Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 9 - 15, 2020

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 9-15, 2020

Writer's Note & News (Combined)

As of publication of this Update, there are no major changes to the status of Disney's Florida Resort since last week, but there are some new details about what to expect in the coming weeks as more parts of the Resort reopen. With the Walt Disney World Resort news of interest to our readers being sprinkled into new "know before you go" details on various pages of the official DisneyWorld.com website, I decided the best format for the Update again this week is this modified version I have been using the past several weeks.

Last night, Orange County ended the nightly 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew that it imposed a week earlier, as civil unrest in the region has largely been replaced by mostly peaceful protests. As of publication, Disney Springs has returned to its daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. operating hours; additional venues have reopened, but remember that health screenings, social distancing measures and capacity limitations remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Tropical Storm Cristobol formed and crossed the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. While centered, even at its closest, at over 500 miles to the west of Walt Disney World Resort, it spawned numerous tornadoes, downpours, and other severe weather events throughout the region, including the "attractions area." Some property damage, downed trees, and power outages occurred, but, fortunately, there were no reports of significant injuries. An early hurricane season storm like this should serve as a reminder to those planning to visit Central Florida between now and winter that even seemingly distant tropical storms can create severe weather events during your visit. Even with everything else going on, don't forget to prepare for the weather too.

Some Disney Hotels Reopen Soon

Also in the preparation department, one of the other items to be aware of before planning to visit Walt Disney World Resort from outside of Florida are advisories and restrictions that may still be in place for travel to Florida. The "know before you go" information for the soon-to-reopen resort hotels at Walt Disney World directs guests to visit https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/travelers/, as guests who are under isolation or quarantine orders must not enter Walt Disney World Resort. As of this publication, Executive Orders issued by Florida Governor DeSantis that are still in effect direct all individuals entering the state of Florida from the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York) to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into Florida or the duration of the individual's presence in Florida, whichever is shorter (and includes those entering Florida by roadways).

On June 15, Disney's Vero Beach Resort and Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort are due to open to Disney Vacation Club Members and guests. A week later, on June 22, Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will reopen. The Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts due to reopen include:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney's Beach Club Villas
  • Disney's BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort
  • Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney's Riviera Resort
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
  • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

As we mentioned last week, Disney has temporarily halted accepting new hotel reservations, but Disney Vacation Club Members may continue to make new reservations. In the resorts, face coverings for guests age 2 and up will be required in all public areas except while swimming or seated for dining. Guests are also encouraged to install the latest version of the My Disney Experience mobile app, with location services and notifications enabled, and to use cashless or contactless forms of payment (including MagicBands for Resort hotel guests). Online check-in is encouraged, and guests that do not receive MagicBands in advanced are encouraged to use the in-app digital key. Starting June 22, there will be a "chat with a Resort Cast Member" feature in the app so that guests will not have to visit a resort lobby or stand in line to address other issues. Resort checkout will also be automatic so that guests do not have to visit the front desk unless there are unresolved charges to address.

From the "know before you go" page, it also seems that Disney's Magical Express transportation will be available for those arriving and departing from Orlando International Airport, but that Minnie Van Service and Valet Parking will not be immediately available (though guests with disabilities that require parking assistance and have a valid disability parking permit will be able to obtain assistance.) Self parking will be available, and overnight parking fees will apply. Bus transportation will be available between resort hotels and Disney Springs, and, the parks when they re-open with physical distancing measures in place reducing capacity.

Some of the other changes guests will experience as the resort hotels reopen include:

  • Bell Services will deliver luggage to rooms, but will not escort Guests
  • Club-level service will be temporarily unavailable
  • Deliveries will only be made to occupied rooms
  • In-room celebrations will not be available
  • Dry-cleaning and valet laundry services will be temporarily unavailable; self-service laundry will remain available
  • Shipping services will be temporarily unavailable
  • Resort airline check-in service may be temporarily unavailable

Some feature pools will operate with reduced hours and capacity, though Stormalong Bay at Yacht and Beech Club will not reopen when Beach Club Villas reopens. Leisure pools will be open 24 hours a day. Fitness centers may have reduced hours and capacity (but no classes), and there may be other recreation at resorts (a schedule will be provided to guests), but high-contact places like the arcades, campfires, marina rentals, playgrounds, spas, salons and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will not be available at reopening. There also will not be performances of the Electrical Water Pageant, which joins the previously announced fireworks and parades on the list of crowd-drawing activities that will be suspended.

The resort hotels will also have enhanced cleaning regimines, with additional items provided in room wrapped in single-use packaging. Dining options will also vary with property. The venues that will reopen with the resort hotels are detailed on the resorts "know before you go" webpage, and the changes to dining around the property are further discussed on a separate dining "know before you go" webpage.

Particularly relevant to day guests wishing to dine at a resort, a confirmed dining reservation will be required. Having said that, dining reservations have not yet opened for the parks, and Disney is making it clear that a dining reservation will not guarantee park admission. The only character dining that will be offered during the initial reopening will be a modified experience at Topolino's Terrace-Flavors of the Riviera (at Disney's Riviera Resort). There will be no dinner shows, no private dining or in-room delivery. All pre-paid dining and experiences, including dining plans have also been temporarily cancelled (with refunds or reductions in package prices applied).


Back in January, we were invited to experience the character breakfast experience at Topolino's Terrace, which included Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy, each appearing as artists visiting the Riviera. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Merchandise

For merchandise seekers, Walt Disney World Resort will not offer in-person limited-edition or new collection launches until further notice (though shopDinsey.com will continue to have such offerings). There will be some merchandise purchasing locations at the hotels, of course. The merchandise location dressing rooms will not be available. Package delivery to the front of the theme parks and the hotels will be suspended, but home delivery will continue to be an option.

There will be some pin boards available for pin traders, but cast members will not have lanyards for trading. As we have previously mentioned, Disney Springs offers a mix of Disney owned-and-operated locations and third party participants. The offerings will vary, but social distancing and capacity measures will be the norm in all locations.

Parks

After the first hotel reopenings, the next phase of the resort's reopening will include Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios on July 15. As we mentioned last week, new park ticket sales have be halted and date-specific reservation system will be implemented ahead of those reopenings. FastPass+ reservations will not be available and existing ones have been cancelled. The Resort has not announced any new details of the reservation system this past week, but Disney does plan to have Passholder previews and it notes that Passholders may not be able to get reservations to visit the park on certain dates, that the total number of reservation days held at one time will be limited, that some pass benefits and features will not be available when the parks are operating with limited capacity, that pass category blockouts will still apply. Passholders can read available details here.

The overall gist of the next phase of the reopening of Walt Disney World Resort comes down to what is posted on its "Returning to a World of Magic" webpage:

It may be different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments—and memories to treasure.

Join us Wednesday for MousePlanet LIVE!

Our next MousePlanet LIVE! stream, "Fun at Home" Show #10, will be right here Wednesday, June 10, 2020, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m. Pacific. Our scheduled special guests this week include Dewayne Bevil, theme parks and tourism reporter for Orlando Sentinel, who will share some of his recent experiences at the recently reopened attractions around Central Florida. Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix and some additional special guests will talk about Disney-themed things families can do at home this summer, and we will have more of our MousePlanet contributors back for our socially distant chat about all things Disney.


"Fun at Home" Show #10 begins at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m. Pacific, Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

A countdown clock and brief pre-show will begin a few minutes before showtime. If you have loaded this page before the pre-show begins, be sure to refresh your browser to see the show.

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Ticket Advice & Special Offer

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update.

MousePlanet and our travel partner Get Away Today regularly remind our readers that Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets are rarely offered at deep discounts unless you are a resident of Florida or eligible for U.S. Military Personnel benefits. Historically, non-Florida residents tend to benefit the most by purchasing tickets in advance (and, of course, being mindful of the rules relevant to those tickets). As prices go up, it becomes even more important to pay heed: Don't get scammed! Never buy tickets from an unofficial or secondary outlet, such as through eBay or Craigslist. Never rent or purchase tickets from people approaching you outside Disney property stating they have remaining days or leftover tickets. This practice is against the terms of use for Walt Disney World Theme Park admissions, and may result in denial of entry. There is no way to determine if these tickets are valid until you try to use them to enter the parks. Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today.

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NOTE Universal Orlando Resort reopened June 5, and Get Away Today still has a great Universal Orlando Resort ticket offer available:

You can get 2 days free when you buy a 2-day, 2-park ticket.

Find all of its Universal Orlando Resort ticket specials here We had a representative from Get Away Today on the live "Fun at Home" Show #8 which is also available in the discussion above, to discuss the latest travel news, which will be especially timely following Walt Disney World's presentation of its reopening plan earlier in the day.