The time has finally come! After almost three months of shutdown, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando reopened in early July.
This phased reopening does not yet include experiences that draw large gatherings such as fireworks and parades, and what Disney calls “high-touch” experiences, such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet-and-greets. But don’t let that dampen your Disney spirit… the loveable characters will still be visible throughout the parks, just keeping to socially distanced protocols!
The biggest news coming from the park’s reopening is the new reservation system, which will require all guests to obtain park entry reservations in advance to regulate park capacity.
Guests who have resort reservations this year, guests with tickets purchased and annual passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases.
Guests will need a My Disney Experience account and a valid theme park ticket or annual pass.
Guests with a Disney resort hotel reservation must link it to their My Disney Experience account. Once you’ve logged into your account, you will be able to see the days available for reservation.
If you have purchased a multi-day ticket, you will need to make a reservation for each day of your visit. Guests will only be able to visit one park per day to help with capacity control, so no park hopping.
Disney has also cancelled all existing dining reservations. I’ve personally had reservations cancelled as far out as September. They also cancelled experience bookings such as behind-the-scenes tours. Once the parks reopen, you will be able to make reservations again, but they will be moving from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window to allow guests the opportunity to make plans closer to the time of visit. Other cancellations included FastPass+ to allow the use of additional queue space to maintain social distancing and Extra Magic Hours.
Only select resorts will be opened into the foreseeable future: Disney Vacation Club resorts and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds are open at this time. Disney has enhanced their cleaning measures and will implement a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols amid reopening.
Guests of the theme parks and resorts will have to follow enhanced safety protocols as well. Everyone two years of age and older will be required to wear face coverings in the theme parks and public areas of the resorts. All guests will undergo temperature screenings prior to entering the parks and cashless transactions are highly recommended.
We have already experienced some of these procedures at Disney Springs, which opened in May. Upon entering, Cast Members take your temperature, face coverings are required, and social distancing markers are everywhere.
I do want to add that when you are eating or drinking, you do not need to wear a face covering, but, once you are finished you must put it back on.
It is a different theme park experience than what we are used to, but for now we can all be excited at the fact that our beloved Walt Disney World is finally open again, making the world a little more magical. •
Jess is an adventure-seeking, theme park loving, star gazing, geek from New Jersey who moved to Florida to never be bored. She is constantly outside, and you can usually find her at Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando when she’s not working.