The Walt Disney World Resort announced that it will reopen July 11th in a limited-capacity and with several new rules for guests to follow. After a 4 month closure of the parks, Disney was given approval to reopen their parks and hotels to guests. The Florida Task Force and Governor of Florida have all approved their reopening plan.
So as a guest, what changes can you expect to see when you plan your next vacation? Here are the top 7 things you’ll want to plan for as you prepare a vacation:
- Advanced reservations required – Disney World is implementing a new system where guests wanting to visit the theme parks will need to schedule a reservation for the day and the theme park they plan to attend. For example, if you want to visit July 27th and plan to go to Animal Kingdom, you’ll go online and make a reservation including the number of people in your party. I fully expect this new system to integrate with the My Disney Experience system so you can choose the guests, days and parks just like FastPass+. Valid tickets for those dates will also be required.
- FastPass+ has been eliminated for the time being, as the parks will run at limited capacity and Disney will need those lines to hold guests as they are spaced apart. How will this affect attraction wait times? My guess is that with the limited number of guests allowed in each park and in line, attractions could be looking at 30 minute wait times across the board, some a bit more, some a bit less depending on how many guests the queues can hold.
- Dining reservations for 2020 have all be eliminated as well. The new system that Disney will be using will allow guests to make reservations 60 days in advance instead of 180. Sit down restaurants will have fewer reservations available because a capacity restraints. Expect quick service to be pushing mobile dining and limited capacity as well.
- Disney stopped selling new tickets to guests over a week ago and still have not opened their system back up. This is because they are giving priority to annual passholders and guests who had previously purchased tickets to access the new reservation system first. Once they have had the opportunity to schedule their days at the parks, they will then start selling new tickets again.
- Resort stays for on-property hotels will be slightly different than guests are used to. Mobile check-in will be the preferred method for each resort to help keep contact to a minimum. Bell services will also be different as they deliver luggage to your room. They may or may not do it depending on how the luggage was received. Housekeeping will also be brought down to a minimum. Guests can expect there rooms to have minimal cleaning done to them while they stay. After check-out, a sanitizing process will be done to each room which could result in longer wait times for rooms.
- Disney Magical Express may or may not run depending on what Disney decides. If they do run, each bus will be holding much less guests because of spacing limitations. Stops at resorts may also take longer.
- All guests should be prepared to wear face coverings while they attend the theme parks. It’s not an optional rule at this time. They must be worn at all times. Cast Members will also be wearing them along with gloves. Expect lots of cleaning crews at attractions and in lands cleaning handrails, benches, doors and more. Disney may also do temperature checks on Cast Members and guests at security checkpoints.
As you can see there are quite a few significant changes that will be taking place at Walt Disney World. Pending results from their initial opening and advice from the Florida Task Force, they may slowly start to change some of them or increase capacity.
As this is done, I imagine FastPass+ may come back as an option. Same with Dining reservations and Dining Plans.
If you’re a true fan of Disney and feel up to going opening week, make sure you have your tickets already (if you don’t keep an eye out for when they come back on sale) and be ready to make your reservations.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.