Back in Action: Disney and Universal Release Their Phased Reopening Plans
Last Update: June 18th, 2020
Breaking News! Both Universal and the Walt Disney World Company have announced their official opening dates – the time has come for us to get the magic back! As you can imagine there are several new policies in place to protect both cast members and guests. Keep reading for everything you need to know. Be sure to follow us on social media for real time updates too!
- Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay opened on June 5th
- Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom open on July 11th
- Epcot and Hollywood Studios open on July 15th
- Guests will be required to make a reservation in advance through Disney’s new reservation system
Universal was the first to reopen their doors for guests at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and their water park, Volcano Bay, on June 5th.
Disney has a little bit later of a start date with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening on July 11th and Epcot and Hollywood Studios shortly following on the 15th. All four parks will have a strict limitation on park capacity and will require guests to make a reservation in advance through Disney’s new reservation system, which can be accessed through the My Disney Experience website. Starting on June 22nd reservations will first be available to guests that are already booked at a Disney resort or select hotel. Annual Pass Holders without a resort stay can begin making reservations on June 26th. Finally, on June 28th any other existing ticket holders can use the system. In order to enter the parks all guests must have a park reservation AND a valid park ticket that matches the same day selected. Guests with multi-day park tickets will need to make a separate reservation for each day they plan to visit the parks. There will be a one park per day limit so guests will not be allowed to park hop. Park reservations will be available through September 26, 2021.
New Procedures and Rules
Before guests are able to enter any of the parks they will be required to have a temperature screening. Any guests with temperatures over 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter. All cast members and guests ages 2 and up will also have to wear a proper mask at all times that covers their mouth and nose. In order to practice social distancing, floor markers will be present to ensure guests are always standing at least 6 feet apart. The parks also encourage guests to wash hands and use hand sanitizer as much as possible.
To ensure guest health and safety, Disney has also announced that some experiences will unfortunately be temporarily suspended at the time of reopening. This includes events that draw large group gatherings, like parades and nighttime spectaculars, as well as “high-touch” experiences such as character meet-and-greets, makeover experiences and playgrounds. Disney has also recently made the decision to cancel all previously booked dining reservations, including dining plans. Bookings will reopen closer to the park reopening date and will only be able to be reserved 60 days in advance instead of 180. Character dining will not be available, except for Topolino’s Terrace located at Disney’s Riviera Resort for a modified character dining experience. Menu signs will be displayed for guests to view at Quick Service restaurants. A scannable code will be available at Table Service restaurants to view the menu on your smart phone. In addition, Disney plans to temporarily suspend the FastPass+ system in order to utilize the extra queue space for social distancing.
Cashless or contactless payment is highly recommended during your visit to Walt Disney World. If you are staying at a Disney resort, you may add your credit card and a security pin to your Magic Band at the concierge desk upon arrival for purchases around Disney property. Apple and Google pay will also be available throughout the parks. If you are not staying at a Disney resort and do not have Apple or Google pay, you may purchase a Disney gift card with cash at the Guest Service desk upon arriving at the park to use for purchases on property.
- Temperature Screenings must be under 100.4 degrees
- Masks are required for everyone aged 2 and up
- Parades, nighttime spectaculars, character meet-and-greets, makeover experiences and playgrounds will be temporarily suspended
- All existing dining reservations and FastPass+ selections have been canceled
- Cashless or contactless payment is highly recommended
- Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will reopened June 22nd
- Four Seasons Orlando, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and the Ritz-Carlton will reopen July 1st
- A Disney resort reservation does not guarantee admission into the theme parks
- Day guests will need to have a confirmed dining reservation.
- Katie Bean Travels can assist with booking the best resort possible as well as offer special amenities depending on availability
Booking Your Next Trip
Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts as well as Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground reopened to members and guests on June 22nd. The rest will begin to reopen on select dates within the following months. For a complete list of opening dates click here. Four Seasons Orlando, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and the Ritz-Carlton, which are some of our favorite off-property resorts, will begin accepting reservations on July 1st. Walt Disney World will be waiving any change and cancelation fees for resort guests checking in before October 3rd, 2020.
If you are traveling from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York) please be aware that Governor DeSantis has directed all individuals to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Florida or the duration of the individual’s presence in Florida, whichever is shorter. This includes persons entering Florida by roadways.
It is also important to note that a Disney resort reservation does not guarantee admission into the theme parks. In order to enter you must also have a park reservation booked through Disney’s new reservation system confirmed and matching the same park and day listed on your park ticket. If you are just a day guest that is not staying overnight you will need to have a confirmed dining reservation.
Disney’s Magical Express complimentary airport service will resume for resort guests as well as bus transportation to the parks. However, there may be possible delays due to social distancing requirements. Minnie Vans will not be running.
All of our VIP concierges work closely with our sister company, Katie Bean Travels, in order to provide our families with the best resort options available as well as completely take care of the booking process. This comes as no extra charge to those that book and is covered by the initial deposit. Katie Bean Travels is also a Virtuoso Affiliate which means you may be eligible for special amenities such as a complimentary breakfast for two, $100 spa credit, early check in and late check out (when available) and room upgrades upon arrival (if available).
We can’t wait to be back in the parks building memories with you all. After being quarantined for the past few months we could all use some Disney magic and Universal adventure!
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