It has been one week since Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs has slowly begun reopening with even more stores and eateries opening today. Some stores, like World of Disney, are using a virtual queue, limiting the guests who can enter at any given time – helping with capacity limits and social distancing.
The big news of the day came from the Orange County Task Force where reopening plans were presented and approved by the task force for both SeaWorld and Walt Disney World. Now we wait on the Governor to sign off of their plans.
SeaWorld plans to reopen on June 10th for employee appreciation and then on June 11th for the general public. They have a lot of plans in place for social distancing, cleaning procedures, and capacity limitations in place.
Walt Disney World announced that the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks will open to the public on July 11th and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th. Again, lots of safety measures have been proposed as well.
In short, in the beginning there won’t be fireworks, parades, no typical character meet and greets, character makeovers will not be available, face masks are required for guests 3 years old and up, capacity limitations and social distancing will be enforced as well. 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. Characters will still be in the parks, but in more of an entertainment role vs mingling and meeting guests.
New ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations have also been paused and existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold; Disney be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
As far as the Disney Resorts, Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15.
If the success seen at Disney Springs is any indication, we expect a smooth opening in July for the parks and select resorts (we don’t know yet which resorts will open and when except for the DVC Resorts and Fort Wilderness). We also understand families with young children or first time guests might prefer rescheduling their trips until some of these restrictions are lifted. That said, I think a lot of seasoned Walt Disney World travelers and people with tweens and teens that are too cool for characters, they go often enough they don’t do character meals or won’t miss them if they are skipped, this could be a great time for them to visit- as long as they are comfortable doing so.