Three! We only get three choices for our best Magic Kingdom dark rides. Ugh, this will be no easy task. If the Magic Kingdom is known for anything it’s the abundance of dark rides. And, Cinderella’s Castle of course. Oh yeah, Dole Whip too. Ok, let’s all agree the Magic Kingdom is known for many things and dark rides are definitely one of them. It’s fair to say we’ve delayed our list of the best Magic Kingdom dark rides long enough. Let’s make a list!
Or, better known as the rules. Just like our underrated Magic Kingdom attractions list, we need some structure. For our best Magic Kingdom dark rides, we’ll use the following criteria to help build our list. First and foremost, the attraction must be family-friendly and have no height requirements. Secondly, the majority of the ride must be inside, we are talking about dark rides after all. The last piece is the story. What has always made Disney dark rides stand apart are the stories the attractions tell.
Passholder Insights: Early in the morning or at the end of the day are when you’ll find the shortest wait times for the popular rides.
You know we’re always good for a surprise! First up on our best Magic Kingdom dark rides list is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. What can say, Winnie the Pooh is one our all time favorite characters. Well, more like Eeyore for Serena and Tigger for Nate. Beyond, the nostalgia for the characters, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has a couple of our favorite pieces of Disney Magic.
In a “how do they do that moment?” is one the best scenes on a Disney dark ride. What scene? It’s scene leading into the Heffalumps and Woozles where Pooh falls a sleep and you see his spirit drift off. We’ve been wracking our brains for years to figure out Disney Imagineering created this effect.
Our second Disney Magic moment is subtle. Prior to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh moving into the space it was home to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. To honor the previous attraction Imagineering added an Easter egg to the attraction where Mr. Toad is handing a key to Owl. We always love when Disney adds this nods to the past.
Passholder Insights: Directly next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is Storybook Treats. This is where you’ll find the delicious and Instagram worthy Peter Pan Float.
To where? Adventureland! The next stop on our best Magic Kingdom dark rides journey brings us to a Disney classic, Pirates of the Caribbean. Over the years we’ve seen a variety of iterations of this Disney classic attraction. From the additions of Jack Sparrow and Red to the ever-changing opening scene that’s had everything from Davey Jones to mermaids. For us, what makes Pirates of the Caribbean an all-time great dark ride are the things that have remained the same, the music and the details.
How can you not help but sing a Yo Ho (A Pirate’s LifeFor Me) while sailing through Pirates of the Caribbean? We’re not going to lie, we’re singing it while we write this part of the article. Written by a Disney Legend, Xavier Atencio, or better known as X, the music is what carries you through the attraction. It sets the tone for the fun, light-hearted adventure through the Caribbean and leaves you wondering, is a Pirate’s Life for Me?
Not to be outdone by the music, the details are what keep us coming back. There is no detail too small, from the leg hair on the animatronics to mythical hidden Mickey in the final scene with Jack. Yes it is true, from what we understand there is a hidden Mickey tuck-away it all the loot behind Jack. One day we will find, one day! No matter what every time we ride Pirates of the Caribbean we discover something new, and let’s say that’s no easy achievement.
Passholder Insights: Fun fact, the drop on Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is used to go under the Walt Disney World Railroad track.
Did you guest it? Here’s one more hint at which attraction tops our best Magic Kingdom dark rides list, “There’s room for 1000”. It’s hard to find a better dark ride than The Haunted Mansion. From the word go, you’re part of the attraction. Stepping into line the story begins from the hidden tale within the busts to the hysterically pun ridden gravestones, this is an attraction where every little detail plays a part. Don’t blink or you may miss something important.
With The Haunted Mansion it is near impossible to pinpoint an aspect or two that are the best. Yes, it’s that well done. If we had to pick our favorite scene by far is the attic. You were probably thinking we were going to say the ballroom scene right? While that scene is mind-blowing, there is something about the attic scene. Oh, it’s Constance Hatchaway. By far the star of The Haunted Mansion, you’ll find Constance through out your journey. From the stretch room to the attic scene and final bone chilling words of “Hurry back”, Constance is constant in the Haunted Mansion.
Beyond Constance, what makes The Haunted Mansion top our list is how timeless of an attraction it is. As an opening day attraction, the ride is still relevant today, which few changes from the original. If anything, Disney has only many enhancements to it. From the addition of the interactive queue to the endless staircase room, and of course Constance Hatchaway in 2006, all “pluses” have been fantastic. Similar to Pirates of the Caribbean, the music is what makes the attraction so timeless. Once again we can thank X. Thank you, X!
Passholder Insights: One of the big differences between The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom is the stretching room and how it works. One version goes down and the other the roof goes up. #NoSpoilers here!
Phew! We did it. We made through our best Magic Kingdom dark rides list. By no means was this an easy task. If you ask us tomorrow we’re sure our list would be different. Ok, there is only one thing left to do. Volunteer!
It’s list time! Who doesn’t love a good list? You know we love them. Especially, lists around underrated Disney World attractions. We’re back with our underrated Hollywood Studios attractions. After tackling the likes of our underrated Magic Kingdomand Epcot, we’re gearing up to take MGM Studios. Oops, we mean Hollywood Studios. Or do we? (Queue Scar laugh). Alright, we ready, are you? There’s no stopping now, it’s time to take on our top 3 underrated Hollywood Studios attractions. May the force be with us!
There Are Rules
Rules? We don’t need any stinking rules. Well, yes we do or we would have chaos and we’re no jokers. Here we go. We’re using the same rules from our previous articles. First and foremost, the attraction should not have a Fastpass. We’re looking for attractions that are flying under the radar. Second, the attraction should be available on a regular park day, not just with special events or parties. Sorry, holiday version of Sunset Boulevard. You are one of our top holiday attractions, however you don’t qualify for this list. Lastly, no live entertainment. Whether it’s Galaxy’s Edge walk around characters or Citizens of Hollywood, we’re only looking for attractions. Alright, with the rules in place we’re ready to pick our top 3 underrated Hollywood Studios attractions!
Passholder Insights: Late at night is a great time to get in a ride on Slinky Dog Dash or piloting the Millennium Falcon. Usually by the last hour of the night the wait times lower.
Ready For Launch
Where are you launching off to? In the first stop of our top 3 underrated Hollywood Studios attractions we’re launching ourselves over to Star Wars Launch Bay. When you’re off-planet or otherwise known as not visiting Black Spire Outpost, you can still get your Star Wars fix at Launch Bay. Tucked away in Animation Courtyard is a great spot for any Star Wars or movie buff fan to check out. Filled is costumes and props from the most recent Star Wars trilogy, you can spend hours reading about and viewing all the different pieces.
Beyond the movie pieces, there are a variety of character meet ‘n greets, including one of the most uncomfortable (in the best way possible) meet ‘n greets in the form of Kyloe Ren. For us, it’s the perfect place to escape the heat or wait out the always predictable afternoon thunderstorm.
Passholder Insights: When exiting Star Wars Launch you’ll head through a shop with a variety of unique merchandise including limitation edition pieces.
Green means go! Well, we got the green light so let’s take a look at the second of our underrated Hollywood Studios attractions. With all this green and race talk you’ve probably figured out which attraction we’re talking about. Did you guess it? That’s right, we’re talking about Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. Adjacent to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster courtyard you’ll find the Sunset Showroom and home to one of most famous race cars around. The 10-minute continuous operating show housing one of the coolest animatronics in Lightning McQueen.
Every time we see the show our jaws drop with all the subtle details and movements Lightning McQueen makes within the show. If you’re fan of the Cars franchise or just looking for amazing Disney animatronics, this a show worth seeing.
Passholder Insights: Outside of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy you’ll find character meet ‘n greets with Cruz Ramirez and a variety of other photo opportunities.
Glorious 3-Hour Finally
Oh, how we love to quote Sam Eagle. This infamous quote comes from our last stop on our underrated Hollywood Studio attractions. Marked by the Missy Piggy fountain outside is Muppet Vision 3D. Ok, ok, we have to come clean, as we’re breaking our rules. But what can we say, some rules are meant to be broken and when it comes to The Muppets, we’re breaking the rules. We love this attraction for a multitude of reasons, but when we really get down to it, it’s because of the humor. The show is filled with fantastic Muppet moments and tons of quotable moments.
While in the theater definitely keep your head on a swivel, as the show takes place all around you. If you can, you’ll want to try sit within the middle third of the theater for the best seats.
Passholder Insights: During the pre-show definitely check out all the different artifacts around the room as they are filled with great puns and dad jokes.
Hollywood Studios is filled with headliner attractions. Trust us, they are definitely worth the checking out and experiencing. They are all must do’s for us on every trip. When you have extra time or looking to fill in those extra 30 minutes you have before your Rise of the Resistance boarding pass, check out these underrated attractions. There is only one thing left to figure out, where should we head first? Who are we kidding, can you save us a seat for Muppet Vision 3D?
Ready, set, let’s reserve! We’re back with another one of our infamous DVC Duo guides. This time around we’re walking through the new Disney World Park Reservation System. It’s the system every Disneyphile has waiting to learn more about. On June 22, 2020, Disney launched the new system for guests with Disney Resort reservations and park tickets through September 2021. When the parks reopen in mid-July there will be a variety of changes, with the biggest one being the Disney Park Reservation System. For more details around the other changes, we recommend checking our reopening guide. Next up, our DVC Duo guide to the new Disney World Park Reservation System!
Be prepared, right Scar? With the new Disney World Park Reservation System, it’s all about dotting the “I’s” and crossing those “T’s”. Prior to making a park reservation you’ll want to make the following is complete.
Create a My Disney Experience account – for more on that, please reference the following.
Link your Disney Resort Reservation and Park Tickets – (if you have Disney Resort reservations, no required)
Make sure everyone in your group is linked within My Disney Experience under Family and Friends
At the time of writing Disney has stated the following for availability of the new system as it related to when guests can begin reserveing entrance to the parks.
June 22, 2020 – Guests with confirmed Disney resort reservations and park tickets
June 26, 2020 – Annual Passholders without Disney resort reservations
June 28, 2020 – Existing ticket holders without Disney resort reservations
It should be noted that Disney has said a Disney resort reservation does not guarantee entry into the parks. At this time, Disney World Annual Passholder can do one or the other, not both:
Make Park Reservations in conjunction with their Walt Disney World Resort Stay
Make Park Reservations as just an Annual Passholder (max of 3 days at one-time)
Here is what we used to login to the Disney World Park Reservation System. Through our laptop with used the incognito option within Chrome. Disney has stated at the initial launch of the new system the only option would be the desktop version of My Disney Experience. We have heard through a variety of sources that Disney did say the app version of My Disney Experience will have the new Disney World Park Reservation System as well. Additionally, we received confirmation from a variety of Disney certified travel agents that they received the same information from Disney during their training. At this time, we don’t have an exact date to when the app option will be launched.
Step By Step
Here are the exact steps we took to in using the Disney World Park Reservation System. There is more than one way to access the system, either through My Plans within My Disney Experience or Disney Park Reservation home page. We found it successful to use the My Plans option.
1.) Click on My Plans under the My Disney Experience dropdown menu
2.) Enter your username and password
3. You may receive a pink castle load screen (do not refresh or click back, just wait) – This may or may not happen
4. You will see the following screen. Click on view availability.
5. Next you may see the following hold screen. You will want to wait here. Do not click back or refresh the screen. – This may not happen
6. Next, you will see the create your party screen. You’ll want to select all guests you would like to make a reservation for. It should be noted that all guests will need a valid park ticket linked to My Disney Experience. Select your party then click Next.
7. Your next screen will be where you can select the day and park you would like to make a reservation at. Select your days, then click Next.
8. The last screen will be a confirmation screen where you will be asked to check off the COVID-19 waiver. Click confirm, and you’re all set.
Once you’re in, it works very smoothly. On the first day of the Disney World Park Reservation System Disney faced many challenges based on the overall demand on the platform and technology glitches. Must have of Vaneloppe von Schweetz, otherwise known as the glitch. Our biggest recommendation is making sure everything is set-up correctly in My Disney Experience. It took us a lot of tries to get through, but once we did we were able to make our reservations in a matter of minutes. We will continue to provide updates on the Disney World Park Reservation System as they are available.
It’s a stroll down memory lane! In the DVC Duo house, our favorite souvenirs always brings back wonderful memories of past trips and experiences. You know what we’re talking about, it’s those souvenirs you look at and are immediately transported back to a moment from a trip. Hidden within Main Street USAare some of the best Magic Kingdom souvenirs you’ll find for under $15. The time has come to seek out our top 3 best Magic Kingdom souvenirs within Main Street USA. Strap on your Magicbands and let’s go shopping!
It’s Like Magic
You remember that card game right? Magic the card game? Oh no, we may be showing our age. Let’s try that again, you know Sorcerer Mickey, right? Of course, you do, we all know him! Well, our first stop on our tour of the best Magic Kingdom souvenirs on Main Street USA brings us to the Firehouse. Located on the left-hand side when entering the park, next to Town Hall is the Firehouse and where you can pick your free souvenir. That’s right we said free. Serving as the kick-off spot for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, the Firehouse is where you can pick up Disney inspired playing cards. Each day, the pack of cards is different, so you never know which characters you’re going to get.
To get the playing cards all you need to do is head into the Firehouse and ask to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. A cast member will hand you a pack of playing cards and you begin the game right there. It takes about 5 minutes to complete the first stop of the game. From there you can decide if you would like to continue playing throughout your day in the Magic Kingdom or just enjoy the playing cards.
Passholder Insights: Playing Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom is a fun way to take a break from the rides and discover different areas of the parks.
Who doesn’t like to get mail? You know we do. Our next stop on the best Magic Kingdom souvenirs on Main Street USA (wow, say that 5 times fast. The highest of high fives if you did!) is hop, skip, and jump away from our first stop. Just outside the Firehouse is a mailbox on the light pole. And, it’s more than just amazing themeing. That’s right, it’s a fully functional mailbox. Every night a Disney cast member collects the mail from within the mailbox and sends it off to the United States Postal Service.
A great souvenir is to pick up a postcard from the Emporium and mail it to yourself, postmarked Main Street USA. To make this happen you’ll want to do the following steps. Step one, pick up a postcard. Step two, head over to Town Hall, which is next to the Firehouse. Step three, ask the member to purchase a stamp and for the postcard to be stamped. Step four, mail it out via the light pole mailbox. For us, this is more than just a postcard as it’s the overall experience within the park and a great reminder of your trip when you get the postcard in the mail. We’ve also been known to mailout family member’s birthday cards and even Christmas cards from the parks.
Passholder Insights: In our experience, it can take up to three weeks for a card to arrive at its destination. If you’re mailing anything time sensitive you’ll want take this into consideration.
Scissors? What do scissors have to do with souvenirs? Everything! Our last stop on our best Magic Kingdom souvenirs on Main Street USA is a classic. How classic? This spot has been part of the parks since the early days. Walking up Main Street USA towards the castle you’ll see a little alleyway off to your right. Within this alley is a cart that specializes in hand-cut silhouettes. For $12 an artist will create a silhouette in matter seconds. Ok, maybe more like minutes, but it’s definitely faster than you would expect.
This Disney tradition has been carried on for years and is so popular that Disney has expanded the experience beyond Main Street USA to Liberty Square, as well as, Disney Springs. For us, what makes the experience so memorable is the location and the memories watching the artist create silhouette right in front of you. Nate has one from when he was a child and it still hangs in his parent’s house. It is definitely a timeless souvenir!
Passholder Insights: The hand cut silhouettes are not limited to just one person, as their are options for multiple people as well. It’s a great way to mark a special trip or occasion.
Traditionally the souvenirs that get the most attention are high priced headliners. Whether it limited edition Mickey ears or one of kinds crystal reproductions of the castle. Don’t get us wrong these souvenirs are amazing. Have you seen those hipster Mickey ears? For us, it always about the memories we create and how they transport us back to the trip. Anything can be a souvenir. We may or may not have a few coasters from Trader Sams! Alright, best Main Street USA souvenirs list is now complete, next stop? Hmm…should we go right to Tomorrowland or left to Adventureland? I think we’re going to let the suspense build!
Open the gates! It’s the moment every Disneyphile around the world has been waiting for, the reopening of Disney World. On March 16, 2020, Walt Disney World officially closed due to the global crisis. While the world and, we included, attended to more pressing matters, the burning question in the back every Disneyphiles mind became, when will we see the reopening of Disney World? On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, we got our answer. In this DVC Duo guide, we’re taking a look at everything we know about the reopening of Disney World. A quick read before walking through the gates!
Yes, there’s more than one date. While the parks up the road reopened everything on June 5, 2020, Walt Disney World is taking a different approach. Some may say a more deliberate approach to reopening all the facets of the parks, resorts, and Disney extras. Below is a breakdown of the opening dates for parks and resorts.
June 22, 2020 – Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World Reopen, as well as the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
July 11, 2020 – The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom
July 15, 2020 – Epcot and Hollywood Studios
July 10, 2020 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort
July 29, 2020 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
August 12, 2020 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
August 24, 2020 – Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
September 21, 2020 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
October 1, 2020 – Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
October 14, 2020 – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
At the time of writing Disney has not confirmed reopening dates for the following areas of Disney World:
Swan and Dolphin Resorts – reservations have been canceled through July 29, 2020.
Disney Springs officially reopened on May 20, 2020, with a select number of shops and restaurants. Additional Disney owned shops and restaurants opened on May 27, 2020, with more shops and restaurants reopening each week. For a full list of what’s open, we recommend checking out the following up to date list from Blog Mickey.
Hotel And Ticket Reservations
When Disney announced the reopening of Disney World one of the key pieces discussed was hotel reservations and park tickets. At this time Disney has paused the making of new hotel reservations (outside of Disney Vacation Club) and selling of new park tickets. Additionally, guests are not able to modify a reservation, unless the reservation is between now and June 21st. Guests can call Guest Services (407) 934-7639 to modify their reservation. If a guest chooses to modify their reservation they can only book at Disney Vacation Club Deluxe Villas or the Fort Wilderness Cabins, and a difference in cost may need to be paid.
If a guest takes no action prior to June 21, 2020, their reservation will be automatically canceled and refunded. All reservations after June 21, 2020 can be canceled at a guest’s requests and refunded.
Disney has not announced when the booking of hotel rooms or purchasing of new park tickets will reopen for 2020. They have stated they are attending to current reservations. Disney has announced the following special event tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, has been canceled, guest who purchased tickets will receive a refund.
UPDATE: On June 28, 2020, Walt Disney World resumed the selling of new park tickets for 2021. At the moment, all ticket types except for Annual Passes are now available through Disney’s website and Disney certified travel agents.
Once open the Disney Resorts will have a variety of new guidelines for guests. First and foremost, is Walt Disney World will be following all advisories and restrictions set by the state of Florida. Details around the advisories and restrictions continually change or as we like to say, they’re fluid. Please reference the following link before heading to Florida, as different areas around the globe have different restrictions for arrival. LINK.
Prior to arrival to a Disney World Resort, a guest must have either have a confirmed room reservation or a confirmed dining reservation at the resort. When entering the resort all guests 2 years of age or older will be required to wear a face-covering in all public areas unless they are dining or swimming.
For guests arriving at Orlando International Airport, Disney World will be offering the Magical Expressfor transportation to and from the Disney resorts. Guests traveling by car will be able to self-park. Valet services will not available, with the exception being for guests who may require assistance.
When it comes to rooms Disney World is modifying there Mousekeeping (housekeeping) procedures. Prior to arrival, all guest rooms will go through an in-depth cleaning with high attention to the “high-touch” areas like TV remotes and door handles (the image above highlights all the high touch areas). All floors will be steamed cleaned and vacuumed. Between servicing different guest rooms, all housekeeping tools will be cleaned.
After checking-in your room will be serviced every other day for trash removal and used towels. Any amenities or towels that need refreshing will be replenished and wiping of counter surfaces and vanities will occur. To manage the lighter cleaning service, Disney will be adding extra linens, towels, glassware, and pillows to the rooms. All these items will be wrapped for single use. It should be noted guests staying at Disney Vacation Club will receive service on the 4th and 8th days of your stay.
Resort amenities may be modified or unavailable when the resorts first open. The following changes have already been made:
Bell Services – Will be able to bring luggage to your room, but the cast member will not escort the guest
Club-Level – All club level service will be temporarily suspended
Deliveries – Will only be made to occupied rooms, as cast members will not enter your room
Dry-Cleaning/Laundry Services – Will be temporarily stopped, self-service will be available
In-room Celebrations – Will not be available, as cast members will not enter your room
Resort Airline Check-In – Could be temporarily unavailable but subject to change
Shipping Services – Will not be available
Additionally, the following services around the resort will be temporarily unavailable; arcades, campfires, dog parks, fun runs, firework cruises, hula lessons, in-room childcare, marina rentals, mermaid school, playgrounds, spas and salons including Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and special classes.
At the resorts, both the pools and fitness centers will be available for the guests staying at the respective resort. Feature pools (main pool areas) will operate under reduced hours and reduced capacity. Quiet pools will be open 24-hours a day. The only resort pool that will not open on the first day will be Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club. Similar to the feature pools, the resort fitness centers may operate under reduced hours and capacity. All instructor-led classes will be temporarily suspended.
All guests will be encouraged to use the online check-in feature within My Disney Experience. Guests using the online check-in will receive a text message when their room is ready and will be able to open the door either through the app or their Magicband. When your checkout day arrives you will be automatically checked out of your room.
On June 22, 2020, Disney will be launching a new service for guests staying at a Disney resort. The new service will enable guests to chat with a Disney cast member through the My Disney Experience app regarding anything about their resort stay. Disney is recommending the use of the new service to help with minimizing the number of guests at the front desk.
Heading To The Parks
Do you have a reservation? The biggest change guests will see with the reopening of Disney World will be the introduction of a new reservation system. It is unknown what the initial capacity will be for each of the Walt Disney World parks, but early estimates believe the parks will start around 15% capacity. This is a similar approach Disney used with the reopening of Shanghai Disneyland. To help with managing crowds Disney will require guests to have a park reservation in order to enter any of the theme parks.
What is known at the moment is guests who have purchased park tickets, that are linked to their My Disney Experience accounts, will be able to book which park they would like to go to through September 2021. For a full breakdown on how to reserve park entry please see the following guide. Priority will be given to Club 33 members, Golden Oaks residence, Disney Vacation Club Members, Annual Passholders and guests staying at a Disney World Resort. Disney has stated that a Disney hotel reservation will not guarantee access to the parks. Additionally, Disney has stated the Annual Passholders may be limited to how many days they can make park reservations in a given time period.
What is unknown is where or not guests will be able to park hop or go from one park to another. Right now it is rumored that park hopping may not be available. Disney has not confirmed or announced anything saying it won’t allow park hopping, at this time. We should learn more when Disney officially releases the new park reservation system. CONFIRMED: Parking hopping will not be an option when the parks first reopen. Disney has said they hope to bring back park hopping in the near term.
Off To The Park
Transportation to and from a Disney resort to the parks and Disney Springs will be available. Disney announced the bus services will reopen, with social distancing measures in place to transport guests around. On the buses, Disney has outlined certain areas where guests can sit in order to keep social distancing. It’s one area per group with a max of 6 people per group. The one thing to take into account is Disney expressed there could be delays, as the buses will be operating at a reduced capacity. This is something to keep in mind when traveling to the parks, as you may want to factor in some extra travel time.
What we do not know yet is if other transportation options beyond the buses will available. Disney has not stated if the boats, monorail, or the Skyliner will be part of the initial reopening of Disney World. We do know Minnie Vanswill not available at reopening.
UPDATE: On July 1, 2020, we received the following information regarding reopening of the other Disney transportation options:
Magic Kingdom Monorail to reopen on July 11, 2020.
Disney Skyliner to reopen on July 15, 2020.
Resort boats from the Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge to reopen on July 11, 2020.
There has no announcement regarding the reopening of the Friendship Boats in the Epcot resort area or the Epcot Monorail.
Upon first opening, Disney will be staggering the park hours for each park for a variety of reasons. The main reason is to lessen the crowds at the resort bus stops and shift operating efficiency, as the buses will have lower capacities.
Entering A Park Procedures
When the Walt Disney World parks reopen there will be a variety of requirements to enter the parks. As we like to say this is a fluid process that we’re sure Disney will continue to update and adjust both leading up to the reopening of Disney World, as well as after it reopens.
Face Coverings– All guests 2 years of age and older will be required to wear a face-covering. The face-covering should be secured to your face covering your nose and mouth. It can be either disposable or reusable. All guests and cast members will be required to wear a face-covering at all times, except for dining or swimming. The mask should not be a costume mask.
Temperature Screenings – All guests will go through a touchless temperature screening before entering a park or Disney Springs. Any guests exhibiting a temperature of 100.4F or above will be directed to a location for rescreening. If the guest once again has a temperature above 100.4F at the rescreening they will be asked to leave, along with everyone within their party.
Social Distancing – Signage will be added to all areas of Walt Disney World to mark direction and spacing as it relates to social distancing measures and the recommended spacing of 6 feet (3 meters) between parties. Physical barriers will be in place where social distancing is not possible, for example, cashiers or Guest Relations.
Outside of the procedures, Disney will be installing portable hand washing stations throughout the parks. Additionally, there will be a Social Distancing Squad within the parks to promote the social distancing between guests. Disney has stated they will be launching a “Know Before You Go” campaign that will be set guests prior to arrival at the parks around what to expect.
A few days after Disney announced the reopening of Disney World, they made another major announcement. No FastPass selections or Single Rider lines for the rest of 2020. Disney has canceled all guests FastPass selections as they will be using the FastPass entrances to aid in social distancing within the attraction queues. Disney has not announced it yet but in the DVC Duo house, we’re expecting them to announce virtual queues. With a reduction in the guest capacity, we should not see the wait times heavily impacted by the removal of FastPass. Early indicators from the parks up the road are wait times equal, if not less, even with the new cleaning and social distancing measures in place.
It should be noted that Disney has stated when the parks initially reopen park-hopping will not an option. Guests are able to come and go as they please for the park they have a reservation at for the day. Disney has said they hope to offer park-hopping soon. Guests with reservations and park tickets that include the park hopper option are able to get a refund.
In conjunction with FastPass selections, and Extra Magic Hours will be unavailable to guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort. Disney will be using the extra time for deeper cleanings of the parks.
Our favorite topic. You know us, we’re all about the food. Similar to FastPass selections, Disney announced all advanced dining reservations (ADR) through 2020 would be canceled and ADR’s would move to a 60-day reservation window. Additionally, they announced the Disney Dining Plan would be suspended until September 2021. The move to the 60-day reservation window is to accommodate for lower restaurant capacity and allow for social distancing within the dining locations. Disney did state if a guest has a dining reservation at a park, they will also need a park reservation. A dining reservation will not guarantee entry into the park. For dining at a Disney resort, non-resort guests will need a reservation prior to arrival.
When the Disney restaurants reopen we could see some variations in the menus out of the gate. With current limitations in the food supply chain in the United States, Disney restaurants may have to adjust their menus accordingly. To help with cleanliness Disney will be moving to scannable codes at a variety of locations for digital menus. For guests without smartphones, paper menus should be available.
At the initial opening, not all dining options will be reopening. The following type of dining experiences have been temporarily suspended; dinner shows, private dining, in-room delivery, and character dining. There will be one character dining experience at Topolino’s Terrace in a modified format.
Disney is encouraging cashless payments either through debit or credit cards, Magicbands, Disney Gift Cards, or mobile wallets. Additionally, at quick-service locations, they are recommending Mobile Ordering where ever possible. Any self-service area will no longer be self-serve but instead, to be served by a cast member, things like soda fountains.
UPDATE: On June 30, 2020, The Walt Disney World Advance Dining Reservation system will open for guest at a Disney Resort who previously had dining reservations schedule prior to September 2, 2020 that were cancelled on May 28, 2020.
Reservations will be made over the phone by calling one of the following options:
Disney Vacation Club Member Services at (800) 800-9800 – for Disney Vacation Club Members only
It should be noted that the Disney Reservation Center phone line will open at 7 am EST.
Additionally, advanced dining reservations can be made through the website version of My Disney Experience.
Shop Til We Drop!
We’re here for the merch. Shopping around Walt Disney World will have a few adjustments with the reopening. The big one is Disney Park exclusives. Traditionally, Disney would launch in-park exclusive of certain merchandise items. With guest capacity lowered and few people having the opportunity to make into the parks, Disney will move the exclusives to ShopDisney only. For guests in the parks, Disney will temporarily suspend the shipping of purchased items to either the front of the park or your resort. However, you will be able to ship packages homes.
A couple other changes are dressing rooms not being available, however guests can return items in-person.
Calling all Pin Traders! Pin trading will still be available, however in a new way. Cast members will not longer directly trade pins with guests, but instead, use a pinboard to make the exchanges.
What Will Not Be Open?
Not everything is included with the reopening of Disney World. When the parks reopen, we will see certain attractions and experiences reopen at a future time. Upon the initial phase of reopening the following will not be included:
Nighttime Fireworks or Shows
Character Meet ‘n Greets – the characters will be in the parks but not directly meeting guests
World Showcase Ambassadors – regular cast members will be operating the World Showcase Countries through 2020
Tours – for example, the Behind the Magic Tour
Electrical Water Pageant
Many of these items could change over time as we approach the reopening of Disney World. As we’ve seen with Shanghai Disneyland indoor shows returned within the first month. The safe thing to say is everything is fluid at the moment.
A lot of changes. In the DVC Duo house, we’re okay with any changes if it means the parks and resorts can reopen in a safe way for all guests. As time progresses we’re sure Disney will continue to adjust all the new aspects of the guest experience. Our best piece of advice is if you’re heading to Walt Disney World keep checking back this will be a fluid process and we could see changes from day-to-day. We will continue to add links to this article as updates come out. With that said we’re excited to see Disney taking the first steps in the reopening of Disney World.
Disney Dining Update: We’re taking a look at the updates to dining when the resorts first open. From reservations to arriving at the restaurant. Full article here.
Disney World Park Reservation System: We’re sharing our step by step guide on how to navigate the new Disney World Park Reservation System to reserve your park day. Full guide here.