NEWS: Disney to Gradually Reduce Physical Distancing Measures at Disney World

As more and more people get vaccinated and as Orange County continues to relax its health and safety measure requirements, Walt Disney World is continuing to relax its own measures that have been in place since the parks reopened in July 2020. Most recently, Disney announced that temperature screenings would be phased out beginning May 16. Disney has now announced they will gradually reduce physical distancing measures for guests. Read the full policy below.


Here is the updated policy from the Walt Disney World website:

Temporary adjustments are still in place to promote physical distancing. While we will reduce physical distancing measures for Guests across many areas with a gradual, phased approach, six-feet distancing measures will continue in all dining locations, merchandise stores and in areas where Guests can temporarily remove their masks.

Physical distancing measures may include:

  • 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 to help promote proper separation between people, including in queues and on transportation and attractions. Barriers may also be visible, for example, in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations.
  • Party Size: Guests traveling in parties of more than 10 are asked to split into smaller groups in queues, dining locations and other areas around our parks and resorts to better allow for physical distancing.
  • Parking: Cashless payment is recommended at the auto plazas.
  • Training: Cast Members are trained to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.

RELATED ARTICLE: DISNEY NEWS ROUNDUP–New Halloween Event; Summer Room Sale; Festival of the Lion King Returns; Temperature Screening Ending; More Restaurants Reopening; New Star Wars Hotel Details & Timeline & More

by Chad and Cindy Nykamp

A LOT of news out of Disney this week. Things are really starting to ramp up. Disney announced a new Halloween event coming to Magic Kingdom this fall, and the return of our favorite live show, the Festival of the Lion King. Disney also announced a late summer room sale and the return of the Disney College Program. More restaurants are opening up along with a new food location in Epcot featuring gelato! Health screening measures are beginning to be rolled back, and new details and opening timelines have been released. All this and more in this week’s news roundup.


1 – Disney Announces Disney After Hours Boo Bash for Fall 2021 at Magic Kingdom

This week Disney announced an all-new Halloween After Hours event that will run on select nights, August 10-October 31, at Magic Kingdom. After Hours events have been around since 2016 and have been on hiatus during the phased reopening. The most significant selling points to the Disney After Hours events are the low crowds and wait times. Disney caps the attendance for these events, so you get the benefit of riding multiple attractions throughout the evening with way shorter than average waits or even no wait at all. This After Hours event will be Halloween-themed and will take the place of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in 2021. (We hope and expect that this is a temporary replacement and the very popular Halloween Party will return in future years). Disney After Hours BOO BASH will have party music, decorations, and character cavalcades galore. Guests can dress in costume for the occasion and get their fill of Halloween candy, exclusive culinary offerings, spooktacular entertainment, favorite attractions, and more. Details are a bit scarce, but tickets are expected to go on sale in June and will likely run around the same cost as Disney Villains After Hours event, which was $129 for tickets in advance and $139 for same-day tickets. We’ll update you with details when they are announced. Learn what we know so far by clicking the link below.

Click here to learn about the all-new Disney After Hours Boo Bash coming in fall 2021 at Magic Kingdom.

2 – ‘A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King’ Soft-Opening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

On Saturday, May 8, Disney surprised everyone with a soft opening of ‘A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King.” The show is a slightly shorter and modified version of The Festival of the Lion King. Disney has confirmed that the show will officially open on Saturday, May 15. Even though the show has not officially opened, daily showtimes are listed in the My Disney Experience app this upcoming week. On Sunday, the app listed three showtimes of 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, and 2:30 pm. Beginning Tuesday, May 11, evening shows of 5:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 7:00 pm are also listed. If you are visiting soon, your best bet is to check the app for available showtimes. Guests are reporting that the Tumble Monkeys are missing, and the birds don’t fly—but they dance. The performers are also distanced for safety reasons. The theater itself also has physical distancing measures in place, with every other row being used and markers blocking off sections in the open rows. Because of the limited seating, we suggest you arrive early to line up for shows if you want to watch the show. We hope to catch a show this week and can’t wait to see it again!


3 – Late Summer Room Sale Announced for Walt Disney World Resort

Thinking of visiting Walt Disney World in late summer? Then you’ll definitely want to check out the recently announced late summer room sale for most nights July 10-September 29, 2021. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for details on the latest room sale for Walt Disney World Resort.

4 – More Table-Service Resort Restaurants Reopening Soon at Walt Disney World

Last week we mused on the limited dining options at Walt Disney World. Thankfully this week, Disney announced the return of two resort restaurants reopening (Cape May Café and Tusker House) and dinner coming to Chef Mickey’s. Check out the link below for all the details.

Click here for details (including when reservations will open) on the opening of resort restaurants at Walt Disney World.

5 – Walt Disney World Announces End of Temperature Screenings

As guidance from health officials continues to be revised with more and more people getting vaccinated, Walt Disney World has announced the end of temperature screenings at the resort. Read below for the new policy and to learn when you can expect the screenings to end.

Here is the statement from the Walt Disney World website:

Since reopening, we have considered guidance from public health authorities, government agencies, and our own team of health and safety experts as we assess and update health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As this guidance continues to evolve, and with the support of local health and government officials, we are making some additional adjustments. Following the advice of the CDC and our local health officials, we will phase out onsite temperature screenings at Walt Disney World Resort for Cast Members beginning May 8 and Guests on May 16.

We will continue to follow the guidance of health and safety leaders going forward and, most importantly, encourage people to get vaccinated.

6 – Gelateria Toscana Opens in the Italy Pavilion at EPCOT

Gelateria Toscana is a new walk-up window for Tuscan-inspired sweet treats. It is located adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli at the Italy Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort. The menu features gelato in cups or waffle cones, floats, and an assortment of gelato “creations,” and some pastries. We can’t wait to check it out! Click here for the full menu!

Credit: Patina Group

7 – Disney Releases New Star Wars Hotel Details and Opening Timeline

On May 4, the world celebrated “May the 4th Be With You,” – a day celebrating all things Star Wars. Disney celebrated by sharing new details on some pretty amazing lightsaber technology and gave an update on when we can expect Star Wars.

Click here for details on the upcoming Star Wars hotel and with an update on the opening of the Star War: Galactic Starcruiser.

8 – Halfway to Halloween Celebration with Disney Parks

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already halfway to Halloween! This week Disney Parks celebrated with some wickedly fun Halloween tricks and treats. Check out some Halloween-themed recipes, merchandise, and a new Muppet treat at the links below.

Click here for a fun interactive Haunted Mansion tour hosted by The Muppets with a treat in the end!

Click here for some fantastic Halloween recipes to enjoy at home.

Click here for a “shriek peek” at Halloween and villain merchandise.


9 – Disneyland Resort Hotels Update with Opening Dates

Now that Disneyland Parks have reopened, Disneyland has announced the opening of another Disneyland Resort. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for a Disneyland Resort hotel update with opening dates.

10 – Disney College Program Coming Back to Walt Disney World this Summer

The Disney College Program is a very popular program that gives college students a fantastic opportunity to work at Walt Disney World, take classes and gain experience. Unfortunately, the program has been closed down for over a year due to the pandemic. However, this week Disney announced the program would be returning. This is excellent news, not just for interested college students, but also is a sign that Disney plans to ramp things up this summer and will need the students to work in the parks. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for detail on the College Program return and how you can apply.

11 – The Wave… of American Flavors to Close for Refurbishment this Summer

The Wave… of American Flavors & The Wave Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort will be unavailable this summer as Disney will refurbish this space in time for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. Reservations will be available through July 15, 2021.

12 – First Look at Avengers Campus Cast Member Costumes

The all-new Avenger Campus opens on June 4! This week, Disney has released a look at the amazing Cast Member costumes for the new land. Disney Cast Member Kyleigh Johnson has all the details below.

Avengers Campus cast members have assembled at Disney California Adventure park. Their mission: Gear up in their brand-new costumes as they prepare Avengers Campus to begin recruiting guests on June 4.

“Our cast members play a unique part in the guest experience,” said Joe Kucharski, senior costume designer. “These costumes are designed to help them embody their role in this epic story.”

Credit: Disney

Taking on unique roles, cast members in Avengers Campus are known as Campus Representatives, and the costumes they wear are inspired by each individual address within the campus. These looks were created to be cool and comfortable, while helping to ground guests in the immersive storytelling of the land.

Credit: Disney

Campus Representatives at WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure and WEB Suppliers will wear pieces that feature modern, techy emblems and materials made of lightweight, breathable fabrics with stretch for movement and flexibility.

Credit: Disney

Over at Pym Test Kitchen featuring IMPOSSIBLE, they will take on unique pieces like a Pym pocket protector, lab coat, hat and tie. Giving a nod to the growing and shrinking science used to create shareable bites and sweets at this location, these costumes feature a large “Pym Particle” on the hat and much smaller pattern on the tie.

Credit: Disney

The campus uniform includes cargo bottoms, a training shirt and a tactical-inspired vest that are comfortable, lightweight and breathable, so cast can be ready to take on any mission that comes their way.

Credit: Disney

At the Ancient Sanctum, costumes layer unique pieces that cast a dramatic silhouette with rich textures and sewing techniques inspired by the Mystic Arts.

Credit: Disney

Campus Representatives at both food carts in Avengers Campus will gear up in colorful aprons—one inspired by classic New York City food carts for Shawarma Palace and the other inspired by the second anchor attraction in the land, Guardians on the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT!, for Terran Treats.

Check out this video for a closer look!



13 – New Pride Month Products Now Available

June is Pride Month, and Disney is celebrating with a new lineup of Disney pride products. Disney Cast Member Anthony Armenia shares more below. (Photos – Credit: Disney)

Just in time for Pride Month 2021, I’m delighted to announce that fans around the world can showcase their LGBTQ+ pride with all-new bespoke products featuring Disney — and for the first time ever – our other iconic brands as well!

From apparel to accessories to pins and plush and so much more, there are more items in this collection than there are colors in the rainbow! Better yet, in celebration of Pride Month 2021 and the company’s Pride collection, The Walt Disney Company is donating funds as part of our ongoing commitment to organizations around the world that support LGBTQ+ communities. To learn more, visit RainbowDisneyCollection.com.

Here’s a first look at this vibrant new collection with select products available now at shopDisney.com and Disney stores in North America and Japan, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. This collection is coming later this month to Disney stores in Europe and shopDisney.co.uk as well so keep an eye out across the pond!

Stand proud with this adorable Mickey Mouse “Love” Tee for both adults and kids alike and complete the look with an all-over print face mask! And if you’re a Mickey Mouse fan, you simply must have a Mickey Mouse fan, perfect for a little shade or breath of fresh air!

Accessorize it up with a baseball hat perfect for a sunny day out and the latest mini backpack by Loungefly to take it to the streets!

Ch-ears to inclusivity with the latest Mickey Mouse ear hat featuring a classic look. Style it with a fashionable belt bag that can double as a crossbody bag.

Show your true colors in style with this cozy zip-up hoodie and jogger pants, perfect for a walk in the park or just lounging around the house! Take it on the go with an adorable matching wristlet by Loungefly and accessorize with a Transgender flag pin, or one of our other Pride pins, available now at shopDisney and Disney stores, and coming soon to Parks!

Share the Mickey Mouse love and celebrate togetherness with an iconic tee for adults featuring Mickey Mouse hands with a vibrant rainbow. Add a little color to your selfies with this lively phone case featuring classic parks icons available only at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Everyone will LOVE these adorable plush of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and of course, rock a matching tee and face mask – perfect for a day at the parks.

Fans of Pixar Animation Studios and Stitch will be over the rainbow and stand proud wearing these vivacious new tees and donning these delightful pins. I mean … just look at Stitch and the classic “Ohana Means Family” quote. It fills my heart with joy!

Fans across galaxies will be bursting with pride while repping a variety of tees for adults featuring the Millennium Falcon as well as the classic Star Wars logo, Darth Vader, and Rebel Alliance logo available only at Walt Disney World Resort. These come just in time for the iconic May the 4thcelebration tomorrow. I know I’ll be strutting in that acid wash tee for sure!

Starting this month, the incredible diversity of our fans will also be celebrated around the world with products rolling out from licensees and retailers including Amazon, BoxLunch, Funko, Kohl’s, and Torrid, with more to come in Europe and Latin America. Check out some of my personal faves below and keep an eye out on their websites and stores for these products and more!

In June, our friends over at Funko will have a plethora of new Pop! vinyl figures in screaming color including Stitch and Wall-E (a Funko.com exclusive). Plus, poor unfortunate souls will be delighted at an Ursula Pop! Vinyl figure, a Hot Topic exclusive, coming in June!

Speaking of Hot Topic, they have even more colorful products available online now to help you celebrate, such as some cute Disney Lilo & Stitch Rainbow Stitch Crew Socks, an adjustable Loungefly Disney Mickey Mouse Rainbow Passport Crossbody Bag, and Disney Mickey Mouse Rainbow Love Slide Sandals. With these accessories, you’ll bring color wherever you go!

Torrid also has some rainbow-filled items to help you get in the spirit of Pride! Check out their Ursula Rainbow Hi Neck Tank, Mickey & Friends Rainbow Crop Leggings, and Stitch Rainbow Slash Top—all available May 25!

We also have some awesome tees and sweatshirts from Amazon that will take you to a galaxy far, far, away with BB-8, to a tropical oasis with Stitch, and even on your most heroic feats with the Avengers!

Our pals at Kohl’s are getting in on the rainbow fun, too! Check out the Star Wars Pride Rainbow Lightsabers Tee and Mickey Mouse Multicolor Cubic Zirconia Necklace, available now along with a variety of other tees coming over the next month!

We will continue to provide authentic products and experiences and create storytelling moments that celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year. Stay tuned; more Pride products will roll out globally at various locations and retailers in June and all year long as we continue to celebrate the community. Whether it’s at home on your own or out and about with your friends and family, I hope you have a safe and joyous Pride Month 2021!


What’s New and Happening Now at Walt Disney World Resort

2021 Taste of EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival – Now Through July 5, 2021

Click here for what you need to know about the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival!

Click here to see photos and video of the Menu Boards with pricing for easy trip planning!

Click here to see photos and video of the different topiaries around EPCOT!

Click here for photos and video of our visit to the Flower and Garden Festival!

Click here to see photos of some of the food we have enjoyed at the 2021 Flower and Garden Festival.

Blizzard Beach – Now Open

Click here to learn more about visiting Blizzard Beach During the Phased Reopening

The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure at EPCOT – Now Open

Click here to learn more about The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure at EPCOT

Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew – Now Open

Click here to learn more about Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew at Disney Springs

Coming Soon to Walt Disney World

Summer Resort Reopenings

  • May 30 – Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • June 6 – Wilderness Lodge
  • July 2 – BoardWalk Inn
  • Late July 2021 – Polynesian Village Resort

July 15 – November 2021 – The 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

Click here for details on the 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

August 10 – October 31, 2021 – Disney After Hours Boo Bash

Click here to learn about the all-new Disney After Hours Boo Bash coming in fall 2021 at Magic Kingdom.

October 1, 2021 – The Most Magical Celebration – 50 Years of Walt Disney World

Click here for details on “The Most Magical Celebration,” which begins on October 1, 2021, on the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World and runs for 18 months.

October 1, 2021 – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure & France Pavilion Expansion Opens

Click here for more on Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure & France Pavilion Expansion – What We Know So Far

Jungle Cruise – Updated in Phases, while remaining open to guests in 2021

Click here to learn about the updates coming to The Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Park.

Star Wars Hotel – 2022

Click here for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser-What We Know So Far About the Upcoming Star Wars Themed Hotel Coming to Disney World

EPCOT Reimagined – Now Through 2022 and Beyond

Click here for what we know about the New EPCOT and what’s coming!

New and Coming Soon to Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort – Now Open

Click here for more details on Disneyland Parks now open and welcoming guests.

Click here for details on the reimagined Snow White’s Enchanted Wish – now open!

Click here for what you need to know about Disneyland Resort’s phased reopening.

Click here for details on purchases tickets and the new park reservation system during the phased reopening of Disneyland Resort

Click here for details on Disneyland Attraction & Entertainment Reopenings

Click here for details on new ways to experience Disney Characters at Disneyland Resort during the phased reopening.

Click here for what you need to know about Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa Reopening

Click here for the Dining Guide to Disneyland Resort Reopening.

Click here for details on makeovers on Haunted Mansion and King Arthur Carrousel at Disneyland Park.

Click here for the 18 attractions at Disneyland Parks That We Can’t Wait to Experience Again.

Click here for 10 Ways to Use the Disneyland App and Digital Technology When Visiting the Disneyland Resort.

Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure – Opening June 4, 2021

Click here for the announcement of the opening date of the Avenger Campus coming to Disney California Adventure

Click here for information on the Avenger Campus – What We Know So Far

Click here for new details and photos from inside Avenger Campus at Disney California Adventure.

Coming Soon to Disney Cruise Line

The Disney Wish

Click here for an overview of the next Disney Cruise Line Ship – The Disney Wish – Coming Summer 2022

Click here for information on bookings for the inaugural season in summer 2022.

Itineraries in 2022

Click here to learn about Summer 2022 Itineraries on the Disney Cruise Line

Click here to learn about Early 2022 Itineraries on the Disney Cruise Line

Click here to learn about Marvel Day at Sea and Star Wars Day at Sea in Early 2022

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.


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 DisneyLists.com 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 DisneyLists.com 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!
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