A lot is changing in and around Disney World right now as some stores and restaurants have recently reopened in Disney Springs and Disney World’s official reopening date has been announced.
But that’s not all that’s been happening lately. As many of you know, last week Disney World said they would be reopening with a brand new reservation system which meant they needed pause ticket sales and hotel reservations temporarily.
With so many changes happening each and every day, it’s no wonder a lot of you have questions about what’s going on and how your future plans at Disney World may be impacted.
We wanted to take some time today to provide you with all the best resources we’ve been compiling over the last several weeks. We’re going to lay everything out on the table and clear up anything and everything we can so that you’ll have all the facts at your disposal.
Here are the answers to the most critical questions we’re receiving from you right now.
What does it mean if you have a Disney World hotel reservation but haven’t purchased park tickets yet?
Disney has announced that they will utilize a system that will require guests to obtain a reservation to enter the park in advance since the parks will reopen with a limited capacity. To help manage the number of guests they’ll be taking in, Disney World says they will “focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations.”
In order to have priority access to the parks when they reopen, according to Disney, you must have valid theme park admission and a hotel reservation. Disney World has also confirmed Annual Passholders will have early access to the parks and more information about an AP preview is forthcoming.
You can click here to read more about the all-new Annual Passholder webpage Disney World has recently launched.
We have park tickets that were purchased in May (obviously canceled) and we have yet to reschedule our resort. Would we still qualify for the priority reservation?
We asked a Disney World Cast Member this exact question and were told, “it should give you access to the reservation system.”
Even if you haven’t rebooked your room yet, technically you would be in possession of valid theme park tickets that are good until December 15th and a hotel reservation, meaning you would fit the two requirements for priority access.
My husband is in the military and we were planning on purchasing Salute tickets, but hadn’t yet. We’ve already made hotel reservations, but does this mean we won’t have priority access?
Unfortunately, as of right now, that seems to be the case. You must have both in order to be eligible for priority access. Although we don’t know how many guests will be admitted back to the parks when Disney World reopens, Disney has shared that it will be a first-come, first-serve basis and guests with pre-existing reservations and valid park admission will be considered first. If this changes when Disney releases more information on the new system, we will be sure to let you know.
Do guests at Disney Springs hotels count as Disney World resort guests?
At this time, we can’t say. We’ve been able to confirm guests who are staying at Disney World partner hotels such as Shades of Green, as well as Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort, will have priority access, but it remains to be seen if guests at Disney Springs hotels will be granted the same priority access. We hope to provide you with more updates soon.
If I have a resort package with Park Hopper passes, will I receive a refund for the difference if I switch to single park tickets since it seems like there will be no park-hopping?
At this time, Disney World hasn’t released any details regarding whether or not Park Hopper will be available.
Disney World is also not automatically refunding Park-Hopper ticket add-ons right now. Our advice is to just sit tight and await more information. We’ll let you know as soon as Disney World announces whether or not they’ll be allowing park-hopping, and then help you decide the best course of action
Will the Magical Express be running when the parks reopen?
The Cast Member we spoke with today couldn’t answer this question for us. However, we’ve previously reported some of Disney World’s transportation such as Magic Kingdom’s monorail and Friendship ferryboats will only be operating on a limited basis for resort hotel guests when the parks are open.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated with any and all developments as soon as we find out the details!
What about Memory Maker? Will it be available?
At this time, we haven’t been able to get any answers about Memory Maker. We’ll keep asking though, and hopefully know more soon!
What safety measures has Disney implemented so far and are they mandatory?
With the recent reopening of Disney Springs, we now have a better understanding of what Disney World may require its Cast Members and guests to do before entering any of its theme parks (although they haven’t officially announced any new procedures yet for other parts of Disney World other than Disney Springs at this time).
What we do know is this: Disney Springs isn’t allowing any exceptions to their new safety measures. That means if you don’t want to go through their health-check, have your temperature taken, or wear a face mask, you won’t be permitted inside Disney Springs at this time.
Are the temperature screenings accurate?
Professional healthcare workers provided by AdventHealth are conducting the temperature screenings at Disney Springs using touchless thermometers. The easy-to-use handheld devices use infrared light to read the energy your body produces, translating this data into a temperature reading within two-tenths of a degree of accuracy in some cases.
To be allowed to enter Disney Springs, your temperature needs to be under 100.4 F. If your temperature is 100.4 F or greater, you’re allowed to wait off to the side in a tented “cool-off” area and have your temperature re-taken. If it’s still too high, you and your entire party won’t be allowed inside.
When discussing potential health screenings for guests entering Disney World, Disney Company Chairman Bob Iger had previously speculated Disney Parks may implement mandatory temperature checks to enter.
When do I have to wear a face mask at Disney World?
At Disney Springs, guests over the age of two must wear face coverings at all times. The only time you’re permitted to remove them is when you’re seated at a restaurant or consuming a drink or a food item.
Other than those few occasions, your mask must be covering your nose and mouth for the duration of your visit.
While Disney Springs is providing an extremely limited number of disposable face masks for guests who accidentally leave their mask at home, they can’t guarantee they’ll have one for you if you don’t bring your own. That means you could be turned away if you forget to have a face mask for each person in your family over the age of two.
Will Disney World be limiting its capacity?
Yes. It is expected Disney World will reopen with a limited capacity, as it now states on its website. Realistically, it could be some time before the parks operate at their full capacity.
Will I be turned away at Disney World if I have a park ticket and a hotel reservation?
While it’s unclear at this time how Disney World will begin to allow guests back in, a few viable options are possible.
Whether it’s similar to Shanghai Disneyland’s reservation system or something closer to the tiered closures Disney World uses during the holiday season when the parks reach their capacity, we hope to be able to provide you with this information soon.
Is my favorite ride or attraction going to be open?
On Disney World’s website, it states some attractions, experiences, services, and amenities may have limited availability or remain closed. That’s a pretty broad statement and we hope to be able to provide you with more clarity soon.
What we CAN tell you is that looking at Shanghai’s reopening, most of their rides are open to guests. They’ve also changed their character meet and greets — only parades, stage shows, fireworks, and some play areas with frequent touchpoints have been closed down.
What about coming soon attractions? Are they still going open on time?
It’s hard to say…these new projects did experience delays when construction was halted at Disney World. While some attractions were closer to being done than others, it’s unclear how their timelines have been affected.
And for Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration, big plans were in the works for Magic Kingdom including a revamping of Cinderella Castle as well as the new TRON: Lightcycle Run roller coaster in Tomorrowland.
Epcot was also left in a precarious spot when the parks suddenly shut down. Plans to close Spaceship Earth had just been announced while much of Future World is currently in the midst of a massive overhaul as part of the big Epcot Transformation. Work also stopped on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. All of these projects and more could be affected, but so far the extent of possible delays hasn’t been revealed.
Is it even worth it to go to Disney World this year?
That will depend largely on you and your level of comfort. Even if you’ve planned a trip to Disney World a million times before, planning a trip following the closures is going to be more unique with its own set of challenges and problems to work through.
First of all, it’s not going to be the same Disney World from your memories. It will be, but it won’t be. Choosing when you want to visit next is a very personal decision you’ll ultimately have to make based on your comfort level with this whole situation.
If you’re used to traveling to Disney World to attend certain events, festivals, or popular times of year like Christmastime, keep in mind a number of these special things we expected Disney to have announced by now, but Disney has remained quiet.
You might need extra-assurance from Disney before booking a trip if any of these offerings are super-important to you, otherwise, you might want to save your money for when you know they’ll be offered.
When is Disney World going to get back to normal?
There has been a lot of speculation floating around about how long it will take the Disney parks to reach their normal attendance levels. Some estimate it could happen as soon as next year while others think it could take even longer.
While all of these analysts’ predictions are just speculation at this point, Disney will only re-open the park to the capacity recommended by the local government and public health officials.
It’s unknown when mass gatherings will be permitted again, but at that time, with the guidance of local and state government, Disney World will most likely start to look and feel a lot more “normal.”
Should I go to Disney World this year or wait until next year?
There are definite pros and cons to each, which you need to consider carefully before making your decision. If you return to Disney World this year, you’ll get a memorable experience for sure, but whether that’s the kind of memories you’d like on your trip is up to you.
Attractions will likely be altered, some experiences will likely be missing, and you’ll likely have to wear a mask. If none of that bothers you enough to consider waiting, go for it! If the idea of just being in Disney World again is enough for you, or you don’t have the flexibility to reschedule the same trip later next year, then visiting this year is certainly looking like an option!
Keep in mind though if you have little ones you want to give a perfect Disney experience, this is a “once in a lifetime” trip for your family, or you’re uncomfortable with the new restrictions, then postposing til next year or beyond is a perfectly viable option as well.
As we mentioned earlier, 2021 is the 50th anniversary of Disney World, so while there will be many new experiences to enjoy if you wait, it’s likely there will be more people too!
We hope we’ve helped you make a little more sense out of these last few weeks and what lies further down the road. Please keep sending us those questions and we’ll keep doing what we do to try and answer them as best we can!
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Do you have a question about Disney World that we didn’t answer above? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get back to you!