Global Disney Parks and Resorts Opening Status: May 28th
We finally know when Walt Disney World theme parks will return, which is not the only terrific news. Three different Disney parks have inched closer to reopening. Also, Disney Vacation Club members have newfound clarity about our 2020 vacations.
Here’s the global parks and resorts status update for May 28, 2020.
Disney Park Status:
|Resort||Locations Currently Open||Is Country/State Open|
|Walt Disney World||Currently in Phase One of Reopening (started on May 4, expanded on May 11)|
|Disneyland Resort||Can Reopen during Stage 3|
Hotel reservations canceled through July 1
|Currently in Stage Two of Reopening (started on May 8, expanded on May 14)|
|Disneyland Paris||Reservations canceled through July 14||State of emergency through July 10|
|Hong Kong Disneyland||Yes|
Walt Disney World
I thought the most significant news this week would be the reopening of Disney stores at Disney Springs. And that definitely happened.
Some guests waited for more than three hours to visit the World of Disney. They happily left the store as they carried giant bags of new Disney merchandise. And everything seemed right with the world again.
However, the big story escalated quickly. On Tuesday, Disney held a successful onsite walkthrough of its theme parks. Afterward, the company updated the Orange County mayor’s office about the situation.
At this time, Disney declared that it would present reopening plans the following morning. On Wednesday at 10 a.m., the government’s YouTube channel spiked from its usual 50 viewers to around 5,500 as curious onlookers watched and hoped.
Jim McPhee, the Senior Vice-President of Operations at Walt Disney World, revealed that Disney will reopen two of its parks on July 11. As the above chart indicates, Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will return first.
Four days later, on July 15, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will reopen. So, we’re about six weeks away from the return of all Walt Disney World theme parks.
However, DVC members can return even sooner. The Walt Disney World DVC properties will begin operating on June 22. They’ll be joined by Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Now, some DVC vacationers have questioned the value of opening the resorts three weeks before the parks. I presume that Disney believes some owners will want to get out of the house and hang out at their favorite Walt Disney World resort, even if the parks are closed.
Also, Universal Orlando Resort will have all its parks running by this time. So, that’s an option, too.
Really, who cares about the small stuff, though? Magic Kingdom will come back in six weeks!!!
The Happiest Place on Earth remains closed for now. Park officials stated the other day that they have no official return date for Disneyland yet.
Despite this proclamation, the recent news is quite positive at Disneyland Resort. A recent report in the OC Register indicates that state officials will allow Disneyland to reopen during Stage 3.
This is the wonderful moment when I tell you that California could enter Stage 3 sometime in June. So, the return of Disneyland may come after Walt Disney World’s reopening.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirmed much of this during a CNN interview. Here’s the pertinent quote:
“Once again, we’re taking our guidance from the local government, both the Orange County government as well as the state of California. And they’ll be advising us when we can reopen.
We just learned this week that we’ll be in stage three as determined in the state of California, which I think is good news for fans of Disneyland. But specifically when that will be will be a function of how that’s all interpreted and we’ll work with our state and local officials to make sure that’s done in a responsible way as well.”
Tokyo Disneyland and Other Parks
The third Disney park that received good news is the one that the Oriental Land Company owns and operates. Tokyo Disney Resort will reopen all the closed establishments at its popular shopping district on June 1.
Called Ikspiari, this entertainment complex had closed all but three essential stores. Thankfully, the shutdown will end at the start of the month, and that’s not the end of the positives.
The government rescinded the state of emergency for Tokyo. Also, Universal Studios Japan (USJ) can return whenever it wants. The park received the okay from Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura.
Tokyo’s in a slightly different situation than Osaka. Still, the belief is that one park will open soon after the other. So, if USJ is ready, Tokyo Disney Resort shouldn’t be far behind.
At the other two Disney parks, the news is good and bad. Disneyland Paris remains in a holding pattern for now. The government just declared that theme parks can return as soon as June 22, though. This information broke right at deadline but seems extremely positive.
Meanwhile, the situation in Hong Kong has taken an alarming turn. The U.S. Secretary of State testified before Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous. Disney appears prepared to reopen Hong Kong Disneyland. Understandably, park officials are waiting for the political turmoil to calm down first, though.
Disney Vacation Club
The first DVC resorts to return won’t be the ones at Walt Disney World.
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort return to operations on June 15. Several readers had inquired about these two properties, presumably because the idea of spending a week at/near a beach sounds lovely right now. So, this news is welcome.
The head of DVC, Terri Schultz, emailed DVC members with an update. I’ll paste the entirety of it in a moment. However, the critical takeaway here is that two DVC resorts aren’t ready to return.
Disney has pumped the brakes on The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas. DVC’s leadership team has (correctly) decided that it doesn’t make sense to open a Disneyland resort when the park doesn’t have a return date yet.
As for Aulani, the situation has undeniably improved in Japan and the United States. These two countries have many tourists who visit Hawaii. With air travel so unpopular right now, Aulani likely doesn’t have enough demand to justify opening.
Bob Chapek has stressed in multiple interviews that the company won’t reopen anything that would lose money. Everything must have a positive cash flow right now. So, that’s the likely explanation here.
The DVC Member Letter
Here is the full text of the letter that Schultz sent to DVC members:
“Dear Disney Vacation Club Member,
A little more than two months ago, I shared with you the details of our company’s plans to temporarily close our parks and resorts, pause cruises and make other changes because of COVID-19. While this time apart has been challenging for all of us, physical-distancing efforts around the globe have helped slow the spread of the virus and have allowed Disney to plan for a gradual reopening.
We began earlier this month with the phased reopening of Shanghai Disneyland and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. Today, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced additional plans including the expected reopening of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort on June 15 and all Disney Vacation Club properties at the Walt Disney World Resort on June 22.
This is fantastic news and yet another positive step forward – for our Members, guests and our Disney teams.
As we prepare to welcome you home, we have assessed every aspect of the resort experience – from pre-arrival to housekeeping to recreation – with your safety and that of our Cast Members as our top priority. A summary of what you can expect during your next visit is posted on the Disney Parks Blog. Some of the operational adjustments include:
Enhanced cleaning of all rooms prior to arrival, including additional measures for dishware and appliances for Disney Vacation Club units, along with the standard Disney Vacation Club housekeeping services during your stay
Increased cleaning and sanitization in high-traffic areas
New hand-sanitizing stations in key areas
Physical distancing at restaurants, lobbies, pools, fitness centers and other public areas, including reducing capacity where appropriate
Our Members and guests will also play an important role in helping prevent the spread of illness. Like our Cast, all Members and guests will be asked to wear face coverings in public resort areas when not eating or drinking and to respect physical distancing. Members and guests are also strongly encouraged to check in remotely through the My Disney Experience app, frequently wash their hands and use cashless payment options. More details about these operational adjustments, including offerings that may remain temporarily suspended at individual resorts, are available online at disneyworld.com. While these adjustments may make the places you call “home” feel a little different for the time being, we will continue to make adjustments as the situation evolves.
As you may be aware, it was also announced today that Walt Disney World Resort submitted a proposal to government officials in Florida describing our approach for a phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort theme parks planned to begin on July 11. Reopening dates for The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa as well as Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas, Ko Olina Hawai’i have not been determined, and we will share updates about those resorts just as soon as we’re able. Members wishing to alter their existing resort reservations may do so online at disneyvacationclub.com or contact Member Services for assistance.
Finally, as part of our continued efforts to provide flexibility during these uncertain times, we are further changing and extending our temporary policies regarding expiring points. April, June and now August, September and October 2019 Use Year points that are set to expire in 2020 and that were used for reservations during the closure period will be extended for one year from the current expiration date. Additionally, April, June and now August, September and October 2018 Use Year points that were banked into 2019 Use Years and used for these reservations will now all expire November 30, 2020. This temporary policy only includes expiring points that were used to book a stay arriving between March 12 and the end of the closure period and that involve a reservation cancelled after February 29. Additional information on these policies is available at disneyvacationclub.com.
All of us at Disney Vacation Club thank you, not only for your patience and understanding but for the many well wishes we’ve received during our closure. The reopening of these resorts is an encouraging step forward, and our Cast couldn’t be happier to welcome you home. To borrow words from a familiar tune, there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow is just a dream away!
See you real soon,
Terri A. Schultz
Senior Vice President
Disney Vacation Club, Guided Adventures & Expeditions and Golden Oak”
Obviously, that’s a lot to process, but it does provide a road map for what will happen next for DVC members.