DVC Parks and Resorts Update for June 8th

Filed in DVC, Walt Disney World Reopening

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Disney's Riviera Resort

Okay, Disney caught everyone by surprise over the weekend. On Saturday, the company released several updates about the next few months of the reopening phase.

If you intend to visit Walt Disney World this year, you’ll want to read the latest DVC Parks and Resorts update. There’s a LOT to process.

Disney Hotel Stays

Okay, Disney Vacation Club members, I know that you’re excited about your 2020 trip. After half a year of endless horrors, you’re ready for some fun.

Your next hotel stay will be different, though. All the resorts have taken measures to ensure your safety plus the health and well-being of cast members.

In addition to the previous measures that Disney had announced, we received several more on Saturday. You also may have gotten an email update from the company regarding your vacation.

Disney has mailed out what I can only describe as RSVPs, asking guests to confirm, modify, or cancel existing reservations. Hotel managers want an accurate headcount of hotel guests.

Some DVC members have gotten these emails while others haven’t. I suspect it has something to do with cash rooms vs. regular DVC bookings, but that’s just a guess.

The point is that if you received one of these emails, you should fill it out by June 12. Disney needs reliable intel to make the proper decisions regarding staffing and safety.

Along those lines, the company has started a new initiative. You no longer need to go to the lobby when you have questions or issues regarding your hotel stay.

Instead, Disney has introduced virtual chat help on My Disney Experience. You will load the app to chat with a customer service rep for your resort when you have a problem or question.

This new amenity will reduce the number of customer interactions with staff, thereby protecting everyone’s health. Also, it’s much more convenient for DVC members, as we no longer must walk to and from the lobby.

Resort Changes

Your 2020 DVC resort stay will have other changes, too. For starters, let me get this one out of the way. If you’re staying at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, you’re going to be mad.

Disney's Beach Club Resort

The hotel management team has decided not to reopen Stormalong Bay with the rest of the resort. DVC hotels will reopen their pools, just not this one. The quiet pool is still available, and it’s closer for most DVC rooms anyway. Nobody chooses Beach Club for the quiet pool, though.

As a concession, Disney officials have changed pool rules a bit. Beach Club guests may swim at the infamous clown pool at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. Let’s be honest that the Luna Park Pool is a less than satisfactory substitute for the majestic Stormalong Bay, though.

Speaking of which, these leisure pools will operate 24 hours a day. The primary pools at each DVC resort will have shortened hours, though. So, if you’re not already familiar with your hotel’s quiet pool, you’re about to be.

Also, Disney will limit the number of guests at each pool. Don’t be surprised if you arrive, only to learn that the pool is already at capacity. Remember that the early bird gets the worm and plan accordingly.

Other Resort Changes

Some other standard amenities won’t reopen with the resorts, either. For starters, campfires are a non-starter for obvious reasons. In fact, all resorts will reopen with a focus on:

  • “Cleanliness
  • Physical distancing
  • Reduced contact”

So, several necessary changes are in play. I’ll post a full list in a later section, but Disney won’t run the overwhelming majority of its character meals at resorts right now. The lone exception is Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino’s Terrace. Everything else is unavailable for now.

Resorts also won’t offer amenities like fun runs, fireworks cruises, special classes, and in-room childcare. Also, the Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and hula lessons at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are unavailable.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

There’s a common sense aspect to all of this. If something requires touching or excessive personal interaction, it’s a bad idea right now.

Regarding Transportation

One of the most pressing questions about Walt Disney World right now involves transportation. Guests have loudly wondered which systems will and will not operate during the pandemic.

Disney finally provided some illumination on this topic. First, Magical Express will run to and from the airport. If you’re brave enough to fly during the pandemic, Disney wants to reward you by maintaining this amenity.

The Magic Express at Disney World

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

Once you’re at the resort, transportation availability depends on when you’re visiting. Until the parks reopen on July 11, resorts will operate buses. However, the only destination is Disney Springs.

Theoretically, you could do a bit of Resort Hopping by going to Disney Springs and then taking a bus to another DVC property. This process would take a while, though.

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the aggravation by using Minnie Vans. Disney will not bring back this service during the current pandemic environment, which is smart. It’s too difficult to protect the health of guests and cast members in such an enclosed space.

When the parks reopen, Disney states that: “complimentary transportation will also be provided between your Disney Resort hotel and Disney theme parks.”

The update adds that: “Transportation will operate with physical distancing measures in place, reducing capacity. As a result, you may experience delays.”

Monorails and ferryboats will operate when the parks reopen. Based on current information, they won’t reopen until July 11, though. If you’re staying at a monorail resort, you should account for this change.

During a June 2020 trip, there are an unusual number of reasons why you may prefer to drive rather than rely on local transportation. A rental car is a possibility as well, but that depends on your pandemic concerns.

Regarding Park Attendance and Park Hopping

Prepare to shoot the messenger. You aren’t going to like this update at all.

Disney just confirmed that staying at an official resort doesn’t guarantee park admission. Historically, when you stay at a Disney hotel like a DVC property, you get terrific perks like Extra Magic Hours. During the pandemic, you may not even get into the park.

As you know, Disney will employ a reservation system when the parks reopen. To give everyone a fair chance, this system won’t favor any guest, even one staying at an official resort.

So, a park admission ticket isn’t enough in the short term. You must book a reservation, too. And this statement applies to annual passholders, also. In fact, if you’re an annual passholder, the latest development is terrible news.

Sharing statue empty pre park opening at Magic Kingdom Disney World

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

You previously paid for park admission as often as you would like and probably Park Hopper ability. Well, Park Hopping isn’t available during the pandemic, either.

Once again, this change circles back to fairness. Disney wants guests to have a chance to visit one of the four parks. An annual passholder could theoretically request/book tickets to all four gates if park officials allowed that. It would mess up the count and cause needless confusion.

To combat this problem, Disney has eliminated all Park Hopping functionality for the time being. If you’re like me and have an annual pass, you’re not thrilled by this news. However, we all must be understanding regarding what Disney’s trying to do when faced with an impossible circumstance.

Regarding Disney Restaurants

Are you wondering which Disney resort restaurants will return soon? Park officials had been cagey about plans for their eateries. Then, the leaks started last week.

Since then, Disney has released the complete list of reopening restaurants at/near DVC resorts. Here’s the full list:

The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

  • Crockett’s Tavern
  • Meadow Snack Bar
  • P & J’s Southern Takeout

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • Maji Pool Bar
  • The Mara
  • Sanaa
  • Sanaa Lounge

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Beach Club Marketplace
  • Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
  • Martha’s Vineyard

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

  • AbracadaBar
  • BoardWalk Bakery
  • Leaping Horse Libations
  • Pizza Window
  • Screen Door General Store
  • Trattoria al Forno

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Cove Bar
  • Contempo Café
  • The Wave… of American Flavors
  • The Wave Lounge

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Beaches Pool Bar & Grill
  • Enchanted Rose
  • Gasparilla Island Grill
  • Grand Floridian Café

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

  • Good’s Food to Go
  • Gurgling Suitcase Libations & Spirits
  • Olivia’s Cafe

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Barefoot Pool Bar
  • Cook’s
  • Kona Café
  • Pineapple Lanai

Disney’s Riviera Resort

  • Bar Riva
  • Le Petit Café
  • Primo Piatto
  • Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  • The Artist’s Palette
  • On the Rocks
  • The Paddock Grill

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Geyser Point Bar & Grill
  • Roaring Fork
  • Whispering Canyon Café

So, no matter where you’re staying, you’ll have at least three dining/drinking options. It’s not as many as you’re used to having, but it’s a decent first step.

Also, with the bus transportation available to and from Disney Springs, you will have dynamic meal opportunities during your DVC stay.

Miscellaneous Disney News

I realize that we’ve already covered a lot. Disney news is fast and furious right now. However, there are still a couple of important updates to mention.

Most importantly, if you live in the tri-state area, you need to be aware of something. Florida’s governor just announced a new quarantining rule. Anyone traveling from Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York to Florida is subject to a 14-day quarantine.

This rule was previously in place. However, the governor just extended it through July 7. As such, it could disrupt your plans to visit Walt Disney World in June. You can read the details here and make your own decision about traveling to Florida.

Also, there’s movement in Hong Kong. The South China Morning Post reports that the city’s two major theme parks will reopen soon. Ocean Park will return this Saturday, June 13.

The Haunted Mansion at Hong Kong Disneyland

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

I waited on this update in hopes that I could give you an exact date on Hong Kong Disneyland. Alas, all the report states is that “Disneyland resort on Lantau Island will also resume operations soon, though a specific date has not been released.”

Finally, in unsurprising news, DVC has canceled the Moonlight Magic event scheduled for June 29 at EPCOT. Since the park won’t reopen until July 15, this decision was expected.

Disney hasn’t announced anything about any ticketed events for the rest of 2020. So, we’re all still waiting on the other shoe to drop here.

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