Disney is preparing to open its Disney Vacation Club properties and Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort on June 22, 2020. This past weekend we learned details on operation policies for the resorts and for dining. Now Disney has released details on what we can expect regarding the safety and cleanliness of the resorts. Check out all the details below.
Here are all the details from Katie Kelly, Vice President of Worldwide Safety Services:
As we look towards reopening our parks and resorts around the world, your wellbeing – and the wellbeing of our cast members – is one of our top priorities. In March, we began the phased reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort, and on May 20, we took another step as guests returned to shop and dine at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. Just as we’ve started making plans for our theme parks, we are also making plans for our hotels and Disney Vacation Club resorts. With that in mind, we wanted to share what you can expect when you book a stay at a Disney Resort hotel.*
As Disney’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel shared in her previous update, our health and safety team has taken a close look at the experiences at our hotels, from resort and room cleaning to check-in, dining and entertainment, so you can have a magical visit with peace of mind. During your stay, you’ll find updates and enhancements made with health and safety in mind, in line with the guidance of health and government authorities.
At the Resort
Staying with confidence starts at check-in, with options to use Online Check-in service at select locations and meet your luggage at your room with redesigned bell services.
Throughout Disney Resort hotels, we’re increasing cleaning in high-traffic areas such as elevators and escalators, handrails, benches, tables, handles, restrooms, and more. We’ve also expanded the number of hand sanitizer locations across the property.
At our restaurants, lobbies, pools, fitness centers, and other public areas, we’re looking at adjusting services to enable preventive measures and physical distancing, including reducing capacity where appropriate and implementing enhanced cleaning measures.
We’re using technology to aid us in these efforts, with limited-contact services in place at our shopping and dining locations, with Mobile Order, cashless options and Magic Bands.***
In Your Room
Before arrival, every room will be given an enhanced cleaning. During your stay, a light cleaning service (including removal of trash and replenishment of towels and amenities) will be offered every other day.**
Our housekeeping cast members will receive training on increased cleaning measures throughout the resort hotel and for each guest room, including updated practices for cleaning tools and managing in-room amenities, linens, luggage, and more.
Of course, we all have an important role to play in promoting health and safety. We are asking our guests to help, by washing your hands frequently with soap and water; following physical distancing and other guidelines when you visit; and rescheduling your visit if you or a member of your party feel ill or are subject to quarantine or other travel restrictions.
We’ll share more information about the health and safety measures at Disney Resort hotels with you ahead of your visit – and continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as appropriate.
While our new experience may be a little different from the last time you stayed with us, a magical and memorable visit awaits you at our Disney resort hotels. We’re looking forward to welcoming you – see you real soon!
Vice President of Worldwide Safety Services
Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products
*Owned-and-operated Disney resorts.
**Available at Walt Disney World Resort only.
***Disney Vacation Club members will receive their traditional housekeeping service.
RELATED ARTICLE: Disney World Reopening Details – 17 Things We Know Right Now
by Chad and Cindy Nykamp
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 17 things we know now about the phased reopening and visiting Walt Disney World after the coronavirus closure.
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, will 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.
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. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon. Note that neither a dining reservation or a resort reservation guarantees you entry into the park.
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 Reservations Canceled and New System Coming
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.
8 – Dining at Walt Disney World – What You Need to Know
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.
9 – 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.
10 – 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, we assume 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.
11 – 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.
12 – 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.
13 – 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.
14 – 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.
15 – 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.
16 – 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.
17 – 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.