Despite Florida's recent rise in new coronavirus infections, some four months since shutting their gates, Disney has announced plans to reopen its Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot theme parks in mid-July. But before you start making travel plans, you should know that visits to Walt Disney World are likely to look very different in the near future, as the company rolls out a phased reopening including both a new reservation system and numerous updated health and safety measures. Here's everything you need to know about Disney World's reopening.
As part of its ongoing phased reopening, Disney has said it will welcome guests back to its Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks beginning July 11. The reopening of Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios is slated to happen less than a week later on July 15. Phase one started back in May with the reopening of Disney Springs; since then, Disney's Vacation Club properties at Walt Disney World and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground have also been reopened at limited capacity.
The Disney Park Pass System
To visit any of Disney World's four theme parks, guests will have to make a reservation using the new Disney Park Pass System. "To manage attendance during this reopening period, while also helping Guests plan ahead before their arrival, we are introducing the new Disney Park Pass system," Disney announced. "During this time, all Guests with valid admission will be required to make a reservation in advance for each park entry, using this new online tool."
To make a reservation, guests will need to create a Disney account online and link a valid form of park admission to their account. From there they'll be instructed to create a list of the people in their party before being able to select a date, theme park, and time for their visit. Guests with multi-day admission tickets will be required to make reservations for each date of their visit. You can read more about Disney's new Park Pass System on the Disney Parks blog.
Who Can Visit Disney World Upon Reopening?
Beginning Monday, Disney Resort and other select hotel guests with valid theme park admission tickets will be able to make reservations using the Disney Park Pass System. Annual passholders who do not have a Resort stay booked will be eligible to begin making reservations on June 26 while all other existing ticket holders must wait until June 28. Guests will be limited to visiting one park per day and may have to "hang out" in a virtual waiting room before being able to access the Disney Park Pass System due to a high amount of traffic.
To enter the Magic Kingdom or any of Disney World's other theme parks, guests will have to have both a valid form of admission and a park reservation for each person in their group older than age 3. Both the admission and the reservation must be made for the same day and the same park in order to be considered valid.
What If I Already Have A Hotel But No Admission Ticket?
Disney encouraged any guest with reservations to stay at a Disney Resort hotel or other select hotel in 2021 but no admission ticket to call either their travel professional or the Disney Reservation Center to add admission tickets to their trip package, thus enabling them to make theme park reservations.
What About Booking A New Vacation To Disney World?
At this point in Disney's phased reopening, new guests can't book 2020 vacations or visits to Disney World. For now, only annual passholders and guests who already hold tickets can make park reservations for dates in 2020. However, beginning June 28, guests will be able to book new Disney Resort hotel stays and theme park tickets for 2021. Guests looking to set up a 2021 Disney World visit will be able to review park reservation availability here prior to purchasing their tickets. Disney has said it expects to resume sales of 2020 theme park tickets and Resort hotel arrivals "based on availability of park reservations" later this summer.
What Will Visits To Disney World Look Like?
Along with a new reservation system, Disney World is rolling out a number of health and safety measures based on guidance from health authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These include enhanced cleaning, temperature screenings before entry, physical distancing between guests, characters, and staff, and mandatory face coverings. Any party that includes an individual whose temperature is found to be 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above will not be allowed into a park. Disney has also encouraged guests to use cashless payment options such as credit or debit cards, Disney gift cards, or mobile wallets.
While hugs from Mickey Mouse may no longer be an option for kids, Disney has promised beloved characters will "appear in new and different ways that bring a smile to your face while also being mindful of physical distancing." Musical groups are also expected to return upon the theme parks reopening, according to Disney Parks blog.
"It may be different from the last time you visited," Disney said in a recent Disney Parks blog. "But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments — and memories to treasure."