13 Things to Know Before Going Back to Walt Disney World

Posted on: May 8th, 2020 by

We were at Walt Disney World ONE day before they announced they were closing for a few weeks. We were one of those families still in Orlando as the parks were starting to close down around us. It was like a switch had been flipped. The parks went from being very busy one day to a quite a bit less busy the next day.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge 00015

My family and I know we were very fortunate to have that trip. Since we returned to New Jersey we’ve seen so many of our friends be heartbroken over their Disney World vacations being cancelled. Our trip was before most schools in New Jersey had spring break. Walt Disney World is where A LOT of you were planning to spend your Easter or spring break.

Since that time everyone’s been asking when will Disney World open? Disney Facebook groups have been filled with users making predictions or asking others if the parks will be open before their upcoming scheduled vacation. Together, with our affiliate partner and Disney vacation planner, Get Away Today and the Disney Parks Blog we bring you what we know about when Walt Disney World will reopen and what guests should expect when they go back.

family with grandparents stand on the main strip of Hollywood Studios.
From our first family vacation to Walt Disney World

On Tuesday, May 5, Disney Parks announced a plan for a Phased reopening of Disney Parks around the world. 

We’re looking at all of our locations and how best to begin the reopening process, including a gradual reopening and/or partial reopening of certain locations. For example, the opening of retail and dining locations prior to the opening of our theme parks.

Dr. Pamela Hymel, Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer

13 Things to Know Before Going Back to Walt Disney World

When will Walt Disney World open back up for visitors?

Disney Springs in Orlando will reopen on May 20, 2020. A limited number of stores and restaurants that are owned by third-party operating participants will begin to open during this initial phase of reopening the Walt Disney World Resort.

The rest of Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed, including theme parks and resort hotels. No date has been set for reopening the Walt Disney World parks and hotels. We understand that the openings will happen in phases but we don’t know in which order yet. That being said reservations are still being taken for visits starting on June 1, 2020 or later.

What about the rumor Disney Parks would not open till 2021?

It was just that, a rumor. Disney has not made an official statement and does not have a date when the parks will reopen. Get Away Today is in contact with them daily, and at this time, there is no opening date. We will never share information unless it comes directly from the source. When they know, we’ll know and we’ll share that information with you here.

In the meantime, here is what we know. Walt Disney World Resort is currently accepting new reservations beginning June 1, 2020. There has been no official opening date announced. (Read here.) By doing this, Disney is able to keep things flexible and open as soon as it’s safe to do so.

How will Walt Disney World be different?

Since Disney Springs is opening first, we’ll start there. Disney Springs will begin to reopen in a way that incorporates enhanced safety measures, including increased cleaning procedures, the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests, limited-contact guest services and additional safety training for cast members. Disney Springs will have limitations on capacity, parking and operating hours. Please check  DisneySprings.com as May 20, 2020 approaches for the most current information on operating hours, locations and safety procedures.

There are at least a few ways Walt Disney World will be different too when it opens. Here’s what we know.

Physical distancing and capacity measures

  • Social distancing measures will be in place for queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort.
  • Guest capacity measures that comply with state and federal guidelines will be in place.
  • Disney Parks is also looking for ways to use technology like their Play Disney Parks App and virtual queues at Disneyland and Walt Disney World to aid in their efforts to practice social distancing and limit guest capacity.

Screening and prevention support

Disney Parks will follow guidance from the federal and local government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures for Walt Disney World. Before the parks reopen, they will make a decision regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings. Walt Disney World has already added hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across all their resorts.

Cast training

Disney Parks has built a strong culture of health and safety amongst their cast members. They will provide new training and reinforcement as they get closer to reopening Walt Disney World.

Family picture in front of the Walt Disney World castle

Will everything at Walt Disney World be open?

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will open in stages. During the first phase Disney Springs will open.

One the parks open attractions, experiences, services, and amenities may be modified, have limited availability or remain closed.

How will Walt Disney World keep guests safe?

In addition to practicing social distancing and limiting guest capacity at Disney World, Disney Parks will also take additional efforts to keep guests safe.

Cleanliness and sanitization

Walt Disney World will undergo increased cleaning and disinfection. They are currently determining the high-traffic areas that will needing cleaning more than usual. Team members are also determining the best cleaning products and safest processes to use.

Buzz Lightyear and Woody at Toy Story Land ready to welcome guests when walt disney world opens.

What’s the best way to buy Walt Disney World tickets?

Get Away Today has discounted Walt Disney World tickets! (They are non-refundable but changeable.) The best way to have the most flexibility is to book an onsite stay with tickets as part of a Walt Disney World package. These are changeable and refundable, super flexible. Only $200 down with final payment 30 days prior to travel. We recommend calling into our agents to get these packages booked- 855-438-2929.

Learn about Walt Disney World Layaway plans.

What happens if I change my mind and don’t want to go?

Get Away Today Walt Disney World discounted tickets are non-refundable. You can book a package and receive a full refund if canceled at least 30 days prior.

What happens if Walt Disney World closes again?

Disney has taken amazing care of affected guests and I expect they will continue to do so. Booking with flexibility in mind is a great idea right now.

Will all the hotels open again? When will they open?

We believe they will open, either before or after the parks, but an opening date has not been set yet.

Family picture at Epcot at Walt Disney World

My Walt Disney World Vacation was cancelled. What should I do?

Disney is offering Free Dining to any guest who had a resort room cancelled after March 1, 2020, that was traveling between March 16-May 31, 2020. They must book the Free Dining offer by May 31, 2020, and travel between June 1-September 30, 2020. (If a guest booked non-refundable tickets with Get Away Today and a Disney resort stay on their own they can still help them with this offer.)

Do I have to know my travel dates to reschedule?

No! Get Away Today can leave your total travel credit in your account and can reschedule once you have some time to check your schedule. You’ll just select your account credit as your form of payment when you rebook your vacation.

How far out can I reschedule my Disney World vacation?

Get Away Today will allow you to reschedule with no fees into 2021. They can help you reschedule right away, or if you’re not sure of your travel dates, you can keep your entire travel credit from your 2020 vacation until you’re ready to book.

Group picture of characters at Animal Kingdom

Should I start booking a Walt Disney World family vacation or wait?

Early booking locks in lower prices. For example, guests can save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights through August 31, 2020 when you book through August 31, 2020.  When you book a Walt Disney World package Get Away Today monitors the price and deals so you never miss a special offer! We recommend booking as soon as you know your dates.

Learn about Walt Disney World Layaway plans.

Are there any sales on Walt Disney World tickets or family vacations?

Get Away Today offer discounted tickets. Save up to 25% on Walt Disney World package for June 1-August 31. Early booking for fall is recommended for best price and availability.

As long as seems that Walt Disney World has been closed, remember it’s just been a few weeks AND the closure IS temporary. Walt Disney World will open again, and it will be a celebration!

Jersey Family Fun and Get Away Today want to make sure your Walt Disney World vacation is a dream come true from start to finish. Click over to learn more and book your Disney World family vacation.

Read these great blog posts to help you plan your next trip!

If you would like to start planning your own visit to Walt Disney World when it reopens please contact our friends over at Get Away Today. Not only do they offer layaway plans but if you mention Jersey Family Fun you can receive special discounts. Book at www.getawaytoday.com 24 hours a day or call 855-GET-AWAY 9 am-5 pm MT Monday – Friday. Any trips booked with them helps us earn Disney cash for our own return visit so we are so very thankful when you mention us when booking.

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Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! As her boys transition from tweens to teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 35+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 15+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 10 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

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