With all the changes due to covid-19, you’ll need to make a decision on whether to go to Disney World or not. The following are Disney’s changes. After those, I’ll add my thoughts on who should consider going and who should consider canceling. Now here are Disney’s changes:
Update added 1/11/22 – Masks not required outdoors for some time now.
According to Disney guests no longer need face coverings when outdoors, but all indoor locations require face coverings. Here’s what Disney says:
“Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) in all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all indoor attractions and indoor queues and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are optional for Guests in outdoor areas.”
For current information on requirements for face coverings/masks, visit Disney’s Face Covering/Mask page here.
Update added regarding September 26, 2021 – Early Theme Park Entry began.
This is available only for Disney resort guests along with guests of other select theme parks. Visit here for details. Guests are allowed to enter the four them parks up to 1/2 hour early. Guests are required to have the following:
- A valid theme park admission ticket
- A form of resort ID which can be a MagicBand, Key to the World card, or MagicMobile.
- A Disney Park Reservation.
Disney also added Extended Evening Theme Park Hours.
This is for all Disney World resorts, as well as the Swan, Swan Reserve, and Dolphin resorts. The extension time varies. Check their site for schedules and details here: Extended Evening Theme Park Hours here.
Update added 8/25/21 – Finger scanners coming back.
Disney is adding back finger scanners at the entrances of the parks. So far we have had it confirmed that it’s at Animal Kingdom and Epcot. We hear that Cast Members are not sanitizing the scanners in between guests but there are hand sanitizer stations after you enter the park.
Update added 6/29/20 – Disney Dining Reservations Update:
Info from Disney to travel agents regarding their client’s dining reservations:
This is for those who had dining reservations that were canceled due to the Covid situation.
Since you had a dining reservation that was previously cancelled, as we promised in earlier communications, we are offering you the opportunity to make a new reservation beginning on June 30, before reservations open to other Guests on DisneyWorld.com. You can make reservations for select Walt Disney World dining locations or experiences up to 60 days in advance of your arrival.
For more information on the availability of select Walt Disney World Resort hotel, Theme Park and Disney Springs® dining locations, please visit our dining page. Details on experiences may be found here.
When you’re ready to make a reservation, call us at 407-939-6690.
Disney Vacation Club® Members may call 800-800-9800.
Update added 6/25/20 – Disney Dining information:
Disney’s dining options and rules have changed drastically during the reopening. Visit Disney’s page here for Dining changes.
UPDATE 6/20/2020 – Attractions & Entertainment Update:
Sent by Disney to travel agents:
“Most attractions will be available at each park – for example, live your adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with attractions like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. At Magic Kingdom Park, classics such as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are waiting to welcome guests with thrilling adventures for the whole family. Time travelers, take note that the iconic Spaceship Earth attraction at EPCOT will also continue to be available in its current state while we pause on its planned refurbishment, along with other favorite attractions like Soarin’ Around the World, Frozen Ever After and Test Track presented by Chevrolet. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, the magic of nature awaits with Kilimanjaro Safaris, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and Avatar Flight of Passage.
If your clients are hoping to see some familiar friends or take in the tunes of treasured performers, they’re in luck! Our characters will appear in new and different ways that bring a smile to your client’s face while also being mindful of physical distancing. From special cavalcades down the Magic Kingdom Park parade route and friends sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, to processions along the World Showcase promenade at EPCOT and motorcades on Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard, each area will come to life throughout the day. You never know when a party of your pals may come by, so be prepared for plenty of surprises!
For example, after rocketing through space in Tomorrowland guests might see that famous Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear; or discover a captive Captain Jack Sparrow as they traverse the Castillo del Morro on their way to Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests could cross paths with Queen Anna and Elsa as they venture “into the unknown” on a journey around World Showcase at EPCOT or spy members of the Resistance hiding out from the First Order throughout Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu.
Looking beyond our beloved characters, several musical groups will also return. Your clients can look forward to seeing Main Street Philharmonic at Magic Kingdom Park, plus the Mariachi Cobre and everyone’s favorite funky drumming crew the JAMMitors at EPCOT, just to name a few. “
UPDATE 6-18-20: Disney will hold the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starting July 15 and through the fall.
They will have over 20 food booths, and even some topiaries that are normally shown during the Flower & Garden Festival. They will not be holding the Eat to the Beat Concert Series due to social distancing issues.
Disney is canceling Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Typhoon Lagoon’s H2O Glow Nights.
No decisions have been made for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.
UPDATE 5/29/20: Disney announced the cancellation and suspension of all:
- FastPasses (Now replaced with Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes)
- Dining Plans
- Behind-the-scenes tours
- Dining reservations
- Extra Magic Hours (Guests staying on property and select hotels get early theme park entry. See above. )
If you had any of these scheduled, they’re no longer there. If you’ve paid for anything in advance such as for a character meal, you will automatically be refunded. HOWEVER, Disney is saying that select third-party restaurants and experiences may not be canceled. This could include restaurants that are not Disney-owned, such as T-Rex and Rainforest Cafe. If you’re canceling your trip, be sure to check for this type of reservation and cancel it yourself or through your travel agent.
Here’s what Disney said about canceling dining and how things will be handled going forward:
“In order to foster physical distancing during this time, upon reopening, our offerings, restaurants and other experiences such as behind-the-scenes tours will be limited in capacity, and other experiences may remain closed. As a result of limited capacity, we have made the difficult decision to cancel all existing dining reservations and experience bookings, including Disney dining plans included in packages. We will reopen dining and experience bookings with more limited numbers closer to when the parks reopen. We will also shift from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window for dining and experience bookings going forward to allow Guests to make their plans closer to their visits.”
Here’s Disney’s comment on FastPass+ and Extra Magic Hours:
“As a result of the COVID-19 impact, the FastPass+ service will be suspended for the time being as we plan to use additional queue space to manage capacity at our attractions and maintain physical distancing. We 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.”
Disney World Reopening Plans
“At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations. Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make a theme park reservation before new tickets are sold; we will be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. We will resume new sales of tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability.”
- Increasing mobile food ordering options.
- Encouraging cashless transactions.
- Pausing meets & greets temporarily. Characters will still be in the parks.
- Pausing play areas temporarily.
- Increasing plexiglass barriers where distancing can’t be maintained.
- No makeovers for guests.
Should you cancel your Disney World trip? Or should you go?
Here’s my opinion, but of course it’s just an opinion.
With all the changes, some people should consider postponing so that when they do go, they get more of the full Disney experience. I’ll mention who below.
During this time with all the changes being made, the reality is that guests will not get the full Disney experience. Also, wearing a mask in the heat is likely to feel very uncomfortable, and even worse for some who are sensitive to heat.
Who do I think should consider postponing?
If this is a one time trip or you go very infrequently, consider postponing until things like fireworks, parades and character Meet & Greet’s are back.
If you’ve been to Disney many times, if you have active annual passes, if you plan to go a lot, or if there’s a reason why you can’t postpone, some Disney is better than no Disney.
I’d also like to add that if you have someone in your party who is at high risk for covid-19, it might be best to postpone.
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