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8 comments

Patricia Hutsell June 22, 2020 - 5:32 pm

We can now secure a spot into the park (if we have existing tickets and hotel booked). When will we be able to book experiences/character meals? I heard they will be offering these at limited capacity soon.

Reply
Sara June 25, 2020 - 10:33 am

I think part of this statement is incorrect: “Also, keep in mind that FastPass+ is no longer available for any attraction. Disney will also not offer stand-by queues or virtual Boarding Passes for any attractions.” It was my understanding that stand-by queues are going to be the only option to wait in line for a ride/attraction.

Reply
Matt Roseboom June 25, 2020 - 11:01 am

You are right and we have corrected it. It should have said single rider will not be available instead of saying stand-by. Thank you.

Reply
Sara June 25, 2020 - 12:03 pm

Ah, that makes more sense! This is a great article. There is so much new info, it’s overwhelming and definitely hard to keep track of. I’m an Orlando local and thought I had the annual pass/fastpass/reservation system mastered, I feel like there is so much I’m going to have to re-learn.

I did notice a couple other things, both under the Book A Hotel Stay section. For the “Select Disney hotels have reopened as of July 22”, I think you meant to say June 22. Also, Disney resort hotel guests will still receive complimentary MagicBands through the end of 2020. This service is discontinued starting January 2021. The way your article reads now, people who want to use MagicBands (instead of the MDE App) and have a reservation for 2020 might think they have to buy MagicBands separately, and they don’t. Just looking to help your readers save some money if they can!

Reply
Matt Roseboom June 25, 2020 - 12:27 pm

Thank you again. We have clarified and corrected.

Reply
Piroska Christopher July 5, 2020 - 9:14 pm

Will I still be able to rent the ACV wheelchairs at the parks during the new covid entry guidelines?

Reply
donna July 8, 2020 - 3:12 pm

when will you be allowing open reservations and park reservations

Reply
Oslaida Fernandez August 9, 2020 - 5:02 pm

Have reservations next week if I enter a park can I go have lunch outside the park are re enter in the afternoon
Disable scooters available to rent?

Reply

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