Well, it's official. After temporarily closing on March 16, Walt Disney World is hoping to reopen in mid-July.
On May 27, Disney announced the resort's reopening dates (yes, there's more than one), along with operational procedures not only they are abiding by, but anyone else traveling to the most magical place on earth will have to follow.
So, rather than opening the entire resort at once, here's what WDW is planning for its phased reopening:
- July 11: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen
- July 15: Epcot and Hollywood Studios will reopen
That's right, two different dates for the theme parks.
Right now, it's unclear if or when the water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, will reopen. But, what we do know is that upon reopening, there will be a pre-arrival reservation system guests will have to use in order to access the theme parks.
This will help to maintain a limited capacity. Details aren't yet available for the reservation system, but they are expected to be announced at a later date.
If that isn't enough, here is some important information regarding ticket sales and hotel reservations:
- New ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations are temporarily paused to deal with guests who have existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations)
- Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold (Disney will reach out to these guests soon with more details)
- New ticket sales and hotel reservations will resume after all of the above is determined
- DVC resorts at WDW will reopen to members and guests, along with Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will on June 22
- DVC resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15
It's also important to note that both the Orange County mayor, Jerry Demings, and the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, have to approve these plans before they become official. But, based on how quickly Universal Orlando's reopening proposal was approved, these dates seem very likely.
As for the health and safety protocols that will be put in place, here are just a few important ones:
- Face coverings for all guests and Cast Members
- Hand washing and hand sanitizing stations placed throughout
- Plexiglass barriers when checking out at a retail or dining location
- Physical distancing rules enforced
- Parades, shows, entertainment, and character meet and greets will be temporarily suspended
- Temperature screenings for everyone prior to park entry
- Disney is also looking into "relaxation zones" for people who need a break from their masks
There are still many unknowns, but at least we know when to expect that Walt Disney World magic to resume. Until then, stick with us as we learn more and, of course, we'll update you along the way!