More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Plans Unveiled for the Phased Reopening of Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Throughout these past few months, we’ve been touched by the outpouring of support from our guests and fans around the world who’ve shared their favorite Disney memories and even replicated their favorite attractions at home. Everyone who has ever visited a Disney theme park has their own special connection to these magical worlds and the amazing cast members who bring that magic to life.  

Following the recent reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, we’re pleased to share that more Disney magic is coming back. Today, we submitted a proposal to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida describing our approach for a phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort theme parks planned to begin on July 11. 

Pending Orange County and state approval, our Walt Disney World Resort proposal plans for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. In preparing to reopen during this unusual time, we have to manage our theme parks in a very different way from what we’ve known before. As we begin to reach out to our cast members and call them back to work, they will be focused on operating our parks in a responsible way that continues to give our guests opportunities to create magical Disney memories. 

This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. That means certain experiences we know draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in our parks to entertain and delight our guests. 

Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as we welcome guests back to the magic, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations). Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold; we’ll be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. We will resume new ticket sales and hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.

Additionally, Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15. Plans to support required physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning measures, along with a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols, will be implemented as part of this planned phased reopening. 

Today, our World of Disney retail shop reopened at our Disney Springs shopping and dining complex at Walt Disney World. And in the coming weeks, Disney stores will begin a phased reopening of operations globally, beginning with a select number of stores in the United States, in addition to stores in Europe and Japan. 

We’re looking forward to reopening our theme parks, Disney Resort hotels and stores and doing so in a responsible way. In this spirit, our destinations will continue to follow enhanced safety protocols based upon applicable guidance from health authorities and government agencies. As we all must work together to promote the health and safety of everyone, cast members as well as guests 2 years of age and older will be required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. All guests will also undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park; cast members will also have temperature checks. Cashless transactions are recommended, and cleaning and disinfection procedures will be increased in high-traffic areas. 

Additional information on enhanced health and safety measures and operational changes for reopening locations will be shared soon. These policies are under continuous review and are subject to change as we monitor conditions and receive guidance from health and government authorities. 

We’re being deliberate during these phased reopenings, and we’re encouraged by how our guests are responding at Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs. We’re doing our part, and we need our guests to do their part, too, as we work together to focus on safety.

For reservation updates click here.

Please note that this post will be updated based on the latest information and guidance from health authorities and appropriate government agencies.


  • I had a resort and dining booked beginning June 8 for our honeymoon, but cancelled once the announcements came out that the parks wouldn’t be open. Does this mean that since I cancelled, I don’t count as someone with an existing reservation that can rebook? We moved our wedding to September and are trying to rebook our resort.

  • Could we also hopefully get an update on the Fall Marathon so we can plan accordingly.

  • Who do I contact about moving my tickets I have tried calling many times and I am unable to get through.

  • What about those who have existing reservations for non-Disney owned resorts on property such as Swan and Dolphin?

  • Glad to see this Disney. We had plans to visit for a week at end of August. We’ll change our plans if the mask requirement is still in place.

  • With the suspension of purchasing park tickets, if we have a resort reservation already made, but did not purchase park tickets yet, will we be able to purchase them for the dates of our resort reservation for sure? Also if we have reservations for dining and such already scheduled for a park, will that put us on the reservation list for the park for that day already or no? Im sure these are questions that will be asked a lot and will have answers for in the future. But I figure wouldn’t hurt to post what I am wondering to maybe help compile a list of FAQ’s

  • How would this affect our park hopper tickets? Can we “reserve” more than one park a day during our vacation?

  • So very glad to hear, we have complete confidence that due diligence is been done to keep everyone safe. This will be a light to so many right now!

  • Thank you for the update. Do you know or can you release any information on the Disney Water Parks, as well as being able to park hop? I am a Florida resident as well as Annual Passholder.

  • What about existing hotel reservations not DVC?

  • I’m a water park annual pass holder. Any opening dates for the water parks? thanks!

  • Will We be able to purchase annual passes at this time?

  • Besides being the happiest place on Earth, it has also been one of the Cleanest places on Earth , and I am sure that the Disney Family will show the utmost diligence to keep their Guests Healthy Wealthy and Wise, thank you for the update and we will hopefully see you soon.

  • What about the water parks?

  • My AP would have expired during the pandemic. Is it still valid, if so for how long?

  • Someone mentioned:
    I believe in Shanghai, they’re extending APs not only for the # of closed days, but also the # of days they’ll require the reservations. Hoping they do the same here.

    If my they start the clock again on our AP, but not allowing me to go to the water parks, would not quite, be fair. To be fair I will wait and see.

  • How will this effect season pass holders that bought the upgraded pass to be able to go more summer days and have photo passes? Without reservations I assume we can’t get in and I am sure we can’t all be accommodated. Also it is not fun having a picture of people with most of their faces covered, since you can’t really tell who it ism Are their plans to compensate those people?

  • Will current reservation holders be able to purchase park tickets? We have DVC trip planned for August and 3 people already have annual pass vouchers but the 4th does not. When will she be able to buy a ticket?

  • Thank you for this information. We have reservations and tickets for the beginning of August. We will change our plans if the face mask requirement is still in-place.

  • What about College program individuals who were to arrive in August?

  • What about the Disney College Program individuals who were to arrive in August? Are they still good to go?

  • Is there any idea as to when Gov. DeSantis will lift the travel restrictions for travelers flying into Florida from NY, NJ and Connecticut?

  • Will restaurants and transportation be available for DVC guests on-site starting June 22, but before the parks open?

  • Can you tell me when the mask ordinance will end?

  • I have existing resort reservations but was waiting to buy park tickets when I knew for sure the parks would be open. Will I be able to buy tickets for my stay?

  • Thrilled to see that sense of life and normalcy returning.
    REALLY HOPING that beginning of September the Parks will be fully up and operational and no issues with dining reservations or fast passes or resort reservations.
    We are on vacation 2.0 since May 2020 was cancelled so we just cannot rebook again, just can’t happen for us if it does. It was a Herculean effort for us to swap and switch and get it for September.
    I understand it is a HUGE production getting all the Parks and Resorts coordinated and staffed so KUDOS to WDW et al for getting it together and let’s hope and pray and wish on some PIXIE DUST that all goes smoothly and we can relax and have fun at WDW again…we know we LIVE for our vacation there and now more than ever, WE REALLY NEED THIS VACATION! <3 WDW!

  • What about the water parks.

  • Thank you for this info. We purchased our new APs several months before the current crisis. We rescheduled our May trip to late September, and are hopeful that we’ll be able to visit once again soon. Once WDW opens fully, am I correct in assuming that we’ll be able to convert our certificate to valid APs as we’ve done in the past.

  • When are the waterparks reopening?

  • Will AP be able to make reservations with a guest who only holds a Discover Disney ticket? The ticket was purchased before the shutdown.

  • Thank you, WDW, for helping to ensure that families can have a good time while staying healthy AND keeping others healthy. Really appreciate the thoughtfulness going into reopening! Also, my entire family thanks you for the face-covering requirement, especially knowing how many people throughout the world work and play at your complex. It is great to see the planet coming together in this way for the greater good.

  • Will they contact us if our plans were to attend Epcot only for 5 days and now it’s not open on all of our dates?

  • Great news! I appreciate the care and consideration you are taking to open safely. Face masks have been proven to help reduce virus transmission and are not a political statement, so I will wear one and comply with any other instructions given to make WDW a safe and magical place for all guests.

  • Very curious about Water Parks & Mini Golf??

  • You have no idea how I feel about your reopening plans. My family have been Disney Nuts for years visiting about every 2 years last visit was 2019 after I recovered from losing a kidney to cancer in February. We had plans of visiting in 2021 and it’s nice to know your opening up. Even with the reduce park capacity and other safety issues you are putting in place it is still Disney World and it will be a great visit. Thank you for this decision I hope the Orange County folks will trust you to do the right thing and allow you to open up.

  • How will the park reservation system affect parkhopping?

  • Does anybody know anything about attractions such as Monsters Inc Laugh Floor and Turtle Talk With Crush?

  • I had our annual plans for the 1st week in May and…😒. I was hit by a truck in September 2019 and had just started to walk without a cane and Disney had been my rehab goal for those 7+ months. I’m looking forward to May 2021 and hopefully we’ll get our 20th trip in then.

  • sooooo happy! See ya real soon!

  • Have reservations for August 30, 2020. If masks are required, we will cancel. Hopefully we know in time to cancel.

  • What does this mean for Galaxy’s Edge and the Savi’s Workshop experience? One of the reasons I’m ready to go back to the park is I need to Fix my defective Lightsaber I got over 4 months ago!!!

  • We have plans to go during the last week in August. If masks are required, we will be canceling our plans and will not return to WDW until the mask requirement is lifted in full.

  • Do Armed Forces Salute ticket vouchers count as purchased tickets? We are AP but my parents are not. We were originally scheduled to be there next week to celebrate our daughter’s high school graduation and moved all of our reservations to the week of July 19th. Their ticket vouchers are not activated yet (since you have to do that at a customer service window) but they are all loaded into MDE and assigned to them.

  • I have reservation at an on resort hotel but haven’t bought tickets will we still be able to get tickets into the park?

  • I think I read no parades, no fireworks, nothing where it will draw a crowd… I don’t know if I want to go and not be able to have the full experience in August… and wear a mask. It would be nice if the mask was optional and I think it will be hot

  • We have reservations for July 20-27th at Disney Resort and FastPasses have already been selected. Will we be granted reservations for the parks on the days for which we have already scheduled Fast Passes? Getting ready to book dining reservations at parks.

  • I love Disney World and have been there many many times since 1976 as the parks have expanded over the years, but my family will not be back until things are back to normal, no “new normal”, but the way it was before. I understand this is the way that they are allowing you to re open, and I hope there are plenty of EMT’s stationed all over the park for the passing out that will happen in the Florida heat and humidity. See you whenever things are normal again.

  • Will there be any changes to the Guest with Cognitive disabilities policies

  • Im not coming down in the summer to wear a mask that doesn’t do anything to protect anyone anyway. I have allergies/asthma and can wear a mask and a autistic child that will not wear a mask

  • Thank you Disney for the mask requirement and other vital safety measures. Despite all claims to the contrary, the experts agree masks are indeed essential in protecting ourselves from the spread of this virus, as I’m sure you know given the fact you have a lot of medical professionals in your company. My family can’t wait to return to the parks!

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