Global Disney Parks and Resorts Opening Status: June 13th
We finally have clarity about when Disneyland Resort will reopen. Also, we know more about Walt Disney World’s plans and procedures. And Disney sent a thoughtful note to annual passholders.
Here’s the latest global parks and resorts reopening update for June 13, 2020.
Disney Park Status:
|Resort||Locations Currently Open||Is Country/State Open|
|Walt Disney World||
||Currently in Phase Two of Reopening (started on June 5)|
||Currently in Stage Three of Reopening (started on June 12)|
|Disney Vacation Club||
|Disneyland Paris||Reservations canceled through July 14||State of emergency through July 10
|Hong Kong Disneyland||
|Tokyo Disneyland||Entire Ikspiari Shopping District (reopened on June 1)||Yes|
Okay, here’s the best news we’ve had thus far. The Happiest Place on Earth will reopen on July 17. If that date sounds familiar, it should.
Disney has fittingly chosen the 65th anniversary of Disneyland for the park’s reopening date. Back in 1955, nobody could have possibly seen this turn of events coming, but here we are.
Disneyland won’t be the first part of the campus to reopen, though. Downtown Disney will return on July 9, which means that we’re less than four weeks away from a part of Disneyland’s reopening.
On July 17, both Disney parks in North America will operate simultaneously for the first time since March 14. That will be an excellent day for Disney fans and especially Disney Vacation Club members.
Speaking of which, owners and possible guests at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa received some clarity. The resort will finally return in July, too.
The odd part is the date. Disney won’t reopen the Grand Californian or Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel until July 23. So, the parks will operate for several days without available Disney resort accommodations. That’s the first time something like this has happened since, well, 1971.
Also, the Disneyland Hotel won’t reopen with the other two Disney resorts. The company hasn’t confirmed a timeline for its return.
The reopening date for Disneyland fits perfectly with previous indicators. Disney stopped accepting reservations until July 1 and then pushed that back until July 15. So, a July 17 return makes total sense given the historical significance of the date.
More About the Reopening
If you’ve scheduled a Disneyland trip in 2020, you will understand a few changes. As with Walt Disney World, safety measures will alter your vacation.
Disneyland Resort will require reservations to enter either theme park. And yes, Disney California Adventure will return on July 17, too. Presuming that the rules are the same as in Orlando, a resort stay won’t guarantee park admission. And Park Hopping isn’t likely, either.
Those last two statements are speculation rather than fact. Thus far, Disney officials have remained tight-lipped on the subject. Here’s the pertinent text from the Parks Blog:
“Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited to comply with governmental requirements and promote physical distancing, the Disneyland Resort will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests, including Annual Passholders, to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. Theme park reservations will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon. At this time, there will also be a temporary pause on new ticket sales and Annual Passport sales and renewals. Additional details will be available soon. Please check Disneyland.com for the most current information.
Once approved, the Disneyland Resort will reopen with enhanced health and safety measures. In addition, a Guest Experience Team will be available throughout the parks and Downtown Disney District to assist guests with questions regarding these new policies.
Certain experiences that draw large group gatherings—such as parades and nighttime spectaculars—will return at a later date. While character meet and greets will be temporarily unavailable, characters will be in the parks in new ways to entertain and delight guests.”
So, your 2020 visit will be unlike any that you’ve ever had before. Please keep in mind that anything is better than nothing, though. Some early rumors—which I never believed—suggested that Disneyland wouldn’t reopen until 2021.
Hedge fund managers and securities exchange analysts spouted these statements as fact. To their embarrassment, Disneyland will return around the midpoint in the year. That’s almost six months of bonus Disney relative to some expectations!
A lower capacity Disneyland with social distancing measures in place is vastly superior to a closed one. This turn of events is serendipitous. We’re only a month away from the return of both American Disney parks!
Walt Disney World Health Update
Let’s begin with the bad news and then turn the conversation around in a bit.
Yes, Florida has reported more coronavirus cases this week. In fact, the number of new cases on June 11 was the highest yet. Florida listed 1,698 new instances.
Over the past seven days, Florida has passed the 60,000 level and may reach 70,000 by the time you read this. That’s obviously an alarming growth rate.
However, the governor of Florida has stated the following:
“It is common sense to anticipate that [sic] more we test the more we will find COVID positive individuals.”
This quote from last week included a revelation that the state has tested more than 250,000 people to date.
So, there’s some truth to the fact that more testing leads to more positive tests. Unfortunately, Orange County claimed its highest total on Thursday as well, 128 new cases.
Here’s a pertinent quote from the Orlando Sentinel:
“We’re on our way up,” said Dr. Raul Pino, the state health department’s officer in Orange County. “There’s no other way to describe it.”
In case you’re wondering, the mayor of Orange County explicitly stated that he wouldn’t shut down the city again. Instead, he called on residents in the area to practice social distancing measures more diligently.
So, everyone should go back to taking this seriously as we prepare for the parks to reopen.
Walt Disney World Status Update
Disney has updated several aspects of park and resort visits. If you’re heading to Walt Disney World this year, you should be aware of the significant changes.
For starters, your hotel reservation won’t guarantee park admission on a given day. For that matter, your annual pass won’t, either. Disney will limit the number of guests and employ a reservation system.
This lottery process will favor non-Orlando vacationers over residents in the city. Even as Disney announces this, I feel confident that the company will take care of its most loyal guests, DVC members. We’re merely awaiting a clarifying announcement right now.
If you do receive a reservation for the parks, your next visit still may feel different if you’re a Park Hopper. Disney won’t allow anyone to visit multiple parks on the same day during the pandemic. With a limited number of available admissions, it would be a greedy action.
More About Walt Disney World 2020 Visits
On the plus side, Magical Express will run, ensuring that you’ve got a free ride from the airport. Similarly, when the parks reopen, transportation will be readily available. The lone announced change thus far is that Minnie Vans won’t be running for now.
Disney hasn’t officially confirmed monorails or the Disney Skyliner yet. However, the wording of the press releases strongly hints at their return.
Also, I want to stress that these options are available when the parks reopen. If you’re visiting in June or early July, your only free transportation option is a bus to/from Disney Springs. Please be aware of that.
Character dining is also a no-go right now…with one exception. Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera will still host Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends. The character interactions will be modified, though. Disney hasn’t detailed how yet.
Finally, as I mentioned the other day, My Disney Experience will provide a new, long overdue service. A live chat feature will allow you to interact with a cast member through the app.
This person can answer all your DVC resort/park questions, alleviating you of the need to go to the lobby. Disney should have added this functionality five years ago, but it’s better late than never.
A Message from Disney to Passholders
Finally, Disney got around to thanking its annual passholders this week. This move was long overdue, as many of us had felt extensive frustrations regarding several elements of Disney communications during the pandemic.
Thankfully, the message hits the right notes and feels sincere. Here’s the text:
“Dear Valued Passholder,
Soon it’ll be time to return to the enchantment. To laugh. To wish. To dream. To once again sing along with a small world. Journey to a galaxy far, far away. Conquer Everest. And sail through a Frozen land.
But first, we wanted to offer our most sincere thanks. For your patience. For your trust. For always keeping the magic in your hearts. And for being some of our most cherished fans.
As we adjust to these unprecedented times, the Theme Park experience will understandably be different from what it was when you last visited. At least for the time being. But one very important thing will remain the same: the magic will still be there. And we could all use some of that!
Thanks again. For everything.
We’ll be sure to stay in touch. Sincerely, Your Walt Disney World Resort Family”
One final note: I don’t have any new updates about Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, or Hong Kong Disneyland. However, all three parks could declare a reopening date at any moment now. Rumors and official announcements both suggest all three parks are nearly ready to move forward.
Okay, that’s everything this week. Please go back to taking the pandemic seriously, everyone. I don’t want any of you to get sick and have to miss your next Disney trip because of it.