Walt Disney World Reopening During Coronavirus Pandemic

Today I am going to discuss the reopening policies at Walt Disney World. I am including a link to dive a little further, as well as putting my personal thoughts about the subject. You don’t have to agree with me at all. I am welcoming discussion and your thoughts on this topic as well. As long as we keep it peaceful and keep the magic alive. 😉

My brother, myself, Chip, and my mom. 1996

When Walt Disney World reopens there will be plenty of changes to the way we usually go about things:

  1. Guests are required to wear face coverings.
  2. There will be a much smaller capacity in the parks.
  3. Guests are required to have a reservation to get into the park which can be obtained from the My Disney Experience account.
  4. Both dining plans and Fastpass+ reservations are suspended for the time being.
  5. Most restaurants will be closed.
  6. We are unaware of which resorts will be opening and when. All we know is that by June 22nd the Disney Vacation Club Resorts as well as Fort Wilderness will be open.

So, let’s dive into the dining plan first, since that seems to be a topic of high priority. Walt Disney World began offering the dining plan to guests staying at a Walt Disney owned and operated resort in 2005. If you traveled to Walt Disney World from 1965-2004 such a thing did not exist. For the time being we are going back to the way things were before we became technologically advanced, and dare I say it a little impatient?

From this, I am going to move onto booking dining reservations. At this time, Walt Disney World has changed the reservation system. Advanced Dining Reservations are no longer booked at the 180-day mark. You can make your Advanced Dining Reservations 60 days before your dining experience, much like the dining reservation system at Disneyland. I personally like this system much better. Being an authorized Disney vacation planner, I book my clients’ dining reservations for them, and I have had several tell me in the past, “I don’t know what I want to eat 6 months from now, this is so stressful!” I completely agree, especially if you are going to Disney for the first time. I think it is much better to decide what you would like to eat 60 days in advance than 6 months in advance. Again, this is my personal thoughts and opinions, and we don’t know how long these procedures will be in effect. For a full list of updated policies and procedures, click here.

Stroll down memory lane: I remember going to Walt Disney World on my high school senior trip. We didn’t dine at many table service restaurants, but we did dine at 50’s Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom, and Teppan Edo in Epcot. When we were ready to eat, we just walked up to the restaurant, put our names in for a table, and waited for a few minutes like you would do at any other restaurant.

On to the Fastpass+ system. The Fastpass+ system began at Walt Disney World in 1999. It was originally a ticket system, which has now been upgraded to the My Disney Experience App and Magic Bands. Before Fastpass+ reservations, everyone waited in line and took their turn on their favorite attractions. Although I must add Walt Disney World was not the mega theme park it is today.

Let’s move on to safety. The Walt Disney Co. has repeatedly said the safety of its guests and employees is of the highest importance. Guests and Cast Members are required to wear face coverings at all times unless seated to eat or while swimming. Things that will draw a crowd such as fireworks, Extra Magic Hours, and the Electrical Water Pageant will all be suspended temporarily. Experiences such as day cares, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and Mermaid School are also suspended temporarily.

When I first received notice of these new policies, I was a little taken-aback and upset, but now I am getting used to the idea that Walt Disney World doesn’t have to be so much planning all the time. That is why some people are hesitant when it comes to booking a Disney vacation. There is a lot to think about if you want your vacation planned to the “T”. If you take away dining reservations and Fastpass+ reservation, and just show up and wing it, that may make some of us a little nervous, or take the fun out of it for us planners, but think about waking up and saying, “Hm.. Where do you want to go today, Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios?”

How do you feel about these new policies? Do you think they will be in effect for long?

-M

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