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.


  • We have been saving & planning this trip for years! Disney resort reservations booked, airlines booked, Park tickets purchased, and vacation approved from work. Coordinating our vacation takes a lot of work. Hate to think if we have to cancel our vacation and our military tickets are nonrefundable. We are hoping that we will still be able to go to WDW. I hope they honor our military tickets because we bought the 6 day hopper.

  • I’m not saying I completely disagree with all of the new safety measures. I do, however disagree with not refunding ticket purchases. If you are expecting customers to be understanding with Disney as we are in a global pandemic; I feel that the same should be expected the other way around. I don’t feel it’s very magical to put so many restrictions on a non-refundable ticket. I know that I can apply my $2500 towards next year’s tickets, but how does that help my family now? I either have to use my $2500 tickets to walk around in an empty, hot park with my four masked children, or not go on vacation at all this year and just wait until next year. Not very magical. Btw- we do also have a room reservation but not as a package, so I’m stuck with the tickets regardless. We have been loyal Disney customers for 13 consecutive years.

  • My family has a vacation package at the All-star Music Resort booked from July 6th – July 10th with 3-day tickets with hopper option. We are fine with the restrictions, wearing masks, and pushing our vacation back a week. We were even thinking about staying an extra night and changing to 4-day tickets. We have seen an article where the all-star resorts will not be open in July. How long do we have to wait to re-book? I see some have already been able to re-book based on previous comments. Plus, what is WDW going to do about the resort situations with people booked in hotels not yet opened? We should not be forced to pay more because they are not opening all the hotels (especially if this has to do with the NBA being at ESPN Wide World of Sports for their season) or delayed in re-booking.

  • I am sad to say that after the start of COVID-19, the closures, the possible reopening, and the stress… We will have to cancel our third reschedule of our March vacation at Disney World. I completely understand that Disney thinks it is doing what is best, but I feel that they are shooting themselves in the foot with some of the purposed safety protocols. For us the shutting down Magic Kingdom at 7:00 is insane! and having to make reservations to be in the park? I mean, we make reservations a year out for Disney properties, the 9 months out for air line tickets, then 6 months of planning out time doing our research, following up with D23. The at 90 days out we start looking at events, scheduling dinners, meet and greets at Disney then 60 days out we are working the FastPass platform, and the next 30 days flipping our passes to optimize our experience. Then…. We are there! Now it seems yet another hoop, make reservations to be allowed to enter the parks? We always use the Park Hopper option and we always wrap up our evening at the Magic Kingdom as we have for years, and years, and years…
    It sounds like there could even be a chance that we might not get into a park even after doing all this planning. I am sorry, my family has no problem with masks, social distancing, limited contact (cash-less transactions), and maybe even character meets. But, limiting resort patrons, and reducing hours is going to force us to cancel our vacation permanently for this year and possibly the future as we are just not sure what the future is going to look like. We are so very sad in hearing these decisions Disney has made, To our family… Disney World is EVERYTHING! It is a very dark day! Thank you

  • I’m not sure why people feel the need to comment on this post that they’ll cancel their trip if they’re required to wear masks. Feel free to cancel-we’re all cool with it.

  • Prior to even getting into the park and wearing masks and physically distancing, what is the process going to be for security checks? There is always a large crowd of people in close proximity. If everyone has to physically distance, their area may be too small. Also, will the cast members checking bags change gloves after each family to prevent cross contamination?

  • Glad to see all of these geniuses refusing to go because of wearing a mask. Looks like shorter lines for me.

  • Like so many, I’m very happy WDW is reopening in July. I’m not happy about the requirements, but I understand why Disney is putting them forth. Our family will not visit the World for our scheduled vacation this year if the issues surrounding C19, and subsequent requirements of face coverings, no character meet and greets, etc., are in place. And the reason behind our decision has to do with the thousands and thousands of dollars spent for this type of entertainment. The key word is “entertainment.” I’ll spend money at WDW willingly for a top-notch experience. But I won’t for something subpar. And, because WDW is not a necessity, this could be a permanent decision if these requirements become a permanent part of WDW. My family will simply choose to vacation elsewhere, and that’s okay. My purpose for posting here is to simply inform Disney that some Disney-fanatics, and this Disney-loving family in particular, will not settle for less than the full Disney experience. When people are still sick and dying; when so many mom and pop businesses have been destroyed; when our country’s economy has been ravaged; when our elders are sitting isolated and alone in nursing homes… a trip to Disney really doesn’t seem that important anyway.

  • I want to thank you Walt Disney World for trying to keep me and my family safe. I will be happy to do whatever it takes to be able to visit the parks again.

  • We have to decide whether to pay the balance on our August holiday, or switch our deposit on to another holiday by June 8th. Based on this advise I think we will do the latter. I understand the measures being taken and they’re probably correct, but it won’t be the experience we expected for this money. I don’t think we could manage face masks in that heat and there aren’t any enough details yet – how pool usage/ access will work etc. Hugely upset and disappointed, but if a cancelled holiday is the extent of our worries right now, I’ll consider myself fortunate too.

  • We are currently (re)booked July 19-25 at Caribbean Beach with a 4 day park hopper pass. We had planned to add a day, but if that’s not possible we will find something to do. With the reservation system in place, will the park hopper option be removed automatically? Or is it still possible to use that? Hoping for some indication on when we can expect more specific information on the reservation system? We are perfectly fine with wearing masks and typically avoid the parades and character meet and greets anyway.

  • Scheduled a trip in November for last couple days in August to Labor Day weekend. I’m a DVC member. I called May 14th and asked if we should buy tickets now or wait due to Covid. Was told wait! Got an email saying no tickets sold anymore. Called today to be told I wouldn’t be able to buy tickets. So I book a trip 10 months out, call about tickets, told not to worry about tickets, now told pound sand. After I’m told that they are allowing rooms to continue to be booked. Really dropping the ball Disney.

  • Someone needs to clarify this page better. The WDW website does NOT list resorts as opening then! This is a huge gaffe and problem for a LOT of people!

    Someone needs to advise all those guests that think the resorts are opening are actually not opening!

    For a much anticipated roll out this is a major debacle.

  • From the UK, booked a holiday for August in Art of Animation back last November. Have a 3 year old (who will not wear a mask, it is very dangerous in that heat for such a small child) and a 1 year old. Our whole two weeks was mainly planned to be for meet and greets, parades, fireworks and playing in all the play/splash areas around each park. With all these things cancelled I hope we can get a refund as this will not be a good Disney experience for people with small children.

  • Disney you are doing it the right way!!! I have ordered my Disney masks and will be happy when the day comes I can return. We all miss the magic but opening safely and with caution is the only way to proceed. Thank you.

  • Unbelievable how selfish America has become. My husband spent 20 years in Air Force serving our country. Our young family endured separation, dangerous situations and personal hardships for people who feel their liberty is threatened if they have to wear a mask because it’s hot . And we had it easy compared to the many who have lost their lives for your freedom. I’m just saddened.

  • PLEASE CLARIFY! I just read that the Disney Resorts ARE NOT INCLUDED in the reopening phase in July!
    Is this true?
    What are guests to do? People are not able to just flip and change dates there are deep repercussions to families and vacation dates for work or flights that now might incur fees or be booked for later dates.
    This is VITAL information for all guests!


  • Personally, I am thrilled to know that my friends and adoptive family can return to work in some way. Life is going to be interesting but I have faith that if we practice patience and kindness it will be bearable. I know I will be returning as a guest with a positive attitude and with gratitude.

  • Coming from a state with more than 100,000 confirmed cases and 5000+ deaths, I am absolutely fine wearing a mask.

  • I guess I will eat the cost of my tickets because I will not be wearing a mask outdoors. It’s a shame that Disney is giving into ridiculousness. Let’s just all use distancing common sense and hand washing precautions. Come on! I’m pretty disappointed. Signed, former Disney fan.

  • Has Magical Express been addressed yet ?

  • We have a scheduled trip right for late September. I am on the verge of canceling for multiple reasons. If any of the following are in place, I will cancel our trip: 1. Required masks for guests 2. required masks for Characters 3. No meet and greets with characters 4. No fireworks, 5. No parades. I know it’s Disney’s choice to do this and it’s my choice to not go as well. I’m just expressing my opinion so Disney can hear from people that won’t visit with all the restrictions.

  • I already have tickets, that that week! However, I may be short one. We are a foster family and there is an issue with one of the kiddos. Will I be able to buy one more for our family last minute? I need a judge to give me permission to take her, which is not a definite thing one way or the other.

  • I have Resort reservations for December, but haven’t purchased my tickets. Will I still be able to purchase tickets (Military) in time to do my Fast Passes with the current ban on new ticket purchases??

  • Like so many others we had plans changed twice, and all patience and understanding aside. What are the next steps. Our fast passes were all deleted last night. There is a plan we haven’t yet been told apparently. Why not share more? Some of us need to plan. We have played the game, been in our house for months with no great contact. This was something we look forward to. We will work through the masks. Social distance. Take it easy. But it appears there is more known then we were told.

  • Thank you Disney for opening back up and providing family fun and magic. Its not a right to be at Disney, its a privilege and i know a lot of your loyal and understanding patrons will be grateful for providing family fun entertainment. i hope to be there soon to experience the magic again

  • DVC and AP with reservations for December 10 ,
    Just booked my Southwest flights this morning!
    Can’t wait to return !
    Disney will work out all the details to provide excellent customer service to guests , everyone be patient !

  • Is it possible annual passholder block out dates could be changed? At least for this year? WDW will reopen just after my block out dates go into effect. If not, there will be 5 months that I will have lost Disney time. Granted, I changed my payment plan so I will have the time closed added to the end of my pass, but….5 months in a row…..☹️. A girl can have hope…..🙏🏼🤞🏼

  • I have a reservation for July 5-12th. Obviously, we need to reschedule. How will those of us that have reservations prior to official opening be handled? Will we be contacted and allowed to reschedule prior to everything opening up for new ticket sales? I certainly hope so!

  • Welcome back Disney! We love you! Thank you to all the cast members for coming back and bringing the magic to many hearts. I know from most of the comments on here, you may not see the magic in some of our eyes. No matter what has to be done, thanks for keeping us safe and the cast members, hoping they stay safe and we love you! My first time I visited a Disney Park was when I was 7 years old and 113 times later, I still feel the same magic every time I return and now I share that with my Disney-loving kids. Thank you!

  • We have three Florida Resident Tickets and two regular three day one park per day tickets we purchased in February. We also have hotel reservations at Grand Floridian for June whcich were changed from May, paid in full. I see that unused date specific tickets will get a credit toward future tickets. Will the same be true for the Florida Resident? The cast member on line chat says the September 30 expiration is a hard date on the Florida Resident and Disney will keep our $550. That is tough luck for us if we can’t reschedule the children and grandchildren into the new limited reservation system in that July 11 to September 30 window.

    I find it hard to reconcile that Disney will keep our money when they are placing restrictions on rescheduling. Is there any provision for the Florida Resident Discover Disney tickets to have a credit available for future ticket purchases into 2021 when travel plans have time to be modified?

  • Maybe it’s just me but reading thru all your new rules, etc is taking all the fun out. When I take a vacation, I just want to have fun and enjoy. This would be worse than a job
    No thanks. You lost me

  • I wonder if it will be like when Galaxy’s Edge opened with “boarding passes” to get into that part of the park. Would you be able to get in automagically (😉) if you have a fast pass or dining reservation for that park?

  • Please drop the mask requirement it is a deal breaker. Pools must be open. I plan on attending as soon as possible and want to be there on 7/11 for park open but lets get it open like its supposed to be.

  • My son has wanted to meet Chewbacca for years now, and we have reservations for August both tickets and hotel. Will there still be opportunity to meet Characters in any way in the parks?

  • We are DVC members and have resort reservations for August. We were waiting to purchase park tickets at our 60 day mark to do fast passes – will we still be able to get park tickets since we have resort booked as well as Dining.

  • I want to know about character dinning. If there is no character dinning then that might be a deal breaker especially if it like in Shanghai where the characters are afar and can’t take pictures. I still want to be able to take pictures with the characters. As well if we decide to go in September and there is no character dinning or pictures with character will you refund photo pass or discount it.

  • Thank you for your efforts in these difficult times, I agree that face masks will be uncomfortable but if that is the only way parks are allowed to reopen then so be it.

  • Very excited about the news. We have Fort Wilderness reservations for October, December and February. We appreciate the work you are doing to keep us safe. I don’t care how hot it is, I live in the southeast, I will be wearing my mask as will every member of my household. I just makes sense to help me and those around me. I wouldn’t even consider canceling over a mask. Question though, with all 3 of our reservations, we do not have tickets, and had planned on purchasing an Annual Pass. Will we be able to do this? Thanks again for the Magic.

  • We already purchased our tickets several months ago for August 2020. If we feel the need to cancel due to the restrictions can we reschedule for next August using the same tickets? Or are we entitled to a refund?

  • Will both water parks be opened? Will a face mask be required for the water parks?

  • We have reservations for August! We purchased our tickets before Covid. When will we be able to make reservations for the parks? Also we have made all of our dining reservations at each park! How will that affect getting our park reservations?
    Also will all the attractions be open and will fast pass still be in effect?

  • Will resort pools be open and will you need to wear a facemask?

  • We want to book a vacation too. But if there is a face mask requirement we will not be coming to WDW. That goes for both guest and Disney employees.
    There is something about a cast members smile walking into a WDW resort or park that is much more contagious than a virus.
    Also please do not put masks on any of the costumed characters that will really ruin WDW.

  • I LOVE the fact that the parks are reopening, the masks better not be in place come September or be an option for people because my wedding is in September. I will NOT be wearing a mask for my ceremony or reception there either. I will not have my guests wear one either. MAYBE the parks, but otherwise, my mask will not be worn if I don’t have too.

  • Is there any info out there if Disney will be refunding tickets already purchased for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party? Or if we already bought our park tickets for dates of our visits? Really stinks that Disney switched to the new way of selling tickets based on seasonality. Not sure how our park tickets could be refunded or extended since our dates are for August 2020. Don’t really want to go this summer with the changes and wearing a mask (only because of how HOT it will be to have one on), but have the trip booked with my entire family and it took years to get this trip on the calendar and actually booked! I’m also worried about how DVC will refund our points if we cancel as we already had to book our next trip for Spring Break 2021. Could end up having a lot of points expire if they won’t push the banked points from 2019 to my Spring Break trip.

  • I have a 7 yr old daughter Autistic and Non Verbal; that would not wear a mask. What alternatives will the park have under this circumstances?

  • Alright, we’re finally headed in the right direction. The past two months have been tough. We have tickets and hotel reservations for Christmas and Southwest tickets go on sale tomorrow. So glad to have an idea that Disney will be open in some shape or form. I think we all need a little bit of magic right now. Can’t wait to be there.

  • We have a vacation reserved for August but if face masks are required. We will be cancelling.

  • We have reservations end of July. We have gone for years. BUT will not wear a mask in the Florida heat. Will reschedule.

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