Disney Is Reopening: What You Need to Know

Get ready for some good, old-fashioned Disney magic—and some new rules aimed at keeping you safe and happy.

Walt Disney World in Florida has announced its reopening dates along with a plan to increase guest safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Disneyland reopening has been postponed.

Walt Disney World will begin its process on July 11, and Disney is being cautious in reopening its theme parks by putting a number of preventive measures in place.

Reservation system and capacity restrictions

First, Disney is managing capacity in order to drastically reduce the number of guests so that proper distance between parties can be maintained.

Walt Disney World has begun the process of taking guest reservations through its online system. This new system allows guests to book their theme park reservations for each day of their vacation while giving priority to on-site resort guests, annual pass holders, and existing ticket holders.

Disney has not released the Disneyland reservation system info quite yet, but it will likely follow a similar process to Disney World.

This is one reason many might be tempted to travel to Disney when it reopens—we anticipate these capacity restrictions to be significant, resulting in minimal lines for popular attractions.

Preventive health and safety measures

Disney is taking great caution to protect cast members and guests upon reopening by implementing extensive preventive safety measures. Some of the highlights of their new policies include:

  • Face coverings required for cast members and guests ages 2 and up.
  • Temperature checks.
  • Increased cleaning and disinfection procedure, with frequent attention to high-touch surfaces.
  • Social distancing guidelines throughout the park, including attraction queues.
  • Capacity restrictions.

Guests will be able to remove their face coverings when dining or swimming. Upon entrance to the shopping districts and theme parks, guests will also undergo a temperature screening. Any guests with a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be denied entry along with those in their party.

To create safe social distancing throughout the theme parks, certain entertainment like parades and fireworks has been temporarily suspended to avoid the large crowds that usually accompany these events. Characters will still be present in the parks but in a different way as they entertain guests from a distance.

Travelers can assume these safety policies will remain in place for at least the rest of the year and possibly into the next as Walt Disney World is taking theme park reservations up until September 2021.

Ticket deadline extensions and insurance

The entrance to Disney World is deserted on the first day of...SOPA Images/Getty Images

Disney has also extended the deadlines for many of its ticket types until later in 2021 to give guests further flexibility as they plan their vacations. The good thing about Disney theme park tickets is that they never lose their value, so if you have an unused park ticket that has expired you can apply the value of that ticket toward the purchase of a new one, and just pay any difference in price.

Very few travel agents offer refunds on tickets alone. There is only one Disney-verified travel agency we know of that offers a refundable ticket option: Get Away Today, which has worked with Disney for 30 years. Read MickeyVisit.com’s full Get Away Today review for info on its ticket options and access to the additional discount it gives to MickeyVisit.com readers.

Get Away Today offers refundable ticket options for an additional $25 per ticket, so you can plan knowing that you can get a refund if something comes up. You can also apply this refundable option to hotels through their Peace of Mind plan, which allows you to put your vacation on layaway while giving you full flexibility on rescheduling and refunds. Traveling in these uncertain times can be stressful, and booking with travel companies that offer full refunds is sometimes the best way to navigate any uncertainty.

Choosing to visit a Disney park this year is a highly personal decision for many families, but if you decide to make the trip, you are now prepared for what you can expect. And you can benefit from the reduced-capacity experience for popular new attractions like those in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or the new Mickey Mouse ride at Disney World.

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Gavin Doyle is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]

The article “Disney Is Reopening: What You Need to Know” originally appeared on NerdWallet.