Pending Orange County and state approval, Walt Disney World plans for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15.
The question at the top of mind for most here in central Florida, when will Disney World reopen again? While we were left in the dark waiting a couple of months Disney has finally submitted plans to the county and state on reopening all four of its theme parks again in July. If you remember back in March we got the following statement from Disney:
As a result of this unprecedented pandemic and in line with direction provided by health experts and government officials, Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice.
To read in detail the official park reopening updates you can go here.
What Official Orders Impact Disney World Reopening
Okay so now that we have the unknown out of the way, let’s take some time to talk about what we do know.
- Canceled Walt Disney World Star Wars Rival Run Weekend April 16 – 19
- Disney World hotels and restaurants are not taking new reservations for dates until June 1
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay at home order until April 30. While essentials remain open, bars and nightclubs will remain closed. All major theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, and Legoland will remain closed.
How Long Has Disney World Been Closed?
- Walt Disney World Parks Closed March 16, 2020 (117 days through July 11, tentative reopening date)
- Walt Disney World Resorts Closed March 20, 2020 (94 days through June 22, tentative reopening date for select resorts)
- Disney Springs Closed March 17, 2020 (64 days through May 20, now reopen!)
What to Do if you Need to Change Your Travel Plans
If you are interested in modifying their existing travel dates or making a new reservation for a future vacation, reservations are currently available for travel dates June 1 and later. As always, Guests can modify these bookings if the Walt Disney World Resort opens before or after that time.
It still holds that unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days or date-specific theme park tickets with a valid use period beginning March 12, 2020, through the closure will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15, 2020. If you are unable to visit by December 15, 2020, you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.
To provide additional flexibility, they are waiving Disney-imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through June 30. As a reminder, most reservations can be modified or canceled online. If Guests need further assistance, they can reach us at the Disney Reservation Center through our online chat feature or by calling our reservation line.
Guests with impacted reservations during the closure period may be eligible for special offers when they call (407) 939-4251 including a package offer that includes a Disney dining plan.
How Can You Visit Disney World
Since theme park capacity will be significantly limited to start, a new theme park reservation system will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, there is a temporary pause on new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations. This is to give priority on guests with existing tickets and reservations (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. Disney will resume new ticket sales and hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
What You Can’t Do When Disney Reopens
- Watch a parades
- Meet and greet with characters
- Must book a reservation in advanced to enter the park
- All makeovers will be closed like Bibbidi Bopidi Boutique
- Limiting experiences that draw a large gathering of people
When Do We Speculate the Parks Will Open?
Best Case Scenario
With Disney taking book starting June 1st this is the earliest I could see Disney World opening. Many of the models have cases of COVID-19 peaking between now (mid-April) to early May. As we have been watching the IHME models we notice that it’s all uncertain the peak of cases has been shifting back and forth between April and May. You can see the graph for Florida here.
So for the parks to open in June does seem like a bit of a stretch. Why would the parks want to risk reopening so shortly after Florida has been through its worst? Does Disney want to tarnish the brand of the parks by becoming the breeding zone of the next pandemic spike after we just thought we had made our way through the worst?
More Plausible Case
While we may see the tight restrictions start to loosen in June around here. I doubt that they would reopen the theme parks and gather crowds of 1,000s at a time. We have seen how effective social distancing has worked in combatting this disease and unfortunately, that doesn’t seem like an easy feat when it comes to the amusement park industry.
A fall opening seems to be when we see the predictions charts tapper down to a solid flatline in August. But then we still fall back on the predicament of not knowing how many people have had COVID-19, who has antibodies, and who will end up hospitalized trying to fight this virus off. It’s hard to say when we have reached that critical mass of people who can’t spread it until we can have widespread testing. I also think that a critical part of the pie will be to get a vaccine for COVID-19 but there still is no solid date as to when we will see that either.
Further backing up this thought is a recent statement from the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. He said, “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and a vaccine.” Following that statement, he said large gatherings in June, July, and August were “unlikely.” This at least for Disneyland seems to put the co-bash on getting the Disney parks reopened this summer. You can watch his full statement here.
Well, that is our long-winded way of saying, we just don’t know when will Disney World reopen. We hope us providing a little bit of speculation helped show just how fuzzy things are. Of course, with everything going on right now it’s hard to hear. Not all of us are like Elsa and willing to head straight headfirst into the unknown. Until we know more, please stay safe and stay home, if you can. There are so many putting their life on the line combatting this virus on the frontlines. We are so blessed to be able to stay home and our hearts go out to who aren’t as lucky.
Just because the parks may not be open right now doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy planning your next Disney World vacation. We have a whole site packed full of vacation planning secrets for you. If you want some help we always recommend tapping into the FREE resource of a vacation planner, like Magical Travel.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!
Need More Help Planning Your Vacation?
A travel agent is an essential resource when planning a vacation. Reach out to Magical Travel and they will make sure your vacation is pure magic and no stress! Their services are 100% FREE to you!