Home / News / BREAKING NEWS: Disney Announces Big Changes to MagicBands & Opening of New Resort Reservations

BREAKING NEWS: Disney Announces Big Changes to MagicBands & Opening of New Resort Reservations

We finally have information on when Disney will start taking new reservations for resort stays. Don’t miss the major MagicBand news tucked into this announcement! Details below.


Disney Cast Member Avery Maehrer shares more below:

Planning a New Trip for Next Year

By June 28, all guests will be able to purchase new Disney Resort hotel packages and theme park tickets and make their park reservations for arrivals starting in 2021 as our phased reopening continues. Guests will be able to view park reservation availability on prior to purchasing their tickets.

As you begin planning your upcoming visits, we’re also exploring engaging ways for guests to use their mobile tech to experience the magic – particularly now as the use of phones and apps continues to evolve. In 2021, we plan to unveil an innovative new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart devices, building on the app’s existing digital key feature. With this new offering on the horizon, we will be retiring our complimentary MagicBand distribution to Disney Resort hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Disney Resort hotel guests will continue to have the option to purchase new MagicBands at a discount, and we’ll be introducing even more colors and designs featuring favorite Disney characters in the future. Guests who prefer not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit. We will still offer MagicBands in retail locations and on, and guests will be able to continue using the wearables throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

RELATED ARTICLE: Disney World Reopening Details – 20 Things We Know Right Now

Officials from Walt Disney World presented plans for reopening the theme parks to Orange County’s economic recovery task force on May 27 that included a phased approach to reopening the resort. Two days later the governor of Florida approved the plan. There is a lot of information to wade through, so we’ve put together a guide of what we know about the reopening for your convenience. Visiting Walt Disney World this summer will not be what we are used to, and there are things you need to be aware of before you visit. We present this information to inform you of what to expect as Walt Disney World reopens and for you to make a decision on whether or not to visit. There are a ton of questions and many details that need to be filled in. However, here are the 20 things we know now about the phased reopening and visiting Walt Disney World after the coronavirus closure.

Updated 6/19/2020


1 – Phased Reopening Announced

Officials from Walt Disney World presented plans for reopening the theme parks to Orange County’s economic recovery task force on May 27 that included a phased approach to reopening the theme parks, Disney Resort hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other experiences. Things will be different when Walt Disney World reopens, and there will be many safety and health protocols in place for guests and Cast Member protection. We’ll be covering the details on the reopening in this article, but click here for the original announcement.

2 – Opening Dates at a Glance

Disney officials presented their plans to reopen the theme parks, which include a phased reopening with the following dates:

  • June 15– Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, now open to members and guests.
  • June 22 – 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.
  • July 11– Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open.
  • July 15– Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open.

Credit: Disney

Disney Springs has already begun its phased reopening. Click here for everything you need to know about your visit to Disney Springs.

3 – Park Reservations Will be Required

According to the Walt Disney World website, the parks will reopen with some important updates to promote physical distancing, including a new park reservation system. Initially, park attendance will be managed through a new park reservation system. To enter a park, both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date is required. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. Note that neither a dining reservation or a resort reservation guarantees you entry into the park.

Click here for what we know about the Disney Park Pass System.

4 – Expect Reduced Park Hours

The park hours beginning July 11 have already been posted to the Walt Disney World website and the operating hours of the parks have been reduced. For example, Magic Kingdom has hours of 9:00 am – 7:00 pm. Disney’s Animal Kingdom has posted hours of 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, also reduced. Beginning July 15, Epcot has hours of 11:00 am-9:00 pm, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios hours are 10:00 am – 8:00 pm. These hours are subject to change. Always check the My Disney Experience app or the Walt Disney World calendar on the website for up to date hours.

5 – No FastPass+ & No Extra Magic Hours

As a result of the COVID-19 impact, the FastPass+ service will be suspended for the time being as Disney plans to use additional queue space to manage capacity at our attractions and maintain physical distancing. Disney will automatically cancel existing FastPass+ selections and share any future updates on the service at a later date. Also, please note that upon reopening, Extra Magic Hours will be temporarily suspended.

6 – Walt Disney World Resorts

New reservations at Disney Resort hotels are temporarily paused, so Disney can focus on guests with existing reservations. However, Disney Vacation Club Members can still make new reservations. Reservations will resume after a period of time.

There is a lot of information you’ll need to review before your visit to Disney resorts. Click here for a complete guide on everything you need to know about your visit to the resorts. 

7 – Dining at Walt Disney World – What You Need to Know

Disney has released the following statement regarding dining and other experience reservations:

At this time, dining and other experience reservations at Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Resort hotel locations are not available. Select Disney Springs locations are open for booking at this time. Reservations for all other locations will resume at a later date.

Existing dining reservations and experience bookings will be canceled. We have also made the difficult decision to cancel and temporarily no longer offer Disney dining plans. We will update your reservation to reflect the removal of the dining plan from your package. The package price will be adjusted accordingly. You will receive a refund if you have already paid in full or reduction in the amount due if you have not yet made the final payment.

As reservations resume, guests will be able to make dining and experience reservations up to 60 days in advance to allow guests to make their plans closer to their visits.

Want to know what to expect with dining at Walt Disney World during the phased reopening? Click here for details on dining, character dining, and more as Walt Disney World reopens. 

8 – Many Resort and Dining Experiences Will be Unavailable or Modified

As we have noted above there is a lot of information and details to read through about staying at resorts and dining during the initial reopening plan. There were a lot of small details that you might have missed. These details are very important and may greatly impact an upcoming Walt Disney World vacation. We didn’t want you to miss anything, so we put them all together in one spot for easy reference. Click here for the 15 things you might have missed about resort and dining during the initial reopening.

9 – Fall Events will be Modified or Canceled

Disney Cast Member Laurel Slater gave an update about the Food & Wine Festival. Learn about the modified event below:

Epcot Food & Wine Festival will be Modified

One staple of the fall season at the Walt Disney World Resort is the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Today, we’re pleased to share that not only have we cooked up a creative, modified festival experience, it will also be our longest festival yet – giving you plenty of time to enjoy “A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!”

This new take on the foodie festival will debut July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park. And, if you’ve ever imagined a world where the floral fun of Flower & Garden is sprinkled in with the global goodies of Food & Wine, here’s your chance – guests will be able to see our newest topiary, Remy, in the France pavilion and find Flower & Garden merchandise. For scavenger hunt fans, Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt returns. And stay tuned as Food & Wine merchandise joins the fun later on after the festival begins.

We know the popular musical acts during the “Eat to the Beat Concert Series” often pack the house and, in an effort to accommodate proper physical distancing, we will not be able to host these concerts this year. There will be plenty of music to enjoy at America Gardens Theatre with local EPCOT entertainment such as Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors and more. These fan favorites will spread out their performances throughout the day, giving audiences more options to enjoy them.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Canceled

While assessing another fall special event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Additionally, Disney H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, will not take place for the remainder of 2020. Guests who have already bought tickets to these events will be assisted with refunds over the coming weeks.

10 – No Decisions Have Been Made About 2020 Holiday Events

Finally, Slater gave an update on the future of 2020 Holiday Events.

Looking ahead to the holiday season, this may spark questions about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which includes the Candlelight Processional. We are monitoring our new environment closely, and will make a decision on these events as we continue to learn more from government and health officials. As always, our goal is to explore every option and look at ways in which we can still host events and festivals full of Disney magic, while still operating responsibly with the health and safety of our guests and cast members in mind.

11 – Enchanting Extras–Events, Tours, Recreation, and Other Experiences Update

There are a lot of extra activities such as special events, tours, recreation, and more, like spa services, that will be impacted during the phased reopening. Click here for what you need to know about events, tours, recreation, and other experiences during the phased reopening.

12 – New Ticket Sales Suspended

At this time, new ticket sales are temporarily paused. Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold. Additional details will be shared with these guests soon. New ticket sales will resume after that period of time.

13 – Annual Passholder Update

Disney has released a statement to its annual passholders about what they can expect during the phased reopening. There are no guarantees that passholders will be able to get entrance into the parks and certain benefits, park hopping, will not be available. Click here for the full statement

Passholders will also have a special preview opportunity during the reopening phase. Look for more information about this as more is released.

14 – Face Coverings are Required

When visiting Walt Disney World, health and safety protocols will be in place to safeguard the health and safety of the entire Disney community. Here are the guidelines from the Walt Disney World website:

All Guests ages two* and up—along with Cast Members—are required to wear face coverings when visiting Walt Disney World Resort. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming.

All face coverings should:

  • Fully cover an individual’s nose and mouth and allow the Guest to remain hands-free.
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops.
  • Be made of breathable material, either disposable or reusable.

Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with Disney’s existing rules.

The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.

*Note that originally the age for face coverings was three and up. Disney has changed this policy to ages two and up.

Note that beginning June 20, 2020, face coverings are required to be worn in any public place in Orange County, the county that most of Walt Disney World is in. This includes Orlando International Airport.


15 – Temperature Screenings

Upon arrival at Disney Springs or at the Walt Disney World theme parks, you may undergo a temperature screening with no-touch thermometers.

Based on guidance from health authorities, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional location for rescreening and assistance. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.

Before you leave home, be sure to check the temperatures of everyone in your party—including yourself—as an extra layer of precaution.

Temperature screening at Disney Springs.

16 – Physical Distancing and Limited Contact

There will be reduced capacity of theme parks, restaurants, retail, attractions, buses, monorails, and other transportation that enables appropriate physical distancing. Also, parades, fireworks, and other events that create crowds are temporarily suspended. High touch experiences such as Meet and Greets, makeover opportunities, and playgrounds are also temporarily suspended. Characters will still be in the parks to entertain and delight during your visit.

Here some of the other things to take note of regarding physical distancing and limited contact from the Walt Disney World website.

  • Signage and Ground Markings: Please follow directional signage and ground markings, which have been installed throughout Walt Disney World Resort to help Guests better navigate common areas while practicing physical distancing.
  • Physical Barriers: Physical barriers have been added in select places where it is difficult to maintain strict physical distancing guidelines. These may be visible in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations, for example, to help ensure proper distances between people.
  • Cashless Transactions: At this time, it is recommended all Guests use cashless payment options, including debit cards, credit cards, and Disney Gift Cards. Guests can also opt for contactless payment options—such as mobile wallets—or use cash to purchase a Disney Gift Card at Guest Relations and select merchandise locations. Disney Resort hotel Guests can also use MagicBands to charge their purchase to their Disney Resort hotel folio.
  • Plexiglass will also be installed at points of sale in retail and food and beverage locations where distancing cannot be maintained.

17 – Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitation

Here are some of the things you can expect during a visit this summer.

  • Hand-washing and sanitizing stations and signage reminders at appropriate locations in the theme parks.
  • More frequent cleaning across high-touch locations and surfaces in operating areas.

18 – You Assume the Risk of Visiting in the Age of the Coronavirus

Disney has released a warning statement for those considering coming to Disney World. The following is stated on the Walt Disney World website:

We have taken enhanced health and safety measures—for you, our other Guests, and Cast Members. You must follow all posted instructions while visiting Walt Disney World Resort.

An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.

Help keep each other healthy and safe.

19 – You’ll Need the My Disney Experience App

We always encourage guests to have the latest version of the My Disney Experience app for the Walt Disney World vacations. This app will be even more important during the phased reopening. You’ll want the app for online check-in at Disney Resorts so you can skip the Front Desk, for Mobile Order Service for dining, and for scannable codes at select restaurants to access the digital menu. If you do not have a credit card linked to your Magic Band, you will also want to consider Apple Pay or Google Pay for contactless payments. You’ll want to have that set up before your visit.

Click here to learn about new features added to Mobile Ordering for the phased reopening.

20 – How to Adjust Your Travel Plans


As previously shared, partially used multi-day theme park tickets with usage window impacted by park closure, or date-specific theme park tickets purchase through June 6, 2020, valid use period beginning March 12, 2020, or later, will automatically be extended to use any date through September 26, 2021. If you are unable to visit by September 26, 2021, you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.

Resort Rooms and Packages

To provide additional flexibility, Disney is waiving all Disney-imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through October 3, 2020. If guests need further assistance, they can reach Disney at the Disney Reservation Center through the online chat feature or by calling the reservation line.

If no action is taken for impacted stays, Disney will automatically cancel your reservation within 7 days of the original check-in date and process any refund due to the original form of payment. Please note that cancellation fees imposed by third-party suppliers, including airlines and rental cars, as well as non-refundable products like travel protection plans, are deducted from refundable amounts for Walt Disney Travel Company packages.

If you did not book through Disney directly, please contact your travel professional.

More Detail to Come

While there are some big questions that have been answered regarding the reopening of Disney World, there are a lot of questions we don’t have answers to yet, and a lot of details that need to be filled in regarding how much of this will work. Many more questions remain. We will continue providing updates on our website, newsletter, Facebook page, and on Instagram as details are released and we get answers to our list of questions.

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.


About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!