Rise of the Resistance to Use Virtual Queue When Disney’s Hollywood Studios Re-Opens

Walt Disney World has announced that when Disney’s Hollywood Studios re-opens on July 15th that they will be using the virtual queue system that was introduced when the attraction originally opened.

In the Disney Parks Blog, Disney stated –

We wanted to share an update about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which will once again be using virtual queue in the My Disney Experience app.  

Walt Disney World also stated in the announcement that instead of it being what many called a lottery at park opening, there will be instead three distribution times (10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM).

Because of this, there is no need to arrive early to the park to check the virtual queue, according to Disney.

In the announcement Walt Disney World offered these guidelines:

  • First, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app. Once you enter the park, log in to your account at one of the distribution times (10 a.m., 1 p.m. or 4 p.m.).
  • Once you have logged in, select “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue” on the home screen. You will be able to view the current status and next steps for joining the virtual queue.
  • The app will indicate when there is no availability for a specific distribution time. Some guests may join backup groups.
  • As long as your My Disney Experience account is linked to park tickets for you and the others in your group, you can enroll everyone in the virtual queue at the same time. In order to give as many guests as possible the opportunity to join the Resistance, each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day.
  • Make sure push notifications are turned on for My Disney Experience so you will be alerted if your group is called to return. You’ll have up to an hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
  • Please note that joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Walt Disney World Resuming 2020 Theme Park Ticket Sales and Resort Hotel Bookings

In just a few days, Walt Disney World will begin welcoming the first guests back to the theme parks, with Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom opening on July 11th and EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th.

If you recall, Disney had temporarily paused 2020 ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel bookings so that they could focus on helping existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders plan their visits. Today Walt Disney World has announced that beginning tomorrow, July 9th, ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel bookings for 2020 will resume.

In the announcement Disney added a word of precaution for guests trying to book stays or purchase tickets tomorrow….

For those looking to make their plans right away, please note that tickets and Disney Resort hotel bookings may be released at different times throughout the day tomorrow. In addition, we will use virtual waiting rooms as needed to manage the high volume of guests looking to plan their visits.

Walt Disney World Committed to Open on July 11th…Releases Commitment to Health and Safety Measures

Today in the Disney Parks Blog Walt Disney World stated that they are committed to opening the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 11th and then Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th.

This came in a personal address by Dr. Pamela Hymel, the Chief Medical Officer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products where she lays out Disney’s commitment to the health and safety of both guests and cast members for the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort.

In the announcement Dr. Hymel states –

As we continue the phased reopenings of our parks and resorts across the world, promoting health and safety for our guests, cast members, and the larger community is a responsibility we take very seriously.

On Saturday, we will continue the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort, marking the first of our domestic theme parks to welcome guests back to the magic. While we await California guidelines for reopening Disneyland Resort, and will adjust as necessary, we wanted to share more information on our approach to health and safety in the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks. 

We remain deeply committed to focusing on your well-being when you visit or work at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. From increased cleaning and disinfecting across our parks and resorts, to updated health and safety policies, we have reimagined the Disney experience so we can all enjoy the magic responsibly. We implemented our health and safety measures after considering the guidance of government and local health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in addition to the U.S. Travel Association and Disney’s team of health experts.

Together, we are a Disney family, and while COVID-19, and the risk of contracting it, is present in public places, there are many important ways that we can all help promote each other’s safety.  As we implement our guidelines at our parks and resorts, we want to thank our guests and cast members for all they do to care for one another by doing their part.

1.  Health & Wellness

At Disney, our approach emphasizes a combination of measures to help reduce risk in the carefully managed environment of our parks and resorts. 

  • Limited and carefully managed attendance: All guests will be required to make advanced ticket purchases and reservations.
  • Reduced capacity and physical distancing: We’re reducing capacity by letting fewer people enter our parks and are adjusting experiences to allow for physical distancing, a key measure reinforced by the CDC. This includes physical distancing in dining experiences, attractions, queues and other locations. Additionally, physical barriers have been installed in areas where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain, like cash registers.
  • Temperature checks: Quick temperature checks are required for all guests at entry to our theme parks.
  • Face coverings: We will be requiring both cast members and guests ages two and older to wear a face covering – unless swimming or when eating or drinking – and enforcing this policy across our parks and resorts.
  • Handwashing and hand sanitizer: We have increased the number of hand sanitizer locations and handwashing stations throughout our parks and resorts.
  • First Aid locations: Our first aid locations are staffed by experienced nursing staff and have updated their protocols for responding to symptoms of illness.

2. Cleaning & Disinfecting

We’ve updated our already high standards for cleanliness across our parks and resorts, with a special emphasis on areas such as attractions, queues, dining, lobbies, transportation and other common spaces.

  • Increased cleaning & disinfecting: We’re increasing the frequency of cleaning, especially for frequently-touched surfaces and high-traffic areas. Following park close, each park will receive an enhanced cleaning before guests arrive the next day.
  • New procedures for resort stays: In addition to increasing cleaning in areas such as elevators and escalators, handrails, tables, handles, and restrooms, we’ve updated our procedures for guest rooms at our owned-and-operated Walt Disney World hotels. Before arrival, every room will be given an enhanced cleaning and a light cleaning service (including removal of trash and replenishment of towels and amenities) will be offered every other day during the stay.

3. Technology Solutions

We are tapping into Disney innovation to help promote health and safety for our guests and cast members.

  • Disney apps: With the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps our guests already know and love, guests can view hand sanitizer locations, explore digital menus, and more.
  • Limited-contact options: From Mobile Order and cashless payments, to Walt Disney World’s MagicBands and online check-in at select locations, we’re offering technology solutions that can make it easier for our guests to minimize contact and maintain physical distancing.

4. Cast Member Training & Workplace Safety

Safety starts with our cast, and we’ve adopted a number of new policies and practices for cast members at work. 

  • Training: Cast members are receiving additional training on both new measures and the continued importance of personal health and hygiene, such as handwashing and of course, staying home when ill. For some, this includes training on how to help everyone who visits to follow new health and safety measures, including wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing. 
  • Workplace health and safety: We’ve increased the frequency of cleaning in work areas, adjusted our work practices to promote physical distancing, and introduced new protocols for temperature checks and face coverings. 
  • Health screenings: Cast members will self-screen for temperature and symptoms of illness before each shift and will stay home if they are not feeling well.

5. Working Together

Because each of us shares a responsibility for the health of our community, we’re making resources available to make guests aware of our new policies, so they too can do their part.

  • Guest communication: We’re proactively sharing information with guests about what to expect ahead of their visit to support their planning. In our parks and resorts, we have added signage about personal health and hygiene measures, physical distancing, and more. 
  • Following our guidelines: A special group of cast members will also be present in the parks to explain our new procedures, answer questions guests may have, and encourage everyone to follow these measures to promote the well-being of us all.
  • “Together We Can Make Today Incredible” campaign: In June, we introduced “Together We Can Make Today Incredible,” a health and safety campaign that spotlights healthy behaviors featuring fan-favorite characters from the Incredibles animated movies. The campaign emphasizes that everyone has an important role to play in health and safety while engaging guests in a uniquely Disney way.

We’re looking forward to upholding this plan each day, and to the return of our guests and cast members to our parks and resorts. 

The Disney Parks Blog also included a short video summarizing Disney’s commitment.

Commitment and announcements like this is what makes Disney special and why I love this company and the parks.  I hope this sets your mind at ease if you have a trip planned in the near future.  We have a trip planned for early September and it does a lot for my family.

Dining Reservations Now Available to All Walt Disney World Guests with a 60 day Window

All Walt Disney World Guests are now able to make dining reservations up to 60 days in advance.

Below I’ve listed some important details that you’ll need to know:

In-Park Dining
Guests will need valid park admission and a reservation for park entry through the new Disney Park Pass system, as well as a dining reservation, to dine at in-park table-service restaurants. Dining reservations do not guarantee admission to the park.

Disney Resort Hotel Dining
A confirmed dining reservation is required for day Guests (those not staying overnight) and is highly recommended for Guests staying overnight at a Disney Resort hotel.

Disney Springs Dining
Select dining locations at Disney Springs are currently accepting reservations. Check availability and make reservations online now.

Oga’s Cantina Removed from Opening List at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

When Walt Disney World released the list of dining locations that would be open when Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens on July 15th, one location caught us by surprise….Oga’s Cantina.

I for one could not understand this location being open.  Oga’s Cantina has very low capacity and has a rather tight and confined interior space with no outdoor capability.

What might have been the death knell would be the new guidelines that are restricting the sale of alcohol at bars.

Garden Grill Restaurant to Offer Modified Character Experience

The dining location list for EPCOT’s re-opening on July 15th has been updated to include a modified character experience at the Garden Grill.

The restaurant usually features table side appearances by Mickey, Pluto, Chip & Dale. While we are sure that table side appearances will not happen, it isn’t clear what the modified experience will be.  It seems that a walk-through would seem the most likely scenario.

Disney Vacation Club Cancels Moonlight Magic Events

One of the perks of being a Disney Vacation Club member are the exclusive Moonlight Magic events that are hosted at Disney theme parks throughout the year.

These after-hours events are only for Disney Vacation Club members and their guests, giving the DVC community a chance to experience various Disney Parks, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, and the Typhoon Lagoon water park, without the usual crowds.

DVC has announced that they have canceled events scheduled for this summer.

From the Disney Vacation Club website –

“Update: Events Cancelled in June, July and August

With the safety and well-being of our Members, Guests and Cast always top of mind, Disney Vacation Club continues to evaluate our upcoming slate of Membership Magic events and make necessary adjustments. Moonlight Magic events previously scheduled for June (during the park closure period), July and August will be cancelled.

Thank you for your patience and kindness as we all navigate the challenges surrounding COVID-19.”

The full list of cancelled Moonlight Magic events are below –

 

Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf Course Opens at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World has reopened the Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf today for Guests staying at the Walt Disney World Resort.

One of Walt Disney World’s two miniature golf courses, Fantasia Gardens, reopened Saturday without a previous announcement.  Guests will need to reserve a tee time before going by calling (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529.Fantasia Gardens will be open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM.

  • Click here to visit Walt Disney World’s Fantasia Gardens page for more information.

 

‘Mulan’ Gets Release Date Postponed….Again

The Walt Disney Studios has delayed the theatrical release of “Mulan” for a third time, in effect putting an end to Hollywood’s hopes of salvaging a summer movie season.

The live-action remake was slated to be released into theaters on July 24. Instead, “Mulan” will hit the big screen on August 21.

From Walt Disney Studios Disney’s co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn and co-chairman Alan Bergman –

“While the pandemic has changed our release plans for ‘Mulan’ and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance.  Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs — on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”

“Mulan,” which cost $200 million to make, was expected to be popular in China. But Chinese movie theaters are all currently closed, without a known reopening date. Since the release of “Mulan” in China is very important, it would have been risky to release the movie and leave Chinese audiences behind.

This is the third time Disney has delayed the release of “Mulan.”  It was originally set to open on March 27, but was pulled two weeks before as coronavirus began to spread in North America and had already closed down parts of China. The studio moved the film to the end of July, which many found to be an optimistic delay since there was no guarantee that cinemas would be able to reopen to a significant degree by then.

Like the 1998 animated version, “Mulan” follows a warrior who disguises herself as a man to spare her elderly father from having to serve in the military. “Mulan” is the first of Disney’s live-action remakes to be rated PG-13, due to sequences of violence.

D23 Postpones Destination D 2020 Event at Walt Disney World

D23, the official Disney fan club has just announced that it will postpone its”Destination D: Fantastic Worlds” event until 2021.

This event was due to take place in November at Walt Disney World. D23 said that it will now move the event to new year at a date still to be announced. D23 said that it will continue to host exclusive virtual events throughout 2020.

“Destination D: Fantastic Worlds” was supposed to honor Disney’s many magical places, from the extraordinary to the fantastical. In addition, the Walt Disney Archives planned an all-new exhibit to include 50 iconic treasures, representing the 50 years of the Archives.

What this means for the yet announced D23 Expo that is supposed to occur in 2021 is not known at this time.