Walt Disney World Reopening 2020
In response to the global pandemic Covid-19, Walt Disney World closed its Resorts, its Parks, Disney Springs, and experiences beginning March 15, 2020. The closure was unprecedented and coincided with the closure of Disney Parks around the globe.
Walt Disney World’s Parks closed on March 15. Disney Springs followed with a closure on March 17. Resorts closed on March 20. In May 2020, Disney began reopening, with a series of incremental steps. Use the links below to jump to the sections you want to read, or scroll down the page for the full story.
Walt Disney World Reopening Dates | Walt Disney World Reopening Protocols | Physical Distancing, Park Capacity, and Disney Park Pass | Restaurants & Dining | Reservations, Resorts, & Tickets | My Disney Experience Enhancements
|Date||What’s Happening?||Click Here for More Information|
|May 20, 2020||Disney Springs begins phased reopening with third-party vendors||Learn more here.|
|May 27, 2020||Disney Springs continues phased reopening of some Disney-owned stores and restaurants||Learn more here.|
|May 28, 2020||Disney World announces forthcoming theme park reservation system and cancellations of dining, FastPass, etc.||Learn more here.|
|June 22, 2020||Disney World begins allowing guests to make Disney Park Pass reservations||Learn more about dates for Disney Park Pass here. Step-by-Step Guide to Disney Park Pass here.|
|June 22, 2020||Disney Vacation Club Resorts and Fort Wilderness reopen||Learn more here.|
|July 9-10, 2020||Annual Passholder Previews of Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom||Learn more here.|
|July 10, 2020||Additional Disney World Resorts begin reopening||Learn more here.|
|July 11, 2020||Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopen.||Learn more here.|
|July 15, 2020||EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopen.EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival begins.||Learn more about EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival here.|
UPDATE: Walt Disney World Attractions, Shows, & Entertainment Reopening
When the Parks open on July 11 (Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom) and July 15 (EPCOT and Hollywood Studios), the following attractions will be available for guests:
On June 20, Disney announced the merchandise and entertainment that will be available when the Parks reopen.
Health and Safety Protocols
As with the reopening of Disney Springs, the opening of the World’s Parks and Resorts will require several new health and safety protocols. These include the requirement that guests ages two and up must wear masks except when seated for Table Service dining or when inside their Resort hotel rooms, the necessity of making a Park reservation in order to enter a Park on a given day using the new Disney Park Pass system, and temperature screenings for both guests and cast members.
Learn more about health and safety protocols here.
For information about temperature screenings, click here.
Learn more about what constitutes a mask according to Disney here.
Click here to read more about Resort health and safety protocols.
Disney is promoting contactless payment as a part of its new health and safety protocols. Guests are encouraged to pay using credit cards, debit cards, Disney gift cards, or MagicBands — all of which are handled only by the guest. Cash transactions are discouraged, and guests who travel with cash are encouraged to use it to purchase gift cards at Guest Relations locations, then use the gift cards during their visit.
Click here to learn more about contactless payments.
Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Stations
Guests heading to the Parks, Resorts, or Disney Springs can expect to see many handwashing stations and hand sanitizer stations throughout the Property.
Click here for a closer look at handwashing and sanitizing stations.
For guests concerned with wearing a face covering all day, Disney is working on plans for Relaxation Zones — areas in the Parks where guests can safely remove their masks while still maintaining social distancing. Details have not been released, but we will update when they are.
Click here to see what Disney had to say about Relaxation Zones.
Disability Access Services
On June 8, Disney confirmed that Disability Access Services (DAS) will be available from the beginning of reopening. Read more about DAS here.
Click here to read about the confirmation that DAS will be available during reopening.
Shopping During Walt Disney World’s Reopening
While stores are open in Disney Springs and are expected to reopen in the Disney Parks and Resorts during the World’s phased reopening, some health and safety protocols are in place. Guests can expect to find floor markings to help enforce physical distancing in lines or wherever crowds may gather. Entry to stores may be assigned by virtual queue to maintain lower capacity.
Click here for reopening procedures for Disney-owned stores during Disney Springs’ phased reopening.
Walt Disney World Transportation
UPDATE: On July 8, Disney confirmed that parking lot trams will NOT be in operation when the Parks begin reopening on July 11.
Click here for more information on the parking lot tram suspension.
UPDATE: On July 4, Disney World released dates for the resumption of Monorail, Skyliner, and Ferry Boat transportation.
Click here for details about transportation for the Parks’ reopening.
When the Parks of Walt Disney World reopen, guests will experience PhotoPass a bit differently. Cast members will no longer be able to hold your phone or camera to snap a photo for you, and at PhotoPass opportunities that utilize a prop, the prop will be thoroughly cleaned between guests. (Expect some possibly longer waits as a result.) Finally, Disney encourages guests to have their MagicBands or admission ticket cards ready to be scanned, noting that PhotoPass photographers will still need to use their device to scan your Park media and will maintain as much distance as possible when doing so.
Disney has announced that Park capacity will be limited when they reopen in July. This is part of the plan to allow space for physical distancing. Disney World will also implement a new Disney Park Pass reservation system that will allow guests to reserve their entry to the Parks during the phased reopening. Dates for when guests can access it are found here.
Click here to read up on physical distancing and reduced Park capacity.
UPDATE Park Hopping Suspended
On June 19, Disney announced that its new Disney Park Pass reservation system will not allow for reserving entry to more than one Park per day. This means that Park Hopper ticket upgrades will be suspended during the phased reopening. No reinstatement date has been announced.
Click here to read about Disney suspending Park Hopping.
Suspension of Parades, Fireworks Shows, and Character Meet-and-Greets
UPDATE: On June 19, Disney revealed that “special cavalcades down the Magic Kingdom park parade route and friends sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park to processions along World Showcase promenade at EPCOT and motorcades on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” will be part of the character experience
Learn more about character experiences during Walt Disney World’s reopening here.
During the initial phases of Walt Disney World’s reopening, Parks will suspend activities that tend to draw large crowds — specifically parades and fireworks spectaculars. Disney has not placed a timeline on this suspension. Likewise, character meet-and-greets are suspended in order to promote physical distancing. Disney has said characters will still remain part of the Park experience, but face-to-face meets are suspended.
Click here for more details about parades, fireworks, and character meets being suspended during the Parks’ initial reopening.
Cancellation of FastPass+ Selections
On May 28, Disney announced they will be cancelling all current FastPass+ selections. They “plan to use additional queue space to manage capacity at [their] attractions and maintain physical distancing”.
Click here for more information about the FastPass+ cancellations.
UPDATE: On June 29, Disney announced that guests who had Advance Dining Reservations cancelled by May 28 for dining up to September 2, 2020, can make NEW Advance Dining Reservations beginning June 30 for up to sixty days in advance of their trips.
Click here for the full post explaining this ADR update.
On June 22, Disney released the list of restaurants confirmed to reopen in the Parks on July 11 and July 15. Table Service dining in the Parks will require Advance Dining Reservations.
Click here to see where guests can eat when the Parks reopen!
On June 6, Disney shared which restaurants will be opening with select Resorts on June 22. These include Table Service, Quick Service, and lounges.
Click here to browse the list of Resort restaurants confirmed for opening on June 22.
Upon reopening, Disney World restaurants — Table Service, Quick Service, and kiosks and stands — will employ safety and health protocol measures as well. Fask coverings are required at all times, except when seated at a table for Table Service or Quick Service dining. At Quick Service establishments, ground or floor markings indicate where parties should stand in order to maintain physical distancing.
Quick Service restaurants without seating may require guests to exit the restaurant before raising or lowering masks to take a drink or a bite. Masks are required even when walking around with a grab ‘n’ go or Quick Service item. Guests are reminded only to raise or lower their masks to take a bite or a sip, replacing the mask each time.
Click here to read more about protocols for Table Service and Quick Service dining.
Restaurants are shifting toward digital menus. Disney will be promoting QR codes that bring a menu directly to your smart phone or mobile device. Restaurants may also have paper menus on hand for those who prefer it.
Click here for details on contactless dining experiences through the use of digital menus.
Changes to Mobile Order at Walt Disney World
Guests using My Disney Experience to place Mobile Orders for pick-up at Quick Service locations will notice a change. Whereas in the past guests could essentially pick up their Mobile Order at any time before the restaurant closed for the day, on May 27, Mobile Order required users to select a thirty-minute Arrival Window.
Click here for more information about this change to Mobile Ordering.
New Contactless Payment Options Added to Mobile Order
On May 28, new contactless payment options were added to Mobile Order via My Disney Experience. The new payment options include the Disney Dining Card, Disney Gift Cards, Disney Rewards Redemption Cards, and ApplePay.
Click here for more on these expanded payment options for Mobile Order.
New Mobile Dine Check-In Added to My Disney Experience
My Disney Experience has also been enhanced with Mobile Dine Check-In, which allows guests with Table Service Advance Dining Reservations to check in for their reservations using their My Disney Experience app.
UPDATE: See our full first experience of the Mobile Dine Check-In here.
Learn more about Mobile Dine Check-In here.
For those guests who enjoy character dining, note that Disney revealed on May 29 that character dining experiences will be temporarily suspended. A week later, Disney shared that the “character dining experience” at Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera at Riviera Resort “will be modified”. The characters now dance and parade through the restaurant and pose for physically distant selfies.
UPDATE 6/22: We enjoyed breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace on opening day. Here’s what it was like!
Click here for more information about character dining restrictions.
Advance Dining Reservations
UPDATE: On June 16, Disney announced it would begin taking Advance Dining Reservations for Disney Springs and Resort hotel restaurants by phone. In-Park reservations still not available for booking.
Click here for the most recent information on how to make an ADR by phone.
On June 3, some Disney Springs restaurants were made bookable via the My Disney Experience app. Many Disney Springs restaurants remain bookable on OpenTable.
Click here to read more about the June 3 update to ADRs.
Click here for details about the ORIGINAL suspension of dining reservations.
See which theme park restaurants will reopen when the Parks reopen in July here.
Disney Dining Plan
On May 28, Disney announced the suspension of the Disney Dining Plan option and the cancellation of all currently-purchased Disney Dining Plans.
Click here to learn more about DDP cancellation and suspension.
UPDATE JUNE 22: Walt Disney World DVC Resort Reopening Report
We are on-site to explore the reopening of Walt Disney World’s Resort hotels, beginning with the DVC Resorts and Fort Wilderness.
Click here to see what it’s like at the newly-reopened DVC Resorts.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Reservations
On June 24, guests could begin making NEW 2021 Resort reservations and ticket purchases. Guests with EXISTING 2020 Resort reservations will be able to purchase tickets “later this summer.” Disney has said that will begin June 28.
Resort Cleaning Protocols
On June 6, Disney revealed “enhanced cleaning” protocols for the World’s Resorts. These include common areas and Resort rooms before and during a guest’s stay.
Click here to read about Disney’s enhanced cleaning protocols.
Walt Disney World Resort Amenities
Disney revealed on June 6 more details on changes to amenities that Resort guests can expect. Changes include Resort feature pools operating with reduced hours and reduced capacity.
Learn more about changes to Resort amenities here.
On June 4, 2020, Disney announced that “partially used multi-day theme park tickets with a usage window impacted by the Park closure or date-specific theme park tickets purchased through June 6, 2020, with a valid use period beginning March 12, 2020, or later will automatically be extended to use any date through September 26, 2021.” Florida Resident Discover Disney tickets were also extended to September 30, 2020.
Click here to learn more about the extension of usage dates for Park tickets.
Discounts for Rebooked Disney Dining Plan Guests
On May 29, Disney sent emails to guests who had rebooked during the World’s closure and received Disney Dining Plan for that inconvenience. Because DDP purchases have been cancelled and the DDP program suspended temporarily, those guests will receive a 35% discount on their room reservation to compensate for the newly-cancelled DDPs that were given to them for rebooking.
Click here to learn more about this discount.
As of May 28, Disney announced it will cancel all experience reservations. These are expected to include reservations for dessert parties, Bibiddi Bobbidi Boutique, and more.
Click here for more information about cancelled experience reservations.
Click here for details on dining experiences and dessert parties that have been cancelled.
UPDATE: On June 16, Disney outlined steps that guests should take in advance of the new Theme Park reservation system so that My Disney Experience connects seamlessly when the system goes live.
Learn more about this new directive from Disney here.
UPDATE: On June 16, Disney released plans for diners to use My Disney Experience to check in for their Table Service Advance Dining Reservations, thereby skipping the host(ess) stand. This is called Mobile Dine Check-In.
UPDATE 6/22: Here’s our first experience with Mobile Dine Check-In.
Click here to read about this new feature of My Disney Experience.
On June 6, Disney highlighted some ways to use My Disney Experience to make visits during the World’s reopening safer and healthier.
Click here to see what Disney has to say about using My Disney Experience during the World’s reopening.
My Disney Experience is Disney World’s app that provides interactive maps, reservations information, and many more features to make vacations fun and functional. (Learn more about My Disney Experience here.) During the World’s reopening, Disney encourages guests to use My Disney Experience to promote physical distancing by:
- Placing Mobile Orders for Quick Service meals, allowing you to bypass a ‘standby’ line and allowing Disney to manage the number of people in its restaurants and queues.
- Checking in on the app before your arrival. This will trigger the system to send your Resort room information when it’s ready for you, allowing you to skip the front desk.
- Using My Disney Experience (or your MagicBand) to open your Resort hotel room door when your room is available and a room number is sent to you via email and/or text message.
Other practical uses for My Disney Experience that may help you maintain physical distancing include:
- Checking Wait Times for rides and at your Disney Resort bus stop
- Using the ShopDisney feature to purchase items you like without going inside stores
- Accessing interactive maps to find efficient paths throughout the Park
Statement from CEO Bob Chapek
Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek — who just took command of the Company in February — spoke out on May 27, 2020, about the proposed reopening plan for Walt Disney World.
Click here to see what Chapek had to say.
On May 28, 2020, Chapek appeared on Good Morning America to share more about the vision for the Parks’ reopening. He reiterated the Company’s commitment to being responsible and shared more about safety measures guests may see in the Parks. He also noted that most attractions will be open when the Parks welcome guests again.
Click here for more on his Good Morning America comments.
Walt Disney World’s Disclaimer
Of course, with the pandemic remaining a story in progress, things at the Disney Parks are almost certain to change over time. Disney has addressed that on their official webpage:
“Upon reopening, theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences and other offerings may be modified and will be limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure, based on direction from health experts and government officials to promote physical distancing.
Additionally, attractions, experiences (such as shows, parades and fireworks), services and amenities may have limited availability or may remain closed. We will provide more information as it becomes available. We reserve the right to cancel any reservations, admission media or purchases and provide applicable refunds.”
We will do our best to keep you abridged of those changes, updating this page as often as is needed to provide you with up-to-date information.
Last update: 5PM on 7/08/2020