Before you read any further, I just want to take a minute to make sure you understand a little about Disney and the attention to detail that they put out in their theme parks. Whether you are a first-time guest or an annual pass holder, visiting Disney World is like no other experience.
They take care of EVERY detail no matter how small to make sure that your experience is truly MAGICAL. Disney is known for their cleanliness and sanitation throughout their theme parks (and cruise ships, around the world!).
When they have to shut down experiences/attractions for extended time, they often have others there to replace it (Think about IllumiNations, being temporarily replaced with Epcot Forever while we await HarmonioUS).
When Disney makes a change, it is to enrich our experiences. That is what is happening here.
Here are some guidelines they are putting in place:
- We have been given no details on how limited but it will be reduced significantly at the start.
- They are not accepting any new reservations at this time.
- They are working with existing reservations to ensure availability.
- A new Reservation System will be implemented and theme park reservations will be required to enter a park.
- Guests with existing reservations will be given priority to schedule a theme park reservation.
- Reduce capacity of theme parks, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, buses, monorails, and other transportation.
Plans to Support Social Distancing:
- Markers have been added to the ground to signify 6’ distance for lines.
- Fast Pass+ system has been disabled and all scheduled fast passes canceled so they can use the added line for distancing.
- Temporarily suspending parades, fireworks and other events that create crowds.
Limited Contact Enhancements
- Mobile ordering is being encouraged.
- QR Code menus are being used when possible. Paper menus will be available upon request. More stations will be equipped with cashless transaction technology (MagicBands, Apple Pay, Google Pay).
- Play areas and high-contact attractions (like Meet-and-Greets) will be closed.
Enhanced Protective Measures
- Face coverings will be required for all guests ages 2 and older.
- Hand washing and sanitizing stations are being installed.
- Physical barriers are being installed where appropriate.
- All guests and staff will have their temperature checked upon entering the theme parks.
Dining & Experiences Changes:
- Eliminating all Dining Plans
- Dining Plans on all reservations will be canceled through the end of 2020 and issuing refunds when appropriate.
- If you have the Free Dining offer, you will be receiving a resort discount instead.
Canceling ALL Dining & Experiences Reservations
- No specifics on exactly what falls under “Experiences” yet but as I get more details, I will update you.
- All dining and experience reservations will be canceled through the end of 2020 so everyone will have a fair shot at the new limited-capacity reservations available.
- Shift from 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window.
- As we get closer to the parks opening, the system will be opened and new reservations can occur.
Tickets and Hotel Reservations
- Existing ticket and Annual Passholders will be given first priority to make Theme Park Reservations and Disney will be reaching out with additional details.
- New sales and reservations will resume after the current holders have been served.
This is A LOT of information to take in and process. Here are what I’m sure some of you are thinking (because I am/was too!) and some additional thoughts on them.
“Face coverings in the parks! I’m not going!”
- Yes this seems like a big deal for the Florida heat. We will all come back with nice tan lines! Lol!
- Disney is setting up rest stations where you will be able to remove your mask for a short time.
- Masks don’t have to be worn in the pools or when eating/drinking. If you’re truly concerned about this, I do suggest considering the time of year that you’re traveling and giving it some time after the parks reopen to see if this guideline gets relaxed before making this THE reason for canceling/rescheduling/not booking.
“My fast passes that I sweated over in the early morning hours are GONE!”
- Yes this is annoying that we put in so much work for your trip and now it’s gone.
- The reduced capacity though should allow for reduced wait times in many lines so fast passes won’t be as valuable.
- Disney is likely to use virtual queues (like on Rise of the Resistance) for many of their extremely popular rides but no specifics on these have been released. I do NOT expect it to be like the crowded, early morning experience of Rise of the Resistance though to get into these virtual queues
“No fireworks, parades, or meet-and-greets? Why am I spending all this money to go to Disney when this is what separates them from other parks?”
- As I said above, when Disney takes something away, they usually find away to still make your experience magical.
- They’ve already mentioned that characters will still be out in the theme parks but social distancing. So it might be different but it will be amazing still.
- Fireworks and parades, I don’t have much information on them right now but they did say temporarily suspending so hopefully they will be back soon.
- There will still be dining and food options at Disney World!
- We will have to start at square one to make new dining reservations for you and they may not be the same but they may even end up better!
- There will be sit-down meals, quick-service meals, and snacks.
- In order to enjoy these, you will have to pay out-of-pocket when you are there.
- We are still waiting word on how/if character meals will occur and we expect changes to buffet-style meals.
- Plus we get to book at 60-days prior to vacations now!
- That is SO MUCH better and easier to plan!
- This is one of my favorite changes & I hope they keep it.
“So what do I do now?”
- For the most part, nothing & just wait! This is a totally fluid situation & it’s unprecedented (Yay, 2020!)
- We don’t really know how long any of these protocols or regulations will last. They could open the parks like this in July and then be back to normal by August or not until sometime in 2021. We really have no idea.
- Disney is not allowing changes or new bookings right now so there’s not much that we can do just yet. When your 60-day window is approaching for dining, we will be in touch to discuss options and scheduling.
- Our advice to you now is to just wait it out! Cancellation and changes can be made up to 7 days prior to travel still, which is when your final payment will be due, so there’s no reason to make a decision about your trip several months away when things might change again.
- Please know that we will be here to stay on top of all the changes and to update you in time to make your decisions.
Let us do the work for you and know that you are being properly cared for by both Disney & Mickey’s Dream Vacations!
Mickey’s Dream Vacations has agents eagerly awaiting the opening.
We have agents with trips scheduled for July and August (me!) who will be spearheading our research and reporting back on all the changes.
Our wonderful team works together to cover every angle so please remember to check us out on our social media channels:
- Facebook (@mickeysdreamvacations, & @mdvtrips)
- Instagram (@mickeysdreamvacations)
- Also find more information at Disney Parks Blog.
This is a crazy situation but every experience that I have had with Disney throughout the past 20+ years has been extremely positive. They will always be a top-notch company that puts the care of their guests above anything else. They will not do ANYTHING to ruin the magic, even if it’s not the magic you were expecting. If there is anything else that I can do to help you with this situation, please let me know.
Your Travel Agent