There has been SO MANY news stories to cover since our last news update (which was a DOOZY!).
Let’s recap on what the past week has looked at when it comes to Disney news! (Buckle up guys, it’s a long one!)
Disney World Has Officially Reopened!
After the unprecedented, nearly four-month long closure, the Disney World theme parks have officially begun to reopen! It all began with Cast Member and Annual Passholder previews, culminating in the grand re-opening of Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Saturday, July 11, and EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Wednesday, July 15.
Now that the parks have officially reopened, we’ll still be following along closely to see how Disney’s new health and safety measurements are enforced over time.
The 2020 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival Has Officially Started!
As if the theme parks reopening wasn’t big enough news to cover, the 2020 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival kicked off this week!
Also known as “A Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival,” this year’s offerings include twenty booths (less than last year) with mostly pared-down menus.
Guests Can Now Book NEW Dining Reservations
A lot happened in Disney World dining last week! As of July 7th, ALL guests can now book dining reservations at open locations in Disney World. Initially, those guests that had reservations between May 28 – September 2 that were canceled during closure could begin to rebook their Advance Dining Reservations.
As what seems to be the trend lately with major systematic rollouts with Disney, there was some confusion over who qualified to make a dining reservation and exactly what was available, so we stepped in to help people out!
Keep in mind that Disney has modified the dining booking window. Whereas before you could make your Advance Dining Reservations 180 days out, you can now only book those reservations 60 days out. Guests with impacted experience reservations can also now rebook, including Droid Depot.
The NBA Has Arrived at Disney World
Disney is gearing up to welcome guests back to their theme parks for the first time since mid-March. But in addition to that historic reopening, Disney is also preparing to welcome professional sports to the Most Magical Place on Earth!
Recently, MLS players began to arrive at the Disney Swan and Disney Dolphin resorts. And the players in the NBA have also begun to arrive at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, and Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
In anticipation for the NBA’s arrival, practice courts have been installed throughout the resorts where the players will be staying. You’ve probably never seen the convention center rooms looking like THIS!
We have also been noticing GIANT blue perimeter wall being installed around the areas that the players, coaches, and staff will be residing during this unprecedented event in sports history!
The first match ups at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will take place on July 30! Basketball fans, be sure to mark your calendars!
Disney World Transportation Has Resumed Operations
In the past week we have been able to ride the reopened Disney World transportation systems!
We have taken trips on the buses, Skyliner, ferry boat, and the monorail to see how Disney has adapted their transportation to fit the current health and safety measurements. Some of the differences are very noticeable, like having an entire Skyliner gondola to ourselves, and partitions being installed on the monorail and the buses!
We’ve also learned about updates being made to Disney’s Magical Express transportation service. While Magical Express is still available to guests flying in to Orlando International Airport and staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, they will not provide complimentary luggage transportation as of July 16.
As of right now, certain transportation systems like the Minnie Vans have yet to announce when their operations will resume. But we will provide updates as we learn more!
Even MORE Locations Around Disney World Are Reopening
In addition to the parks and resorts reopening for guests, other locations around property have begun to reopen!
We stopped by the newly renovated and oh-so-sleek looking McDonald’s which opened last week. Since its initial reopening, it has transitioned to ONLY drive-thru.
ANOTHER Modified Character Dining Experience Has Reopened!
Early on as Disney World prepared its phased reopening, we learned that TONS of changes were coming to Disney World dining this summer, including Character Dining being temporarily suspended. There was ONE exception, however: guests could dine at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort for a modified character breakfast experience.
Garden Grill Restaurant in EPCOT, which is known for its unique rotating design, has reopened, featuring a modified character dining as well. Of COURSE we paid a visit to check it out for ourselves, be sure to read up on what our experience was like!
Click here to learn more about what the modified character dining experience at Garden Grill was like!
Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort Has Officially Reopened!
The shopping and dining district at Disneyland welcomed guests back for the first time since mid-March on Thursday, July 9.
Crowds on its opening day were quite different than the crowds we saw on Disney Springs’ reopening day! While Disney Springs was largely quiet, Downtown was almost the exact opposite, with parking filling up and World of Disney seeing wait times of over two hours long!
Downtown Disney reopened in the midst of Governor Gavin Newsom’s rollback on bars and indoor dining, which were required to re-close in certain areas of the state, including Orange County, where Disneyland resides.
As of this writing, we still do not know the status of the reopening plans for Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure since their original plans for reopening were delayed. Disneyland has reached out to guests with resort reservations through August 8, asking them to modify or cancel. So it may be a bit longer before we’re able to walk down Main Street, U.S.A. at the Happiest Place on Earth!
International Disney Parks Are Reopening AND Re-closing
On July 1, Tokyo Disney Resort became the third global Disney park to reopen! And on July 15, Disneyland Paris officially reopened as well. The resorts joins Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland on the list of global parks that have reopened since the historic park closures began way back in January. However, one of those parks has just jumped OFF of that list.
Hong Kong Disneyland re-closed on July 15, “as required by the government.” This is the first time Disney has rolled back on any of their reopening plans since the parks worldwide began to reopen in early May. Hong Kong Disneyland reopened to guests on June 18.
As of right now, the only Disney parks that are currently closed worldwide are the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Tickets on Sale for Drawn to Life
Disney World closed JUST as we were all preparing for the grand opening of Drawn to Life, the new Cirque du Soleil show that has moved into the theatre in Disney Springs where La Nouba used to reside! The show, which was meant to begin previews on March 20 and open on April 17, was delayed until further notice.
Since the closures began, we have been waiting to hear of any kind of update regarding Drawn to Life! Amidst the current global health crisis that has had a particularly drastic impact the performing arts industry, Cirque du Soleil announced that they had filed for bankruptcy protection.
Despite this, tickets for Drawn to Life are on sale! The first available performance that you may purchase tickets for is November 5 and availability currently runs through March 31.
Travel Bans & Quarantine Mandates Impacting Travel this Month
Those with hopes of summer travel may need to re-strategize their plans in the coming weeks, depending on where they call home.
Those traveling from California or Florida must quarantine for fourteen days if entering the states of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The tri-state area initiated a list of states where travelers coming from those states needed to quarantine. New York has even gone as far as mandating travelers from hot spots provide their contact information when re-entering the state and those who do not comply could be faced with a hefty fine.
In addition, the United States remains on a travel ban list when flying into Europe. Other countries that may not enter Europe at this time are Brazil, Russia, and India.
Disney+ News Roundup
We’re closing out our news update with a quick look at all the Disney+ news! The streaming service has certainly been in the spotlight lately, with the debut of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton on July 3.
In addition, we’re looking forward to the arrival of Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe, which we learned will debut on August 28!
It looks like Disney+ has quite the summer lineup! With movie theaters across the country closed and the premiere of upcoming films like the live-action remake of Mulan delayed yet again, it looks like we’ll all be gathering around the couch more and more this season!
WHEW! Disney really has us on our toes these days with the news roundups! We will continue to keep you updated on all the latest happenings from around the globe. It will be very interesting to watch Disney World in its first couple of weeks officially reopened to the public, and of course we’re still keeping our eye on Disneyland to see when it’ll reopen, too!
Have you watched Hamilton yet on Disney+? Let us know in the comments!