Updated 6/04/20: The Disneyland Resort shows available bookings for July 16 !
If you’re anything like us, you’re tired of the constant bombardment of blog articles detailing every little change in Disney’s COVID-19 theme park strategy. We put together this simple page, aggregating all of the latest information in one simple, easy to read spot. We’ll be updating this post regularly as new information emerges, so bookmark this site for easy reference and enjoy!
It is important to note that the different theme parks have varied ownership which will factor into when their reopening plans. The Walt Disney Company owns Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris (as of 2017 again). Tokyo Disney Resort is overseen by the Oriental Land Company, while the Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland are both joint ventures between the Walt Disney Company and the local government. This will explain the sometimes different response each resort takes when dealing with the Coronavirus problem.
June 4, 2020: The Disneyland Resort website shows bookings are available starting July 16
Tickets to the park were also available for purchase through eTicket form. The resort added this statement to ticket purchases: “Due to the temporary closures at the Disneyland Resort, standard and express shipping will be delayed. Tickets will ship when the parks reopen. We appreciate your patience at this time.”
Room reservations did come with “magic morning” which is a positive sign for vacationers.
June 4, 2020: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea posted a statement on their website regarding the continued temporary park closure
“Although the government’s state of emergency declaration regarding the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has been lifted, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will temporarily remain closed. The reopening of the Parks will be determined when external and internal conditions have been readied, including the phased easing of closure requests from the government and local municipalities, as well as preparations for Park operations. The reopening date will be announced once it has been decided. Additionally, the opening date for the Tokyo Disneyland major expansion area will be determined once the situation can be gauged after reopening both parks.”
May 31, 2020: Disney Springs announces shortened operating hours
Disney Springs has announced that they will be shortening their daily hours from 10AM to 7PM until further notice to ensure that all guests, Cast Members, and employees have time to return home prior to the 10PM curfew being enforced in Orange County.
Also, Stormtroopers patrol Disney Springs store balconies, and First Order banners hang from rails and windows.
May 29, 2020: Disney posts a blog stating that it will temporarily pause any new theme park ticket sales or hotel reservations in order to “focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.”
“Existing ticket holders and annual pass holders 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,” Disney said. “We will resume new sales of tickets and Disney Resort hotel reservations after that period of time.”
At this time, new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations will be temporarily paused (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.
At this time, Disney has canceled all existing reservations at their hotel and theme park restaurants. This is because capacity inside the restaurants has been reduced in order to contain the spread of coronavirus. In the past, guests could book meals at restaurants up to 180 days in advance but when reservations reopen, they will only be allowed to be made within a 60-day booking window. Those who previously had reservations will be given priority.
With the Disney Dining Plan, guests can pre-pay for meals by locking in a certain allotment of credits during their stay at a Disney-owned property. Also due to the new capacity constraints at its restaurants, the company has cancelled all dining plans for the foreseeable future. The “free dining” promotion was also cancelled. Disney has not commented on what guests affected by these changes can expect in terms of refunds or compensation.
In their blog post, Disney said it was reaching out to those affected guests with more information.
Disney also said that they will be temporarily pausing all reservations for behind the scenes tours.
Another big change coming to the parks is the cancellation of FastPass+ reservations, which would normally allow guests to schedule a time to ride busy attractions without waiting in line. “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,” Disney said.
The theme parks’ operating hours will also be reduced for a period after the reopening, and there will be no “Extra Magic Hours”. This was a cherished perk that was available to guests who stayed at Disney-owned or affiliated resorts which gave them extra time in the theme parks.
Many people have posted their disappointment and displeasure at the changes Disney has instituted on online forums.
May 28, 2020: Walt Disney World representatives made a presentation to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force regarding the reopening of its four theme parks in two phases in July
Disney stated that when the parks reopen in July, the capacity will be reduced to encourage social distancing, and additionally, fewer people will be permitted to board the buses, boats and monorails. Rides and attractions will also operate at reduced capacity.
Experiences such as parades and nighttime spectaculars that would draw a large group gathering will return at a later date. “High-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds, and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in the parks.
Cashless transactions will be encouraged at restaurants and shops to prevent contact between guests and cast members. At shops, guests will be asked to bag their own purchases. All parks will encourage the use of the My Disney Experience mobile app since paper maps will no longer be distributed. In restaurants disposable paper menus will be provided in lieu of reusable ones and the existing mobile ordering system will be expanded.
Another thing Disney is considering is creating ‘relaxation zones’ in different areas of the parks where guests could temporarily take their masks off
Disney CEO Bob Chapek declined to give a specific number for the reduced capacity at Walt Disney World. Although there have been only about 20,000 people a day to enter Shanghai Disneyland, “We’re not going to give any specific number because there’s no government guidance necessarily as to how dense we can be,” Chapek said.
“But I will say that our capacity will be a function of the six-foot social distancing guidance that we have from the CDC, so the number of people we put in the park will be a function of that calculation.” Chapek added that Disney plans to increase the number of guests allowed in its theme parks incrementally as guidelines relax.
Earlier in July, Disney plans to hold soft openings for employees and “affinity” groups prior to reopening to the general public.
The reopening plans were approved by the task force and await a green light from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
May 28, 2020: The World of Disney reopened at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World
An update is released from the Disney Store indicating that in the coming weeks they will begin a phased reopening of operations globally,
beginning with a select number of stores in the United States, in addition to stores in Europe and Japan.
May 27, 2020: Walt Disney World announces reopening plans
A senior Disney vice-president submitted plans for a phased reopening of the WDW, beginning July 11 with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow on July 15. Capacity for all parks will be limited and attractions requiring guests to congregate in large groups, such as fireworks and parades, will be cancelled for the time being. Guests will be required to obtain advance reservations before attending the parks.
Disney’s plans, officially approved by an Orange County task force, must now be sanctioned by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
May 27, 2020: More stores reopen at Disney Springs
Several Disney-owned stores opened at Disney Springs, including World of Disney, D-Luxe Burger, and the Marketplace Co-op. Guests are still required to submit to temperature checks, wear masks, and overall attendance is restricted. It was reported that there was was a massive line up at World of Disney with tape markings enforcing six feet of spacing.
There is now a procedure for a virtual queue so you can know when to come back to get in. You give your phone number and name for the virtual queue in order to receive a text message when it’s your turn to return to the store for entry. You will be texted ten to fifteen minutes before it’s your turn.
Inside the store there are signs reminding guest to maintain physical distance from other guests. The registers now have plexiglass barriers and there are markers in the lines to enforce spacing. Hand sanitizing stations have also been placed throughout the store.
May 26, 2020: State officials proclaim that Disneyland (and other California theme parks) can reopen during Stage 3 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four stage plan
“Theme parks are slated to open in Stage 3 if the rate of spread of COVID-19 and hospitalizations remain stable,” said California Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Kate Folmar.
Although she did not give any specific dates when Stage 3 could begin in California she also said, “Phase 3 is not a year away. It’s not six months away. It’s not even three months away. It may not even be more than a month away,”
Unlike Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland has not yet submitted any kind of COVID-19 health and safety reopening plan to the city, county or state.
May 21, 2020: Walt Disney World reservations cancelled through June 13
The Walt Disney World Resort announced additional cancellations for hotel and dining reservations through June 13. Unlike Disneyland, which has issued a blanket cancellation through July 1, Disney World is issuing their cancellations in rolling week long periods.
One can suppose this is an indication that a closer, yet still not specific reopening date is on the near horizon for Orlando.
May 21, 2020: Disney releases a statement regarding park openings
Disney has reported, “Upon reopening, certain Disneyland Resort theme parks, restaurants, and other locations may be limited in capacity and restricted to availability or even closed based on guidance from health experts and government officials,”
They also said, “Furthermore, certain attractions, experiences, services and amenities will be modified, have limited availability or remain closed. Park admission and offerings are not guaranteed.”
May 21, 2020: Universal Orlando reveals proposed reopening dates
Universal has submitted plans for the following reopening dates:
- June 1: parks open for Universal team members
- June 3-4: theme parks open for Universal annual pass holders
- June 5: Universal parks open to the general public
Guests will be required to wear face masks and go through temperature screenings to enter the parks. One disposable face mask will be provided per ticketed guest.
Interactive play areas, mist areas and valet parking will continue to be closed. Restaurant menus will be paper and single-use. There will be no more character meet-and-greets. Signage has been installed throughout the parks to remind visitors of social distancing, with at least six feet of separation required for ride and food lines.
May 20, 2020: Disney Springs partially reopens
One third of the shops and restaurants (44 establishments) in the Orlando shopping complex are open with limited hours.
Parking is still free, but only the Orange and Lime Garages are open. Disney Springs will be considered at capacity and no other guests will be allowed in once these parking areas are full. There is no parking allowed in the surface lots.
From the garages, guests are directed to touchless temperature-check stations. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees and above is sent to another station for additional screening. If they remain above 100.4, their entire party is refused entry into Disney Springs.
Guests may come from the Hotel Plaza Boulevard pedestrian bridge or from the ride-share area. They have temperature checks at those locations as well.
Sanitizers and hand washing stations are placed throughout the shops, as well as social distancing reminder signs. Floor markings, showing people where and where not to stand, cover the ground. Arrows on the pavement direct the flow of pedestrian traffic, just like cars on the street.
There are Disney cast members in bright yellow shirts available to answer questions or explain the new rules. Everywhere there is constant disinfecting, as well as the new warning from Disney that all guests “voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
Something else new and unusual for Disney – the trash can lids are all propped open. This is so guests won’t have to touch the cans to dispose of their items.
May 20, 2020: These Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels remain open for business:
Best Western Resort and Spa – Disney Springs® Area
Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area
These Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels have temporarily suspended operations and are not accepting reservations through the near term:
Best Western Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – Disney Springs® Area
Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Disney Springs® Area
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area
Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs® Area
May 20, 2020: Florida Governor asks theme parks to submit requests to reopen
As part of his full phase one plan, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asked theme parks across the state to submit formal reopening requests. The requests were to include target dates and protocols on how state and CDC guidelines would be enforced on their individual properties..
Disney did not commit to any specific opening dates, but did submit proposals that included mandatory face masks and daily temperature checks for employees. They also proposed touchless hand sanitizer stations at ticketing turnstiles and ride entries/exits, as well as continual disinfecting of railings and other frequently touched surfaces.
May 16, 2020: Disney announces phased reopening of Disney Springs
Phase one will happen on May 20, with approximately 44 third-party shops and restaurants opening in Disney Springs. Three Disney-owned establishments, including the World of Disney store, will open for phase two on May 27.
All guests over the age of three will be required to wear masks and submit to touchless temperature checks.
May 14, 2020: Universal City Walk complex partially reopens
City Walk opened from 4-10 pm daily, with free parking offered. Guests were required to park staggered in every other space. Valet parking was discontinued indefinitely.
All visitors were required to wear masks and submit to temperature checks. Hand sanitizer dispensers and social distancing markers were placed throughout the area.
May 14, 2020: The Walt Disney Co and unions representing workers at Florida’s Walt Disney World reach an agreement on safeguards to protect employees from coronavirus
This removes one of the hurdles to reopening the theme parks. Safety measures include mandatory masks for cast members and guests and social distancing practices.
May 11, 2020: Shanghai Disneyland reopens
Advance reservations were required and all visitors were assigned entrance times. Guests were required to wear masks and undergo temperature screening. Additionally, they were required to show a Health QR Code when entering a restaurant.
The Chinese government had restricted maximum daily attendance to 30% capacity, which comes to about 24,000 visitors a day. Disney started with a lower quota then this, with a plan to increase capacity by 5,000 additional guests per week. The company hoped that state restrictions would soon increase so they could continue their attendance expansion plans.
Most rides and attractions were open, except for the children’s play area and other interactive areas that involved touching surfaces. Riders were limited to one group per car to keep strangers apart. On some rides, rows of seats were closed to allow for more separation between riders.
Rides were sanitized and disinfected more frequently. Bright yellow tape marked the ground in 6-foot distances to separate families from each other while they watched shows or waited in lines. Safe distance was required to kept from characters during photo-ops as well.
The nighttime spectaculars, parades, and some of the other beloved attractions that didn’t conform to the new parameters of social distancing were not operated.
May 8th: Japan extended its state of emergency until the end of May
It was hoped that a decision when to reopen Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea would be had by the middle of May but parks operator Oriental Land said that a date will only be announced once the country’s state of emergency is lifted.
The company also stated that approximately 5,400 employees will work four fewer days per month until the parks reopen.
May 8, 2020: At 8am tickets were made available for the Shanghai Disneyland reopening. Passes for both May 11th and May 12th sold out “almost instantly”
Guests who acquired passes were required to provide their personal information and to make reservations ahead of arriving at the park. No previously obtained general admission tickets will be accepted.
May 6, 2020: Disney cancelling May reservations
Reservations for dining, activities, and hotel stays at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts for the month of May are starting to be cancelled by the company.
Currently, Disneyland has cancelled all reservations through the end of May and is not accepting new hotel bookings until July 1. Walt Disney World has also cancelled reservations in May, but guests can currently make dining and hotel arrangements starting June 1. According to Disney management, this does not necessarily mean the resort will be opening in June.
For guests with cancelled reservations, Disney will waive all change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for arrivals through June 30.
May 5, 2020: Disney estimates losses
As to be “as much as $1.4 billion” in the second quarter of 2020, with closures of its theme parks, resorts and cruise ships, a shuttered movie business and declining television ad revenue.
The company had estimated it lost $1 billion in its theme parks division from January through March.