If you’ve visited Disney World recently, then you know that things are very different!
We’re bringing you the full list of things you need to know before visiting Disney World right now.
Things That Are Closed
At this time, a select few Disney Resort hotels remain completely closed. These include All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, Port Orleans — Riverside, and Port Orleans — French Quarter. However, all of these resorts now have reopening dates!
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort will reopen on September 16th, Disney’s Port Orleans — Riverside will reopen on October 14th, Disney’s Port Orleans — French Quarter will reopen on October 28th, and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort will reopen on December 9th.
We can’t wait to check out each of these spots when they open back up! (We really miss you, Port Orleans.)
At this time, several restaurants around the property remain closed.
- EPCOT: Monsieur Paul, Takumi-Tei, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Restaurant Marrakesh, and Tangierine Cafe (which is operating as a booth for the Food & Wine Festival currently).
- Hollywood Studios: Neighborhood Bakery
- Animal Kingdom: Caravan Road
- Resorts: Victoria & Albert’s, 1900 Park Fare, Jiko, ESPN Club, Flying Fish, Turf Club Bar and Grill, Artist Point, and restaurants at closed resorts.
At this time, there are no announcements for a reopening date. We’ll make sure to keep you updated if Disney shares anything!
Things That Are Temporarily Suspended
Disney Dining Plan
Another thing that hasn’t returned is Disney’s Dining Plan. The dining plan is a way to pre-pay for your meals during your trip. It doesn’t always offer the best deal on food, but fans tend to like it for convenience. In late June, Disney confirmed that the Disney Dining Plan WILL return, but they did not release a date for the offering to resume.
It has been difficult to bring back the Dining Plan with lower restaurant capacities, Mobile Order windows filling up quickly, and fewer available Advance Dining Reservations.
Right now, character cavalcades are running through Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom in place of parades, offering a quick way to spot some of your favorite Disney friends.
While there’s currently no information on when the Festival of Fantasy parade may return to Magic Kingdom, Disney did announce that Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade would be showing during the holiday event, Disney Very Merriest After Hours. This will be the first time that a parade has been shown in the parks in more than a year and a half.
Many Stage Shows
For other entertainment options, many different shows are temporarily suspended. There’s no castle stage show at this time or any “streetmosphere” characters in the parks. Some entertainment options have returned, like Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and Festival of the Lion King, but not all of them are back yet.
Fan-favorite options like Finding Nemo the Musical, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Jedi Training Academy — Trials of the Temple are all closed still. If you’re looking forward to a specific entertainment option, we recommend checking online ahead of time to see if it’s running.
Character Meet and Greets
Traditional character meet and greets aren’t yet back in the parks, but in their place, you’ll find physically distanced characters all around in various places.
We’ve seen Anna and Elsa in Norway, Mickey and friends on the Main Street train station, the Country Bears in Frontierland, and so many others popping up around the parks. These random meets don’t have scheduled times and you won’t be able to get too close, but you should have some time to interact for a little while!
Some Character Dining
A few character meals have reopened in Disney World, but not all of them. Right now, your options mostly include places where you can meet Mickey and friends, in addition to the Disney Junior breakfast at Hollywood & Vine.
Those that are still closed include ‘Ohana (open without characters), Akershus, 1900 Park Fare, Trattoria al Forno (breakfast without characters), Artist Point, Crystal Palace (open without characters), and Cape May Cafe (open without characters).
Looking for something special to do while you’re visiting the parks? Your options may be a tad limited! Behind-the-scenes tours, except for private VIP Tours, are not operating at this time.
Private VIP Tours recently updated their policy, which now allows guests to ride Rise of the Resistance without a boarding group. Previously, guests that took part in the tour had to fend for themselves when it came to boarding groups.
Also, makeover and pampering opportunities like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Harmony Barber Shop, and resort spas are not available, so you’ll want to bring your own spa supplies if you’re planning a relaxing resort day.
Some Transportation Options
While the main methods of transportation are available (Friendship boats, ferryboat, Skyliner, monorail) are open and operating, other less-popular options may not be operating during your trip, like the Sassagoula River Boats.
Also, Minnie Vans haven’t returned since the parks reopened and neither have the parking lot trams. With lowered capacity, trams haven’t been as much of a necessity, but we imagine that the parking lots will get more full as more guests come to visit.
For health and safety reasons, some interactive sections of rides are not open to the public. We have seen the interactive areas reopen at several EPCOT attractions including Test Track where you can design your own car.
On top of the sections at the end of the ride, many interactive queue areas are also closed off or might be opened only when demand is high and lines are longer than usual.
Health and Safety Procedures
Face covering requirements have been fluctuating back and forth at Disney World since the reopening depending on the current state of the pandemic. Currently, they’re required for all guests at indoor locations and enclosed transportation (like buses, monorails, and Skyliner gondolas).
These current rules affect all guests ages 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status. At this time, masks are optional in outdoor areas.
Although they were around when the parks first reopened and stuck around for several months, you’ll no longer find temperature checks at Walt Disney World.
This health and safety measure was phased on in May of 2021 with the tents getting removed from the parks and Disney Springs shortly after. Now we’re back to simply going through security before entering the park.
Disney World has begun to reduce physical distancing guidelines around the property, although you may still notice signage and plexiglass in some areas.
During your trip, make sure to pay attention to signage and any ground markers around the parks and resorts. Ground markers have been removed from many attraction queues already and shows are starting to seat guests closer together.
When you visit Disney World, you may notice that there are some new contactless procedures in place. For starters, you can now check into your hotel room on your phone and go directly to your room without stopping by the front desk.
Also, if you decide to visit a Quick Service restaurant, you’ll likely be asked to use Mobile Order on the My Disney Experience app unless you’re paying with cash or have special allergy restrictions (or you don’t own a smartphone).
Other Things You May See
If you visited Disney World at the beginning of the pandemic, then you probably noticed the Relaxation Stations around the parks where guests could remove their masks, but now, these stations have disappeared.
In the interest of health and safety, Disney has installed hand sanitizer stations all around the parks, including at ride entrances and ride exits. At this time, they’ve removed the handwashing stations.
Things are definitely different than what we were used to at Disney World right now, but each day we’re getting one step closer to “normal.” If you plan to visit the parks soon, we recommend checking out the Know Before You Go section of Disney World’s website, and stay tuned to AllEars to get the details on what to expect!
When was the last time you visited the parks? Let us know in the comments!