Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 11-17, 2020

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 11-17, 2020

Writer's Note & News (Combined)

According to Orlando Sentinel, Dr. Raul Pino, the local health officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, said, "There is a clear, sustained deceleration of the pandemic in our county," with last week marking the sixth consecutive week of declines in the rate of new coronavirus cases and the lowest figure in two months, with just 7.58% of tests positive for the infection. According to the Sentinel, the measure of positive tests, "is considered a key indicator of how much transmission of the virus is occurring within a community with less than 5% being the target." The City of Orlando and nearly all of the public areas of Walt Disney World Resort are located in Orange County, Florida.

Today, August 11, is the last day Walt Disney World Passholders may elect to cancel their annual passes and receive a partial refund. Passholders were sent emails in mid-July with personalized links to click to begin that process. If you did not receive it and you have been considering cancelling your Pass, today is the deadline. You may call V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407)939-7277 for assistance; since it is the final day today, you may encounter high call volume.

Notwithstanding the cancellation offer, plenty of Passholders continue using the Disney Park Pass reservations system to reserve visits to the parks. As of last night, the system shows no park reservations available for Passholders for the next two weeks, and limited availability the two weeks following that. Remember, that the reopening of the parks has come with a fairly low cap on attendance - most folks that have visited since the parks reopen have reported very low crowd levels in the parks, with little to no wait for attractions and very easy-to-maintain physical distancing opportunities. Eager Passholder park-goers should check the Disney Park Pass system regularly, as friends who are Passholders have reported finding individual slots open from time-to-time, likely as fellow Passholders cancel or as Disney makes more reservations available to Passholders based on slots going unused by Resort guests and other day-ticket purchasers (slots for many days in those cateogires remain open and, as we noted last week, Disney has launched a new Florida Resident Ticket offer aimed at trying to fill some of those reservation slots with new paying guests). Through August 14, Passholders enjoy a 30% discount on most merchandise at Disney owned and operated locations around Walt Disney World Resort, the build-a-droid experience at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and on select merchandise at shopDisney.com.


Later this month, Disney plans to mail Passholders the new Tinker Bell magnet. Image ©Disney.

Remember, if you plan to visit, be sure to check the latest requirements of the Disney venue you plan to visit. You can review Disney's requirements here. You will also want to check your home area's self quarantine restrictions for those that travel to and from Florida. This week, Florida did end its requirement that visitors from the New York tri-state area self quarantine upon arrival. Also be sure to check the park hours. It has never been unusual for some parks to have shorter hours in the historically more quiet days around Labor Day and, as many noted on social media this past week, the My Disney Experience app now shows park hours reduced starting September 13, with typical September days as follows: Magic Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; EPCOT: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Disney's Hollywood Studios: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Disney's Animal Kingdom: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On the potentially less-than-good news front for Walt Disney World Resort (and, indeed, most of the State of Florida), it is still Tropical Storm season. According to Orlando Sentinel, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring a Tropical Wave in the Atlantic Ocean that has a 60% chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next two to five days as it moves to the west (it is too soon to discuss its potential track toward North America). If it develops into a tropical storm, it will be named Josephine, the tenth named storm of the season. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration updated its hurricane forecast for the season: it now predicts up to 25 named storms.

NBA Season Restart Continues at Walt Disney World Resort

Meanwhile, the "NBA Bubble" at Walt Disney World Resort has resulted in the restart of the 2020 basketball season. The National Basketball Association teams and those that interact with them are required adhere to strict quarantine rules and regular COVID-19 testing while at Walt Disney World Resort. Games are played at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, but they are not open to spectators.


ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort is hosting the Restart of the 2020 NBA Season and Playoffs. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney-owned ESPN is providing extensive coverage of the games, with, according to Disney Parks Blog, its top commentators on-site for the games. You can watch "three critical seeding games" for slots in the East and West Conference NBA Playoffs on ESPN on Friday, August 14. The NBA Playoffs will also be played at Walt Disney World Resort in the upcoming months.


In other times, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has hosted other basketball tournaments at its multi-purpose venues. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Imagineer Joe Rohde and His Family Launch Video Series

Joe Rohde, Portfolio Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, was the leader of the team that created Disney's Animal Kingdom. As part of his role in Imagineering (and beyond), Joe Rohde has extensively travelled over the past 40 years, and, indeed, has brought all sorts of artifacts back to the parks (and, as legend has it, his home). Homebound during the pandemic, Joe Rohde and his family have created a five part video series focusing on the design and inspiration of Disney's Animal Kingdom as part of the #DisneyMagicMoments collection offered by The Walt Disney Company over the past several months. The first video was released last week on Disney Parks Blog (and is embedded below). It focuses on windows and other woodwork created by craftspeople in Nepal that can be seen in the park.


The #DisneyMagicMoments Video Series is entitled, "The Rhodes, Less Travelled." Video © Disney Parks.

Join us Wednesday for MousePlanet LIVE!

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m Pacific, for "Fun at Home" Show #19, our weekly MousePlanet LIVE! stream. We will update any news that breaks between publication of this Update and the show, and we will welcome special guests artist Dave Avanzino, well-known to Disney fans on both coasts, and Matt Roseboom from Attractions Magazine. MousePlanet Contributors will also be on hand for more socially distant chat about all things Disney.


Join us for a conversation with artist Dave Avanzino on MousePlanet LIVE this Wednesday.


Show #19 starts at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 p.m. Pacific. A brief pre-show starts streaming a few minutes before showtime. You may need to re-load this page to see the show.

During our live shows, share comments with us: @MousePlanet on Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitter.

Pre-order fantasy-inspired face masks from Get Away Today

Our partners at Get Away Today have just launched a new collection of fantasy-inspired face coverings that are sure to put a smile on your face. The 100% cotton, non-medical grade face coverings are designed to fit over your nose and mouth, while offering adjustable ear loops for easy access and removal. The face coverings are machine washable and can be tumble dried on low for convenient cleaning between uses.


You can pre-order these fantasy-inspired face coverings for your next trip to Disney Parks, or just the local grocery store. Photo courtesy Get Away Today.

There is still time to save on fun princess dress-ups by Little Adventures and Making Believe when you use the below discount codes and use the MousePlanet link:


The Princess Anna dress is one of the collection of machine-washable dress-ups available through this promotion. Photo courtesy Get Away Today.

Value Dresses: Save $5 per dress with promo code: VALUE

Deluxe Dresses: Save $10 per dress with promo code: PRINCESS

Shipping is FREE and you'll get a free surprise gift when you purchase two or more dresses.

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Resorts Availability, 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.

With Disney now accepting Resort Hotel reservations for 2020 and 2021, our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages. Disney has resumed new park ticket sales, but, at present and for the foreseeable future, requires guests to use the Disney Parks Pass System to reserve dates for guest park visits in addition to having a valid admission.

As always, we 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. When available, only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today.

Get Away Today Logo

When you book your Walt Disney World Resort vacation* with Get Away Today for travel through September 26, 2021, you'll get a $100 Booking Bonus! Your booking bonus includes a $50 Disney Gift Card for your trip + a $50 Get Away Today credit for future travel valid for any of our destinations.

Plus, when you book with Get Away Today, you'll receive all of the perks that come standard with your Walt Disney World® Resort package and these bonuses:

  • Complimentary Concierge Services, including detailed planning assistance. A certified Disney Travel Agent is more valuable now than ever before as there have been many changes to the Park experience.
  • Complimentary Price Monitoring. If Disney releases a discount or special that can be applied to your reservation, we will do so automatically!

*Walt Disney World Resort vacation must include 2-night or longer Disney Resort Hotel and at least two theme park tickets to qualify for $100 Booking Bonus and complimentary concierge service.

You can get a vacation quote from Get Away Today here.


Get a vacation quote from Get Away Today.

ALSO 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.