Walt Disney World Expands Temperature Screenings

Walt Disney World has expanded its temperature screenings to include some of its resort hotel restaurants.

Prior to this expansion Disney was taking guest temperatures on arrival at Disney Springs and the theme parks.  Now a temperature measurement will also be taken at table service restaurants inside Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

Based on guidance from health authorities, Disney will continue its policy that anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional rescreening and assistance. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.

Walt Disney World Adjusts Re-Opening Schedule of Remaining Resort Hotels

Walt Disney World announced that it will be delaying the re-opening of some of its Walt Disney World resort hotels and cancelling others.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will now re-open on October 4 instead of the previously announced August 12.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will now re-open on November 1 instead of the previously announced August 12.

Disney’s Beach Club and BoardWalk Inn will now remain closed until further notice.

The revised re-opening schedule looks like this:

  • July 29 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • August 24 – Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • September 21 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • October 4 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • October 14 – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • November 1 – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

The following resort hotels do not have free-opening dates:

  • Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

At this time Disney has not specifically stated why the re-opening schedule has been changed, though it’s like due to a lack of demand.

Walt Disney World Updates Mask Policy with More Stringent Requirements

Walt Disney World has updated its mask policy to specifically exclude more varieties of masks.

Apparently since some guests were abusing the language of the former policy Disney had to specifically exclude face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind in addition to neck gaiters, and open-chin triangle bandanas as unacceptable.

Here are the full revised guidelines for masks at Walt Disney World according to the official website –

All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:

  • Be made with at least two layers of breathable material
  • Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free

At this time, Disney has specifically excluded neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind from being acceptable face coverings.

Swan and Dolphin Resort Announce Opening Date

Today the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort announced that they will be opening on July 29th.

While the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be opening tomorrow to be followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15th, and many of Disney resort hotels have been open for a few weeks and most of the rest will be opening within the next few weeks, the Swan and Dolphin Resort had chosen not to open until this announcement.

Sean Verney, the hotel’s new general manager stated in the announcement:

“With the Disney parks reopening, we are thrilled to open our doors again.  We are committed to providing a relaxing and revitalizing experience but doing so in a responsible manner.”

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.

Walt Disney World Releases Full Listing of Theme Park Dining Locations

Walt Disney World has released the full list of dining locations that will be open when the theme parks open in a few weeks.

Magic Kingdom

When Magic Kingdom park reopens on July 11th, the following locations will be available for dining:

Aloha Isle
Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen
Liberty Square Market
Liberty Tree Tavern
Main Street Bakery
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
Pinocchio Village Haus
The Plaza Restaurant
Sleepy Hollow
Storybook Treats
Sunshine Tree Terrace
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park reopens on July 11th, the following locations will be available for dining:

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck
Creature Comforts
Dawa Bar
Dino-Bite Snacks
Flame Tree Barbecue
Harambe Fruit Market
Isle of Java
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Mr. Kamal’s
Nomad Lounge
Pongu Pongu
Rainforest Cafe® at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Restaurantosaurus
Satu’li Canteen
Tamu Tamu Refreshments
Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks
Tiffins Restaurant
Trilo-Bites
Yak & Yeti™ Local Food Cafes
Yak & Yeti™ Restaurant

EPCOT

When EPCOT reopens on July 15th, the following locations will be available for dining:

Biergarten Restaurant
Choza de Margarita
Coral Reef Restaurant
Crepes des Chefs de France
Fife & Drum Tavern
Funnel Cake
Garden Grill Restaurant
Gelati
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Joy of Tea
Kabuki Café
Katsura Grill
L’Artisan des Glaces
La Cantina de San Angel
La Cava de Tequila
La Hacienda de San Angel
The Land Cart
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Popcorn in Canada
Refreshment Outpost
Refreshment Port
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue
Rose & Crown Dining Room
Rose & Crown Pub
San Angel Inn Restaurante
Spice Road Table
Sunshine Seasons
Tangierine Café
Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival kiosks
Traveler’s Café
UK Beer Cart
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

When Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopens on July 15th, the following locations will be available for dining:

50’s Prime Time Café
Anaheim Produce
Backlot Express
BaseLine Tap House
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
The Hollywood Brown Derby
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Milk Stand
Oga’s Cantina at the Walt Disney World Resort
Peevy’s Polar Pipeline
PizzeRizzo
Ronto Roasters
Rosie’s All-American Café
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Sunshine Day Bar
The Trolley Car Café

Walt Disney World Cancels Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Updates International Food and Wine Festival

In an announcement late Thursday, Walt Disney World announced that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would be cancelled and that an abbreviated International Food and Wine Festival would be returning.

Due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, Disney has cancelled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2020. While disappointing, I’m not surprised by this at all.  In fact when MNSSHP wasn’t cancelled when everything else was when Walt Disney World announced their re-opening plans, I was surprised.  I couldn’t see how they could pull off the party adequately when they were canceling parades and fireworks for the parks.  Disney says as much in the announcement….

While assessing another fall special event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Also in the announcement, Walt Disney World has canceled H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, will not take place for the remainder of 2020.

Guests who have already bought tickets to these events will be assisted with refunds over the coming weeks.

With all of this disappointing news, how about some good news?

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will be returning, though in an abbreviated form and with a new name.

In the announcement Disney says –

One staple of the fall season at the Walt Disney World Resort is the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Today, we’re pleased to share that not only have we cooked up a creative, modified festival experience, it will also be our longest festival yet – giving you plenty of time to enjoy “A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!”

This take on the foodie festival will debut July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park.

While announcing the return of the festival, Disney also stated that the “Eat to the Beat Concert Series” will not be returning this year. Disney did add that there will be plenty of music to enjoy at America Gardens Theatre with local EPCOT entertainment such as Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors and more.

Walt Disney World Advises That It May Be Difficult for Annual Passholders to Get Reservations on Re-Opening

As Disney continues to update us as they prepare to re-open the theme parks, Disney has updated the official Walt Disney World website to include details for Annual Passholders during the re-opening of the theme parks.

In the update, Disney advises that it may be difficult for Annual Passholders to get park reservations to visit on certain dates, and that total reservation days held at one time will be limited.  Basically saying that just because guests have an Annual Pass they will not be guaranteed reservations.

Disney also stated that some pass benefits and features will not be available during periods of limited capacity.

The full update to the website is below –

Our Annual Passholders are some of our most loyal and valued Guests. We truly can’t wait to welcome you back—and we will do it with great thought.

With that in mind, when the parks reopen, park capacity will be significantly limited—and may continue to be for a period of time, based on guidance from health experts to promote physical distancing.

We understand how much excitement, thought and time goes into planning your Disney visits and realize some new changes may be disappointing. For example, during this unprecedented time, an annual pass will not guarantee park entry and Annual Passholders will be required to make an advance reservation to enter a park.

Please note that:

During the limited capacity period, it may be difficult for Annual Passholders to get park reservations to visit on certain dates. To help manage capacity, total reservation days held at one time will be limited. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.

Some pass benefits and features will not be available during periods of limited capacity. Also, park experiences and offerings will be modified and subject to limited availability or even closure.

Annual passes are subject to blockout dates. Guests should ensure their pass type is valid for park entry prior to making a park reservation.

As we prepare for the reopening of the parks, we’re planning a special preview opportunity for Annual Passholders. We look forward to sharing details with you soon.

Please know we will be here to help you as we remain focused on delivering a wonderful experience for everyone who visits.

If you have any questions, please contact V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at (407) 939-7277. Options to manage your annual pass continue to be available during the closure period.