Not surprisingly, Coronavirus and its impact on Disney operations around the work have dominated Disney related news the last week. In this week’s roundup, you’ll find full updates on all closures and policy changes regarding reservations, tickets, and dining reservations. Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney have also made changes to their payment policies that affect guests with upcoming vacations.
The Disney communications team has done a fantastic job keeping us informed as soon as decisions are made. We are doing everything we can to make sure you’re well informed. As further developments happen, including possible extended closures, we will be sending alerts to our newsletter list. If you haven’t signed up for those alerts, you can do so by scrolling to the newsletter sign up box.
However, not all the news is bad. In the midst of a world turned upside down, heartwarming stories of people helping people abound. A couple of those stories come out of our favorite place, Disney World. Check out what Disney is doing with all that extra food they won’t be serving to guests. For fans for Chef Andres and Jaleo (my personal favorite restaurant in the world), you have an opportunity to do good for others and save a little on your next visit. Also, Disney is stepping up to provide some Disney magic at home.
Finally, even though the parks are closing through at least the end of March, the magic of Walt Disney World will still be in our hearts and minds over the next few weeks. We are all facing challenges to our normal daily routine, but certain things stay the same. We plan to keep our routine of sharing Disney magic through news, posts, and photos in our newsletter, on Instagram, on Facebook, and our website. We may not be visiting the parks right now but we still have lots to share with you. We’re determined to spread some Disney magic! That’s a type of spread we’re happy to support! Stay safe, friends, and wash those hands!
1 – Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Resorts, & Disney Springs Closed Due to COVID-19 Threat
After growing concern regarding the threat of COVID-19, Disney Parks announced multiple closings on Thursday, March 12. First, Disneyland announced it would be closing through the end of March. That was followed a few hours later with an announcement of Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris closing for at least two weeks. Disney Cruise Line also announced a suspension of sailings through April 12. On Friday, March 13, Adventures by Disney also canceled many upcoming trips. There were a lot of questions regarding cancellations, tickets, resort stays, and more, and Disney responded with updated policies for guests who are affected by the closings. On Monday, March 15, Disney announced the closure of Disney Springs and Disney resort hotels. Check out the links below for the announcements and policy updates.
2 – Disney World and Disneyland Resorts Donate Unused Surplus Food to Help Local Communities
In the midst of a lot of bad news that came out in the last week, it was very heartwarming to hear that both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts donated unused surplus food to help local communities.
It’s worth noting that coordinating the delivery and moving that much food to the places that need it requires a lot of work and expense. Disney Cast Members volunteered their time to make sure the surplus food did not go to waste, and Disney covered the cost of moving it. It would have been cheaper and easier to simply dispose of the food. We applaud the Disney company, and the cast members involved, for putting people above profit in the midst of was are undoubtedly incredibly difficult financial circumstances. Check out all the details at the link below.
3 – runDisney Cancels Star Wars Rival Run Weekend
With the growing threat of the spread of COVID-19, many were wondering about the next runDisney race that was scheduled for April 16-19, 2020. On Friday, March 20, runDisney announced that the race was being canceled and that race participants would receive full refunds. The early announcement was met with praise for runDisney since many runners could alter their travel plans well in advance. Click the link below for the announcement and refund policy.
4 – Jaleo Disney Springs “Employee Support Fund” E-Gift Card Program
Chef José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup announced a new “Employee Support Fund” e-gift card program to directly support its employees during the coronavirus pandemic. All of the proceeds from the e-gift cards, which are currently available for a 20 percent discount, will be divided evenly, with half going toward extending compensation and benefits and half going to the company’s ThinkFamilyFund to provide financial relief for employees and their families experiencing extreme hardships.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take an indefinite toll on the hospitality industry and guests seek out alternative ways to support the restaurant community, ThinkFoodGroup created the special program as a way to directly help extend pay and benefits for its employees during restaurant closures.
Last weekend, Chef Andrés announced TFG would be closing the majority of its restaurants and repurposing several of them as “community kitchens” with limited takeout menus at reduced prices operated by small teams of current employees on a volunteer basis. All employees of ThinkFoodGroup restaurants were guaranteed at least two weeks of pay along with their current health benefits.
The ThinkFamilyFund is a non-profit organization funded primarily by TFG employees to help colleagues and their families who have encountered financial hardship for reasons beyond their control.
Chef Andreas has a long history of using his restaurants, financial resources, and celebrity to help those in need. We applaud this latest chapter in that long story and encourage you to take advantage of this great offer. We also encourage you to try the bacon-wrapped dates. They are amazing!
Gift cards are available for purchase at www.joseandres.com/giftcard.
5 – Disney Magic at Home – Disney Shares Activities that Bring the Magic of Disney to Our Homes
With so many of us now at home, we’re all looking for some distractions or educational materials to get us through our days. Disney helped out this week by sharing ways to bring the magic of Disney into our homes. Check out more at the links below.
6 – Final Payment Extension for Select Disney Cruise Line 2020 Summer Sailings
Out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our Guests, Crew Members and Cast Members, Disney Cruise Line has suspended all new departures through April 12, 2020.
Beginning March 18, 2020, an automatic final payment extension was added to select 2020 summer reservations. Final payments will now be extended out an additional 30 days. (For example, a departure with a final payment due yesterday, March 18, 2020, is now extended to April 17, 2020.)
The impacted sailings are:
- Disney Dream: Sailing embarking on June 17 – sailings embarking on August 30
- Disney Fantasy: Sailing embarking on July 18 – sailings embarking on August 31
- Disney Wonder: Sailing embarking on July 20 – sailings embarking on August 31
- Disney Magic: Sailing embarking on August 5 – sailings embarking on August 30
The following policies apply:
- Guests will not be able to complete Online Check-In or book Cruise Activities/Port Adventures if they have not paid in full
- Disney Cruise LineAir will continue to follow existing policies
o Payment will be due at time of final for Flexible Air
o Restricted Air is non-refundable once paid
- The cancellation policy will shift by 30 days for all non-suite/non-concierge staterooms
o There are no changes to the cancellation policy for Suites and Concierge Staterooms
7 – Final Payment Extensions for Select Summer 2020 Adventures
In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our Guests and Guides, Adventures by Disney has decided to suspend new departures through the end of April.
Additionally, based on updated travel guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is also necessary to cancel the following adventures:
- Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos departures through May
- Italy departures through May
- Italy and Amalfi Coast departures through May
- Japan departures through May
- China departures through June
Beginning March 19, 2020, a final payment extension will be automatically added to all reservations for adventures departing July 15 through August 31, 2020.
Final Payments will be extended out an additional 30 days.
Example: A departure with a final payment due today, March 19, 2020, will be extended to April 18, 2020.
- The deposit payment will continue to follow current cancellation guidelines and is non-refundable 15+ days after it is paid should the Guest choose to cancel their reservation
- With this extension, final payment is due 90 days before Adventure start
What’s New at Walt Disney World!
It’s a very exciting time growth and development at Walt Disney World. In fact, there are so many new things opening, coming and happening, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s a cheat sheet to help keep things straight and make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
The Epcot Experience
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Reimagined Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
NBA Experience at Disney Springs
Coming Soon to Disney World!
Coming in 2020
Epcot Reimagined – Now Through Fall 2021 for Walt Disney World’s 50thAnniversary
Drawn to Life – New Cirque du Soleil Show – new opening date unknown
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration – 2021
Star Wars Hotel – 2021
Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point – Disney’s 2nd Island in the Caribbean – unknown
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.