Walt Disney World temporarily closed in March for the longest period in Disney Parks history. The resort and its theme parks will soon reopen, but many things will temporarily be 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.
When does everything open?
- Disney Springs: Currently open
- Select Disney Hotels Reopen: Currently open
- Cast Member preview of Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom: July 7-8
- Annual Passholder preview of Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom: July 9-10
- Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Reopen: July 11
- Cast Member preview of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot: July 13-14
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot Reopen: July 15
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?
For now, no. Disney is temporarily pausing all new ticket sales to help limit attendance in their parks. Guests who are currently Annual Passholders or who have already bought a ticket will be contacted about the new Disney Park Pass reservation system to book a slot to visit a park. Annual passholders may renew their passes. Disney Vacation Club Members can still book stays but are not guaranteed a ticket or a visit time slot for the parks.
What rides are open?
Nearly every attraction will be available once the parks reopen. However, some offerings will be closed or altered to accommodate social distancing. For a full list of attractions and entertainment offerings that will be 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.
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?
Disney Vacation Club Members will be able to still book reservations. All non-DVC guests are currently blocked from getting a hotel reservation. If you have a hotel stay reserved, you may be offered a chance to modify the visitation dates or change your hotel location.
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.
Select Disney hotels have reopened as of June 22. This includes the Disney Vacation Club Resorts as well as Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
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 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. Disney may also offer “relaxation zones” in their parks, but the location of these zones and how they work have not currently been announced.
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
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. We think this may be moved to all of the Disney Parks in Florida if the test is deemed successful. To learn more about this possible 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 but should be done by the time the parks reopen. 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 in October 2020.
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 will still be able to see select characters and interact with them from afar, but guests will not be able to get signatures or up-close interactions, such as hugs, at this time. Instead, many characters will be presented throughout the parks in cavalcades or socially-distant experiences.
Currently, First Order Stormtroopers can be seen doing modified interactions at Disney Springs. 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 will 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. This includes major attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which previously was only 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.
Will the parks be busy?
While we cannot guarantee one way or another, we can guess based on the current rules and how visitation has been at other local parks.
Our guess? No, it will not be exceedingly busy. We do expect the first two weeks to quickly reach the online reservation capacity. After that time, we think the parks will be at a medium or even low level of crowds.
These lower crowd levels will come from restricted ticket sales, limited park capacities, limited hotel capacities and less tourism in Orlando in general. While many fear a swamped park with hard-to-secure reservation times, we think the parks will level out after the initial rush is over. We were correct in this thought last year for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Disney is very experienced with crowd control and we think this will become apparent when the parks reopen.
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 announced 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?
Currently, it has not been stated if there will be any changes to the Disability Access Service at Walt Disney World. 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. Their are many kinds, like the scarf-style neck gaiter, disposable medical masks, and the reusable ear loop style. 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.